Guest post by Veronica Monet, ACS, CAM, founder of TheShameFreeZone.
This image on the left is not a family of Chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are notoriously violent. This is their closest cousin, the bonobo. And incidentally, the bonobo is also our closest genetic cousin. What makes the bonobo so special is how they use eros to create a non-violent culture.
And for that, we can thank them for leading the way to more peaceful, cooperative possibilities. But how many of us even consider the erotic to have value outside of pleasure, procreation and pair bonding? How many of us actually envision our erotic lives as a gift to the community of humans, to the other species we share this planet with and to the planet itself?
Given the level of sexual shame which permeates most human culture, extolling the positive power of the erotic is rather rare. It might inspire poetry and other arts, but it is still seen as peripheral to the more serious business of peacemaking, resource sharing and preserving the planet.
But what if it’s not?
What if your relationship to your sexuality has everything to do with how much conflict you experience in your connections with others? What if your erotic life has everything to do with your level of self-esteem? What if your sex life has a direct connection to your creativity and your productivity?
Various studies have established a link between love, lust and creativity and while there exists disagreement on whether love or lust has the more beneficial influence on our creative expression, the experts agree that the link between sex and our ability to create is a powerful one.
Sex is powerful.
And when we ignore that fact, we do ourselves and each other a great disservice. I realize that the photo above, taken by Marian Brickner who has devoted her life to capturing the emotional lives of animals on film, is a powerful image.
We are at once confronted by the shameless display of eros and the affection of family. It militates against our sensibilities and therefore many of us will turn away feeling confused and disturbed. Others will probably laugh nervously and relegate the scene to something superficial and silly. But look again.
What do you see? What do you feel?
I think the bonobo is inviting us to take a second look at our cultural assumptions. Some of our taboos are innate. The incest taboo, for instance. Even as sexually permissive and pansexual as bonobos are, they do not engage in incest. But what about our assumption that sex in general is somehow harmful? If you define sex as I do; adult and consensual, then you have to remove perpetrations such as rape from your definition of sex. And when you consider the vast variety of sexual expressions which adults consent to engage in, while you may not find it to be your cup of tea, it is difficult if impossible to assert that these consenting adults are creating harm in the world.
In my opinion, quite the contrary is true. Adult, consensual sexual activity just might be helping to create a more creative and peaceful planet. Sexually satisfied people tend to be happier people. And more creative.
There are several indications that sexual fulfillment in the context of love and family also creates a more peaceful human being. But a more peaceful world has not always been advantageous to nations struggling for dominance over world resources.
Is it possible that some of our sexual taboos are meant to make us more willing to go to war?
Might we have been misled into extolling violence over love?
While you ponder those questions, I would like to invite you to entertain the ways your erotic life might enhance your general well-being, your willingness to live cooperatively and your creative solutions to life’s inevitable challenges. Might you find more value in your sexual self if you are able to see how that aspect of your life is connected to everything you do? And how might such an awareness open you to the possibilities and potential solutions which the human family is currently struggling with?
How could a less shameful approach to sexuality lead us into a more peaceful world culture? How might it help us live with an eye toward sharing resources rather than competing for them? How would you like to tap into the renewable energy that is eros and create a better world?
This article originally appeared on Veronica’s website.
Thumbnail image via WeHeartIt