Maiba naman. Here’s a post I made for blogkadahan upon their request. They choose a differnt topic from time to time and I was happy to be asked to write about a great theme—sex! I thought I’d share it here, too. This is a re-edited version.
A Woman’s Sex
It has the original mouth but remains wordless;
It is surrounded by a magnificent mound of hair.
Sentient beings can get completely lost in it
But it is also the birthplace of all the Buddhas of the ten thousand worlds.
A poem by Ikkyu, a Japanese Zen Buddhist priest and poet:
‘Let’s talk about sex’, as the song by George Michael goes. Sure, why not? After all, one can’t escape it because it’s one of the primal urges we are born with. A male fetus gets a hard-on every 30 minutes. That media is so sexually charged is because they know we can’t resist the allure of sex.
Sex has got to be one of the biggest stories in most everyone’s life. Woody Allen likes to joke (with more than a grain of truth) that a man spends the first 9 months of life trying to get out of the womb and the rest of his life trying to get back in again! Ok, it is pretty big in mine. (Er…the story, that is). And not surprisingly, it carries with it all these conflicting feelings—pleasure and pain, affirmation and guilt, pride and shame, seriousness and comic laughter, holiness and profanity, etc. It is one of life’s great renewable resources. (You only have to rest a few minutes after and you want it again!). This crazy, paradoxical thing called sex makes the world go around. Everyone who was ever born has wondered, fantasized, and pined for it. It is definitely one of the big ticket items in this lotto game called life. You’re always hoping for the right combination.
And sex is the reason for its own pursuit. Certainly, it commands respect. It is smarter than many of the smartest people I know. I’ve seen people jeopardize relationships, health, money, future just for sex. I’ve also seen people’s lives enhanced when they awakened to their sexuality. Every flirtatious glance promises an invitation, a promise that is hard to resist. If you have not tried it, let me tell you that it is more wonderful and infinitely better than a new pair of shoes, white bread, a new car, an i-pod and having million dollars.
Overrated, you say? well, yes and no!. Read on.
There is a lot to what Freud said about sex being the great raison’d’etre for everything we do. He implies that, say, the reason a young man grooms himself, becomes an athlete, tries to do well in school and everything else is to make himself more attractive to those he desires to engage in horizontal activities with. And I am not talking about wrestling or sleeping either. Why does a man want to get rich, get a high position, own a lot of goodies? Isn’t it because he becomes more attractive to women? Who was it who said that the greatest aphrodisiac for women is a Mercedes Benz? And what’s the whole make-up and fashion industry all about? Even for its owners who make oodles, it’s not really all about money. You can’t make love to a dollar bill, but it can buy you sex. (Ok, maybe a hundred dollars!).
Speaking of make-up, an anthropologist writer who wrote The Naked Ape says that wearing lipstick is an unconscious attempt to reproduce what a vagina in heat looks like, and it comes from our primate past when we were still walking on fours. Whoa, that is wild!! But I can’t help but see the connection.
Scientists suggest females in all mammalian species desire males who can support their offspring and so look for powerful, strong alpha males to impregnate them. Generally, women are more faithful than men (perhaps in exchange for security) since their goal is to find males who can protect and assure survival of their offspring. Males on the other hand want as many offspring as possible. Males spew out 6 million sperm cells every time while women only release 1 egg. Men have sex to assure progeny. Women have sex for security.
I am putting it crassly. This is sex on the basic level. Surely, sex is more than this, you might say. Of course you are right!
Which brings me to say that Freud’s observations only go so far. I think the reason why sex is so attractive goes beyond reproduction and ensuring the continuation of the species. It is, to put it simply, a great thing to engage in. Why? Because it is so—elastic! It can be a little experience not worthy of comment or it can be THE best, most memorable event. (Even when it is just so-so, say, like in a solitary activity, it is still good). Like many people, I have enjoyed it on different levels–from the earthy, sensual, purely physical up to the ecstatically divine, and heavenly.
When it is with The Right One at The Right Moment, it’s an out-of-this world experience and its intense, sensual pleasure can touch the very core of who we are. And the identity of who we are which unravels when we surrender to that awesome pleasure vortex of sex as we let it take over us completely, is nothing short of divine. Kosmic! We melt as separate human beings and awaken even if just momentarily as the very Universe itself. Yes, Orgasm is the Big Bang recreated! As millions of sperm are released when a man comes, so do millions, billions of stars burst out in empty space– a supernova coming to life. (Imagine Carl Sagan having sex! Millions and billions of stars. ha ha).
Is it any surprise then to read a lot of spiritual, mystical writings of saints and monks that have sexual overtones? A medieval nun’s journal I read (I can’t recall who) used to pray to God to ‘break me with your battering ram!’ And aren’t nuns vows vows akin to being ‘married to Jesus’? In Tantric sex, each assumes that the love object is a god or goddess. And Tantric deities like to consort for hours! Sex indeed can be a stairway to heaven. The metaphors are, to my mind, quite telling. There are many more examples of this. The writer M. Scott Peck, after observing the sexual-spiritual connection posits that the spiritual among us ‘must be horny’, and then curiously asks, ‘but are the horny spiritual?’
An intriguing question, and my answer to that is, like Peck, a ‘yes’. Sex, and yes all other activities that are potentially addictive are tastes of heaven. But just like Icarus who flew too close to the sun which melted his wings and killed him, these potent gifts are only good for us in moderation. Alas, too much heaven, contrary to belief can be toxic. And mindless, unconscious , meaningless sex can kill its very appeal and attraction by making its endless mystery a profanity.
Sex, where one is consciously awake, alive and present to its great mystery and the loving exchange taking place is infinitely better than sex for physical release alone. (For that, you don’t need a Significant Other, just any body will do. Gamitan lang talaga!). Where the first engages in intercourse with ALL of the universe till there is nothing else but ecstasy, the latter is simply the rubbing of skin to relieve an itch!
The word ‘orgasm’ in French is ‘le petit mort’, which literally means ‘a little death’. We ‘die’ into the experience by surrendering to the shuddering pleasure of an orgasm. We forget we are living in the mundane world as we taste heaven.
As I mentioned earlier, you may dismiss all this as ‘overrated’ and you may be right. Actually, everyone is right whatever his/her opinion. Like I said, sex is indeed elastic. Everyone is an individual when it comes to sex. Kanya-kanyang kiliti! And often, a person’s experience of it says a lot about who he/she is than what sex is.
But the long and short of it is (hmmm…) we do need both the crass and the sublime. Or more accurately, we need the crass to get to the sublime. We all do what we must do in this life—get a job, make money, get famous, acquire prestige or power, go to Vicky Bello to have greater access to it. Some may even lie, cheat or buy it. Sabi nga ni John Lennon, ‘whatever gets you through the night..’ And all that may get you inside the building. But with greater and greater consciousness each time you do it, you may go higher and higher until you get to the penthouse. And it gets even higher.
So tell me, have you been to heaven lately?