Purveyor of Pleasure

Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Tag: culture

Feeling Deeply (thesis exerpt)

This is an exerpt from my Master’s thesis titled “Erotic Embodiment and Integration of Soul, Spirit, Body, and World: Toward a Sacred Erotic Psychology Healing Praxis,” it is a piece from the Theoretical Foundation chapter, Sacred Eroticism as Ontology section.

To further understand the self-deepening and embodied feeling inherent in the erotic, I turn once again to Audre Lorde1, who wrote:

[The erotic] is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves. . . . the erotic is not a question only of what we do; it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing. Once we know the extent to which we are capable of feeling that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavors bring us closest to that fullness. (p. 54)

Thus, feeling is the first step toward healing our disconnection from our erotic lifeforce and experiencing the power of the erotic. Through fully embracing our own erotic experiences of satisfaction we are given access to our deeper and full Self. Through this experience of feeling we can determine where we are numbing out, freezing, or paralyzing, and where we need to expand our experience of emotions, pleasure, and sensations. We can also discover where our passions and desires lie through this same process. This is a wholly embodied process that is also cyclical. The more we feel the more we are embodied, and the more we are embodied the more we feel.

Another natural byproduct of both individual and cultural erotic expansion is the emerging of an anti-oppressive ethic that is inherent in this type of engaging with and experiencing the world. Through this process of individual growth and becoming, we bring these developments to the culture at large. This encourages us as a culture and species also move toward sacred embodied living. An anti-oppressive ethic is referring to a life ethic, or a value-based ideology. In this instance, the value is equality, diversity, justice, and self-expression as well as opposition to suffering, inequality, and discrimination. This ethic arises through the understanding of and connection with one’s higher self and soul’s purpose because of the centering of pleasure, wholeness, and authenticity that occurs when embracing the erotic.

Both Lorde1 and Kraemer2 stressed the inherent experience of anti-oppression that embracing the erotic leads to. Lorde (2007) stated:

[One] important way in which the erotic connection functions is the open and fearless underlining of my capacity for joy. . . . This is one reason why the erotic is so feared, and so often relegated to the bedroom alone, when it is recognized at all. . . . In touch with the erotic, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial. (p. 56-58)

This shift in personal experience and willingness to oppose the programming of the culture at large is at the essence of this anti-oppressive ethic. There is a compliance and complacency that one is required to buy into when unconsciously perpetuating intersectional oppression, either outwardly or internally. This shift toward the erotic, or the shift toward understanding our own individual capacities for joy and our own sources of personal power, is a shift away from accepting the narratives of oppression and obedience ingrained in all of us from the dominant culture. Embracing our erotic natures is a move toward self-understanding, sovereignty, and authenticity. This occurs through the recognition of, acceptance of, and responsibility over one’s own desires, joy, and pleasure.

The closer we are to full-bodied feeling and wholeness of Self, the closer we are to understanding our own sacred erotic natures and reason for being. This is the ultimate goal of SEP3: to assist individuals, groups, and the world toward individuation and the understanding of their soul’s purpose. The particular way I go about this is through investigating the erotic, and the archetypal, mythological, and metaphorical relationships the individual has with the erotic and the body. To this end, sexuality, emotions, connection to and understanding of the sacred, archetypal engagement, past experiences, family dynamics, complexes, the shadow, personal and cultural experiences of power, and many other aspects of the Self must be investigated and integrated within the life of an individual to work toward embracing what I refer to as one’s Whole Erotic Self.

  1. Lorde, A. (2007). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press. [] []
  2. Kraemer, C. H. (2013). Eros and touch from a pagan perspective: Divided for love’s sake. New York, NY: Routledge. []
  3. SEP: Sacred Erotic Psychology, the interdisciplinary field that I am crafting/creating and working within. []

This Is Gender

I just discovered Kit Yan and Good Asian Drivers today. You may or may not have heard of them or seen them before, but in case you haven’t I have two videos for you. The first is Kit alone doing his awesome piece titled “Third Gender,” the second is Kit and Melissa Li in a piece titled “Queer Nation.” They are both extremely powerful, and I’ll let them speak for themselves.

there may be as many as a million genders, identities, and sexualities,
just floating around, searching for the right person,
to snatch them up,
put them on, and proudly parade around in their new skin,
unrestricted by layers and identity, and
limitations of culture, society, and social construction.
this new gender is a function of inner desire, and
genuine understanding of self to be lived…

