This week, Eric gets into the upcoming Mercury retrograde (it stations on Monday), how its themes resonate with the ongoing Mars retrograde, and how both of these inner processes can be accessed by harnessing the deeper movements of Pluto right now. Mercury’s motion is sparking up Uranus and Vesta. But rather than be distracted by the sparks of Uranus in the news, we can choose to turn our focus to where we can make real progress.
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“I cannot think of a relationship without a “power imbalance,” however.”
I would suggest that this is because no relationship is ever perfectly balanced; all are works in progress so the balance waxes and wanes as time goes on. From my own perspective and experience, I see relationships as fluxes that ebb and flow. When I was younger, I gave more of my power away. As I grew older I took it back. I also grew more experienced and wiser in the way people relate and the dynamics of relating as I grew older. That helped a lot. David also gave a lot of his power away when he was younger and then slowly took some back as I held space for him to do that. He in turn held space for me to take back mine. It has been an amazing journey for both of us.
Hi Carrie, no not at all, I’m not offended. i like your direct way of speaking – or fish to fish!
No No, for me the thing I wasn’t getting was the continuum, and now I’ve got that I’m fine – in my wider life too. The thing that made me see that, is that at the extremes you get the same questions, and they invert (or change anyway ie multiplicity becomes one, one becomes multiplicity).
It’s like Eric was saying about everyone being bisexual. i have no problem with that at all, perhaps because I read most of Jung in my 2nd and 3rd year at university (should’ve been reading other stuff) my thinking is shaped in terms of anima and animus and individuation, but maybe that is just how I am anyway. And the question (for me) is not who I can be but who I am (no doubt age related again!), and what is needful.
I feel very peaceful mostly. So far neptune is like deep water to a fish whose been caught in the desert for a decade or more, and living on sleights of hand, robbing peter to pay paul etc. I had a moment of complete disorientation in the run up to feb like the pull before a tide breaks, and Christeen Skinner helped me as she did in 99 with Uranus going over the top of my chart, the same pattern I see now of not knowing where up was or down.
I cannot think of a relationship without a “power imbalance,” however.
Some years ago, Erica Jong wrote an article called “Is Sex Sexy Without Power?” wherein she observed that we’re drawn specifically to these situations. I’ve long wanted to get an old copy of that magazine — it’s not on the net. But the article may be indexed. She’s trying to get a feeling for why so many CEOs and big money guys need to spend time handcuffed naked in the studio of a dominatrix.
The thing is that the sense of power imbalance is often about withdrawing one’s influence, about being compromised from the outset by other circumstances, or not recognizing where your power is. In situations with a supposed power imbalance, how is that “power” used? How is the “lack of power” used? Yet we’re really talking about metaphors.
As my therapist Joe Trusso was fond of saying when I would describe a sense of powerlessness or be confronted by someone claiming it, “And who has the gun?”
Gee, nobody does. That means everyone is making a voluntary decision.
To add a different thread to the comments here, has anyone else been thinking about the Voyager probe lately? I just finished reading this edition and Voyager was stuck in my head the whole time. It’s in the edge of the solar system, right? Like ready to travel beyond at any moment. Only, no one knows when exactly it will happen, because we don’t know how large the edge is. Fascinating, I think.
If I have the history right, Voyager bids were first called for in 1965. Then the flyby of Mars happened in July of that year and everything changed. Plans were scrapped and budgets cut and things didn’t get rolling again until the 70s.
I want to make this personal, to tie it neatly into the conversation about sex below, but right now, the best I can do is to imagine our collective quest for tangible information about boundaries. Our first machine to intimately travel through the edge of the edge. Cameras long disabled. Blindly pinging for new information and waiting for the feedback to change.
“Because relationships where a power imbalance exists are traumatic.”
yes, yes they are… no matter how much of the rest of the relationship is based on things like growth and healing and respect and emotionally intimate sex and creativity and trust, that power imbalance can be a real doozy. and i think that repeating trauma can be like a hook, keeping one intent on “getting it right” or “making it better” in that relationship for a long time.
Pam, I see you standing in the same spot as I am and with the same feelings. I hear your words in my head and they sound like my own feelings to a point. I hope I am reading your comments correctly. Please take the rest of this with a grain of salt.
