Gender Issues and Politics and Psychology and Social Issues28 Dec 2007 09:59 pm

In our series of posts regarding male sexuality we’ve encountered a number of myths. In this post we will attempt to address one more overstatement which could be considered a myth. This myth is the one that states that modern society is a male society and that its goals, methods and strategies are all male oriented.

In the last couple of posts we’ve explored both the male and female sexual symbols. We found the current view of the male phallic symbol  to be kind of limited. While it is true that the phallic symbol as depicted by the sword, missile and gun are prone to violence and aggression and that part of the phallic symbol is accurately portrayed as a vehicle for power and violence, we also found the symbol had a positive role. The phallus not only symbolizes violence but also creativity, invention, progress and discovery. The male phallus is an organ that penetrates, probes and emits and, therefore, its symbolic images should include these concept areas. The paintbrush, pen, airplane, train, and submarine as well as the microscope, telescope and hypodermic needle are all phallic images. Likewise most tools used for construction and technology are phallic images.

The female vaginal/womb images are likewise plentiful though ignored by both psychologists and lay people alike. The vaginal/womb images include the purse, bank vault, nest, home and mineral mines. They also include pots, pans, urns and vessels of all types. The female organs deal with protection, propagation, housing, safety, storage, containment and accumulation. The female symbolism centers on containing and accumulation.

We talked at length in earlier posts of how much a woman’s world is pervaded and focused on beauty. When you couple this the vaginal symbolism you get an  idea of what  a woman likes to collect, and that is things of beauty that appeal to the senses. Woman often like to surround themselves  and their home with things that look beautiful such as flowers, pieces of art, jewelry and furniture. Yet, they also like to surround themselves with pleasing fabrics and textures,  and objects that smell pretty, and sounds which are pleasing to the ears, etc.

In recent years our advertising industry has valiantly attempted to convince men to be shoppers and better consumers. In many respects they have succeeded but still the majority of men are not into gathering and collecting objects and surrounding themselves with beauty. In olden days when men spent their days hunting, conquering and exploring they did not spend much time at home. Even in industrial societies men have spent their time working and little time purchasing and accumulating goods.

This leads me to agree with Nietsche when he states that modern society is very feminine. It seems to me that capitalism with its emphasis on consumerism is a female oriented society. It is after all a society that measures a persons importance in terms of how much they own and possess, how much they accumulate and purchase. While older societies often viewed power and free time as the height and goal of wealth, modern capitalism looks at the accumulation of wealth and more often of goods as the sign of success.

The goal of Roman and Greek societies as well as Old European societies was to have enough wealth to avoid having to work. The very definition of “free man” in early democracies was the notion of never having to work. The crucial issue was not how much you owned or how ornate your abode, but rather if you were above having to do menial labor. Even in the 19th and early 20th century Europe you were considered uncultured if you had to work to make a living and industrial types were considered crude and not accepted into high society.

The goal has now shifted from being free of work and master of your own time, to a desire to work and accumulate as much as humanly possible. The goal is to purchase as big a house as possible, with multiple vehicles and to surround yourself with as many objects and gadgets as you can afford to accumulate. So, rather than the goal being to not work, the goal is to accumulate as much as possible.

This is why I feel confident in stating that while we still are a male dominated society, we are a female oriented society. The goals and activities of society are not so much about probing, penetrating and emitting as is the essence of the phallic symbol. The goals and means of society are all about accumulating, protecting, housing, storing and surrounding oneself with beauty which are vaginal/womb and, therefore, feminine images and priorities.

In the next post I’ll expand on this theme a little more and try to answer why a male dominated society is feminine in nature and structure.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Psychology and Relationships and sexuality15 Dec 2007 03:04 pm

In the last post I attempted to broaden the discussion on the male sexual symbol, the phallus. Rather than focusing on the phallic stereotype of violence and aggression using the standard images of guns, missiles, knives and swords I expanded on the role of penetration of the phallus and described the role it plays in invention, discovery and knowledge.

In this post I want to address the often ignored female sex symbol, the vagina and its symbolic impact on woman and society. The vagina coupled with the womb will be the inspiration of the female sex symbols. I have to admit I have not found any literature on this topic so most of this is my own.

When looking for vaginal/womb images in our society the most obvious is the purse. Many women have an intimate relationship with their purse, and they view it as an extension of themselves. A purse is often guarded and clutched on to, and no one but its owner is allowed access to the purse. While another woman’s uninvited access to a purse is considered an invasion of privacy a male’s going through a woman’s purse is often experienced and expressed as a violation of the person. Woman who have had a man take or rummage through the contents of their purse often state that they “felt violated” by the intrusion, and some relate prolonged feelings of anxiety or nausea when they think about the violation.

Though purses are a very strong and intimate vaginal image they are not the only vaginal/womb symbol. While phallic images are found in objects that are phallus shaped and are involved in the act of penetration , vaginal symbols are found in objects which replicate the function of the womb and are containers and receptacles as opposed to probes and penetrators.

The nest, the home and the bank vault are all vaginal symbols. Like the vagina and the womb they house and protect. They are places of safety where things can grow and be nourished.