Hey, I thought that our people were past this
That everyone was a feminist non-conformist boundry-pushing progressive
and enlightened spiritual being but I’m wrong
to think that queer people were born with an inherent knowledge
that push past the nurture of America
but the truth is that we screw up too
see we still haven’t found our groove on the outskirts of society
we’re still using old blueprints with bad foundations

And for a little more humor…

Doublethink Over Dissonance

Onyx and I have settled in to a remarkably comfortable D/s dynamic. We have talked extensively about it, but the difference this time is that it just clicks, for lack of a better term. All the background issues that were making so much noise the last time we were trying these power roles have been resolved, thanks in large part to the many things we learned through the trial of the triad. I find myself enjoying to do things for him, and he is now more able to push and guide me than he was before. It is, in a word, wonderful.

I have noticed that I am hesitant to share this power dynamic with others, even on here to an extent. I believe this is in part due to it still, in some ways, being so new and foreign but mostly it is because it is still private and vulnerable. Despite the abundance with which I share my private feelings and thoughts on this blog (less so now than I have before, but I’m working on writing more when I don’t have writer’s block) I have an extremely difficult time sharing personal things with others, especially in person and especially those I don’t know very well. Hell, I even have trouble expressing things to Onyx sometimes which I would have no issue writing to him.

The last couple of weekends while going out with amazing people I’ve noticed myself being slightly more comfortable but still not all that comfortable with expressing my submissiveness, and that was with fellow kinky perverted people who have read my blog including stories of me being slapped and dominated and fucked. I don’t mean showing my submissvieness to them, but just talking about it.

I see others so secure in their submission and happy to proclaim to the world that they are submissive and I find myself having trouble with that. Perhaps it is because I am a switch. I can’t fully embrace my role as submissive because, although I feel submissive to Onyx, I do not feel wholly like a submissive. I cannot throw myself into submission with complete abandon because I am also a Top. Or, that is the roadblock I come to in my mind.

Although I don’t consciously think this is true, there is a part of me that thinks embracing submission fully would mean giving up the parts of myself that are not submissive. Call it internalized binary programming that says I have to be one or the other but never both. The way some people say someone can’t feel Dominant and submissive at the same time, but I highly disagree, I say I am always both and it is the people I am with and situations I am in that bring each out in me.

However, I don’t have any hesitations about expressing my dominant side. I think in part this is because it is less vulnerable, less private, in a way. I am more comfortable with it, but also because it seems to be less normative. It’s more “okay” to express because it somehow shakes up the expectations.

I feel the same way with sexuality and gender, I’m far more comfortable expressing my desires when they have to do with cis-females or trans-people than when they have to do with cis-males. Essentially, I’m far more comfortable expressing my queer sexuality than what would be seen as a hetero-sexuality, as if expressing desire for cis-males somehow makes me less queer. Of course, in some minds it does. In some minds it would completely invalidate any other expression of queerness.

Similarly with gender I have been desiring lately to express my masculine side, the personae (yes, plural) I designate as Quyn or Sebastian sometimes. I used to dress more masculine and drifted to the feminine and now I’m working on finding the way to be both or neither, to dress as I please. While I’m more comfortable expressing my femme drag queen gender identity I think because that, in some ways, is the one that is less normative, despite being assigned female at birth, but that’s a whole other post.

Perhaps in the same vein expressing submissive desires could somehow invalidate any expression of dominance. I’m not saying this is the case, but I do think that Aristotelian logic is so ingrained in our culture that it is difficult to work against. If we express ourselves as being on one side of a cultural binary we are not only saying what we are but we are saying what we are not. By this logic when I say I am submissive I’m also saying I’m not dominant. It works for everything, really: power, sexuality, gender, etc. All the identities I hold middle ground on, certainly, and others as well.

I’ve talked about this many times before, I know, and read about the phenomenon. It’s not new, but it is significant. The point I’m trying to make here, though, is that I’m more comfortable expressing one aspect but not another on these supposed binaries (and I should point out that I do not see power dynamics or sexualities as part of a binary system, but they are largely seen culturally to be so which makes operating outside of them difficult and that is why I am referring to them as binaries), and my comfortability seems to be backwards. I am comfortable expressing the non-normative desires, those outside what is culturally expected, when it’s usually (or so I think) the opposite.

