The best place for us all to start the practice of our deconditioning & reconditioning is with our practice of sex, both alone & with partners, because sex is the human social behavior that’s least codified by the dominant culture which prescribes everything in our lives until the moment when the lights go down & we are skin to skin, making love, and possibly procreating.
Women have just earned the right to give verbal consent. It’s a crack in the wall of patriarchy’s oppression of all genders — a tiny opening where there was none before. I invite you all to join me through this portal onto the new path of speaking sex to each other. I encourage you to follow it as your daily practice speaking it out loud to yourself when you’re not with a partner. Hear yourself talk ‘like that’ so you can teach your partners & your friends & your peers. Start with this: If you’re a woman, after you give your consent with a ‘yes’, or an ‘ok’, or a nod & you two take your bodies to the physical sex space — the bedroom most likely since we are talking about heteronormative sex most often — do not stop talking.
Make it your committed practice to verbalize your desire to your partner. Do not give up the podium of speaking sex. Hold on to the metaphoric microphone & keep talking without asking permission or wondering how it looks. Say ‘I’m on the mood for …’ or if it’s a new partner, ‘I particularly get turned on by…’ or ‘So one of my favorite things to do in foreplay is…’ or simply, ‘I want to do… to you’ or ‘I want you to do … to me.’ Do not add a question mark in the end. Speak and reclaim your desire. Calmly. Without drama, without self-consciousness, without emoting, without making faces or uncontrolled hyperventilating. There’s no need to pretend to be swept away by desire & passion to a point of speechless acquiescence or to a place where all you can do is moan & hump. Introduce words to the sex act.
Speak Sex more & speak everything else less. Speak sex because it’s unspoiled. The trick to Speaking Sex is to use the words we all understand but innocently reverse the social value of their meaning. To commandeer the very terms & habits that we unconsciously use to show our contempt of our body in order to empower our bodily existence — not at the expense of our mind, but in harmony & balance with it; to commandeer the signs & signifiers & nuances & intonations & facial expressions of our human-to-human communication consciously.
It’s an age-old, species wide trick used to control the mind when we are in danger: turn it around. Turn the meaning of what’s happening to you around in your head until you no longer believe what you were taught to believe given these conditions. It’s the mental trick that martyrs & heroes use, the trick that true believers have mastered. It’s the old mentalist sleight of mind trick that propagandists use; Turn around the meaning of a word & use it to attack your ‘enemies’ in a way that spreads discord, division, disagreement & reverses a pre-existing hierarchy. It’s also how genocides & holocausts & civil wars happen. This is why I don’t ask our minds to perform a stark turn-around. No mental summersaults. No exchanging one blind faith for another, one tyranny for another, one patriarch for another. We’ve done this for the span of human revolution. I don’t think a matriarchy is the cure for the patriarchy. It may be an antidote, but the patriarchy has been dying out by natural means. It’s no longer lethally toxic. It’s been surviving past its expiration.
That’s where the importance of intention comes in. We Speak Sex innocently. We Speak Sex when we take longer to speak in order to open up meaning & space for the other (‘opposite’) side by presuming social innocence & acceptance of both. We Speak Sex by telling ourselves we don’t quite understand what’s going on even when we are taught to understand ‘perfectly.’ That’s how turning a term around on its head & revisiting it before we use it makes that term inclusive. That’s how we Speak Sex, as slowly as we took to learn to disrespect sex. We don’t turn the other’s ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. We turn our own ‘no’ into a contemplative ‘yes’ of sorts. We speak Sex when we deprogram our minds in real time while we are communicating & hold enough space for our fellow human to join in.
We can’t transition out of the patriarchy into a more equal & free society without actively embracing our sexuality & our mortality by valuing our biological existence as much as we value our cultural existence. We are taught to value our cultural existence more than our physical existence because our cultural existence can outlive our physical existence. But we don’t know what happens after we’ve lost consciousness.
