Privacy Versus Transparency: How Open Should We Be About Our Sex Lives?

Last night I watched the great Oliver Stone movie Snowden. It was about a gifted computer technician who released a mountain of classified documents demonstrating that the US government was spying on its citizens. It was riveting and made me outraged about the illegal corruption of power invading our privacy.

This morning I mentioned it to friend and lover who is near to graduating as a practitioner for the Center for Spiritual Living. She had heard about the scene where he was being recorded making love to his girlfriend via his laptop camera. Now how’s that for an invasion of privacy?

But then she pointed out, “Well, isn’t the need for privacy the opposite of our spiritual quest to become more transparent?”

Well, yeah, duh!

We and many of our friends are on a mission to make conscious sexuality more open, more talked about, and more honored. So I started looking at how I really felt about privacy versus letting others know about — and even watch — our lovemaking. And if you’ve read any of my explicit X-rated posts on this blog, you know I favor sexual transparency.

I’m not going to make a case that supports Big Brother watching everything we do 24/7. That’s much too much a political chunk for your average sexologist to bite off. But after consideration, I do want to make a case for dissolving the barriers of sexual modesty, communication, and prudery, especially with our friends and loved ones.

There is a long-standing tradition of honoring eros, or sexual love, as an integral part of a healthy life. Certainly the ancient Greeks revered Eros, the god of sexual love. The Tantrics, many thousands of years ago in India, viewed sexual energy as simply another expression of spirit, of life force, and a vehicle to enlightenment.

But today we live in a highly puritanical culture. A new social media friend, a licensed psychologist, from the Middle East even pointed out how much more repressed he found sexuality after moving to Los Angeles recently.

Let’s take society’s effect on our privacy down to the personal level. How open are most lovers about what’s going on inside them during sex? How many share their urges, their whims, and their anxieties? How many women especially are willing to ask for what they want, what they’re actually getting, and what they want different?

Modern people are willing to crow about their latest high-tech toys, dresses, diets, hairdo, exercise routine, or health challenges. But what about their sex lives? I realize that it’s rare for even most close friends to share the kinky sex position they stumbled into last night. Or what triggered a cosmic orgasm. Or what her or his lover did with their mouth.

I would suggest that’s symptom of our sex-negative slut-shaming culture.

I and my wife and our closest friends routinely chat and text about our erotic escapades and sexual discoveries with each other. And when we’re together, none of us are shy about saying “I’ve loved that but now let’s try….”

Of course, we’re not your average hung-up guys and gals who hide their fantasies in the closet. We share them, build on each other’s kinky inspirations, and sometimes even play them out.

But would we care that much if some intelligence agency clerk was reviewing the tapes of our last lovemaking? Not if we celebrated our expression of desire with our beloveds as sacrament. Not if we accepted our sexual nature as healthy and inherent. Not if we didn’t have any secrets from our spouse. Not if we were proud of our ability to feel pleasure and thoroughly satisfy each other in bed. Not if we comfortable in our bodies and accepted ourselves fully. Not if we were more affectionate and passionate with each other around our kids.

If you were totally transparent with those closest to you and proud of your sexual nature, would it matter that much if someone were spying on you in bed?

Though we don’t have a rampant exhibitionist fetish, we have been known to make love in front of others at sex parties, coaching clients, and sexuality workshops. We’re not ashamed of reveling in our pleasure in front of others who value lovemaking as a spiritual practice. In fact, we’ve participated in a couple of public self-pleasuring rituals in San Francisco on National Masturbation Day.

But I’m not urging you to do it in public or around those who would judge you as perverted. I’m not advocating sexual harassment or bragging at work. I’m just saying that feeling embarrassed or shameful is a product of our culture’s negative judgements around sex.

If we lived in sex-positive culture like that portrayed in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger In a Strange Land or Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing, we might find it easy to be more transparent.

If we fully accept ourselves as sexual beings, wouldn’t we care less that others knew what we were doing? If we truly embraced sexual ecstasy as a divine sacrament, wouldn’t we be proud of it?

OK, if you accept any of my musings, all that remains is finding a way to do it appropriately while our culture evolves.

What do you think about all this?

Love, Somraj

2 thoughts on “Privacy Versus Transparency: How Open Should We Be About Our Sex Lives?

  1. Hi Somraj,
    Love your name! 🙂 I really enjoy your openness about your sexuality and the joy and freedom with which you’re able to share about your encounters! I find myself trying to wrap my mind around, well, enjoying sex as much as you and your lovely wife and partners are able to! I’m very envious of your sexual freedom and the fact that you are able to enjoy sex so much.

    What I find disturbing however about your comment about Snowden being taped as he had sex with his partner is the fact that the viewers were not invited. I have been raped and will never forget how violated I felt, not at the time that it was happening necessarily, but afterwards when I realized what had really happened. That’s how I feel about the government or ANYONE watching me do ANYTHING when they haven’t been invited! Thanks for the opportunity to share!

    1. Cate: I’m sorry my musings brought up the bad memory for you. Sexual violence is just plain evil. I certainly appreciate what you’re saying about being invited. Yes, I left that out so I’m glad you brought it up. Asking for and getting permission is a bedrock of Tantric lovemaking.

      And thanks so much for your supportive comments about what I’m doing. It encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing. Which as you must notice isn’t always disciplined. So I hope to be able to depend on you to guide me.

      Love, Somraj

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