For 8 weeks this past semester, I taught a yoga class for women sponsored by The Counseling Center at the college where I teach. The aim of the series has been to empower women as a basis for preventing sexual abuse and exploitation. We have covered areas like self-care, stress, self-esteem, boundary setting and more. Last week’s topic was sex.
At first, I could not for the life of me figure out how I was going to blend sex into a yoga class. And while I know there are those practicing a kind of California-germinated-tantric- yoga-sex thing, this is not my understanding of Yoga. On the surface then, it seemed that maybe they did not go together in a way that I could make sense of and teach to. And yet, upon further exploration, I found that they actually do. Quite well as a matter of fact.
For if we begin with the premise that any valuable and satisfying sexual experience with another begins with our own ability to be present to ourselves, what it is that we are feeling and wanting, then the connection becomes a no-brainer. Yoga offers a deep and meaningful opportunity, through practice and various techniques that are fundamentally built to bring us into relationship with ourselves, to connect to who we are and what we are experiencing. And from this place, we will know exactly what we want in a sexual encounter with another. Along with what we do not want. Nor ever want to tolerate.
Best of all, this approach to sexual intimacy is based in the body and born of the moment. This as opposed to being pressured by misguided internal and external perceptions and expectations about what we as women are supposed to want, and do, and look like. You know the drill.
This approach with the young women struck gold. For when we were done, they spoke openly of what they are up against in The Age of Technology; all of the images and expectations that they feel they must match up to in order to be desired. Hot. Wanted. The sense that it is more important how they look during sex, then how they actually feel. More important to present as something then actually enjoy the experience.
They spoke of yearning for connection but finding that dismally lacking in the “hook-up” culture where all too often their male partners were expecting them to act like they were in a porn film. Or, at the very least, that both they and their partners had skewed expectations around how their bodies were supposed to look, along with how it was all supposed to feel. A kind of sex based on all of the images and conditioning they have seen across the screens in their very short lives.
And so, here we are again. One more example around how the unchecked and unconscious uses of the screens are distorting our children’s childhood. Insinuating its ugly messages right in between our children and their most intimate of experiences with another.
When will we learn? When will we as a culture begin to make some difficult and long overdo protective changes to what it is that we are allowing our kids to be exposed to? When will we say enough? When will we understand what it is that we all actually want, and then work our hearts out to get it and give it to one another?