Dancing with the Mystery of Sexuality, Beginning at the Beginning
Pat’s and My Coffee Time – Saturday 1/25/14
Our coffee time Saturday morning was three hours long – much of it exploring the mysterious world of sexuality, especially our earliest and pernicious blocks and distortions. At our age we can’t take this too seriously we suppose, and yet on the other hand sexuality seems part of our calling to explore what happened on this branch of our lives and explore and heal our deepest wounds and blocks to freedom. We must go back once again to the beginning to see how we got here.
We began our coffee time by acknowledging the possibility that neither of us values, truly values, our own sexuality. What! Consciously or unconsciously so much of our lives have involved working through our sexual energies – including each of us going through a divorce along the line, divorces related to dysfunctions, woundings, misunderstandings, and immaturities in our sexuality –and now we dare to begin this coffee time with a statement that we do not value sexuality?
Well we grew up asexual. Really? Well maybe not really. Pat remembers strong early energies and intuitions about the richness of sexuality and also remembers times at a young age when these were shut down in traumatizing events growing up. And I remember being so curious about sexuality but never feeling safe to ask about sexuality or to explore my sexual feelings, feelings that seemed quite alive in my being. So while we did not begin being asexual, through our young and early adult years our behavior was pretty much that of asexual beings. While the wounding experiences apply to both of us, I am limiting this entry to my own experiences and what came up for me as we explored this interesting, fascinating, mysterious and yet somehow central dimension of our lives during Saturday’s coffee time.
When I say I grew up asexual what do I mean? I mean that my sexuality was not something I pursued much. Of course my sexual urgings as a young boy and later as a teenage boy were alive and well, being aroused within by incidents in life around me. But with these feelings curbed by thoughts that sexuality must be evil and part of the original and pervasive sinful nature inside me, I just didn’t pursue sexual experiences. Rather my sexual energies were split off and suppressed, repressed, and sublimated into energies for many other things that energized my life – all my hobbies, interests in science and religion, and the like.
Of course Freud would take me back to I my relationship with Mom. What was my relationship with Mom like? For me Mom was an asexual industrious woman who tended to keeping a clean house, cooking fine meals, sewing her own clothes, teaching school, running numerous church organizations, and the like. She was my den mother when I was in cub scouts, and very involved in my school and church – so I related to her as a leader in the church. She led women’s groups, was part of the women’s bridge club, maker of crafts of all kinds – Christmas ornaments, elaborate candles, and the like. My role was to be invisible – which I gladly did, indulging myself in my many hobbies and interests. Mom seemed not much interested in my hobbies and the like and actually pleased to have me out of her hair.
I do not recall a strong emotional connection with Mom. In previous blog entries I named the result of this relationship with Mom an Attachment Avoidance Disorder, not to pathologize my relationship with Mom, but meaning that I grew up avoiding attachment to others as something in which I would find pleasure. I did not find pleasure with Mom and Dad and certainly not with peers in my neighborhood or school or church groups or the band I joined as a tuba player. Nor did I enter any team sport activities growing up. I enjoyed activities in scouts or the youth group, but not those that involved interaction with the others. What I enjoyed most was being alone with my hobbies and interests. Truly it seems that I simply did not find pleasure in being with others, especially in groups.
Dad seemed more romantic than Mom. I do not remember them showing intimacy around the house, but I knew Dad saw Mom as beautiful, which she was. By ninth grade we had “the sex talk,” but it was mostly about mechanics. I simply did not know what sex was supposed to be about, would never discuss sex with peers or adults, did not date, and would not experience kissing a woman until I was in my third year of college when a girl who took me to a “girl-invites-boy” dance closed the evening on her porch by giving me a kiss. I am certain it would have been a while before I would have ever initiated kissing a girl. These sexual waters were waters I was clueless to navigate. Naïve to the max, I would say. Sex was truly a Mystery.
