The death of desire begins in childhood

Above the drawing of four modestly attired girls in a supermarket is the caption “Modesty in the public sphere:  What immodest act is each girl in the picture engaged in?’

The “immodest” acts that the girls are depicted performing in public, include licking an ice cream cone, singing, and speaking on a cell phone. The fourth act is difficult to discern, but may have to do with the transgression of attending to one’s hair in public.

This picture appeared on my Facebook feed, earlier this week but I did not follow the discussions enough to learn the source. My first reaction, however, was to think to myself the following.  No wonder.

No wonder some of the women I see in my practice, who have lived by these very rules come in with the following:

“Why don’t I desire sex?

“Why don’t I experience pleasure?”

“Why can’t I have an orgasm?”

To experience the joy of connecting sexually with another, a woman needs to have developed a sense of aliveness, freedom, vitality, and creativity. The messages in this image say the opposite. Don’t be alive. Don’t enjoy. Don’t taste, don’t express, and don’t speak.  At least not in public.

We all walk around with voices in our heads. Some are restricted and inhibitive, and those are important in order to develop values and morals and to establish and respect boundaries.  But these voices should be tempered with permissive voices. The permission to enjoy, to emote, to sing, to dance. To be alive.

If girls are not allowed to experience the freedom to live in the world, freely express pleasure and enjoy licking their ice cream, they internalize the message and do not learn to experience or express pleasure.

Sex is about vitality. Keep the girls alive.

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