In my first post I outlined the importance of understanding ‘infantile sexuality’; in my second I pointed to how aspects of love and aggression can interrupt developing sexual and subjective identity. Here I outline a few aspects of how ‘mature’ sexuality develops out of ‘infantile’ sexuality.
1) SEX and LOVE
Attraction to others is inevitable; so it’s important to distinguish the desire of sexuality from who we are as human beings. As we mature overall we realize that sexual urges are often exquisitely painful longings for unity. As sexuality matures we recognize that separating sex from love to appease fears, in the false belief physical / psychological duality can be relieved by sex, is futile. It can be beautiful when sexual bodily needs are met, but, without love, it is a hollow experience, a turn away from personal growth.
Equally we come to understand that sexuality becomes a paralyzing problem if we split it into good and evil to transcend conflict. In realizing mature sexuality is inseparable from love we also see that love, sex and aggression are bundled in co-existence.
2) SEX in the SERVICE OF AGGRESSION
As we grow we are increasingly aware that sexual desire driven by fear or aggression doesn’t offers meaningful compensation for defective spontaneity and absence of orgasmic feeling in other areas. Setting it apart from other experiences as the false, great delight inevitably leads us to a perverse, impotent or frigid slide.
Alternatively, or synchronously, psychological or physical attacks on our own body, body image or bodily functioning are coupled with confronting fears of acting in a physical or psychologically harmful way to an other. Tempted, more or less consciously, to deny our innate bisexuality, the impulse can be to attack as an avoidance of our own unconscious terror and violence. These are the impulses to act out in rage, have temper tantrums and re-project lethal wishes previously projected onto parents.
Contrary to transcendent sexual love, fear brings about our greatest error: the inability to ‘see’ the one we love and who loves us. Love of the ‘other’ as a thing or ‘a part’ of a person is displacement of our aggression and fear. Female penetration anxiety is the equivalent of male castration anxiety and as the penis shrinks following orgasm a man becomes closer to being woman; as the erect and then flaccid penis is held by a woman, she becomes closer to being a man. Sexuality offers no salvation from these or other hidden, frightening feelings of agonizing transformation, confusion, aloneness and separation; grasping our love as a possession only creates a dualistic, dissociated, body-hating attitude to life. Sexuality and love must always bear within them all emotions including hatred and ever-incomplete satisfaction.
3) AGGRESSION in the SERVICE of SEX and LOVE
Sexuality is a useful indicator of the effective use of aggression in the service of love, exposing our weakness with ‘the other’ as ‘other.’ The lack of a guaranteed ‘other’ requires acceptance rather than demand. Between us and our love, however, there is opportunity for personal growth and insight in acceptance, never trying ‘to get something’ out of the other. This is love that is not contrived nor provoked and not an escape from an empty feeling of being alone without a true, real ‘other.’
Loving is aggression transformed into a kind of worship in which a partner is a contemplation of nature wherein everything is not a metaphor for sex; sex is a metaphor for everything: the creation of new life in the world and in spirit. It is a life-bestowing energy to be treated with great care and respect. In this sense, as aggressive energy, sexuality, not morally important, is to be saved and re-channeled into a wonder-filled sense of seeing and being seen: every moment of love containing all the lovers and all the love in the world.
Closer to maturity, love has no ulterior motive, love or die no mere metaphor. It is choosing to participate in a kind of ‘divine’ love affair as we participate in a human love affair. With aggression tamed, we no longer lead or follow. We advance and respond in synchronized movement. Intimacy is beyond sexual and physical nakedness; it is an exploration of an ever-changing, ever-unknown partner. In our partner for desire’s fulfillment, ‘otherness’ emerges, at one, an other and a stranger. Now, excitation awakes in us what we didn’t suspect, not a set of conditioned reflexes imposed by society, but a rejoicing in truth, a responsive entering into our love’s triumphs, pain, hurts, fears and vulnerabilities: a revelation of ourself, to ourself, as a stranger.
If as one gender we fear the other, we can’t be in relation to the other. If we are to relate to the other gender, or the same gender, there must be something of the other in us; an awareness and sensuality beyond gender. Both genders need space, time and a sense of peace to feel at ease, to connect and centre sexuality with love.
Mature love encompasses aggression and brings a real glimpse of what we are beyond body, every process open, lungs breathing together, hearts beating as one, life coming and going without grasping, a flowing into other with love the third partner. No longer focused on the sudden end of orgasm, maturity allows us to let go of the goal of orgasm and the intense lust that precedes it for the peace of fulfilled tranquility. It is an embodiment of the mystery of existence, not a drive to thoughtlessly manipulate nor a familiar ecstasy prejudged by expectation of what we already know. It is a surrender to a force greater than our ego, an entering into the rare, most difficult aspect of ‘being’ human, unveiling the flow of truth between complete, whole and innocent lovers.
Sexual orgasm, obverse to common thought and feeling, is a model for our ultimate passion in the moment and in the fullness of eternity.
Clark Falconer, M.D., is the author of the acclaimed, Three Word Truth about Love and Being Well, and has recently released his best selling, first work of fiction, the psychological thriller: Stepping on Little Ants, The Cumulative Effect.