Arts, Activism, Awakening in Mind, Body, & Spirit

reclaiming sexuality

NEWS: ArousedWoman Magazine PRE-SALE Premiere Issue or All 6 Issues


ArousedWoman MagazineComing soon!  ArousedWoman Magazine will hit the cyber-newsstands in August 2014.

You can pre-order and get yours reserved for $9.99.  Or get a subscription for all 6 bimonthly issues for just $49.99.

In order to be truly happy, you have to be happy (and healthy) on several levels.   The best way to accomplish this is with solid information so you can make informed decisions about your life, your body, your rights, and your peace of mind in this crazy, hectic world.

AW Magazine will be a digital publication, readable on any computer or mobile device.  The premiere August/September issue will be released in August 2014.

An extension of AW Blog and AW Radio, AW Mag is an in-depth look at various topics for women (and men!), including sex, health, fitness, nutrition, feminism/activism, original erotica, guest writers, spirituality, reviews, and more!

The August/September 2014 issue will feature articles and interviews on the topics:

  • Body image
  • California women’s Reiki healing center
  • Radiant pleasure
  • Finding our way back from patriarchy
  • Goddess-based spirituality
  • The new Atheism
  • Classical Tantra
  • Activist film festivals
  • Revolutionary Feminism
  • Painting female nudes
  • Healing yourself through meditation
  • Knowing your vagina
  • Massage & the importance of touch
  • Breast Health
  • Protecting your clit
  • Orgasm tips
  • New AskTrish letters
  • Sexual health
  • Overall nutrition
  • Recipes
  • Original erotica
  • Guest articles
  • OpEd pieces
  • Reviews
  • AND MORE!

Every issue will have new articles, new guests, new important health coverage, and new original erotica!

Pay using your PayPal account or your credit or debit card:

And please SPREAD THE WORD by sharing the link to this blog post.  Thank you!

trish

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DailyOJ 06-23-14: Getting Back Into My Body


nude-woman-in-solitude-peachI can’t believe how long it has been since I wrote my last true DailyOJ post.  It seems like a lifetime ago that I was on my regular meditation and awakening practice, but I felt I needed a break due to everything that was going on.

So on 02-03-14, I took a break from writing here on my ArousedWoman Blog as I officially entered the campaign to be a Congressional candidate.  I had started back to college in October, around the same time I finally decided to run for Congress.  The ensuing months were some of the most mentally stressful I’ve had in a while.  I was over-extended and being pulled in so many different directions — home life, rebounding from the loss of a job, starting my Musical Theatre Magazine for income, going back to college, throwing my hat in the ring for Congress, being a single mom, running this blog, trying to finish other writing and music I had started, my computer crashed in December, starting another fitness certification, and other things I can’t even remember now.  It was just too much.

In April, I had to take a leave of absence from school to focus on my campaign, but the campaign ended June 3rd, when I lost my bid to be the Democratic candidate for my district.  Which is fine.  What I learned about politics taught me that my place is here as an activist.

My second-to-last DailyOJ post was on 09-16-13, so to sit here and realize it has been over 9 months since my last real DailyOJ is just strange.  Nine months is the gestation period of a child, from conception to birth.  This impels me to wonder, what did I give birth to?  What was brewing in the womb of life experience these past nine months?  What did I think I was conceiving?  What do I have to show for this amount of time and work and stress and even grief?

Not much.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped doing yoga.  My three+ miles that I walked every single day rain or shine dwindled down to one on many days, and closer to the primary election, sometimes zero miles.  I had an allergic reaction to some store-bought bread (again), which made me gain weight and inner inflammation that I’m still dealing with.  The stress of fending off the evil ring-wing nut-jobs on social media sent my cortisol levels up, which didn’t help my body at all.  And mostly, I just didn’t like how being in the political arena made me feel as a person.

I’ve worked hard to overcome my natural warrior tendencies, to incorporate more yin wisdom.  But politics is all yang — and not the good aspects of yang.  Politics is an evil, dirty, money-driven business based on extreme competition that I personally found to be destructive on many levels.

For me and my body, what concerned me most was how my energy level dropped.  I don’t mean energy, as in feeling like getting up and going somewhere, I mean my true energy, my life force, my palpable connection to the universe and everything around me that actually matters to me.  Because politics is so based in low-energy matters like money (economy, budget/deficit, jobs, etc.), I felt my energy just fade away.  I no longer felt my energy buzzing up my legs, or my Kundalini spine-zaps that circle around to tickle my face, or the out-of-body heartgasms, or the energy that bounces off my arms when I think about something I love or something that makes me happy or makes me laugh.  Nothing about politics gave me good vibes.  I tried focusing on the fact that I was wanting to help the people of my area, and I focused on being me, not a puppet politician that the media expects a candidate to be.  I spent so much energy deflecting the negativity of the political scene, that I had no energy left over for me, my well-being, and my needs.

I had lost my connection to my body.  When I would try to do a practice session, my mind was on politics.  When I was sleeping at night, I’d wake up at 3 a.m., and think about politics.  Because I was virtually alone in my campaign, it all rested on me to do a good job.  I felt a responsibility to the people who saw themselves represented in me, a progressive liberal candidate in a Red State.

My sessions became less about my practice and solely about trying to have orgasms.  Therein was the major problem.  “Trying” for pleasure is a sure-fire way to ensure true pleasure eludes you.  My orgasms, while still amazing on any orgasm-o-meter, were different.  They were no longer full-body.  They were localized to my genitals.  They were rarely as emotional as I was accustomed to.  I didn’t know my body anymore.  And I couldn’t focus enough on my practice when I had them to raise my energy again.

I will say again as I’ve said before — My “worst” orgasm now is infinitely better, bigger, and more pleasurable than the best orgasm I ever had before my awakening.  But at this point, I’m used to a certain level of mind-blowingemotional orgasmic experience.  Regular, genital-centric orgasms simply will not do.

I’ve also said many times that orgasm is an energy, and when I’m in that energy, it’s like living in a completely different vibration.  I’ve told people the feeling is like orgasm is a higher vibration level, and whenever I’d want a sudden orgasm, I just stand on my tip-toes, and I’m there, in that energy field, and they just happen — whenever, wherever I want them.  My body is amazing.

Or she was … before I got the crazy idea that I should enter politics.

The primary was June 3rd.  I got 44.6% of the votes, but lost.  The follow-up after the campaign lasted about 9 to 10 days, and as voters began to focus on the unfolding dramas elsewhere in the crazy world of Mississippi politics, I bowed out, thinking I’d get back to doing what I do.  This is when my body crashed.  Simply crashed.  I spent a few days in thorough lethargy, allowing my body to release the pent-up exhaustion that had accumulated over the course of nine months on the campaign trail.  This was when I fully realized what I had done to my body and my psyche and my spirit by following a path I had intrinsically known was not for me, but that my activist self thought I could strong-arm my self through — for the greater good, for standing up for our rights, for speaking up for the right thing.  I have always despised politics, and now, I had reaped the lesson of what happens when you don’t listen to your true self.

Now, it’s summer.  I’m not home alone during the day … or night.  So I can’t do a full practice on a regular basis.  I still enjoy my stealth orgasms.  In fact, even my nipple-O’s and stealth clit O’s had begun to wane in intensity.  In the past week, I’ve been trying to get more sleep, and even though I’m still only getting five to six hours of actual sleep, I’m staying in bed to rest a few hours more to get at least eight hours of sleep/rest in so my body can heal.

Because I’m a single mom, I won’t be able to get back to my regular practice until the Fall, but I will do what I can with my stealth O’s through the summer.  That might be a good thing actually — allow my body to finish processing all this politics B.S. and regroup.  I will allow my fire to come back gradually.  I am focusing on positive, life-affirming, creativity-inspiring pursuits, like my new online workshop.  I am ready to help people who want to be helped.  I will get back into a regular yoga practice.  I will dismiss the wheat and sugar that somehow crept back into my diet (and devastated my body).

By August, I should be back to myself — or introduced to my new self, a woman who has learned so much on this journey and who is ready to be aroused in mind, body, and spirit once again.

Aroused and healing,

trish

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NEWS: Register for Tantra-based Orgasm Awakening Online Workshop


tantra_sexI am now offering group and private Tantra-based training via Skype in 6 two-hour classes.  Finally!

This training focuses on awakening sensual response, increasing sexual pleasure, reclaiming your body as yours, honoring the sacred nature of the body as a means of enlightenment, and connecting to universal consciousness.

The 6 group classes will be held on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. CT/ 6 p.m. PT) beginning July 24, 2014.  If taking the group course by yourself, the cost is $99, and it’s only $149 for couples.

Private classes can be arranged at the convenience of the participant(s).  Six sessions for a Single is $589.00, and Couples will be $879.00.

This workshop will incorporate the philosophy of Tantra along with anatomy and biology, the science of orgasm, exercises, journaling, homework in between classes, with plenty of time for Q&A during the classes.

This training is holistic in nature and covers other aspects of your well-being, such as emotional happiness, fitness, nutrition, physical health, and relationships.  This workshop is part of a larger project that I am developing but can’t mention to the public at this time.  But SOON!

More classes will be provided in the near future, but this introductory class is required for the intermediate and advanced levels.  Sexual orientation does not matter.  But you MUST BE 18 to participate.

You may sign up for the Group or Private classes either as a Single or as a Couple on the ArousedWoman website.

ALL SALES ARE FINAL.  Any questions should be directed to me PRIOR to purchasing any option.  Use the form below.

