AN EXCERPT FROM THE CHAPTER “SEXUALITY” FROM THE BOOK NATIVE STRENGTH – THE FIRST STEP ON THE PATH TO AN INDOMITABLE LIFE
In the Native American tradition, sex sits at the center of the medicine wheel. It partakes of all the spatial dimensions; the wisdom of the North, the enlightenment of the East, the emotions of the south and the physicality of the West. It is all inclusive. Being at the center, sex is a catalyst. It is a symbol of the power and meaning of all our creativity. This perspective affords us a mature and healthy understanding of sex, sexuality and gender. Any spark of creativity, any catalyst for change, issues from this center. Therefore, sex is something much more powerful than we can imagine and needs to be approached in ways that are very different from the way our Western Culture has seen it for centuries.
Native American culture recognizes sex as an instinct, just as our need to eat is an instinct. When we are hungry we eat to stay alive without making excuses for it. The instinct for sex not only keeps the species alive, it also brings comfort, joy, delight, a sense of inter-relationship, and it releases hormones that are necessary for our mental and physical health. It is indeed all inclusive. There are times, however, when instincts need to be put aside or ignored. Eating too much can cause obesity and eating the wrong things can cause diabetes. If our sexual instinct brings harm to others or to ourselves, we obviously must resist these desires.
There are times in our lives when sex causes harm. The most obvious is rape and sexual abuse of a child. We know that there are people who obsess on the idea of such behavior and some of these people act upon their obsession. A Japanese company produces sex dolls in the form of children for such people so they will not assault a real child. I believe this is good because anything that can be done to help stop these atrocities is a step in the right direction. I do not have any answers for this problem. I am much more concerned with the survivors, like myself and other family members. I want to help them turn that crap into compost and grow some sustaining food and pretty flowers with it.
This is near and dear to my heart. A child I know, love and deeply admire was sexually abused before kindergarten. Three years later her abuser still walks free. The court system does not want to accept her taped testimony; instead they want this child to face her adult accuser. Her brain is too young and small to comprehend these atrocities. My adult fully grown brain cannot understand them either. Is it any wonder she is struggling in school?
When young people are sexually abused, they grow to believe their purpose in life is to provide a means for others to have sex. They believe that sex against their will is bound to keep happening. It is common for these survivors to place themselves unwittingly in situations where they will continue to be abused: dangerous environments, with abusive boyfriends and inebriation with drugs or alcohol. Even justice – if one is fortunate enough to bring a perpetrator to trial – can be a crushing event and a form of re-victimization. The survivor must relive their nightmare before the court, face the perpetrator and sometimes watch as the assailant is set free or given a small slap on the wrist. None of this will help the survivor to heal. Even in those areas where justice is served, the survivor is left with the aftermath.
Women were revered in most Native cultures and men treated them with great respect. Their opinions carried significant weight. No man dared abuse a woman for it was simply not accepted. It was considered an immense shame to physically take advantage of one who was smaller or weaker. There were no jails. Criminals were not locked up; they were shunned and excluded from the camp circle. This was a far greater punishment. To be left alone to fend for one’s self was a great dishonor and a dangerous inconvenience.
According to a National Crime Victimization Survey, rape has declined in the last four decades. In 1980 2.4 women per 1000 aged 12 and older were victimized that year. In 2013 that rate was .4 per 1000. That is an 85% decline. That is a great achievement. Denmark experienced a similar decline when they legalized prostitution and X-rated entertainment. People were given outlets that were accessible and safe. What has brought about the decline in America? It may actually be due to the availability of X-rated entertainment.
I accept that this may be a controversial statement. I was once asked that, if this is true, why is it that we watch so many murders on television and in the movies and yet the murder rate has not gone down substantially. This is comparing apples to oranges. Murder is not a normal, natural function required for comfort, pleasure and the continuation of the species. When beneficial needs such as sex are suppressed, they can often result in crimes. If a population is told eating is sinful and food becomes restricted, crime will be inevitable. The more normalized eating becomes in such a population, the less likely people are to feel the need to sneak around stealing food. Until and unless all the unnecessary negative stigmas surrounding sex are removed, I believe we will continue to see sex distorted in such ways that the result will be great pain and wide spread trauma. Certain forms of X-rated entertainment attempted to create such openness and normalization.
The adult sexual entertainment business in the last decade or so has changed considerably. Many believe it has been seriously corrupted. The move has been towards more extreme, or “gonzo” scenes that push the boundaries of the sexual experience. There has been an increased interest in more unusual, even bizarre acts that most people would not consider loving and joyful. This is an exposition on the vulgarity of sex, an extreme swing of the pendulum from the position of normal sex as taboo. This is not what many in the sex industry had hoped for.
In my previous book The Secret Lives of Hyapatia Lee, I made it clear I did not regret my involvement in the adult entertainment business. Therefore, the facts of my life were not given as an excuse, but rather, to help the reader to gain a better understanding of why one might make such a choice. I simply gave my reasons for deciding to become involved in that world. From my point of view, we were not involved in anything “dirty”. I see only two things wrong with the adult entertainment business as it was during the time of my involvement. First of all, not all performers had control over their work like I did, and secondly, performers were underpaid. Most performers were not ashamed of their work, but our culture has enveloped us in shame. Our society seems to look upon performers of erotica as people who embrace everything about the business with enthusiasm or, on the other hand, as people who must regret everything they have done and make public declarations of their errors. There doesn’t seem to be much room in the middle of the road. So often the public forgets the business is about acting! I make no excuse because I have no regrets. I am only saddened that the idealistic goals to which we had once aspired have now been so distorted.
Nor should adult entertainment enthusiasts feel shame for their appreciation. There is nothing wrong with those who enjoy such expressions of art, an art that opened to them pictures of love, excitement, joy and fun. That is what we were trying to convey. The art also helped provide opportunities for the performers to normalize their own lives through their sexual expression. I was victimized both as a child and as a young adult. As a performer, this gave me control of my own body and my own sexuality. Prior to this I had no control and was not healing from the abuse I had suffered, despite extensive therapy. In my work I was also given the opportunity to learn a lot about men, normal things that I probably should have learned from my father, had he been involved in my life. There are millions of women who are survivors like me and the sex industry gave some of us a chance to be healed of our shame and brokenness. There is a good, mutually beneficial relationship between performer and aficionado.
It is my hope someday that we will rest in an area where sex is thrilling because the person we are in love with is enjoying it with us. I hope that the secret delight of the vulgarity of sex will one day lose its titillation and we will again become people who are only excited by making love to someone we care deeply about. I hope one day people will be able to watch a movie with a sex scene and enjoy it primarily for their care and concern over the characters and not simply for the shock value of seeing two bodies performing a sex act.