Just as many objects can be phallic symbols by their function of penetration or their resemblance to a phallus, likewise many vaginal/womb symbols are by nature of their function as well as their shape. Therefore, objects which house or contain are fair game for becoming vaginal images. Pots, pans, bowls, urns, as well as gold/coal mines, caves, treasure chests and ships can be vaginal symbols. Though ships penetrating the sea can be phallic symbols, they often house people at sea and therefore can be vaginal symbols. Which could be why ships are always have female names and referred to as women.

Vaginal symbols are where things are contained, housed, stored and received. It is where things are protected, grow, develop, multiply and accumulate. Due to the menstrual cycle vaginal images also involve things that flow or are cyclical in nature. Rivers and lava are vaginal symbols as well as cash flow.

We’ve talked at length in previous posts at the privileged role the concept of beauty plays in the feminine world. Woman speak of beauty much more than men, and spend a lot of time and energy creating and surrounding themselves with beauty. When you couple this with the vaginal images regarding housing, containing and accumulating you find a strong emphasis in the female world in collecting objects and wealth.

The home is a place of safety but it is also the realm of propagation and growth. Home is where children are produced and objects are collected and stored. These objects provide safety and security as well as depict and surround oneself with beauty.

Many birds and animals who build nests and homesteads are concerned with aesthetics and not just safety. When nest building shiny objects are selected for beauty as well as function. Some male birds offer beautiful trinkets as a way of courtship, and what male bird or mammal doesn’t exert great energy in trying to appeal to the female sense of beauty through preening, colorful displays or puffing out some eye catching display.

This post is designed only as an introduction of the concept of the role the vaginal/womb symbol plays in the life of women and society in general. While the phallic symbol has us take notice of how men and society are impacted by its related images, so to the vaginal symbol should have us take notice of the values and points of emphasis that it imparts to women and society.

To sum up the phallic image is represented by objects that penetrate. One can penetrate to kill, wound or break apart, but one also can penetrate to discover, create and advance. The phallic image is seen in guns, swords, knives and missiles but is also present in most tools such as drills, screwdrivers, saws and hoes.

The vaginal symbol is seen in objects that house, contain, protect and receive. The womb and vagina are hidden worlds where things grow, flow and accumulate.

In the next post I’m going to use these male and female images to help us understand how they get played out in our culture. Some philosophers including Nietsche have stated that they felt modern civilization was becoming highly feminized and would go so far as to say that modern life is more feminine than masculine. In the next post I will explore this rather radical idea and see in what ways it applies and in what ways it doesn’t.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and sexuality09 Dec 2007 09:13 pm

In the next two posts I will discuss some sexual symbolism of both males and females.
In general most people are familiar with the more stereotypical and mainly negative male sexual symbols, while the female symbols have largely been ignored.

Today’s post will focus on the male symbols and the next one will focus on female symbols. Most people are familiar with the Freudian and post Freudian symbols of the phallus, where the penis has been seen as the weapon of mass destruction and the poster boy for male aggression.

The knife, gun, missile, sword and even the hatchet have been widely recognized as being symbolic duplications of the male phallus. Bullets, bombs and most destructive projectiles have commonly been associated with the semen as they are emitted from the symbolic male organs.

These phallic images are important to know, but they don’t depict the entire symbolic realm of the male gender. There are hundreds of objects which reflect the form and function of the phallus that aren’t captured in the above popular symbols. While many phallic symbols replicate the form of a penis many others duplicate its function. The function of the penis is to penetrate, and its shape is designed to accomplish this. It is important to realize that the penis is itself an instrument or tool which penetrates, probes and emits. Anything which serves these purposes should be up for consideration as a phallic symbol.

Many objects such as the pen, paint brush and telescope are obvious phallic images. When someone says that the pen is mightier than the sword they probably aren’t realizing that they are comparing phallic images, but they are. And yes, the pen is mightier than the sword and words are more influential than brute force, and the phallus is not just a device of violence and aggression.

Whenever the act of penetration is involved it is a likely candidate for phallic imagery. Now, penetration is a crucial part of violence, war and aggression, yet it also is a vital aspect of discovery, invention and science. Man has penetrated many things in his journey towards civilization and improving the quality of life.

Man has penetrated and probed the earth, sea, sky and outerspace. Early man used the hoe, plow and other phallic symbols to penetrate the earth to produce crops and help us survive. He has used the telescope and microscope (both phallic images) to probe the macro and micro universe. We have used philosophy and religion to penetrate the meaning of life, as well as psychology to penetrate the internal life of the self. We’ve used the scalpel to penetrate and learn about the human body, and later to develop reliable surgical techniques.

We have used trains, cars, planes and rockets to penetrate space and propel us forward. We have used telegraphs, telephones, radios and TV’s to penetrate the airwaves allowing us to communicate with each other over long distances.

Penetration can be used to wound or kill, but it also can be the instrument of progress and discovery. Just as we have found that the male sex drive has been negatively cast, we now see that the male gender has been negatively cast by the phallic symbols we have chosen to focus on.

My intention in this post is not to try to deny or minimize the reality of male aggression and violence. My goal, like in all my posts regarding the male sex drive, is to attempt to portray a balanced view of male energy and character. I have repeatedly stated the dangers of denial and repression in respect to the male sex drive. Denial and repression of natural drives more often than not lead to poor self-esteem, perversion, neurosis and depression.

