THE BLOG

Female Sexual Desire: The Broken Vessel

In order for women and men to experience the healing power of sexual union, both must be aligned with their essential core. Women especially need to internalize sex-positive, permission-giving, life-enhancing messages.
01/12/2011 05:06pm ET | Updated November 17, 2011
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The title of this blog is from the shaman of the Toltec culture. Their view of Western women is that the feminine has been so repressed that is has created a tragic loss: women's sexual energy pathways are like a broken vessel. Orgasmic energy is dissipated, much like an earthen pot with cracks in it that allow the water to leak out. If couples want to have the kind of ecstatic sexual experiences that I have been writing about, then this energetic break must be healed. The first step is to understand the cultural foundations of the break leading to internal wounding. I will follow with the healing pathways in succeeding blogs.

It is no secret that extremely sex-negative messages have been indoctrinated into both men and women. However, young girls have been especially wounded for the last few thousand years. Religious texts and teachings reinforced patriarchal attitudes towards women's sexual activity; to wit, none was allowed until the woman was given to a man chosen by the father and then submitted to whatever this man wanted for life. Until marriage, any knowledge of her own sexual pleasure was forbidden. Under patriarchal law, the rare women who pursued and enjoyed sexual activity in their own way (neither prostitute nor wife) were castigated, ostracized, and even killed for it. This severe structuring and limiting of female sexuality has clearly affected women's desire. Women continue to be exhorted to repress all sexual feeling until marriage, at which time every somatic block that has been installed is supposed to magically melt away. This sex-negative milieu (subtle or overt) remains a part of most women's early life conditioning.

Even as we would like to think current times have changed, they truly haven't. Only a few decades have passed since women did not live in mortal terror of the consequences of unwanted pregnancy. It has only been five decades since a significant but small percentage of very brave women felt the personal freedom to pursue sexual pleasure as they chose. The moral censure of these women from conservative elements in our culture continues. To examine the foundational cause of low desire in women, look no further.

Imagine if our culture told men: "You can have one and only one sex partner in your entire life, and then only after you have promised your life and your body to that person. You must submit to what your wife wants, when she wants it, and how. If you find enjoyment in the encounter, fine, but it is certainly not necessary. After your erections don't happen reliably or last long enough for your mate's pleasure, you will be put out to pasture to watch your mate have a younger, more virile partner. You will have a place of honor as father of the children and first husband, but you will be allowed no more sexual relationships, lest you shame your wife." No one could be expected to sustain any lasting desire under these conditions, but such were the conditions for women's sexuality for millennia. If things have loosened up in the last 40 years and women are now supposed to have orgasms (mostly to validate their mates), the foundation of the culture continues to demean or diminish the female's unique sexual needs. There are certain "right ways" that sex (mostly meaning intercourse) should occur, and these maximize male pleasure but certainly not female pleasure.

After all the years I have been treating women and couples in sex therapy, I have come to some very simple conclusions about what women really want: they to be known rather than used.

They want the whole process to be about pleasure and not performance (either theirs or their partners'). They want to relinquish the notion of sex as a tool to get or keep a mate, and they want to be honored for their unique feminine ways of pleasuring. They want the beauty of the context of sexual encounters to be more important than the act. They want to be touched in slow, sensual ways. They want to be ravished with intense passion that demonstrates how much their partners need them rather than an orgasm to relax. They want to be adored as precious feminine beings.

There is an irrefutable power in sexual energy. Although it can be misused, the energy itself is transforming. When it is experienced by fully conscious, consenting adults, it is empowering and healing. Sexual union is the best way to experience wholeness that humans can know.

In order for women and men to experience the healing power of sexual union, both must be aligned with their essential core. Women especially need to internalize the sex-positive, permission-giving, life-enhancing messages from the cultures that honored the divine feminine and then co-create with their partners safe, seductive, and honoring sexual encounters. Long before it was thought that men owned the reproductive and sexual rights to their mates, women conceived and gave birth and engaged in sexual encounters based on their choice. Sexual desire was perceived as the will of divine source. Today, with this foundation of the sacredness of sexuality, partners can choose to pursue sexual mastery that leads into the realm of spiritual sexuality.

And so we will explore the pathways to healing the broken vessel.