TRIGGER WARNING: Post divorce, I find myself redefining my relationships and want to share some discoveries I have made about sex and intimacy, and how that relates to my spirituality and identity as a feminist. My friend suggested I put the trigger warning on here. I did use the f’word.
Post divorce, I have had three ‘relationships’. Okay who am I kidding, I’ve had sex with three men. I suppose you could call them ‘relationships’. We talked. We texted. We fucked.
All three were painful in their own way. All three were pleasurable in their own way.
I’m redefining this area of my life just like I am redefining all the areas in my life. ‘Cernunnos’ points the way. This is one of my favorite cards in my Druid Craft Tarot deck, and I pull it often.
‘Cernunnos’ is the Lord of the Animals. “This card represents the raw power of the instincts and of Nature, and also the dangers of delusion and excess, but offers the potential for achieving both freedom and abundance.”
Like so much else in life, it’s all about the balance.
“It teaches us how to live effectively in the material world without becoming trapped by the glamour and illusion offered by a world obsessed with wealth, status, sexuality and violence.”
Last night, I had a video call with a friend of mine who did her own deep dive into the topic of sex and intimacy when she started her post-divorce journey a decade ago.
She encouraged me not to beat myself up on my experiences thus far.
“It’s like house-hunting. When the realtor shows you all the crappy houses first. So then when you get to a decent one, you’re like, ‘I’ll take that!’”
“You’re exploring the crappy houses now.”
And I don’t mean the three men were crappy, but our ‘relationships’ were.
And that is all about the expectations.
I have observed how other single people in their 50’s are either looking for ‘the One’ or have shut down this area of their life and gotten as happy as they can without it.
Like most of life, I am not content with this black and white view, I believe the ecstasy is found in the gray.
How do I navigate this gray? First off, it involves a lot of dismantling previously held beliefs. Most of which involve ‘good girls don’t …’
Uh, yea, we do.
There is so much power in your sexuality. The power to say yes, and the power to say no. You have to be strong and comfortable in both of those.
In original tarot decks, Cernunnos is the Devil card. The Druid Craft Tarot craft has renamed it, because the forces it represents are not evil. … “in Druidry and Wicca the powers of the animal, instinctual, sexual and material worlds are not considered evil. In fact, they represent the very forces which govern life on earth in all its abundance. However, it is undeniable that many human beings find it hard to accept, mediate and utilize these forces in responsible ways …”
Instead it offers a different way that “respects and reveres the life force, and does not seek to repress it [but rather to] integrate or channel it to bring creativity, health, pleasure and ecstasy in appropriate and responsible ways.”
My friend and I ended our call last night by her sharing a suggested exercise. Rayellen learned this exercise at a workshop held by an organization known as ISTA (she says she valued that workshop but doesn’t recommend them right now while they work out some accountability issues). This exercise is to be used when you want to establish a physical, intimate relationship with someone.
It’s called ‘Desires, Fears and Boundaries’.
First, you each speak of your Desires but with clearly defining that you are not asking for these things. From “My back hurts. I’d like a back rub.” To, well, I’ll leave that to your imagination, but whatever floats your boat. Say it.
Next, you speak about your Fears. “I’m afraid of STD’s.” “I’m self-conscious about my thighs.” This is great, because if/when you do become intimate, they will know your thighs need a bit of extra love and attention.
And then last, you hit your Boundaries. And this might be “I just want to hold hands.” But what a great exercise, because now the other person knows that even though you’d like to [whatever you said in the Desire portion] for whatever reason, you don’t trust them yet or are not comfortable enough or whatever, this is what you’re willing to do right now.
We also talked about establishing what exactly you are looking for: sex, love, commitment, emotional intimacy, companionship and touch. It may be all of those. It may be just one.
The Cernunnos card goes on to say that the challenge in this card is to accept ‘Nwyfre’ (the life force) in all of its power without becoming obsessed by it and without using it exploitatively.
What is your intent? And can you communicate it?
Like all the areas of my life, this one is requiring work, patience, acceptance and acquired wisdom.
But oh my, the potential.