Ariel Levy’s book review of Naomi Wolf’s “Vagina: A New Biography” in the New Yorker was quite fun. She is pretty critical of the book, which comes across in her article as sort of a self-indulgent, new-agey exploration. Complete with yoni-healing gurus and the use of the word “Goddess” and purdah. Unfortunately, you have to be a subscriber to have full access to the article, but there is a nice enough chunk available for you to get the picture. Hit the library up for a copy, or your neighbor if you can. I put my name on the the hold list for Wolf’s book (1 of 2 requestors) because it might be worth the giggle.
One piece of the article caught me, on page 99 of the New Yorker, that explained well the feeling I’ve had about sex, from a woman’s perspective, as an owner of an “inny”, rather than an “outy”.
“Straight men would do well to ask themselves: ‘Do I want to be married to a Goddess—or a bitch?’ Unfortunately, there is not, physiologically, much middle ground available to women,” Wolf writes. “Either they are extremely well treated sexually, or else they become physically uncomfortable and emotionally uncomfortable.” The vagina is no longer an orifice within the woman; the woman is now a support mechanism for the vagina. Anger the vagina and the woman will have no choice to become a harpy. Biology is destiny again.
I think I can agree with this, especially in the context of marriage. I am not sure I’d call myself a harpy, during our dry spells, but the idea of being unsatisfied somehow causes a separation between the vagina and the self makes a lot of sense to me. I think the best sex is half cerebral. When you are not satisfied, not in the mood, or being approached for sex without any “whole being” interest, it is easy to detach. Your brain doesn’t engage into the sex, and then the pleasure of physical sex is not amplified enough, or at all. The Yoni-tapper (guru) that Naomi Wolf visits, gazes into the woman’s eyes, and welcome her as “Goddess”. Enough to make Ariel Levy and I cringe. I will give him credit though. Eye contact engages the whole being, it’s not just about two parts making friction. Words engage the ears. A man can do the same thing but say something different, from racy to kind and loving. If you are not getting that at home, you’ll want to get it elsewhere, eventually. I fondly remember the non-physical, pre-sex arousal of my past. Honest to god, the sex was never all that, but the beginnings were always good. If these were casual encounters the whole being was engaged between two people. Yes, in a way it was functional, but one had to flirt and keep the other engaged. Maybe it was chemical too. Eventually, even though the whole being was being engaged into procuring casual sex, there was not enough sustaining or nourishing engagement for me. Nowadays, I have a safe and healthy place to explore sex but marriage, being older, kids and responsibilities is a great challenge to getting the cerebral part going. You take things for granted. I want to say “instant access to parts” or “ownership” or “right to access partner’s bits and pieces as needed”. :/ You become the support mechanism for a vagina, rather than a whole partner for a sexual experience. Not to mention having an “inny” is more vulnerable than having an “outy”. I can’t explain it well, but having an “inny” means you have to let something in, or something can be forced in…. I am not sure how to make an “inny” aggressive, or dominant, or maybe it is the act of receiving rather than being the person who puts? It is not the same as a penis, that is for sure.
I’ve been looking for that elusive cerebral thrill. Thinking about it a lot. Trying to explain it to my husband. It is very hard, it is like two people trying to communicate in two different languages. It could be that we have two cultures, two polar opposite sexual pasts, and two ways of dealing with sexuality. How to explain this to a man who has never “practiced” wooing and charming women? Who came into marriage (mashallah) without that, going right into “instant access” sexuality. Oh, should I mention I like women too, and that is taboo and a desire not being met? LOL