Monday, August 9, 2010

It's About Sex

Why I'm a Witch

I've always wondered a bit about the things we consider "bad" in this society.  Like curse words.  They're just series of sounds, letters lined up in a way that is offensive to some people.  They seem to have some power because they're considered insolent. When we're young, we learn that masturbation is "dirty" and "gross", even though babies do it in the womb.  It is natural, healthy exploration of our own bodies.   I came from Catholic stock and most people know the Catholic view of sex.  It is for procreation only and NOT EVER for fun or connection, or even to express love.  So then the fact that it feels good to our bodies and our hearts is just some temptation we're supposed to try to combat?  We're supposed to deny the inherent beauty in this? No thank you.

I've always felt, instinctively, that if two people love one another, (regardless of gender or marital status), and are consenting adults in a loving relationship, who come together to share and delight in their bodies, that's a beautiful thing.  It's akin to divine communication.  And, indeed, ancient Pagans considered sexual acts to be sacred.  At Beltane, (May Day), couples would pair up and disappear into the woods to perform sympathetic magic, believing that their love-making would "show" the land and animals the fertility they relied on.  In ancient Egypt, in the temples of Isis, priestesses were trained in the arts of pleasure.  Men would come from villages nearby to receive blessing by laying with these women.  People understood that sharing in this way, in love, was not shameful but was a way to remember how deeply God and Goddess love us.  The ecstasy available to us through true love and trust is a glimpse of the energy of the Divine.  This is a gift to be held in reverence, not something that should be connected to shame or guilty feelings.  

The danger in placing sex in such a negative light is that it loses its importance.  It's not something we talk about, except between very close friends and, hopefully, those who we share it with.  It feels awkward to explain to our kids how intense and loving this thing can be when all they know of sex is media over-stimulation and that, according to most adults, they shouldn't do it.  Is is just me or is this a recipe to ensure most kids will experiment at a young age?

Imagine growing up in a world where sex- the physical act of kissing, touching, and making love, and loving relationships were considered sacred and greatly revered by all the adults you knew.  There is so little we hold collectively sacred that I'm having a hard time grasping for a metaphor.  I'm thinking of rites of passage.  Or maybe in terms of how decisions affect our lives.  We tell kids all the "bad" stuff that can happen if they are irresponsible but does anyone ever tell them about the wonderful things that can happen in their lives if they wait till they're older to have a sexual relationship?  Higher self-esteem, richer relationships, less stress, more self-reliance, the freedom of being a kid, a more responsible attitude when they are ready, and of course missing out on all those "bad" things that happen when people aren't safe. 

But how do we treat sex, as the "grown-ups"?  So many people are very casual about the way they share their bodies.  People have affairs, sleep with people they go home with after the bar, sometimes with people they would never consider having a relationship with.  This is a symptom of an emptiness.  It's present in us all to some degree and we try to fill it with the most spectacular things sometimes.  Food, alcohol, work, drugs, T.V., ...  The only way to stop the cycle is to start to really connect, and that's not something we need to do as much as it is something we need to allow.  If we truly saw ourselves as one, intrinsically connected, would we not have deep respect for every other one?  If we didn't feel shame for things we think are "wrong" with us, but saw ourselves a human and beautiful and equal with all the rest, would it not be easier to open up and trust others?

When I came to study the Craft, I found the reverence for love and sex not only felt refreshing, but true.  It made sense with what I had always believed.  Having this positive view allows me to love myself more fully.  I don't have to carry any guilt about my human-ness.  This allows me to talk to my daughter in a very sensitive but matter-of-fact way about her body.  I'm not uncomfortable with the questions so as I answer I can sense how much information she needs and not over-load her. 

As a woman, especially, I have so much gratitude for having found a path that does not admonish my sexuality but celebrates it.  This is as much a part of us and our lives as the air we breathe and the food we eat.  It's as natural as those, too.  (Well, more natural than the food most of us eat lately but you get the point.)  Whether we are in a relationship or not, it's important that we honor the fact that we are sexual beings and see that as pointing to our capacity to love.  This would be a good place to start to collectively let-go of negative feelings and allow ourselves to remember that sexuality is simply and beautifully a natural part of human life.  It's something to reflect on and celebrate. 

This has been yet another installment on things I would like to change about the world we live in.  Still love it, though, and hope you do too.


  1. In ancient times in India sex was not looked down upon. There temples with beautiful carved figures that show various sexual acts. The book kama sutra for example.
    Funny how this has changed in todays world!

  2. I was thinking of that as I wrote this post. It's one of those things that society has no business vilifying. It's cultural, I guess but I'm all for a wake-up call!

  3. Sex is just one place where our values are really messed-up and we don't even talk about it. We talk about how wrong war is and how sad poverty is but sex is off-limits to most. It's weird to me that something that is so basic to human nature that if not for it none of us would exist is something no one can talk about without feeling uncomfortable.