I believe you are having some difficulty with the idea that some people are very different from us and their difference means they are open to having more people and relationships in their lives. They are not superior or inferior to you and I; just different. Their way is equally valid because to squeeze them into our way would be just as uncomfortable for them as it would be for you and I to suddenly be pushed into being with several people on an intimate basis. I cannot imagine myself being as open as they are; it just doesn’t appeal to me. When I was younger it might have but my usual modus operandi even back then was that once in a relationship, I had no desire to add other people. I still don’t.
Eric and others here need that freedom and openness; it isn’t wrong or lack of wanting to commit or any of those other negative and polarizing things we hear in the media. It is just who they are and they should be free to be who they are without censure or marginalization. That’s why at times poly or open people sound defensive; they are surrounded by a society which pressures them to be something they cannot be and makes them feel bad for being who they are.
I hope I have not stepped on your toes or presumed too much. If I have, please accept my apology in advance.
“Think of how ‘uncomfortable’ people can get when you want them, or how ‘uncomfortable’ you can get when someone expresses desire for you.
What’s that about, anyway? Despite all of our protestations, do we want sexy without the sex (i.e., nothing but a constant tease), sex without the intimacy, intimacy without the risk, and deep experiences without them having any real influence on us?”
I for one definitely do not want sexy without the sex, intimacy without the risk. I think that’s what a part of me set out to experience last year, and I was fortunate that the universe — in the form of some phenomenal people and encounters — met me halfway. Not all of it was pleasurable; some of it involved deep pain — core childhood stuff. I regret not one thing and I continue to move forward, invite it in, open myself up. With gratitude.
your comments (and other conversations we’ve had) reminded me of a quote E;
“Existence is relationship; to be is to be related. Relationship is society. The structure of our present society, being based on mutual use, brings about violence, destruction, and misery. As long as we psychologically need and use each other, there can be no relationship. Relationship is communion; and how can there be communion if there is exploitation? Exploitation implies fear, and fear inevitably leads to all kinds of illusions and misery. Conflict exists only in exploitation and not in relationship. Conflict opposition, enmity, exists between us when there is the use of another as a means of pleasure, of achievement. This conflict obviously cannot be resolved by using it as a means to a self projected goal; and all ideals, all Utopias are self-projected. To see this is essential, for then we shall experience the truth, that conflict in any form destroys relationship, understanding. There is understanding only when the mind is quiet; and the mind is not quiet when it is held in any ideology, dogma, or belief or when it is bound to the pattern of its own experience or memories.”
Krishnamurti: Commentaries on Living; Second Series” – p. 31
Time and time again there is a flurry of activity around a hot social issue. It is as if it that very topic was chosen, tested, and tossed into the arena to stir up the masses; get them involved, get them pissed off, get them looking the other way. Abortion. The WAR on drugs. Illegal immigrants. Now contraception. When I witness such polarizing topics and how they seemingly sever our ties with one another, I stop and wonder what really is going on behind the scenes?
What don’t we know?
What topics and actions are being kept secret while we all fight with each other?
Pink slime in our hamburger…laws being passed stripping our civil liberties, …again, bubbles of truth surfacing. I want to know what “natural flavoring” means. I want to know why I need more than tuna and water in my can of tuna. I want to know why the government is considered inept in serving us, yet, at the very same time it does so well in serving a small segment of greedy psychopaths. I want to know why people are not being prosecuted for fraud in the mortgage sector. The list goes on.
The camera is focused, again, on some small faction of controlling religious fanatics that proclaim they are the be all. I am a pawn when I let them separate me from my neighbor through these “controlled” issues. Look at all the energy surrounding Rush the blow hard. He is a little boy. A screaming tyrant all of the age of two.
While wonderful folks here at PW have written for years about finding sovereignty and sexual awareness, I cannot help but wonder if we do, indeed, need to complete these cycles of expansion and contraction. When people actually feel the repression they have created, a new wave of expansion will occur. I think that is something individuals need to find for themselves. I hope the writing and conversations continue to hold a lighted beacon for the younger generations.
With the boat I don’t mean to imply superiority – just he decided to put his energies into that relationship, which took him there and there and there.
Yes yes he surely has other relationships. I’m a small time player!
unless it is structured in from the beginning. I mean unless those others are structured in – those 2,3,4,x.
I was going to ask, why the need for constant change. But it is a continuum line question isn’t it. Where are you on the continuum.
Maybe seeing the continuum is the first thing! And that is education. And talking freely. And finding out for yourself what is true for you.
Nothing to say as usual
There are various factors here
One is respect of and/or abuse of power.
