native sex habits

Submitted by bamazi on
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Marnia do you have any studies that describe the sex habits of indigenous native people around the world ?

Funny you should ask...

I'm working on an article for the December newsletter about the Toltec-Mayan practices related to sexual energy.

Here's a paragraph from it:

[Author Merilyn] Tunneshende observes that the Nagual shamanist practices about the inner fire, or serpent, has its roots in the same knowledge pool that fed the pre-Tibetan and Siberian shamanic traditions, more than 40,000 years ago.

Knowledge of the Rainbow Serpent fire is found in pieces within the tradition of Kundalini Yoga, in the Tibetan development of the Rainbow Body, within Taoism as the immortal body, and among the Sioux and other native peoples as the Spirits of the Rainbow World. The Australian aboriginals refer openly to the Rainbow Serpent as the primordial life energy and have many ancient rock paintings representing the energy.Don Juan and the Art of Sexual Energy, p. xv

I also found this lovely myth, although I don't know much about the source:
http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/sources/native_american#wbcw

I'm always happy to consider material from other cultures. However, my impression of the Quodoshka material is that it has been...distorted...for Euro-American consumption, much has tantra has in the West.

Your thoughts?

Thank you for bringing this

Thank you for bringing this up, bamazi.

I am farmiliar with Tunneshende's writings and recall specific mention of teachings in which the male is able to retain longevity through semen retention. This ability is seen via the metaphor of a rattle snake - the snake's head being the head of the penis, the body going up the spine, and the rattler connecting to the pineal gland and often extending energetically beyond the head in developed practitioners.

A young rattler will naively strike out and release it's venom early (which is why it is deadlier to be bit by a baby rather than a mature rattler). Older snakes will often bite without wasting precious venom.

Men also have caves, or womblike spaces they retreat to.

Likewise, women practitioners identify with their own snake aspect and often have a knife or dagger on their altar, symbol of their own acknowledged yang energy, which is able to direct, discern, and cut through illusion.

Another ritual item on a practitioner's altar is a bowl. A woman with a cracked bowl has all her water (feminine essence) leaked out - hence her "frigidity." Women must learn to heal the cracks in their bowls to regain their receptive, life-giving energy.

Sadly, I don't remember the name of the book I got this from. Do you have the name, Marnia? I'm postivite it was the same lady but the references you make to a rainbow serpent don't seem like something I read in her book (tho it was a long time ago - I'd love to track the book down again and add it to my library.)

Speaking of rainbow serpents, a must-read is "The Cosmic Serpent" by Jeremy Narby - doesn't talk about sexual alchemy per se but it is a vital read into the realm of human/plant communication and the common link of DNA and the biophotons it emits which allow shamans to visually and audibly recieve messages/teachings/wisdom from the plant and animal helpers.

thanks

I'll look forward to the newsletter. I was wondering if there were any studies of actual sex habits of tribal people around the world today not really the myths. I'm curious especially about cultures where nudity is commonplace (mostly african) and their attitudes toward sex.

Title is

"Don Juan and the Art of Sexual Energy: The Rainbow Serpent of the Toltecs" by Merilyn Tunneshende. The article I'm writing will have a lot more lore from the book.

I can't find out much about the author, but I think she lets her own views shape some of her writings (who doesn't?). She contradicts herself in some places. Her teachers claim that women don't lose energy, but gain it during orgasm. However, then one of the teachers makes clear that the orgasm she is talking about is a feeling of ecstasy, much like a "total relaxation orgasm," and that "pain orgasms" can be "life-denying, weakening and destructive." And that casual sex (even with orgasm) doesn't increase energy...it only increases sexual appetite.

In short, if you read the fine print, the picture is a bit different, and quite consistent with what I've been learning. We all need to retain our capacity for ecstasy, but that is not necessarily synonymous with ordinary orgasm.

Also, the book says men can only lose energy during orgasm. However, it also teaches that they can learn to circulate sexual energy themselves, thus gaining feelings of wellbeing, tapping powers for healing and spiritual awareness, and rejuvenating themselves.

So the situation for both the sexes is more similar than Tunneshende tries to convince herself.

What I like about the book is the emphasis on integrity and sexual energy. However, it's basically a book about solo sexual practices. So single folk may get more out of it than couples.

I'll include the full text of two of her exercises (which I will post beforehand, so watch for them). One for circulating sexual energy, and one for uniting.

The first one, "Fire Breath," is very similar to a tantric practice described here: http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/saraswati_transmuting_sexual_energy

I'd love to know more about African sexual wisdom, too, but I'm a bit wary, as these are the folks who have brought the world clitoral mutilation, and retained polygamy (a form of emotional separation between couples, if you think about it). I read an interesting article not long ago about how women in Ghana were prepared for marriage, and taught various erotic arts...but they were also "circumcised." I decided not to post it on my site. There has to be a better way....

"Cosmic Serpent" was very intriguing, but didn't really tackle the connection with sexual energy or sacred union directly, so I didn't write on it (yet) either.

Africa and Africans and

Africa and Africans and their sexual habits its a pretty broad category to say the least. Not all African people circumcise their women (though its widespread use is certainly so, so saddening and not to be ignored). I remember reading of a tribe (unfortunately it was so long ago I don't remember which) that have as the young girl's rite of passage into womanhood the expectation that they will ejaculate against a wall. This points to the fact that much of a person's biological capacity (for orgasm or ejaculation, say) is culturally determined. A culture that doesn't even know women can ejaculate will not have many that do; likewise a culture that thinks of women as naturally frigid will have many women that are.

Biology determines much of our behavior, but it is always mediated by culture.

Imagine living in a culture that tought sexual alchemy as a matter of course! What a different world that would be.

I used Africans

as an example but I was just curious what the effects of being somewhat desensitized to nudity has on libido and then on what form the actual practice of sex takes for such groups. Come to think of it I could have asked about Nudists. And you're right hotspring Africa is rather broad because both extremes of Female Genital Mutilation and sex as social rite are present. I remember watching a show about a tribe called the Mursi in Ethiopia where the youth would participate in a dance that would involve the girls coming up to the boys and signaling their choice subtly one by one and it would mean they would be having sex later on. However any offspring from such union are thought to bring a curse on the village and have to be aborted.

Nudist Cultures & Desensitization

Okay, so I've reflected a bit on my experiences growing up in a community where nudity was the norm. It was and is not a nudist colony, ie, the main focus of the group is not to be nude. But, since one distinguishing feature of the landscape there is that it has natural hotsprings, and one purpose of the community is to be stewards of the springs, and most people do not have showers in their own houses and therefore always bathe together, everyone sees eachother naked on a regular basis.

How does this affect the sexuality of people living in such an environment? First off, the community is diverse in age. Therefore, there are people past their prime in mating years, and those who have not yet reached puberty. So, bathing together is a natural thing, a practical part of life, and not sexualized at all. That's not to say people don't notice sexy bodies. But the sheer range of bodies seen leads to a more realistic and diverse view of what beauty is, and an awareness that most people have structural imbalances or imperfections. Or, beauty that may not have been obvious when seeing them clothed is suddenly apparent.

I wouldn't say that it necessarily "desensitizes" the response to a naked body. Bathing under an open sky in a natural environment is VERY sensitized - leaves blowing in the trees above, stars or vivid clouds, brimming thunderstorms, the sound and smell of the creek, steam rising from the pools, birds flying overhead, and fellow humans within this larger context. It CAN be very sexy if you run into someone you're attracted to and you are alone. I remember going down to the bath at fourteen to wash my hair and bringing a candle to the pools and enjoying watching a beautiful man or being watched. And sexuality in this situation is heightened and mirrored by the sensuality of the landscape. It is very lush in all respects. But sexuality is just one part of being human, and one part of having and using a body. Seeing nudity in this broader context literally puts sex in a broader and healthier frame of reference (reverence).

