Celebrating Creative Women

Summer 1997

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"Women's virtue is man's greatest invention."
Cornelia Otis Skinner

ex is power. Jed, an Israeli friend, wondered aloud why women don't seem to know this. "Men will do anything for it: surrender power, give away riches, abandon kingdoms. Men made rules concerning sexual conduct under the guise of religion, but they haven't got anything to do with morality. They have to do with our own insatiable appetites. We say it isn't fair to charge for sex, knowing full well we would spend our last dime. These rules are for the benefit of men. I don't understand why women don't just say, 'So what? Those are your rules, and I'm not playing.'"

hy not, indeed? What would we change if we made the rules? What about the way we dress or the action in the marriage bed? Would prostitution be legal?

ome women instinctively know the power which lies within. Others learn it over time or by example. Rather than give their power away, they use it to improve their relationships and attest that it works as well inside of marriage as it does outside of the matrimonial chamber. Claiming your power, they explain, is not synonymous with hurting others; it is simply acknowledging your birthright.

ther women continue wondering what it is all about. Some feel cheated; others do not. All of them want answers which ease their lives.

ex is a difficult area for a lot of people. Many complain that they are getting too much or too little. Sex threatens them, motivates them, maddens them, and offers escape. It can be tender, loving, joyful, painful, explosive, wondrous, fulfilling, or humiliating. Louise L. Hay wrote in Love Yourself, Heal Your Life, "People often equate sex with love, or they need to be in love to have sex. Many of us grew up believing that sex was sinful unless we were married, or that sex was for procreation and not for pleasure. Some people have rebelled against this concept and feel that sex has nothing to do with love."

ost of our beliefs about sex can be traced to our childhood and our ideas about god and religion...Think for a moment about the vastness of the universe. How perfect it all is! Think about the level of intelligence that created it. I have a difficult time believing that this same divine intelligence could resemble a judgmental old man watching my genitals.

friend says, "I had a tender and passionate affair with a man I deeply loved. It felt more godlike than the mean, miserable sex that was later forced upon me during a loveless marriage. I have a hard time believing God preferred me to endure the latter rather than enjoy the former."

nother woman keeps this slogan above her bed, "I have never loved and lost, for I have loved."

hese women say they refuse to be shamed by traditional mores, leaving their minds and hearts open to the possibility the patriarchy has misunderstood or misguided us when trying to divine the intent of their god.

ays goes on to say, "When we were babies, we knew how perfect our bodies were, and we loved our sexuality. Babies are never ashamed of themselves. No baby ever measures its hips to find its self-worth."

exuality is power and, misused, it is a powerful tool for keeping a woman from fully experiencing life on her terms. In Bitches and Abdicators, Toni Scalia wrote about accepting responsibility for our own choices within our love relationships in exchange for gains in needs met, respect given, and improvement in our lives. She wrote about the women she interviewed who experienced this, "More important(ly), they developed an increased realization of self-worth."

n entirely new set of behaviors is practiced within love relationships when the woman begins to disregard the pejorative labels of non-nurturing, overly aggressive, and bitchy. She recognizes the limits that have been placed on her and works to remove them, and she works for acceptance not agreement. She actively seeks her own fulfillment rather than burden her partner by living vicariously through him. She is pragmatic and, with her partner, seeks to understand the consequences that her behavior might have on their relationship and their love. All of these actions require a rethinking of old definitions of needs."

his issue of Moondance is dedicated to rethinking these old definitions. Many have stood the test of time. Will they continue to serve us well in the future? Others have been disregarded as of late. Should we return to their cautions? Which changes are still needed? How can be bring all of them into sharper focus and use them to improve our lives? These are the questions we asked. We hope our contributors have supplied some of the answers for you, because it is within yourself that the final answer lies.

egardless of how I looked at the riddle of life, it always came down to one thing: personal identity, personal reality. Having complete dominion and understanding of myself was the answer to harmony, balance, and peace," Shirley Maclaine wrote in It's All in the Playing. "If I created my own reality, then--on some level and dimension I didn't understand--I had created everything I saw, heard, touched, smelled, tasted; everything I loved, hated, revered, abhorred; everything I responded to or that responded to me. Then, I created everything I knew. I was therefore responsible for all there was in my reality.

s I lay in bed thinking, it hit me that every single soul on the planet was involved in the process of making his or her own personal transformation. Or not making it. That was why so many lives were in upheaval. We, living on the planet, were involved in transition, not disaster, each of us in our own way, with different lessons to understand and a cleansing to accomplish."

hile we cannot return to the innocence of Eden, women can redefine feminine sex. It is in this spirit our staff and contributors present this edition of Moondance.