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we gotta cum 2! feminine orgasm doesn’t think like a man . . . or act like a lady (nsfw)

we gotta cum 2! feminine orgasm doesn’t think like a man . . . or act like a lady (nsfw)

“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.

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(c) 2012 candi dugas, llc

what scares us so about sex?

what scares us so about sex?

A little over a year ago a friend sent me a link to the following blog post:

Single, Saved, and Sexin’: The Gospel of Gettin’ Your Freak On

This very well-written piece left me with a desire for a biblical exegesis on the issue because I knew that the saints who continue to cling to conservative sexual theology would be armed with chapter-and-verse quotes from the Bible to counter her very real and truthful perspective – despite her salvific testimony. She explains in later comments that she didn’t use Christian scripture in her post because she “ultimately decided that I didn’t want to misrepresent scripture, or attempt as I said in the original post, to force a loophole where none exists. Furthermore, the levels of engagement with scripture in much of the commentary illustrate the ways in which scripture can absolutely be taken out of context to support one’s point of view.”

Sharing with a colleague last week my own work on sexuality and spirituality, I received the same request for more scripture to support this liberative sexual ethic for women [people] of faith. The difference between my colleague and those who commented on the blog is that my colleague is open to reconfiguring a faith-based sexual ethic. The blog commenters are closed to that possibility, seeking to prove that the blog’s author is “deceived and losing her salvation.” They are “saddened” by her post and desperately want “to pray for her.”

While I include scripture in my work, it doesn’t rest on it. Just as we progressives and liberals may state that conservatives take scripture out of context, they levy the same charge. So engaging our sacred texts alone becomes a futile quest for truth. Hence my continued love affair with the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. To make good ethical decisions we must engage scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.

Our single, saved, and sexin’ sistah continues in her later comment, “I think we can have a conversation about the relationship of sexuality to spirituality, and how we as Black women and women in general negotiate those conversations when we live [in] a context very different from the Bible. And I think we have to be honest about the fact that our experiences matter, and that they tell us something about how to engage the world. I think it is dangerous to keep telling Black women to deny the reality of their loneliness, aloneness, and sexual desire based on the fear that they will displease God. When we engage in rhetoric like that, our religious despotism and zealotry has become a tool of control and domination rather than a source of liberation. In fact, many of the posts above strike me as being nothing short of Pharisaic in their zeal.

Finally, I think we have to have sexual ethics that allow us to live and thrive in the moment in which we find ourselves, and I

fear

What scares us so about sex?

take issue with anyone using religious jargon to silence women into submission (which has been done for centuries, especially to black women) around their sexuality. So I’m especially thankful for the sisters in this post, who have the courage to ask tough questions and imagine other possibilities for themselves, without the fear of an angry wrathful God nipping at their heels.”

Reading the impassioned pleas from the conservative commenters left me with the question:

“What scares us so about sex?”

I hear straight-up fear in their written voices. It’s the same fear I see in the eyes of folks with whom I engage in person. “So you’re for people doing whatever, whenever, however?” “No,” is my answer, insisting that there must be at least one option between nothing and everything. What freaks us out so? What keeps us from pulling sex out of disappointing and hurtful equations to see that it was the lack of birth control that created the unplanned pregnancies – the lack of safer sex practices that exposed us to diseases – the void of meaningful conversation that prevented the intimacy that we sought? Blaming all the bad stuff on sex is way too easy.

Another bad thing, as the author states, could be a loss of favor with G~d, a loss of communion, a loss of salvation which translates into condemnation and a post-life-sentence in hell. In this almost frenzied and obsessed pursuit of holiness and righteousness we miss the very thing that we seek. Grasping tightly to the letter of the law leaves us without true communion, missing the spirit of the law. For Christians, this behavior is heretical.

Reconsidering Christian Discipleship and the Text

“Then Yeshua [Jesus] told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?'” (Matthew 16:24-26 NRSV) {Reconfiguration – If we want to follow Yeshua, allow ourselves to let go of all that we think will save us, be real about our issues and believe the unconditional loving and liberating access to our Creator that Yeshua provides. The more we seek to benefit in the way of guaranteeing health, prosperity, and eternal salvation from adherence to more than 600 laws and the label of “good Christian,” the more we sacrifice the actual benefits of G~d-intimacy, like a slow leak. We may very well achieve the label of “good Christian” as the world and Church define it today, but lose an abundant life with G~d.}

“A lawyer asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your G~d with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'” (Matthew 22:35-40 NRSV) {Reconfiguration – List all the laws you like and debate which one is the biggest one to obey, like abstinence and celibacy in singleness, but it all boils down to loving G~d with your whole self and loving others as well as you do yourself [assuming that we self-love well]. The most important law to follow is not specific or prescriptive or detailed and that’s where we find true love, the kind that leads to liberation and full abundance of life, the kind that overflows to others.}

contemplative fear

Let's reconfigure our discipleship and our sacred text.

