I have worked in the sexuality field for over 20 years. I came to the field in the darkness of the pre-Internet era, long before information about sexuality—and the knowledge that the sexuality field existed—was easily accessible online.
Like many people, I grew up without any information or guidance around sexuality, and I went through many painful experiences before I got to college and found the language to speak through the silence that had surrounded my sexuality.
We are not taught in our culture to speak openly about our sexual truths. We are not taught to give voice to our desires. We are not taught to respect our sexuality as a dynamic, ever-evolving process. And most of all, we are not taught to prioritize pleasure; we are denied permission to fully inhabit the parts of our lives that seek and create sensual fulfillment, wild abandon, sexual pleasure, powerful orgasms, deep intimacy with our lovers and ourselves. Because to most people these are not “needs;” they are indulgences of people who have “enough” time and energy and money, “who can afford it”.
I see this all the time in people who come to me knowing that something in their sexual lives just has to give. They feel so stuck and so burdened with the status quo and they want so badly for things to be different, even if they don’t know exactly what “different” looks like and they don’t know how to create it.
Everyone who comes to me is on the cusp of huge personal growth, but many of them stop themselves because that growth is difficult, and scary because it’s vulnerable, and it feels like such a big risk in the face of everything that’s going on. I know that life has felt extra difficult lately. A huge hurricane just swept over the East Coast! And Wednesday’s nor’easter dumped 7” of snow on top of the relief efforts in my beloved New York. People have lost homes and lives, and now we head into winter worrying about climate change and more storms. The economy still sucks and everyone is struggling. The election has had everyone in a fever pitch for weeks and months. And in a time of war, recession, political turmoil, environmental crisis, how can I talk about sexuality? How can I keep insisting to people that their sexuality is important?
The answer is that I have to. Even if no one else will—especially if no one else will!
I believe 100% that doing the work to become a sexually empowered person will radically transform your life and open you to a new life that would not otherwise have been possible. I know it firsthand because I had to make that journey myself. Yes, we live in times of danger, crisis and opportunity where so much is uncertain. All the more reason to be good to ourselves and to others, to direct our energy towards projects and work that we love, and to cherish our ability to create and give deep intimacy, passion and pleasure.
And it’s not only a matter of personal satisfaction. I wrote last spring, as the Republican assault on reproductive rights was heating up, about the Declaration of Sexual Rights: the 11 sexual rights you should know you have. The misogyny and sex-negativity in the lead-up to Tuesday night’s election was staggering.
I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the election results saying that the Democrats relied heavily on demographics and that the backlash against Republican, anti-choice candidates was due to the voting tendencies of “a certain demographic group”, i.e. women. But in the America we live in today, women are no longer a minority or a special interest group — they represent more than half of the country’s registered voters. They are the majority stakeholders in America’s political future, a future that involves people being able to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health, freely expressing their desires, and participating in romantic & sexual relationships of their choosing with other consenting adults. People want to be free to live the lives they want.
I am so thrilled by the results of Tuesday night’s election: not only be the re-election of the first President to support marriage equality, but also the election of the first openly gay Senator and two more states passing same-sex marriage. And on top of that, the defeat of so many conservative politicians who learned that you just CAN’T make comments about what constitutes “legitimate rape” and expect to retain your political power. Because American voters will take a stand!
And that’s what I want to see. Take a stand for pleasure. Take a stand for sexual growth. Take a stand for your ability to have the relationships and sexual fulfillment that is your birthright. And keep standing up for those rights in politics, in your communities, with people you know and in your own inner life, because we live in a culture and a time where these are not luxuries or New Age clichés. They are fundamental aspects to our being able to freely express ourselves and live the lives we want, and unless we continue to fight for them, we’ll see how quickly they can be taken away — we could have woken up on Wednesday morning to the beginning of that process. I am so grateful that it didn’t go that way, and that instead we’ve seen the majority of American voters affirm that these issues ARE so important. And I hope you’ll continue to affirm their importance in your life and in your own heart.
As always, I am committed to supporting you even when doing that work feels painful or scary. I help people take that step forward with courage. We can make a time to jump on the phone and see what’s going on for you.