There were points when we were hitting puberty that were slightly awkward (some of us had pubic hair earlier than others, tho we all got our periods within two weeks of eachother. some of us are curvy and some of us are long and slender.). For the most part the girls remained naked through the awkwardness of puberty, while the boys seem to have started wearing bathing suits for number of years.

Amazingly enough in this environment, it was not until I was fourteen that I saw a hard-on in broad daylight - tho I had seen the whole range of penises, balls, boobs, butts, bushes, etc. I had gone to the bath and a 27 year old guy visiting from Kentucky saw me heading down there and followed. I was standing outside washing my hair (we use a pitcher to pour water over our hair) and he stood really close and pretended to be examining a pendant I was wearing, the whole time staring at my tetas. Later that night he proposed we go to the mint pool, where we made out, then made our way to the waterfall. Luckily I had some self-control and chose not to sleep with him, tho I fully enjoyed all the other oral pleasures we exchanged. The next day he wouldn't look at me for fear of being found out.

Since my mother was very open about sexuality and the lessons she learned through casual sex, I had a good sense of boundaries and also someone I could go to with any questions I needed.

Generally, it is bad form to have sex in the baths, which other people use for getting clean.

Overall, this environment was excellent for my own ability to be comfortable in my body in front of others. I have noticed that some men like a bit more intrigue. In Turkey men were either turned off or taken aback at my comfort in being naked. I realized through them that a lot of what sexiness is is allure, mystery, and the unavailability of a woman.

Also, growing up with hippies was in many ways confusing and difficult when interacting with people from a different frame of reference. At the ranch, we would be embarrased if we came back from visiting relatives and had a tan line. It showed we had caved in to modesty. Also, none of the women at the ranch shaved their legs or under their arms - to shave was caving into a sexist constraint. So when I was fourteen and first went to the public high school, I wore skirts without shaving my legs for about the first four months before finally shaving from being harassed and made fun of. I have also found that men who watch a lot of porn have high expectations that women manage their body hair. I can understand a little trimming for easier access, but frankly I don't have the time to devote that much of my life, my time, or my money to having a perfect bikini line. A real man can handle at least a little bush, and knows that women are human beings, not dolls.

So, most of the sexualization came from outside, not within the group. Here are two examples of how others shared their assumptions about hippies and their sexuality. Early on when the group had just formed, some cowboys rode down to the hotbaths to pick and choose some women, since they had heard that hippies were all about "free love." There was no polygamy or polyamory at the ranch. And just recently, at a local water meeting, when the hippies were complaining of giardia in the water from cow waste in the river, one cowboy said that this was nothing compared to the downstream runoff from the "orgy juices" flowing from the commune.

In their dreams!

I can see

how such a community would actually sensitize quite a bit towards nudity. It would be interesting to get the take of a guy from the community, because inasmuch as after the hotspring baths are over people put their clothes back on then I can only imagine that these events would really sexualize them. But then again I would assume that the community did not have access to external media influences that would shape and propel their fantasy. Personally its one thing for me to have stopped masturbating and orgasm but I haven't stopped Television, billboards, music and magazines. I wonder if I'll ever get the chance to exist without their influence while avoiding masturbation/orgasm. I can appreciate withdrawing from society such as with your community hotspring to leave behind these influences, that's why I think it would be interesting to hear the vantage point of the men from your community both who had their formative sexual years there without the external influences and also the men who experienced them and left that world to live there. How are their perceptions of women shaped ?

I can imagine a world without the constant sexual press on the psyche, to be re-sensitized to what and who women really are outside of this context that most of us have been around since day one. I think that just as in after masturbation there is that downward spike accompanied by guilt where you know this isn't right/whole, I think the same applies in all the little and subtle ways we are made to look at women as sex objects on a daily basis. I know I feel those twinges in between barrages of commercials, music etc. not only from knowing that its wrong but also that there is something I should be doing to hold all the sources that are feeding me this accountable.

You're right - not having

You're right - not having access to a barrage of media images certainly helps. TV still has not arrived on the ranch. People do use computers - but with a dial-up connection, the tendency to overconsume is minimized.

Actually, I am working on some oral history of the ranch right now and I was also wondering about differnt perceptions of sexuality at the baths in my parent's age-group, when they were young and first moved there. I will let you know if I collect any data that may be interesting, especially since THEY were raised in mainstream culture.

But for now I can only speak for myself, and there are not a lot of boys that I grew up with that I can ask, since there were 12 girls and only 2 boys (our theory is that the high temperatures from soaking in hotbaths for long periods of time killed off the male sperm, which tend to be faster but also more fragile than female sperm).

My brother is one of the two boys who grew up there so I will ask him (he now has a Korean supermodel girlfriend, so clearly he is susceptible to high-profile images).

I am aware of one case where

I am aware of one case where my mother said she was having a flirtation with another woman's husband. This woman (one of my mothers), while clasically beautiful, was also prone to vanity, melodrama, and self-absorption. She was/is also a workaholic, and supporting her husband (a painter) and their two kids from her own pottery business. She was probably also just exhausted.

Apparently looks aren't everything (tho my mother is also a very foxy lady).

My mom has a very large sexual appetite and supposedly wasn't getting the attention she wanted from my dad at that time so when this other guy started flirting with her she let my dad know that other interests were surfacing and he became attentive right away.

But how or if any of this is related to the culture of nudity I can't say. I know the flirtation took the form of him (the painter) doing a series of nude paintings of my mother (who is also a painter). The flirtation wasn't consummated.

In many ways, small community settings make infidelities harder - because they are almost impossible to hide, and because within a group with a shared decision-making process (in this case, consensus), most people are aware that all actions have immediate social implications. So, people in such a cultural setting may be less quick to act on impulse. The sense of social responsibility to the health of the whole is - if not always dominant - at least very much heightened in comparison to people living in mainstream society.

were you aware

of your mother's sexuality as an adult or when you were younger ? can you describe the setup of the community, why it was formed, if it was modeled after some other culture ? Was there use of hallucinogens ?

It may have a lot more to do with nudity than you may think. Clearly it was not something unusual for a man to paint a married woman in the nude if after all everyone bathes that way. In most cultures around the world where nudity is prevalent usually they are accompanied with very strict lines around wedlock usually resulting in death or extreme punishment if they are crossed. But of course these cultures generally involve some sort of payment for the bride in addition to being very stratified so it is partly due to an economic transgression. Clearly equality was a big part of your community for your mother to even let your father know about the other interests without worry of reprisal against them.

Yes, I was very aware of my

Yes, I was very aware of my mother's sexuality as a child, and now as an adult we speak openly about everything in detail. We lived in a one room yurt for four years while my father was building our second house and my bed was right next to theirs. While I don't think they were overt in their lovemaking, I did see them a few times, as well as hear them all throughout growing up. One time when we were visiting my grandparents and staying in a motel room I was in the opposite bed and they waited hardly at all before starting to make love! I was about eight or nine or so. I saw the whole thing unfold. It was very interesting to me, not scary. In the moringin the covers were on the ground and I said, "Mom, you must have been cold last night" in a mocking way, and she didn't make the connection and just said, "Well, your dad kept me warm last night." I told her later about this and she was surprised at their behavior.

Anyway, she just chose to go the opposite direction from how she was raised - with good results, I'd say. I appreciate that she was honest enough to my dad about her other interests - giving him a heads up so to speak - rather than being devious. At one point in their relationship she gave him an ultimatum that she wanted to get laid a minimum of twice a week and he really resented her putting a number on it.

They're still going at it, tho with reduced frequency in their late fifties.

