I am proud to be a woman. The creative potential and power of my body is something worth celebrating, something that is beyond my limited experience of existence, and something I ought to be free to nurture and embrace always. I revere and respect the vacancy within me that exists solely for receiving and fostering life. It would be a tragedy to arrest the natural process of my feminine fertility in a misinformed effort to afford myself greater freedom in sexual expression. To fill my body with harmful chemicals and to view my fertility as a disease to be treated or a current to be dammed is tantamount to frustrating one of my greatest powers. My ability to grow life inside of me is something that only I as a woman can do, and something that demands my veneration. I am proud of this beautiful body and its generative ebb and flow.
As a woman who respects her body and the cosmic beauty it expresses - albeit imperfectly - I am unable to comprehend the rationale behind the idea that sex is recreational, to be approached with little regard for its first purpose, which is to generate new life. I am more than my impulses, and so are you. I have a will, and therein lies my freedom.
Please, don't misunderstand me when I speak of freedom: I do not mean freedom from the nature-blessed trajectory of the sexual urge, which is incarnation (read, the ultimate wake-up call that life is bigger than my own universe): I mean freedom for self-discovery through self-gift.
Responsible sex doesn’t mean sex “with protection”, it means “sex in full knowledge and acceptance of what sex is meant to do: sex in full knowledge and reverence for the natural law which governs the body and its power.” “Being responsible” does not mean the shirking off of the natural gravitas that is meant to accompany the mingling of two bodies: that’s cowardice, driven by convenience.
Most of us are gung-ho about respecting nature and law when it comes to littering, carbon-footprints, responding appropriately to traffic signs, choosing not to endanger other people with firearms, and honoring the property of other people: we collectively understand that there are laws in place which we ought to respect and uphold in order to further the common good. Each day, we assent to authorities beyond us and act according to a universalist paradigm. Each day, we post articles about the wonders of science and the incomprehensibility of the Universe and Nature, prayerfully nodding our heads at every esoteric and chilling thing scientists have to say about the vastness and mystery that surrounds us (like hell there are that many people who think it all actually means nothing: and if you’re one of the few who do take such a stance, I guess you won’t bother to comment about it, because if you did, you’d contradict yourself: “There is no objective truth” is an objective statement).
But the moment it comes to sex and the body, the semantics change drastically. Gone is the language of responsibility, of “respecting Mother Nature”, of keeping the speedometer at 70 mph and slowing down in a work zone. Gone is the outcry toward those individuals who choose to mow down other people for no reason other than that they were bothersome, or didn’t fit in their ideal world. Gone is the awe that accompanies the consideration of the Big Bang and the incredible burgeoning of life that resulted over millennia in its wake, and gone are the enthused shares of the ever-popular I F***ing Love Science website. Gone is the sense of reverence in the face of the natural unfolding of our ecosystem, and gone is the sense of fury at its objectification and mauling. Instead, what you hear is: “It’s my body: I can do what I want, with whoever I want, whenever I want, as much as I want. It’s my choice.”
As a believer in the Big Bang, and as a woman who sees a cosmic correlation between that first infinitesimal genesis and each subsequent human act of genesis, this utter lack of love and reason - this two-faced indifference that masquerades as righteous indignance - frustrates me deeply. It is an offense to men and women alike and divests them of their power and dignity, a power and dignity we duplicitously celebrate in our intellectual, business, and political spheres: basically everywhere but where it is meant to be the most readily apparent.
This widespread self-adulation within the sphere of intimacy further fails to take into consideration the enormous potential for self-expression (genuine self-expression being a far cry from self-adulation) within the sector of the mind and will: not only is my body a fertile landscape that ought to be embraced in its fullness, but so, too, are my mind and my will. I can deny myself and my impulses for the sake of loving another person more entirely, with his fertility, his potential for fatherhood. I do not have the "right" to ask any man to obfuscate his natural potency for fatherhood, and no man has the right to ask me to suspend my potency for motherhood. No couple has the "right" to interfere with the generative potential of their union. And if the possibility of that generative potential being realized isn't mindful or wise at a given time in an individual's or a couples' life, I have good news! As persons, we're capable of not having sex and not self-imploding due to abstaining.
I'm capable of choosing not to tear up clumps of wildflowers growing enticingly in some hidden place at Yellowstone: I know, intuitively, that they do not exist for my whim and pleasure, and their beauty ought to be revered, not consumed.
I'm capable of choosing not to flip off my fellowman when he cuts in front of me on the highway, and I can control my desire to "stick it to the man" by speeding off in front of him, full of righteous, crippling indignance (as much as I'd like to, lawdy-lawdy).
I am capable of resisting the utter attraction of that Almond Joy as it sits so close to my hand in the check-out: I could, physically and practically, take it and consume it without paying for it and be satisfied: but since I know that to do so would be wrong, and would cause disorder, I refrain. I understand that it does not belong to me, as much as I would enjoy it. All of this is innate to me, and most likely, to you.
This faculty of the will is something other mammals do not possess, and it’s something that sets us apart as persons. This ability to make informed decisions and to fully accept my body and reverence its creative potential is part of my feminine identity that I am empowered by and that I refuse to stifle.
I want to love other people, respect their decisions, and stand up for the little gal who doesn’t have a voice. I think every woman should experience the freedom of being able to celebrate her body in its entirety, and that no woman should feel pressured into staunching her most powerful faculty or be duped into thinking that doing so is the “more responsible”, or the “self-loving” thing to do. Every woman should experience being loved in her entirety, fertility included. Every woman should know the freedom and joy of exercising her will and mind and being the master of her emotions and desires.
Every woman should know the freedom of putting the good of another life before her own: the freedom of self-gift, which requires an entire self to give.
There are those who will bristle up at this and say how offensive it is for anyone to push an objective moral code on others - those who say that everyone has their own truth, and what they do with their bodies is their business. I wonder: do they not see that they, too, operate according to a moral code, just like everyone else? Do they not see that in advocating for a "freedom" that, at its heart, is no more than license to do whatever one feels they should do, they are showcasing their own bondage, their own tragic lack of freedom?
Like it or not, we all worship something. We're all adherents of some religion: for some, the primary god-head is pleasure and convenience.They do the very thing they most disdain: they proselytize, they judge, and they play the martyr for their cause. They are missionaries for their message, and they worship a sterilized, predictable Ego that knows nothing of the language of sacrifice but is fluent in the language of rights and euphemism.
I don't want euphemisms. Birth-control promises sterile orgasm that falls back on itself in the name of "progress" and "convenience" while robbing both people involved of true intimacy, which always involves responsibility, risk, and creativity.
I'm tired of hearing that access to birth control should be the battle-cry of women. Birth-control has nothing to do with either birth or control, two things I'm naturally good at. It implies that I can't handle the responsibility of my own fertility, or handle the challenge of loving the totality of another person.
I'm a big girl, with a big-girl will and a big-girl intellect. I can handle it. I can handle the challenge of responsible sexuality.
And I'm proud of that.
All photographs property of Joy Prouty (www.wildflowersphotos.com), except for the last two.