I look forward to helping you on your journey!

trish

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OpEd: Summer Solstice – 18 Years a Witch


Trish 2012 -- 1000px Today is June 21, 2014, and it marks 18 years since I self-initiated as a witch.  The ritual took place in my backyard with a number of fellow witch-friends in attendance, along with too many mosquitoes and June Bugs to count.

I had been on this road to witchdom for a couple of years, having searched for a spiritual tradition that was in keeping with my ancient Gaelic ancestors.  I was even in a coven for a while, but their tradition was American eclectic and had way too much Wicca and ceremonial hogwash for my tastes.  Unofficially, I had been on this path my whole life; it had only been a couple years prior to my self-initiation that I had begun to take on the mantle of witch and pagan.

As I related in my Samhain post, being a witch in reality is nothing like what TV and movies pretend it is.  “Witch” is usually used as an insult, particularly against women.  This past Samhain, I bought a sign that says, “You say I’m a Witch … like it’s a bad thing.”  And for me, the word “witch” is utterly fabulous.

The word witch is thought to derive from a Germanic root word that alternately can mean “to be strong” and/or “to know” or “to be wise”.  The term witch was used to refer to the local wise woman, the woman who knew the healing arts, midwivery, burial preparations, and often, relationship advice.  Witches were the keepers of arcane knowledge from birth to death, and that scared the men in charge of Europe’s misogynistic religion and governments.  Insecure men have always feared women’s ability to create life, and that fear was never greater than in the centuries of patriarchal rule before modern science could explain some of the mysteries of human biology.

I have often said that someday I hope to be able to call myself, fully, a witch — to truly be a wise woman.  I’ve found that it takes much more than just calling yourself a witch to actually be a true witch.  I’m not talking about covens and initiations either.  You’re a person who strives to live in a wise way, a beauty way, the “Red Road”, according to the laws of Nature and Karma, or you don’t.

Trish-Causey-Mississippi-Pagan-Pride-Day-2004Many arguments can be made over who is a real witch and who isn’t.  That’s another reason I left a coven and ventured out on my own.  I just wanted to do what felt right to me and was in keeping with my Irish and Scottish heritage.  Along the way, I’ve studied many religions, and I’m particularly smitten with the teachings of Indian religions as they pertain to enlightenment, reincarnation, and expansion of universal consciousness.  While I will call myself an Energist, for reasons I’ll explain in another post, there is no actual name for what I do — it’s just Trish Witchyness.

Recently, an instructor from Pittsburgh University interviewed me for some doctoral work he is doing.  He wanted to know about my spiritual path and how I do my “thang” as a solitary witch.  We talked for several hours over the course of a few days, and it was a great conversation that brought back many memories along my journey.

I recounted a tale from when I was a child, about seven years old, when my mother wanted me to stop making mud pies in the backyard to get ready for church.  I asked why we had to go to church.  She said it was to worship god in his house.  I asked her why we had to go to church to worship god because a church was made by men while the earth and water I was concocting into mud pies was actually made by god.  Furious that I was questioning her religious bullshit, she growled for me to get inside and get cleaned up, and away to man’s building we went.

When I was nine, I was forced to become Catholic.  I knew instinctively the church was evil.  Maybe it was a past-life memory of being burned at the stake or something … or being an observant child, I could see through the hypocrisy and the double standards of the Catholic church when my mother, the recreational martyr, fell for all of it hook, line, and sinker.  One day when I was 10, I asked one of the priests, “Which is worse: always to believe and never to question, or always to question and never to believe?”  He sputtered, clearly unable to answer me, then a moment later began spewing some dogmatic drivel that I could tell even he knew was inadequate.

I hated the Catholic church, I hated my mother, I hated Catholic school, I despised it all.  When I was 17, I graduated from Catholic school, and I vowed never to return to the church.  I almost did not attend my best friend’s wedding because it was a wedding mass.  So was my sister’s.

At age 17, my life changed when I met an American Indian ballet dancer at a major competition.  His poetry about his spirit animal connected directly to the heart of me.  But I’m not Indian.  He suggested I begin searching for answers with my heritage, and so my journey into the incredible world of the Gaelic people and spirituality began.  I knew I was home as I learned more and more about pre-Christian Ireland and Scotland.  Even with the invasion of Christianity on the Gaelic peoples, many of the traditional stories and customs had survived.  Considering how much of the pagan culture was absorbed and outright stolen by the Christian church, finding the links back to pre-Christian European spirituality is doable and documentable.

When I was 21, I volunteered with a ballet company in New Orleans.  One day, I decided to go inside a huge cathedral — St. Patrick’s, I think it was.  I went to one of the last pews and knelt.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I looked around.  Nothing.  I bowed my head.  Nothing.  I looked at the shiny brass and gold trinkets, and the porcelain statues, and the stained glass, and the wooden reproduction of Jesus on the cross.  And felt nothing.  I began crying.  Because I felt nothing.  I left.  Still crying.  I wanted to belong somewhere, and this was never going to be it.

Trish Causey Autumn Queen CollageI didn’t have a name for what I was or what I believed at that time.  About a year later, a theatre friend asked if I’d heard of Wicca.  I hadn’t, but when I looked into it at the library and bookstore (this was pre-internet), I resonated with some of what I read, but not all of it.  Some of Wicca seemed as regimented and hierarchical as the dogmatic church I despised.  Turns out that Wicca was founded by two former Anglicans.  And as another friend used to joke, “Episcopal is just Catholic with an ‘E’.”

It was that journey (and the dawn of the internet) that allowed me to find other soul-path querents who go by many names: Wicca, Witches, Pagans, Neo-Pagans, Druids, Eclectic, Ceremonial Witches, Asatru, etc.  Too many to list.  The coven didn’t work out, but it allowed me to see what I didn’t want on my path.  I left in the Spring, and it was that Summer Solstice that I held my self-initiation in my backyard on June 21, 1996.

Walking the witchy path has not been easy, especially considering I live in Mississippi.  Being “out of the broom closet” has been a challenge from Day 1.  I have endured personal taunts and threats, rude comments left on my vehicle (thanks to my “Born Again Pagan” bumper sticker) whenever I went to the store, work, the post office, the gas station.  I even lost a job because I wasn’t Christian.  But like any other closet a person chooses to come out of, being free trumps being a slave to the ignorance of others, especially here in the Bible Belt.

Witchcraze-by-Trish-Causey-ASCAP-sq-300I composed a musical, Witchcraze, to correlate the terrorizing good ol’ boys of the Bush regime with the torturous witch trial masterminds of 1692 Salem.  Having studied in depth the arrest warrants, the trial transcripts, and the re-trial transcripts, I can say for a fact that nothing I have endured comes close to what was done to the women of previous centuries, when “witch” was a label that carried heinous torture and a death sentence.

So, I’m a witch.  And I’m a pagan.  And an Energist.  And a tarot card reader.  And a Libra.  And a Tatrika and yogini.  And a composer, and a nerd, and a bookworm, and a Democrat, and a Streisand devotee, and a single-mom, and a wannabe chef and cafe-owner, and a kettlebell enthusiast, and I’m right-handed.  Pick any of those labels, and someone is going to have a problem with me because of how they perceive that word and what they think it stands for.

I am a writer: a lover of words and sounds and syllables.  I know what “witch” means, and to me, witch is a beautiful word.  Witch is a sacred word.  Witch is a word women (and men) have died for, and it is a word I choose for my goal in this lifetime: to be a wise woman, to be a strong woman, to live a life of expansion and understanding.  Most of all, hearing or seeing the word witch makes me feel something.  I feel a connection to all the women (and men) who defied oligarchical, elitist oppression to live and die free as freethinkers and religious and political dissenters.  And that makes my activist heart proud.

Aroused and witchy,

trish

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NEWS: Alabama Finally Legalizes the Sex You Were Probably Already Having


hug from behindThe Alabama Court of Appeals has finally brought the Red State of Alabama into the modern era by throwing out a law that criminalized consensual oral and anal sex between unmarried people.

According to Alabama Code, Section 13A-6-60, “Deviate Sexual Behavior” is defined as, “Any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.”

The reason, of course, for making such consensual sex illegal is to target members of the LGBT community, since Alabama and most Red States dwell in the God-fearing, fear-mongering, guilt-swilling Bible Belt.  In fact, other media outlets have claimed this is a victory for “gay sex”.

But hold on, there, sparky!  I guess no one realized that unmarried hetero couples also partake of oral sex and anal sex as alternatives to or in prelude to vaginal penetration …  such as when a hetero couple doesn’t want to get pregnant, or maybe the woman is in those six weeks after giving birth when the vagina is off-limits to the guy’s penis?  Or hey, maybe they just LOVE oral or anal sex?!  Quelle surprise!

With oral sex and anal sex being decriminalized, it means Alabama is one step closer to acknowledging grown, consenting adults’ basic human right to do what they want in bed.

America is coming around, albeit slowly, to the fact that sex between consenting adults is no concern of government or religious busy-bodies.

Pucker up!

trish

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ALA CODE § 13A-6-60 : Alabama Code – Section 13A-6-60: DEFINITIONS – See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/13A/6/4/13A-6-60#sthash.aGgHT59p.dpuf
(2) DEVIATE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. Any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another. – See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/13A/6/4/13A-6-60#sthash.aGgHT59p.dpuf
(2) DEVIATE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. Any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another. – See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/13A/6/4/13A-6-60#sthash.aGgHT59p.dpuf
(2) DEVIATE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. Any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another. – See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/13A/6/4/13A-6-60#sthash.aGgHT59p.dpuf

(2) DEVIATE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE. Any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another. – See more at: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/alcode/13A/6/4/13A-6-60#sthash.aGgHT59p.dpuf

OpEd: Oh, to Belly Dance Naked at Burning Man….


woman-belly-dancing-toplessI have long had an interest in Burning Man, the bohemian, heathen, socialist event that happens in Nevada every year.  According to the website, Burning Man is an art event at which participants “dedicate themselves to the spirit of community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.  They depart one week later, leaving no trace.”