My satisfaction in my college days came from my studies in engineering rather than interacting with other men in the fraternity I joined. I would not play basketball with them, go out drinking with them, play cards with them, hold leadership roles, … and certainly not take girls to fraternity dances! While in high school I did have a crush on a girl, I simply could not express my feelings toward her. I took her out only once or twice, but never to a party or a high school dance. I would never dare to kiss her! Girls were simply a mystery to me – I had inner feelings but no way to act on them. Studying was my safe way out throughout high school and college. Yes, I enjoyed studying, but was imbalanced in studying, using studying as an excuse for not socializing.
So this is what I mean when I say I grew up asexual! Yes, I did marry the woman who gave me my first kiss, and yes we enjoyed sex and have three children, but my relationship with her was never whole; it was not the Union my Soul unconsciously longed for. In marriage I had knowingly betrayed my Essence, denying the importance of whole Union with a woman – a Union with balanced physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual intercourse – and as a result lived out a fragmented and unbalanced life through most of my marriage. I thought divorce would enable me to start over in a relationship that was more whole and energetic for me. Little did I know how much I had to learn! My divorce was 14 years ago.
Pat and I have come a long way in the 15 years we have known each other, but still our sexual expressions are the most challenging aspects of our relationship. Both of us have deep distortions and patterns to work through even now after living together for over ten years. In fact in a way we are now finally getting to the beginning of a truly whole relationship. We now sense that dealing with our relationship, coming to wholeness in Union, in an integrated way involving balanced physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual expressions of Union, is a core piece of our journey this incarnation. We come quite wounded to this place, each in our own way, but we come together equally committed to exploring the mystery that sexuality presents.
Before going on it is probably best if I give an outline of my core sexual fantasy (from my third year of the Pathwork Transformation Program — 2002) since my fantasy seems to fit into my history here. I have alluded to this fantasy in earlier blog entries and stated how important it is in the Pathwork transformation program, but I don’t think I shared what it actually is. First of all, the sexual fantasy, as with dream interpretation, relates to inner characters – here primarily my inner masculine (me in the fantasy) and my inner feminine (that I project out to the woman of my fantasy). So here it is, my core sexual fantasy: In my fantasy a virginal innocent woman has agreed, for money, to be stripped naked by a man (me) on stage in front of an audience of crude and rough-spirited men. She has agreed to do this and has been paid, so it is not a matter of stopping the embarrassing show. But clearly she has not understood what this experience would be like and was very shy. I, as the “nice guy” given the role to assist her undress, wanted to do this stripping of her in a most respectful and supportive way in front of the howling men (how is that for an oxymoron!). I did not have the inclination or courage to stop the show and walk her off the stage where we could talk privately and get to know each other without sex being on the table. Rather, in the fantasy I proceeded, taking off one item of her clothing at a time until she was naked. That is it. It was my core fantasy in my Pathwork because this fantasy “turned me on” for some reason to be determined. Because of the energy aroused in me, this fantasy held secrets not only about my own sexuality but also about other aspects of my life. There were other details in the fantasy, all of which are significant, but this is its essence. I have worked with this fantasy with various Pathwork helpers down through the years, including in our couples sessions with Sage and Anthony.
Now on with Saturday’s three-hour coffee time conversation.
Gary: From the beginning of our relationship I was attracted to you (that “in love” piece in me that I name “Eros”) in part unconsciously projecting onto you that “innocent virginal woman.” Of course you had been married and not at all “virginal,” but somehow I intuited that something inside of you was virginal, shut down, and I wanted to help your sexual energy be released (of course this was wanting to have my own sexual energies released — I was simply projecting my sexual situation onto you). Of course this is more than I was conscious of, but I think these were the energies at play in me. Besides, I was looking for a relationship with a woman that was whole – involving physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions. While through our many hours of conversation at the beginning of our relationship I knew we were aligned intellectually and spiritually, I was not aware that within me my own being was quite fragmented – the physical and sexual being quite separated from intellectual, emotional, and spiritual — and again my fragmentation was projected onto you.
