It was a curious time a few weeks ago as I moved between the Good Vibrations Sex Summit in the heart of downtown San Francisco to the Science and Non-Duality conference in Marin County. Crossing back and forth over the Golden Gate Bridge, and many moments since, has helped me to reconcile the sexual state of the physical world with the new scientific ground being broken by quantum physicists. Good Vibrations is a beacon of light in the world of human sexuality, standing up for the rights of sexual education and encouraging the exploration of sexual pleasure as a human right. It was more colorful than you could probably imagine. It was Friday night at the Castro theater, where they hosted the International Erotic Short film festival. Many of their guests, as well as the film’s narrators (San Francisco drag queens and Carol Queen), were in sexy Halloween costumes along.
The short erotic video winners did justice in expressing the remarkably vast range of fantasy that makes up our collective erotic consciousness and then some. The Summit itself, which consisted of a variety of presentations and panels of the most well- regarded collection of leading researchers and sexologists, took turns defending the right to know and experience oneself as an erotic human being with the freedom and access to lifelong sexual pleasure. In their presentations, they recognized the irony of “speaking to the choir,” and urged each other to get the word out, to the populace at large, to the editor of local papers, and to speak to schools and churches. There were moments when it almost felt evangelical.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the bridge, the discussions about the vastness of this conscious universe didn’t include a single word on sexuality. When I asked the founder of the conference about this, he said that in the past, the discussions didn’t support the scientific non-duality philosophy that the conference embraced. This is unsurprising, although it has less to do with sexuality than it does with its current cultural manifestations. The separation between human sexuality and higher consciousness can sometimes feel almost as vast as the universe itself. A recent, yet unpublished sex survey from Indiana University displays this disconnect in our personal lives. For example, more 50% of participants reporting no feelings of intimate connection with their sexual partners.
Yet, the disconnect between our sexuality and our sense of connectedness has much bigger ramifications on our planet than the emptiness and discontent that so many people experience within their personal sexualities. In many parts of the world, this disconnection is so magnified that violent sexual acts are used as weapons against the other side. A raped girl is shunned from her family and community, a casualty of war as surely as her brother killed by a gun. The recent production of Half the Sky provides a breathtaking portrait of the multitude of young girls who are sold, sometimes by their own families, into sexual trafficking. It seems almost inconceivable that worldwide, millions of girls and women literally disappear without a trace every year. Even here in the United States, the sex trafficking industry is a growth enterprise producing more revenue than illegal drug trafficking. Drugs you can only sell once, girls you sell over and over. It occurred to me as I pondered the truth of our vast interconnected universe that the terror that tens of millions of young women experience in the context of their sexuality might just be reflected in the powerful vibration of sexual shame, fear and degradation that pervades so much of human sexuality.
Human sexuality is a singular experience that separates us from most other living beings. It also most accurately mirrors the current level of disconnect that we experience with the universe and to each other. It is incomprehensible that at the same time that unlimited sexual opportunity has exploded on the Internet, we are also living in a world where tens of millions of women are forced into the largest slave trade this planet has ever known. More incongruous still, not far from the eastern countries which dominate this massive sex trade, millions of Muslim women are shrouded in black from head to toe, forbidden from showing any part of themselves, for the sin of sexuality that they would provoke in men.
I keep circling back to the scientific advances that prove that each of us encompasses much more than the physical matter of our individual beings. The ten trillion synapses in your brain that create your individual identity also connect you to the vast energetic conscious universe that holds us all. Healing the rampant sexual terror on this planet precedes our capacity for growing sexual pleasure in the hierarchy of the universal heart. Attention is the mechanism of healing everything. How we pay attention to and love our individual sexuality creates ripples in the universal sexual experience.