I have a social media “friend” who has been tagging me in many nutty videos lately. The title of one of these videos is called, “Removing Soul Ties” and it discusses “sexual freedom.” Please don’t be as confused as I was, it’s not an encouraging video. It’s not really about sexual freedom. It’s about sexual imprisonment. And this is quite a common narrative found throughout Evangelical Christianity. More puritanical practices that shame and condemn the gift of sexual pleasure.
To add fuel to the fire, I was put on a 24-hour ban on Facebook. The reason? Violation of community standards. The allegation was that I was soliciting sex and showing nudity on my profile (which is patently false for anyone who simply scrolls my timeline). In fact, the post in question was a positive and encouraging post about helping people work through their sexual trauma. I am an Erotic Embodiment Advisor. I help people unlearn patriarchal and puritanical bedroom practices. I teach people to see eroticism under a new lens and in conjunction with the mind of Christ. The only thing I have to offer for sale is a conversation, a safe space free of judgment, and time. Clearly, someone misinterpreted my profession and felt the need to report me. Not once, but twice, in a span of 2 days.
Nudity? I have seen more revealed from friends who post bikini shots at the beach and bodybuilding competition photos than I reveal through my uploads. So, it is very interesting how complaints and the desire for cancellation can arise given the shift in context. I understand that. Place the word “erotic” and “embodiment” together in a sentence, and that alone makes people feel uncomfortable. Add an image of a woman wearing a bra and yoga shorts, all sorts of messages can be deciphered individually. A powerful, sexy woman has always been a threat to meager Christian practices that insist only a man is strong and a woman is weak.
Individuals can see a photo and a few lines in a long post—my guess is that whoever reported me, didn’t actually read the post at length— and decide that enough “relevant”—read: “reactive”—factors are available for them to come to their own conclusions. Even if they are contrary to the intention of my context.
I understand that s-e-x is still taboo. I imagine I will be writing that very sentence 20 years from now and that is disappointing. But I must point out, that if what you perceive as sexual fills you with enough conviction that you must report anyone, aren’t you simply reporting your own thoughts, not the actual message at hand? Essentially, in allowing an image and a misreading of some text, you projected your own feelings of shame onto me. You asked me to be responsible for your thoughts. It seems to always come down to this, even in a modern, progressive world, the woman is always responsible for the thoughts of others…When will these insecure people be asked to be responsible for their own thoughts and leave others be?
I want to imagine what it would be like for me to report someone for what I perceive as “sexual solicitation.” I imagine that the reason I am doing this is that I have learned that selling sex is bad. It’s illegal. And somewhere, other stories were sowed in my head about the deceptive ways sex workers will try to move their product under the radar. Like a drug smuggler. So that means I must be vigilant and watch for anything that may appear to be sex solicitation. And if I am really reactive and narrow-minded, I will presume the word “erotic” is just a cover name for “sex”, similarly to how many perceive the word “erotic” as a synonym for “porn.” All it takes is a few combinations of words and phrases in my social media newsfeed (which is where all the vigilant purity disciples get most of God’s work done), and boom! Caught ya! I would pat myself on the back for all the judgments I allowed to swirl in my head about the person I just reported. Remind me that I am doing God’s work while simultaneously searching for that perfect Godly woman that will make serve breakfast burritos in bed while giving me head and treating me like a King, all in the name of God. Praise Jesus!
I imagine I would be susceptible to frightening stories that paint any woman who enjoys sex as demon-possessed. But that’s really just the preaching of men who force themselves to be grateful for their own boring, vanilla, or non-existent sex lives. It’s a projection in its most elementary form. I could be convinced that no woman likes sex, based on the preaching of men with sexless marriages. Only men do! And only men should talk about it, women should not. I could believe all of this if I was inundated by repetitive messages that equate masturbation to murder. If I were taught that a good, Godly woman is a woman who produces 8 children in 10 years, keeps my home clean, always has dinner ready for me at 6 PM on the nose, and doesn’t expect me to treat her any different than my dog—who is far more reliable than her anyway. I could believe that an Erotic Embodiment Advisor is soliciting sex if all of this was apart of my influence on the topic of sex.
I imagine that a mind that is so easily offended by our truest naked form is also suffering from a lot of abusive, manipulative, and coercive trauma from their past. This individual could be a single, 32-year-old man who has never had sex, but frequently pleasures himself while watching Q-Anon YouTube videos in his grandmother’s basement. He also shares videos like the one I referenced earlier. Sermons that include messages about sex like this: “Having past sexual relations is like super-gluing cardboard together. What happens when you try to pull them apart?” Cut to an image of torn, gutted, pitted cardboard, presumably meant to metaphorically depict the grossness and uselessness of a non-virgin—of a spoiled, tainted woman.