As more and more people are awakening to the evils of crony capitalism and oppressive patriarchy, events that promote such blatant rebellion in the face of the prudish establishment are becoming more accepted and, hopefully, more common.

I used to do all sorts of ethnic dancing, and I particularly loved belly dancing.   It’s been a while, but I’m feeling the pull to get back into my shimmies and camel walks.

There is a powerful connection to the earth and goddess energy and being Woman that happens during belly dancing, Flamenco, or plain ol’ make-it-up-as-you-go-along free expression.  I was raised in ballet, which I still adore, but ballet is the opposite of everything that is free and lithe and curvy about belly dancing.

By the way, belly dancing isn’t just for thin women.  Women who are curvy have an advantage in belly dancing in that your extra jiggles cause extra jingles of your coin-hip belt.  Yes, it’s called BELLY dancing for a reason!

Recently, I’ve been looking into what all attending Burning Man would entail, and I don’t know that I can afford it this year, but I am definitely putting it on the books for next year.  A friend of mine in New York told me about something that happened in the temple last year that was a beautiful, amazing testament to what happens when people come together in unity.  He said after that, he will never miss another Burning Man.  The entire experience was just too incredible for words.

So, now I MUST experience Burning Man.  I NEED to experience this art event that is an example for all of society on how people can come together in love and harmony and respect the earth in the process.  And to have the freedom from neo-Puritanical laws that shame the human body — particularly women’s bodies and women’s nipples, to be able to dance naked amongst like-minded bohemian heathens is too tempting to resist, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde.

I encourage every woman to loosen up and try belly dancing as a way to connect to the sensual divine within you.  This isn’t about being perfect.  There is no judgment allowed!  And who knows, maybe next year, I’ll be amongst the living goddesses celebrating the beauty of the human body and the human spirit at the one and only Burning Man!

trish

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Yes, ArousedWoman Has a Facebook Page… Und You Vill LIKE IT!


ArousedWoman - icon- sq - 300 pxBecause of the delicate, activist nature of my site and blog, I never did a mass-invite to AW’s Facebook page.  So consider this your invitation.  Please LIKE ArousedWoman’s Facebook page!

AW’s FB page

One reason I’d like to boost the numbers on Facebook is so we can have longer conversations than we can in the 140 characters on Twitter.  I am definitely NOT forsaking Twitter — I LOVE Twitter.  But this will give us a chance to talk and share in ways we might not be able to in the Twitterverse.

Of course, we have to follow FB’s morality police, so it’s not as “open” as… say… AW’s Tumblr.  But I think we will manage nicely.

So please LIKE and share ArousedWoman’s Facebook page.

Thank you!

trish

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NEWS: ArousedWoman Blog Named a Top 5 Blog for Sexuality Advice & Relationships


ArousedWoman Blog Named a Top 5 Blog for Sexuality Advice & RelationshipsArousedWomanBlog.com has been named a Top 5 blog for sexuality & relationship advice!

Without knowing about this, DatingAdvice.com, ranked ArousedWoman Blog at the top of a short list of blogs that deal with sensuality and eros.  Best of all, they actually get what AW is all about.

From their site:

Our 5 Best Sensual Blog were selected for offering a consistent canvas for exploring what sexy actually means and where you can find it.

ArousedWoman Blog wants to stir your passions and feed your fire, but in a clever twist. They frame their erotic delights around empowering women, expanding sexual freedom, and defying a culture steeped in shame and guilt.

Well, “they” is actually just me, but WOW!  This truly is an awesome accolade.  This blog documents my journey in dealing with sexual trauma and reclaiming my body as MINE in my Daily OJ posts.  Along the way, I’ve helped lots of other women and men deal with their own issues and relationships in my AskTrish posts and helped them get in touch with their inner activist with my NEWS and OpEd pieces.

Oh, and anyone who holds any of this against me is an asshat and can buzz off.

trish

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OpEd: Where Is the Body-Positive Body Image for Women in Media?


20140421-090750.jpgWhile I am a sex-positive & pro-sex movement activist, I think it’s sad that the majority of the body-positive photos of women I see are in and amongst the BDSM and sexualized violence porn of Tumblr. There are many amateur sites that feature full-figured women, but the amateur photo-snaps are not of the technical quality of a professional photographer. And where are the professional photographers taking professional photos of real-sized women, using beautiful lighting and honoring the female body? The average sized woman in the United States is a 14/16. You can be a size 14 or 16 and still be healthy. Why aren’t we represented in the media and culture? Do I really need to go into a rant about matriarchal cultures of the past and the ancient preference for curvy women, immortalized in goddess images like those found at Willendorf? Seriously?

Why aren’t women allowed to be “heavy” or real-sized in magazines and on TV and film? Why aren’t stretch marks a sign of accomplishment for giving birth rather than a source of embarrassment or shame because our skin isn’t flawless anymore?

Why is a thigh-gap so sought after by teenage girls and 20-somethings? Is it because they don’t know that thigh fat makes sex feel really, really good for the guy? AND for the woman?

I’ve seen a statistic that girls see 400 ads per day telling them how they should look. Is anyone telling teens and young women they are beautiful the way they are?

One of the best things about the amateur porn on Tumblr is the real bodies. The women have real breasts — large or small. They have thigh fat and butt fat. They look healthy and natural. Usually, the men are not overly muscled; they are athletic but not steroid- addicted, bodybuilder over-muscled. For the men and the women, their bodies look normal and natural. And the best part — the orgasms are real. Real people with real bodies having real orgasms. Who knew?!

We come in all shapes and sizes, and these shapes, sizes, skin tones, hair textures, and nose and lip shapes should be reflected in the media. Diversity is a beautiful thing. Women who are naturally skinny are beautiful, and so are those of us who are not.

Be you. Be proud. Be seen.

trish

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REVIEW: Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy


Tantra-Cult-of-Ecstasy-coverTantra: The Cult of Ecstasy is a large-sized paperback book originally published in Britain that covers some of the basics about Tantra, offering accurate information on this ancient, extensive, and often confusing topic.  The book features full-color photographs from the Tantra sutras, connecting the reader with Tantric history.  The author, Indra Sinha, focuses on the ancient paths of Tantra: the goddesses associated, sacred sites, mantras, and meditations, as well as explains the many misconceptions of Tantra as presented in the West.  Sinha was a Sanskrit scholar at Cambridge and also wrote one of the popular modern translations of the infamous Kama Sutra.

The reason I like Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy is because it touches on so many important topics of Tantra but in manageable pieces, perfectly combined with the photos and visually-friendly layout. The photographs are taken from various primary sources – the Tantra sutras, and incorporate various symbolic aspects that the ancients readily understood but may seem shocking or just weird to the modern viewer. Some of the iconography includes blood-covered goddesses, wriggling serpents, and a plethora of yoni (vulvas) and linga (penises).  The book also features centuries-old Tantric drawings and paintings that depict maithuna (sexual union), so this book is “Not Safe For Work” and might be best for readers aged 21 or older.

This book touches on so many important topics in a thorough but easy-to-grasp manner that it makes a perfect beginner’s book to Tantra.  I heartily recommend Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy as a primer for Tantra: The Cult of the Feminine by Andre Van Lysebeth, Tantric Yoga and the Wisdom Goddesses by Dr. David Frawley, and Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga by Sally Kempton.  As the umbrella over all the yogas, including hatha and kundalini, Tantra is a shamanic science present in all forms of yogic practice, but the majority of Tantric gnosticism regarding sex is rarely presented at the average yoga studio while being hypersexualized in most New Age Tantric books and workshops.

Another book with a similar cover is Tools for Tantra by North Indian musician and writer Harish Johari, an excellent introduction to the yogic mandalas, Sanskrit mantras, and visual yantras used in Tantra.  However, this book is a bit of a dryer read, and so Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy is still a better opener to Tantra.

As one writer has said, a book without Tantra’s yantra is not really a book on Tantra. Therein lies the great problem with researching Tantra. It is difficult to sort through the numerous books available to ascertain which one will have the best, most reliable information.  Finding a teacher versed in real Tantra is even more difficult.  Tantra is a way of life, not an hour-long yoga session Monday-Wednesday-Friday, nor a collection of kinky sex positions. Tantra literally means a “tool for expansion” and is thought of as a “web”, a connected yet expanding consciousness, bridging the microcosm with the macrocosm and back again, cyclically.

The author, Sinha, writes on page 15, “The basis of all Tantrism is the worship of Sakti and Siva, the female and the male principles…. Without Sakti, there is no Siva, and no Siva without Sakti.” Sinha states emphatically in the previous paragraph, “Siva and Sakti cannot be separated.” (14-15) This very specific religious and spiritual foundation is probably the reason most Tantrism in the West has been secularized, stripping the “foreign” and non-Christian aspects to make Tantra and sexuality more palatable for sexually-repressed Americans.  While I personally, do not subscribe to Sanatana Dharma (“Hinduism”), I appreciate the energies anthropomorphized as the balancing principals of Shakti or Shiva.  Sinha has included the “foreign” bits and ancient spiritual practices for the Tantra newcomer.