Likewise the modern discussion regarding male sexual symbols has a tendency to portray men in a very negative light. In this caricature men are inherently violent and aggressive and generally incapable of resolving issues through any other means than violence and verbal battle. The reality of the matter is that men have many tools at their disposal. In fact most tools are literally and figuratively phallic symbols. Everything from drills, screwdrivers, hammers and pickaxes to lasers, hypodermic needles and flutes are phallic symbols. These tools can be used to resolve problems, heal, inspire and improve our lives.

Phallic symbols and the manhood they depict are not just about violence and aggression, but also progress, discovery and development. Ships that sailed around the world, submarines that explored the ocean depths are just as masculine as guns and missiles. The pen and paintbrush are fundamental to human expression and communication and are as valid to the male character as is the arrow or sledgehammer.

I think it is a shame that many male children growing up over the last few decades have been made to feel inherently bad about their masculinity. Many males have been told that they must overcome both their sex drive and their violent masculine nature. While I agree that men should limit if not completely outgrow their violent tendencies I do not think that male aggression is the sum total of their masculinity, or even its most salient quality.

My drive to learn, discover, penetrate, probe and understand is and always has been greater than my desire to hurt, harm or injure. My desire to communicate, share and grow has always been greater than my desire to control, win or defeat. One can penetrate the walls that separate in order to achieve intimate union as well as to rape and dominate. The real phallus as well as the symbolic one can be an instrument of intimacy and a creator of life and not just be an unwelcomed invader.

Phallic symbols should be used to inspire and not just to warn. Phallic symbols should be used to depict the positive elements of masculinity and not just as a means of exposing male vanity and his baser nature. Hopefully, a discussion such as this will help men embrace their nature and hone their strengths while remaining aware of their faults and potential negative qualities.

A healthy masculinity like a healthy male sex drive is found through acceptance and growth not through denial and repression. The masculine nature is neither evil nor perfect, it is an inherent energy to be understood and developed. Even though no two men or their sex drives are identical there is much to learn by gender analysis and the world of symbols.

Jim Guido

General05 Dec 2007 08:27 pm

My investigation into the male sex drive has led me to a few important related tangents. When we discussed how the male sex drive is treated in our culture we realized that it is at best ignored and at worst denied. Men are often told that they should put their sex drive on a short leash or completely overcome it. Instead of celebrating one of the strongest drives in nature men are told that their sex drive is bad or at least an obstacle to overcome.

Yet, this negative view of men’s natural drives finds itself appearing in many other natural ways of our being in the world. In fact our very ability to sense and be in the world is often slammed and viewed as a negative. In many religions perceptual life is either deemed an illusion or the cause of all suffering. We are told that the false reality of the mundane world, the sensual/perceptual world of human existence needs to be replaced by the world of the sacred. While the temporal world of human experience is rooted in suffering, the ideal world of God and the sacred is eternal and blissful.

I realize that this view makes sense when viewed from the perspective of the fight for survival and the suffering endured by much of human history. Yet, even now when a great number of people are able to live relatively pain free lives we still have a need to down rap human experience and look for happiness beyond experience.

I see this coping mechanism as a potential problem in many people’s lives. When a coping mechanism isn’t needed its use can detract from the quality of one’s life. One should wear a coat and gloves when it is cold outside, but wearing such protective gear would hinder our ability to feel and experience life during warmer weather. Coping mechanisms, like winter woolies, are beneficial in protecting us during harsh times, but actually can reduce the quality of our lives when used during warm times.

To me life is a celebration. I do not see the male sex drive, nor our senses as inherently negative aspects needing to be repressed or overcome. In fact, I think there is great harm done when one unnecessarily inhibits or restricts these natural drives.

I mentioned before that in my work in the field of human services I have noticed some pretty strong patterns. One pattern is that the denial or repression of natural drives more often than not ends up causing problems. A child neglected or abused whose basic needs have not been met will have significant impairments in their ability to find joy and happiness in life. When talking of the male sex drive I noted how repression of this basic drive often results in perversion or problems with aggression.

In situation after situation I have observed how repression of basic needs and drives results in coping mechanisms and behavior which are often unsuccessful in maintaining mental health. These patterns have led me to conclude that the more direct a person is able to get their needs met, the more healthy and happy they will become. In other words, my definition of mental health is when a person is able to get their needs met in a direct and satiating manner.

In recent posts I’ve talked of how narrow and restricted our view of our body is. In these discussions I’ve tried to talk of the body not as a collection of tissues and bones but rather as the part of us that naturally takes up and lives in a world. Not only is my ego not involved in my decision to breathe, but also it is not directly involved in my walking, talking or engaging in a number of tasks. While the body lives in the world my conscious mind (ego) is that which guides and takes credit and responsibility for how I behave.

