In the Season of Sex
These days, I find it’s difficult just to navigate the world without getting sex all over me.
The flowering trees and plants are airing their perfumes. When I get in my car in the morning, the windshield is covered with a fine dusting of yellow pollen. Fortunately, I am not subject to allergies, so it’s amusing, rather than oppressive.
Meanwhile, there is all the usual hypersexualized nonsense in our media, of course: the objectifying inside-out world of a repressed people.
And then, there is the disgusting story of Kenny Klein.
It’s a steamroller, sex is. Grabs a person right by the lizard brain. So much sickness I see in our world is rooted in it.
As I’ve reflected before, it’s a sticky, steamy mess…that nearly all of us want to be in, right up to our necks.
I see the prudish nature of our culture here in the United States as a major driver of abuse. The conflation of “forbidden” with “arousing” is an intoxicating brew: one which can distill to obsessive and soul-eating shame, or consensual and mutually respectful BDSM…or far darker imaginings. Imaginings that should never become real.
Here in the spring, when sex is everywhere, sometimes I find myself shrinking away from it; away from the part of me that is a sexual being. Not because I think it’s wrong—I don’t—but rather because of the suffering, the harm I see in the sexual realm in our world.
It is like a haze clearing, like waking from a drug-infused dream. And when I do this, the tragic absurdity of sex becomes so clear: the pursuers and pursued, the conflicted and tormented. The joyous…and the lost.
In the wake of the Klein arrest, we’ve been having a conversation in the Pagan community about consent and the accountability of “leaders”–a term which tends to mean “anyone with a recognizable name” in our subculture.
Those conversations are important, and I’m glad we’re having them. I hope we are evolving into a culture that embraces not only an affirmation of sexuality as a healthy element of life, but of affirmative consent as the principle through which sexual encounters are negotiated. The unconscious, male-dominated free-for-all of the Sixties, whether or not that is a significant aspect of where modern Paganism began, must be dispensed with.
We must learn protocols to protect ourselves from one another. From ourselves.
I ask myself, what does it all mean? We’re saddled with it: it is baked into us as meiotic beings. We are neurochemically predisposed towards sexual impulse and behavior; exceptions are rare.
Sex is a sacrament. I know it. And I know, too, that it can just be recreation, and that’s okay, given consenting adults. It is and can be many things.
But however it manifests, being a sexual being is like carrying around a bomb.
Like a trembling vial of nitroglycerine that each of us must carry across the tightrope of desire.
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