Questioning The Value of Sexual Empowerment
I recently put a post on my Facebook page asking what people would like to know about sexual empowerment and this was a question I received. My answer was too long for a response in the comments section, so I’m putting it here on my blog.
“Why does that kind of empowerment lead to the underbelly of life experience? Why is there so much crime, violence, greed, and misogyny behind certain types sexual empowerment?”
What a great question! I love this question for many reasons.
- First, it goes to the heart of our assumptions about sex.
- Second because it exposes common misconceptions about empowerment.
- Third because it steps into our issues around women and victimization.
- And finally, it exposes the fact that the definition of sexual empowerment is generally misunderstood.
(Now you know why my answer was too long for Facebook.)
The Difference Between The Sex Trade and Sexual Empowerment
True sexual empowerment includes the empowerment of all the people involved in the experience. This means that sex workers who are not there by choice, are not empowered. If they are not allowed to create their own work environments through choice or union involvement, if they are not in control of who they choose to serve, if they are placed in environments where their health is at risk, then they are not empowered. If, however, a person decides of their own free will to be a sex worker because it is something that they do well and is their calling in life, and they work in a healthy environment with as many health protections as can reasonably be expected, they are sexually empowered. It’s not about the sex. It’s about where the power lies. If it is within the individual, then there is empowerment. If the power is being wielded over others, then there isn’t empowerment.
Sex and Victimization Don’t Go Hand in Hand
There is violence and greed in the world. They exist. There is also misogyny. They do tend to come out more often in the arenas surrounding sex, but I will put it to you that this is not because sex breeds these things, but rather because we don’t as a culture provide any protections for the people in these fields, so they are easier targets. There is also less concern if a sex worker is injured or killed by a predator because they are considered to have “deserved it” in some way. They are the untouchables of our society. This doesn’t mean that their industry causes these things, only that they are a magnet to predators because there is less chance of retribution if the predators hunt in those hunting grounds. I used to be a real estate agent many years ago. I bet you didn’t know this, but one of the things that real estate agents have to be careful of is predators meeting them at houses. Think about it. You’re going into an empty house with a stranger. Talk about easy prey. And every year real estate agents are raped and murdered by “potential clients”. It isn’t because real estate inspires violence. It’s because the circumstances of their job create an easy hunting ground for those who would do damage.
Vulnerability Doesn’t Engender Victimization
There is also an assumption in our culture that those who allow themselves to be vulnerable are weak and more easily victimized. We actually have a cultural stigma against vulnerability. We are more of a warrior-type culture in this way than we’d like to admit – refusing to show our vulnerability in favor of beating our chests and looking powerful (as in potentially violent). But vulnerability has its own strength, especially when engaged from a place of personal power. A simple act of vulnerability can shake someone to their very core. And there is no greater vulnerability that being intimate with someone emotionally and sexually at the same time. This is why it is so feared and so desired. We are never as fully seen as we are in this space – something most of us greatly desire – and greatly fear. We fear that if we expose our soft underbelly that it will get skewered. And there is always the risk that this will happen. But if we are standing in our power, the pain will be momentary. And if it doesn’t happen, the rewards are so much bigger than the pain could ever be. But this is only true if we have done the work to stand fully in our power. Until then, the pain holds much more sway over us and we miss out on the benefits.
What IS Sexual Empowerment?
And that bring me to our last point in this conversation which is the question of how to define sexual empowerment. Each time I write a definition, I come back to the heart of the energy of the work. And each time, it comes from a different perspective, so as you search the site, you may find multiple definitions of sexual empowerment, and that is on purpose. Sex is a multi-faceted topic as are we as individuals multi-faceted people. So no one definition will do. Today, I will define it thusly: Definition of Sexual Empowerment: The luscious embracing of your physical nature and stripping bare of your self to another person(s) in intimate connection from a place of strength and sharing rather than from a place of fear and dread.
If you’d like to step more fully into your own personal power and bring it into form in your physical (sexual) world, I am available for private coaching sessions.