Planet Waves | One Love by Eleanor McKenzie



Above: "Anaserma" (The Goddess Exposes Herself),
photo of Maria Henzler by Neal McDonough.

One Love
It's an ugly word. It sounds like bad-tasting
medicine. And that's from someone who loves it.
How must it sound in the mouth of someone who
considers masturbation sinful, shameful, and
a loser's game.

By Eleanor McKenzie
Planet Waves Digital Media, in London

It was Annie who got me thinking.

I met her for lunch, and when she spied my bags of shopping she had a have a look. Poking her nose in one bag she pulled out a pair of sheer pink silk, black lace-trimmed panties and a black bra edged with tiny pink rosebuds designed to give me a Jane Mansfield cleavage. She admired them, then pulled a face and grumbled, ' At least someone's having a great sex life.'

At the time I didn't comment on the fact that as a married woman she had access to sex on tap if she wanted, and that as a single mother my 'sex life', as that is typically defined, is prone to long periods of drought. However, the point her comment led me to was that our cultural definition of a 'sex life' is completely, if not deliberately, misleading. The definition being, that sex only exists, and counts, when we are having sex with someone else.

This is something of a red herring, a signpost deliberately turned to send you in the wrong direction and up a dead end street of sexuality. This is not to devalue the meaning of the sexual relationships we have with others, but to say that our sexuality is not to be defined by another person, and neither is our expression of it dependent on the presence of another. Our sexuality is Spirit in us, a manifestation of our higher Self, and it is unique. My sexuality is as unique as my DNA, and my sex life exists because I do. Myself alone with my creativity, my fingers or vibrator, and yes, my lingerie.

First of all, our sexuality is not only expressed through sex; sex is the most sublime expression of it. Everything I do expresses my sexuality, which is the power of creation/creativity in me. If we are unaware of its unique expression, or we are not having a relationship with it, then we are tend to allow ourselves to be swamped by someone else's sexuality, and find ourselves being tossed around in life by whoever we happen to be in relationship with, friend or lover, without any roots to hold us to our own unique expression of Spirit. We become dependent on others to define us in the world, and in relationship we become dependent on the other to fulfil our needs, including our sexual needs. Isn't that the point of sexual relationships? some might say.

The answer is yes, because relationship fulfils our need to share love and sexual creativity with another person; but the answer is also no, because too often it means we expect our partner to be responsible for fulfilling our sexual needs. When they don't, they tend to get replaced with another person who initially promises to satisfy all your needs, and when they don't, they get dumped, and the cycle continues. The only way to truly maintain relationship with one or several partners is to first be rooted in a sexual relationship with yourself, from which you can reach out to share ecstasy with them from a position of strength and freedom.

Messages from the media

Women's magazines, and I'm thinking Cosmopolitan and its ilk, have, since I was teenager. been championing the orgasm. Some 25 years after my mother bought me a copy of Cosmo in an effort to divert me away from too much 'heavy' reading (the message here was 'men don't want over-intellectual women') I can pick up a copy and find myself in a time-warp. Didn't I read the article on '10 Ways to become Orgasmic' back in 1975? There's no doubt that Cosmo is eco-friendly; it knew about recycling long ago. So, what's the problem with articles on orgasm. Nothing. The more it is discussed the better. But, in women's magazines it will nearly always be discussed in relation to achieving orgasm with another person, usually a man. Nothing wrong with that either; I love having orgasms with men. But the message the media shuns is that the place to start with orgasm is with yourself.

Of course if magazines did give this message consistently they would not be able to feed on the fear of most women (and men) which is the fear of being alone, unlovable and unsexy. The solution offered is to get your man, and trap him via your bedroom athletics and your multiple orgasms. The message gets dressed up as 'having-it-all feminism' and includes the power career, but it is clearly nothing less than a guide to becoming a mantrap. What they never address is that the primary, and most important sexual relationship you have is with yourself. How do you have a sexual relationship with yourself? There are a number of ways; food and clothes are two, but the most pleasurable and insightful way is through masturbation.

Dirty language

It's an ugly word. It sounds like bad-tasting medicine. And that's from someone who loves it. How must it sound in the mouth of someone who considers masturbation sinful, shameful, and a loser's game. Perhaps they would say it is a justifiably ugly-sounding word for an ugly activity. It should be a beautiful word like 'gossamer' that melts in the mouth. The same problem applies to the clinical names for genitalia. How pleasurable is 'penis' and 'vagina'? Penis sounds mean and constricted, whilst vagina sounds ravenous and treacherous. Which is why 'cock' feels so much better in the mouth; full, potent and fun. Whilst 'pussy' or 'cunt' are playful, strong, full of pleasure on the tongue.

This is by the way perhaps, but these labels have a direct bearing on how we feel about them. None of these words sounds like they have much to do with Love or Spirit. And maybe it is deliberate, because if we are alienated from the supreme means of communicating with Spirit then we are weakened, powerless and vulnerable to control. Which is how those in control want us. So lets detach ourselves from the language of moral judgement and explore why pleasuring ourselves is a soulful activity and not a soulless panacea for the unlovable.

The Deception of Ego

If you have a lover you probably want them to show you love in some way, everyday. It doesn't have to be penetrative sex, it can be a kiss, a hug, a spontaneous tender gesture like pushing your hair out of your eyes, a pat on your ass as they pass you. These actions give you the pleasure of connection with them. However brief the gesture, it is like a little wave of pleasure that gathers with all the other little waves to form an ocean of love.