The photographs of the ancient depictions of Tantra, her goddesses, and the sacred symbols can be jarring at first.  The modern observer may find it odd to see detached penises and flying vulvas included in sacred sexuality.  I will admit, that it does seem a bit “J. Alfred Prufrock’ed” at times.  However, like all symbols, they are meant to jog the memory of the mind, the heart, and/or the subconscious self, not to be the whole story in and of itself.

Intriguing to some and perhaps shocking to others, Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy helps diminish the hypersexualized celebrity of Tantra and add fact where fiction has reigned in the popular consciousness.  Sinha perfectly synthesizes centuries of teachings into a helpful, 154-page book, including an impressive 9-page bibliography and index, that informs but does not overwhelm the senses.  Anyone looking to dip her or his toe into the expansive waters of Tantra would do well to start with Sinha’s Tantra: The Cult of Ecstasy.

trish

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OpEd: British Art Installation Piece Celebrates ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’


Jamie McCartney's 'Great Wall of Vagina'Jamie McCartney is a British artist who created an art installation piece of plaster casts called “The Great Wall of Vagina”.  On his website are images of the entire installation along with the motto, “Changing female body image through art”.

His website explains the art piece:

The 9 metre long polyptych consists of four hundred plaster casts of vulvas, all of them unique, arranged into ten large panels. McCartney set out to make this project as broad and inclusive as possible. The age range of the women is from 18 to 76. Included are mothers and daughters, identical twins, transgendered men and women as well as a woman pre and post natal and another one pre and post labiaplasty.

One of the many reasons I love this piece is because when I directed/ produced a production of The Vagina Monologues in 2006, one of the comments repeatedly mentioned by women who auditioned was how much they hate what their vagina looks like.  Of course, they were actually referring to the vulva — as does this art piece (hint: the vagina is the inside part).  Only one female at the auditions, a 24 year old girl who had not yet had kids, said she loved how her vulva looked like a beautiful flower.  One woman said her “vagina” was ugly because she’d had 4 kids.  Frankly, I don’t think most women know what our genitals are supposed to look like because our perception is skewed by porn and skin mags.

The month that I turned 40, I took pictures of my vulva and saw my vulva for the very first time ever (not counting when I was in labor and saw my daughter’s head crowning in the mirror up on the wall of the delivery room — I’m nearsighted so I couldn’t really see it).  Turning 40, I wanted to love my body visually the way I adore my body sensually.  But seeing my vulva pics, I burst into tears because she looked so different than what I envisioned. My fair-skinned legs and rosy labia were not what I’m accustomed to seeing because most of the women I’ve seen in erotic photos are tan.  Then there was my clitoral hood and the shape of my inner labia…. I thought, “WHY would a man like this?!  I look so different….”

I deleted the pics immediately.  But I took some more pictures the next day, and this time I didn’t cry.  I guess I was getting accustomed to seeing what I look like.  I sent the pics to 3 guy friends I could trust to tell me the truth, and each one said my vulva was beautiful.  I was really annoyed with myself that I felt I needed that kind of validation, especially from men, but men know vulvas, and they know what men like in a juicy yoni.  And frankly, if I’d sent my pics to other women, would the women have been grossed out because they likewise have little clue what “vaginas” are supposed to look like?

As I continued to look at my vulva pictures (and even took some more), it was amazingly empowering to know and love my genitals and not compare mine to women in porn or magazines.  Aside from the genital grooming that is prolific in erotic photography, many people don’t realize that porn performers often have cosmetic surgery to alter their genitals, including labioplasty to make the labia smaller or conform to some ridiculous notion of what labia are “supposed” to look like.

This brings me to my point and yet another aspect of healing women’s body image.  There is NO one way a vulva is supposed to look.  Every vulva is different.  Comparing vulvas is like comparing snowflakes — each one is unique and beautiful in her own way.

I think McCartney’s work is very important for a few reasons.  One, he cast all sorts of women when making his plaster art, and you see all sorts of labia shapes and sizes (and piercings!) represented.  Also, because the work is in plaster as opposed to photography or paint, race is not an issue, and all the vulvas can be appreciated without an ingrained idea that “white chick” vulvas are more pleasing to the eye.

Check out McCartney’s website to see the many other panels in this art installation.

trish

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OpEd: Sex and Pain


Woman with Real Breasts Looking Off into DistanceIf you judged the average person’s sex habits by what you see online, you’d think everyone is into pain, BDSM, and hog-tying their sex partners into elaborate rope configurations.  A while back, I was “roped” into a brief Twitter war with a guy who was trying to justify putting duct tape over a woman’s mouth during sex.  You can well imagine I went Irish war queen on his ass.

Personally, I don’t understand why anyone would want to associate pleasure with pain, even though I’ve heard some pretty wild concepts.  And I’m not talking about the fur-lined handcuffs, blindfolds, and feathers — although I’d never do the handcuffs or the blindfold.  Even without a fetish being involved, women put up with painful sex for a variety of reasons, and we don’t have to.  Ever.

One reason I did not go the official “sex educator” route was because I would not have been allowed to speak my mind on the sex habits I personally find to be dangerous or just plain stupid.  (Yes, I know…. two consenting adults, blah, blah, blah….)  Since the rise of 50 Shades of Grey, it has become politically incorrect to say anything critical about BDSM or bondage or a woman not being a doormat for an abusive man.  And plain ol’ sex is considered “vanilla” sex, not exciting or amazing, just vanilla.  However, I feel the need to speak out for those of us who like our sex to be solely pleasurable between partners who are on an equal basis, not one person in control nor one person made to be a slave or subservient caricature.

From my own holistic, Tantric perspective, I would never enter a sexual experience with any attitude other than love, equality, and respect.

And yet, pain is apparently all over modern sex.  Personally, I believe the association of sex and pain is due to this patriarchal society that is based on hierarchy and competition at any cost.  The need for control or recognizing we are being controlled is incorporated into every aspect of our lives, our work, our economic status, our cultural/class status; and then hierarchy and the need for control or to relinquish all control crosses over into sex.

Pain is pain, not pleasure.  Women should not put up with painful sex, but often times, we do so as not to hurt the man’s feelings.  We endure all sorts of emotional pain throughout our lives, but sex should be 110% pleasure.  Women, you do not have to tolerate painful, unfulfilling sex.  Ever.

Sex should never hurt.  Except for some slight pain when the hymen is broken, sex should never be painful.  Even for an experienced woman, penetration can be painful if she is not lubricated enough.  Whether it’s your first time with a man or the hundredth, sex may need to be slow to take him in.  Just because you’ve been with him before doesn’t mean your body is automatically ready to be penetrated.  Being penetrated too quickly or without enough lube can be very, VERY painful.

Remember that the vulva needs to be massaged and stretched as part of the preparation for sex.  Another reason for spending time arousing the woman is that the vagina is only 3 to 3.5 inches long, but she expands up to 50% during arousal.  So if the man wants to get 5+ inches of his penis inside instead of just 3 inches, fully arousing a woman is time well spent.

The difference in penis size to vagina size can make for thrilling orgasms or a painful experience.  If the man has a large penis, extra time may need to be taken to avoid hurting the woman.  How much time?  This depends on the woman.  In this way, yes, the woman is always in control of the sex.  That’s just the way it goes, guys.

Once aroused, the woman’s erectile tissue will be fully infused with blood (just as the man’s erectile tissue fills with blood), and for the woman, when the man slowly slides inside the vagina, it is exquisite pressure and a sense of being absolutely full, as if he’s touched her soul.  Again, any man not willing to patiently await a woman’s full arousal doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near a vagina.

Encouraging pain to feel pleasure is just stupid — or even dangerous if your partner wants to try something like erotic axphxiation (choking to make orgasm “stronger”).  If you actually know the “how” of orgasm, you’d know that oxygen feeds orgasm intensity and duration, so cutting off your oxygen supply is actually not a good idea.  And about 1,000 people die per year from erotic axphyxiation.

Pain in the vagina, anus, or even in the pelvic floor or legs could be a sign of something very wrong.  If you experience pain or numbness in the legs during or after sex, this may be not only a neurological issue but also a respiratory issue.  Getting enough oxygen into your lungs, and ergo your body, is crucial for proper function of the body and especially for orgasm.  During sex, focus breathing down into your pelvic floor.  As you inhale, bring the air all the way down toward your genitals.  This will ensure that you are belly breathing and not breathing only in the upper chest.  Upper chest breathing doesn’t allow the body to get rid of as much carbon dioxide, so the body is not being fully oxygenated.  This can contribute to the tingling or numbness in the legs.  Also, being sedentary in your daily life or job can affect the nerves and bloodflow in the legs.

Moving around to the backside, anal sex should NEVER hurt.  Ever.  Whether fingers, a toy, or a penis, anal sex should only ever be pleasurable.  Men, please know, that male prostate stimulation is very healthy for you, and any anal stimulation should always be pleasurable.

With the possible exception of breaking the hymen, no part of sex should ever hurt.  Ever.  Never.

Yes, I know that fetishes like spanking and rope-tying have hit the mainstream, but it is still a power-play of control and inflicting pain on someone you supposedly care about.  Just because you interpret both pain and pleasure in the same area of the brain doesn’t mean you need to inflict pain to experience pleasure.  In fact, if you are, then you only experience sex on a physical level, and orgasm is a response of the subtle body, not just a “release” of the physical anatomy.

The rise of pain as a means of pleasure is more patriarchal bullshit that women are supposed to adopt as “normal” sex play.  Women are throttled by the neck, their breasts are slapped, their vulvas punched with a partner’s fist, and it makes me ill.  What’s worse is that young people see the images, gifs, videos, etc., online and think that abusive sex is normal, and it is not.