He’s probably never even been in a relationship. He may have never even touched a woman, other than his grandmother to help her get off the couch. Or this individual could be a she? She’s 24, single, and waiting on God to send her a Godly man. She married herself to God and her purity ring on her left ring finger is a symbol of her unwavering faith in God and God’s promise to materialize the perfect man as a reward for her purity and virginity and service to the Lord. She’s also obsessed with ABC’s “The Bachelor,” and she’s read Fifty Shades of Gray so many times, the binding is coming undone, but that’s neither here nor there.
I imagine I would live in a lonely, sexless pit of fear and anxiety if I reported someone for using the word “erotic” in a post that includes a photo of OBVIOUS cleavage. I imagine I feel excluded from the world. I imagine that I am confused by all the other thoughts in my head about pleasure and what things feel like while wrestling with the thoughts and ideas about God and how one is supposed to remain virtuous and pure.
But how virtuous is it to judge others and cancel them, I wonder? I have the hope that God won’t cancel one soul—decorate me with that Universalist label if you must. So, the idea that a God of grace and love and mercy is the same God that is convicting you to reduce another human being is quite a dissonance.
How pure is it if you are also going out of your way to shame others? I have seen it, been a victim of it, and tried to interrupt it—the hateful spewing that comes from people who have such narrow frameworks about the sexual nature of our relationship with God. Putting God in a sentence with sex, or putting God in the bedroom is sacrilege! Separate that, now! That’s what I hear coming from the sermon that my concerned friend wanted me to see. Separate sex from God and thereby separate love from sex.
You know, that’s a great move for profits! You can split them and sell them separately and pretend one doesn’t have anything to do with the other. Religion and God on one side—but always religion first, then God, and on the other side, sex. Seems to me that Church and the porn industry are imitating their systems and they probably don’t even know it!
I can’t and I won’t separate God from sex. And you shouldn’t either! Is God love? Yes! Then I want love in my sex! I want sex with God! I didn’t say I want to have sex with God…I said I want sex with love. I want sex with connectivity, emotion, meaning, fulfillment, pleasure. And I want others to know that’s possible. Without shame and without judgment. That means we put our erotic thinking caps on. It means we shift our lens to the erotic setting. When I say “erotic”, it means that I am talking about that which encompasses a dimensional experience of enoughness. It’s peak pleasure. It’s filled with the energy of love. It’s dimensional because it’s emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and sometimes sexual. Erotic means it’s always spiritual. Eroticism doesn’t have any meaning without something higher and unseen. It’s the combination of the tangible and intangible. Isn’t God also the combination of the tangible and intangible?
Embodiment is empowering. A person who walks knowing their power is a threat to the insecure. That’s what embodiment is about: knowing who you are and claiming it. All of it. It’s complete ownership of your being. Ownership includes responsibility. When we embody eroticism, our identity reflects our intention and our intention reflects our identity. And it’s love that is reflected! When love is your intention, you’ll naturally align with love. You’ll be drawn to it, you’ll feel convicted to pour it out, and you’ll only see its potential.
I understand why that is scary to others. The erotic is scary because it’s not a shield from chaos, but seasoning for it. Many people believe that love is a shield, that it prevents pain and suffering. I once believed that. My metric for relationship success was dependent upon limited chaos and pain. If I cried, that meant the person I was with was not “the one.” If I felt jealous, it’s because the other person didn’t provide me with security. I sabotaged many relationships because I believed love prevented pain.
Eroticism is the combination of sameness and otherness. Our modern world pleads for diversity yet demands sameness. Anything erotic appears opposed to that script. We live in a world of choices, but we limit those choices to “good or bad”, “them or us”, and “right and wrong.” That which is erotic has no use for trite little dualistic modes. That doesn’t mean an individual ignores clearly immoral or unethical practices. (Sometimes, I feel like I need to add that caveat for clarification purposes, in case your imaginative minds switch back to a fear frequency.)
Ultimately, the real script at play here is that if sex or love doesn’t produce eternal, ever-lasting feelings of “happiness”, acting as a blockade to any and all obstacles along the path of life, then it must be dirty, sinful, and evil. Those who have a bad experience with sex may prefer to leave it to the other side, separate from God and love because all the ills of the world did not stop on a dime. They won’t hear my message. They don’t want to embody anything other than their own insecurity. That fits with their routine and they don’t want it disturbed.
My only recommendation to those who wish to report me and grossly misinterpret my intention is that they think about what signals they are sending out into the world and what patterns of problematic preaching they are only perpetuating. Reporting me, or anyone that you feel is “offending you” is simply a report on your own internal shame, trauma, and fear. It scares you that another could find security in that which you are insecure about. In that shadow of fear, you actually believe that the security of another will somehow take away from your own security. But that’s nonsense. The security one finds in the erotic realm is so intense that nobody’s complaints or fears will shake it. The erotic doesn’t offend. Love doesn’t offend. And if you are offended by the idea that another individual could come into a full erotic embodiment, it only shows that you don’t understand love, and maybe, you’ve never really experienced it. Those who don’t have love don’t want others to have it either. And that’s a damn shame.