(Written by guest blogger Wendy Harlowe.)
Dr. Rayne has kindly let me weigh in as a guest blogger for the few days while she is at the SXSW Interactive conference; she knows one of my favorite topics in life is sex! I think this blog is playing a crucial role in the needed discussion of adolescent sexuality in the repressive context of our “abstinence-only” government propoganda. I’ll be posting today, Monday and Tuesday. Today, I’ll let you know a little bit about me and my perspective on sexuality in general. Monday I’ll write a bit about human sexuality from a biological evolutionary perspective, not something I’ve seen much about. Tuesday, I’ll write about substance abuse as relates to sexuality. Of course, I’d love to hear from you, and look forward to this continuing conversation. You may e-mail me privately at WendyHarlowe@gmail.com, or of course, simply comment here on the blog.
So, first off, Wendy Harlowe is a pseudonym. I can be much freer in discussing sexuality this way. I’m an “outlier” in this arena. You know what an outlier is? Statistically speaking, its someone outside the norm, someone on the charts far outside where most people fall. My history and experience are unusual, and my perspective is unusual in many ways. Does one follow the other? Perhaps, but not necessarily.
As regards adolescent sexuality, I had a lot of sex while an adolescent. I’ve had a lot of sex and sexual experiences as an adult as well. Briefly, here is some of what I’ve experienced: snatched by a pedophile at 9 yrs of age; burst out into sex, drugs and rock’n’roll at age 13; was gang raped by the bikers I was hanging around with at age 17; had lots of sex with lots of people in my teens, 20s and 30s, started slowing down in my 40s; worked in the sex trade in my teens — strip joints, porn theaters, prostitution; lived as a lesbian for about 7 years, late teens and early 20s; really enjoyed a lot of computer sex in my 30s; am now happily married (third time’s the charm for me); am bisexual, but fairly invisible in that regard since I now live a middle class married life with children; contracted gonorrhea as a teenager (with the diagnoses of infertility as a result — although after 22 years of using no birth control, I did become pregnant at the age of 38!); contracted herpes in my early 20s, still live with it; sobered up as a member of AA when I was 21 yrs old, so I only hit the alcohol and drugs heavily for 8 years.
This I believe regards sexuality: that so much of what is taken for truth isn’t; that monogamy and marriage originated as tools to promote patriarchy — to ensure that men know their progeny, can “own” and control their families; that there exists an unfair double standard that heaps blame and shame and negative social repercussions upon girls and women who are free with their sexuality; that religion and religious beliefs far too often reinforce the institutions of marriage and monogamy; that it is entirely OKAY to tryst with another person simply for the pleasure of the shared sexuality; that sex can be enjoyed in its fullness without expectations, without promises, without a future between the consenting participants; that honesty is the way to go; that there is an exquisite balance between selfishness and giving to the other in sexual encounters, and that this balance cannot be achieved at all times; that girls and women too often forgo their own sexual pleasure out of fear and timidity and the unexamined belief that they need to be nice; that sex isn’t talked about near enough; that one can deeply love more than one person at a time; that if one is in a long-term committed relationship, “extracurricular sexual activity” is not necessarily a betrayal of one’s partner; that the sexual drive is primal and exquisite and should be explored and enjoyed, not repressed and denied.; that our ideas about sexual morality are intertwined with our dysfunctional social strictures; that if we lived in a more child-friendly world, one wouldn’t necessarily need the monogamous/marriage institution in order to see our children raised well.
One of my favorite quotes: “… have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” — Ranier Maria Rilke
A question for you: what do you think about having multiple sexual partners? If we could get rid of the romantic notions that saturate our culture, that yearning for “the one” … the one who will make our life complete … could we enjoy our sexuality outside of a “long-term committed relationship”?