Just as our body has been dissed by saying that our sensorial life is an illusion to be overcome, likewise our conscious mind has been negatively cast. In modern psychology the conscious mind has been made the blind servant to the Unconscious or the Collective Unconscious. Just as the very narrow view of the body caused us to flesh it out with an idea of spirit, so too our narrow view of consciousness has led us to create the modern view of the Unconscious. In some future essays I’ll apply the more realistic expanded views of the body and consciousness to discuss the appropriate space of the unconscious in context with the preconscious, subconscious and our general body awareness.

When the body and consciousness are viewed in this manner one does not have a need for a term such as spirit, for there is no gap in our experience needing to be filled by such a term. The benefit to dropping the term of spirit or spirituality is that it is more in tune with our actual experience and avoids the tendency of most people’s use of spirit to deny and dehumanize life.

When we exult the sacred we denigrate the mundane. When we devise an essence such as spirit which never dies and survives us after we die, we make human life inessential and meaningless. I am a thinking and feeling human being, all of my experiences are a combination of sense experiences and consciousness. While the body generates and is experience, the conscious mind (ego) is the experiencer. Human experience is dependent on both of these elements. One needs a body to experience and a consciousness to savor and find meaning in these experiences. As I mentioned before when life is viewed from this perspective there is no need for spirit. More often than not the term spirit is used to once again denigrate and deny human life by making life an illusion or a subset to something else (like immortality or enlightenment).

Death gives life meaning just as time and space give meaning to experience. An elephant only exists for me because I see a beginning and an end to the gray beast and space around it. A life, too, is only a life if it begins and ends. Immortality and the eternal are not livable concepts – they are beyond life, for life is finite and absolutes are infinite. Just as I see no need to deny the male sex drive, nor overcome perceptual life, I also see no need to deny my mortality. Just as one can expect perversion and sickness when basic human needs are repressed and denied, one also can expect harms to the quality of one’s existence when one attempts to deny or repress our innate mortality.

Jim Guido

General01 Dec 2007 05:11 pm

In the previous post or two I’ve talked of the weakness of looking at life in a black and white fashion in which things are viewed as good or bad. Biological and mental life are very complex and when we look at things we see that global judgments often end up being very inaccurate and misleading.

Not that long ago we discovered the pernicious role germs and bacteria can play in human life. Soon many people adapted the idea that germs and bacteria were bad and we should everything in our power to kill all germs. Yet, the fact of the matter is that while our lives are threatened by some bacteria they are enhanced and even dependent on the existence of others. Without bacteria we couldn’t digest food, heal or fight off disease. Our immune system is strengthened by contact with germs which stress and challenge our bodies.

The same black and white mentality can be very harmful in the success of human activities such as farming. Farmer’s who realized that their crops were being destroyed by pests and insects often decided to declare war on all insects. In their perfect world all  insects would be exterminated so that their plants could grow without being destroyed or hampered by pests. Yet, many of these insects and soil microorganisms are essential for successful farming. Soil without earthworms is unable to produce most crops and many of our fruits and vegetation is dependent on bees for their survival. The list of essential insects, pests and microorganisms probably dwarfs the list of harmful ones.

The same faulty logic of seeing just the negative in something basic to human life and survival is found in the idea of limitation. Most people dwell on the negative aspect of limitation in life. The look at limits as being obstacles, hurdles or dead ends. Many philosophers, artists and spiritualists dream of a life unfettered by limits and even go so far as too claim all limits in life are illusions. Many of these people claim that human life is inherently limitless and it is only our negativity and short sightedness which prevents us from living a limit free existence.

To me this is just another example of how we degrade and deny our basic humanity. In the near twenty posts I’ve done regarding male sexuality I’ve talked at length at how we have a tendency not only to deny our sexual nature but also to demonize our human nature.

A life without limits is kind of like an orchard without bees, or a garden without earthworms. Though I agree that some limits are tiresome and a burden, I find the bulk of limitations in life to be productive and essential.

Simply stated human experience is impossible without limitations. Every experience we have is made possible by a host of limitations.

We live because we are mortal. If we were immortal we would have no experience. Being immortal means one is eternal and beyond time. Experience exists because of time, space, consciousness.  Without time we would have no history, no continuity and no memory. Without time their could be no meaning.

Due to the limits of time and space we can see, smell, touch, hear, taste and feel a world around us. Each individual sense is itself dependent on numerous limitations.  We see shape and color due to the limitations of reflected light. If we saw all light we would see no thing (nothing). If we heard all sound we would not hear any particular or individual sound. The same goes for all sensations.

The same goes for thought and feeling. Without limitations we would not have a thought and we could not experience individual and changing emotions.

Without limitations life would have no history, no meaning and their would be no journey. Life is interesting, exciting and challenging because of its limitations. Life is a never ending process of discovery, adaptation and creativity. The person who desires perfection or total knowledge is essentially desiring to destroy life. For a life without limitation is not a life of experience and meaning. Just as a person seeing everything is unable to see no thing (nothing) likewise a person knowing everything could not know a single thing.

This realization and acceptance of human experience has benefited me well. It has allowed me to enjoy each experience without feeling a need to conquer life. Seeing life as finite and limited encourages me to maximize my experiences while keeping my expectations realistic. It also allows me my human nature in a positive light and allows me to embrace both myself and the world around me.

Human limitation from this perspective becomes a vehicle not an obstacle, and human experience becomes something to celebrate and hone and not something to bewail and feel bad about.

