We all know and accept that our sexuality is the instinctual way we continue our species. Sex is for making babies. But most of us also know that it can be much more than that. If we are very fortunate our sexual expression can be a direct and intense way to love ourselves and another person. If we are not fortunate, often due to having been abused sexually when young, our sexuality can quickly change into an addiction. I truly believe that sex addicts begin by believing that they are expressing love for another person when they have sex with them. This hooks in with romance and relationship addiction. Our culture continually reinforces the idea that sex and romance and relationships are all about love. We read about it in books, watch it in films and listen to it in popular music. The great irony is that those who become addicted are not trying to develop intimacy, they are trying to escape intimacy with themselves and others.
Despite the fact that our culture is sex/romance/relationship obsessed, despite that we sell it over and over again in this capitalistic country, open discussions about the nature of sexuality are taboo. The first myth that we promote is that children are not sexual beings until they reach puberty. It is taboo to acknowledge that we are born into this world with not only sensual feelings and responses, but sexual ones, too. That is just the nature of being animals. Children are taught very young to deny this necessary part of their spirit. The way they are taught is through the practice of shaming. Shaming is a pernicious, common practice. Shame instructs that not only what the child may be doing is “wrong”, but that something is essentially wrong with the child in his or her being. How often have you heard the expression, “What’s wrong with you?!”
Society and adults say it is “okay” to promote the idea of “romance” in children. Stories of princesses and princes or heroines and heros abound. These fantasies make the assumption that these stories are depictions of “true” love without ever bothering to go into what basic love is all about. The children eat up these shallow fantasies. And, of course, sexuality is left out entirely. Can you see what a great distortion of reality this is? “Romance” is okay. Sexuality is shameful. Puppy love crushes are “okay”. No, they are more than okay, they are encouraged, they are “normal” and “natural” and a part of every child’s experience. The truth is that without addressing sexuality except to label it shameful is to make the natural laws of attraction in children something perverse. It is to deny a healthy link between sexuality and romantic love.
The whole issue of what exactly healthy sexuality is, is ignored. And why? Because the majority of adults do not know what healthy sexuality is. And why? Because they were taught the same shame based sickness when they were children. The sickest of these adults were sexually abused as children and teenagers and what do they do when they have children? They sexually abuse their children. And why do so many get away with it? Because discussion of sexuality is taboo. The children, even before they are abused, are taught that being sexual is shameful. Then their abusers use that lesson to bind the child into silence. They exploit the child’s extreme vulnerability on all levels. Many of the children who have the courage to tell someone are shamed into denying what they know is true.
These children especially, but all children, learn to deny the truth. It becomes their way of life, just as it is obviously the way of all the adults they meet. This denial is the beginning of the dual living of the addictive life. We develop socially acceptable personas, but behind closed doors we behave differently. We lose our precious sense of personal integrity. We teach ourselves, each other and the children sickness instead of health. By labeling discussion of sexuality as taboo, we shirk our responsibility to the children most of all. One of the first rules of recovery from addiction is: Get Honest! Break the cycle. Stop denying the truth. Stop living a dual life. Regain your personal integrity. Ask for help. Learn to be responsible to yourself and others. Learn what the word love really means.
A Recovery Blog
This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.