As someone in their 20s, constantly struggling to find myself, and make sense of it all, this post really spoke to me this morning.
A roundup of the latest questions that I have been asked through formspring.me.
What is your most prized possession that you own?
I don’t really have anything that I rate that highly
Who’s the first person you text on most mornings?
There isn’t a regular person. Wld be J if we ddnt live together
Why did you join twitter?
To chat with like minded people 🙂
i have 9 inches see pic and tell me if you think it would hurt fae
You’re invited a large block party in your neighborhood. Do you avoid the party, attend and stand in the corner, attend and mingle casually with people you’ve met before, or attend and aggressively mingle?
Mingle with those I know
Scrunch or fold?
Fold then scrunch
Do you use electric blankets in winter?
Nope, don’t have one. Just add more blankets
How has twitter improved your life?
More connection to the outside world
blogtv or stickam?
I don’t know either of those
Have you ever had sex with more than one person at the same time? If so, how many?
Have you ever been in a relationship where you thought the person was actually trying to hurt you… where you felt as though they actually resented being with you and being in a relationship with you?
no, but I have been in relationships where I’ve been the one who resented it
What are your feelings on religion?
in theory it’s good…. many paths to the top of the same mountain… just don’t force me to follow your path
Do you have unmet needs? If so, how significant is this issue in your life? Will it motivate you to make drastic changes?
i don’t believe so
What would you choose as your last meal?
at the moment that would be greed pizza from Hell Pizza and the blood cherry chocolate moose
What do you seek / value in a partner?
truth, trust and honesty, open communication
are you one of those “dating”/hookup websites? if so which one(s), and how do you like it? has it worked for you, that is to say have you actually met someone from the website(s)
I met my future husband on OkCupid
how do you feel about the current situation in Egypt? should the rest of the world follow their example, where the impoverished majority seize power from the ruling minority?
the impoverished majority still doesn’t have power, now it’s the military
what are some awesome fonts from dafont.com!!????
If you could erase a single thing from your memory bank, what would it be?
nothing, everything that has happened to me makes me who i am today
If you knew, without a doubt, that you would be dying in one week – what is the one most important thing that you would want people to know about you?
until i’m placed in that sitution, i really don’t know
Nessa says Moooooo mooooooo mooooooooo mooooooo oink moooooo mooooooo moooooooo mooooo I guess you must be a fat lonely cow too for her to send you that message.
ummm ok? at least i’m not a troll
Describe a time when you felt true fear, the kind that washes through your body in a wave.
during the earthquakes and many aftershocks we have had lately, and i wasn’t/am not in any of the most damaged areas
When’s the last time you laughed so hard, you cried?
i can’t remember the last time, it’s been a while
If you had the opportunity to travel anywhere in the universe, and potentially meet aliens, would you take the trip? What would you look forward to most?
yes, would look forward to the knowledge i would gain, i’m such a knowledge geek
What is a memorable sexual first in your life that you won’t mind sharing?
would have to be the first time i was with J, really changed my life
I’ve been following sex-positive politics for many years now; and something that i still see too frequently is open and unmitigated hostility towards all religion and spirituality.
There’s no doubt in my mind that religion and spirituality has, historically speaking, promoted sex-negativity and contributed to sexual repression and unhappiness. And mainstream, widely-socially-acceptable religions and spiritualities generally continue to do; the ongoing debates around homosexuality are but one example.
However, it’s also true that many people are finding ways of integrating sex-positive attitudes with their religious and spiritual beliefs and practices. There are reinterpretations of key texts; there are approaches which seek to extract still-relevant ideas whilst leaving behind sex-negative ones; there are beliefs being created out of whole cloth, based on people’s lived experiences. I know sex-positive, queer-friendly Christians, Jews and Wiccans, who are well aware of the sex-negative, heteronormative aspects of their traditions, and who have more than a passing familiarity with their traditions’ text and beliefs, but who have used that knowledge to continue living within a belief system that resonates strongly with them.
And I think this is wonderful!
I don’t, however, see a great deal of support for these people within the sex-positive community. On the contrary: what I frequently encounter is blanket condemnations of religion and spirituality, or, worse, of religious and spiritual people.
It feels to me that there’s a certain amount of born-again atheism involved: for people who have been raised in repressive religious atmospheres, for example, becoming a conscious atheist can be a liberating experience. It seems to me there’s often an earnest and well-meaning desire to ensure that other people don’t suffer or miss out on a variety of enjoyable life experiences due to religious or spiritual repression, whether internal or external. This is something I can certainly identify with: I myself was an atheist for many years, primarily driven by the sex-negativity I observed in various religions. And even though I’m now a panentheist, I still get irked by anti-atheism FUD (for example, that atheism necessarily results in a complete lack of morality) – I believe that misrepresentation of people’s attitudes and beliefs is not only unethical but doesn’t, in the end, benefit anyone.
