Journey to the In-Between


Journey to the In-Between

Adventures in the Realm of the Senses

By Michael Ventura

November/December 2009


Midnight,
One more night without sleeping.
Green door,
What's that secret you're keeping?

—Pop song by Bob Davie, 1956

Today, sexuality still seems to be a territory as private and filled with fear as ever it was. You might argue the opposite, because so much about sexuality these days is fearlessly public—and that's true, if by "public" you mean the merely visible. But privately, we haven't advanced far in our ability to talk of our own sexuality, one with another.

As in days of yore, we embark on our individual sexual journeys with minimal guidance—zip, really. There's scant discussion about being a sexual being: how it feels, what we do, who we are sexually, and what that means to us as we go about our lives. We don't have much idea of what sex is for, even. (If it were only for reproduction, wouldn't we rut seasonally like other mammals?) Rarely can couples in long-term relationships expand the scope of their shared sensuality. Psychotherapy has gone from viewing sex almost mystically, like Freud, to making sex something so clinical it's almost boring, in the tradition of Masters & Johnson and their many descendants. Much of contemporary psychotherapy seems to have minimized sexuality to something that's no more than an element of relationship, rather than a force in itself, a realm all its own.

That's part of what makes sexuality scary: it is a force in itself, a realm…

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