“I arose to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with liquid myrrh, . . .” (Song of Songs 5:5 NRSV)
The Shulammite is my hero! (I don’t like gendered words like heroine or shero.) Her orgasm represents a full expression and enjoyment of feminine sexuality, a sexuality that is not adjusted to socialized masculine behavior or thought patterns (thinking like a man). Neither does she allow it to be shaped into society’s prescriptive mold of femininity (acting like a lady). She is who she is, in and of herself, created in the feminine image of G~d – dark, beautiful, and so hot for her fine lover that she can’t stand it!
“My beloved thrust his hand into the opening, and my inmost being yearned for him.” (Song of Songs 5:4 NRSV)
If we both cum during intimacy – not necessarily at the same time – then we’re experiencing great sex, what Christian Ethicist Miguel De La Torre calls “orthoeros.”
“Mutuality is a characteristic of orthoeros. It is with mutuality, rather than the requirements of covenant, like marriage, that we ‘gain full security. Only by giving of oneself can there be hope of fully possessing another. . . . Mutual giving (rather than taking) presupposes autonomy. . . . Total surrender, each to the other, cannot be achieved as long as one of the two parties is holding onto power over the partner.'” (Candi Dugas and De La Torre in Dugas’ Who Told You That You Were Naked?)
Now we’re talking – intimacy in a relationship without hierarchy, patriarchy, and ossified gender roles. A woman isn’t adjusting to a man. She is herself. He is himself. They come together as full human beings when the two connect well. They connect in ways that can be transcendent and newly experiential of themselves and G~d. We miss this most amazing life-experience when we become distracted by antiquated gender roles, rules and games.
The wonderful box office success this weekend of Act Like a Lady . . . Think Like a Man, unfortunately, only signals that we are stuck in antiquity. I celebrate its success and I am thinking about what it means for women and the genuine fulfillment we seek in relationships with men. On Twitter, Roland Martin encouraged Black people to stop hatin’ on the movie; go see it and just “laugh”: “All of these haters of the movie @thinklikeaman are ridiculous. It’s a MOVIE! You know, fiction. Do some Black folks know how to laugh?”
I do intend to see the film for several reasons, including simply that I enjoy Steve Harvey’s humor and I’ve read great reviews from moviegoers. Yet it remains a work that celebrates a book which reinforces antiquated gender roles, rules and games. And that is not simply a laughing matter.
Many women take seriously the advice in Mr. Harvey’s book of the same title. Yesterday I read several women’s comments on Essence’s Facebook page lauding the movie, identifying with certain female characters, pledging to change her ways accordingly, and following up with a purchase and read of the book to reinforce her new relationship ways. Mr. Martin and everyone else who thinks similarly, it’s not simply a laughing matter.
When I listened regularly a few years back to Mr. Harvey’s “Strawberry Letter” segment of his morning show, I found his responses humorous with the kind of rings of truth good humor has to have to make it absolutely hilarious. My issue begins with the book and women’s acceptance of it to create the relationships they believe they’ve always wanted. My issue begins when we perpetuate traditional gender roles, rules and games that at the end of the day do not advance the quality of relationships.
If we want to keep the same-ol’-same-ol’, then this type of advice, I suppose, will help us do that. Well, Mr. Harvey, almost guarantees that it will from the title of his book’s introduction – “Everything you need to know about men and relationships is right here.” (Harvey; Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man)
But if we want something more and something else, as I hear from women, then we need to think, understand, and act differently.
As I study what keeps women from enjoying sex, I find orgasm among the top reasons. The more I think, the more I find that it makes for the perfect symbol of equality in intimate relationships. Pretty much men will get their satisfaction – erection to ejaculation – from an intimate encounter. Women? Not so much. If there is no unhealthy circumstance (physiological dysfunction, sexually related trauma recovery, etc.), orgasms elude women for very solvable reasons. A woman may not get the amount of time she needs to build up her arousal or the kind of stimulation in/on areas of her body or with ways that are pleasing. She may not even know for herself what gets her off. Furthermore, she may not have the ovaries (guts/courage) to communicate to her partner what feels good, where, and for how long. So she takes what she can get (settling for saying she enjoys the entire act/foreplay is more important/it’s not just about orgasm), endures the rest, and maybe satisfies herself later on.
Does anyone agree with me that this is totally unacceptable?
What are we gonna do about it?
Truly, I am a fan of Mr. Harvey’s work. I also applaud him for doing something to try to make things better between women and men since we all want, need, and deserve to be desired and fulfilled. Stating so is not enough. Something needs to be done to make it happen. He is one person who did something.
But we must keep going further and deeper.
Can we start moving beyond conceding to socialized gender roles that leave both women and men stuck in thought and behavioral patterns that continue to leave women responsible for the man’s stepping up and for the success of the relationship?
“He [Mr. Harvey] essentially advocates sexism, chauvinism and patriarchy as truth. He supports, then, the objectification and commodification of women masked as empowerment. . . . Her [the woman’s] call to be prophetic is not only to get rid of these issues, but to offer a better alternative.” (Dr. Miranda Pillay, Presentation of Paper in Response to Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA – 13 December 2011)
I [woman] am not responsible for his [man] stepping up. I am not responsible for creating conditions to force him to step up. I am aware of what pleases me and I am willing to communicate that to a man whom I choose as a lover.
We are more and capable of more than traditional teachings from the Church, society, and family have conditioned us to know, believe and understand.
Are you restless too?
Are you looking for something more and something else?
What are your thoughts? Is mutuality in intimacy even important to you? What about orgasm?
Leave a comment, anonymous, if you’d like.
Annnnd, REGISTER TODAY for more sexNspirit conversations – group or individual webinars & workshops!
I hope you find the following blogs/articles helpful:
- It Gets Wetter: A Message to Women Who Frequently Have Horrible, Rushed Sex (NSFW) [includes very helpful diagrams of the female anatomy]
- 10 Lessons About the Female Orgasm [written for men by a woman]
- Female Orgasm Today: The Hite Report’s Research Then and Now [suggesting a change in the definition of sex]
(c) 2012 candi dugas, llc