by Kyla Plummer, Bangalow, Australia
My first experience of sex left a lot to be desired – I was 13 years old. My 17 year old boyfriend coerced and heavily pressured me into sex with stories of how a guy needs sex or his balls hurt; and how hard it is for guys because once they have it (sex, that is) it must happen regularly, or else etc… all lines designed to persuade a young and naïve target. I didn’t really even know that much of what was happening, but after heavy persistence I became worn down and gave in. Also, he could be quite scary and violent – at times there was no consent from me at all and he was quite forceful. In my desperation to grow up and be considered ‘mature’ I had found myself in this situation, spending every free hour at his run-down apartment, while at home my mother was beside herself with worry.
A couple of months later I went on a family camping trip. These two weeks away gave me some much needed distance from him, and after some youthful fun I re-developed some inner strength. The day after I returned I told him it was over. As I broke the news to him he punched in walls around me and threatened to commit suicide. I had just turned fourteen.
I was and am an intelligent and beautiful woman (maybe not quite a woman then, but in appearance I was close, big boobs and curves, with a baby face). One may find it hard to imagine putting yourself through that, but I know many who have experienced similar things – craving love, touch, appreciation, connection – and not knowing your own self-worth. I was angry when I realised what I had given away… I always thought that sex was supposed to be the ‘best thing in the world’, and because my experience so far was anything but, I made a commitment to myself that I was now going in search of ‘great sex’ – and I wasn’t going to let anyone ruin it for me. I became a bit like one of the guys; firstly (14 years old) I found another boyfriend, but this one was a middle-class surfie type only 2 years older, safer – not violent. I discovered I could have orgasms and we could learn all about sex together. We were having a great time and laughed about how others (teenagers) didn’t know how good it could be.
This still left me not feeling whole or satisfied, like I still had more to claim back. I felt like it was my body, and if guys could do it, so could I. Some of the young women I knew struggled with sex, having a good time or even liking it – most did not have orgasms or fun at all but still went through with it. Crazy as it sounds considering how young I was, I nevertheless fit the mould of the stereotypical ‘sexually liberated woman’… if this was (under-age) Sex in the City, then I would have been Samantha.
There were a lot of alcohol-fuelled and drug induced situations that created a false confidence; I thought I had it all going for me, I could pick up any hot guy I set my sights on… I knew what to do to show a guy a great time and service myself… sounds romantic and loving – NOT!! After a while it became clear to me (even as a teenager) that I would feel empty, less loved and more in need either after sex, or the morning after. At first I thought it was just when it was casual sex, but then I felt it within relationships too – even though I was still having ‘orgasms’, choosing my partners, and apparently ‘in control’ of my body and sex life.
This confusion about sex, relationships and men continued into my mid-20’s. When I was 25 years old I met my husband. We were both living fairly wildly when we met, neither established financially nor practically in the world. But even through the sexy surfer ‘can’t-pin-me-down’ thing my new partner had going on, I could see there was a quiet gentleness about him, and a loveliness that was very real. In those early days we were reckless and drinking and smoking a lot, and as usual the sex was great and adventurous (and often). But it was around this time we both realised that the other parts of our lives needed looking into. There were a few people around us, family and friends, who were starting to really get their lives together and making big changes. Often the common factor in the changes they were initiating was that they had been to courses or workshops held by a man by the name of Serge Benhayon, who was fast earning himself a reputation as a highly sought after healer and presenter on complementary therapies, healing and on life generally. To see the marked positive difference in those you have known for a long time as they commit to themselves and their health was undeniable proof to me that there was something worth checking out in regards to what was being presented by Serge. So we went along to some workshops.