Anyway, the culture was set up as a place where people could live in harmony with nature and eachother, as stewards of the land and springs, to experiment with group decision-making, alternative building, agriculture, and publishing. There was no common spiritual bent (tho a lot of people are quakers or buddhists). Most everyone in the hippy generation tried hallucinogens, but this was not a distinguishing feature of the community, just a personal recreational choice.

There's a good book called "Nisa: the life and words of a Kung! woman." It is a good example of a native African tribe in which nudity or partial nudity is the norm, and infidelity among both men and women is expected and more or less accepted equally.

what aspects

of your upbringing would you or have you brought to your adult life ? Do you think raising children with such sexual openness to be beneficial or potentially harmful particularly in these times ?

I think that all of the

I think that all of the sexual openness I experienced was only beneficial. However, this was not sexual openness in the sense of polyamorous relationships - this was sexual openness within committed relationships, with minor flirtations posing no serious threats because both people were mature enough to be honest and communicate. (By the way, I don't think that there's anything fundamentally wrong with polyamory, though it's not my choice of relationship).

My parent's openness took the form of not censoring that they were sexual beings. Children should know this, and see as many examples of healthy, caring, sexual affection bewteen men and women as possible. I'm not saying that overtly having sex in front of your kids is a good idea, only that it is great to have parents relaxed enough about that part of their lives that its not a big deal if that does happen. So, I knew what my parents were doing and they had educated me enough about sex and its purpose (beyond procreation) that I had a frame of reference for what I witnessed.

I also was present for my brother's birth at age five. The more children are shown every aspect of life the better, I think. I was able to feel responsible and important during the birth by helping my mother (putting a cold cloth on her forehead, etc), and my connection to my brother is that much stronger having been with him in his very first moments.

I think that sexualized images on television are far more harmful than growing up in a place where people are frank about sex.

My upbringing has influenced almost every aspect of my sexuality, I would say in a positive way. Having a model of parents who are loving, open communicators verbally and physically is irreplaceable.

The other part of this discussion that perhaps hasn't been raised is that the hippy movement is about simplicity and taking better care of the earth and our own bodies. People who live in nature and eat well are healthier physically and therefore mentally. It is hard to be comfortable in a body that is sick. It is harder to be sexually empowered if your own life force is compromised by stress and poor nutrition. So, the people in this community did much for my own sexual empowerment by providing me with a value system that says that when we take care of the earth, each other, and ourselves, we will reap the benefits in terms of greater relaxation, greater sense of having a meaningful life, greater energy, equanimity, and compassion. We can enjoy life more in all its facets, including sex.

Difficulties Integrating Hippy Lifestyle into Insane Culture

A few more thoughts on this topic, since you asked me what aspects of my upbringing I have brought to my adult life. I'll have to bring this discussion beyond the topic of sex, since I think that sexual habits are just a reflection of cultural lifestyle.

Here's the crux. As I mentioned, it is not easy to integrate wholesome values into a culture that is basically destructive. So, I have some challenges or issues in my life, some of which are personal and karmic, but which are heightened by my upbringing and my inability to reconcile some things. For example:

1) I was raised with egalitarian parents who do not fit some mainstream notions of gender dynamics: a mother who is hornier than my father, a father who is nurturing and cooks, both parents very active in community life (one does not stay at home). The result is that I have been resentful of notions in the broader culture that women are sexually less libidinous than men; I have had a hard time being with men who are idealogically feminists but who don't really live out their beliefs on a practical, day-to-day basis. In other words, I have very high standards in men, and this can seem at times perfectionistic.

2) I was raised in a cultural experiment. The basis of this is the notion that creative alternatives always exist to any unsatisfactory situation. The result is that I am rarely satisfied with the mainstream culture I live in, and am fixated on finding solutions to fairly huge problems, but without the community and common sense of purpose to do it in collaboration with others. So, I often find myself being critical and negative about mainstream culture, and waste a lot of energy being frusterated.

3) I grew up in a place in nature, with access to pure water and interactions with non-human beings (plants, animals). The result is that I often feel bored in cities and cannot enjoy basic things like drinking cholrinated water without comparing it to the way I know fresh water tastes. I also do not know how to rejuvenate myself in cities because I normally did that through immersion in nature.

4) I love my home so much that I am afraid to commit to any other place or any person who doesn't see living out in the boonies as ideal. I tried staying out there and committing to the ranch, but I have no peer group out there and so no real way of staying out there (the population is mostly people in their mid-fifties, with about three younger kids and two couples in their thirties). So I just keep wandering around the globe meeting great people and places, but never committing to any of them.

Maybe this was more than you wanted to know. The point is that while I haven't found ways to integrate the experience of growing up in such a community, the experience informs the whole way that I operate in the world and the standards by which I measure a meaningful and fulfilling life.

did you ever

feel un-prepared for the "real" world after being raised in a somewhat idyllic setting? and if you
had conflicts with this world, inner or outer did you ever resent your parents for it ? That is for setting you up
with somewhat perfectionistic standards ?

I resented growing up in an

I resented growing up in an isolated setting when I was sixteen - at that point I didn't think of my home as idyllic, because it was the norm. So I went to live in Vienna as an exchange student, and this was my first time living in the outside world. I learned very quickly there just what a great environment I had left.

I don't at all resent my parents now - more than setting me up for perfectionistic standards, they have raised me in such a way that my cultural inheritance is a sense of responsibility to be an agent of positive change. The sticking point for me is that culture is a collaborative event - not just made up of individual efforts. And in maintstream culture it seems most people are on a single track. We live in our own privately owned segments of property, have our career ambitions, and hang out with friends recreationally. But the common sense of responsibilty for our future does not have an obvious outlet, because the issues are so huge, and because people are largely overworked and stressed out. To really collaborate I think that people need a shared vision, and a common place to meet. This was available in my community.

In many ways the community is not ideal. Humans do not lend themselves easily to happiness. Given excess time, we often choose to create problems rather than be simply happy. I've witnessed this in my own community. But, I was lucky that my parents were very proactive and creative people, and continue to be. Others have burnt out or become pessimistic.

Anyway, I'm not sure how all of this relates to sexual alchemy, except on the basic level of human agency. We do have energy, power, and choice to live in ways that foster harmony, balance, rejuvention, caring, and enjoyment. We don't have to go on default mode. And if what the mainstream is teaching or feeding us clearly is not working, we have a responsibility to create something better. Sacred sex is one way to use a force that has normally been appropriated by commercialism or biology, and use it for connection, nurturing, and balancing. For me the sacred sex element is one part of a whole lifestyle choice, in which the spiritual desire to be of benefit to something larger than myself takes precedence.

I'm chuckling...

I think I know why you find yourself looking in the mirror all the time, dear Hotspring. Part of you just CAN'T believe that men could find two-dimensional illusions more enticing than a gorgeous goddess like you! I am sure you radiate a delicious healthy sex appeal in addition to all your other sparkling qualities and talents...so what more could they want, right? Absolutely nothing, if they could see clearly. Trust me.

I'm reminded of something I read once ("oh no, here she goes again...") in a story called, "Lad: A Dog" (bet you weren't expecting that!).

Lad was a beautiful, healthy collie raised on a farm. Somehow his owner decided to put him in a show, probably to earn money to save someone's life or something ;-). The "fashion" in collies of that time was different than Lad's conformation. The breeders had been selecting for pointier noses and narrower builds, or some such.

As the event began, the judge almost immediately put Lad off to one side and focused exclusively on all the other, "fashionable," collies. The owner felt angry and humiliated on behalf of his dog, whom he believed was truly outstanding. Finally the judge was ready, and awarded 4th, 3rd and 2d places to the dogs he had been attentively examining...and first place to Lad. Turns out he had set Lad aside because he, too, felt he was clearly the most awesome collie he had ever seen, even though he didn't fit the fashion. The judge had instantly selected him for first place, without any need for further examination, and turned his attention to sorting out the lesser contenders.

