By Alexa Day
When was the last time you changed your mind?
One of my law professors asked that question in class long ago, when the world was newish. None of us was able to answer him. In fairness, when you’re in law school, a question like that is likely to be a complex logic trap designed to make students look hopelessly stupid in front of their peers. But I think he could tell from our faces that we just didn’t have an answer for him.
That was kind of a problem, he said. If we weren’t open to changing our minds, our minds were stagnating. We weren’t really relating to the world around us. We weren’t adapting. We were like the dinosaurs, he said.
Not a good thing for lawyers, he said.
It’s not great for writers, either.
I was reminded of my professor’s insightful question this week at a seminar on women’s sexual lives and experiences. One of the speakers challenged us to think about our authentic sexual selves. Our various preferences were important in that regard, of course. But she charged us to think about what role sex — not our sex partners, sex itself — played in our lives. How did our own concepts of masculinity and femininity, in ourselves and in others, come together in our sex lives?
What role did our sexual selves play in our creative lives? How have those roles changed over time? How might they change in the future?
Deep, fascinating questions. I couldn’t answer any of them, but I look forward to trying. Not right here. I know I overshare, but I do occasionally keep stuff to myself, sometimes for hours at a time.
I have found at this early point in my writing career that the actual work — meeting deadlines and promoting my book and writing the next book and so on — is taking a lot of time away from my authentic sexual self. I imagine that’s true for a lot of people. God knows women have plenty of nonsexual things going on in their lives, as well as plenty of societal things preventing us from fully exploring our sexual selves. It worries me in particular because I think my writing would be better, that it would be fuller and richer, if I were more in touch with myself (ha ha, heyo!). I hope the process of self-discovery will also add depth to my work. I imagine that’s true for the non-writers among us, too — the merger of sexual energy with creative energy would lend depth to whatever we do in our daylight lives.
But now I’m really curious about how this will work out in my writing. What will happen when the Muse and my authentic sexual self start holding hands? (Yes, I’m in denial. They probably want to do more than hold hands, but that can wait until he puts a ring on her finger and I can take some time off.) Will my Muse need to drink less? Will I write faster?
And how are your authentic sexual selves moving through the everyday world? Nosy writers want to know.
Here’s what I already know. Your authentic sexual self is probably already following Lady Smut. You do want to be in sync with it, right?