I am continually amazed by the insightfulness and generosity of my readers here.
A blog reader sent me this letter a few weeks ago, and I've have been meaning to respond to it on blog (with her permission) for a while. I'm still not quite ready to respond, but I re-read the letter today, and I like it so much for all the provocative questions that she raises, that for now I'm publishing it as is. I'll circle back later with a response.
If, in the meantime, any of my readers would like to respond to her, please feel free to email me or post it in the comments section. It'd be especially cool to hear from the guys about her concerns. Hope everyone is having an amazing weekend :-)
Here's the letter:
Warning: this is a pretty long email!!
I stumbled upon your blog completely by fluke this past weekend, and was totally taken with how you discuss profound spiritual issues with the earthy, corporeal reality that we all live. I've been going through a pretty significant shift in my life where I'm finally connecting with my body and emotions; I've been an exceptionally controlled woman most of my life, never in touch with my fundamental femininity, and your writings on being in the moment, experiencing flow, being embodied, and paying close attention to how you FEEL in your body have been extremely helpful for me. Your blog is great and I just had to write and tell you that; it really stirred up a lot of ideas and feelings for me.
I've also been struck by the links you've got on your site - I recognise lots of them! I'm totally into Eckhart Tolle, think Non-Violent Communication is awesome, have purchased some of Rori Raye's DVDs, done some EFT, read Byron Katie and Debbie Ford. I felt like I'd hit the jackpot!! I've also been reading about male/female relationship dynamics pretty voraciously for a while and I, too, find the PUA community fascinating for a number of reasons. Partly because I'm very analytical, I was keen on getting a sense of what life was like for a man when it came to relating to women.
I'd never really thought about it before (mostly because I was so oblivious to my own emotional world) but when I made the commitment to plunge into the world of feelings and emotions, it made complete sense to be curious about the male perspective. What I found so interesting when I read more about PUA's was that for one thing, it's so much more than just being able to pick up and fuck a woman (not that that isn't a goal either!). The men out there teaching the real stuff are truly talking about a transcendent, profound inner shift that radically changes the way they experience first themselves, and then how they relate to everyone and everything. So I totally get why this can be such an incredible experience for the men who get beyond the lines and the external technical skills. It's the application of these tools with a particular vibe, intention, spirit, presence, centred sense of self (however you wanna term it) that result in the most significant experiences taking place.
When I read one of your posts about why there wasn't the female equivalent of RSD, I started thinking about a few things, which leads me to a couple of questions I have for you. I could be wrong, but it occurred to me that not very many women would be attracted to a course that basically promised them that they could learn relationship skills that would enable them to draw and sleep with very large numbers of men. There's no question that the promise of sexual abundance is, for a lot of men, a huge fantasy and something that would motivate them very, very highly to learn PUArtistry, if you will. The average healthy male is very driven by his physical desires, and regular satisfying sex (especially with a hot woman) is something that the vast majority aren't happy to go without for long stretches of time.
The relationship courses for women tend to focus on setting boundaries, not chasing men, becoming more receptive, getting in touch with their femininity, and basically cultivating their own presence too. They are then able to "choose" from a range of suitors in order to select the one who best meets her needs - whatever that may be (i.e. commitment, marriage, kids, etc). Again, I'm generalising to a certain extent. The courses for women - the good ones anyway - are equally adamant about women developing their own version of "inner game". It's just that the goals seem somewhat different between these two communities.
My question has to do with what seems to be a kind of biological essentialism: men want to have sex with as many women as possible, to have an almost unlimited variety of sexual partners, while women want that one special man who will cherish them and love them. It seems to me to be this kind of cleavage between the genders (again, I'm generalising). Whether it has to do with socialisation or biology, women don't seem as motivated by the prospect of endless sexual partners while the men seem to happily dive into that realm, and then some (threesomes, group sex, etc., etc.). So here's the question (roundabout intro notwithstanding!):
What's in it for women?
I don't mean that to sound flippant or dismissive. I'm genuinely curious. If these men plying the PUA trade get really good at it and are indeed living the kinds of relationships they've previously been frustrated about, then I understand how they benefit. They gain enormous confidence, they discover their masculine core, they learn how to stand calm in the face of anything that gets thrown at them, they basically feel in their bodies what it's like to totally OWN everything about themselves and make absolutely no apologies for anything they desire. That's powerful stuff and has amazing repercussions for their life overall.
