As the #metoo movement and the subject of sexual misconduct in all its incarnations gained momentum and increasingly became part of the current zeitgeist, or public consciousness, I found myself thinking. Not so much thinking, as following a hunch that there was more to this than meets the eye. You all know by now that I am the kind of domme who likes to dig for things below the surface. So, too, when it came to the issue of the widespread violence against women, it seemed to me far too facile to simply label men as sexual predators and, having slapped that label on them, to just leave it at that. I am experienced enough to know what happens when we dismiss people as wild, nasty animals who need to be tamed, and let’s just say that it isn’t helpful at all and only creates further division.
Without my intention, I had a sudden insight about the matter when I was in at the sauna with a group of women. Somehow, as women do, we got to talking about our first sexual encounters and of our mental processes at the time of their occurrence. As it turned out, most of us had had a first sexual experience when we were about thirteen. By ‘sexual experience’ I do not mean sexual intercourse but rather the initial moment in which we suddenly gained the understanding that some other human being is regarding us and relating to us in a sexual way – flirting, touching, manipulating, convincing, desiring…
The problem we all seemed to share was that, at the time, we lacked any understanding of this situation whatsoever. In other words, at the age of 13 we did not know whether it was up to us to decide to allow anyone to touch us in a sexual way, or not to. My body – my temple, and similar discourse had, unfortunately, not been part of our mental arsenal. Which in turn resulted in total confusion when faced for the first time with being approached in a sexual manner. All of us, it turned out, had no idea when to say yes and when to say no. Or how to say no (saying yes did not require much in the way of words), or whether it was okay to. Being so ill-equipped in this interpersonal exchange had the effect of creating an even more distorted view of our sexuality, rendering it both something shameful to be swept under the rug and, simultaneously, something to be used in order to obtain favor from others (attention or material things).
As we shared the stories of our initial sexual encounters, a clear common denominator emerged: we all found ourselves completely confused and frozen. At the age of 13, and being otherwise of sound mind, we didn’t know what to do. We felt even more at a loss when we were approached by men who were older or in a position of authority, which happened to about half of us. Having been taught to be polite and good, we found it easy to assume that this person knew better what’s good for us. One of the girls, who had been sexually harassed by a priest in her church as a youngster, did not like it but this feeling was trumped by her concern over disturbing her family, and the assumption that she had been brought up with – that the priest is a good guy and so must be doing the right thing.
And then it dawned on me: our first encounters dictate our behavioral patterns for the future. Nobody stopped to course-correct. There had been no intervention. Our subsequent lives were just allowed to pile up on top of those initial deeply misguided encounters. And here we are now, as a society, pointing an angry finger at men and wondering what’s wrong with them. What’s wrong with us? As a society. I know a famous international women’s group facilitator who teaches 30-40 year-old women when to say yes and when to say no, and that when it’s maybe, it actually means no, and all manner of other strategies of listening to your own emotions and body when making intimate choices. You heard me right, thirty- to forty- year-old women are being taught this, because our parents simply failed to do. Our parents assumed chemistry lessons to be more important, or were simply too repressed themselves.
It’s no surprise that the #metoo movement finally happened. It’s good that it’s happening. A lot of shadow is coming to the surface. 2018 was the year of accusing all kinds of popular authority figures of sexual misconduct, some journalist even made their career only on this. All of the women who believed–because they had been so taught–that they could just swallow up some unpleasant or traumatizing sexual or sexualized experience and move on, now realize – wait a minute, it wasn’t meant to happen, I felt totally violated, it was horrible, and I’m not alone! But here is what I realized: when collective rage, however justifiable, is unleashed, there is no room for introspection. A mob has no introspective mind and so it directs all of its rage towards the aggressor. And that is how we get the vicious circle of archetypes – victims, aggressors, rescuers. All equally frustrated.
But at the root of is our childhood education. Had our right to safety in our feelings and bodies from those who wish to possess them been taught to us as clearly as our geography lessons, we would have a lot less victims today, and thus a lot less perpetrators. Parents have so much shame around sexuality that they prefer not to talk to their children about it. This story speaks only of a young woman’s perspective, now imagine what’s going on in the boys’ world? #himtoo ! Just contemplate it for a bit and it will quickly become clear that men are also victims. Not only those who were themselves abused, but all the rest as well. Do parents teach boys how to deal with their sexual drive? How to handle their sexual energy? Do they talk to boys about the relationship between sex drive, love and human connection? Do they teach them how to approach a partner in respectful ways? How to have a successful relationships? I am quite sure that 90% of boys don’t learn a thing from their families and just end up finding some nasty porn, incomprehensible to their inexperienced minds, which ends up being their only teaching to mimic.
We are all victims who need healing: victims of repression and shame around sexuality. It’s time to dig deeper, open up, share, learn, get educated. And it is crucial as a matter of public health to see the importance of educating children on issues of sexuality in an open non-shaming, strong and healthy manner, so that abuse will not go on to happen in the next generation.
And by the way I’m 13 on this picture