Once you understand the mechanism and response of orgasm, you will know that pain should never be anywhere near sex.  Any desire for pain during sex is a sign of other psychological and/or emotional issues that need to be resolved outside the bedroom.  I know this is not a popular sentiment, and that’s okay.  I want to be a voice for all those women (and men) who instinctively do not want pain-fetishized sex but feel pressured into accepting it because of this society that regularly features victimized women and abusive men as part of the mainstream culture.

Having lived in a patriarchal world and been affected by its brutality more times than I care to acknowledge, I will never allow an abusive person into my sex life.  Ever.

trish

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OpEd: When a Woman Says “No,” But the Man Won’t Stop


When a Woman Says NoTo start the New Year off right, the universe sent me an experience to remind me the work here is not yet done.  Thankfully, it was not violent, but it was annoying to see how far women still have to go on the path of being respected.

A few days ago, I needed to go to the store, but I realized I was going to miss the bus at the time I wanted to go, so I made sure I caught the next pick-up.  Had I caught the bus I wanted, I would not have witnessed the interchange that occurred on the bus I got on.

I sat in the only available seat, the one behind the driver.  I like this driver; she’s very nice and tolerates the annoying passengers well.  As we ambled along, I could hear a woman four rows behind me tell someone, “No. Stop touching me.”  Then she giggled.  I assumed it was a man doing the unwanted touching.  A few seconds later, again, “No.  Stop touching me there.”  I heard him murmur something as she sort of laughed.  Again, she said the same words, but more insistently, “No. Stop touching me.”  The half-hearted laugh was faint.  Again, the guy murmured something to her, his tone obviously trying to convince her that she should let him continue to do what he was doing.

As I sat, facing the front, my ears were piqued.  The bus passengers were quiet, each one keeping to himself or herself.  No one seemed to be bothered by this interchange.  She was giving off little giggles at first, but my ears heard something else.  I heard a woman who is saying “No” and then apologizing by laughing, so as not to offend him even though this man was violating her personal space and her right to body autonomy.

Even for myself, I thought, If it’s actually a problem, wouldn’t someone who’s closer to them speak up?  Wouldn’t someone who can see what’s going on stop this guy?  Were they confused by her laughter?  Could they not hear that the giggle was a mask of her true feelings?

I kept listening.  Their interchange continued, but it was different.  Her refutations grew more loud and more insistent.  “NO.  STOP touching me.”  No giggling.  He murmured, laughing to himself.  “NO!  STOP touching me THERE.”  No giggling.  He laughed again.  “NO!  STOP touching me!”

I whisked around in my seat, sitting slightly taller to make sure they could see me over the two rows between us, and I said very loudly where everyone can hear, “Do you need the bus driver to call the police for you?”  Stunned, she looked at me.  So did he.  They were both in their 30′s.  He had one arm around her shoulders and the other on her torso.  She was by the window.  She was pinned in.  I know that feeling of being trapped by a man with no way to get out.  Now, I was really pissed off.

I continued, “We’ve all heard you tell him five or six times to stop touching you and he hasn’t.  That’s assault,” then I looked at him but talked to her, “And he can go to jail.”  She looked at him, her eyebrows arched, yet said nothing.  But he did.  “We were just playing,” he smiled.  Clearly, he still thought it was a game.

I responded,”‘No’ and ‘Stop’ are not playing a game.  We all heard her tell you five or six times to stop touching her.  When a woman says ‘No,’ she means ‘No.‘”

He replied, “Yes, ma’am,” almost sheepishly.

I turned back around in my seat, still pissed off at the situation, pissed off at her for not giving him an elbow to his nose, pissed off at every other passenger who had said nothing.

The bus driver pulled up to the local grocery story, and this couple was the first to exit the bus.  Then someone else exited, while I debated continuing with my plan to shop at this store or continue on the route to Wal-mart.  I loathe Wal-mart.  More importantly, I wanted to make sure she was okay — that he wouldn’t do something to her once they were away from people.  So I got off the bus there.  As I did, he sort of glared at me, and she sort of tried not to look at me.  It was a very strange moment, but I walked by with my head held high and continued on inside the store.

It so happened that they almost crossed paths with me a couple of times in the store.  She was looking around at what she wanted.  When he saw me, his eyes darted away.  But I did notice that she kept about a foot of distance between them.  Every time he tried to get close to her, she moved away.  I could only hope that she was okay.

I finished my shopping, and got the bus the next time it came by.  The bus was empty except for one passenger and the bus driver.  As I put my $1.25 in the machine, the bus driver exclaimed, “Okay, tell me what happened!”

She had been unaware of what was going on until the woman had said “STOP touching me THERE.”  This was about the time I spoke up, so she heard my comment about calling the police.  The bus driver told me, “I couldn’t see what was going on, but the bus has cameras, and I was ready to call the police after I heard you.  But you turned around, so I figured I’d check on it when we came to a stop, but they got off.”

Ironically, the bus driver was worried about me. “He didn’t say anything to you did he?  Are you all right?”  I assured her I was fine, and I had been concerned about the woman.  She replied, “Yeah, you always worry about that — what happens when they get home.”

Exactly.  This is the same reason some people are afraid to correct a parent for being mean or even abusive to their kids in a public place — you worry what the parents will do to the kids at home.  (I have also spoken out on these certain occasions, the most recent being a woman who came back at me with her fist raised ready to punch me in the face for telling her grandmother not to yell at her infant.)

At the next stop, a couple of the passengers from the last trip got back on the bus.  As they saw me, sitting on the front seat on the right side of the bus, they laughed a knowing laugh, and the entire bus ride centered around the incident.  I’ve seen these people many times before on the bus, and they had been closer to the man and woman.  So I was curious, “What was he doing?  Why didn’t anyone speak up?”

One woman said, “She was laughing.  I thought she was okay.  He was just playing.”  I said, “No, her laugh wasn’t a real laugh.  It was a nervous giggle and a fake laugh.”  I wasn’t imagining this.  I could tell.

The bus driver even had insight to the matter.  “When you said that to them, she didn’t speak up in his defense.  If he really had been playing and she didn’t mind what he was doing, she would have defended him.  But she didn’t say a word.  Not a word.”

Without seeing the incident, I could only go by what I could hear.  It sounded like a woman being harassed or assaulted and giving a nervous laugh, as women do when they’re trying to maneuver their body away from a man they don’t want touching them.  The bus driver couldn’t see the incident, but she knew something was amiss by what she didn’t hear — the woman defending him.  The woman was silent.  As so many of us are.

I made the comment, “She may have felt she had to put up with it becaasue she’s in a relationsghip with him.  The reason I felt I had to speak up wasn’t just for him to leave her alone, but so she could hear from another woman that what he was doing was wrong.  In case she needed permission to speak up.”

I made the point then in talking with the bus driver, and I’ll make it here now.  When a woman says, “No,” she means, “No.”  When a woman says, “Stop,” you stop.

Even if you’re in a relationship or legally married, he does not own you or your body.  You are your own, autonomous human being with rights to self-determination.  Just because you’re in a relationship with a man does not mean you give up your rights to yourself.

Any questions?

trish


OpEd: Why Is Circumcision Still Considered a Humane Procedure?


© 2013 by Trish Causey.  All Rights Reserved.

Man in Turtleneck Sweater - End CircumcisionIn my current class on Methods of Inquiry, one topic that came up is the ethics of the social sciences and research.  My professor shared a power point presentation from a friend of hers, and in it, various points were made in regard to research on human subjects.  The Nuremberg Doctors’ Trials, the Tuskegee syphilis scam research project, and the Stanford prison study all contributed to the passing of the National Research Act of 1974.  This act allowed for the creation of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which helped establish certain guidelines for conducting tests and research on human beings:

  • Voluntary Participation
  • No Harm to Participants
  • Informed Consent
  • Protection of Vulnerable Populations
  • Honest Reporting of Results

Of course, I had to bring up the human rights violation that is routine infant circumcision.  Circumcision itself is not a research project, except that there is research surrounding circ that just happens to use live babies, and apparently, circ is not covered in ethics classes or the social sciences when discussing inhumane, unnecessary medical procedures.

Here, then, is my post in my class’ discussion of the humane treatment of consenting volunteers — I thought my avid activist readers would enjoy a good Irish rant.

On the subject of human experiments, my activist ire is burning brightly, so you can ignore the entire rest of this post…. But if you’re brave….

Saying research on humans must be completely voluntary is great, but the reality is that is not what happens in the United States on one particular kind of “research”.  Non-consensual human research does in fact still happen.  In the United States, routine infant circumcision (RIC) on baby boys occurs on a daily basis — female genital cutting has been outlawed in the United States, but it is still practiced in some parts of the world.  Both male and female genital mutilation are violations of a child’s basic human rights to body autonomy and self-determination.

While parents think they have the right to mutilate their sons, the boy himself actually has the only say in what happens to his body, especially when circumcision is an unnecessary cosmetic procedure.  Even if the parents’ religion “requires” circumcision, the boy himself is too young to voice if he has chosen to join his parents’ religion.  Thanks to the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, every American citizen is guaranteed the Freedom of Religion; and in the case of circumcision, boys have the right to Freedom FROM Religion.  HIS body.  HIS choice.

So why do I bring this up?  (Besides the fact that I’m an intactivist — an activist for keeping boys’ and girls’ genitals intact.)  When a child is circumcised, he may not receive any anesthesia — even if given a local anesthetic, it does not do much.  The male foreskin has 20,000 – 30,000 nerves.  Yes, he DOES feel it.  If he isn’t screaming, he’s in shock.  So, is this humane?

