Polls: Sexuality

(This has been edited to include a second poll for clarity, feel free to vote on either or both)

Sexuality is often confused with sex, when the reality is that each individual owns and operates their very own model of sexuality that is part of who they are, regardless of whether they ever have or ever will have sexual relations. It has been discussed before the problems that arise when as women we believe that trying to explore or even understand our personal sexuality should be branded as sinful, or at the very least, sin inspiring, and therefore taboo as a good church going member.

But what if we allow ourselves to believe that just because something begins with “sex”, doesn’t mean that it implies chastity law breaking or loss of virtue. What if we accept that sexuality is a fundamental part of who we have been created to be and who we are to become, and actually embrace it as part of the whole that is the human experience, completely separate from our interactions with another person? Would that change how you feel about your body? Would it change how you feel about relationships?

Tell us, how do you express your own personal brand of sexuality? Or how would you like to embrace it better? Share details!

Corktree

Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

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22 Responses

  1. MJK says:

    I’ve read this several times and read the poll and I’m missing what the question here is. One of the options on the poll appears to be asking, “Do you dress in a fashion that makes you feel sexy and desirable” – which is a problem in and of itself. Desirable to whom? with the common assumption that “you’re nobody until somebody loves you,” where instead I prefer the team that feels you should do with your body what you are comfortable doing in dress, fashion and grooming and not give in to society’s shouting that unless the male gaze finds you worthy of its desire you’re unimportant.

  2. djinn says:

    This post strikes me as being rather poorly thought out. Why don’t you just entitle it “How much of a slut is my neighbor’s over there.”

  3. mz says:

    The post would make me want to respond, I wish I could express myself more artistically with music or painting in a more sexual way. Feeling sexy is different than dressing sexy. But I will say that this valentines weekend I have seen a lot more exposed breasts than I have really ever wanted to. So I suppose when people want to express their sexuality for valentines day they may dress that way.It does make me wonder if they are feeling sexy or uncomfortable. But if it makes them happy and their date happy who am I to judge. 😉

    • Corktree says:

      “Feeling sexy is different than dressing sexy.”

      Yes, that’s part of the point. No one is saying that one option in the poll is better or best. But there are people (in the Church) that do or feel that way about each one. And for some in this world, baring all from the nipple up is the only way they know how to access their sexuality. I’m not judging those people, but I’m also not saying that is a good thing to promote. It exists and probably always will as long as there is a difference in sizes and shapes, but what if we inspired women to seek alternative ways to access and enjoy their sexuality in a way that was unique to them and their MINDS, not just their bodies? Ways that eliminate the need to compete with another well endowed woman. Ways that allow us to confront and come to terms with the fact that we are actually designed to want and enjoy sex, and that this in not inherently bad, but also that the wanting and getting of sex isn’t the point of sexuality.

      This isn’t about self pleasure, it’s about self knowledge.
      “I wish I could express myself more artistically with music or painting in a more sexual way”
      It’s about this. Painting or singing isn’t about sex or being slutty, but you can use them to discover who you are and how you feel about sex and your body and all that these two very powerful aspects of living and life encompass.

  4. Corktree says:

    I’ll just invite any further commenters to give this a bit more thought than the knee jerk reaction to how un-Feminist it is to dress attractively. I may not have worded it perfectly, and I apologize for that, but the idea of the post is to look at how sexuality can be taken out of context, or even placed back in.

    If dressing sexy (and that wasn’t even the point of the first option) didn’t imply that you were looking for or looking to inspire sex in our society, would you do it because it helped you to enjoy the shape of your body? Or do we really only take pleasure in our curves because men have told us that they are desirable? Can the two be separated? The point is to explore whether they can, and maybe they can’t. Maybe in a sexless society we wouldn’t even notice our breasts as anything other than sources of food for children and we would cover and protect them. Of course, in a sexless society, there wouldn’t BE children. 😉

    But we don’t live in a sexless society. And the idea that dressing in a way that makes us happy with our bodies (NOT immodestly, there is a difference) would come about only to please someone *else* is the problem. Is our sexuality separate from our sexual relationships? Does it exist outside our dealings with the gender we are attracted to, or attractIVE to?

  5. kew says:

    I just put on a slim-fitting pencil skirt, control-top pantyhose, and three inch heels, and I feel fantastic. I feel like I am expressing myself as a confident, in-control woman. I am not dressing this way for my husband; he’s not here this weekend. I am not trying to seduce the men at church. I dress like this because it makes me FAR happier than a shapeless jumper and beat up sandals. I feel ownership of my body when I dress like this.

    • MB says:

      I like your point.

      I’ll add that I put on a flowing, collared, loose busted, long-sleeved, nearly ankle length dress to wear to church today and wore my comfortable slip-on flats. I love the freedom and flow and comfort it affords my body and it’s one of my favorite colors. I feel comfortable, competent and womanly in it.

      One of my friends wore a form-fitted, ruffle necked blouse, a pencil skirt, a big, hip-hugging belt, black patterned stockings and boots. Knowing her, I suspect that she felt comfortable, competent and womanly too.