Another is individual dynamics/agreements which it isn’t possible to wrap up neatly. I hear the discussions here, and I know (for myself) that jealousy is a matter first of not being heard. if you are heard you may not agree but the relationship of trust while it lasts insists that having been heard the other will do their best by you and if that goes against what you need then you have another decision to make. Again in good faith. And more discussion to have.
After that jealousy can equally be as Carrie says as healthy as depression in indicating abuse or difference or loss/parting. Jealousy doesn’t automatically imply control to the extent of not being allowed out the house, it indicates a difference in how much one person loves the other, their differences in outlook, fear of loss, and then the factor that makes the difference is whether you hear each other and act on what you hear as best you can to accommodate the other. You can’t introduce another living relationship into the coccoon of your relationship and be surprised if you lose that coccoon. Equally I can see if you set out to make a 3 or more way relationship that might work from the beginning.
I don’t even think like Carrie it is really a question of holding yourself in it is a question of priorities and consequences. Do I eat gluten or not; shall I have that second cake. Am I in fact addicted to alcohol.
Everyone is free. One job I had I felt like I had been put in a claustrophobically small cage, tied to a railway car going into a dark tunnel and my boss prodding me through the bars with a cattle prod. The solution? You freely decide to take up less space than you are given, all the time looking out for the factor that will change your circumstances. The fighting chance.
The only other idea that occurs to me is that I am not sexually open to others these days. Out of consideration to my partner – why would you cause someone you love pain to gratify a whim. And even something monumental – do you not have a work in progress to complete already, a soul contract. Why not build on what you have. If you are sincere in your loving, I don’t see how you can be sexually available to others at the same time. Something so personal, so profound, so between you. What place have others there unless it is structured in from the beginning.
Going deeper into love – is that really more in number, is more in number finally continual coitus interruptus. And if sex is merely recreational, look where our recreational wealth and high lifestyles is taking us. It’s not even a moral thing – why would I want to have multiple lovers, what would it give me except more exile, more stress, more heartache. I agree with the guy with his boat, he found that boat such that he wanted to restore her, wanted even after all that ‘wasted effort’, to go after her again, burned and ruined, to the bottom of the sea, and work at putting her back together, until she was more beautiful and more useful than before.
What you put in you get out? I bet he is a top class psychiatrist.
There are lots of factors in play.
Yes, the full moon just happened over my natal Pluto (conjunct Uranus +) thanks bekoehler. Yes I think that is why Plutorighthererightnow. Also what a cool word. Thank you and good night.
“There are deep personal issues there, including trust, which is not emphasized enough. Relationships that work are only partly about love; I believe they are about trust. And trust is the place we tend to be hurt the most.”
Well said; trust is the deepest foundation of intimate relationships. Despite the fears I mentioned before, I do trust my husband and he trusts me. Both of us hold that trust with gentle and caring hands. It is in that trust where the real beauty of our relationship lies. There is nothing like the feeling that we can be anything, think anything, say anything and we still love each other. Just because we choose not to act on the freedoms we have doesn’t mean we are not free to think and say those thoughts to each other. We both know the other is there when we really need them. Both Dave and I are not that needy; we go long periods in which we just do the business of life, work, and parenting. It is only when one of us has a moment of vulnerability that the neediness comes in and that’s when the other steps in and comforts, listens, validates, and lends compassion. Very quickly the vulnerabe moment passes and the once needy one is back to their usual strong self.
“hearing “i need to be sexually free” from another can sound like a control drama. as in, “this is how i am, and if you want to be involved with me, you have to accept that.” until we realize, i guess, that it’s only a control trip if we accept the terms against our desires and give up our power. it’s hard to see power in walking away, but it is a form of choosing — that is staying in your power. if you can freely accept someone’s sexual freedom and maintain your own, then i guess there’s no control trip.”
Exactly. One of the things I learned was that those who say that can be just as controlling and narrow minded in their thinking as the “monogamy is the only way” folks. When someone does that kind of talk I often wonder why they are unwilling to entertain that another person may not see it (or feel it or need it) the same way and that their “less free” way is just as valid as the “I need to be sexually free” way is?
“I think a lot of the fear Carrie mentions (and Eric raises as well) stems from a fear of abandonment. We often enter into relationships out of loneliness – in an attempt to “find the missing piece” – and when we “find” each other, we develop a massive reliance (some might say “over reliance”) on them – to the point where we won’t allow the other to develop and grow as a person, and so we end up with the “push and pull” of control issues. Of course, that’s usually because we ourselves are afraid to grow and develop – we’d rather have a crutch than learn to stand on our own two feet.”