You, my dear, are a "Lad" - a true goddess. So why would you take on an easy assignment this lifetime?? It takes a very strong, confident woman to reach out to today's men in a way that helps them retrieve their lost balance. Most women add to the problem. They find it impossible not to yield to the current insanity. Have you noticed that women are now dressing like hookers? If men are obsessed with porn, and they like men, then it seems obvious that pornifying themselves is the way to attract men.

It will attract them, all right, but it means the woman has acted like a cigarette - and laced herself with extra nicotine. She has fallen for the idea that sexual addictiveness = relationship glue. I certainly (unconsciously) believed this. There was almost no one I made up my mind to have whom I couldn't attract. But that initial frenzied attraction turned out NOT to be glue. Not only that, it wasn't bringing out the best in my partners (or me, although I was slow to catch on to that fact). Worst of all, my love life was like a revolving door...even though I had no trouble attracting husbands - and sweethearts in between them.

Since, like you, I had the example of a loving, rather uninhibited (in a quiet way) relationship in my childhood environment, I KNEW I wanted a life companion...not a series of hot flings. Everyone reading this knows where my quest to understand what was TRULY going on has led me, so no need to repeat it.

One of the key points I want to make to you is that the men blogging here are not strange aliens who could not possibly be the ideal mates of healthy women, even though their past obsessions with two-dimensional illusions seem...well...icky...to anyone who understands how nourishing a healthy, juicy intimate relationship can be (yes, even withOUT orgasm Smile ). These men ARE our darlings (not individually, you understand). Our beautiful, sensual men have been kidnapped by the pornification of our culture. It has been a gradual process, but has picked up a lot of speed with the help of recent technology.

I see you as a "Princess Charming" Hotspring. These guys don't have a way to wake up if we don't make the effort to encourage them as they stir restlessly in their uncomfortable, culture-induced trance. Who else is going to explain to them that they're still princes who have just been having a bad dream? The mainstream won't; it tells them sexual addiction is great, healthy in fact. The religious right will only make things worse by failing to understand that their behavior really IS like a bad dream that is nearly inevitable, given the current blitz of visual over-stimulation for which the primitive brain - evolved long ago - is ill-equipped.

I have no doubt that your "Mr. Sleeping Beauty" is out there, Hotspring. I have seen men awaken and "get it." They are quite beautiful, and worth the effort.

Men want to be inspired. They want to believe that there is more to life than sitting in front of their computers, straining their wrists.;-) The Divine Feminine has an important job here. When called, let's help them focus on who they really are, and remind them that they have a choice, even if it doesn't feel to them like they do during the dark moments of withdrawal.

The good news is that someone who has overcome this trap, and seen through the "sexual freedom" lie (meaning that true sexual freedom doesn't lie in watching porn all day to escape uncomfortable feelings; it lies in happy, fulfilling union), is likely to make a better mate than someone who maintains his equilibrium somewhat, while still allowing his perception of women to be distorted...and NEVER realizes it. That person is far riskier as a mate than a recovered porn user, who has experienced the depths, and also watched his perception of women grow healthy again as he relearns equilibrium. The first guy will really believe that a new model will always be the answer to any relationship tension. The second will have learned to be suspicious of such demanding urges.

This is a long way of saying thank you for sharing your experience and your frustration, AND don't be surprised if your sexy future mate is someone who will - one day - have been "vaccinated" against porn by his own experience. Perhaps you are here to learn how best to encourage his progress and healing.

As part of my path I came to realize that sexual energy = life force energy = spiritual energy. It's all the same energy. Those who are ready to evolve spiritually, or really make a positive difference (as you long to do) quite likely have a LOT of sexual energy. It's their spiritual fuel. This means that they can make the most spiritual progress of anyone when they get their rockets pointed in the right direction. In the meanwhile, however, it means they are very vulnerable to manipulation with sexual imagery. It's nearly inevitable, in fact - because they haven't been taught how precious that energy is, or how it could be used beneficially.

You are a sort of high priestess, Hotspring. Sorry to tell you, but your high priest is right now probably sitting in front of a computer, frictioning away. In a sense it's no different than Sleeping Beauty snoring. You won't be able to do anything to help him until he says, "This can't be the answer." But when that happens, don't hesitate to look him in the eye and say, "Hey, I know who you really are. If you're ready, I think I can mirror the truth back to you, so you can find your way out of the cave you're in."

He may surprise you, and be there to mirror your truth back to you on days when you have trouble remembering who YOU really are. That could be the mirror you're actually searching for, come to think of it.

*great big hug*

Thanks for your lengthy

Thanks for your lengthy response, Marnia. I'm feeling a little self-conscious about taking up so much forum space talking about me me me and my upbringing (not that this will stop me from continuing to write voluminously!) I am happy to have a place to reflect on what growing up in such a setting means, particularly in relation to sexual alchemy. I hope that the conversation seems relevant to others - I only mean to point out that other options exist and that we have a responsibility to choose how we live for the balance of the whole. Any pointers we can give eachother on the journey are appreciated.

So I apreciate especially a few things you point out that rang very true. You said "Have you noticed that women are now dressing like hookers? If men are obsessed with porn, and they like men, then it seems obvious that pornifying themselves is the way to attract men. It will attract them, all right, but it means the woman has acted like a cigarette - and laced herself with extra nicotine. She has fallen for the idea that sexual addictiveness = relationship glue."

This is so true. A number of my friends come to mind - gorgeous women with a lot to offer who focus way too much on sexually objectifying themselves even though they are already total scores. They dumb themselves down. It's really sad to watch, on any level that it takes place. I do it to, but on a lesser level. Any time I objectify myself I am catering to this skewed view of men and what they are capable of appreciating.

Actually, my obsessive relationship with mirrors has subsided quite a bit. I've been learning a lot of things from my professor at school who is a naturopath - lifestyle and dietary changes that have done wonders for my overall feeling of health and vitality. I pointed this out before - when I take care of myself, my sense of wellbeing comes from within and I don't fixate on external beauty, because I feel it. The obsessive part rears its head when I am stressed or feeling congested and unhealthy - then I go to the mirror and try to find a way to look like a woman in the prime of health, even if I may not be. And about a month ago this process was more intense because I went home and bumped into my ex-boyfriend (a real alpha male type, sexy roadbike racer, great lover - tho generally self absorbed). In a small community the alpha male and female syndrome feels especially intense. In a larger city, there are so many alpha males and females its not really a big deal. So I'm happy to report the mirror has not had much power recently, and I have been kind to myself.

Another thing you said rang true. You pointed out that in many ways a man who has "immunized" himself through previous porn use may be a better potential mate than a man who has not but who is always on the lookout for the next model. This is very true, much as I hate to admit it. I recently just met a great man who illustrates this exactly. He has been drawn in to porn at different points in his life, tho he said it never happened when the "harmonics" in a relationship were high. I told him I was looking for a man who was smart enough not to fall in that trap in the first place. See there goes the perfectionistic me, looking for any excuse to disqualify a man. I know that I'll be holding on to that one in my back pocket as a valid excuse if I want to bail, which I usually do. I was going off about how damaging porn is - directing it in a roundabout way towards him - and he said, "I don't think you're hearing me. I AGREE with you. I have been saying from the beginning that I do NOT think that porn is a good thing." So I had to say "Allright, I hear you."

By the way,

the fact that I went off on my tangent didn't mean I didn't totally agree with your observations about society and what is healthy and what is not. I just had nothing to add. As usual, you had done a better job than I could have at making those points. (You really should find a way to write as part of your career; you have a gift.)

