Can We Unshackle Sexuality From Morality?

What if I like it?

I’m aware of a longing. In my body, my cells. In my spirit. There’s a hunger only he can satisfy. He’s claiming his place, filling the doorway to my bedroom. Eyes undressing. I soften as the twitch of his mouth tugs at the threads of my composure. I want to look away. I feel vulnerable, exposed yet exhilarated by his thorough examination. My cheeks flush.

Like a viewfinder, each blink unveils an unsaid desire. He will be my fearless leader, I think. The one who takes me to the edge without me having to say the words aloud. I don’t want to say the words.

‘What do you want?’ He whispers, stalking towards me. I blink.

The air thickens with unbridled wanting, deliberate anticipation for the lightest touch I know is coming. He always starts this way. I arch towards his warmth as his fingers graze each rib on their descent. He takes me with reckless abandon and I’m thankful for his deliverance.


Why are many women more comfortable with the idea of men liberating them from their self-imposed boundaries, their shame, and their shyness? Why is it hard to be an initiatress of your own sexual exploration? I blame Rapunzel and Freud.

We’re all familiar with the Madonna-Whore Complex, first identified by Freud, which polarises women as either ‘good, virtuous, chaste’ or ‘bad, promiscuous, seductive’. The construction of these opposing female identities can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and continues to be reinforced in current times. The Handmaid’s Tale in all its commercial success is evidence that we continue to be both enthralled and horrified at the idea of patriarchal power assigning us roles based on our fertility. For society to arbitrarily determine our goodness by how much (or how little), we express our sexuality is a tale as old as time.

Somewhere along the line, we’ve drunk the cool-aide and internalised this societal conditioning — and the shame that comes along with it. How could we not? The ideology is woven tightly into the collective consciousness.

The inevitable shame that comes from trying to reconcile our innate, improper sexual selves with our more dignified, acceptable selves, often prevents us from embracing and enacting our deepest desires. This creates a painful choice between sexual expression and being a ‘decent’ human. It divides us internally and splits relationships in two.

Your erotic flame is snuffed when the unruly, impolite nature of desire meets the rigid thinking of ‘a good woman wouldn’t…’

Brene Brown defines shame as ‘the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging — something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.’

If the yearning to connect with another human being is the cause of our cellular hunger, then the only way to be satiated is to let our most vulnerable, whole selves be seen. But when we’re experiencing shame, we may find it difficult to be honest about who we are and what we need to feel satisfied. Especially if we’ve cast chunks of ourselves aside having deemed them unacceptable.

Alain de Botton, philosopher, asks if our sexuality could be linked to all that is virtuous within us instead of being relegated to the shadowy corners of our lives. He suggests we integrate an interest in our sexuality along with other ideals such as intelligence, kindness, and humility.

It would require something of a revolution for our culture to consider virtues such as honesty and courage as synonymous with sexual exploration. A revolution that begins with the reconciliation of our two parts — a consciousness of the loop in your head that assigns a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ label to your wanton desires. You want what you want and no one can really explain it.

When we stop internally condemning our sexuality, we handle our sensibilities and our predilections with much more generosity and grace. We courageously go to where the longing resides and we stroke it.

We show up whole to a wonderland of excitation and connection.

Brooke MaggsComment