That is one way of seeing it. Another is that as a species, we are very dependent on others in order to thrive. Baby primates failed to thrive when placed in cages with no living or even artificial primate surrogate. Adult humans heal faster and bounce back quicker from illnesses and trauma when they have another human being to comfort them. These findings are based on years of scientific research. That fear of abandonment is based on that survival need.
No matter how much we like to say we should be independent, we actually need to be dependent to some degree in order to thrive. This push toward an ideal of not being dependent is an extreme which may have come from the high competitiveness and extreme individuality our American society so values.
Interdependence allows both parties to be dependent but not to the point where either is stifled. Yet being stifled is a matter of personal definition. Some people would think I am stifled in my chosen relationship and others would feel unloved in an open and much more free poly one. It is all a matter of personal taste and level of comfort. Either way is fine when the parties involved have natching definitions of what dependence and freedom mean. It is when the parties differ that things can become unhappy.
Mercury storm! Lightning! Distant thunder! [then silence utterly still..]. Storm, storming! [stillness].
I feel a little like Jere this eve. Like I want to write a Jere-kind-of-post but not quite. Is there a way to embed the language in an energy? Toss out interpretation as you smear past on a horse you’re not quite saddled to.
I have been meditating on Pluto and sexual transformation, the sheer Plutonian power underneath humankind. It links to reproduction in my mind, dna. But I think I exist in a Plutonian space. It conjuncts natal ascendant, Uranus and Venus, an energy I can’t shake. Pluto is Here. I am learning to distinguish it from Mar-tian energy, and as I separate those ‘powers’, I understand power. Some days it feels like all my work everywhere references power, revealing it, naming it, quieting it down everywhere it cavorts with greed, hierarchy, or abuse, the worst of the patriarchy, unclenching the grips of it where I see it and I see it (almost) everywhere. It sees me sometimes, too.
In the barrage of ‘stimulation’ – are we remembering to be sexual? Have we forgotten they’ll whisk that one away at the first sign of overwhelm, or mass moral confusion; the result of many of us claiming [pleasure] is blissfully, blatantly bulging right in front of us. I hope you’re celebrating by making love to your self or others; or the couch, or the tree or at least imagining it. There is a deep well designated for our constructive right usage of this protuberant display of myriad positions (that is apparently making waves with folks; so many positions). It’s fucking ancient. What is the quality, specifically, as Mars slows?
Mars Mars Mars all over my dirty, healing, precocious Virgo. Testing my saddle for a high- quality leather. (I wonder what that [healer who was interviewed] would say about this energetic moment.)
I think before we decide how free anyone thinks they are, we need to ask ourselves why more and places are trying to pass marriage and monogamy laws. The idea that this is being tossed around state legislatures and high courts raises a big question.
Nobody pours themselves a Budweiser, sits down in front of the TV and is worried that they’re going to get busted for drinking. But when nearly all of society says that the particular way you do relationships, which is natural for you, should be subject to prosecution, that’s another story. And this is not just law. Try being out as polyamorous and seeing how many dates you get.
I have been out as poly since 1997 and much of that time I felt like I was gay in the 1950s. I don’t anymore, but I would estimate that for at least 10 of those years I did.
I’ve asked this before. Speaking of gay, we can all name gay and lesbian celebrities. Can anyone name one out polyamorous celebrity, besides a professional poly activist? A sports figure, actor, political leader…anyone with a public profile who is open about not being monogamous.
I cannot name one. I bring this up as a way of demonstrating the pressure to avoid this subject, to not talk about it, to keep it quiet.
“i get the sense that it takes two people without any insecurities about the relationship (or themselves within relationship) for that to work well. that is, each person needs to be so solid in locating their sense of self within themselves, and not in the other person or the relationship, that they do not feel threatened in offering that freedom. i think CT Butler made a similar statement in a podcast this summer.
i don’t think most people — and i include myself — are there yet. or maybe some people can get there under some circumstances but not others (such as once attachment has set in).
i mean, it’s the basic formula for polyamory and compersion. but i think it comes more naturally to some than others, and most of us have too-deep insecurities to really roll with it.”
I love the way this was written. I would also add that having insecurities is not something to be ashamed of; all human beings have insecurities over one thing or another. It is because of the long childhoods we all have in which we are so dependent on others for our very lives. It is also because as a species, we depend on others to thrive.