And is self-control enough to make us feel complete? Overcoming, ignoring, erasing the existence of our animal bodies that keep us alive and able to think, feel, and reproduce? Devaluing our bodily experience & validating our mental experience to the point where we now consider pregnancy & nursing as labor for the uneducated, untrained masses, the folks who can’t write code & clone DNA helixes in stale, sterile labs under artificial conditions? Devaluing the full untranslatable mystery of life & the chemical energies within our bodily systems to validate the mental tricks?
By speaking I refer to all meaning-making — winks, nods, eye rolls, grimaces. We start by giving our minds time to get in touch with our body & the only way to do that awakening to our minds is to near death. To move into breathlessness & closer to long lasting breathlessness the point of no return. That’s our wake-up trigger. So, we speak our way out of it.
It’s that completion I seek to make us conscious of. It’s within that completion where we’ll slowly learn together to turn our responses & our learned reactions around toward what gives us bliss. What makes us feel joyful and complete. There is no obligation here but the devotion to the gap between the breaths as our safe place of judgement-free, nameless, easy & full awareness. The place where we know everything & nothing, where we get to create new meaning out of old meaning & our own meaning out of learned, unwanted meaning.
Folks with anxiety often reassure themselves by saying ‘I don’t have to do anything but die’. (Maybe that’s what Socrates, under tremendous stress, told himself. I have to do some time so why escape & run in exile? When I can embody an example of respect for the law? The people’s democratically determined juries law.) The proximity to our death is what our brain registers in the breathless space after our exhale. If we withhold that breath as an exercise & feel our way through our breathlessness after we have fully exhaled, when we’re about to be deprived of oxygen, that’s the place where we orgasm from. That’s the place where we give birth from. Imagine if that was the place where we spoke from?
We can use the same words & the same mental tricks to liberate ourselves, to reclaim our nuances, our irreplaceable, irreducible, unique sensation receptors to liberate our minds as well as our bodies from the tyranny of homogeneity. In fact, it’s our minds we free more than our bodies. Our bodies are freer by nature. They go through their cycles with an eye on survival & reproduction. Our minds can hurt or destroy our bodies but can’t fundamentally change them. Nature trunks culture & remains mysterious. As long as we are told we can control & predict ourselves & our environment we are wasting our mortal lives.
So how do we go about speaking Sex?!
Sex is where the unexpected unrecognizable, unknown, unregulated, unnamable, ineffable happens. That’s where speaking sex aims to make meaning. Speaking Sex moves meaning into the sensations of the bodily experience, to turn our language into embodied communication. To turn metaphor into reality. To turn culture into embodiment. The embodiment that allows for deregulated behavior & therefore for all kinds of fascinating human truths we don’t know because we don’t express them. We censor our truth in exchange for commonality & social acceptance. Imagine if social acceptance didn’t necessitate our fitting in, our looking like or sounding like or acting like the ‘best’ of our peers in our place of home?
Speaking Sex is social homeopathic medicine. It starts with the breath. It’s not an exercise. It’s a practice. A lifestyle. A way of being. It starts with the unregulated space between each breath. Each breath is an inhale & an exhale. What comes before the inhale, after the inhale, before the exhale & after the exhale is beyond the realm of our common culture partly because it’s so quick.
The gap, especially after the exhale, resembles the sensation of bliss we experience when we give birth awake (when my water bag broke) or when we have an orgasm (when man ejaculates) & we feel momentarily free & fully alive & complete. Imagine whatever sensation makes your body feel unfettered (free of worrying about its mortality & free of worldly consciousness). Freedom from our cultural self-consciousness is embodiment. It’s the practice of reuniting with our fractured selves, with our minds & bodies & souls & identities & muted truths. It’s the practice of union between nature & culture. We think that’s not possible because we’re taught it’s not. We’re taught they’re antithetical. We are one. We can practice this in how we breathe & how we speak & communicate & think & make sense.
Because I’m using the language of the patriarchy, I can describe the speak sex practice by describing what it’s not. It’s not holding your breath & counting. It’s noticing the consciousness in between breaths. If you must slow down your breath until you get the habit that’s fine. That’s the way most of us can do it. Notice who’s there. What’s there. Who’s in that black hole. That emptiness is ours to fill. We’re going to be together for a while practicing this technique. So back to the breath. Always find the breath.