A nice aspect of this perspective is that it jives with life, and therefore,  isn’t dependent on some basic irony or paradox as is most spiritual perspectives.

Likewise this perspective helps me accept the prospect of death. When every experience is based on limitation, and meaning is formed from limitation itself than the termination of life adds meaning to life.

While disease caused a lot of our negative bias towards germs and famine fostered our negative view of insects, a feel the fight for survival has engendered our strong dislike of limitation. If you want to read more on this idea please read my book Exploring Intimacy in the words section of this site. One chapter in particular expands on the positive and negative roles of limitation in human existence.

In the next post I will talk more on my thought regarding death and dying and how even in death we have a tendency to deny and belittle life.

Jim Guido

Philosophy and Psychology18 Nov 2007 12:15 pm

There is a tendency in humans to see things as a series of opposing forces. We see things as good or bad, happy or sad, healthy or sickly, intelligent or stupid, or a person as an enemy or a friend. Though convenient and often instructive, this style of thought is more often than not lazy and misleading. We can label this style as binary or dialectical thought.

This binary style of thought has led us to define being human into a life world composed of body and mind. Though not necessarily opposites, they still function as separate and often competing forces in our life. Those who become aware of the numerous gaps created by this binary view of human existence create a third realm with concepts such as the soul or spirit. These terms attempt to provide human existence with some depth, literally giving life a third dimension, rather than the flat two dimensional world of mind/body.

Yet, if we take a few minutes to reflect on how we actually experience life we find a very lush and diverse world that fills out the flat concepts of body and mind. Our bodies and our minds are richer and fuller than their common definitions.

When people talk of the body they generally are referring to the collection of organs, tissues, bones and muscles which makes up the corporeal world of any organism. When they speak of the mind they are generally referring to the ego or conscious part of life.

When pressed further most people will add that the body has senses which allow us to see, hear, taste, smell and touch the world around us. They will say that the mind includes not only thoughts, ideas and theories, but emotions and fantasies. The longer they talk the more the edges between mind and body become blurred, and they begin to encroach upon the turf usually reserved for the soul/spirit.

So lets take a minute to look at the roles of the mind and the body.

When I reflect on my experience the first thing I’m struck by is how complex and amazing the body really is. The body is in the world even when my conscious mind is busy or preoccupied.

Way before infants have conscious thoughts they are highly immersed and interactive with the world. Like older humans, infants begin breathing, blinking and digesting without any need for conscious assistance or intervention. Quickly they begin to make reflexive and creative adjustments to objects that could hurt or obstruct their movement. While some of these skills are instinctual the vast majority are learned from interacting with the environment. A good portion of these learned skills are not done through conscious thought, but rather trial and error by a body which is just responding and adapting to a world.

An infant does not make a conscious decision to learn how to talk, walk or think. On one level they are innate abilities hardwired into human beings yet they are also skills which our bodies develop and refine without the need for conscious intervention (mind/ego).

No matter how conscious of our world we become as we age, the vast majority of our actions take place in the preconscious world of our body. When I speak to a person, words just spontaneously flow out in a comprehensible manner (usually). In most situation my ego is not actively involved and is not forming and choosing all the words flowing out of my mouth or emerging through my finger tips as I type.

It is my body which acts and adapts to the outside world. Often when I drive a car, work on a project or walk down the street my conscious mind is busy thinking about other things. Yet, during this time my body is making thousands of important decisions and modifications allowing me to function.

My body is much more than a collection of organs and bones, it is that which takes up and lives in a world. Without my (ego’s) being in charge my body perceives and makes “sense” of the world around me. Out of all the millions of sensations invading me each moment it selects and chooses what to focus on which creates my experience.

It is the body which selects all the light images in my field of vision and creates recognizable objects. Likewise it selects from all the sounds and smells available in my environment certain ones allowing me to have the experience of hearing and smelling. My body organizes sensations into experience.

In some ways one could say that my body is experience, while my ego is the experiencer. My ego is that which takes credit for or is embarrassed by what I spontaneously do, say or think. It is my conscious awareness (ego) which takes ownership, guides and learns.

While my body lives in and adapts to the world, my ego is capable of altering the world. My ego is that which goal sets, chooses situations to enter into or avoid, guides and makes changes the rituals the body has developed. While the body and ego both learn the body learns through responding and adapting (trial and error) while the ego can plan, create and proactively choose its experiences.

While the body creates and is the instrument (vehicle) of experience, the ego is the experiencer. The ego is that which savors, understands, plans and takes ownership. It is that which has a history and finds meaning in life and experience.

Being the experiencer, the mind feeds and plays off of what the body presents as our experience. While the body sees, the conscious mind can visualize. While the body touches the mind has emotions and feels.

While the body is pretty anchored in the here and now, the mind is free to anticipate as well as ruminate in the past. While the body mainly deals with what is, the ego can deal with what could be or what will be.

Yet, the body and the mind are interdependent. We do not “have” an experience without an experiencer (conscious mind/ego). Likewise there is nothing (no-thing) to experience without a perceptual/sensorial body creating and responding to a world.