It was great having you share your experience. Models of healthy interaction are few and far between these days, and always inspiring. A wholesome brother/sister feeling, which is somehow also sexually magnetic, seems to be the basis of deep union, so your reflections on your community made perfect sense to me. I've noticed that as I've moved in the direction of sacred sexuality, my flirting is both more relaxed and less..."hooking." It really is all about making the other person feel good about himself. It's hard to explain how wholesomeness can still be sexy, but it is. Your story helps people understand that.

thank you both

for sharing of your pasts and your selves soo openly. Its very encouraging as a man to know that you two
change-agents are out there, challenging the sexual status quo. And I know you are both wreaking havoc on it
because I have seen the compassion that you both have to offer. Perhaps that's the real lesson we need to regain
by being abstinent from orgasms, sexual compassion. I hope that this is what is meant in karezza love-making that
the giving is compassionate meaning both people have a deep sense of what this other person's sexual past is and
are willing to cry with them about what hurt them and/or celebrate with them the deep awareness they have gained
about loving and reaching out to others.

hotspring, I don't know how I missed this in your previous post but when you described the experience you had with
the 27 year old man at the mint pools were you 14 ?

Marnia, this is something I've been meaning to ask you regarding flirting. It seems to me that since I've grown out of
being so self-involved and gone through a lot of healing, my antenna has gotten to pop out so I can now start to listent/tune-in
to other people. I don't know if the flirting I have with women sometimes instantly is a by-product of my sexual past with all that it
involves, if its a great way to get to know people. I feel somewhat rudderless in this because I'm still in the early stages
of sexual control. This is not to say that the flirting is all sexual in nature, but the association is there and maybe flirting is
something that I will naturally re-learn as I become more established in this new path.

Yes, I was 14. Being

Yes, I was 14.

Being sexually compassionate with to a man is something I'm just starting to learn about. But I have received compassion, even though I have never been sexually abused in a tangible, literal sense. Only in a broad cultural sense (ahem). So I needed to heal the malnourished view of womanhood that I had internalized. This view of womanhood says that women biologically have a lower sex drive than men, and that it is normal for them not to be orgasmic. So for me about ten years ago this was what I needed to be healed from, and I was lucky enough to have a very compassionate man to help me through the pain and suffering of identifying with something that deep down I just did not feel to be a true reflection of my womanhood.

I asked my last lover if there was anything he needed sexual healing for, and he said he needed to be healed from valuing women only for their looks. But he did not seek to do this by starting to date less-than-ideal women. It has remained ideological, at least up to this point. So I realize that sexual healing needs to happen for men too.

It seems at first glance that both sexes need to become healed from limited and objectifying views of womanhood. The converse of this is that the more men objectify women and women objectify themselves to please men, the more ruined women's view of men is, even though they are participating in reinforcing the shallow view. So then it seems the man must become healed from his limited identification of manhood being that which appreciates only the image of women, and women need to become healed of their view that men are only interested in that.

I will admit there is a certain stubbornness I feel somewhere inside me, a hard spot. This hard spot wants to hold a grudge. This hard spot says, "Women have already gone through enough; if men are suffering from their limited view, then let them suffer. They don't deserve my compassion." And the bitterness in this stance is the bitterness of suffering, the fulfillment of being justified in one's hurt. At a certain point, after years of this attitude, it becomes clear that you must make a choice between being right and being free. I'd rather be free. Besides, we're all in this together, whether we can admit it or not. Holding a grudge is a very selfish thing, as selfish as the tendency to think it is natural to use a woman for your pleasure alone and then expect her to be open or responsive to sex.

However, i do think that people are waking up on many levels and learning that we just can't afford to be selfish anymore. Our selfishness is literally killing us. Let's hope the gravity of the personal, interpersonal, sociological and global situations we are in will shake us up, wake us up into more love, more awareness of our responsibility to care for one another. May it be so!

Have not heard of David

Have not heard of David Icke.

So long as the older man or woman coming on to the younger person is able to take no for an answer, I agree with you. As I mentioned, I was luckily very clear in my boundaries at that age and was with someone who respected them. Had I not been, I easily could have been another pregnant teen and single mother by now. My ability to be clear about what I did and did not want to do was largely due to the influences in my uprbinging. Not everyone is so lucky. I have a friend who was molested by a neighbor while she was babysitting when she was fourteen. The experience was partially interesting to her but ultimately damaging, because the man continued to do things she did not consent to. She now prefers women over men and is still processing that experience. But yes, I agree that the age of consent should be younger. So long as it is really consent, and not coercion.

the broad cultural abuse

where did it come from ? If you grew up in a world that escaped that malnourished world to propose a new way of
living and relating ? Were you still very impressionable when you eventually left the ranch ? I can't even begin to
imagine that kind of culture shock if you just wandered into to it uninitiated, did your parents tell you what to
expect ? What do you feel the experience at the ranch ultimately has to inform the broad culture in how we should
relate to each other (men and women) and how do you feel that you can bring that wisdom to this world ?

I think you have a lot to offer hotspring so hope you don't mind my incessant picking. :)

These are very good

These are very good questions. I have wondered myself why, if I grew up in such a setting, i still seem to be so concerned with gender dynamics, and where my perception of cultural mysogyny could have come from if I grew up in such an idyllyic setting. I have a number of answers to this.

First of all, part of what was healthy about my upbringing was not only the ranch culture, but specifically my parent's healthy marriage. Not all of the couples on the ranch had such a good relationship; many of them have split apart; as a result, some of the children who grew up with me have a very different perception of the ranch and may have negative associations with it for various reasons that I don't because my parents stayed together. I was the first child to return, and some do not have any desire to return.

So, without TV or negative gender dynamics as modelled behavior, how could I have internalized such views towards women? Well, first of all, I can remember being 13 or 14 and looking through the ranch library and coming across a book on sex that was written in the 50's. It said some things about women - their relative inability to have orgasms compared to men, etc. So, even though I had had many orgasms at that point (with myself) and had a mother who clearly enjoyed sex, this little piece of literature made a big impression on me and I was afraid this would happen to me. Naturally, it did (I'm speaking about orgasm through penetration here). I only wish that I had taken to heart what my dad always used to say: "Remember, the books in the library are the books that people have decided they no longer want."

Also, my mother does not have orgasms from penetration easily, tho this doesn't seem to diminish her desire for sex. My dad loves oral sex. Furthermore, I've come to learn that orgasmic capacity is not the equivalent of ecstatic capacity. Many women who are not orgasmic are ecstatic in many ways. So, my mom was one of these. She had broken very definitely from the waspy, dry, disconnected sexuality of her mother and father, but she had made just one step (tho very large) in the sexual evolution of re-remembering her birthright. So, this is a way of saying that I believe there is such a thing as ancestral or cellular memory, and my cells had a memory of womankind going back through history that might explain associations around sex that aren't attributable to the immediate environment. My mom made big steps in a more liberated direction, and I inherited the desire to go further with that.

I'm more and more convinced each day that actually consciousness is not an individual thing - it is collective. There is evedence that our brains do not have the capacity to store all that has happened to us. It resides outside our brains in the collective unconscious, and is mediated as perceived individual experience through our DNA. Look into the Dutch scientist Pim Van Lommel for more info on this.

I think that some people are very sensitive to what is going on in the collective consciousness. Some are sensitive to it and not aware. So, in the case of men being susceptible to porn addiction, this could be seen as a personal weakness to a personal inclination, or a personal weakness to a cultural inclination. These tendencies are swimming around like ghosts or memes. We can't see cultural trends, but they do exists and influence us. So, I believe that I had a cellular memory of my women ancestor's experiences, coupled with a sensitivity to the collective consciousness struggles going on in humanity, coupled with karmic baggage leftover from past lives. Who knows, perhaps I was a womanizer in a past life and this is my way of compensating for that? I do not know why I have always slept with my hand protecting and covering my vagina and my throat. I have not been molested or attacked (except for one time in Turkey - which I handled very well).

