The perils confronting our precious power
by Belinda Tobin
In her book, The Right to Sex , Amia Srinivasan declares that women have never yet been
free to understand and express their sexuality fully.
She shares the concerns of many feminists before her about the ‘false’ authority granted to pornography and how it has trained us to repeat destructive and degrading gender stereotypes.
In her conclusion, Amia rallies today’s youth to rebel and create new sexual relationships built on deep connections and compassion. However, Amia fails to consider the lack of progressive role models available to lead the way.
Media channels are still dominated by patriarchal powers who treasure sanctity
over humanity and are willing to maintain it through subversion. It takes a brave person to
rise against the paymasters and present an alternative view of sexual freedom. So, who will
save our sexuality?
What Is Sexuality?
As Missy Jubilee rightly observes, “the world is obsessed with sexuality.” Any deviation from the norm becomes the way we are defined. However, the understanding of sexuality in society is superficial at best. It is much more than how we employ and enjoy our genitalia.
Sexuality is the relationship between our physical bodies and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours we use to form intimate connections.
And while I acknowledge sexuality is influenced by so many social, cultural, political and legal factors, as this definition suggests, there are two main aspects to our sexuality, being:
- Sexual agency
- Physical connection
These two dimensions of sexuality are described beautifully by Alexandra Solomon in her book Taking Sexy Back. Very simply, though, sexual agency is the set of things that are true to us, representing who we really are. Physical connection, as it suggests, is how our sexual agency is expressed in intimate relationships.
The key elements of sexuality are shown in the following diagram, which I have tentatively called the Sexuality Circle. It is a name that sounded great in my head but became troublesome when I mentioned it to others. Asking others if they would “like to see my sexuality circle?” is not always a way to make friends! Yes – it certainly sounded better in my head than it did aloud. So, it is just the Model of Sexuality until I find a more appropriate title!
You will also notice that the concept of spirituality sits above that of our sexuality. This is because there is an interconnectedness between our spirituality and our sexuality. Sexuality is how we explore and express our spirituality in the physical world. Our fundamental beliefs inform our thoughts around gender, attraction and pleasure. Our views about life’s purpose and importance also impinge upon our motivations and goals for intimate relationships. This connection also works the other way, with our intimate connections helping us re-evaluate our beliefs, tap into our internal source of power and develop our sense of meaning and purpose. This relationship between spirituality and sexuality is described beautifully put by Alice Walker.
“Sexuality Is one of the ways we become enlightened, actually, because it leads us to self-knowledge.”
What Do We Need Saving From?
Our sexuality is incredibly vulnerable, susceptible to moralistic dogmas and the politics of
fear. Sexuality holds great power and potential, and yet is cramped and compromised by so
many phenomena, including shame.
“From a young age I learnt to feel shame about my natural sexual urges.” ~ Missy Jubilee
The work of Dr David Hawkins shows that shame is the emotion closest to the state of
death. It is used to indicate that we have strayed from the acceptable behaviours of the tribe
and so risk being ostracised, which in tribal days would have meant certain death from
predators, exposure to the elements or starvation. Shame is used to prevent questioning of
the status quo, which is argued contributes to societal stability. However, it is also the
mechanism to prevent human evolution and progression towards self-acceptance and
compassion. People who attempt to explore new, holistic notions of sexuality, such as Missy
Jubilee, are shamed by media moguls by calling their art pornography the most brutal and
basest expression of sex. In this way, shame continues to be used as a weapon of
“It is we who must distinguish between the true prophets and the false prophets” ~ Karl Popper.
Pornography has no formal power or authority, yet it is the main source of sex education for
our children. We have granted it authority over what sexual connections should look like and, by tarnishing alternate expressions as pornography, have banned any ‘competition’ for authority from entering the mainstream. Porn is the loudest voice currently when it comes to sexuality, but it does not mean that it is the one that will allow us to thrive and reach our full human and sexual potential. In fact, it is the opposite, with research showing that pornography impedes people’s ability to connect with their partners and depletes sexual vitality.
“Science is not perfect. It can be misused. It is only a tool.” ~ Carl Sagan
Scientific advancements have taught us much about the physical and psychological elements of sex. Still, we need to be spared from believing that it explains the fullness of our sexuality. As shown in the Model of Sexuality above, our spirituality is the higher power that drives our sexuality and is enlightened through our sexual connections with others.
Concentrating solely on the scientific elements of sexuality at the expense of the spiritual is like believing there is only one side of a coin. The interchange of energy between the heart and sacral centres makes for the most satisfying sex, and you won’t find any of this instruction in the textbooks on reproductive anatomy!