I also think it is a mistake to think that it is better not to be dependent at all on another person; scientists have shown that human beings will not thrive as babies without human touch and adults recover from illness and surgery faster when they have someone they can turn to. Interdependency is the ideal that I aspire to.
I also do not think it is necessarily wrong that some of us don’t take to the sharing-poly-type of sexual scenario. It takes all kinds of people to make up the universe. I think of poly people as the colorful and exoticly complicated flowers and people like me as the simple, uncomplicated, one hue flowers. Neither is the only way to be and both are equally healthy.
“I personally don’t have a lot of free time on my hands, and I prefer to devote myself to a relationship much the same way that the monogamous model would have me do. The difference is that I maintain the freedom of association, the freedom of choice and most of all the flexibility to feel and think whatever I feel and think.”
I am free to think and feel what I want as well. I choose not to go in certain directions because I do not want the issues that would bring up for myself and others. Adding people makes things so much more complicated as well as bringing up those insecurities and fears. I just don’t want all that drama.
I get the feeling I am giving the impression that I am somehow not as free to be “myself” as you think you are. What you are missing is that I don’t desire the same type of freedom you do. I just don’t feel the same need for it that you apparently do. That’s ok, everyone is who they are.
Hi guys, the discussion has been very interesting – thank you. I think a lot of the fear Carrie mentions (and Eric raises as well) stems from a fear of abandonment. We often enter into relationships out of loneliness – in an attempt to “find the missing piece” – and when we “find” each other, we develop a massive reliance (some might say “over reliance”) on them – to the point where we won’t allow the other to develop and grow as a person, and so we end up with the “push and pull” of control issues. Of course, that’s usually because we ourselves are afraid to grow and develop – we’d rather have a crutch than learn to stand on our own two feet.
This results in what we might call the “race to the bottom” rather than to the top. Usually the weaker person “needs” the stronger person, and the stronger person feels duty-bound to “support and protect” the weaker person. What happens then is that the weaker person remains weak, and the stronger person is undermined (their sense of duty is constantly palyed on, and they are made to feel guilty if they attempt to pay any attention to themselves or their own needs) until they too become weak – the weaker person’s “strength” only comes through the dominance of the other. Eventually of course, the stronger person seeks to leave (one can only hold their breath for so long), and trouble ensues.
How does one find their way out of this relationship model? I think the best thing to do (and that of course is incredibly difficult to do!) is to not enter into a relationship under those conditions. To wait until individuals are strong enough to be self-supporting units – having a strong and supportive community around us helps.
It’s a lonely trek sometimes – sexually frustrating, because strong people need company too – usually the company of the another strong person – but all too often, the strong ones are out tied up in these destructive relationships, living out their “sense of duty”.
Until of course it all becomes too much and they being to understand that they ALSO have a duty to themselves.
The law has a provision – when it comes to contract law and negotiations – that the parties enter the negotiation with “clean hands” – and I think (as relationships are also negotiations), that would be a good rule of thumb for determining whether a person is fit to have a relationship with (and also, are WE fit to be in a relationship? Are we strong? Can we give it the requisite energy?).
The pressure (“marketing”) on us from society (obsessed with reproduction) to couple off, marry, produce children is huge, but one must resist that pressure. The single life – when one os negotiating trauma or familial or childhood issues – is a good thing – we give ourselves time to work through things and heal. And does anyone actually NEED more trauma? Because relationships where a power imbalance exists are traumatic.
We need to arrive at the point where we say “no”, where we understand that “charity” (that is LOVE), does indeed begin at home – that is, with us as the individual. If we can’t love ourselves (and demonstrate that we love ourselves – for example, by not enetering into situations where we will be harmed), then we don’t have enough love to give anyone else.
Love is unlike anything else – you have to have a full “belly” of it yourself before you can actually give any away – you can’t share it if you haven’t got it!
Community, friends – these sorts of loving relationships help us become strong, and then – and only then – can we enter into that other sort of relationship – the one that involves true intimacy – as individually strong people (and whether that be with one person, or more is a matter for the individuals involved) – with “clean hands”.
It’s all ‘there’ whether we talk about it or not. What this discussion highlights is how little of this is discussed. Having listened to a lot of relationship stories in the course of my astrology work, I’m also aware of how much lying goes on to escape the lack of discussion and the consequent ‘need’ for control.
