I’ve been told that embracing my sexuality is to dance with danger. To talk about it openly is to fall into a bottomless pit where everything I hold dear will go down with me– family, home, God knows what else. Well, we’ll see. Going public with what polite society says is best left under the covers has its risks and truth to tell, sometimes I am a little nervous. But I am becoming shameless. And I am going to explore what is to become shameless right here - on my new blog.
Becoming shameless has been my personal evolutionary process, one that got jump started in early midlife. At the time, I wasn’t all that interested in having sex with my husband of many, many years (the man I met when I was 17 and married at age 20). I enjoyed it when we did make love, but I didn’t actively seek it out. Did that mean I had low libido? Was I physically or psychologically deficient or dysfunctional? Was there something wrong with me?
Was I like millions of other women who successfully severed their sexuality—that most basic of human behaviors—from the rest of who we are?
I was determined to find the answers. No more sublimating, overeating, over-exercising or overworking. I needed to know what was going on. My pursuit of the “truth” turned me into a sexual sleuth launched on an unofficial, unexpected investigation into a subterranean world of sexuality that I never knew existed. Neither had any other person I’d met until that moment. Which is a lot of people.
The first thing I discovered is that I had a robust, juicy, and full sexual self that lives inside. The second thing is that I wasn’t alone in my desire to unearth that part of me. It was that the true nature of female sexuality and desire hadn’t become yet become the near obsession it is these days. I felt like I was wandering in a vast, uncharted wilderness even if everyone secretly wanted to go there, too.
Admittedly, there’s more information out there now. Academics and medical experts compile statistics on female sexual dysfunction –apparently a plague of epic proportions– and how to fix it. Social media sexpot sexperts blog, Twitter and FaceBook their horn-dog diaries, flooding the web with virtual instruction manuals on self-pleasuring, high-tech gadgetry, threesomes, and becoming the ultimate pleasure machine. There are crusaders against the medicalization of female sexuality, including libido pumping drugs and plastic surgery to “rejuvenate” the vagina.
It’s all good. It’s all necessary. But what’s a middle-aged mother, housewife and careerist to do? Where do real people find good role models who help us hang on to the lives and loves we cherish even as we open up our sexual sides? Who’s out shouting that we don’t have to suffer for being sexually alive?
Me. I’m willing to stand up and say, “Screw suffering, it’s highly overrated and completely unnecessary.” I’m willing – and happy –to make my personal, admittedly wonky voyage to self-discovery into a tool everyday women and men can use to pry off the lid of their desires. Because that’s the first step to becoming whole and no doubt the hardest.
But I’m good at stepping up and speaking out. I’m a bred-in-the-bone advocate. It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve done for decades as a leading advocate for the infertile starting at a time when infertility was as taboo as, oh, say, female sexual desire. I took my own experience of infertility and went public and fought hard to change the laws to help get people coping with infertility health insurance. I have been outspoken from everything from stem cell research to the rights of egg donors. So why stop now?
And I believe in every person’s right to acknowledge and have their desire when consenting adults are on the same page. The sticky part is when it comes to actually reckoning with the true nature of female desire. The recently published pioneering work of Dr. Meredith Chivers, a noted psychology professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario who specializes in female sexuality, indicates just how complex desire can be. In her own words, Dr. Chivers found that, “Women are apparently disassociated from their bodies and have greater difficulty than men in connecting their own erotic responses to what they are actually feeling or desiring.” In other words, women’s genitals and brains operate on different tracks when it comes to sexuality.
University of Nevada –Las Vegas psychologist, Dr. Marta Meana rocked Oprah Winfrey’s national television audience when she reported that the evidence is mounting that, “Women want to be thrown up against a wall but not truly endangered. Women want a caveman and caring.”Aha! Without knowing it, I was a human guinea pig outside the lab, trying to reconnect my brain and my sexuality. I didn’t have current science to support me. All I had was the deep hunger for integration. Who knew? I mean, what articulate, savvy, working woman could comfortably admit to that desire? Or any.
Shameless is my memoir about coming to terms with desire. At first I worried that maybe people were right, that opening up about sexuality would be that dance with danger. I don’t think so any more. And if it is, it’s a risk that I’m willing to take. With my beautiful husband, family and circle of friends at my back, how dangerous can it be? Besides I’m really good about things below the waist, those basic human things that affect the heart and mind in ways we can never expect. After infertility, sex is a logical segue. By looking at me you’d never suspect my own long overdue sexual revolution had turned me from a tremulous explorer into a courageous sex goddess.
Everyone should be so lucky! I hope that you will book mark this site - and join the Shameless! Come on - it's gonna be fun!