Our culture encourages us to put our attention on ‘things’ (buying, selling, aquiring,etc.) rather than placing our attention on each other. We cannot love ‘things’. We can only love each other.
What really gives our lives purpose and meaning is the loving and caring meeting and sharing; our relationships to ourselves, our fellow beings, nature/creation (plants and animals) and our Creator.
There are very few ‘things’ that are necessary to life.
I have lived in ‘under-developed’ countries where the people had minimal stuff. But the essential stuff-of –life that nurtured their common humanity/extended family brought such delight and smiles on the faces of the children that I realized what is true and essential for us humans is: Air, water, Love, some food (most of the health problems in our western culture stems from over eating. We desire ‘sensuality’. To touch, be held, dance, rest, connect..etc. and we can’t have it..so we go to the refrigerator or pantry and find the sensual part filled, yet unfulfilled, with food), and shelter.
An infant that does not get proper affection and touching in the first year of life cannot have a successful ‘rest of their lives’. It’s called ‘failure to thrive’.
Monkeys who are caged separately from each other get very violent. Yet if their cages are next to each other and they have opportunities for touching,scratching/tactile encounter they will tolerate the cage.
Touch is a most profound sense. Even those born without sight or hearing are never denied the infinite scope of feelings engendered in our touchings.
We are sensual/tactile beings in utero. An infant has a much greater capacity for physical feelings than an adult. The older we get, the less sensitive.
Why did our Creator give infants the capacity for orgasm?( A most profound question for our humanity.) And not even just one orgasm..multiple orgasms for both female and males! (encyclopedia Britannica: Human sexuality).
Well, I’ll tell you what I think.
We are created as creatures of creativity, wonder, joy and delight.
We are graced with song, dance, artistry, prayer, sensuality and communion.
We are given the capacity to ‘feel, heal, comfort, console, pleasure and delight .
Our first ten years of life are a ’sex-free- be”. Learn, play, explore, come and come again, and again. Have fun-We are all in this magic garden of delight together, caring for each other and Praising our Creator. Hallelujah!
This is how our Creator made us. Children of wonder and delight. Learning, and sharing and growing together . We are Creatures of love and light.
Then at adolescence pro-creation is added to this passion play, and that entails a different degree of consciousness and responsibility.
Our relationship with our sense and sex is a life long adventure and is unique and different for every human.
1 out of 2000 babies born each day are ‘inter-sexed’ i.e. they are born with different combinations of male and female genitalia.
This is our Creators way of reminding us that there is not just two genders- male and female. But we are all a bit of both. And we are each special and unique and worthy of love.
Did you know that males can breast feed! Well they can! And why not, our essence is in nurturing and being nurtured.
We are much to limiting in our ways in which we hold and behold each other and how we should be held.
Tenderness, gentleness, healing, pleasuring, communication, listening and caring, nurture our touching in holiness and love.
Because childhood sexuality is not recognized or validated in our society, the children take their explorations and feelings ‘under-ground’ and hence shame guilt, and dirtiness get added to our passion play.
And the child is forced to place his attentions and yearning on ‘things’(toys,tools,don’t touch your wee wee- put on lots of clothes-you don’t really have a body-you will go to school and be a big brain!)
Our mind/body dualism is fully in place till the raging hormones of adolescence rip out those false foundations and alienate the child not only from his family, who unknowingly robbed him of his birth-right but also from the positive sensuality of himself.
The majority of us suffer from this thwarted development. We associate sex with guilt and shame. We are uncomfortable in our bodies. We try to mask its smells. And we dress it up in forms that are not about comfort, creativity, and protection, but mostly fashion and convention..
Look at how we first meet each other. We hold out our right hand, and shake the other right hand of the person we are meeting.
How about quietly gazing, hugging, bowing, gentle touching in a place that feels non-invasive, like a soft pat on the back of the hand, or the nape of the neck. How about if each time you met some one new it was a new opportunity for discovery of how the two of you would touch, a surprise each time, a new holy encounter of joy and gentleness.
Less bacteria is exchanged in a hug than in a handshake!
Which leads me to my theory that there is a profound connection in our hygiene and our holiness. Remember the wise adage “cleanliness is next to Godliness”? Well I think it’s true!
Bathing, washing, anointing, cleaning and caring for each other are pathways in our loving encounters.
Baby boys are born with foreskins. This requires the care-takers of this infant, to bathe him, and keep him clean, and in order to keep the bacteria count around his penis to a minimum, they must gently- gently pull down his foreskin just a tiny bit (not a full retraction) just enough to wash away the bigger bugs that build up in the prepuce (foreskin). This action requires gentle genital touching which leads to an immediate erection!
Which then can be tenderly patted-touched-tickled-along with other all the other parts of his body that are totally delighting in the glorious sensations of being alive!
The attention is not just on the genitals but the interconnections of all the physical and the spiritual. It is most easy to tell if you are pleasuring or hurting and infant. They don’t stop you to chat! They smile, gurgle, giggle, or cry. Frowning or cooing, they are fully present with whatever emotion they are feeling. What is nurtured in love and caring, joy and holiness, will bless with healing, health and tenderness. Gentleness, softness, love and caring are foundations for our delight.
Baby girls are born with hymens, a sheath covering the opening to the vagina. The clitoris is analogous to the penis, underneath the hood of the clitoris,bacteria also accumulates,and in washing gently, it also stimulates and delights the child. If it is not washed, adhesions form.The hymen is a reminder that one does not have to ‘go inside’ to receive pleasure. Just as the foreskin does not need to be fully retracted by anyone, so too the vaginal canal .
This empowers the boy to retract his own foreskin in his own time and the girl to decide when her hymen will be broken. They are both personal and private places.
An infant who has been allowed sensual pleasure will take more delight in pleasuring themselves once hand coordination allows it and providing they are not all wrapped up in clothes!
The essential teaching is: these pleasures are all inside us, it does not require another to bring them forth. Our Creator has placed within us an infinite variety of feelings and sensing. The more we are allowed expressions of these feelings and sensings the greater our capacity for sharing and caring.(There is an amazing website: birtherotica.com..women who are giving birth with sexual stimulation and multiple orgasms..leading to child birth! talk about new paradigms!)
The infant also wants to pleasure us! With it’s new-ness, wonder and delight!
There is a phenomena well documented in the medical literature: When an infant sucks on one nipple it reaches over with it’s hands and stimulates the other nipple!
I remember when I was a’ young rabbi’ and one of the young mother’s in my congregation came to me and said. “Rabbi, I’m afraid I can no longer nurse my son, as I feel stimulated in his sucking and touching and I don’t feel that’s right.”
I said to her “What a gift our Creator has given us. He is being nurtured and fed and you get to be turned on! What restaurant can provide that level of function and service!
You don’t have to go anywhere with that turn-on. It is just a pleasure/feeling. Enjoy it. Breathe with it and take in the delight of loving each other. Most often in our lives we can share turn-on/delight and pleasuring that has nothing to do with ‘sexual intercourse’,
but everything to do with love and communion.
“Where love and caring is ..there God is”.
The purpose of our lives is to love one another. To touch, and to heal and to learn and to grow in peace..HalleluJah!