Circumcision is now being shown to hinder a baby boy’s desire to latch on during breastfeeding — the baby probably feels betrayed by the mother.  New studies are showing that circ affects the way in which the neurological pathways grow and connect as well as the psychological development — it’s no coincidence that the most violent and misogynist countries in the world tend to practice routine infant circumcision — America is especially included!

I invite you to watch a video of circumcision on YouTube.  If you can’t sit through it without wincing, ask yourself how HE feels — and why does our culture still do this to infants who are only days old?  Is this humane?

Worse than all of this is that the foreskins aren’t just thrown away.  The hospitals sell the amputated foreskins to research labs since animal research is no longer an accepted practice (and rightfully so!).  The DNA and cells from the foreskins are used in research by bio-engineering and cosmetic companies.  Cosmetic companies are looking for the “fountain of youth”, and they’ve found it in the mutilated genitals of non-consenting newborn babies.  The next time you’re shopping for some anti-wrinkle cream, call the company — Mary Kay, SkinMedica, Cover Girl, etc. — and ask if they STILL use foreskin-derived cells in their products.

Interestingly, the buying and selling of body parts is illegal in the United States.  I can’t sell a kidney or an ovary or even a length of my hair because it would be considered trading in body parts.  And yet the medical system does exactly that — buying and selling the human body parts of non-consenting children and profiting handsomely from it.  Must be nice to own the FDA like that.

Over the course of its use and being sold and re-sold and then put into over-priced facial creams, one baby foreskin can eventually be worth $100,000.  So everyone from the doctor to the hospital, to the labs, to the bio-medical and cosmetic companies gain big returns for stealing parts of a boy’s body, and yet the boy loses — so much more than just the foreskin.

Think circumcision prevents AIDS?  It doesn’t.  Prevents infections?  It doesn’t.  Looks “better”?  No, it doesn’t.   The studies done in Africa were skewed from the beginning, and a recent study showed higher HIV rates among circ’d men than intact.  In fact, the foreskin contains special cells — Langerhans cells — and according to Nature Medicine magazine, “Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells.”  The foreskin is not supposed to retract until it is ready to, usually around the onset of puberty; the foreskin actually protects the penis from infections.  The foreskin also keeps the head of the penis smooth and soft, unlike circ’d glans that tend to look dry and cracked and develop keratinization (thickening of skin similar to scar tissue) from rubbing up against the boy’s/man’s clothes.

It is also estimated that 60% of erectile dysfunction in adult men is due to routine circumcision that was done when they were newborns.  While the foreskin itself is small when it is amputated during RIC, once the boy grows into a man, the amount of skin removed equates to about 15 square inches of penile skin, including the frenulum (of the frenular delta) which is the most nerve-dense part of the foreskin.

Women who have been sexually active with intact men say there is a difference in the way intact men approach sex.  These men seem to be more sensitive to the woman and more aware of what is happening in her vagina than cut men are.  The foreskin mucosa also acts as natural lubricant.  I can attest that men who have been circ’d have problems expressing themselves emotionally and in bed.  Many cut men need “dry sex” to feel friction against the scar tissue (keratinization) on the underside of the penis in order to reach ejaculation.  Dry sex is painful for women, but I can also attest that women don’t want to hurt the man’s feelings; and so, we endure painful sex so as not to further damage the man’s self-esteem.  (Note:  Not all circ’d men need dry sex “to feel something”, but many do, and many circ’d men have fulfilling sex lives.)

At Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, a study is being done on 200 newborn boys who are being mutilated to determine which of two circumcision clamps is “better.”  This “better” clamp will be determined subjectively by seeing which clamp produces fewer blood-soaked bandages and by judging the amount of pain expressed on the babies’ faces.  Again, when did these boys give consent to participate in this study?  Is this a humane study?  Doesn’t this violate the National Research Act of 1974?

Circumcision can cause all sorts of problems from infections to damage to the meatus and urinary tract.  And there is even a consequence called “degloving”, in which the doctor accidentally removes ALL of the skin from the baby boy’s penis.  Yes, this happens often enough that there is a name for it.

If all of this were not bad enough, on average, 117 baby boys die each year in the United States from “routine” circumcision.  If a diet pill caused 117 deaths each year, the FDA would ban it.  And yet, circumcision is “routine”.

So why, then, is it not outlawed?  Because some people are afraid of offending people of Jewish culture — however, few Americans would be afraid to offend Muslims, who also practice circumcision.  A person can be proud to be of Jewish culture and NOT circumcise their son, who may or may not choose to join Judaism as his chosen religion, if any.  A baby cannot voice that he does or does not want to be Jewish (in religion), so whatever his parents’ religion might be is superfluous.  (Again, I point out the freedom FROM religion guaranteed to every American citizen.)  Added to that, the “ritual nick” that is supposed to be the “bris” is NOT what is “routinely” done by skinning the penile glans of its protective barrier, the foreskin.  Circumcision as it is practiced in America today is actually the modus operandi from the sexually repressed Victorian age, who touted circumcision — to the otherwise intact population — as a means of preventing boys from masturbating.  But if you’re interested in the Jewish perspective of RIC, check out JewsAgainstCircumcision.org.

For more information on the erroneous myths and so-called science behind the pro-circ propaganda, visit IntactAmerica.org, Circumstitions.com, and similar — and for those in the SanFran area: BayAreaIntactivists.org.

As a tribute to the natural penis, I asked intact men to submit photos of their penis in various states to help women (and other men) get accustomed to what a natural penis looks like, and I wrote this article on my blog (warning: it’s NSFW :-) ).  If you’re on Twitter, you can ask a question about circumcision, and be sure to use the hashtag #i2 to reach out to the #nocirc intactivists.  To learn more about the history of circumcision, how it’s done, and consequences, watch “Circumcision: The Whole Story” (also NSFW).

Activist rant is complete… for now…. :-)

trish


AskTrish: Man Inquires If Menopause Means the End of Sex for Women


woman-nude-breast*NOTE*:  This question was asked of me on a yoga forum.  I have included my original response as well as some extra info here.

Trish,

Is menopause the wilting stage for women?

HELL NO!!!!!

Menopause is a WONDERFUL time for women sexually!  It’s the first time in a woman’s life that she can have true sexual freedom, knowing she can have as much sex as she wants and she can’t get pregnant.  Menopause is FREEING for women!  (Of course, safe sex measures should still be practiced to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.)

If a woman monitors her health, especially her hormones, women can enjoy sex right up till the day they die.  Hell, orgasm would be a great way to die! :-)  Just slip right on over to the Other Side since you’re already there anyway.

We enter the physical body for a reason — to have physical experiences.  One of the most joyous physical experiences is the sexual experience, whether partnered or solo.  As someone of Gaelic (Scotch-Irish) descent, I follow the path of my ancestors — we are spirit beings here to have physical experiences while maintaining our connection to the spiritual side.  So I’m enjoying the ride as much as I can.  :-)

* EXTRA*:  Use of synthetic hormones, i.e., synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), is now associated with increased risks of cancer in women.  Some women prefer using plant-based progesterone, which is a pre-cursor to both estrogen and testosterone.  Testosterone is required for a healthy libido in both men and women.  Too much estrogen is not good for either men or women.

Avoid getting extra estrogen from your food, such as unfermented soy which pervades the American food supply and is very high phytoestrogens.  Unfermented soy products include soy milk, soy baby formula, vegetable oil (soy/soybean), soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy creamer, soy ice cream, tofu — and any product made from tofu, etc.  Fermented soy products can be beneficial (as are all fermented foods), such as tempeh, miso, and tamari (real soy sauce).

Being healthy overall is required for a healthy vagina (or male prostate).  Get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals from your foods and/or quality supplements, plus healthy saturated fats, Omega-3′s, etc., and stay AWAY from processed foods.  Buy organic, locally-grown food whenever you can.  Eat seasonally-grown foods.  Be able to source all your ingredients.  While on the course of improving your health, if you don’t make it from scratch, don’t eat it.

Being healthy will help minimize the symptoms of PMS and menopause — and YES, men do have hormonal fluctuations each month and later in life when their libido may drop due to declining health or bad dietary habits.  That is, men should be able to get and maintain erections whenever they want, regardless of age.  Erections are a direct result of a man’s health.

One of the side effects of menopause is vaginal dryness, or not making as much natural lubrication as a woman used to.  In fact, women can experience vaginal dryness at any age, especially if she ingests a lot of caffeine or other dehydrating substance, but a lessening in the production of vaginal juices can be common from the age of 40 onward.  Regardless of age, the vagina will let you know when she is lubricated enough for penetration.  Do NOT confuse a woman being aroused for sex with her vagina being ready for sex.  (Yes, men, this takes 15 to 30 minutes of “foreplay”.  Get over it.)

To avoid vaginal dryness and lack of libido, drink plenty of water each day — an ounce of water per pound of body weight.  Eat lots of veggies — I love my Franken-Salad.  Also, eat lean protein and complex carbs.  Whether or not you’re gluen-free, vegetables actually have lots of carbohydrates in them.  Eat healthy saturated fats such as macadamia nuts or other nuts, and get plenty of Omega-3′s from eggs, fish oil, and/or chia seeds.  Cacao (dark chocolate) is also great for boosting libido.

Menopause is NO reason to stop feeling sexy!  Use nutrition to supply your brain and body with peak quantities of the nutrients they need to function, with plenty left over for extracurricular fun-ctions like sex and orgasm.  Moderate exercise, such as walking, yoga, or dancing, is always great for maintaining a steady supply of the body’s happy hormones as well as keeping the muscles toned and ligaments and tendons flexible for interesting sex positions.  Don’t forget — sex is exercise, too!