At one of the workshops I attended, Serge did a short talk on the possibility of a difference between ‘having sex’ and ‘making love’. I was astounded… the distinction was so simple, yet such an incredible revelation and a missing link in regards to sex and relationships, that once I heard it spoken I felt it as a truth that I knew from deep within me but was yet to find the words to express. I looked forward to introducing and integrating this new discovery with my partner, who was with me at the time it was presented. Even in this more loving relationship than those that came before, all the issues that I had with sex came along with me regardless of our typically ‘great sex life’. After hearing this presentation I finally began to allow myself to re-claim my body, in a fun and sexy way. I realised I didn’t have to be a porn star in the bedroom, or perfect looking, or bend in ways that were not comfortable for me or allow anything that didn’t feel right. I discovered I didn’t have to perform because I thought he needed it, I could truly just be myself – this ‘performing in the bedroom’ ideal was one that had been with me for a long time!
We went for it together – and are still exploring, with multiple orgasms aplenty, but without the empty or dirty feelings that I used to have. There was definitely an adjustment period… as I felt to honour my body more, there were certain things that no longer felt like they fitted. We didn’t need to discuss much; I found the more connected I was to myself, the more tender, deeper, naturally gentle, amazing, honouring and loving sex became… and sometimes afterwards I would simply say wow! that felt amazing or loving or different from before.
We now know about the difference between ‘having sex’ and ‘making love’.
So what is it? Is it the typical soft music and candlelight that makes the difference? Absolutely not.
We have learnt that ‘making love’ starts with how we are with ourselves and each other throughout all moments in the day… being tender, playful, sexy and fun with each other the majority of the time rather than just turning it on for ‘intimate’ moments. It is about making all daily interactions intimate and special, treating each other with love and respect as a woman and man – rather than just as a mother and father. This does not hold all the time – we are human and both get tired or cranky and have our ‘moments’ – but with the foundation of the relationship based on this understanding it quickly reverts back to more loving interactions that in turn lead to love making… or at the very least, (as we deepen the love with each other), more ‘loving sex’. This has enriched our marriage no end. That feeling of being ‘in love’ or the ‘honeymoon phase’ is present in our relationship and doesn’t feel like it needs to end or dissipate. Our children see their mother and father in love and openly expressing it each and every day and that’s lovely for them, I am sure. I don’t remember seeing that as a child, not in anyone that I knew, which is pretty sad.
By some cultural standards there is the notion (mostly religious) that acceptable and safe sex occurs within marriage, but to me that does not cover many points that require consideration in regards to sex, i.e: is it violent, hard, or forced or expected, or even simply dishonouring and / or lacking in tenderness and care? The fact that this may occur within a marriage would not necessarily help (usually the woman) at all, and may even make it potentially harder to expose it as a form of rape and / or abuse. The Porn industry provides a clear example of how disconnected and abusive sex can be, and it is interesting when you consider the difference between sex and love-making… have you ever seen a truly intimate and loving porn scene? Not that I watch it, but most kids these days are learning about sex through porn sites whether we like it or not, and there is no-one (or very few) teaching or talking about Love-making and sex and the vast difference between the two. I know I would like for my girls to be learning about this, and would love to see it added to the sex education curriculum; I wish I had heard this important distinction as a young girl. Instead we were only taught about ‘the function of the human body’ and how to put a condom on a cucumber, but never about unseen aspects of relationships, the loving gesture, the way we are with another and the deep respect that we can have first for ourselves and then also ask from a partner.
The clincher for me is that I can state wholeheartedly that when they grow up, I wish for our children (two girls) the joy of a loving relationship that includes a healthy Love-Making life. I do not feel the same way about them ‘having sex’. When I think of ‘sex’ being part of my girls’ future relationships, a protectiveness comes up and it conjures up old feelings from my past… I do not wish them a life full of ‘sex’, it doesn’t at all seem to do their grace and beauty justice, and it does not seem to honour them as deeply as they deserve to be honoured. I wish I had understood this when I was younger, but then again I am not that old, and I have it now. This honouring and ever deepening love that my partner and I share in all the seemingly small ways, like how we are with each other on a daily basis, is something that both our girls now can witness as a living model of the foundation on which a relationship can be built. And with this as their example, I know that when the time comes it will now be easier for them to also choose to not settle for anything less.