“I am living in a material world, and I am a material girl.” ~ Madonna
Materialism is a value system preoccupied with material possessions and the social image they project. It places overwhelming importance on physical objects and believes that these, and their inherent tatements about identity, are the most important things in life. There is no doubt in my mind that materialism is the new world religion and that a materialistic philosophy is being played out through our sexuality. We need to be saved then from sexual materialism, which believes our sexuality and intimate connections are there to relieve us from superficial suffering and bring us nothing but happiness. Instead of our sexuality enabling greater self-knowledge and a connection to our higher selves, we possess and use it to gain recognition and acceptance and as a yardstick of success. And instead of our sexuality enabling full, mutual and meaningful connections with others, it turns others into achievements and trophies.
“Sexualisation is imposed from the outside” ~ Peggy Orenstein.
Sexualisation is using elements of your sexuality to arouse desire in others. Others can sexualise you – looking at pieces of your sexuality (usually the very superficial ones) to arouse their desire, or you can sexualise yourself – by enhancing attributes or undertaking actions that you hope will arouse desire in others. Sexualising others is about seeking power over them – gaining access, ownership or control over specific attributes. Sexualisation yourself is all about seeking power over others by securing their attraction. As Missy puts it perfectly, it is a process of “weaponising my sexuality.”. We need to be saved from the misconception that our sexuality is sexualisation and that it only exists or is only validated by someone else’s appreciation for our physical form or what we do with it!
Social media stars
“Tell me what’s your kink, gimme the dick” ~Doja Cat.
Nicki Minaj openly advertises her ability to “keep the dick up inside it”, and Cardi B tells the world that she has a “wet ass pussy”. I congratulate them both on their mastery of the feminine form! However, I also understand that those who profess their sexual prowess the loudest are most insecure about it. They are contributing to the continued misapprehension that sexuality is sexualisation and that its power resides in the approval of others. Moreover, by capturing porn in song, they also continue the same degrading notion of female sexuality that they declare to be stronger than. These ‘heroes’ of modern female sexuality may be causing more harm by pushing their followers well beyond the boundaries of their sacred sexuality and dominating the women they claim to be liberating. For as Amia Srinivasan states, sexual freedom does not come merely from the fact that it is ubiquitous, and as Missy declares, it is a lie that loveless sex is empowering.
The Revolutionary Work of Missy Jubilee
Our powerful sexuality is constantly subdued through superficial science, the work of pusillanimous porn masters, and sexualised social media stars. If such oppression were evident in other areas of our lives, there would be a revolution. However, you don’t hear much of an uproar, do you? Could it be as Dostoevsky suggests (via The Grand Inquisitor) that:
“Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that great gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born.”
And that, as Amia Srinivasan suggests:
“The fear that we cannot grow beyond whatever distortions we may find within ourselves keeps us docile and loyal and obedient, externally defined.”
Are we so afraid of our sexuality and the power it contains that we prefer to shun it than explore and express it? Are we so terrified of what a deep human connection may be like that we are happy to continue to play around at the superficial manifestations of sexualisation and sex? Are we so devoid of imagination that we are comfortable allowing our sexuality to become just another commodity continuously renovated, auctioned and sold to the highest bidder? And are we so fearful of the judgement of others that we are unwilling to explore the duality of our sexuality, the coexistence of light and dark?
Or is it that we have not yet had enough role models to show us what unadulterated sexuality looks like?
This is why the work of Missy Jubilee is so essential. With each film, she shows incredible bravery, to tell the truth about her desires and pleasures and share the actuality of self-intimacy. She is painfully honest about how repression of her instincts caused her to rebel and how it resulted in her sexuality unfolding ” messily”. She shares the pain that comes with using sex “like a drug” to fill dark voids. We need to hear these messages to understand the consequences of the oppressive and ignorant path and find a new way to sexual freedom.
In her films, Missy sets the rules for her self-expression, showing us this is possible too for her audience. She uses her body to challenge the constrictive conditioning we have been exposed to and dares us to see the beauty in our physical form. Through courageously presenting her vulnerability, she helps us understand and even care for our own.
Missy Jubilee is boldly breaking boundaries and, with each film, is further cementing the path of sexual freedom for a new generation. Her defiance brings a new appreciation of and vision of the preciousness and power of our sexuality.
The conventional channels have crucified Missy, but her perseverance is protection against public pussification, and her films present a philosophy essential for future students of sexuality. While Missy will decry the thought of herself as a saviour of any kind, she is liberating us from the toxic bonds of ignorance. She is renewing our faith in the ability of our sexuality to be grounded in love and not fear. Missy is a role model for a new wave of honest human relationships; for this, she must be celebrated!
by Belinda Tobin
Belinda is a celebrated author on women’s sexuality and independence. She is also a film industry veteran, and the series executive producer of the 250 film ‘The Future Sex Love Art Projekt’ by Missy Jubilee
Her latest book ‘The Moral Dilemma of Monogamy’ will be released in April 2023.
Belinda is a soon to be featured TED TALK presenter on how the tech industry’s control of art through distribution channels represses women’s sexuality