The jealousy, however, is there or it’s not there — plenty of purely, strictly monogamous people go through all kinds of jealousy dramas, including the one about whether she gets to go to community college or not. There are deep personal issues there, including trust, which is not emphasized enough. Relationships that work are only partly about love; I believe they are about trust. And trust is the place we tend to be hurt the most.
The part about my interview with CT that stands out for me is the idea of when you’re confident enough to be poly. And what he said was: when you’d rather be in no relationship than one that is not working for you, and you’re willing to do that, then you’re ready.
But I think that polyamory is in many ways besides the point. In my experience, the freedom to feel and think are the real hangups — the places that get attacked by guilty feelings first. The people the most concerned about what I feel and think are the most likely to do whatever they want, irrespective of what I might feel about it.
it seems that freedom of feeling and thinking are the easiest freedoms to grant and claim; freedom of action in sex — if we’re talking about two people in some form of acknowledged pairing — is the tougher one to grant our partners (and ourselves) if we’re talking about choosing sex with a third party.
i get the sense that it takes two people without any insecurities about the relationship (or themselves within relationship) for that to work well. that is, each person needs to be so solid in locating their sense of self within themselves, and not in the other person or the relationship, that they do not feel threatened in offering that freedom. i think CT Butler made a similar statement in a podcast this summer.
i don’t think most people — and i include myself — are there yet. or maybe some people can get there under some circumstances but not others (such as once attachment has set in).
i mean, it’s the basic formula for polyamory and compersion. but i think it comes more naturally to some than others, and most of us have too-deep insecurities to really roll with it.
hearing “i need to be sexually free” from another can sound like a control drama. as in, “this is how i am, and if you want to be involved with me, you have to accept that.” until we realize, i guess, that it’s only a control trip if we accept the terms against our desires and give up our power. it’s hard to see power in walking away, but it is a form of choosing — that is staying in your power. if you can freely accept someone’s sexual freedom and maintain your own, then i guess there’s no control trip.
but it can be card to see past the insecurities if they’re in you and speaking up.
Carrie, love is not a zero sum game. It’s only been made competitive by the concept of ownership. It’s just that we don’t have models or even ideas about what else we can do, how else to relate, or how to conceive of ‘the other’.
I personally don’t have a lot of free time on my hands, and I prefer to devote myself to a relationship much the same way that the monogamous model would have me do. The difference is that I maintain the freedom of association, the freedom of choice and most of all the flexibility to feel and think whatever I feel and think.
This is the position I enter my relationships from: starting as my own friend, lover and ally first, which I can then share, because I have it to share.
One thought I want to emphasize is that the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s was incomplete and by that I mean missing two things: a true quest for balance, and the awareness of responsibility. I think we’re better off for an incomplete, out of balance “sexual revolution” having happened (much as we’re a bit better for incomplete, out of balance “feminism” having happened. But the work of both was merely commenced and most of it was left undone and unattended.
The 1960s/1970s developments are not a model for what we need now. They did not work, they backfired in many ways, and too much has changed. You could say that the “sexual revolution” of the 60s and 70s was self-centered (and often narcissistic — the 70s at the time were called The Me Generation). What we need now is something that is self-focused, based on inner process and healing, and that’s on a level playing field.
For that to happen, women need access to full reproductive services on demand. Kids (and now most adults) need to be educated about sex and sexuality. We need to know about alternative models of relationships. We need healthy models from all relationship modalities so that there are examples to work with. One of the biggest coverups going right now is the “one size fits all” mandatory heterosexual marriage model.
And the whole topic, theme and seeming issue of masturbation needs to be right out in the open, where we can figure out that it’s at the core of this thing we call sex. I think we need to address the idea that homophobia is really a projected form of self-hatred and misgiving around self-sexuality and masturbation projected into others. Similarly, I propose that misogyny in men reflects their relationship to their own femininity and the equivalent would be true in women.
Much of what we call relating is actually projecting. That may be inevitable in some ways, but at least if we are aware of what we’re dealing with, we will have more options and perhaps a clue how to handle it.
“Men are terrified of women being sexually free. But I would ask women: how do you feel about the men in your life being sexually free? Unless you’re willing to stand up for that, your choices on your own behalf will have little positive energy behind them. You cannot assert your freedom meaningfully and also deny the freedom of others.”
Very good point which deserves repeating.
