I’ve always felt out of place with regard to the way I view and live sex.
I grew up in an environment that provided endless mixed signals ~ on the one hand was the prudishness of a culture still steeped in puritanical roots. On the other hand the sexualization and objectification of the human body, especially but not exclusively the female body.
I was not a prude.
I felt and lived the sexual instinct as soon as my hormones started to kick in. Though nobody talked to me about this the way I wanted to be talked to, hungered to be talked to, though I had no initiation into the fold as a sexually mature woman and no explanation of the delight and honor that this carried with it, my body kept leading me in the direction of exploration.
This led to some awkward and, sadly, painful moments. Moments of misunderstanding between my parents and I, as well as between my partners and I. After all, none of us were being raised in a sexually healthy culture, yet all of us had our in-born sexual instincts intact (thankfully).
Eventually, after enough of these confusing experiences, I started to believe that I was somehow at fault for expressing my sexuality.
That sex was ok, but only in the right (secret) situations and only while feeling miles away from your body and fantasizing about even kinkier sex than you were actually having (or a different partner than you were having sex with) – at the same time.
I got the message that I wanted too much of it, that I would somehow have to tone it down or find a way to hide my sexuality, or get rid of it completely. After all, many women of my generation were taught that a woman does not need a sex drive to have a sexual life with her husband – that grinning and bearing it was even more natural than actually enjoying sex.
Thankfully, I was kind of a rebel.
Even when I didn’t want to be.
I was to explore the territory I wanted to explore, even if I was to have conflicted feelings about it, including the shame that my parents’ generation carried, the whole way.
And you know what? Allowing myself to be a fully sexual being, enjoying my sexuality completely and exploring it to the maximum that I felt called to ~ eventually led me to having healthier and healthier sex.
Eventually (after many twists and turns in the road), it led to me partners who also wanted to be present during sex, who wanted sex to be an expression of total union and love and experiencing the moment together rather than chasing after orgasm.
It led me to discovering true intimacy.
The very instinct that I was told over and over again by the larger context ~ including my family, teachers, and those that affected and influenced me very closely ~ was wrong and somehow had to be altered or changed ~ was what brought me to my greatest bliss and learning.
My trajectory with food has been very similar.
After all, aren’t we told, as women, that our hunger is something we need to control? Put the brakes on? Learn to manage?
I have never been a good manager of that which is natural and wild.
I surrender to it pretty quickly and with all of my reverence.
So when I feel the desire to binge, to eat a lot of food at once, I get two instinctual messages:
- That I better go with this. That even if it doesn’t feel good in the moment, or after, or at some point along the way, that there is a very smart purpose to this impulse and that, if I follow it through all the way to its end, I will come out having learned something.
- That I better remain conscious and aware while I am doing it.
Why? Consciousness and awareness speed up the lesson, make me learn it faster, so that I don’t have to repeat the uncomfortable parts of the experience as many times, and can get to the wisdom more efficiently.Consciousness and awareness are my main keys to being a more efficient student of life.
I know it might sound radical, but my approach is to follow my instincts, with awareness. Following my sexual instinct eventually led me to the sexual life that feels most healthy to me, and I have confidence that following my hunger instinct with awareness will teach me, more than any external guide or teacher, what I need to know in order to create my ideal, healthiest possible relationship with food.
I will let you know how it goes 😉