      We are diverse. Our expressions will be diverse as well.

  6. Olive says:

    I don’t really have a desire to express my sexuality outside of the bedroom. And I don’t need to explore it through other mediums either. I feel like that was a past life, when I was younger, hormone driven and too self conscious. I’m confident with it now, but only DH needs to see that. (honestly, its tiring enough keeping up with him, expressing it on my own time is NOT a priority, lol).

    And I don’t consider dressing femininely as expressing sexuality, even if some people might view it that way. I dress that way because it makes me feel pretty and confident, not “sexy”. I don’t really like it that its viewed that way either. I should be able to wear a form fitting sweater and heels without someone thinking Im being too “sexy”. I have a friend who wont wear tops if you can tell she has breasts in it. She buys everything too baggy. I think its sad.

  7. CatherineWO says:

    For me, taking ownership of my sexuality and expressing it mean feeling good in my own skin. Like Kew said, it’s confidence. Some days I feel it, some days I don’t.

    • alex w. says:

      You said what I was thinking!

      I’m still trying to figure all this out for myself. Today I decided to wear my favorite dress & scarf and curl my hair for church. I felt great, even sexy. The best part was that I wasn’t wearing makeup. I was just comfortable with myself.

  8. Amy says:

    I think for me it’s less about sexuality and more a part of who I am. I want to dress in clothes that show that I am a woman. And that doesn’t mean I have to show my breasts, but it doesn’t mean I have to completely hide them and be embarrassed that I have them either.
    I also think that it’s too bad that we have made sexuality so taboo that sometimes it makes it seem naughty even when it is appropriate. We are supposed to enjoy sex, we are just supposed to have control to use it at the right time and place.
    I am not ashamed of my femininity, but I also don’t want to walk around in lingerie either. It’s balance. That tricky balance thing again!

  9. MB says:

    Corktree,
    My dictionary defines sexuality as
    1. sexual character; possession of the structural and functional traits of sex.
    2. recognition of or emphasis upon sexual matters.
    3. involvement in sexual activity.
    4. an organism’s preparedness for engaging in sexual activity.

    I think it would be helpful to this discussion if you designated a little more clearly what definition you are giving to the word. I know that my answers on the polls would be different depending upon which definition you were using.

    Thanks.

  10. jks says:

    Sorry I am a little confused by what you are trying to ask. I answered that my sexuality is something reserved for my relationship with my husband – since I am married I would consider all other sexuality as inappropriate. I guess I view “sexuality” as MB’s definition #3 “involvement in sexual activity.”
    I am always a woman. I like my body. I dress modestly. I wear what I like. I do not explore sexual feelings by myself or with others or with my art.
    I guess I do think about my sexuality all by myself, not just with my husband.

    • Corktree says:

      I think you got it. There is no right or wrong with how we explore our sexuality. I think it’s just important that we do and that we are aware of what we do with it.

  11. Caroline says:

    Interesting question, Corktree,
    I don’t think I spend much time these days thinking about or fostering my sexuality, but your question opens up my mind to all the possible ways that my sexuality can inform various parts of my life.

    I do admit that I sometimes read romance novels as an escapist diversion, but I don’t know if I can articulate what kind of impact that has on my own sexuality. I should think about that more…

    • Corktree says:

      From what I’ve heard (I’ve only skimmed part of one), most women that read Twilight were/are confronting their sexuality in a form outside of sex 😉 And certainly Stephanie Meyer was exploring hers through writing.

  12. Jenne says:

    Lately, I have come across a number of sources describing sexuality as an aspect of spirituality. Being drawn to this idea, I have been thinking of ways that this could be done in my marriage. Granted that many would feel its a bunch of mystical woo, I see value in it and would like to figure out what kind of practices would take shape.

    • Corktree says:

      Yes, sexuality as a component of spirituality. I think this is overlooked and under-explored. I know that this is something that is used by JS’s critics to cast an unsavory light on his polygamous exploits, but I’ve often wondered if this idea had anything to do with it.

      As it is, I wish we talked about the spiritual connection that sex can provide more commonly in conversation. I wonder if we focused less on the physical aspects if it wouldn’t help our children and teens to look at it differently and more as something worth saving for the person that they will want and have that connection with. Though maybe not.

      In any case, I’ll admit I’ve looked at things like tantric sex and Karezza as spirituality enhancing additions to my marriage.

    • Jessawhy says:

      I found a book by Deepak Chopra about sexuality and spirituality (I can’t remember what it was called) and read a few lines that made me interested.
      It’s something I’d like to study more about.

  13. Rita says:

    I like Kew’s comment and also Corktree’s follow up comment. I checked off #1 – not because I dress provocatively – I don’t. It’s more about looking and feeling good.

  14. Anon says:

    I’m a newlywed, still figuring out that part of my life.

    I do want to say one thing though, I wish someone had told me it was okay to be a sexual person. I remember in high school drawing some nude figures (I’m not artist) and other things of a sexual nature and couldn’t help feel guilty about it. I probably still would.

    I wish someone had told me that it was okay to draw whatever I felt like and not feel like I was thinking “impure thoughts.”

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