Monday, 30 May 2011


Shortly after I posted my last piece, a friend took me to task a little for not mentioning tenderness - which was, after all, Lawrence's original title for Lady Chatterley's Lover. She was right to have done so, and my only defence is that I was writing in passion, not in any considered way, as a reaction to the idealisation of sex.

I think, when I originally wrote about the "interplay of vulnerabilities" it was tenderness I had in mind, but this was not exactly made clear. In an intimate relationship each partner reveals to the other(s) certain aspects of her or his self which would otherwise be kept hidden. It is in the acceptance of these aspects that tenderness emerges. We are all vulnerable, for we are all mortal and there is, I believe, a dread of annihilation deep within all of us. So we look for the tender touch of someone who accepts us in our frailty. Or we over-compensate in games of power and despair in which we hide our vulnerability behind a facade of mastery and performance.

I am aware that this needs a little expansion so I will try to explain what I mean by that. I have, over the years, watched quite a lot of pornography. However, I have found very little that i find truly erotic. For it is all about mastery and performance. Erections never fail. Women always reach orgasm - or, very badly, pretend they have. Never do any of the participants suddenly realise that their muscles have cramped - never does a clumsy movement of elbow or knee result in the abrupt disappearance of desire. Never, above all, in all the detailed and energetic genital stimulation does tenderness enter. Never do they laugh. It is all taken so bloody seriously. It is the inverse side of the abstracted, idealised, non-physical sexuality that the men in the video were lauding. In neither case is the full humanity of the participants recognised.

For we are not just bodies and we are not just spiritual beings, we are human. We may aspire but we often fail. We have fears and insecurities that can manifest at any time. Erections fail and desire can vanish. This is a fact. Gay or straight, we need comfort and reassurance when the night seems just too dark. We need to know that we are loved when our bodies fail to perform as we would like. We need to laugh and we need to cry at our frailties. We need to be loved as we are and not as we would like to be or, worse, what we imagine the other would like us to be. We exist not as angels or demons but as a mixture of the two with one or the other being dominant at any one time. I feel that it is not for our perfection that we can be truly loved but for those myriad imperfections that make us human.

I think that all this was in Lawrence's mind when he wrote. In many ways he failed for he had his own unresolved issues, but this is not really relevant. The intent and the attempt was honest, sincere and revolutionary. Connie and Mellors are human beings, meeting and loving in a space of vulnerability. In a space of tenderness. In the rain and under the sky.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The divine feminine

I have strayed back into the blogosphere yet again. I suppose it is because I feel the need to connect with my passions. For a while now, I have been trying to get past a very severe case of writer's block in the book I am writing about Inanna. For I have been having problems with reconciling two approaches. First, I have been striving to be as academically rigorous as I can, being very careful not to make any assertions that I cannot support from established and accepted sources. However, this has made for a very dull read. Furthermore, it does not take account of my own journey and the very personal relatinship I have with Her and why I feel she is deeply relevant to today.

So I thought perhaps it would be a good thing for a while to come back to this blog. To reconnect. To work through some stuff and become more authentic and less concerned with the judgements of putative readers. And, almost immediately, I found my ire raised and my hear pumping. I checked onto one of the most informative blogs, Medusa Coils and found a video from a group of men who expressed a love of the divine feminine.

It made me angry and I posted a comment which may or may not be approved by the blogger. So, immediately, I was reconnected with my passions. And this is good. for I am, first and foremost, passionate. I realise now as I write that what angered me the most was the total lack of any passion within these men. They spoke as the embodiment of reason. They spoke of their desire to worship but did not mention their desire to fuck. Sexual desire is not reasonable, it is messy. Within it, at least as far as I am concerned, are drives to both dominate and be dominated. Within sex, there are sweat and bodily fluids, groaning and panting. It is, above all, physical and emotional. It is the interplay of vulnerabilities and, when it is at its best, the loss of control and ego. And, most importantly, it does not depend on the union of male and female "energies" but can express itself in any configuration of genders. Desire is wholly unreasonable. It is one of our deepest drives, second only to survival.

Of course, it must be tempered and mediated by reason. There must be full consent between both, or all, parties. Without such consent, the interplays are lost. It is a game, and laughter may well occur - as well may tears. It is deadly serious, for vulnerabilities are revealed and may be exploited. On either,both, or all, sides. It is, above all, always risky. Or it should be. Pushing the participants beyond the zone of comfort into a deeper understanding of themselves. Which can, at times, be unpleasant.

None of this figured in the video. Desire was abstracted. The physicality, despite the talk of the divine nature of women's bodies, was not really there. They spoke of "woman" in the abstract - of male and female as "energies". Sure, on one level this is true, but there is also the level of a shared humanity. In sex, it is human bodies and their sensations that are involved. In the songs of the sacred marriage, Inanna does not abstract into the energetic. Rather, she calls on Dumuzzi to plough her vulva. She brings the act into the physical realm. For it is, first and foremost, a physical act.

My own puberty coincided with the Lady Chatterley trial and I remember taking the copy of the paperback, sneakily borrowed from my mother's and stepfather's bedroom, into the bathroom. It prompted my first ever ejaculation. Lawrence had many faults, but what i remember to this day was that both participants were portrayed as human. "Tha shits and tha pisses" said Mellors, "tha'rt a real woman". The divine feminine does neither.