So these guys are gaining all these amazing benefits and they're basically practising on women as they refine their techniques. You can't get good at something without starting somewhere and honing and polishing your skills until you achieve the degree of excellence/mastery you're happy with. That's an axiom for any endeavour. My question to you - a woman who's spent a lot of time with this community, who's clearly very comfortable with her own sexuality and her own desires- has to do with how you experience connection with the men who ARE connected to themselves in the way that the courses advocate.
Is it enough that you as a woman actually HAVE the experience of being in the flow, of being lead/seduced/taken/ravished by a man in full control of his being? Is that what the payoff is for the woman? I'm reacting, I suppose, to the thought of men "using" women to become better seducers. I'm thinking of those women who are in that dynamic with a newbie PUA, for example, and wondering how they're feeling about it all. You seem to have had the benefit of interacting with highly skilled men, and in a fashion that allows the experience to be this gorgeous, trippy, embodied, exquisite dance of the senses and of connection (physical, spiritual and emotional). But is it really possible for these newbies to truly treat a woman as a full human being when his primary thought is how "effective" he is and that he would love to score? Doesn't it take a pretty evolved being to be able to relate to a woman as an equal, as a co-creator in the experience, knowing full well that the encounter may last for an hour, a night, a day, half a week, and then be basically over? How as a man do you respect her fundamental humanity/equality/essence when all your senses are geared towards fucking her? Again, I'm not saying that it's impossible to experience a sort of sacred fucking, and I'm all for the kind of fierce honesty and strength that it requires. But again, what is the woman learning from this and how is it "helping" her? Or is it enough to simply BE and receive all this splendour, to be adored as a goddess for however long it lasts, savour it for what it is, and then let it go?
Back to this essentialism thing: woman as receptive, feminine energy and man as initiating, focused, masculine strength who "takes" what he wants through the strength of his conviction (done respectfully, of course, and with a whole lot of sex involved for the most part). It just strikes me that those categories get even more entrenched, so how is the PU community and its way of relating to women "progress" when it seems to me that women are kind of "passive" in this worldview??
Last thoughts, and I promise to stop this endless riffing!
These guys want, for the most part, young and hot women (again, biology coming into play here to a large extent). I remember reading a comment on a post by a guy who was saying that he felt kind of guilty because he was practising on women he would rate as a 6-7 when he really wanted to be with a 9-10, but that he needed to get good and so this was an inevitable occupational hazard, so to speak. You seem to be someone attractive enough to be approached on a regular basis by alpha men, and have the luxury of turning down their offers of marriage, sexual ecstasy, etc. Not all women are in this position. I don't mean that one accepts whatever is offered from a scarcity mentality, but isn't it somewhat of an axiom that this whole PUA realm is about relative youth? I imagine a PUA could continue a lifestyle of endless girlfriends well into his 50's, totally ok with not wanting monogamy or marriage or children, and still hook women decades younger. I don't think women have quite the same ease of attracting attention when they're older - again, not always the case, but on the whole, that's the reality of it in many ways.
Do these guys really want to eventually settle down with one woman after they've lived what they'd previously only fantasised about? Again, I'm sure it varies from individual to individual, but that also begs the question of how many men NOT thinking about this worldview are in a kind of denial about who they are and their deepest impulses. Then again, self-selecting audiences eh? If a man is authentically happy with his woman and his monogamous relationship/marriage and perhaps his children, then more power to him. I truly believe that the PUA community poses some serious questions about a man's belief systems and how he IS and how he lives his life and whether or not it's truly what he wants - that's an invaluable exercise.
I've been pondering this all because I know that I've always been someone terrified of submitting to my deepest emotions and feelings, especially in a relationship. I fear the ending, the letting go, the pain of disappointment, of offering myself and being "rejected" - all the stuff that comes with relationships and sexual intimacy. That's why your writings on celibacy, on being present, and simply accepting and fully experiencing the moment's flow are intriguing to me. I know I'd survive something not enduring; that's an intellectual understanding, but I'm still a bit afraid to know that in my body and experientially...
Anyway, now that your eyeballs are fried, I'm ending this message. Again, your blog is very cool, I really enjoy your posts, and whatever feedback you can lob back to me would be awesome!