Sexual liberation: What is it and why is it important?

In this article SP founder Newman writes about sexual liberation, one of their favourite subjects and a cornerstone of our work.

For thousands of years, in cultures all over the world, sexuality has been heavily suppressed. This is not surprising, as sex is one of the purest expressions of our vitality, our life force. In its raw form it’s threatening to order and structure, so it has been controlled, contained, damped down, restricted, prescribed and made taboo.

Sexuality is tamed and caged. This is one of the strongest pieces of conditioning we receive during our childhood. Sexual repression is handed to us in a thousand ways, overt and covert: being told not to touch ourselves; the hush when we ask an awkward question; being told off for playing innocent games with other kids; the strange distance between boys and girls as puberty sets in; our rather clinical sex education, which focuses on the technical aspects of sex and says little or nothing about pleasure and arousal; the constant use of euphemistic language (‘the birds and the bees’, ‘your pee pee’ and so on) and so much more. Some aspects are more prevalent in one culture than another, and some cultures have a more liberated attitude from the outset; but wherever we are, we receive negative messages about sex from an early age. 

Sex is closely associated with shame, the feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with us. This is blatant in many conventional religious teachings, with taboos around masturbation, homosexuality and sex outside marriage; however, it also prevails in secular cultures, despite good efforts to normalise and de-shame sex. (Scandinavia in particular has made progress with this.)

So sex arrives as something of a taboo, shrouded in shame. At the same time it’s an irrepressible expression of our life force. We feel the tension between these opposing pulls from an early age, since our sexual urges emerge much younger than people care to admit. Many children report knowing they’re doing something wrong when they touch themselves or play doctors and nurses, even if this has never been said directly. Nonetheless, curiosity gets the better of them and they explore anyway. In fact the taboo makes it even more fascinating: partly because kids are curious about the forbidden, partly because sexual desire gets stronger when it has something to push against.

So this is where we start: with the tension between a powerful force within us and societal repression aimed at controlling it. 

I believe that liberating your sexuality is a vitally important part of personal growth, a way to destrict your life force, allowing it to flow smoother and stronger. It brings you back to innocence, to the natural state of curiosity and wonder you felt before those negative messages started to land. The process of sexual liberation is an unlearning of shame, a return to innocence. It’s the journey back to loving yourself as a sexual being.

Along the way you learn to work with shame, to embrace it, to turn taboo and repression into playful naughtiness - in other words, to transform your relationship with shame so it stops blocking your sexual expression and becomes an ally on your path.

As you do this, you begin to reconnect with the playfulness you lost as a child, the sweet tender curiosity that asks “What does it feel like when I do this?” This is where it starts to get fun! You get to touch, to kiss, to spank, to lick, to pinch, to punch, to fuck, to suck - and so much more - just because you and the people you’re with want to. You get to find out what your unique erotic landscape looks like: what you love, what you like, what you dislike and what leaves you cold. 

In this innocent space of discovery you explore connection and intimacy afresh, shedding expectations about what should happen and welcoming what’s truly there. Part of our conditioning around sex is that it has to be contained within certain frameworks - whether that be a one-night stand, a monogamous relationship, a sexy friendship or something else. Each framework has particular rules and expectations attached to it, constraining a full emotional expression, taking you away from the uniqueness of what exists between you and others.

As you liberate your sexuality and find your way back to erotic innocence, you become freer to explore each connection in its uniqueness. You might find yourself drawn into a wild, passionate frenzy of rough sex with someone you don’t have much else in common with; with another, sharing vulnerable secrets leads to profoundly intimate lovemaking. With one couple you find yourself in a committed triad; with another couple you join them for mutual pleasure but don’t get emotionally involved. As you give yourself permission to explore with curiosity and wonder, the range of possibilities becomes broader and richer. 

The most precious and important thing about your journey of sexual liberation is that it’s yours. It is an invitation to discover your uniqueness, to find out what really brings you to life and to move beyond clichés and rigid definitions. As such it’s also a highly creative path, a way to awaken your self-expression. Sexual energy is life force energy. So is creativity. They bubble up from the same wellspring: as you allow more to flow, it flows in all areas of your life. As such, sexual liberation is about much more than sex: it’s a way to access your creative vibrancy, your precious uniqueness, your essential you-ness.

This is not a journey to be taken lightly. Since your sexuality is a wellspring of vitality, opening it up means more energy moves through you. That in turn shakes up everything in your life. That’s why my tagline is ‘Liberate your sexuality, transform your life.’ One leads directly to the other: as your relationship with your sexuality improves, you find the strength and courage to transform your life, bringing it into alignment with who you really are.

Liberating your sexuality is compelling, exciting, scary and rich. It is a process of unlearning shame, discovering your desires, learning to feel your boundaries, uncovering your fantasies, giving yourself permission to explore and becoming fantastic at consent. Along the way you feel more alive, get more creative and start questioning the things that don’t feel good in your life. 

Will you take my hand and let me guide you on this wondrous adventure, from repression and shame to innocence and creativity? It takes courage to step onto this path and it’s worth it. Come join me and discover the joy, pleasure, healing and transformation that await you in the sacred playground of your sexuality. If you’re ready, I welcome you!

In March 2018 Newman leads The Garden, a five-day retreat exploring sexual liberation and creative self-expression. This exquisite experience, co-hosted with Ellie Wilde, is taking place on 9-14 March near Auckland, New Zealand.