For those people who think that sex is ‘natural’, sexual intercourse will be deemed the most natural. Surely that’s the point of it all: underneath the fog of human complexity, sex is procreation. Everything else is just scene setting.
And it’s natural in its specifics too. It’s obvious that a reliable erection is a prerequisite. It’s obvious that thrusting is involved. It’s obvious that, once started, it’ll continue until orgasm. Until the little death do us part.
Is any of this true?
In Gramsci’s view, hegemony isn’t that one idea is more successful or better than another. Rather, it’s that it’s not thought of as an idea at all, but as how things are.
And that’s what intercourse is. And the hegemony is so strong that often, all we feel we can do is tinker with the pace or with the position.
Consider the first assumption, that an erection is a prerequisite for intercourse. This is an idea that causes tremendous unhappiness. Men’s shame and anxiety around their erection often causes them to initiate intercourse too early, to become disassociated from their partner and to focus on their ‘performance’ rather than on the connection. It’s most often the direct cause of intercourse becoming increasingly boring and repetitive, and eventually ceasing altogether.
And it’s false. Many people – The Taoist Masters, for example – have known for millennia that it’s perfectly possible to initiate intercourse without an erection. Once you’ve verified this for yourself, ideally with sufficient quantities of quality lubricant, you might want to ask why such an obviously false idea came to be thought of as unquestioningly true.
But to ask the question is to answer it, because, just in the asking, the whole patriarchal scenario hoves itself into plain view.
The erection conjures up the second assumption: a person acting, from desire -the man- and a person being acted upon, and having desire thrust upon her – the woman. The initial thrust affirms this, begetting the succeeding ones. Which in turn takes us up the speedy funicular of arousal.
Even if there is only one person on the train.
And the third assumption is equally damaging: the obligation of orgasm. People -particularly men – will often tell me how they feel obliged to conjure up some image to make them come, which they then feel guilty about. When I suggest to them they could just stop, and resume later if they wanted to, it’s as if I’m suddenly speaking a strange language. But it’s their internal language that’s in Desperanto.
Imagine what intercourse would be like if none of these assumptions applied. What would it look like? What would it feel like?
You will have your own ideas, but for me, it would be primarily creative and feeling and expressive, rather than the performing of someone else’s script. It could go in multiple directions, rather than just the predictable one. Or it could just stay within a beautifully intimate meditative space. It would be a spontaneous act of co-creation, rather than endless repetition.
If you can imagine it, you can start to dream a new world into being.
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