What Do Women Really Want?
by Dr. Deborah Taj Anapol, Ph.D
I've been reading about what women really want, according to prominent
psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and the late Timothy Leary, since I
was an undergraduate at UC Berkeley in the early seventies. How presumptuous,
I thought, for men to write about what women want. I can not pretend to
speak for all women, but I can tell you a bit about who I am and what I
want for myself as a woman.
I am a child of the sixties. As a teenager I marched against the war
in Vietnam, took acid, had lots of lovers, and went to Woodstock. When
I was 20 I became pregnant while using a Dalkon shield and decided to become
a mother. Within a year I'd been transformed into a crusader for women's
rights and decided to become a clinical psychologist in service of this
goal. Looking back, I realize it was no coincidence that I became sensitive
to women's issues after my own experiences with pregnancy, birth, marriage,
divorce, and motherhood. Then, as now, the bottom line is equal rights
for women. I saw, even in my early 20's that until we have equality and
love and respect between men and women we will not have peace. We will
not have peace at home, and we will not have peace in the world at large.
It's popular now to talk about replacing dominator models for relationship
with partnership models. But in the early 70's in Berkeley the language
of women's liberation was in vogue. The meaning, however, is pretty much
the same. We must recognize that in patriarchal culture, women are the
underclass. We are the indigineous people within, inside of, Western civilization.
In my 20's I was mainly aware of how women -- and men -- were suffering
as a result of the second class status of women in our society. And I was
angry. Now I am able to see beyond the suffering, to the value, the good
fortune in this.
Because as women, who don't really count in patriarchal society, we
remain a little closer to our true nature than the men who have been charged
with setting the standards and with enforcing the values of patriarchy.
And the primary value of patriarchy is production. The work ethic. Control
and domination. (I'm talking patriarchy here, not blaming men. Patriarchy
is simply a word describing the culture we live in which has as one of
it's primary characteristics that men are valued over women.)
So what is it that women want, if it is not a life focused on production
and domination? What I want, as a woman, and as a human being, is the freedom
to fully express and receive love, including sexualove when that's what
I feel to do.
In the deepest sense this is a spiritual need. We risk addiction --
whether it's addiction to alcohol or drugs or food or work or excitement
or love/sex/relationships -- we risk addiction when we deny that our deepest
human need is the spiritual yearning for oneness, for merging with the
Divine, for union with the Beloved. It is the massive denial of this need
that results in the epidemic addictive behavior that is so common in our
culture. For men it tends to be substance abuse, for women dependence on
a relationship, on a partner. Tantra shows us a healthy way to satisfy
this hunger for union and also to end the war between men and women at
the same time.
Tantra reminds us of the spiritual basis of our longing for love, while
recognizing that it's also essential to remember that we are embodied beings.
We have loving, erotic, pleasure-receptive bodies. To give and receive
love through our bodies is part of our essential nature, it is what we
want and need as infants, as children, and as men and women. So whether
we're talking gentle, nurturing touch or ecstatic sexual play, for most
of us, it is only when this basic human need for energetic connection,
and for bodily contact and pleasure is met that we can relax and internally
be at peace.
It is the denial of pleasure and especially sexual pleasure, that has
been the primary tool used by the patriarchy to maintain control. This
has been achieved by forcefully training women to turn off sexually which
then creates a scarcity of sexual pleasure for men as well.
Fortunately, it's possible for women to reclaim our erotic power. Tantra
offers us a process for healing and re-education, through which we can
turn our sexual energy back on, especially in an environment which supports
us expressing our eroticism. The bad news (at least for men who think that
they can own or control women's bodies) is that a sexually awakened woman
is a Wild Woman. She is an empowered goddess who is no longer content to
play the part of victim.
Women are notorious for our enjoyment of and our focus on relationships.
Heterosexual women tend to put a huge amount of energy into being attractive
to men, seducing a man, manipulating a man. No doubt, this is partially
a result of patriarchal conditioning which insists that women are not as
competent as men and restricts their involvement in worldly activities,
thus making women financially dependent on men, but some of it reflects
women's genuine love for, and affinity for intimate relating.
Our culture has so thwarted and restricted and devalued this basic quality
that it's become twisted and neurotic. Take an abundance of pure loving,
caring, nurturing, sensual, erotic energy and insist it be focused on one
man who is not prepared to respond in kind and of course things get weird.
And that's exactly what we've done with our monogamous, nuclear family
- oriented culture.
So what does a freely loving, sexually fulfilling, spiritually-based
partnership relationship look like? There is no one answer to this question,
but in one form or another it is, in my experience, what every woman wants.
As we begin to invent relationships that are deeply satisfying to us, rather
than accepting what we've been told is moral, or proper, or should make
us happy, we lay the groundwork for peace and harmony to fill the Earth.
|Return to top
© Deborah Taj Anapol