Before ending I’d like to point out one last thing which amazes me about our body and it’s ability to create experience for the conscious mind to use and appreciate. Though our bodies create experience through a selection process it is incredible how much material it does select and store (document) for our conscious retrieval.

Let’s say I’m relating to a friend a discussion I was having with a few people a few days ago. In the midst of my story the friend asks me where we were and who else was there. Even though I was absorbed in the conversation and hung on every word, I shock myself by the amount of stuff I can recall when pressed. Suddenly I remember the music in the background, the sound of crickets in the night, maybe even a whiff of cinnamon from a candle in an adjoining room. All of this was perceived, recorded and documented for my retrieval though I can recall no conscious thought of these details while I was engrossed in the conversation.

It is also fascinating to recognize how varied this documentation may be in a given situation. Sometimes I can only remember the fact that music was in the background, at other times I can add the music make me feel sad, or that a female was singing. In other similar situations I’ll be able to recall the actual song, or what part of the conversation matched up with a specific song.

In previous posts I talked of how we sometimes have a tendency to deny or undervalue our lives and human experience in general. In fact in situations such as human sexuality we have a tendency to view our inherent drives as evil or as an evil to be overcome. In my next post I will try to articulate in what ways we have denied and demonized human experience in general and tried to replace real experience with an ideal experience. And once again pose the possibility that any denial of our basic humanity causes pain, suffering, and perversion.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Psychology and Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues17 Nov 2007 09:24 pm

In the next few days I hope to finish my series of posts having to do with male sexuality. The following are the intended topics:

1) Taking up a Life World. This will focus on the amazing way in which we take up and live in a world. It will try to articulate human experience from the sensory to the conscious.

2) Experience and Limitations: In this I will try to show once again how our negative stance towards human experience has us degrade and deny our natural existence. I will focus on the positive aspect of limitations and how limits provide the very structure necessary for human experience to exist.

3) Male and Female Sex Symbols: I will try to present a balanced view of the phallic symbol in modern society. While we are very familiar with the negative stereotypes of the phallus in violent and aggressive war symbols such as missiles and guns, we are often ignore the constructive phallic symbols such as the pen and paintbrush. I will also try to present a balanced view of the sex symbols based on the female genitalia which are almost completely ignored.

This will lead into a discussion where I pose the possibility that while modern society might be male dominated it is female oriented.

4) The last post involving male and female sexuality will discuss the differences between logic and reason, and how it affects our sense of reality and our ability to appreciate and accept human life and death.

In review my first ten posts dealt with economic issues, and the last sixteen have dealt with human sexuality.
Since these posts were developed in a building block fashion, I hope you will take the time to read them in the order they were written. The next series of posts will again build off the last two series especially in the sense of unmasking popular myths and prejudices regarding human life and happiness.

I am also mixing down the last few songs on a new CD which I will post over the next few weeks. I hope you are enjoying the songs and books currently posted. I soon will use the blog portion to discuss some of my songs and their lyrics which will then be stored in the reverie section on the lyric page.

I hope to write a new post tomorrow.

Thanks for listening and to and sharing in my thoughts and observations.

Jim Guido

General12 Nov 2007 04:55 pm

In the last post I mentioned that I felt that modern society has a tendency to deny our humanity. This is not to imply that previous societies have embraced our humanity, but only that our current structure denies and denigrates our human experience.

In many of my recent posts focusing on male sexuality I’ve talked at length of how we have tried to hide and oppress the male sex drive. We treat the male sex drive as something to harness and if possible to overcome. We contrast love with sex and state that the male sex drive is animalistic and blind to the higher nature of man.

In these posts I’ve also discussed the drawbacks to treating the male sex drive as an evil or an obstacle to love. There is much logical and practical evidence to prove that repression of natural instincts leads to unhealthiness and deviancy. It would seem that embracing and understanding the male sex drive would go along way to having men be more healthy emotionally and psychologically. It would also be logical that men who have had their needs met would be more sensitive and open to the needs of their partners and people in general.

Yet, the denial of being human isn’t relegating to just the male sex drive. There is very little in what is natural or truly human which isn’t denigrated or looked as an obstacle to be overcome.

We have been made to feel that our bodies are something to be ashamed of and to be hidden. This is not to say that I’m promoting nudism, but it would be nice if people were able to be proud of their bodies and to view the human form as a thing of beauty and wonder.

Woman in our culture are encouraged to alter their looks and cover their faces in make-up from a very early age. It is hard to imagine women feeling good about their natural selves when they are expected to “improve” their looks and “hide any physical weaknesses” through cosmetics and fashion.

The human scent has likewise been deemed to be disgusting and in need of constant alteration. While good hygiene makes sense and a body awash in bacteria can be quite aromatic, the onslaught of deodorants, shampoos, colognes, etc. leave the human body smelling like an orchard rather than a human being. In days past a person was able to remember their absent lover by smelling their clothes or their pillow nowadays one has to go to a fruit stand to help rekindle the lingering memories of a lover.

Human experience has a long history of being denigrated or viewed as an obstacle to happiness. In most religions and spiritual practices our senses and experiences are viewed as a danger at best and an illusion at worst. Eastern mysticism considers our ties to our senses and external reality as being the cause of all suffering. While this may harbor some truth it also misses the fact that our senses and experience are the cause of almost all of our joy and sense of satisfaction.