Nonetheless, I feel that there’s a choice for sex-positive atheists to make here: to decide which is more important for them to promote, atheism or sex-positivity. I believe either choice is valid. But I also believe promoting sex-positivity means not making totalising statements about religion and spirituality or about religious and spirituality people; it means acknowledging the possibility that atheism is not the only possible framework in which sex-positivity can exist; it means recognising that there are people creating sex-positive religious and spiritual perspectives which provide concrete alternatives to sex-negative beliefs for those who are not ready or willing to give up their overall religious or spiritual paths.
Many years ago I was part of a group organising a protest. Our organising group had several members of the Young Christian Workers. One member raised an objection to the possibility of socialist groups being able to sell their newspapers at the protest, saying something along the lines of “After all, how would you feel if we were to hand out Bibles?” My personal response was: “That sounds great! So much reactionary stuff is done in the name of Christianity; it would be good for people, including Christians, to know that it’s not a given that Christians must take reactionary positions.”
If people in the sex-positive movement promote or support the notion that sex-positivity necessarily implies atheism, it puts people who – rightly or wrongly, whether supported by evidence or not – have strong religious or spiritual beliefs in the position of feeling like they must choose between sex-positivity and religion/spirituality. Though many might choose sex-positivity, it’s also likely that, given religion and spirituality often address a greater variety of issues than simply those around sexuality, many might feel that sex-positivity is the thing that needs to take a back seat. And that, for me, wouldn’t represent progress.
A conversation with Alexis (flexibeast) today got me thinking about the connections between my own sexuality and spirituality. Some of the following is directly quoted from Alexis from our GTalk conversation and are used with her permission.
My beliefs are very eclectic. I used to practice Wicca, so I still have a little bit of that influence along with some broad Celtic/Nordic influences, particularly St Brigid and the Tree of Life. I was raised Anglican and was confirmed when I was 16. Shortly after then was when I first delved into pagan spirituality. I do believe in Jesus, but with an Islamic view that he was a prophet. I also believe in reincarnation and the belief that our own spirit chooses lessons for us to learn before this life begins. If you commit suicide, then you have to start that life all over again with the same lessons and problems. It’s this belief that has saved me from myself on several occasions. Alexis put it brilliantly with this quote:
*nod* There’s a great quote from bash.org, where someone says “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”, and someone else says “I’m a Buddhist, i think suicide is a temporary solution to a permanent problem”. 🙂
I’m a firm believer that all religions are different perceptions of the same thing. There’s more than one path to the top of the mountain so to speak. It makes sense that if all paths lead to the same place, that you can take bits of the different paths that work best for you.
Spirituality and sexuality are so incredibly linked together, something Alexis and I both agree on. We both have had problems finding others who share this belief. While there are examples of solo sexual ritual:
In other religions, singing and dancing are considered pleasing to God. Voluntary sex and masturbation is, in Paganism, considered another natural, normal part of singing and dancing. In Paganism, the God and the Goddess are seen as wanting to see people be happy. Showing the Divine the happiness and intensity of orgasm is thought to make the Divine happy.
Generally there seems to be the idea that “sexuality and spirituality are mutually exclusive”.
*nod* Obviously i feel the same way [that sexuality and spirituality are so incredibly linked together]. 🙂 But often when i’ve tried to talk about this with other pagans, i get the “you’re just a swinger” thing, either openly or implicitly.
it’s hard to find people on the same wavelength sometimes, especially when the way you feel about things seems so different from the way the majority thinks
*nod* Yep. E.g. most sex-positive peeps i’ve come across seem to be atheist, and sometimes stridently so.
*nods* i’ve found that too
*nod* Which is why it’s wonderful to be able to talk to you about this stuff. 🙂
😀 So if i may ask, how does sexuality appear in your spiritual practice(s)?
honestly at the moment there isn’t a lot, if any… J considers himself an atheist [i think he’s secretly agnostic] and i haven’t found a suitable partner for the spiritual/sexual aspect yet
(Metacomment: Please let me know if any question i ask is too personal!)
i will 🙂 i’m pretty open about everything
But if you did have a suitable partner, what sort of stuff would you be interested in doing?
interesting question, honestly i don’t know the answer… i haven’t really looked into which rituals would be suitable because i’ve never had a suitable partner
Ah. Well, for myself, i’ve been doing the masturbation-as-meditation thing.
But also i’ve found it difficult to find prewritten rituals in any case, mainly due to cis- and hetero-centrism.
I suppose that’s one of the problems with not following an organised religion and being a solitary practitioner, there’s no set way of doing things.
Ideally I need to find a partner to help me honour The Spirit, The Goddess and The Horned God. Self-love and masturbation only goes so far. That’s were polyamory comes in, different partners fulfill different needs. And being pansexual, you’d think that would double, if not even triple, my odds of finding a suitable spiritual partner. But I have the feeling that the journey to find that suitable partner is going to take a long time, as all spiritual journeys tend to be. I mean, it took me long enough to find J!!