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Considering Sexual Freedom

Total sexual freedom – the idea that we can love and be loved in ways that don’t fit neatly in a normative box – is different from indiscriminate sex.

From the outside looking in, this might be confused with promiscuity. What’s the difference? I believe promiscuity feeds into and manifests fears, limitations and restrictions. Sexual freedom is about courage.

First of all, fear is a great teacher. And what we fear most about love and sexuality (or anything in life for that matter) is where we have opportunities for growth. Fear that isn’t dealt with can wreck havoc on love of self and love of other. It also interferes with our ability to be conscious in our ‘love – making’ decisions.

The more we face our fears about love and sexuality and the more we push unnatural and harmful boundaries, the more we paradoxically have less to be afraid of. Our sexual choices become more authentic, unfettered by useless social constructs, prejudices or shame.

The natural outcrop of this is that we come to accept that one “form of relationship is [not] necessarily more enlightened than the other, because ultimately it is how we grow from our experiences that determine transcendence,” writes Robert Silber of When we make love from a conscious place, we choose lovers and experiences that reflect our most authentic selves, and challenge us to grow sexually and otherwise.

For example, someone who is serially monogamous might suddenly find himself or herself invited into a new paradigm of sharing love. Others may grabble with pelvic pain, anorgasmia or bi-curiosity. Maybe you have discovered that it’s time to try abstinence.

The point is that we all have boundaries – not all of them are bad, and we do have to acknowledge that an learn to differentiate between those that serve a good purpose, and those that don’t – and some of them need to be explored if we want to become more enlightened lovers, or heal sexual wounds, or tune in to our deepest needs.

And yet, according to Silber, few people give themselves the sexual freedom they need to, “so they continue to make agreements that cause repression, dishonesty and distance. Often the agreements that are sought and demanded of lovers reflect unrealized desires we are projecting onto our lovers.”

The result of allowing fear to dictate our choices is that eventually we end up violating those sexual agreements that don’t line up with our soul’s desires. The results of acting from a place not grounded in love are behaviors such as promiscuity, infidelity, sexual dysfunction and abuse.

On the other hand, since total sexual freedom it is rooted in courage, our sexual experiences can be extraordinarily blissful, honest, and dynamic. Silber points out that such an approach means we also have to allow, “that no one will be your lover or that many people will judge you because they envy your power and courage. They will seek to enroll you in their conspiracy of fear and call it altruism.”

Courage isn’t the absence of fear – it’s simply doing what you must despite any panic you might feel. Otto Rank, a student and colleague of Freud’s, said that people vacillate between the Fear of Living and the Fear of Dying. Sexual freedom is the ultimate path of the sexual warrior; it pushes us gently towards all our uncertainties, demands that we are fully present and alive in the moment, and asks us to see the grand design, purpose and ecstasy in all our intimate encounters.

Contributed by Tinamarie Bernard