So there are all these factors which seem somewhat nebulous, which are enhanced by certain personality trait tendencies (for example, I identify most with the virgin goddess Artemis, twin sister to Apollo. She was born first and then helped her mother Leto to give birth to Apollo. So, she is a goddess typically recognized as one who can be counted on to help other women through their suffering. She can also be ruthless. While out hunting on her island with her hounds, she came upon a god trying to rape a maiden. She quickly slay him. Her behavior is in sharp contrast to other goddesses such as Hera or Demeter, who define themselves primarily in their relationship to their husbands or children. Every woman has a bit of every goddess in her, and I have known others, but Artemis seems to be dominant. That's the archetypal take on all this).

The point is, some girls grew up in the same setting as I did and do not seem as concerned with these issues. Many of the girls I grew up with cannot have orgasms. All of them are feminists, most of them are triggered by these issues despite their upbringing, but most do not explore the topic with as much interest as I. I'm not sure why these topics consume so much of my thoughts. It could be that I see local work to be the most effective. So - while I have worked in the environmental movement, I personally feel that until we live in a culture where women know how to take care of their bodies (not starving themselves, not living with constant yeast infections), and until men and women know how to take care of eachother and honor eachother through sex and affection, it is not very likely that humans will start taking care of the earth. So I'm interested in starting on the most local level possible - in my case, the full liberation of my vagina. The Buddhists say, you know, that "Enlightenment is in the Vagina."

Wow - your energy flow is infectious

Hotspring - I echo what Marnia is saying from the male perspective. We need your straight talk, your feminism, your "calling a spade a spade". One thing that all addicts lack is an ability to be truthful to themselves which then reflects back to their partners, friends, etc. The have to decieve themselves that what they are doing is ok, or "not that bad" or they would not be able to handle any hang-over at all. The guilt is there and grows until it is purged.
You help us purge.
I appreciate what Marnia is saying about recovered porn addicts (I hope to count myself among them some day! - 1 month now!) - that we have been to the chasm, looked down, and have intentionally and consciously come back from the edge. I know I am stronger for the experience. Steel that has been through fire is stronger than steel that has not. I don't think I will be a super-hero but I am now able to see women as women - not objects. I have been there, and don't want to be there again - so I think I will be a 'truer' partner going forward from this experience than if I had never been there and bought the societal mores about sexual roles - but resisted going too far.
I am an all or nothing guy. When I want to feel something - I'm all in. Actually, I resonate with your perfectionism! If it is not everything, it is not worth my time. I know this feeds my addiction and my addictive personality. My challenge now is to fill that time with something useful and productive and not just replace it with another addiction (computer, work, food, THIS WEBSITE!! LOL)
This is the long way of saying, you are a seer. You have insight and honesty. You are helping, as Marnia pointed out to me - "princes to shed their frog costumes."
I know our energy feels icky. The porn ick you talked about. I hope that as you talk more to specific recovering individuals, you will feel less of the ick coming from your interaction with us. I would love to know if/when you feel that happen!

YOU are not icky!

The energy on this planet that is trapping our mutual, beautiful sexual energy and preventing us from using it to heal each other and the planet is icky. For me, the tragedy is that this entrapment leads to separation, or alienation between the sexes...even though it is sold to us as being about "hot sex" and even "better relationships" *rolls eyes*

This situation is annoying...especially to sensual, confident women who know that they're goofy about men! (That would be me and Hotspring, for two.)

There is something about the female half of the yin/yang equation that is a hidden mystery. I don't know how Hotspring feels, but sometimes I see this energy as a fertile field just waiting to be sown with yang energy...kind of like a bottle with a genii in it (I KNOW you're all thinking of Barbara Eden Wink ). But seriously, I have noticed that whatever the men in my life have wanted from a relationship with me has usually manifested for them. The problem was that they were thinking much too small.

I honestly wonder what would happen if the men on the planet saw the yin energy in their lives as a "field of potential planetary healing," or a "field of potential enlightenment," and united with the women in their lives with those goals in mind, and a willingness to manage their sexual energy carefully. Already I have seen substantial healing and abundance follow from union where that low-dopamine sense of lack is avoided. I honestly think there's potential for spiritual awakening right there where Buddha said it was. *grin* (Of course the women ALSO have to see that divine yang energy for what it truly is, too, and stop just valuing the men in their lives as child support, status symbols, sex machines, and so forth.)

Meanwhile, since it's Halloween season, and I'm in kind of a wacky mood, and we're speaking of tough goddesses...meet Kali. Here she is when we goddesses are feeling fed up with our inability to get your attention so we can nourish you and move toward our mutual enlightenment: http://www.reuniting.info/images/kali1.jpg (I think that picture of her was painted by a guy suffering from the anxiety of depletion. Wink )

And here she is, willing to make any sacrifice, to make blissful union possible on this planet: http://www.reuniting.info/images/kali9.jpg (Beheading is a symbol of "killing" - or shutting up the loud voice of - the ego, making nondual perception possible)

I don't think the "icky" problem belongs to either sex. It's a joint one. As Hotspring suggested, we've probably all had lives as the opposite sex, and probably all made the same hormone-induced, short-sighted, karmically-costly decisions. This problem gets solved together, or not at all.

Men right now are not being properly nourished by the women in their lives. (For one thing, the women are exhausted.) It's one reason for the porn use. Women were the nurturing "elastic" in the male/female dynamic, but since they have placed the emphasis on their own orgasms (and vibrators rather than relationships?) they are too depleted to give much. In fact, everyone is depleted, with little to give...and yet it is only through mutual giving that we can create the deep feelings of wholeness that will let us out of our trap.

Who takes the first step? The Taoists spoke of the man as the "pilot" and the woman as the "boat." A pilot can't pilot a boat who is not feeling receptive and open enough to surrender to the experience of merging. And a boat can't open if she's not feeling safe enough to surrender to her pilot (because she is being devoured like a snack Smile ). This is where careful lovemaking provides the key. It makes pilots safe, and lets boats open in nurturing receptiveness.

Neither step can really happen without the other. Women can't open and nurture men on that deep, satisfying level unless men make them feel safe and cherished. Men can't pilot safely if their sweethearts aren't there to receive all that enthusiastic yang energy and return it through their hearts...leading both to balance.

Very well put as always,

Very well put as always, Marnia!

And thank you for your kind response, thelongrun. Since the day you started posting in here I haven't seen you waver - so as far as I'm concerned, you're the real goods. Keep at it. I hope I can be of benefit in any way possible.

I may respond in more detail to your post a little later - as it is, I just got back from a seven hour Buddhist purification and cleansing ritual. I made a point to dedicate much of my thought and intention to all of you - well, all of us, since there really is no difference! That's the whole basis of the Buddhist concept of emptiness and illusion - it is empty of any INHERENT SELF-EXISTENCE. Somehow that descriptor got lost in the cultural approapriation of Buddhism. So, when we realize everyting is empty of inherent self-existence, it makes no sense whatsoever to live in a selfish way.

Sweet dreams, I'm off to my luscious virgin bed!

Tangent - basic tenents of faith understanding....