Our unwilingness to accept and embrace our mortality has led us to create concepts such as god, the soul, and eternal life. In the religious spiritual world the mundane world of human experience is reduced to the profane and all manner of meaning is placed outside this life into the realm of the sacred. Everything human is reduced to painful trivia and all that is divine and supra-human is the source of “human” joy and salvation.

Likewise, in modern psychology, the human ego is viewed as a relatively blind and foolish thing, in need of help from the unconscious and therapeutic objectivity to get over its natural state of suffering and self-loathing.

I, of course, take issue which most of these view points. Though human life is far from perfect, I find it worthy of being embraced and praised. Human existence and experience is truly amazing. All of the critics of human experience make many valid points, but growth and human development should be seen as goals and not as a sign of an inherent evil in being human.

In the next post I will take a few minutes to reflect on what makes human experience a thing of beauty worthy of praise and admiration and not an obstacle or illusion to be overcome.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality03 Nov 2007 11:47 am

There are those who feel that my posts on male sexuality indicate that I am over-sexualized, or place too much importance on sexual intercourse. There are also those that think while I’m overemphasizing the male sex drive, I am underemphasizing the female sex drive.

In response to my underestimating the female sex drive I’d like to point out that I have discussed and praised the female orgasm and the female ability to experience sensuality in a very rich fashion. Yet, my point was that the female sex drive is  not as hormonally driven as the male. It is rare for a female to be controlled by the biological imperative whereby obtaining sexual intercourse becomes their highest priority if not obsession. I have heard of no studies which show that the typical female spends the majority of her adolescence thinking and fantasizing about sexual intercourse and male body parts.

We refer to female prostitution as the oldest profession. Even if that is an exaggeration it speaks to the male need and obsession with sexual intercourse. One does not spend so much time and money on something that isn’t essential to their make-up. The fact that woman have not felt a need to buy sex and men did not make selling sex to females an occupation is indicative of the fact that there is a qualitative and quantitative difference between male and female sex drives.  In the previous couple of posts I stated what I saw to be the differences in sexual motivations and priorities between the sexes.

Now, when it comes to a discussion of whether I am a relatively typical male or an oversexed  maniac I would beg to point out the following.  Though I talk frankly about the importance sexual intercourse and physical intimacy has played in my life, I also want it to be known that I feel I have made sex a positive in my life. I have embraced my sexual needs and pleasures in a healthy manner and have not had my sexual desires control me or make me behave in ways contrary to social values.

In my entire life I’ve had a relatively small number of highly satisfying long term relationships in which sexual pleasure and intimacy have been prominent. I have never had a one night stand, I’ve never cheated or had an affair, I have never gone to a prostitute or even been in a strip club for that matter.

I have spent the majority of my life working with troubled adolescence and their families.  This has allowed me to see people in crisis, and see people in the process of improving their lives and themselves. My near three decades of experience in this field has led me to the following conclusion regarding mental and emotional health.

The healthier a person is the more they get there needs met in a direct fashion. The more  unhealthy they are, the more they attempt to get their needs met in an indirect fashion. I bring this up because it is pertinent in our discussion of sexuality.

It seems logical to me that a society which strives to repress, deny or overcome any basic aspect of man will produce unhealthy and dissatisfied people. I feel our attitudes towards male sexuality are unhealthy and somewhat draconian, in which we view the male sex drive as an obstacle to be controlled and overcome rather than a innate trait to be cultivated and understood.

The more we try to control  and deny male sexuality the more perversions and sickness we create. The more we imply that our innate desires and tendencies are bad, the more confused and personally alienated we are destined to become.

Though in recent posts I have focused on male sexuality, this is not the only area in which I feel we are in denial of our human nature. When I look at human society I see many ways in which we are in denial of our basic humanity and we exert great effort in overcoming these basic qualities.

I’m not advocating that we should rebel against all civilization and attempt to return to our animal nature. What I am advocating is that we don’t assume that every animal or innate tendency we have is bad or needing to be overcome. It seems to be that our unwillingness to embrace our humanity and accept the fact that we live and die, has caused us to create ideals and goals which are both counterproductive and unrealistic.

I would like to live in a world which celebrates our humanity and looks to use our basic drives and inclinations as a starting point. Yet, currently we seem to going in  the opposite direction. Instead of celebrating our physical, emotional and conscious world of mortal visceral experience, we place everything of importance outside of ourselves. Instead of savoring sensory experience and how we live in the world, we glorify all that lies outside of ourselves, and make it our only “true” source of satisfaction and fulfillment.

We denigrate the body, sensual experience, life and death, and the limitations that make all experience possible, by revering supreme beings, spirituality, and the unconscious.

All of these issues will be central to the bulk of what I put up on this website, as well as the subject matter of future posts. I once again invite you to listen to my songs and read  my lyrics, for they all aim at celebrating life while pointing out the ways in which we try to deny our humanity.

In the words section of this site you will find chapters from my novels and non-fiction works which again focus on the celebration of human existence and how to try to get one’s needs met in a healthy direct fashion.

