interactive frames, labels and mirrors

I want to write, talk and create interactive experiments about love and sexuality. And I have also. For many years. And do you know what makes me now write, talk and experiment more?

Finding my form of expression. The right frame to relax and unfold in. Do you recognize? Now for example I need a good song in my ears…just to stay on the track of inspiration.

**  Gabriel Yared “Betty Blue”

 

Now retracking again from musical digressions.

So I’ve long been self-exploring and collecting others’ stories on love and sexuality. During casual talks, formal settings like conferences, workshops, or improvised – during spontaneous interviews and in art contexts.

I’ve gathered plenty of stories, most of them unshared – probably because there’s too little of the last kind of sharing: the improvised, unpolished. Just us and our friend “here and now”. I must admit that that is also what opens my body and mind the most – using time on acting and not on planning.

 

(w)Hole's tableaux

I want to write about interactive frames, labels and mirrors.

**  I painted those walls blue and peach before I saw “Betty Blue”. The resemblance hit me strongly.

 

There were three of us in the room. Amber, Dreamcatcher and (w)Hole – in my tableaux in Sisters Academy.

 

She calls herself ‘asexual’.

He is very sexual and in a relationship with an ‘asexual’ woman.

Me in between and not a big fan of labels, still using them a lot… and breaking them again.

 

Recently for the first time I’ve met a person that identifies herself as ‘asexual’. And I realized that she could help me understand my own sexuality.

But most of all I realized that labels are tricksters that nevertheless serve us well… to both connect and disconnect from people.

 

So we gathered.

We shared stories and experiences.

… without a clear form or purpose, only learning by doing. There unexpected treasures surface – I know that, I’ve tried that many times, I became really good at that (but how the hell will I explain such a way of working in a job application? – forgive another digression, but I really want to work with people that understand and treasure this!).

Learning and sharing in the art context – that’s my answer. That’s also what happened this time. And that’s the foundation for this blog post: sharing different embodied perspectives to understand ourselves better through others. The topic was love and sexuality. But as any deepening process, it often turns out that it’s also about something completely different.

 

I’m inviting you to more feel than analyze. This is not a structured journalism. Find your personal red thread in what makes you tick.

I find it in our words and voices, that’s why I quote a lot, more than I comment.

 

when one is “asexual”

Me: She opened a window to a completely new (and rich!) world for me, a world different from the one I had been taking for granted – and that my interests and self-development have been – to a great extent – based on. To be gradually becoming a confident and conscious sexual being – for health, for wholeness, as a powerful form of communication. I have met people (He) that naturally are more sexually open. I have not met many that do not have such interest (She) and whose life seems so rich anyway.

She: “It’s a bit strange to live in the world where people put so much importance to sexuality, it’s a bit mysterious to me.”

 

We talked about relationships. And relationship to oneself.

She: “I’ve only had one relationship. I don’t really want to be in a couple with someone, cause I perfectly know that most of the people are not asexual. If someone is very sexual I don’t want to force myself just to please a person, so it’s better for a person to have an opportunity to go with other people.”

Her friends were different. She connects with people on so many deep levels. She experiences their focuses and priorities without judgement. More with a pinch of wonder.

She: “It wasn’t that I was disgusted.  {Just} when I was thinking about sex, it was as if something that didn’t concern me, it was alien.” 

 

when one that is very sexual is in a romantic relationship with an asexual person…

When He told me, I was instantly amazed, cause it was somehow breaking my conviction: that it’s mainly open and sexual people that are attractive.    I was wondering how they handle such a curious constellation and what bonds them. Polyamory may sound like a cliche solution, but what really interests me is how people find creative solutions when romantic visions do not overlap with what is.

He: “It’s an open relationship, polyamorous. It’s not that easy, my partner is not asexual, but almost. She wants to be interested, she wants to be enjoying it, feeling like it, but she don’t.

It’s been like this for almost a year. She’s monogamous, but she realized this winter it might not work out if we continue like this, because I am very sexual. If I have one partner, this person cannot be asexual – it works but it’s not sustainable. So she came up with an idea that we should make an agreement that I can meet others. Even if she doesn’t like it that much, she’s willing to sacrifice that for having a relationship with me. It still works cause we have some rules around it. That is the solution we have now, but it’s not a very sustainable solution after all, cause it’s not what my partner wants. It’s a very strange situation, it’s hard.”

 

In confrontation with very close people that are very different, one can bring more complexities to generalized concepts… for self understanding.

She: “I get attracted physically to people, but not sexually. Physical and sexual attraction is different – I’m trying to explain to myself.”

 

being protective, afraid of crossing someone’s boundaries – whose responsibility is that?

She: “Even with friends that I am emotionally connected to, we are not close physically. They do it {touch} with everybody, but not with me.”

Me: I got an insight by talking to them that night. I realized that by protecting people, I potentially disempower them… or sabotage our connection.

[I share sounds, I recommend headphones on]

 

She: “I feel that very „touchy” people – I didn’t even tell that I am asexual – they sense there is a distance. Sometimes I regret, cause people should continue without trying to adjust themselves to me.”

Me: Having an idea about others and a desire to do good, I can be unconsciously freezing structures that are naturally dynamic. The structure of ‘asexuality’,  a temporary label that serves communication – always only in the ‘now’ – needs to be broken all the time, by constantly new ‘nows’. Like that evening: the way I perceived them when they entered my tableaux was so different when I left them goodnight.

 

He (to Her): “Actually, I’m treating my partner like people treat you.

She is feeling she’s not giving enough, when I’m close to her, cause she doesn’t want that {sexuality} and she feels guilt. And for her not to feel guilty, we agreed that I can see others.

She’s still resenting herself because of that.”

