sex and birth

This strange culture, in which everything is sexualised, but the sexualisation is commodified: a Barbie-sexuality that in fact has very little to do with sex. Nothing to do with animal lust, nothing to do with creaturely love, nothing to do with divine conjoining, mysterious energies from without and within; nothing to do with reproduction.

No experience throws this into sharper relief than that of birth, even when in it occurs in sanitised rooms of bleeping machines, hidden to the world. For what is birth but the final end of sex; sex backwards; sex in which the rhythmic pushing and climax comes outwards and from the woman rather than inwards from the man, and with more visceral beauty and energy and extraordariness than any of the male’s petty obsessive effusions.

Like that other great life-event, death, the experience of birth is shut away from the smooth plastic surfaces of our world, wrapped up. This closes us off not only from fundamental aspects of our experience – events that find us at once at our most human, our most divine, and our most animal – but also from much human culture. When you have witnessed birth you understand all those mouths, jaws, sheela-na-gigs, hags, wise women, fates, great mothers, weavers of the wyrd; and also all that obsessive management and control of female powers.

You also realise that by fetishing sex (while also diminishing it) we manage to bypass entirely the extraordinary power, danger and beauty of the event to which it is merely the prelude and intent.

  1. December 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Wonderful insights, thank you.

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