Pat: And, also perhaps unconsciously, I saw the inner masculine in you that longed to be received – the part of you that was not seen, valued, or received by Mom. And I wanted to help heal that part in you manifest so that your “sweet masculine” that I intuited could come forth. Gary: The “innocent virginal woman” of my fantasy, I guess Mom at first, was in fact my own inner feminine, and from my fantasy I was not valuing my inner feminine but rather colluding with the “organizers” in the fantasy by “serving her up” to this disgusting irreverent situation of being stripped, her innocent and precious sexuality devalued and violated in front of these laughing and disrespectful men in the audience. Little did I realize that in my own fragmentation I was not honoring or valuing your beautiful inner feminine, or rather my projection of my own feminine onto you, which I so wanted to help you release. In my fantasy I was cruel for colluding with the set up rather than honoring the virginal innocent feminine of the woman, and so I was with you, with my projection of my feminine onto you.
Pat: In some way this fantasy harms your own masculine and imprisons you. Gary: Yes! Yes! I see it this way: My inner masculine realizes its cruelty toward its own inner innocent feminine (projected onto you) because he did not stop the show — something that would have honored and valued the inner feminine. And for this cruelty toward the feminine he feels real guilt and concludes, quite justifiably, that he is undeserving of anything good in life, especially in the arena of sexuality, but also in other areas. He locks into the image put on him in the Lutheran Confession: “I, a poor miserable sinner!” He unconsciously says, “Yes, I am a poor miserable sinner” for all of this cruelty to the feminine. While consciously he rebels against this judgment, inside he feels its truth! He betrayed the innocent virginal feminine, was cruel in the worst possible way (deceitfully – pretending to be “nice” to her, supporting her). I can see the perfection of this fantasy as it relates to several core issues in me, not merely the sexual. On some deep unconscious level I feel undeserving of anything I have in life.
Pat: This is a profound insight. And it relates to the masculine being afoot in our world globally – the masculine aggression in so many parts of the world today in serving up the innocent virginal female. The cruelty, the real guilt for the cruelty, and the feeling of being utterly unworthy because of the horrific guilt is all there across our globe. As we discussed the other day, when the outer masculine is in balance with the inner masculine (– inner masculine being sensitivity and wisdom), then the outer masculine manifests as compassion and power. But when the outer masculine is out of balance with the inner masculine it manifests as aggression, intolerance, and manipulation. This is what we are seeing everywhere in our patriarchal and structured world today! Gary: And I can see the imbalance in me as well in our relationship: my aggression (I want what I want), my intolerance (when I don’t get what I want) and my manipulation (to trick you into giving me what I think I want).
Pat: This is huge. At first I didn’t understand the chain of cruelty-to-real guilt-to-feeling deeply undeserving, but now I do. When the masculine feels undeserving to be received by the feminine it is energetically a huge deal. The masculine is the penetrator, the thrusting energy. Feeling “unwelcome” by the feminine is one thing, but feeling disgust at your own masculine for its cruelty in violating the feminine is so much stronger. How could you ride your own masculine energy when, unconsciously, at your core you do not trust your masculinity yourself, do not trust it not to be cruel to the feminine!
Gary: And unconsciously I want you to trust my masculinity when I don’t trust or respect it myself! The fact that other women have trusted my masculinity hasn’t helped – I knew they were being deceived by me and that if they really knew me, my cruelty toward the feminine, they would reject me. I was manipulating and aggressive in my own way, not mature in my masculinity. So in a way your resistance to my masculine is seen by me as your seeing my distorted and unhealed sense of my undeserving masculine. In a strange way your rejection is unconsciously accepted by me, my thinking unconsciously that I am unworthy, cruel to you, and guilty for my cruelty. In fact in some unconscious way I want your rejection! Accepting and wanting your rejection is part of my negative intentionality toward myself.
Gary (continued): How am I cruel to you? This is spelled out in my fantasy where I project onto you the virginal innocent feminine and do not stop seeking sex with you anyway, not slowing down our entry into the sexual arena so that you could feel safe, so that we could feel wholeness in our uniting, not just the physical. I was not seeing the real you and not giving you your voice. So in a way unconsciously I have violated you and am not in integrity with myself.
Pat: These are huge streams of distortion that we are being allowed to work with. Gary: All this brings up excitement in me – finding pieces that help explain the confusion in our relationship, finding pieces of the puzzle of my life. Yes, we enter the Mystery of sexuality together. So much more to unfold.
Shared with love, Gary