But if we depend exclusively on the other person for this experience there is a very real possibility that when they don't keep us in that experience, we find fault with them. But if you give yourself love, then you can maintain your connection with love all the time. And then the performance of the other person becomes less critical to your feelings of well-being. When you connect with love through yourself, you come from Love to your beloved, and can give and receive love free of ego. It is ego that demands outward signs of love.

When these are temporarily absent, ego tells you to make demands, to exert power and control over your beloved because otherwise you are going to lose them. Ego is the enemy of love; constantly demanding rather than allowing. Ego prefers illusion to reality. Illusion is the material trappings of relationship according to your perceived needs. Whatever form these take, their essence is the borrowing of power from another to shore up your own, and is manifested through making the other person bend to your Will, whether it is providing you with the image of success or doing the supermarket shop. Whereas Spirit, which is Love, wants you to allow a relationship to just be; to have its own path without reference to the cultural norms of relationship, your parent's relationship or anyone else's.

Of course, the pressures against experiencing relationship through Spirit are enormous. Even your best friends may not want you to. I'll give you an example. Some time ago I connected with a man who lives in another country. Soon we met up, both of us wanting to experience in the flesh the excitement that had been fuelled by imagination and our sense of a connection through Spirit. It was an act of faith to meet as we did, and the faith was in Spirit which had brought us together to play, to learn lessons and to understand Spirit itself. The meeting was not disappointing, though it could well have been, because we allowed Spirit to be with us, to feel the passion, to open up and be real.

When we parted there were no promises, but from my viewpoint, Spirit was so manifest they weren't needed. Though, of course, ego was trying to elbow its way in all the time, looking for reassurances. Being physically separated became a lesson of Spirit. I doubted my emotions, Spirit told me not to. Silences became rejection when ego won me over, but Spirit said no. I decided to trust Spirit. But friends referred me to ego. He hasn't done this, and he hasn't done that, therefore he's not worth your time. He can't commit, forget him, and so on.

Ego made me doubt Spirit. Was I just setting myself up to get hurt? Friends thought so, and yes, there were times when I felt hurt, but I knew it came from ego. Behind the façade of both our egos, lie two souls who connected through the Spirit of Love. I see his perfection in Spirit just as I see his material imperfections through ego. The perfection is eternal, whilst his imperfections are transient. When I don't allow ego to influence me I know the reality of love; it is eternal, always present, always ready to respond, in fact, it just is. And it doesn't matter if I never see him in the flesh again. So it is with all those we have loved, and will love.

They are always with us, a part of us, though some may seem more strongly present than others. But coming back again to self pleasure, it is this that guides us along the path to knowing love in a way that permits us to freely love another.

The pleasure path to Spirit

There are many ways to contact Spirit. Meditation or a regular spiritual practice will put you in touch with your inner knowing. Yoga or qigong will let you experience the vitality of Spirit through the physical. Then there is sex. Sex is the sacred path to Spirit because it is the outward and visible symbol of the eternal union of God and Goddess. It is the primordial act of creation made flesh. Sex with yourself is one way to be in touch with the act of creation, and thus with Spirit, everyday. And if you follow Taoist thought, selfpleasuring and orgasm is also a way to ensure longevity.

As I was thinking about writing this I happened to watch an old episode of 'Friends'. In it Rachel asks Joey how he knows where a character he is playing ends and Joey begins. Joey replies, 'When I'm acting I know what to say because they give me a script, but when I'm Joey I have to make it up as I go.' And so do we all.

There is no script for expression of our sexuality, it is for each of us to explore it and 'make it up as we go'. Unconscious sex is too often the norm; this is the antithesis of creativity because it is based on a series of preconceived moves that deny spontaneity or consciousness of the moment. It relies on history and has no reference to the present. Conscious sex, on the other hand, really does make love, an interweaving of flesh and Spirit through awareness of it as a unique moment, whether it is just you, or you and your lover.

Pleasuring yourself is the most wonderful way to consciously communicate with Spirit. Do you feel Spirit/Love calling to you through an urgent need to masturbate? Is this not the same spontaneity that prompts you to kiss your lover on the back of the neck as you walk past them? The impulse to pleasure yourself is no different to the impulse to pleasure another. Yet we are taught that it is empty and selfish. Forget that crap and don't ignore the call of self pleasure. If you can't attend to it immediately, carry the seed of it with you and return to its urgings as soon as you can, just as you would rush home to your beloved. Feel the vitality it gives you, the way it can suddenly make you gasp with the desire to experience the full pleasure of Spirit/Love in orgasm. It propels you along, exercising your creativity in the way you choose to bring about your orgasmic experience.

When I pleasure myself and allow myself the freedom of my fantasies, when I give myself time for this, I am loving myself. I am also being myself. The intensity of our orgasms may vary, but we don't judge them by performance. When we don't judge our own orgasms, we have stopped judging ourselves. And when we are at that point, we can stop judging our lovers by the orgasms they give us. Then lovers can be our partners in pleasure; competition is gone, along with notions about 'performance'. And we can be ourselves.

Masturbation is personal and you are free to do it as often as you want, using the fantasies and sex toys or whatever it is that does it for you and not slavishly follow what is suggested by anyone else. Books can make us competitive with others we haven't even met, another case of being swayed by our ego that says even our fantasies aren't wild enough. Sex play with yourself is self-exploration. If you are afraid of exploring yourself, you will be even more afraid of others exploring you. And if you are not afraid of yourself, if you can reach the wholeness of yourself through self-pleasure, then you will be able to reveal the wholeness of yourself to others without fear.

What is more, when you love yourself you always have a sex life.++

Eleanor McKenzie is a freelance writer living in England.

Making an Issue out of Sex | November Horoscope | What's New

Check back tomorrow for a new article.