31. Sex, Power, & Feminine Sovereignty

Last weekend I attended a phenomenal three-day webinar focused on Women Evolving Our World: Feminine Sovereignty and the Right Use of Power. I have to admit that I was hesitant to join. I’d expected to encounter a fair bit of anti-male sentiment, time-worn rants against the patriarchy, and emotionally-inflated visions of grandeur.

Boy, was I wrong!

I was delighted to find a whole sisterhood of empowered, impassioned, big-hearted, open-minded, firmly grounded women moving well beyond such stagnant, stereotypical positions.

We did discuss the patriarchy. We did compare and contrast the masculine and the feminine ways of handling power (both having healthy and unhealthy manifestations), and we explored emotional topics (as well as a whole slew of other ones). But the encompassing attitude remained mature, honest, and responsible, emphasizing the reality of patriarchy’s toll on us as women while acknowledging its toll on men, too, as well as the planet. We focused everything on our own growth, healing, and purpose and held space for all to discover that right there in the context of the webinar.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

Yet, there was a piece missing. Not a thing about sex and sexuality!

Sexual Humanism tells me that these are key ingredients for success on any progressive path of societal transformation, due to the sexual counterpart of our social nature. And the platform showed me that there are indeed women who are bold, brave, smart, and willing to rock their own boat (I’ve been having my doubts as I’ve watched men become the most receptive audience for my book… One of the conclusions I reached in that book was that females must lead the movement of sexual enlightenment, so I need these kinds of women!).

Leading our culture into a paradigm that’s more balanced in the masculine/feminine realm, means healing the distorted aspects of both (there was a beautiful discussion of of power structures in the webinar by presenter Christine Arylo). And one of the most damaging remnants of patriarchy’s inherent imbalance is how we package sex and sexuality into a box ill-suited to any healthy society.

The most important place to start addressing this is by admitting that we’ve got some serious repacking to do. That means pulling everything out and distinguishing what’s really ours versus what we’ve taken on through misguided training. It involves throwing a bunch of things out and folding what we keep into a more reality-based narrative. The bottom line (ugh, again) is that women have the most repackaging to do, because of the nature of the training and the way we’ve embodied it.

This brings us back face to face with the ugly thing I discussed in post #28 about agency and ownership, and the fact that female sexuality is viewed, valued, and treated as male property. We can all readily conjure up a familiar image to help us get the overall idea with an easy example. Think of the protective father who guards his daughter’s sexual existence like an angry Doberman. He may take this approach with a daughter while offering a hearty slap on the back and a wink to his son while handing him a condom. And he’ll feel proud and dutiful (because that’s his training) without a moment’s thought about the ramifications.

How often do we recognize this kind of ordinary behavior for what it is? Do we realize the damage caused by being treated as property? The visceral reality is this: I just spent the weekend with a whole bunch of women (including myself) who have had to take long, arduous journeys to reclaim our own bodies. The over-culture has imprinted into us a dismembered existence that results in many forms of disfunction. We breathe (and navigate) from the neck up. We disregard our feelings and deeper intuitions as “PMS”. We smother the embers of our own erotic impulses in soggy romantic storylines (I cannot overemphasize this one enough). We defer to the demands of the outside world that denigrates and undermines the feminine. We take care of others while neglecting our own well being. We lose touch with what gives us pleasure and don’t realize we can ask for it. We wait for invitations, ask for permission, and wish for impossibilities. We question our own authority and autonomy, because we are not whole.

And so forth and so on.

Because of the depth of the damage, particularly as it relates to a woman’s relationship to sex, sexuality, and her own intimate anatomy, this is naturally going to be the most vulnerable frontier. This is why, I presume, my sisters are not chomping at the bit to run with me. This is one of the deepest, most frightening rabbit holes you can imagine.

The result of being eviscerated of your innate power, through the robbing of sexual agency, is that what’s left is a void. Human nature fears a void like nature abhors a vacuum. We start stuffing things into it. Things that were never meant to be there (like the ridiculous romantic fantasy, or even children). And we cling to these feeble substitutions for power and self determination like an orphan monkey clings pitifully to a rag doll. We will not give up our goods until we really get the message and muster up a hell of a lot of courage.

We have to be ready for that voyage. We have to begin to have some real deep-seated suspicions about the error and the abomination of what we’ve bought into, grabbed onto, and internalized to the bone, before we can possibly be ready to start down that unfathomable hole.

But, once we get started we begin to see that, although it’s not easy and there may be great obstacles for extended periods of time, the rewards are almost immediate. We begin to reclaim our own bodies and our own wisdom and, gradually, our own power. We become able to see basic truths, experience genuine freedom, and make sense of our previously impenetrable conundrums. Then, and only then, (to borrow a paraphrase of Angela Davis used in the webinar) we can lift others as we rise, like the rising tide–rather than trying to mother everyone from our own deficit, wearing ourselves out, grating on others, and digging ourselves deeper into the thankless rut.

This is a place of real responsibility, the domain of real adults, the beginning of real wisdom. Sexual enlightenment will not happen by itself. Real work must be done or we’re all just talking heads speaking gibberish!

Just a few days before the webinar I had spent some time tuning into my own sovereignty within my long-term heterosexual partnership, and what I saw was somewhat distressing. I saw that I defer, and I do it a lot. I realized that I have not put enough energy into stepping into my own power and voice. Which means, since my partner is so enlightened, that he’s working overtime constantly pressing on me in this area. And I’m letting him do my work for me. That’s not healthy for either of us.

I don’t want to be a woman who needs to be given permission. That’s not okay with me. That doesn’t help pave the way for my sisters either, toward a world of sovereignty, where we are not the property of outdated patriarchal structures.

I’m grabbing the reins, girding my loins, and kicking myself into a whole new gear!

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