I am torn.
I am a person of great faith. I wouldn't say I am overly religious or holier-than-thou. But I do believe in God. I believe that Jesus is my personal savior and have accepted Christ when I was 7 years old in an elaborate baptimal ceremony at which my grandmother got the holy ghost. I was in the choir. I did Easter speeches and Christmas pageants.
Luckily for me, I wasn't raised in a household where religious dogma ruled. I was able to form my own independent thoughts on things. Coupled with my mother, who is liberal to a fault. I mean...kinda little more than left of center. She told me about my body early on. The dangers and the beauty of sex. I was aware of my body and all its gendered power by the time I was 12. She told me that masturbation was "perfectly fine and safest sex around"...and that I "had to know my own body before I gave it to someone else". By the time that happened, I was almost 19 years old and very much a "late bloomer" compared to some of my friends who had been fucking since they were 14 years old. But I knew my body..and I knew what I liked.
Now that I am 33... I have had partners and I had a husband. I am also a sex positive blogger and a person whose work will eventually take them into the intersection between literature and its discourse on sex. I review porn and sex toys. I talk about erotic literature from the African-American theoretical perspective. However, I feel this overwhelming sense...
I know. It seems so strange. I mean, I am a confident woman in both areas of my life. And theoretically, there is no shame in how I feel about being identified as a confident, heterosexual, black woman. But sometimes..I feel guilty for having sex. I feel crazy for talking about sex. Because I am a person of faith. I know that sex is a sacred space but because I have engaged in sex outside of the "sacred" and I talk about sex "outside of the sacred" I feel like I am doing myself a disservice.
My challenge often is how do I reconcile the two. Is that odd? To do this I went on periods of celibacy. I went on periods of deeply spiritual retreats. On the flip-side, I went on "sexual binders" and felt I had to "get it out my system". All of these things, I felt, didn't really help. I am sexy, smart and I am also spiritual. I need to OWN it, right? Not be ashamed of any part of me. Right?
This is easier said than done. I think a lot of this is a combination of a lot of factors. As a black woman, our bodies have been sexualized and eroticized/exoticized for some long, we feel that we have no real ownership of our bodies. We've been sex objects and "othered" since we landed here in 1619. Instantaneously, our bodies have been subject to religious dogma of Christianity and puritanical persecution. We were whipped...in the name of Jesus. We were made to labor....in the name of God. We were even raped and bore fruit of our masters...all in the name of God. Sexuality became a dirty thing....and we internalized it. I can name tons of sistas who think "giving head" is for white girls. OR that anal sex means you are gay. OR that even homosexuality means we are being damned.. I am telling you...all of this has to do with slavery and perceptions of "I'm black..but I am a good girl" ..."I am black..and I believe in God....I have no ownership or say in my body or its landscape". It's so complicated...to be black...in this body...and of faith. So crazy.
I say all this to say...it isn't easy to be sex positive...yet to be a spiritual person. I am sure it is akin to a person being a doctor....and yet saying "God can heal you". But in turn...God is the one who gives you the gift to heal. Perhaps this is the case with me..God has given me a critical mind to connect these issues. It would be dishonoring my gift to toss it to the wayside. Besides..sex is highly spiritual. It is a joining of two souls and no matter what you do...you can hardly break those "soul ties".
Sex is spirit. Spirit is sex. I possess a sexy spirit I suppose.......
..and hopefully my life's work will reflect that :)