Thanks Hotspring and Marnia,
I am not so sure I grasp or am willing to, the Buddhist and Taoist references. I have experience with the tenents of both from a general perspective. I was raised Catholic, dumped that for Presbyterianism and now am somewhere between general Christian and agnostic. I believe there is a greater power. I like to put the face of Jesus on it. But I believe that whether it is Jesus, God, Allah, Buddha - they are all different understandings of the same power/God. We are too limited to understand the infinite, omnipotence of God and are arrogant if we do. "Now I see through a mirror dimly, when the perfect comes, we will see face to face." I believe that we need to make decisions based on our understanding of God and that for me is more of a "rightness" with the world and those on in.
Christianity has been hijacked from day one. Whether it was the Catholics, the Gnostics, or modern "Evangelical Christians" - the teachings of Christ are perverted to our own uses. Not out of mal-intent I don't believe general or initially anyway. I believe that as mortals, we are incapable of full enlightenment and must put things into categories we understand. Jesus' actually teachings and words are so much more pure and uplifting of everyone than we can comprehend or accept.
Sorry, got me on a religious bent! If you are interested in more of this thinking and are not closed off to Christianity as a force of good, then read "Velet Elvis." Well written, down to earth and inspiring understanding of what God calls us to and how we miss the point again and again.
Ok. Off to the Y to go swimming with the kids!

whoops missed my point...

by my first sentence in that - I did not mean to down play or say your understandings of the divine are wrong. I am sure they are not. I am just incable at this point in my life of absorbing more perspective on the divine. I am not closed off to it. I just read over and over again you all going to Buddhist and Taoist understandings. There is beauty and truth in both of those. I just wanted to point out that they merge and overlap with the underlying tenents of Christianity (when it is not hijacked by human arrogance.) That's all...

Your point was clear

A true understanding of our Creator and the reality of our oneness is an experience, not a concept.

Just curious. Have you ever studied "A Course in Miracles?" It uses a lot of Christian language, but concept after concept lines up with Lao Tzu's Hua Hu Ching. (That article has a link to the entire text of the book in the first line.) And the definition of God, or the Tao, is very similar in both...and very similar to the oneness of Buddhism.

What intrigues me is that the Gnostic Gospels found at Nag Hammadi in the 1940s line up on point after point with the Course. That's kind of cool since both claim that Christ was behind the teachings. This doesn't mean that there still isn't human distortion in these, and every other, religious text. But it is interesting to me that both of these sources line up with each other - but NOT with traditional Christianity (of any flavor) on many points. (I even made a chart about this once upon a time.)

And, of course, what really fascinates me is that ACIM speaks of the Holy Relationship (which calls for using the body differently...in a pure act of sharing) as its recommended path to enlightenment. (See this article about ACIM and "the holy relationship.") The Gnostic Gospels speak of the "Sacrament of the Bridal Chamber," as a way of becoming the Christ" (enlightened). (See this article about ACIM and "the holy relationship.") And, of course, the Buddhist, Taoist, and some shamen traditions also contain esoteric knowledge about union of male and female as a path to enlightenment.

Maybe there's something to this idea. Smile

Gnostic temptations

Gnostism has wonderful points and a very spiritual way of understanding and living Christ's teachings. I am also not close minded enough to think that a bunch of Catholics gathered together, God told them which books were in and which books were out, and that those are the only Christian books that have anything to offer. I know there are many Gospels out there we have found that we can learn from, and there are many more to be found.
The danger of Gnostism and I think a part of why they were hunted out of the Catholic Church (beginning as early as Paul's journeys actually) - is their detachment from the body. Taken to the extreme, the Gnostic teachings teach that the body is nothing but a vessel. That all that is good is contained within. There is a detachment from the body which leads either to feeding and nourishing the body to be a good vessel for the soul while on earth, or to ignoring anything the body does as bad, evil, sin. The twist is that some of the early Gnostic churches took the second path and twisted it to mean that no matter what they did with their body, it did not matter because it was evil anyway. So sex with someone elses wife, sex with animals, children, etc was all "OK" and did not interfere with being "right with God" because they were acts of the flesh. So there were some very twisted Gnostic communities.
Anyway, this is far from the original post of this forum!
I enjoy the conversation though...

You have stated the most popular understanding

of Gnosticism, but I find the work of thoughtful scholar Professor Michael Allen Williams much more persuasive. If you are interested, have a look at "Rethinking 'Gnosticism'." Williams carefully reconsiders the evidence of all the wild sexual practices, and concludes that they were quite likely all fabrications of the Church fathers. His approach is calm and open-minded. For me, his analysis was far more compelling than the version you state here. I'm amazed still at how most academics just repeat each other's opinions without rethinking things for themselves. And the version you state "caught on," in part because the theologians looking at the materials came from traditional religions, with the standard-issue blinders. They weren't REALLY considering whether Gnosticism was the "real" Christianity, so they were looking to discredit it...without even realizing that. At last, younger ones are beginning to ask the hard questions. (Williams isn't particularly young, just more clear-thinking than most.)

Apparently the Gnostics, in their day, were very much admired (kind of like Quakers) for their moral uprightness and well-balanced lives. They were reviled by the group that was to become the Catholics perhaps in part because the Catholics viewed them as competing for followers - but more likely because the Church fathers were big on condemning as evil anyone who didn't see eye to eye with them. Look what they did to the Gnostic-like Cathars around the first millennium (http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/courtly_love_chivalry_cortezia_cathars_...). The Gnostics did not "detach from the body" in unhealthy ways; they believed they were spirit traveling through matter.

In short, I don't think Gnosticism is risky. It is simply based on a different understanding of who/what we are. If God wanted us as bodies who were supposed to go forth and multiply, then the Church's understanding is right. If God wants us in the Kingdom and earthly past-times were our idea that delay our enlightenment, then the Gnostics were right. The first idea is, for me, an Old Testament concept. The second is much more aligned with Christ's actual teachings. The first is more familiar to us all, but the second may be at the heart of Christianity.

For more: http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/open_letter_nag_hammadi_gnostic_scholars

Thanks

Thank you Marnia. As always, your knowledge and understandings are enlightening. I have not spent much time studying Gnostism or other theological understandings, so I may be just as guilty of repeating old tapes. I am intriqued though and am sure to spend more time thinking about it.

Thelongrun - I can certainly

Thelongrun - I can certainly identify with a basic weariness around looking further into other spiritual traditions. I myself often get frusterated sometimes when I am listening to chanting in another language. Why must I go so far afield just to find a spiritual tradition that resonates with me? What is lost in translation? I was raised Quaker, which is a Christian tradition. I do believe Christ was an enlightened person. I agree that all religions recognize the same oneness - however, they differ considerably in the tools they offer to develop a clear relationship with that oneness. I appreciate the pragmatic and ecstatic tools of Tibetan Buddhism, so I hope you don't mind if I keep referring to them, since as of yet they are the most lucid and explicit commentaries on the struggles I find relevant to my life. For example - the tantric tradition of internalizing orgasm. While there is evidence that Christ also proposed the retention of orgasm, the literature seems more vague and less instructional on how exactly to go about doing this. Maybe i simply haven't gotten my hands on the right texts.

You said: "We are too limited to understand the infinite, omnipotence of God and are arrogant if we do. Now I see through a mirror dimly, when the perfect comes, we will see face to face." This is almost the exact opposite position of Tantric Buddhism. According to Tantra, we are arrogant if we DO assume we are too limited to understand the infinite. Actually, we ARE the divine, we ARE the infite. If we ignore this, we settle for behavior that is not in line with the interconnectedness of the universe. According to Tantra, there is no perfect time that is going to come - it is now, and if we desire, we can see it face to face.

However, I respect your approach and whatever seems to work for you. I am glad to see that you have a spiritual value system.. What role did your belief in Christ play in your feelings about your previous porn addiction?

