I recently read the book by Daniel Bergner, “What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire.” After my initial eye rolling “who but a guy can talk about female sexuality?” thoughts, I opened my mind and read. Then I heard him in an interview say the following beautiful words. I was so moved that I pulled over to the side of the road in order to fully attend to what he was saying.
“I sometimes think we have to be a little braver about just caring more. Caring, and being open about caring about sex, with one’s partner sounds like it should be easy, but I think often it’s not because you can fail and you can feel hurt. And so I think that candor and caring are important and might well be the root to maintaining passion.”
Indeed. How brave it is to just care more? Care for self, for our bodies, for our sweethearts and our sexual partners, for the earth and for one another and dare I say it, for our own and the other person’s sexual fulfillment and needs getting met. In the era of the college “hook up,” (whatever that means), how brave is this concept of caring. And how connected to desire caring is for all of us, female, male and the rest of us in between.
I recently had a conversation with a friend when I expressed my confusion as to why he was not dating. By conventional standards, he fit all the requirements: successful, good looking, educated. He could, I told him, afford to be picky. “Why am I not dating?” He asked. “Because I feel like the whole model is just not real.” He went on to question if people are really honest with themselves and with the other person in those first several coffee/dinner get to know you conversations. Not that people intend to be dishonest, perhaps, but it is our nature to put our best face forward. “Shouldn’t we all,” he conjectured, “show up to that first date with the list of our failures and our fears and hopes and needs and see if my list meshes well with your baggage?” Perhaps it’s no more complex than the Galway Kinnell poem, “Why Regret?” Kinnell writes beautifully about monarch butterflies and the miracle of their migration back to the same place in Mexico, even the same tree where they hatched and their ancestors hatched for generations. Yes, why regret indeed? Kinnell says, in essence, afterall, “Doesn't it outdo the pleasure of the brilliant concert to wake in the night and find ourselves holding hands in our sleep?”
Imagine, the simple act of waking up holding hands with your beloved is as miraculous as the monarch migration. For this new year, I wonder, what would it take for all of us to be brave and just care more and be more open about our needs and our desires? Mr. Bergner, what do women want? Perhaps for an end to the need for hand wringing books being written about the mysteries of female sexuality because we are caring more and we are being more open. And then we watch the desire come naturally from that place, beautiful, colorful, multi faceted, like the wings of the Monarch butterfly.