Yesterday in JujuMama’s Blue Butterfly Room, a forum where women converse around topics that intersts us, we discussed the shame and guilt many women report with having more than one male lover in the same space of time. We are a culture obsessed with cartoon like female virginity, monogamy fairy tales, and the shame of actual adult, female, sexual desire… thus, most women feel pressured to report low numbers of male partners when asked - under ten to be safe - and of course uphold the norm: one partner at a time.
JujuMama’s Blue Butterfly room is a safe space for women to come discuss these matters – we usually synergize around Progressive Views. We support one another in understanding what it means to be a Progressive Woman… some in the group are open relators, some have sexually exclusive relationships, but we unify around new paradigm thinking.
Many women weighed in, but there were two main streams of thought:
- It is not natural or doesn’t feel natural for women to have many male lovers.
- It is very natural and very balanced and healthy for women to have many male lovers.
Now of course this will vary for each woman, depending on her experiences. However, as a cultural whole, most women would fall closer to idea #1. The question is “why is that”? And because we are inside a culture that forwards notions of sensual repression and suppression for women, it’s hard to get outside that mode of thinking, especially when we don’t desire to have more. But that’s just it – why don’t we desire it? Could it be conditioning? Or is it simply a matter of personal preference? But it’s definitely not because we aren’t horny!
The conversation took us into a deeper look at conditioning. The women who felt less inclined to accept or embrace the idea of a female having many male lovers found themselves facing claims from the more open women that conditioning was the main factor in this guilt/shame/virginity/monogamy thought process. Some women felt their not choosing to bed more than one man at a time is more due to personal preferences and had nothing to do with religion. One woman said her father told her to have sex before marriage and was therefore open and encouraged her to be free, but she still does not want more than monogamy. Here is a erbuttle to the more closed women from an opening woman - bountiful and beautiful share on female conditionings against sensual freedom:
By: Journey Woman Chi
Conditioning (as influenced by colonialism) is not just a religious process. Schools, media, literature, family experiences, and every other place where memories are made, lend our conditionality. Even if your parents are atheist or open minded, we all share a historical trajectory that tells the story of washing away of languages, ways, and practices that preceded colonial/western/modern ways. It is what Ayi Kwei Armah talks about in the book “Two Thousand Seasons”… we are not an initiated people…we are not conditioned in the ways of our ancestors. So this suggests we are programmed against it.
Conditioning is not a linear process…it cannot be credited to one source nor can it be judged in one aspect of a thought. So, just because your dad didn’t tell you to wait to get married to have sex… did he tell you about the power of the Yoni? Was he able to divulge to you the secrets of many mystery schools? and even if he was, would his knowledge base stand as the singular truth in your mind in a world so engulfed in the forgetting process that from the cradle to the grave we are seduced away from discovery and exploration of? Even the so-called new agers are looking for a new paradigm with old eyes and minds.
We are self-taught, with little connection to the millennium of data collected of studying the universe. We piece things together in our dreams, in dialogue with our ancestors, in ritual, etc…little bits and pieces of truth scatter all over the place and we make many assumptions based on limited and hard-to-measure evidence. THIS is why I love my orientation as a political scientist so much because it teaches me how to I critically analyze things, and in being a critical thinker it is proper to always remain SELF CRITICAL.
There are no absolutes…it negates the dialectical process….and dialectics is the science that understands phenomenon. I hope you follow me… I get convoluted when I get excited about an understanding…all I’m trying to say is that how we understand our minds, what informs our actions and what we ultimately adopt as our world view is in fact conditioning. The negative and positive attributes of these conditioning are based on desired end goals. as women, who are raised in a Eurocentric patriarchal society designed to undermine our powers so as to dominate control over everything and everyone, it is our interest to question EVERYTHING…especially as it relates to sex and DESPITE if it comes from my own mind. This is how we breakdown resistance to things that truly empower us and bring us closer to our godliness…just a thought.
I’m not forcing my view or ways onto anyone…yet I do recognize when a difficult topic comes up, there is a tendency to polarize the issue. In this case, I recognize the polarity exists in me. I am EVERYONE in this thread. I can easy argue that I should just stay in my comfort zone and deal with my guilt by simply not engaging sexually…but really? Is that growth? Not for me…it would be dishonest to say that I don’t strongly desire to be a free woman who can enjoy sleeping with any man without guilt and with optimal ability to heal and be healed in the process. That is who I want to be when I grow up. I’m not forcing it…I’m paving the path to it. Now, if this offends or strikes a nerve with sisters who want to defend their condition against this idea, well. That’s what it’s all about anyways. We grow together!
To be even clearer, I have self-assessed that I want to grow in a specific direction and I observe the things in my way (i.e. guilt, etc). I identify the root of this problem as ONE MORE THING in blocking me from freedom (which is my ultimate goal). So, I employ history to tell me how to think about this issue. It is historic that prior to European world domination, people operated in more sexually open ways. And it is historic that systems (i.e. matriarchal systems) developed as a result of these “open practices” and these practices encouraged women (like me) to be free and were active shapers of the egalitarian societies. I think of the women who would sleep with thousands of men because it was their healing art to do so. It is they that speak to me…tell me who I used to be…remind me of that story, the power I had living that story. and it is this historic and spiritual understanding that then informs why it is imperative to get over my guilt if I want to enjoy those sort of powers again…in a new way that lends to building NEW egalitarian societies.
For more on Female Sensualality Listen to this Radio Interview featuring Kenya K Stevens and Susan Weed
We welcome your thoughts…