Needing a little extra help with lubrication or libido is normal at any time in a woman’s (or man’s) life, especially if she’s (he’s) under a lot of stress.  However, there’s no reason to let your sex life go the way of the dinosaurs when a few changes in your nutrition, daily habits, and health can turn it all around.

No sex because of menopause?  Ha!  Sexual freedom, here we cum!

trish

Recommended Products:


RADIO: Trish Causey Chats With Women’s Rights’ Activist Sunny Clifford


Sunny Clifford - Young Lakota - South Dakota Pro-Choice Reproductive Rights ActivistLast night’s show was a quick one, but a good one.  I talked with women’s reproductive rights activist Sunny Clifford.

REPLAY:  Trish Causey Chats With Women’s Rights Activist Sunny Clifford

Being a Lakota from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Sunny is a staunch advocate for reproductive rights for indigenous women.  Though she is very shy as a person, she is not shy about the lack of pro-choice options for indigenous women being a direct result of colonialism.

We also touched on the topic of what is happening in Texas with the anti-abortion bill before the state legislature, a bill that 80% of Texans oppose, but that the Repugs are trying to pass anyway.   (More on that later!)

Sunny is also the subject of an upcoming PBS documentary, Young Lakota, and she was the recipient of the prestigious Emerging Leader Award by the Ms. Foundation.

Have a listen to the replay, and follow Sunny on Twitter: @SunnyClifford.

trish

Further Reading:


This Week on ArousedWoman Radio: American Indian Rights, Fascism, Meditation, Oh, My!


ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey - 2013For those of you who follow my blog and now listen to my radio show, I just wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU! for being patient with me while I get this show up and running.  You are all AWESOME!

And yes…. I will eventually get back to actually writing here on the blog… quite possibly tomorrow!  (I JUST realized I haven’t done a DailyOJ post since the beginning of MARCH! ACK!!)

I have tried to pack lots of shows into the AW Radio schedule so you can see the wide range of topics that interest me and that I hope interest you.  In less than three weeks, I’ve had 2,685 listeners tune in as I covered why American politics sucks, talked with a Broadway composer who’s premiering his new LGBT work, interviewed a Broadway Tony winner on women archetypes in theatre, as well as interviewed a Kundalini master teacher, covered “Sex and the Voice” and “Porn vs. Erotica,” along with tackling Male Sexuality and Female Sexuality, and sex…. (and did I mention, sex?…  Oh… Just making sure. :-D )

This week on ArousedWoman Radio Tuesday through Saturday at 9:00 p.m. ET each night, the topics are just as diverse:

Listeners can call in to the show to ask a question or make a comment by dialing (347) 884-8792 (NOT toll-free), or by calling in via Skype using the BLUE SKYPE ICON on the LIVE show page.  (Do NOT call me directly on Skype! :-) )

Before I started the radio show, the #1 question I got was, “What does your voice sound like?”  Well, now you know!…. And now, the most common question I get is, “When are you doing another show?”  THIS IS AWESOME! :-)  I’m so glad people are looking forward to my shows.

But the real answer is this — I hope to have the radio show on a regular schedule of interview-type shows on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Fridays saved for AskTrish and Anatomy shows.  Wednesdays have been tough for people to tune in to the live show, and doing shows on Fridays have been very popular.  So I’m still tweaking the schedule.  Doing 4 to 5 shows per week is a LOT of work, so I’m hoping to taper off to 3 shows per week starting in July.

So until then…. THANK YOU for listening AND reading!

If YOU have a person you’d like me to interview or a topic you’d like me to cover, please leave a comment at the end of this blog post.

To submit a question you’d like me to cover on an AskTrish show, submit your query via my AskTrish page on my website.  Also, look through the AskTrish posts here on the blog to see if I’ve already covered it.  If I have, feel free to write in anyway, so we can get you answered on an upcoming LIVE AskTrish radio show.

All replays are available on the website: ArousedWoman.com.

And on a side note, a few things:

  • Please take my Orgasm Questionnaire (’cause I’m nosy that way!).
  • Sign up for my newsletter because I’ll start doing online workshops soon!
  • If you like what I’m doing, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to keep the radio show going on my AW Radio crowdfunding page.  I’ve posted some nifty Rewards, so take a look.  As most of you know, I’m a single mom trying to Be the Change, and I know that sometimes even $5 is a lot of money.  So I greatly appreciate every dollar that you donate to the show.  EVERY bit helps! :-)
  • AND I uploaded a test video onto YouTube.  Check it out if you haven’t seen it.  (Yes, I know the resolution sucks… darn front-facing iPhone cam!)

Thank you!  And I hope you’ll tune in and call in to a LIVE ArousedWoman Radio show soon!

MWAH  xoxo

trish


RADIO: Trish Causey Hosts a LIVE AskTrish Show on Female Sexuality


Nude Woman Beneath Orange Chiffon Sheer OrganzaTonight on ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey, I tackle the subject that is the source of my awakening and the raison d’etre for ArousedWoman(TM) — Female Sexuality!

TUNE IN at 9:00 p.m. ET to hear Trish Causey Hosts a LIVE AskTrish Show on Female Sexuality.

Just a few of my topics tonight:

  • A few readers’ comments and questions submitted via my AskTrish page
  • The perception of women’s sexuality in society and religion
  • Why women’s bodies are still considered overtly sexual and not plain ol’ human
  • Double standards in TV and media between men’s bodies and women’s bodies
  • FEMALE MASTURBATION!!!!!!!!!!
  • What women want from sex, and HOW we want our sex!

Listeners can CALL IN with your questions or comments by dialing (347) 884-8792 or calling in to the show via Skype — click the BLUE SKYPE ICON on AW Radio’s LIVE page.  You can also post questions and comments in AW Radio’s LIVE page chat room (opens 10 minutes before the start of the show).

I’m really looking forward to this one! :-)

trish

Recommended Books:


RADIO: Trish Causey Talks With Broadway Bombshell & Tony Award Winner Cady Huffman


Cady Huffman - headshotToday, I was fabulously honored to interview Broadway bombshell and Tony Award winner Cady Huffman.

A few of topics we covered today included her current role on Broadway — a burlesque Communist stripper — in the Tony-nominated play The Nance.  We also talked about women’s sexual power and how society STILL does not want to accept women as whole and complete human beings.

Hear the replay: Trish Causey Talks With Broadway Bombshell & Tony Award Winner Cady Huffman.

Cady Huffman is currently starring on Broadway as Sylvie in the Lincoln Center Theatre production The Nance, reuniting with Nathan Lane.  She appeared in Mel Brooks’ The Producers, as “Ulla,” for which she won the 2001 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics’ Circle Awards.   She was nominated for a Tony for The Will Rogers Follies, with Keith Carradine.  Other Broadway credits include La Cage Aux Folles, Steel Pier, Dame Edna: The Royal Tour, and Bob Fosse’s Big Deal.

Cady was most recently seen in John Wells’ The Company Men, opposite Ben Affleck.  Other films include John Turturro’s Romance & Cigarettes with Christopher Walken, Hero with Dustin Hoffman, and The Nanny Diaries with Scarlett Johansson.

Listen to all replays of ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey on ArousedWoman.com.

Recommended Products:


RADIO: Trish Causey Discusses Dangers of Circumcision With Intact America’s Georganne Chapin


Intact America - Georganne Chapin - circumcision boardTonight on ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey, Intact America’s leading voice, Georganne Chapin, stops by to discuss the medical and ethical reasons against routine infant circumcision (RIC).

Non-consensual circumcision is a violation of a child’s basic human right to body autonomy.  However, religion and culture have made circumcision so common in some countries, the right of the child is not even considered or respected.  Female genital mutilation is illegal in most countries because it is barbaric, yet male circumcision is still allowed and even touted as a prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

Circumcision of boys removes the foreskin, the natural protective layer of skin on the penis glans, of the naturally intact penis, severing 15,000 to 20,000 nerves. For the adult male, this translates to losing about 15 square inches of skin and losing sensation in the penis tip due to keratinization.

Dangers of circumcision include the following:

  • Death of the child
  • Painful and/or prolonged healing
  • Subsequent surgeries to repair initial botched circumcision
  • Damage to child neurologically, emotionally, as well as psychologically
  • Erectile dysfunction as an adult

We will also cover the financial aspect of circumcision and why some doctors, hospitals, and labs profit from RIC as well as the cosmetic companies that use cells from severed foreskins in their cosmetic products.

If you are a man who has suffered from the effects of circumcision or a parent who regrets circumcising your child, PLEASE call in and have your voice heard!

Tune in at 9:00 p.m. ET and call in with questions or comments!  For U.S. residents, call (347) 884-8792.  International listeners can call in via Skype, just click the Skype icon by the phone number on the tonight’s LIVE show page.  All listeners can post in the online chat room on the LIVE show page.

trish

Further Reading:


RADIO: Trish Causey Talks ‘I Am Harvey Milk’ with Broadway Composer Andrew Lippa


Andrew Lippa Broadway ComposerToday, I had the amazing pleasure of interviewing Broadway composer Andrew Lippa, one of my all-time favorite composers.

We discussed his current work, I Am Harvey Milk, which is based on the life, work, and assassination of gay activist Harvey Milk.  The choral work is set to have its premiere this month with the 300-voice San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, starring Andrew Lippa himself as Harvey Milk along with Tony Award winner Laura Benanti.

Andrew also gave me a SCOOP about his fabulous show, The Wild Party, which I absolutely adore!  So listen to the replay if you missed the live show.