I think at the core of sexual freedom for many people is not so much the sex but the fear of loss of the relationship. When I look at my own fears about this I see that what I am really afraid of is losing the close, loving relationship I have with Dave. I am afraid that he will like the other person better and then prefer them over me. That fear of loss drives the feeling of not wanting the partner to be free sexually because sex is so intimate and causes us to feel so much at times. Dave has said he feels the same; he fears losing me to another were I sexually free.
It is fine to tell myself that I would not stop loving Dave for another but when it comes to that, how can we ever know how we will feel when we interact with a new individual? We cannot help it if we find we have a greater affinity or closer feeling with someone new but if we do, what then? You cannot help what you feel. And once you feel it you cann ot unfeel it. So I hold myself back just as much as Dave desires to control me because I fear my own feelings and what they might do to what I already have. In other words, it isn’t just Dave who holds me back, I hold myself back because I fear changing the dynamics of the relationship I already have. Dave tells me he also self limits for the same reasons.
I don’t want to lose what I already have because it is precious to me as it is.
So in theory I would allow David the same freedom you speak of but I fear it; both if he takes it and if I do the same myself. He would also allow e the sexual freedom if I asked for it but with the same fears. There is no way for anyone to be sure the relationship won’t change. This is compounded because we have children together and, as a child of an acrimonious divorce, I know what changes in relationshgips can do to vulnerable children. That is the other deterrent on both Dave and I; neither of us wants to be free to have others because the kids would know and they have made it clear they would feel very threatened by that.
Of course the converse point can be made that adding more people means more love to go around. There may be a lot of love to go around but only so much time and time IS love to most people. Yep, People can have love enough to go around for everyone but time is finite and every time you add another person (like having another child for example or adding another partner) or another interest, the time available to everyone gets smaller per person. And most children and people see time as love so they begin to resent that change in the amount of time they get. They perceive that smaller slice of time as being a smaller slice of love.
This is where jealousy kicks in and rears its head. Jealousy is the natural feeling that you are missing something you feel you deserve and that someone, (or something) else is getting what you believe is rightfully yours. When it comes to time=love, their feelings make sense. Jealousy is not a dirty word then but an outward emotion of the inner knowledge of a shrinking amount of time=love. Making the jealous person feel guilty about their feelings only makes things worse.
Let’s be real; less time IS less time and it feels like less love even if it doesn’t mean that. The feeling is legitimate and no one should be made to feel guilty for feeling it. No matter how much you explain that there is enough love to go around, people inherently know we all spend more time with (and on) those people (and interests) we care about. We can say there’s enough love until the cows come home but it will not make any difference to the people involved; they are not fooled. They KNOW they are getting less of something important.
This is all tied in with that sexual freedom thing on so many levels.
I posted again before I read your response to me. I agree with you completely and appreciate your perspective.. Thanks for the feedback.
Yes, Eric. Sex is the clear target, and I am speaking and doing all I can, and was also doing so in the late 60’s & early 70’s when things did happen, and now these “anti-things” are happening now, and my daughter and granddaughters are influenced by me greatly I am happy to say. They are finding their voices to speak out for themselves. I am not minimizing in any way the need to create much noise and attention here–but the underlying issues of oligarchy and fascism (which were not so apparent in the 60-70’s) are also issues being faced down today. The assault on sexuality as real as it is and nearly absurd in the grotesque face it is wearing, is horrifyingly real; we are facing Plutonian sized inner issues this time also and which front to be facing down is a real dilemma. My initial onslaght in renewed activism starting in 2005 was on the need to nationalize health care. That is and has been, an agonizing process of public education and de-mystification of lies. We are the only Western industrialized nation without healthcare for all its citizens. How much particuarly in the sexual arena would be taken care of if this were a fact, not a fantasy, as it is in the US. Knowing the roots of the enemy and going for them is also a tactic at times. While not ignoring the obvious, ever, at all.
Women speaking up for themselves has almost been bred out of most . Those of us who are learning to do so find it does not come naturally. But it can be learned. PW is in a leadership role for an issue like that, with so many women contributing their voices freely and being respected here. Thanks, Eric,
Sex is a a lot more than a canary. Just because it’s a bellwether does not mean it’s merely that. There is a nearly total misunderstanding, or lack of information, about the role of sex in consciousness, personhood and creativity; sex not as an indicator of autonomy but as the thing at the core of autonomy. You may think I’m overstating the case, but then you’ll have to explain why every social control program begins with a sexual repression campaign.
