Power Vs. Pleasure:Healing Sexual Assault Culture

The hashtag #metoo has catalyzed a growing number of women speaking out about the sexual assault they have experienced in their lives.

Some folks are surprised by the number of women they personally know who have experienced some form of sexual assault or violence, but the latest statistics show that as many as 1 in 4 women will experience this by the time they are 18!

I also am a survivor of sexual assault and was involved in some social media conversation about this topic this week.

I shared that from my point of view, as a survivor, sexual assault is a symptom, not the problem.

For example, imagine the world we would live in if we were taught from birth that sexual pleasure was sacred, wholesome, healthy.

Imagine if we were taught from birth that love is desiring happiness and pleasure for OTHERS.

Imagine if teenagers we learned that sensual pleasure was a gift from God, as opposed to a terrifying sin, and we were taught how to cultivate a nourishing sensual relationship with our own bodies.

What if we were taught to receive pleasure from giving pleasure?

What if we knew “self” and “other” to be one and the same?

Do you think we would have a culture in which sexual assault would be so prevalent?

Many folks shared that typically sexual assault is not about sex, but about power, and therefore treating this as a sexual issue is “missing the mark”.

I beg to differ.

Because of the work I do, I am in constant contact with the after-effects of sexual assault. My understanding of what “counts” as sexual assault is based more on how it is interpreted by the nervous system, and less by how it is legally defined.

There is no doubt in my mind that the current power imbalance in this culture fosters a climate in which sexual assault can flourish, BUT, I just don’t see “power” as the primary need attempting to be met in many forms of sexual assault as I have experienced it and define it.

If we are all agreeing that when Donald Trump grabs women by the pussy that he is committing sexual assault, then I was sexually assaulted numerous times, in a variety of ways, on an almost daily basis, from the time I was 19-22. It was just part of the climate of the sub-culture that I lived in at the time.

The sexual assault I experienced at that time in the form of unwanted and uninvited touch to my vulva, breasts, butt, thighs, and hips, was not motivated by a conscious desire to overpower me.

The sexual assault was motivated by a desire for sexual gratification and prioritizing their needs for pleasure over my needs for bodily autonomy.

It was allowed to happen because of a power imbalance present within our culture, but it is not what motivated these men to touch me and continue touching me without my consent, and in spite of my clearly expressed boundaries.

What motivated them to disregard my boundaries and bodily autonomy was an unhealthy, imbalanced, and immature understanding of sexuality.

This ‘sexual immaturity’ as I call it, is purely a product of our culture views and attitudes about sex, which fosters a climate of sexual ignorance, guilt, shame, and fear.


So how can we heal this?

It begins with us, plain and simple.

Though the problem did not begin with us as individuals, the healing process does.

It’s up to each and every one of us (men, women, cis-gender and transgender) to begin the process of shedding these layers of wounding by moving towards a healthier and more balanced relationship to our bodies and our sexuality.

And by cultivating understanding and awareness about our bodies and true potential for pleasure.

One of the greatest gifts Tantra has given me has been the understanding that our TRUE nature, the true core of each of us, is peace, bliss, love, pleasure, connection.

That we as human beings are inherently good and that inner peace and self-love and self-worth and value are our birthright.

The only thing blocking us from knowing this in body, heart, and mind every day is trauma and wounding.

This trauma and wounding can be healed, dissolved and resolved with proper support,  guidance, and practice.

As I said in a previous post, on the other side of trauma is our true nature… Which. IS. Bliss.

We just need the right tools, time, practice and patience to unwind the falsehoods and restore the balance of truth within us.

Want More?

Learn to use Tantra and “pleasure as medicine” to heal trauma and awaken more personal bliss in our 6 module tantra training program for women, The Female Orgasm Intensive

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