You can listen to the replay here.

Andrew Lippa wrote the music and lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical Big Fish which opens in October, 2013. He also wrote the Tony-nominated music and lyrics for the Broadway musical The Addams Family as well as the music for the Broadway production of Aaron Sorkin’s new play The Farnsworth Invention. Other musicals include Asphalt Beach, The Wild Party, A Little Princess, jon & jen, and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.  Andrew was music director for Kristin Chenoweth’s sold-out shows at the Metropolitan Opera House and Carnegie Hall. His accolades include a Tony and Grammy nomination, the Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award, ASCAP’s Richard Rodgers/New Horizons Award, The Drama Desk, and The Outer Critics Circle Award.

If you’re in the San Fran area this month, you can get tickets to I Am Harvey Milk’s premiere choral concert at IAmHarveyMilk.com.

And stay tuned for the release of the cast album — I will definitely post it here when it is released!

Check out the replay at the link above or catch it and all replays of ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey on the main website, ArousedWoman.com.

Namaste!

trish

Recommended Products:


RADIO: Trish’s Womanifesto – A Treatise on Being an ArousedWoman


ArousedWoman Radio with Trish Causey - 2013Ever wondered what I mean when I say “ArousedWoman?”  Of course, you don’t!  YOU actually read my blog!  YOU actually communicate with me on Twitter or Facebook.

Sadly, many people judge my book by its Jessica Rabbit cover and move on…. sniff….  (that was a joke, people… seriously!)

Well, not any more!  I posted the first of what I hope will become an almost weekly event — Trish’s Rant!  A little time and space carved out of the universe for me to get my Irish on and tell the world how I see it.  (This probably is not for the faint of heart.)

This week’s topic is “Trish’s Womanifesto – A Treatise on Being an ArousedWoman.”

Listen to the replay, then lemme know what you think by leaving a comment at the end of this blog post.

Thank you!

trish


Take #ArousedWoman’s Orgasm Questionnaire!


Chakra-aura-orgasm-energy-systemHey, everybody!

As I look ahead to my online orgasm training workshop, I am conducting an Orgasm Questionnaire and would love to have as many readers participate as possible!

This questionnaire should take about 30 minutes to fill out, and there are no wrong answers. It’s also pretty nosy, so brace yourself!

Filling out this questionnaire in NO WAY obligates you to participate in the workshop. But the questions are geared to those who would be interested in taking my online orgasm workshop this summer.

No part of the questionnaire will be published without your express permission. However, some of the responses may be used ANONYMOUSLY in a post here on ArousedWomanBlog.com, based on the statistical information that may be of use to my readers.

NOTE: Some of these responses are required, so look carefully at each question. (I hope you’ll answer each one!)

I appreciate you taking this Orgasm Questionnaire so I can better understand my readers’ sex lives and orgasm habits.

Thanks!

trish

ArousedWoman’s Orgasm Questionnaire:
© 2013 by Trish Causey. All Rights Reserved.

ANSWER EVERY QUESTION EVEN IF IT ISN’T FOR YOUR GENDER, or if it DOESN’T APPLY just put N/A. The form will NOT submit if a question is not answered (blame WordPress).





























































OpEd: The Activist’s Guide to Putting Aside Our Differences to Fight for Our Differences


Tree of Life - As Above, So BelowA while back, a friend made the comment that she had seen my Facebook status, and it made her think about that particular issue I’d brought up, saying, “You have so many causes, I can’t keep up.”

Wrong.  I have ONE cause — Human Rights.  All other rights issues stem from this central trunk of the rights and issues’ family tree.  Women’s rights, LGBT, genital integrity, workers’ rights, children’s rights, and more — ALL are branches of the primary concept that roots us in our basic right to self-determination, autonomy, and our humanity.

Today provided a perfect example of how different experiences color our activism.  Usually, this is a good thing, but occasionally, our pain from our own experiences clouds our words, resulting in our message devolving into a war of emotion.  It becomes a contest of “my pain is greater than your pain”  — a competition no one wins.

My morning started with me checking my Facebook and Twitter while I made breakfast as I hurried my daughter to get up, get ready for school, and catch the bus.

I try not to spend all day on Twitter, but tomorrow’s Full Moon seems to have kicked up people’s crazy cycles a day early.

First, on Facebook, I responded to a friend’s comment about his neighbors’ loud sex last night.  As the conversation progressed to sex positions (okay, I brought it up), I mentioned that the reason the original missionary position is the only position ever condoned by the Catholic church was because it provides the least pleasure for the woman.  It puts the man in the superior, stronger, aggressive position while the woman is inferior, at the mercy of the man, and passive and submissive.  Another chick chimed in saying some women “love to be ‘conquered.’”  As a woman who has spent most of my life fighting NOT to be conquered by men, I disagreed, but I did not linger since I had to get some real work done.

I spent a couple hours working my day-job (Thursdays are a day-off for me), and what followed was an entire day on social media in one activist role or another.  And I have preserved some of those exchanges in the photo gallery below. (To view them at full size, click the box on the lower right of your screen.)

The second round of today’s activism started out simple enough — me talking about orgasms, specifically, mine, and how I cry when I orgasm.  I followed that with a comment that men crying during orgasm is perfectly natural.  Twitter being a public forum, a random guy jumped in the convo with a rude comment ridiculing how it would look with a “he man blowing his load and crying.”  This began a series of tweets back and forth as I tried to explain that a man crying during orgasm is perfectly natural.  After all, men are human beings, and human beings have feelings.

Apparently, men are still not allowed to be full human beings in our society.

The third and most exasperating exchange occurred with a man who, it turns out, is also an activist — an intactivist, to be precise.  An intactivist is someone who fights for ending all circumcision — on males and females — because genital mutilation is a human rights violation of a child’s bodily autonomy and is sexual assault on the child.  This guy had tweeted the following comment:

“The sexual urges of women in our society are more important than the pain of a baby boy.”

After a morning of hearing that some women want to be conquered, men who cry are not masculine, and a few other ridiculous notions that are proof positive our society is still sexually repressed and almost entirely mentally unbalanced, I could not sit by and let this tweet go without standing up for women’s right to be sexual and not be shamed for it.  Did I do it the right way?  Could I have handled myself better?  Should I have called him a moron so many times?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

The thought I had toward the end of this Twitter war (that lasted over a couple hours) is that this guy is reacting and projecting because of his own pain with his circumcision.  Just as I possibly was too harsh in earlier altercations today. 

Hearing a woman wants to be conquered made me think back to when I was molested as a kid, my rape when I was 21, and my Steubenville-esque experience.  Talking about the horribly unsatisfactory missionary position brought to mind my own status as one of the 70% of women who has never orgasmed during sex — a statistic for which I still feel shame for myself and anger at my partners for not caring enough about me to ensure I had pleasure, too.  It reignited my distaste for the porn industry that created a caricature of women as hyper-orgasmic nymphomaniac slut-bunnies — as opposed to erotica that presents sex and sexuality in a beautiful, honorable way.

I was reminded yet again of the hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of women who have been raped, tortured, killed outright, and burned at the stake by the Christian church who has feared women’s sexual power since Peter stole the church’s high seat from Mary Magdalene.  As a pagan witch doing research for my stage writings, I spent years reading witch trial transcripts, scouring historical documents of witch hunters, Inquisitors, and missionaries in Europe and in colonial America who were obsessed with exorcising the natural sexuality of women.  This does not include the women who were beaten, raped, and killed for wanting the right to vote, or the right to fight alongside men in the modern military.  Too many thoughts and memories swarmed in my mind.

Hearing that a man can’t cry when he experiences pleasure infuriated me because so much of our patriarchal, imperial, testosterone-driven culture still carries the gender-role prejudices of religion and hierarchical misogyny and misandry that does a disservice to women and men.

Today’s activism was about shame.  And pain.  And how, even when we mean well, speaking up for one issue cannot happen at the expense of demeaning other people who are probably also in pain.  After all, the oppressive culture that says mutilating a child’s genitals is okay is the same repressive culture that says a woman is to blame for her rape because of how she was dressed, or two people cannot love each other because they’re the same gender.

I’ve been a grassroots activist for 27 years, and I’ve seen in-fighting in every single rights group I’ve ever worked with — religious rights, American Indian rights, LGBT rights, women’s rights.  Who’s a real witch?  Who’s a real Indian?  Bisexuals aren’t really discriminated against.  Women don’t need full body autonomy or equal pay.  Conservative Democrats aren’t real Democrats. And it’s all bullshit.

My motto has always been, “Human Rights are non-negotiable.”

I love that there are so many of us, each working in a niche that is important to us.  Yet, that does not mean one corner of activism outweighs another.  We can’t all work for all causes at all times.  We have to split up into different groups to cover all the bases.  Remember that equality does not mean we are the same, but rather, though we may be different, we are of the same value as human beings.  Our human rights family tree is rooted in and celebrates our differences, with roots deep in the soil of our humanity, echoing the ancient axiom, “As above, so below.”

However, if you only care about one group who is hurt or exploited and not another, then you’re not working for rights issues, you’re a special interest asshat who is no better than the elitist oppressors who mock human rights activism while making fortunes off the masses’ suffering.

So I may not know the full extent of pain that another person has experienced, just as they won’t know the full extent of mine.  But we can try to listen better.  We can forgo the pain-game and stick to the work at hand.  Don’t allow the oppressors’ need to stuff us into boxes and categories or divide us into opposing sides hinder our work of coming together and doing the work.

We are better than that. Do the work.  Be the Change.

We Are All Connected.

trish

 

Further Reading:


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