I want to be just as comfortable expressing and embracing all of my identities, and the first step just like with anything is acknowledgement. I have internalized binary and aristotelian logic programming. I have internalized power dynamic programming. I can actively work on acknowledging this programming and work to move beyond it, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Instead of thinking of these socially contrary ideas in terms of conflict and feeling dissonance over them I want to get to a point of doublethink, where I am comfortable with embracing these identities that seem to be contradictory and am, further, comfortable in my own skin. That’s what it’s all about in the end, anyway.

What I Don’t Need

At some point before I’ve talked about relationship needs, that is the needs of the relationship, but in the last few months something that has been extremely important for me to realize has been a different sort of relationship need, that is, a lack of need.

When I was younger a relationship or, more accurately, the absence of and desire for a relationship was always the focal point of my life, with other things often working to fill the void I felt without a partner. I think part of the reason why I left theatre life is because I was so focused on the need to be in a relationship, the need for a partner, and I thought theatre would distract from that. The reason I have recently been able to come back to it is because of this new lack of a need.

The word “need” is thrown about so much even though so often it is impossible to accurately separate needs from wants when in the moment, one must step outside and analyze and discern in order to figure out what is really necessary and what is a passing fancy, and even that is difficult without hindseight. Luckily life is much like the philosopher Jagger sang1, and often these things work out on their own. Needs aren’t bad things by any means, so long as we can distinguish between need and want.

So often are we told that in order to be a complete and true person we must be in a couple, we are only part of a whole, and when we are told something over and over again it becomes like a need. We do not need others to fulfill or complete ourselves, though we often feel like we do because we are told that we do for various reasons. We are told we are incomplete without the perfect partner, not to mention marketing strategies which tell us we are not complete without some product or another, but that is a whole other post. The point is we need to be able to be happy and complete without external influences.

This isn’t to say that we don’t need relationships. After all, humans are social creatures, as the cliché tells us, and I’ve studied enough psychology and sociology to know that is basically true2. While love is part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs relationships in general aren’t the same as the idealized spend-all-of-your-time-together can’t-think-of-anyone-but-each-other completely emotionally dependent romantic relationships perpetuated by society. We grow up thinking that is what we need, to find someone to fill the void within ourselves, before realizing that no one can really fill that but ourselves.

Need indicates more than a desire. Saying that I need something is the same as saying that there is some fundamental part of me that requires something in order to survive, be complete, or be happy. I do need friends and relationships, but that doesn’t mean I need any one specific person. If that was true than no one would ever maintain friendships outside of romantic relationships.

Distinguishing the difference between the idealized relationship and a healthy independent relationship is something the triad taught me. While I knew in my head that it was best to have lives and friends and interests outside of the relationship I always had a difficult time engaging in anything like that aside from school. Once I graduated I lost my outside focus and my relationship with Onyx was strained ever since. He was also supporting me financially, he was basically providing me with the first three levels of my hierarchy of needs and neither of us was completely comfortable with that.

Spending time away from him really has done wonders for our relationship, for both of us. I’ve gotten to the point of embracing my autonomy and independence, enjoying time alone in a new way, which was truly necessary after the triad, which truly was a spend-all-of-your-time-together dependent romantic relationship. In addition to everything else I actually think rediscovering this independence has actually been a major catalyst for the rediscovery of my desire to be submissive for long periods of time rather than for short bursts during play. Now that I am not dependent on him my choice to be submissive is that much stronger. But I digress, that also is another post.

“I need you” now leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want to be needed or to need anyone else, it puts too much pressure on the relationship. I would rather everyone involved was coming to the relationship from a place of want and desire, a place where the relationship is fun, voluntary, and exciting rather than necessary or required. Thus I am officially striking the phrase “I need you” or any derivative thereof from my romantic repertoire. I choose instead to employ phrases such as “I want you” or “I crave you” which are equally as powerful but are less dependent.

edit

Brought to my attention by the wonderful Kristi, Amanda Palmer’s cover of “I Want You, But I Don’t Need You” is fabulously in the exact same vein as my post above, and therefore needed to be embedded and shared. Not to mention it’s Amanda Palmer which automatically makes it that much more awesome.

  1. Referencing both the pilot episode of House and The Rolling Stones, of course. []
  2. I do have a degree in Psychology, which basically just allows me to go “hmm” when presented with any personal information about a person. []

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