On the Brain
What do you think about sex?
A lot of the time, our thoughts are involuntary. Eckhart Tolle wrote in A New Earth that it often makes about as much sense to say ‘I think’, as ‘I digest my food’, or ‘I circulate my blood’. Thoughts occur and arise in the mind out of our control.
I believe that much of the time our fantasies are in a similar category: people often feel like their sex fantasies and desires are in some realm beyond their control. Their fantasies are in them, are part of them, and should either be shunned or acted on accordingly.
I agree with Mr. Tolle that our thoughts often arise out of our control. But sex thoughts are different from regular thoughts. The main reason for this is that thinking about sex gives us pleasure. We like thinking about sex because it arouses us and so we do it more and more. We shape these thoughts into things we like and they become fantasies. They are not simply things we have no control over: they become conditioned by our surroundings, habits, and build up into a character that we call our sexuality.
And to large extent that sexuality is psychologically and socially determined. I have found that simply by embracing my sexuality I have more desire for men. I know what gay men do, and I want it. And this change has alerted me to something: sex thought is thought. Thought is an illusion. Sexuality is a social construct. Sexuality is a story that we tell about ourselves.
Being aware of one’s sex thoughts is an odd feeling. It’s a bit like bursting a bubble. It is like shining a torch into a dark corner. It’s also a bit like tidying up your bedroom or desk and finally having achieved some order in your life. That fragile construct, or that thin surface layer gets swept away exposing a sturdier reality beneath it.
When you are aware of your sexuality as you construct it, social mores on sexual behaviour no longer hold sway on you. Much of what society says about sex is… just that. It’s just what people say. When you become aware that these rules are just a bunch of ideas, you are freed from them. So go wild! Have sex with as many people as possible. No rules, so do what you want! That ‘do what you want’ should mean the same as ‘have a lot of sex partners’ is in itself a story that society tells about human nature. It’s a part of the thought stream that you become aware of, whether or not you are living it.
Actually, I found the opposite has happened. Becoming aware of that stream of thought within me has made me realise: I am happy with my conservative sexual morality. I don’t feel ashamed before the rest of society to say that I live and act and think a different way. I’m not ashamed of my virginity, because I am being true to myself in waiting for the right person. How will I ever meet the right person if I am not being myself, and holding to my true values? Love is about being the right person, more than having the right person.
It might do you good to quietly observe your thinking. What do you think about sex?