An interesting question is: what is sexual? I think we have all met the type of woman, who... well, let me give an example. I was sitting in the lobby of a small hotel in Copenhagen late one evening, waiting for a friend. And down the stairs came an extremely good looking eastern woman. She was of course fully dressed, and not even provocatively at all. But from the second she appeared, all of us men there had eyes for nothing else but her. She paused in the reception to pay for a phone bill from a big wad of large bills. (It was pretty clear that she earned her living in hotel rooms.) And then she left, and we could breathe again.
While she was there, the air was just thick with sexuality. It was like being under water. The receptionist stammered afterwards that while she was there he could hardly control his hands handling the money. And yet we saw little of her body, and she didn't say or do anything overtly sexual.
And then on the other hand you can have buck-naked beautiful women, who are really not sexual. For example the nude catwalk models in the film Pret-A-Porter. Totally nude, and not at all sexual.
It is pretty clear that "sexual" is happening in the mind. Not only of the person looking, but also in the person being looked at. (Or maybe even third parties.) People can emanate vibrations. Those vibrations are a bit more subtle than, say, heat or light, but they are real energy. And others are affected by them.
By the way, these issues are also being touched upon in a new article by a feminist scholar about sensuality and DOMAI, please read it now.
Letter of the week, from Chris
Allow me to share a camp story. When I was in my mid-teens (not too long ago, mind you), I went to a week-long sleep-away camp in the wilderness of New Mexico. Contrary to popular belief, New Mexico has forests and rivers and, yes, we are a part of the United States. Anyway, to keep a group of angst-filled teenagers entertained, the camp did all sorts of activities in the state parks. One day, when the choices were either rock-climbing or a hike, I had no choice but to hike, being out-of-shape and a coward when it came to heights.
This would have been like any other walk except for a chance encounter at a small pond we passed. It was around two o'clock in the afternoon and somewhere around 95 degrees. There were about a dozen of us, mostly male. A small stream ran along the trail, both of which lead to the pond that is still in my mind.
The pond was picturesque. It was deep with the green waters shared by most fresh bodies of water. There was a cliff wall, overgrown with vegetation, about twenty feet above the surface. Quite simply, it was an oasis, despite being in a largely wooded area. And there, jumping off of this cliff and sunbathing on its banks, were three young women, completely nude.
There was a moment of shock as ten hormone-driven teenagers (myself included) stood dumbfounded. Even our counselor, a sensible man just out of college, was unable to break free from their presence. Even a few of the female members of our group were staring. They were girls, but these, these creatures diving off of the rock wall, were women. I had never actually seen a live nude woman, and it knocked me senseless. My jaw quite literally dropped.
There were three of them. One was sunbathing, lying on her back on the grass. As if reacting to our presence, she pulled off a small white shirt that had barely covered her breasts. One woman was at the top of the cliff and the other was diving off of it. The sunbather had apparently just left the water, because her body glistened with beads of water.
It was probably about five seconds before they noticed us. The one on the cliff waved and the one in the water said "Hello," which was enough for our camp counselor to wave back. The sunbather just looked at us and smiled then went right back to reclining on the grass. She didn't have any qualms about being seen naked by a bunch of kids. None of them did. We watched as the one still on the cliff dove into the murky green waters, then emerging in a splash. She smiled again and began swimming to the rocky shore.
The camp counselor herded us along the trail. The women paid no mind to us and kept right on relaxing while we continued our trek. Though many of the boys talked amongst themselves, commenting on the parts they had seen or trying to change the subject, I continued in silence with nothing more than a new image engraved in my head.
Sure, when we got back, that was the gossip topic of the day. We were all branded as perverts (except for the girls with us, because according to them, or the conservative households they had been brought up in, there's nothing wrong with girls seeing other girls). Being from a liberal background, I argued "Why? Why can't a guy enjoy something like that?" I was labelled as the second largest pervert there, but it was worth it.