If I were to start at one spot to best understand my basic philosophy it would be to read my non-fiction book Exploring Intimacy.  Because of its central importance to what I wish to convey to people, the entire book is able to be read on this site.

Jim Guido

Gender Issues and Relationships and sexuality27 Oct 2007 05:58 pm

In the last few posts I’ve focused on the beneficial role pleasure can have in intimate relationships, and how it can often be the bridge between men and women with different sexual appetites. Let’s take a quick inventory of the sexual motives of both men and women to see how they compare and contrast.

With men the most dominant sexual motivation is usually the sex drive itself or as I often refer to it “the biological imperative”. Adolescent boys are often unprepared for the hormonal onslaught they are engulfed in where thinking of sex and being sexually aroused are events experienced many times each day. The urge to have an orgasm to experience a sexual release is more often then not the number one sexual motivation of men.

Now the idea of orgasm and the momentary rush of ecstasy upon ejaculation are common experiences in male sexuality. Pleasure, is therefore, a typical component of the male sex drive. Yet, many men find the orgasm to be too fleeting and expand and prolong their enjoyment by making the pleasures of foreplay, touch and stimulating their partner intricate components of their sex life. This makes pleasure the second motive for most men.

The third motive for sex is built on the other two. The biological imperative and pleasure together lead many men to feel and seek a sense of connection with their sexual mate. This bond, this sense of closeness and intimacy often becomes the most rewarding aspect of their sex life. In this realm comes a sense of gratitude to their lover for what they share together, and a sense of devotion to the person who is such an intimate part of their pleasure and joy.

A fourth motive for some men is a desire to sire a child. For some men sex is a means of gaining immortality by securing a lineage and a link to the future. Yet, in the men who I have known that have seen procreation as a sexual motive, it has been more a secondary motive. The desire to procreate seemed to lead them to marriage, while the biological imperative remained the primary reason they wanted frequent sex. I have not known any men who declined having sex because their partner was not ovulating, and therefore, the sex act would not be procreative.

There have been some studies that suggest that men “unconsciously” choose a woman who is ovulating over woman who are not. One such study had men interact with females in an intimate environment and then asked each man which woman they most desired. The study found that a majority of men picked a woman who was ovulating at the time of the experiment.

Some concluded from this study that this showed that men wanted to have children. Though this is a possible conclusion, there are others. If the men were truly “unconsciously” choosing women who are ovulating there could be another practical reason, and that is that a woman’s sex drive is usually higher during ovulation. A man could be responding to the woman’s willingness or eagerness for sex rather than a desire to procreate.

I personally am not surprised that men are “unconsciously” aware of when a woman is ovulating. I have known men who have claimed to be able to know when a woman is ovulating by the scent an ovulating woman secretes. Though I’ve never been able to do this with women I don’t know well, I have been able to do this with women I have been intimate with for a period of time.

When it comes to the sexual motives of women few would state that many woman experience a true biological imperative for sexual intercourse. Women’s sexual inventory seems to start at the back end of the male sexual world. Many young women’s urge for sexual intercourse seems to be in feeling loved and feeling in love. One could make a strong case that the dominant female sexual motivation is in the realm of intimacy and the desire to be in a relationship.

The desire to procreate, to have a child, is another strong sexual motivation in females. Even before their sexual awakening many females play with dolls, fantasize being a mommy and dream of getting married. It is not unusual for young adolescent females to openly admit a desire to be a mom. The familiar cry of women that “their biological clock is ticking” is another example of how important the drive to procreate is in women.

While sexual enjoyment, even if fleeting, seems to be indigenous to male sexuality, sexual pleasure in females does not seem to be so automatic. Yet, as we mentioned before, the female orgasm and potential for sexual pleasure more than match their male counterpart.

While a woman’s desire to procreate can lead to sexual activity, it is limited. First, as we mentioned in the male desire to procreate, this desire could be limited to when a woman is ovulating and therefore, not to be relied upon to match the average male’s sex drive. When intimacy is the motive, once again many woman are offended when men equate frequent sexual intercourse with intimacy. Therefore, intimacy is limited as a way to bridge the difference between male and female sex drives because most men want sexual frequency to be an integral component of intimacy.

In the previous post I mentioned how important verbal communication and dialogue is to many women. Not many women would feel intimate with a man who talked to them only a few minutes a week, even though it is theoretically possible for two people to be intimate with almost no verbal communication. A couple that quietly did all their activities together and spent their days watching each other could become quite close. Yet, it is hard to believe that they could be as intimate with each other as a couple that openly communicated all their thoughts and feelings. Likewise, though a man and woman could be intimate with just conversation, it cannot compare to the kind of intimacy available to a couple through the realms of sexual pleasure.

In my life I have found a distinct connection between the experience of sexual pleasure and the potential of intimacy I have with a person. I find it hard to imagine me forming the depth of devotion and intimacy I have with my wife through a platonic relationship, or if I would have made my sex life with another as or more important than my sex life with her.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I do consider myself to be a sexual being. And though my wife would not claim to be as sexually driven as I, she would also be the first to admit that the intimacy we cultivated together would have been impossible through an asexual relationship.

Jim Guido

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