SEX POWER & FREEDOM
What I Have Learn’t
BY OLUBODE SHAWN BROWN
At Hedonism II, the Jamaican resort where the BLOOM Freedom Festival is held, sexual freedom is not something that is frowned upon. This is because being a hedonist means living and behaving in ways that gives you as much pleasure out of life as possible. In Jamaica this resort in respectable circles is seen as our dirty little secret. Locals go there under the cover of darkness out of fear that their reputation for “decency” could be damaged. I grew up in Jamaica in the church with my own lingering hang-ups around sexual freedom, so imagine my dilemma when the hotel reached out to us in 2009 to have a BLOOM event there.
Let’s fast forward to 2018.
This year marks the 8thyear that BLOOM will be going to Hedonism II. Each year this event has grown. In the past, the event has been called BLOOM JAMAICA, but this year we are simply calling it The Freedom Festival. This change reflects the evolution of the event, my own personal growth and how attendees have come to view this event — as an access to personal power and liberation.
As things turned out, Hedonism II is in fact a school of learning.
What follows are five insights about sexual freedom drawn from my experiences and reflection over the past 7 years. This quote from Oscar Wilde, pretty much sums it up.
“Everything in the world is about sex except sex.
Sex is about power.”
~ Oscar Wilde
- Sex embodies of ALL our desires. At BLOOM we understand that human beings have 5 fundamental desires: to be heard, to change, to be seen, to connect deeply and to feel safe & belong. The act of sex embodies ALL five of these human desires when done well. The best sexual partners listen to each other, take each other on an adventure, see each other beyond their masks, connect emotionally, and do all of this safely. However, given that sex seems to be the only single human act that embodies ALL the five basic desires of our humanity, it would be logical then for those who seek to destroy and control others to vilify the act of sex and use it as a tool of oppression.
- Sex is an adventure. We each choose to give meaning to our sexual explorations, whether we see them as purely a physical negotiation of power, as a spiritual conduit, as emotional release, as a trade or energy, or way to be accepted or worshiped. I have come to see that the best sexual encounters provide an opportunity for an adventure, to break away from self-imposed barriers and meanings. Often times we are stuck in our sexual experiences and repeat the same acts over and over again. Do you want to have sex in just one way? Is there a predetermined position, method or destination that you are attached to and why? Ask yourself these questions. Self-awareness comes when we give ourselves permission to explore. In this exploration we can find freedom beyond shame.
- Sex is a guide to power. The act of sex can be for the pursuit of pleasure or a flight from pain. What I have found more interesting is the possibility of choosing to walk through the middle ground where a sexual encounter is essentially neither, yet holds the possibility of something even more adventurous. Negotiating this path requires us to be present in our bodies while being attentive to our partners. Negotiating this middle ground, while “bumping-up” against the poles of our pain and pleasure helps us to find our own path to personal power.
- Sex is an opportunity to move beyond victimhood. During sex one can choose to be to submit and receive in the intimate places where we are vulnerable. During sex we can choose to put on, or take off our masks and defenses. We can choose to be emotionally isolated or authentic and available. We recalim our personal power when we choose our narrative consciously. To not choose is also a choice. Choose responsibly.
- Sex reclaims the body. Among the first acts of the colonial masters was to remove sex from its ritual place as a generative and renewing force for their slaves. They placed it on the production line, as a means to produce more slaves. Then they came with their bibles to let us know that it was wrong, that it had to be sanctioned and was not a birthright. Today we live with this legacy — a twisted knot of sex, religion, studs, whores and race. For me sex is a ritual for making the body sacred again, as a space for exploration and journeying into greater self -awareness as we begin to remember our humanity.
One reason we often deny or give away our personal power – the ability to choose our experiences in life is because this power often feels like sexual power – the energy generated when we are sexually aroused. We live our lives in the same ways that we have sex. Our sexual life reflect the ways we live. Both are interconnected. At stake is our ability to be authentic, allow change and to intentionally change things. What I am learning is that sexual energy –personal power– can be freely harnessed from within yourself, shaped and used to feel well, abundant and happy. And people who are full, create free-standing whole communities, raise whole children, and co-create peacefully with others.
At The Freedom Festival it’s okay for people to have different experiences without making one right and the other wrong. It is our intention that everyone’s experience be personal and transformative. Here are a few simple guidelines for your participation.
1. Be first responsible for your own experience – set your intention
2. Be the party you want to have
3. Vote with your feet – simply choose
4. Do no harm
5. Create something with others
We are powerful to the extent that we are growing in SELF-AWARENESS and CHOOSE. My hope is that we each choose to be FREE!
Olubode Shawn Brown, is the author of BLOOM The Essential Journey — A new Guide to Balance Growth & Well Being. It is guidebook for a movement of people who are seeking to live more authentic lives as we deliver our gifts to the planet. He is the facilitator of the BLOOM FREEDOM FESTIVAL. Learn more about this event @ bloomlivefree.com