A thinking woman by instinct, I often suffer from pangs of conscience. It seems that my superego disapproves of my blog, A Siren Laid Bare: “Emma, why are you writing porn?” It whispers paternally. “You should be publishing erudite reflections on philosophy or culture.”
Maybe I ought to be pouring my energy into more laudable writing projects. Then again, maybe not. The truth is that I can’t help myself from keeping this online journal, my attempt at critical-reflective, sex journalism. Like other pilgrims who made their progress along the road to enlightenment, I’m undergoing an awakening of sorts – a sexual awakening – and the only way that I can take stock of myself is through writing.
I was destined to write about sex. Ever heard of the French, 1970s soft-porn series Emmanuelle, directed by Just Jaeckin? My Euro-hipster parents named me after the title character. (Incidentally, I think I may have been conceived while my units watched one of these flicks back in the day. At least that’s what my mom insinuated when I accidentally stumbled upon their vintage VHS porn stash.)
On a more obscure but no less suggestive note, my middle name “Undine” is a nod to the naiad who marries a mortal in Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s Romantic novel Undine. (“That’s German Romantic, not Hallmark-card romantic,” I can still hear my dad say). My name’s killer combination of aesthetic idealism and a groovy, 70s swinger vibe may be what did me in.
At this turning point in my journey to fulfillment I have only two enduring passions: Writing and fucking. Recently, I decided that it was high time to indulge in both. An epicure rather than a hedonist, sex, and “swinging” in particular, fills an existential void in my life. It all started last spring, during my first orgy. The sense of elation that my husband PC and I shared in the company of three other couples changed me permanently. We’ve been chasing that dragon ever since: Knowledge and experience have made us realize the value of that first play session. It was a blessing, a gift.
Sex should be about pure joy, claims Californication’s Sue Collini. She’s right. And there’s another, much older word for this transcendent emotion she describes: Mudita.** In Buddhism, mudita refers to the sympathetic joy I feel when I delight in someone else’s well being. The sense of ecstasy that overcomes me when I watch PC enjoy another woman, when I kiss him while she deep-throats his cock, is a revelation tantamount to a religious experience. Mudita.
For the initiated, the euphoria of group sex is not simply voyeuristic. Think about it: In adult life, we rarely give ourselves up freely to the pleasures of the senses. Likewise, we tend to indulge in the art of sensual touch with one lover exclusively. Instead, imagine discovering the sweetness of another woman’s pussy with your man, or losing yourself in the gentle hold of countless hands….
Group sex spreads me open. During a play session, I lose all of my inhibitions. My sense of being intuitively merges with the rhythm effect generated by our bodies’ coming together to form new, transient sites of pleasure. Perhaps this liberating, centrifugal dispersal of self is what the ancients sought during their orgiastic rites. Or maybe it is one of the few legitimate experiences of transcendence available to a cynical North American urbanite. Always the optimist, I choose the former. After all, our perception of reality shapes how we experience it.
In solidarity with my id, I therefore declare to my ever-vigilant superego: “Dammit, you overachieving control freak, if the muses have punk’d me, so be it. But I’m feeling this. The proverbial imp of the perverse may goad me on, but I stand at the edge of no precipice. To me, writing this blog, documenting my experiences in this sexual autobiography, is an act of freedom.”
Undine out. 🙂
** “Compersion,” the heavy-handed term coined by the now defunct Kerista Commune of polyamorists in San Francisco, describes something analogous to mudita. For my part, I’d rather have pop-culture poets such as Tom Kapinos make up words.