What Is Sexuality Without Love?

Sexuality without love is matter without spirit.

—Marion Woodman

 

What swirl of thoughts, emotions, and sensations do these seven powerful words evoke in you?

In a hookup, body objectifying, pornography, and sexual shame-drenched culture, this simple, devastating statement can launch a thousand conflicting thoughts, fears, regrets, and arguments.

The most important question is, “Does it ring true for you — that sexuality without love is matter without spirit?”

If you’ve engaged in a sexual experience, even with yourself, that was devoid of love, how did it feel?

The overwhelming number of women I’ve known personally or worked with professionally deeply desire emotional connection or commitment as a pre-requisite for engaging with another person sexually.

The minority of women who lead with a quest for sexual connection over emotional connection are usually battling an addiction — the underpinnings of which are a desperate, unconscious need to be wanted, loved, and cared for.

Sadly, many of us override our desire, our instincts, and even our commitments to ourselves about who and how we will engage sexually.

We abandon ourselves in favor of a misguided belief that we must override our “no” with a “yes” — unconsciously hoping that our “yes” will cement (another instance of matter) a bond with the person we are hoping to grow a relationship with.

The complicating irony is that touch and sexual connection releases bonding hormones like oxytocin. This bonding hormone can cause you to have a hormone-induced — yet intellectually and emotionally baseless — feeling of attachment to another person.

But the truth is: hormones ≠ love or lasting attachment.

Because of the commodification of sex and body objectification that permeates our culture, the idea that sex and love ought to be an inseparable couple can seem quaint, old-fashioned, or even prudish.

This subtle value-shaming is just another clever, covert tool that supports the dominant paradigm of splitting spirit and soul from matter — the most obvious example being the objectification and literal stripping of the Earth.

If you want to preserve the vital connection between spirit and matter inside you, you must honor your body, your desires, your values, and speak your truth.

Imagine a world where women were true to themselves, engaged sexually with themselves or with a (true) lover only when they were ready?

If would change everything.

Invitations for reflection, exploration, and action:

  • If sexuality without love is a clear “no” for you, what needs to happen for you to honor your no?
  • If you (like most women) objectify your own body, how can you make the shift from self-objectification to self-nurturing?
  • If you have recently engaged sexually with someone without love, what needs to happen for you to  give yourself permission to wait until your “yes” is authentic for you?

 


© Vicki Tidwell Palmer (2021)

Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul (©1998)
By Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick
(Reprinted with permission)

*This post is from the Coming Home to You Series. Visit this page for the backstory of the CHTY Series.

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The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.”

Rainer Maria Rilke