"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow."
Today I realized that our beloved consumer culture, the culture that teaches us to feel like we are not enough, that trains us to want things in order to answer our deepest desires for peace and comfort, that practically brainwashes us into self-loathing, is also responsible for ruining our sex lives.
I was ready to let all that other stuff slide, but after arriving at this realization, I know, deep down that I cannot, I will not settle. This, an aspect of life that is so precious, so full of hidden potential, so full of joy, is being robbed from us by the people who want to make money off of the fears that are based on nothing but what they have told us to believe.
Are you smellin' what I'm steppin' in? Well, I will lay it out. Here come the pearls, people. Getchyer buckets.
I grew up in a suburb of Chicago. I had it pretty good. Life wasn't perfect, but I had shoes on my feet, friends to play with, and a great big house in which to grow up.
Then, I started dating. While my mother had given me several copies of Our Bodies Our Selves throughout my pre-pubescent and pubescent years, I still did not really understand sex that much, save what I saw in the Playboy magazines my older brothers had left behind in the attic. It turns out that sex is really one of those things that you have to experience to believe.
Unfortunately, every time I found myself in an intimate situation with a boy, I was incredibly freaked out and embarrassed. Of my body. I mean, I didn't have big boobs! I had a belly! My shoulders were wider than my brother's! I was not perfect! How could I let anyone see me?
Then, at about the age of nineteen, I had my first orgasm. It was not one I had produced myself, but one my boyfriend had inadvertently and quite painfully, (sorry about smashing your face, dude) helped me with.
Something inside me clicked. I realized that, like sports, (which I loved and participated in as much as possible) sex was something I could do, something I could get better at, something I could focus on that would improve my entire life. Sex was something, I figured, that could build my confidence. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was a revolutionary thought. That my ability to have sex, to enjoy sex, to give pleasure, was something I could be proud of.
Body image has rarely been a problem for me because I see my body as functional, not ornamental.
Enter our consumer culture. In the fabricated scenarios where you are being enticed to buy anything that is innately meaningless, men and women are basically hood ornaments. Reflective and perfectly molded things, beautiful, frozen forever, and placed delicately on the hood of a fantastic and unbelievably elegant car that is supposed to represent a perfect life.
Humans are not ornaments. Humans are messy. We are loud. We are each uniquely crazy. Most of us smell badly, given enough time and attention. These qualities are what makes each one of us great. Yes, GREAT. We are not meant to be frozen and shiny. Our lives are not supposed to be perfect.
The idea of perfection is what is keeping you from a great sex life. Sex is not about looking good, it is not about being shiny and perfect. It is about connection. It is about your animal nature. It is about letting go of all of that other meaningless stuff and being absolutely present. It is difficult to be so when you are worrying about your belly, your thighs, your butt.
Though the powers that be have broken us down into parts to be scrutinized and and judged, we are best when we are operating as a whole. Don't worry about getting rock hard abs or buns of steel. Having those things will not help you enjoy your sex life any more, and spending countless hours in a dark and smelly gym when you could have been working on your relationship, well, it's a waste. Humans are at their greatest when they are whole, and you have greatness in you.
Where does your greatness lie? Well, frankly, I don't know you, so I can't tell you that. But I can tell you why I am great. And that, my friend, my badass in the making, is where you come in. If there is anything I can tell you, any wisdom I can impart, it is that no one else will see the greatness in you that you do not see yourself. They might see a glimmer, a bit of sparkle, maybe, but the amazing thing about where you are, no matter where that is, is that you are untapped and limitless potential.
The only thing keeping you from discovering it is your mistaken belief that it is not true. That, and your belief that someone else's idea of perfection is your ultimate goal.
Why should you spend your time and energy trying to reveal your greatness? What will you get in return?
Well, for starters, you will get an amazing sex life.
Chances are, while you are deep into researching and celebrating why this one thing makes you great, you will stumble upon another. Do the same with that thing. Look at all the ways this related-to-the-first-great-thing-item is badass. Hold it in your heart. Sit with how awesome it is.
Next, and this is the true challenge, find something about yourself that you don't like at all. Something that embarrasses you. Something that you would rather not admit to. Now celebrate this, love this, and recognize this as part of your greatness. Work at this. The power of this is unparalleled. The power of knowing your faults, embracing them, sitting with them, that opens doors. That lets in the light. That shit airs you out. Your faults are not meant to be a secret. They are your source of power. Go into them. They will tell you more about yourself than you could guess at. These things are the key to your potential. That is why the consumer culture uses them to manipulate you. Don't let them.
Take the power back. Take your sex life back. Take back your fears, your pain, your weakness. It is yours. Use it to transform and reveal how uniquely badass you are.
I know this is challenging, that it is scary, and it might even feel like death. But, it is not. It is life. Life in a way that you were meant to live. You are not meant to be an ornament, my friend. You are meant for much better things.