SEX, Sexuality, Sexual Harassment

“Are you sure, you want to write about such a sensitive topic?” a friend asked me some days ago. “Sure, I’m sure!” I answered “I have to write it off my chest…”

I grew up in Germany. I was raised Roman Catholic and that involved a lot of taboos, but after freeing myself from all those rigid beliefs that turned out to be so terrible phony I am enjoying sex and sexuality. Why phony, you may ask. Well, my father who was an “Every Sunday Church Goer”, preaching about guilt, shame and sin and sending me regularly to confession as a young child, turned out to have two girl-friends with whom he betrayed my mother and in a way even his girl-friends.

So, I was kind of forced to find my own ways regarding sex and sexuality and I did. This of course starts with the translation of SEX with Making Love. I had many discussions with women (in Bavaria) who stated that they can have sex without being in love. I can’t. For me if a man does not attract me and does not awake a desire inside of me I can’t become intimate. So, how is love defined for me? Is it just about attraction? How is attraction defined? This is a sensitive topic, my friend was right. If we decide that love is the universal power behind everything and that we all should love each other,  simple attraction cannot be the first step to making love. There’s much more to it, when women like me are looking for Mr. Right. It’s about a man’s self-confidence, his intelligence, his sensitivity, his humour, his way of laughing, the sound of his voice, his touch, his smell, his walking, his interests, his openness, his kindness, his empathy and much much more………

You think, I have a lot of expectations? You’re damn right! I don’t want a couch potato on my side, watching TV, eating fast-food, wearing shorts and white socks in sandals!!!! Yuck!

Oh, yes, I wanted to write about sex not about men. Sorry, but somehow it goes together.

So, what does research say about the North American attitude regarding sex? “The majority of the US and Canadian population has the rigid belief that suggests sex existed inside marriage for reproductive purposes and nothing else. Canadians are active sexually but age is a determining factor. Sexual activity peaks in the 30s and declines thereafter.” Poor Canadians, I would say. I better stay with my PR card and stick to my German roots.

But this exactly mirrors what I experience here. A 31-year old woman tells me “This young guy is getting on my nerves. You should see him, holding hands with his girl-friend all the time and then they’re kissing. I’m glad I’m finished with this immature behaviour. I hope I will be married soon and have some children. When you start a family all this smooching and sexual activity finally comes to an end because there are more important things to bother….” Blablabla, I thought, typically left-brained society talk. What could be nicer than driving through Munich and seeing an eighty-year old couple holding hands and kissing while enjoying the nice summer breeze in their convertible.

And then there’s the senior who looks disgusted when seeing some teenagers hugging and kissing in the public train. “We would never have dared to do something so awful.” was her remark. “I did,” I said and smiled about her “I’m so shocked”- expression “I loved to provoke the stiff adults, you know,” I continued, but she quickly switched the topic.

My instructor for Applied Kinesiology, NLP, Systemic Constellations etc. was Italian and in her mid forties. If somebody would have told her to stop having sex and not wearing sexy dresses any more, this person would still suffer the post-traumatic effects of an Italian volcano eruption.

I just read an article from French writer Pascal Bruckner that I found amusing, sad and true: MAKING WAR, NOT LOVE: A FRENCH VIEW ON SEX IN AMERICA

Some excerpts are as follows:

“A few years ago, we were on a family beach vacation in Florida. After a swim, my two-year-old daughter took off her bathing suit. Suddenly, the summer visitors began looking at us sideways. A few minutes later, a sheriff’s deputy equipped with an arsenal that could destroy an entire city, arrived and shouted at us that we had to get our daughter dressed again  if we didn’t want to get fined. My daughter, who thought it was a game, started to run. We ran after her…and the sheriff ran after us. Finally, we caught her and laughed out loud, but the big man in uniform didn’t. In Uncle Sam territory, to be naked on the beach is forbidden, even for babies.

North America, obviously, has a problem with sex that comes from its Protestant legacy, which also has it giving the whole world lessons in morality. To describe America as a Puritan country is not enough because it is a double-faced Puritanism, which shifts with change in attitudes, uses the vocabulary of freedom and coexists with a thriving porn industry. More precisely, this is a prurient Puritanism.”