“Yeshua said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. . . . But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. G~d is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.'” (John 4:21, 23-24 NRSV) {Reconfiguration – The time is over for haggling over details like whose church is the correct one and which worship style is more sacred and whose doctrines/creeds/dogma will best succeed in producing holy Christians. The time is now that those who really love G~d and sincerely seek to hang out with G~d will do so in for-real ways, without any regard to the shoulds and ought-to-bes of contemporary life. These are the life-companions that G~d seeks to hang out with, ones without pretense and anxiety over rightness; these are the kind of folks with whom G~d can have a ball!}

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Yeshua. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Yeshua has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For G~d has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to G~d; it does not submit to G~d’s law – indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please G~d.” (Romans 8:1-8 NRSV) {Reconfiguration – If we follow the simple, liberative, and transforming teachings of Yeshua, we are no longer beholden to follow the 600+ laws that we find in the Hebrew Bible. All of these laws don’t work; rather, Yeshua’s example leads us to the greatest law – loving G~d with our entire selves. This law leads us to another – loving our neighbors as ourselves. With these two laws as exemplified by Yeshua, we need no others. When we insist on the others, we die to the life that is possible and we are without peace as well as being at odds with G~d rather than flowing with G~d on our life-journeys – unable truly to make G~d happy.}

“Who will bring any charge against G~d’s elect? It is G~d who justifies. Who is to condemn? . . . Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . No, . . . For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, or things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of G~d in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:33, 35, 37a, 38-39 NRSV) {Reconfiguration –  Ain’t nobody that can sentence us to hell -that is eternal separation from our Creator – nobody. Neither can any law or reality or non-reality. Ain’t nothin’ or nobody that can do that. Simple. Love extends beyond any obstacle or barrier that we can conceive or beyond what we can conceive. Love is stronger than death, the only inevitable experience we all must face. Soooo, be free!)

It’s not cheap grace; it’s taking G~d at G~d’s word (through scripture, tradition, reason, and experience). Be in relationship with G~d; don’t be scurred. Live! Live! Live! Live like we’ve got a faith and a connection that liberates us from the law and the limits of this world. Live according to what we say we believe – or else what good is it?

(c) 2012 candi dugas, llc

tell the church 2 butt out?

Or any community of faith/belief? What is the Church’s role in our lives, especially in our bedrooms (or wherever we engage in sex)? What is it that it’s supposed to be doing with and for the people – within or beyond its walls?

“The Church needs to remember its boundaries when it comes to getting into people’s lives.”

Even I was shocked to hear this powerfully fervent declaration from a third-year seminary student attending the public presentation of my doctoral research. I’d asked the audience’s thoughts about traditional Church teachings that support a familiar adage, “A man won’t buy the cow if he can get the milk for free.” That was her response.

What’s the Church’s place, then, in our lives?

Until I read Hunting the Divine Fox: Images and Mystery in Christian Faith by Robert Farrar Capon, I’d never given its role that much thought. I accepted whatever my family and Sunday school teachers taught me. As I grew, I had my issues with the Church, but I suppose I thought they were my own to work out. I’d never considered that the Church may be operating in ways beyond G~d’s intention or its authorized reach. From Capon’s work I began to agree that the only thing the Church ought to be doing is helping to point people toward G~d. That’s all.

If this is the boundary, then all the preaching, teaching, and other activities that condemn and cajole unmarried people into celibacy and abstinence are misplaced. These are decisions people need to make for themselves. The Church should supply them with the necessary [objective] information and tools to make their own choices, be available to listen, discuss, etc. – if requested – and then – “butt out.” Huh? How well would this ideology sit with the church leaders you know? 😉

As Christians we tend to refer to Yeshua’s (Jesus) examples. Soooo . . .

What did Yeshua say?

Yeshua taught kin-dom principles.  Then he empowered individuals by affirming that it was their faith and their choices which created the healing, peace, etc. that they sought. “Do you want to be well?” “Daughter, your faith has made you whole.” The deciding factor was not the establishment’s [Church] self-wielding authority – nor the individual’s allegiance to it.

In his sermon Sunday (3.11.12), “The Fractals of our Faith,” Rev. David Anderson Hooker celebrated the crumbling of two establishments under their own weight – the penal institution and the American education system. If they crumble, he argued, then we get a chance to rebuild them. There is no renovation; they are beyond repair. Hooker added, “And the Church is dying on the vine.” I don’t disagree with this metaphor, but the image I see is more like the one he painted of the institutions. I see the Church crumbling too, under its own weight of self-wielding authority that has become a massive power machine operating outside of its boundaries.

crumbling church

Photo credit: David Torke, http://www.fixbuffalo.blogspot.com/

Honestly this is the fractured and fractal “holy” foundation that supports the people who seek to control women’s bodies and their decisions about sex and sexuality. We can become angry at the voice-boxes or we can turn our attention to what’s at the heart of the matter – our faith, our beliefs, our sacred texts, our traditions, our communities of faith, our interpretations, and our appropriations. Dare we women challenge the Church’s role and authority? Absolutely and only we can do it. If we look hard enough with the right tools, there are plenty of examples in our sacred texts. The Shulammite in Song of Songs has become my greatest heroine, boldly going after the man whom her “soul loves” (Songs 3:1-2) and declaring at the end of her story, “My vineyard (my genitals), my very own, is for myself . . .” (Songs 8:12).

So, I guess, yeah – to the Church – “butt out!”

© 2012 candi dugas, llc

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