 

She: “I feel pressure by desire of other people.”

Me: I’ve experienced – on my own skin and through listening to others – that guilt and pressure can be a big turn-off.

I have also experienced that when placed in a frame, where being you as a sensual/sexual being is perceived as a beautiful and valuable thing, can be a great turn-on.

 

how I read You, how I perceive you read Me…

She: “When a man is very friendly, I am on my guard. I need to adjust.”

 

Me: I have been, too. Often and for many reasons, which I continuously multiply  – the more honest I dare (or am confronted) to be. And you? Why?

She: “It’s about education. We’re used to hear that guys are always ready, sexual, predators. And that girls have to be desirable. Those stereotypes didn’t affect me. But…{still}”

Me: I feel that these stereotypes affected me a lot. But I also realize that some – men, women, and they* – have experienced more than just a potential fed by stories one might heard somewhere out there.

She: “I had bad experiences with some guys, where I had to defend myself, physically, too. That’s why I’m nervous, when a man approaches me. I first sense his intentions. It’s a bit sad. If I was a guy, I’d feel insulted by those stereotypes.”

 

He: “I feel that curse.”

Me: I feel sad, too. And I believe many people on their life journey feel from time to time, well – cursed…, “thanks” to their various belongings.

I have been curious about today’s sexual education at schools. I have been talking to teenagers and some school teachers in Denmark and Sweden about how they feel about what and how is being “taught”, what is precious, what is missed. I’ve initiated one-to-one interviews based on exchange and created sharing circles about love and sexuality – both in the context of Sisters Academy and Human Library (Menneskebibliotekket). We talked about attraction, gender stereotypes, tantra and relationships. I wrote a bit about that in my post from last year: Between Boys and girls: random important inputs to sexual education

 

That evening in my room, Dreamcatcher mentioned education too, while we shared inspirations from the exploratory naked massage class at the last Sisters Academy.

He: “In Sweden we also work in {sexual} education by teaching consent. (…) It’s good cause it’ll let people be physical with others without this even leading to something sexual.”

 

removing „peak moments” from sexual interaction… and what happens then

Me: During classes, workshops, interviews, intimate talks throughout years, I heard and felt it repeatedly: many people – men and women – would intimately connect with others more, if they did not feel pressure/fear that an intimate gesture it will be (mis)read as an inevitable step to sexual intercourse. I have been curious to investigate it more in practice by creating safe frames for sensual interaction where that “end-goal” was not there. The focus was play and curiosity. I invited to such space also in Sisters Academy.

He: “Since the sexual massage class {facilitated by (w)Hole and Untamed}, things have turned around for me pretty much and I am really happy for it. I hadn’t understood it before, cause I always ended up in situations where everybody is having a silent agreement that sex is going to happen and there’s gonna be penetration and orgasms. It’s a total focus. So this was the first time I experienced it without any of these.

That was wonderful.”

 

labels, my darlings, if I don’t wanna kill you, what do I then do to you?

She: “It’s hard to be asexual  in the world that is so sexual. Its very strange, its a bit oppressive sometimes.”

Me: I felt that what She needs is to explore more and find her triggers. I also felt that both word ‘ asexual’ and ‘sexual’ might be a bit exaggerated. And He mentioned it, too.

He: “Half of sexuality that exists out in the society is made-up, cause it is build on ideas that are impossible. Well, it might be possible but it’d hurt more then it’d help. A lot of it is unrealistic, we put a lot of fantasy into that.”  

 

And She felt the workings of that label vividly in her interactions with people.

She: “I think that ‘asexual’ is a scary word, cause people take me as if I didn’t want to be touched.”

He (to She): “If there was (another) word, it would help you. A label ‘asexual’ is confusing you, even if you know exactly what you are experiencing.”

 

And then Me and He gave She a mission. To find a man in Sisters Academy she feels both attraction and trust for… and to ask him for a favour, for example like that: “I really want to explore my sensuality. Will you be interested in helping me getting to know myself better, in interaction, through touch, each responsible for own boundaries?

After weeks I was honoured to hear from her that she fulfilled her mission with help of a man she met in Sisters Academy. Feeling ‘asexual’ transformed again and now she would add much more depth to her sharing here.

 

what is your trigger, what do you really want?

Me: A very essential question came to me recently…and was directed at myself:

„If I am so interested in tantra and bdsm, why don’t I have a long-term partner/lover and a lot of sex as everyday practice? Is it because what I’m really interested in is something else?”

It seemed paradoxical to me. I needed an(other) “mirror”.

Meeting her, this „asexual” woman, unexpectedly opened a lot of new doors to a deeper understanding. The search continues, of course, but I saw clearer again why paradoxes have so often made me tick. Paradoxes are golden keys.

 

She: “I was interested in fetish and I was talking about that to people and people thought I was a fetishist, and for me it was so obvious that I wasn’t. It was for scientific reasons, what I was fascinated by was human psychology. Fetish is a way to understand people on a very deep level. (…)

The best part is when you think you’ve found the roots, then you realize there are still things you need to dig, it’s never ending. Introspection. (…)

Or maybe I’ll one day find that I have a fetish and then I’ll understand why I wasn’t sexual for so many years. I am young.”

 

Me: I’ve found something. The sexiest and most important question is:

what is attractive? what is your trigger? Now.

 

Thank you. I am continuously finding mine. And I create interactive frames that help us multiply levels of attraction through playfulness, honesty and pealing off layers.

In this, dear, let us drop these labels and play… as equal “opponents”. And as each other’s mirrors, sometimes, too.

 

 

I see you more now. I see myself thanks to you.

 

 

… to be continued.

 

 

 

 

* by ‘they’ – only in this sharing and simplified – I refer to people that identify themselves as “fluid” gender identity

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