Using your canary metaphor, just because the canary is dying does not mean that all the miners will die — the canary (which is not sex) is an indicator to take action, and that action simply must involve claiming sex as one’s personal domain. That also means claiming all of the shame that’s been attached to it, and proceeding consciously from there.
Think of it this way. One of the reasons that the attack on sex, which is being done as an attack on women; and the attack on personhood, which is an attack on sex, works so well is because the response is defensive.
Shame prevents it from being anything else. If the attack is on sex for pleasure, or the freedom of choice, then the response has to be the positive assertion: I am free to choose.
Not, in the alternate, “You cannot repress me like that” but rather, “I am free to feel what I want.” But if that freedom, or even venturing toward it a little, is met with a guilt backlash or even more overwhelming shame, there WILL be silence on the other end of the line.
There is only one reason to avoid the sexual conversation, and with that accomplished, existence itself becomes something that we must feel guilty about. Given the proliferation of drugs that serve basically to relieve guilt — “antidepressants” — there is a lot of that going around.
So to sum up: Sex is not a canary in the coal mine. It’s the oxygen; it’s the carotid artery that brings the blood to the brain. That is why the social control programs go for sex first, and in particular, for women’s choice to experience because they want to.
Men are terrified of women being sexually free. But I would ask women: how do you feel about the men in your life being sexually free? Unless you’re willing to stand up for that, your choices on your own behalf will have little positive energy behind them. You cannot assert your freedom meaningfully and also deny the freedom of others.
The men who are purporting to do this to women are not going to get freedom out of it; they are trying to create for themselves the the primary option to be a rapist. Yet the opposite of being raped is not not being raped. The opposite of being raped is choosing the sex you want. And in that choice is everything.
I really hear you as you plead with us to have the frank, open, authentic conversations with one another and with our families and children about sex. I really hear you and I agree. And yet, as I consider this, it seems that the sexual issue is the canary in the coal mine. We as a society are killing ourselves with self and other – loathing. But there are ways out and we can be at least presenting the problem (lack of sexual authenticity and soveriegnty and intimacy and delight in its pleasure) for others to at least understand that This Is A Problem so that they can begin the quest for their own particular solution. Sexual intimacy and healing would then be one of the obvious rewards of the quest. Yes, the discussions must be taken out of the TV and brought up at our kitchen tables asap. The canary is dying. Perhaps the Uranzian bells and whistles around this will cause us to pay attention to what Pluto is slowly and indomitably churning up from deep within each of us. That inner tension has got to give. So then Mars and Mercury rx right now can be causing us to slow down and pay attention and become thoughtful about–ok–when this blows–in my life– in others lives–what do I want it to look like–what do I want to do with it? Add to this needed clarity of consciousness and decision-making–Chiron and Neptune working like scuba divers, finding the treasures in the wreck before it is blown out of the water one way or another. xo
The goal is a double bind.
I really suggest that woman-folk wake up to what’s going on. We are very close to legalized rape, if you put all this together. The problem is partly the current political environment, but it’s also the fact that the Supreme Court is so stacked with conservatives, and by that I mean pro-corporate, anti-choice justices.
The political environment is also troubling. Let’s see…proposing the criminalization of miscarriage? Considering being a single parent a threat to children? The rule that all sex must lead to pregnancy, including as a consequence of rape?
Then banning the choice to have an abortion — which we’re very close to — that’s just one shade away from mandatory abortion. The logic is simple: choice is choice. No choice means no choice. If someone can say, “you cannot have this procedure,” then they can also say, “you must have this procedure.”
I know you’re thinking this could never happen, but it’s all just one stolen election away.
They’re already injecting your daughters (and now your sons) with Gardasil, which contaminated with rDNA (fragments of genetically modified HPV virus, which then gets in the blood, where it does NOT belong) and is known to sterilize girls and lead to other horrible consequences. In truth this is less about today’s adult women and more about the next generations, who are being conditioned to accept everything we’re hearing as normal. When you’re gone there will be nobody to remind them — so I suggest you remind them, and stand up for them, today.
“Grothman also commented of ‘unwanted’ or ‘mistimed’ pregnancies”
Wait, how can they be “mistimed” unless he is advocating for birth control usage? It cannot be both ways; you cannot vilify women for using birth control and then vilify single mothers for not using it!
Thanks dear Eric for this stunning issue. Could quote most of it back here – but this hit me in particular “The beauty of riding with the current is that you stay in the moment” – I dropped all my work this afternoon to sit out in the early spring sun and start re-reading The power of now. No time like the present…xxx