“In the Bill Clinton case, can we really say that he was sanctioned because he lied more than Dominique Strauss-Kahn because he had an affair with a White Houses’ intern? This is wrong of course because George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a far more serious deception, but was not condemned for it. If he had slept with his assistant, he would have been punished. But murders are apparently less important than extra-marital affairs.”

“Since the 1990’s, any foreign male professor who comes to the US to teach at University has to respect strict instructions: He has to keep the door open when he receives a student, unless the conversation is recorded; he can’t take the elevator with a student; and of course, he can’t have a relationship with a student from the University even if she is over 21 and even if it’s consensual — otherwise he would be immediately expelled. Also with colleagues: one can’t have ambiguous conversations, or use inappropriate words, and must commit themselves not to have sexual intercourse with a colleague unless the two get married.

What does that really mean? It is clearly a furious condemnation of sexual pleasures by criminalizing the heterosexual act. Every man is a rapist, every woman may be a victim. The flattering remark is a first step to harassment, seduction is on the road to rape, gallantry is a euphemism to blur the man’s predatory moves. The flesh leads to corruption, desire is dangerous.”

“To my fellow French who are planning to go to the United States: BE CAREFUL.  If you ever want to flirt with an American citizen, male or female, you need to get an official document from them stipulating that you can enjoy their body. We have a lot to learn from our Americans friends, but certainly not the art of loving.”

And this leads us to the big term SEXUAL HARASSMENT. How is this translated into legal language? In 1989 Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada defined sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims.”

“Harassment will be considered to have taken place if a reasonable person ought to have known that the behaviour was unwelcome.”

Hm, what’s the definition of “reasonable”? The dictionary talks about “sound thinking and judgement”,  “being rational” and “having a good sense”. And what’s “unwelcome”? Could be already a smile… Based on the theory that everybody has his or her own picture/map of the world the whole matter seems to result in an extremely elastic concept.

A female financial advisor comes to a branch for some appointments. Suddenly the male client is pushed into a different office to deal with a male account manager. What has happened? “I can’t deal with this man” I can hear her telling a colleague “he greeted me friendly and then he mentioned that the last time he saw me I was around 4-years old and sitting on a blanket with my family at the beach for  a pick-nick. Imagine, he saw me in my bikini. This guy is really creepy.” What’s going on here, I was wondering. How many people have mentioned that they have seen me as a baby or little child. I would not spend a minute to think about how they could have seen me. Perhaps I have been crawling naked across the floor. I remember that I didn’t wear a bikini before I was 6. This remark has in my eyes nothing to do with sexual harassment.

Then there was a student who wanted to apply for working at a fishing lodge far north. “He wants me to send him a photo…. What a creepy guy!” We are used to send a photo with our application in Germany and we have never had the idea to examine the reason for that. We even write our birth date on our cover letter. My last boss told me that he was especially attracted by my nice open smile. What did I think when I heard that??? I felt very flattered and attractive as a woman. The work relationship was great and we still have a deep friendship. I’m wondering if a friendship between man and woman is socially acceptable in Canada. As far as I experience everyday life, men here have male friends and women female friends, which is weird for me.

Then there’s this generalizing of women who say “Men only want sex… they’re all having their brains in their pants” or “The guy who has created this hierarchy (Maslow) MUST have been a man because who else could put food and sex on the same level and call them basic needs…”

I know a lot of smart and charming men who are far from being the way just described by women who at the same time dress tempting. Those contradictions show me that those women don’t have a lot self-confidence otherwise they would be aware of their power.

To bring my thoughts to an end I would like to say that I am enjoying the arousing, thrilling, exciting, erotic interacting and flirting game between the genders. How boring would life be without it!

Imagine Eva wouldn’t have eaten the apple, perhaps she and Adam would have never had a thought about sex. This means there would never have been polarities in this world. And without polarities like good and bad, there wouldn’t be heroes like Mother Theresa or Mahatma Ghandi. A woman did the first step towards sex and sexuality and….

I am proud to be a woman!

Namaste!

Proud to be a woman

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