Oh Christ! lol

Guilt came more from my mother than from Christ! To me the Christ is always walking with me, but not as a chastizer as many conservative Christians would believe. I do not feel that there is every I time I "chose" him - he choose me long before I was born...blah blah blah. Hard to explain grace in a posting!
I hear what you are saying about knowing the divine and being the divine. I'll be honest, I get lost chasing my tail here sometimes. The hardest thing for me to understand growing up with "if God created it the world, who created God?" I can't answer that. If you need a linear answer, an a leads to b leadst to c script - there isn't one. However, I was freed when I realized I did not need to have an answer for that. The world is. That is all I need to know. I can spend all my earthly energy trying to understand the divine, or find that I am the divine, or I can live the best I can. I have a need to believe that there is a higher power than me - not an equal power. It gives me comfort to know that I do not need to do it all becuase I am imperfect (or a sinner as some Christians need to name imperfection.)
On a tangent from that - I also do not believe that you can pray for God to intercede for you. That is true arrogance or feableness. If someone truly believes that God is all powerful, don't you think he would have better things to do than to listen to us ramble on in our imperfection? I can see how God may love us, but he is not there waiting on us like some Genie.
This post could go on for pages of course, but suffice it to say, that I believe in God, but I don't buy into everything. For one I don't believe in organized denominations/churches. But I have not answer for them. They have gotten to the point where they exist to exist - they teach and form communities, but because they exist and cost $ to run, then money becomes a factor. That is about as far from Christ's teachings as one could get if you ask me.
I ramble.

In response to you my "now I see in a mirror dimly...when the perfect comes, we shall see face to face." I don't see that as opposed to what Tantra teaches. Tantra teaches you to reach out, experience and become enlightened and through that you merge with the perfect that is here now - you just need to open your mind/heart, etc (paraphrasing, hope I am not missing it...) But what that scripture to me is saying is that we are human, we are still learning and "un-enlightened" when the perfect comes, we will be enlightened. When we see and understand God, we will be enlightened. I also understand Buddhism as a path, a quest to perfection. So even in that understanding it implies that we are imperfect and are striving towards something we have not attained yet.

Do you believe there are Buddhists who have reached enlightenment, who have become perfect, who KNOW IT ALL? I hope not. Life is a journey to enlightenment and understanding. I hope that on my dying day, I am still seeking and learning. If I am not, then I might as well have died years before.

I too am glad for a spiritual life. And am fed by the fact that there are so many differences that we can learn and grow from the sharing of our understandings.

I have to say

hotspring that hearing about parents with an awareness of their sexual proclivities is somewhat awkward for me
but refreshingly so :) undoubtedly my parent's conservative beliefs had caused me to have to rely on the advice of
my pubescent friends which by some miracle didn't result in my contracting anything or getting anyone pregrant.
But to see you with that experience and knowlege from your parents as not only a backdrop but also as a launching
pad for claiming your full sexuality is remarkable and makes me have to think about how I will relate to my children
and when is a good time to communicate this to them.

I really hope that you will find the right person that will challenge you sexually because I really feel that you
are not getting the right partner who will not only honor you but match you in sexual confidence. This has nothing
to do with just lasting the longest or going the hardest but knowing exactly when to do these things with you with accompanying
sensitivity and "karezza". Unfortunately such men are few and far between because this kind of love making has to
be an educative one that takes work which most of the time is not only unrewarding but can even be somewhat abrasive if they are genuinely interested in that true union with you. This is to say hotspring that you have your work cut out for you if you are going to get that fulfillment with a partner. The key thing is not to set yourself up for disappointment by interacting with men one way before sex and
then having totally different expectations in bed. You should demand exactly that same sexual confidence before the
act and be able to distinguish which partner can meet that standard. And even more than that never settle for anything less! and somehow I feel you never will. Wink

I really like the pilot and the boat analogy Marnia, what I've found is that the real challenge is not
at the docks with gentle lapping water but out at sea where the pilot and the boat can be tested and learn what it
means to rely on each other. I don't think the storms that have battered both of us are anything random or some outside
force but what we have created for ourselves with ignorance of our sexual bodies. The way you are suggesting offers
us the possibility for calm seas that can carry us to destinations that would have nothing to do with what the mechanism
our parts would have us get to within the blink of an eye because now we can have the space, calm and presence of mind
to try new things because if we understand that we created the storms in ignorance can you imagine what is possible
to create with presence of mind and self awareness together ?

I'm glad you have high

I'm glad you have high standards for me and the men I choose to sleep with, bamazi. I will admit that posting all of the sexual details of my life in a forum the whole world can read does make me a bit more beholden to the values I say I am trying to live out. To talk about all this stuff and then go straight for casual, orgasmic sex and have to report on that can be a little embarrasing at times. And I hope my parents don't mind that I'm sharing so much about their sex life (ahem - it's anonymous and all towards the goal of greater human understanding of sexuality, right?).

The thing is, while I am very able to remain firm and steadfast in my value system here in this forum, when I get in bed with a man, it's a very different story. Biology takes over my body too (i assure you, it is not just men this happens to). It is very challenging to not cave in to hot sex. I've been struggling with this recently with someone I just met. It has been two weeks since we first started hanging out, and I have not had penetrational sex with him yet - much to my amazement. For me two weeks is a long time to wait! Isn't it funny that we live in a culture where we are so willing to risk pregnancy and disease with almost any random attractive person?

Anyway, I've been meaning to make a blogpost on my recent explorations with this guy but have been too sidetracked by other interesting conversations! So thank you all for such an engaging discussion!

hmmm... what can I say? awesome and touching

It's amazing how different people are, isn't it? beautifully written account HS. You have virtually the opposite problem to most english women I encounter, who are pretty non-tactile, non-sensual, non-open.

Apparently guys have to get them drunk to get past their inhibitions, which just doesn't work for me.

I like a woman to know what she's doing, and be fully consensual.

I was telling Marnia, I spent twenty-four hours in London with someone who invited me. They were very nice, cooked me nice meals, endless cups of tea, but I didn't even get a hug! there's this presumption that any kind of physicality is an invitation to, or will lead to, sexual advances, etc.

I can only assume it's because that is their experience of men...

So your account was refreshing, and touching in a way. IMHO, the way you were brought up is far preferable to the inhibited/genitally focused sex culture of western society. So you should be proud of the way you are, and of your upbringing. It's lovely. :)

and as far as your 'problem' is concerned, I'd much rather have it that way round! that's what most guys would consider a 'quality problem' :)

So let's all work to make the world more like that. Then you won't seem so unusual, (and be so in demand ! : ) )

~ For I am divided for Love's sake: for the chance of Union ~

Here's the link to Sequoyah Trueblood's talk

This guy is, IMHO, a great, living sage.

What he speaks about in this half hour interview (6.4mb) is 'giving up', what I've been trying consciously to do for 35 years.

One of my gurus, Charan Singh of Radha Soami Satsang, Beas, who initiated 1.2 million people in his lifetime (including me) a man of impeccable character (unusually) used to tell it like this:

When a child cries for toys, the mother gives it toys.

But when the child asks for nothing else, but will be satisfied only with it's mother. then mother picks them up and holds them, and they get everything, everything the Mother has is theirs.

Today is my 53rd birthday. I am alone, but quite content (almost).

I actually find the inhibition of mainstream culture painful. and then, those who are like me, are distant.

It has been over twelve months since I was intimate with anyone now. I stayed over at New Years with two very sweet identical twins, around 30, who are in a similar situation, for various reasons in their personal histories. So sad, isn't it? How we all need love, and touch and to 'hold hands as one family' as Sequoyah says near the end of his podcast (link below). Some, as HS has described her upbringing, are fortunate to be a little closer to that. But mainstream culture as a whole is so cold, so closed, so inhibited. Intensely painful, if I think of it too much.

I'm beginning to suspect Marnia is something of a sadist }:) - has she any conception of what it's like for someone with a high libido, to do without any outlet at all. I'm doing it, but it is, certainly a challenge. Unfortunately a guy with high standards can't just go out and find an appropriate partner like an attractive woman can.

So reading certain people's accounts of their adventures is pretty painful.

Never mind. I can cope. I like a challenge. I hope you enjoy Sequoyah. He's my kind of guy :)

http://www.sacredunionfoundation.com/mp3s/Sequoyah%20Trueblood.mp3

(right click to download, or you can listen online if you've got the quicktime plug-in installed in your browser.)

Ric
[ying]

~ For I am divided for Love's sake: for the chance of Union ~