Standing beside the PTA Fall Festival welcome table with a roll full of raffle tickets in my hand, I couldn't ignore the hushed whispers coming from behind me at the other end of the table. A few other moms on the committee were there helping run the event that night and as I looked over at them, I noted how much they sounded like a bunch of rustling hens in a chicken pen.
Once we had a lull in the family arrivals and purchasing of raffle tickets, I walked over to see what all the hubbub was
about. As I asked the ladies what in the world they were going whispering about, they all looked up at me from their huddled, seated position with flushed cheeks and facial expressions like they'd been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.
One of the moms spoke up quietly as another tried to hide something under the table, out of sight. She stammered a bit and said, "Oh, it's nothing really. Just some book we're reading." As I stood there smiling with a hand resting gently on my chin and one across my waist, I said to the embarrassed woman before me, "Oh, really? Just some book? That must be some book if you all are sitting around like teenagers who just got caught doing something you maybe shouldn't have been!" Laughing with the ladies to try to let them know they were in safe and curious company, I looked expectantly at each of them with my eyebrows raised - waiting patiently.
After they glanced at each other, with an unspoken sense of, "Ok, we can tell her", the lady hiding the item under the table pulled it up to her lap and very coyly opened the cover of the electronic reader to reveal a back lit cover of a grey silk tie across the page. Leaning in to get a closer, clearer look, I glanced down and read the title, "Fifty Shades of Grey".
Taking it in, I looked at the now completely flushed-face woman holding the reader and with a grin said, "Yeah? It's like that, huh?" My gut knew in that moment what the real deal was and inside, I was roaring with laughter - AND - I was sad for the state of the world in which we still live. These women were beyond turned on having read this book (lit up and completely joyfully giddy) and because of societal conditioning, norms and expectations, they were too ashamed and embarrassed to be proud of what they'd found, nor that they were enjoying it - immensely!
At the time, being a closeted lover with a voracious sexual appetite and erotic expression completely under wraps, I understood better than anyone how upbringing, conditioning, modeling and the judgmental condemnation we have in the US keeps people, especially women, subjected to lives of secrecy, shame and the inability to speak up about the subject of s-e-x. Having been a church-going, goody-two-shoes, "good girl" preachers kid, toeing that line of perfection and people-pleasing the majority of my life, heaven forbid if anyone might know just how much I l-o-v-e-d talking about, reading about, learning about, teaching about and exploring all things sex and eroticism.
It's been in moments like that with those accomplished, adult, successful suburban moms that reminded me how far we had come, (thank you EL James for writing what turned into a world-wide, massively produced and sought after series of books and movies that got people talking and exploring), and yet how far we still had to go where the subject of more open and honest pleasure, desire, sex and eroticism were concerned. Sure, there's no need to boast our sexual exploits, desires or fantasies from the PTA check-in table to anybody within earshot or beyond, but what about our ability to simply talk among friends, co-workers, family members, etc about our thoughts, desires, questions, etc where the subject of sex is concerned?
It renewed my desire and my passion to assist changing the stigma of discussing and speaking about sexual pleasure and desire among consenting adults, as well as to help properly educate and open the lines of communication - without fear, shame, embarrassment or judgment regarding the subject, to maturing youth.
It's not only important, but it's actually vital and necessary in order to live a well-rounded, vibrant and robust full life of total well-being. I liken leaving the subject of sex off the table, or to the back rooms, underground, or schoolyard conversations to driving a car with under-inflated tires.
Sure, it runs and you go, but it's ineffective and definitely not a great experience over time. And eventually, it will jack up your tires, if not your car as well. Proper education, maintenance and tending to - consciously and with awareness - makes all the difference.
Rather than "out of sight, out of mind - head in the sand" mentality due to shyness, shame, feelings of ineptitude, misunderstanding, etc, we can sit up straight, look each other in the eye and proudly say, "Here's what's up". Honest, direct, transparent and brave; those are the targets I shoot for in all situations, scenarios and conversations.
The same can be said about sex. Much like it's important to be speaking to our growing youth and ourselves about optimum health, wealth, professional endeavors, creativity, spiritual growth, family relations, romantic relationships, etc, we MUST also be including the subject of sex and erotic possibilities. It's how each and every one of us arrived here, it's been around since the beginning and it's NEVER GOING TO GO AWAY, or not be part of our experience here. So why in the world are we going to keep perpetuating the stigma, the shame and the embarrassment about a subject that unequivocally affects EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US? Not to mention the powerful life force energy component that propels and heightens our creativity, personal and professional endeavors and overall mental attitude.
Because it's going to take more courageous individuals willing to come forward, hands raised and say, "Hey, I not only know a thing or two, but I happen to love the subject, be really comfortable with it and great at it, and I'd like to help." The more of us that speak up, show up, express what's important to us, the easier it becomes for those who want to, but haven't been brave enough to yet. And if you are one of those brilliant beings who is wanting to be more comfortable with it for yourself, to not have to hide your desires, your sexual nature or your erotic energy from the world, then I invite and encourage you to find someone or a resource that helps you not only bolster your courage, but properly equips you with tools, techniques and language that allows you to confidently show up greater in your own sexual and erotic power.
As always, I'm here to help and it would be my honor, privilege and absolute pleasure to be a resource for you.
Rhonda Burns is a Relationship & Intimacy Coach, specializing in conscious communication practices to help cultivate confidence, competence and courage, for soul-satisfying connection - in AND out of the bedroom. Rhonda invites you to book a complimentary discovery session today.
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