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Sexual Submissiveness

A talk at the Easter gathering of the Erotic Academy in March 1989
by Sabine Lichtenfels
Our theme today is sexual submissiveness. We're dealing with questions
concerning the archetypal images of sexual relations among men and
women. We're also looking at historical views of what sexuality has been,
and what it could be. That means we're also looking at the development of a
vision for a future sexuality, and the question particularly related to this,
namely : What is sexual submissiveness [ – sexual dependency ?] How can
we come up with a new view of sexuality which resolves this problem,
without losing what we genuinely love and desire in sex ?
I'll begin with a few quotations from "Stern" [a glossy German magazine],
which recently ran a series of articles on the theme of sexual
submissiveness. Let me give you an example : "The passion of the young
secretary for the middle-aged author was so boundless, and her desire to
submit to him so great, that she tolerated even his violent outbursts, his
obscene letters and his perversions." That's simply a quote, a slice of reality.
"For him there were only two kinds of women – goddesses and doormats."
I chose this quotation because it's a classical statement, which describes
precisely what has formed our history up to now. The male human being
worships the holy and the unreachable. Doormats are all those who, from his
point of view, are available for the taking because they need it. Doormats :
those are women who show their sexual desires, and follow them. The man
has contempt for them because he's unable to integrate his adoration of
woman with his views of sexuality.
Professor William Schmidt-Bode says this on the theme of submissiveness :
"Submissiveness has the characteristics of an addiction. In the end,
satisfaction is unobtainable. On the contrary, the desire of getting the
partner completely is never achieved; it merely leads to a repetition of the
behaviour and to an increase in the dosage."
Stern magazine deals with the whole issue as a type of sickness.
Submissiveness is a type of sexual disease which is contrasted with so-called
"normality". Most people today probably agree with this view. However, I
suggest that at this time particularly we women, although this is actually the
case for men as well, need to consider carefully what this "submission" really
is, and whether it isn't perhaps an unresolved life-issue that affects all of us.
I'm not now looking at submissiveness as an illness, but rather from a very

she has always thought : if I do this.special point of view. the madness starts which will not allow her to let him go because she believes that she's now given herself away and will no longer be respected by any other man. too. with the woman desiring to be taken totally by him as well. The results of that can then be read about in the papers : "The woman wanted him all to herself. her rage begins. up to now. In the sexual world there is this archetypal image of man wanting to take woman completely. It is a fantasy-image of sex." At the point where she has actually opened herself completely on the sexual level. The fact that woman's self consciousness has until now been so deeply conditioned by shame is one of the causes of what we now term "submissiveness". It may well be here that we find the deepest level of woman's "shame". at that moment her fear sets in that he'll now turn around and leave her. then she actually thinks of nothing else except this one thing. I am here speaking very specifically from the woman's point of view. and the fear that if she gives in to this desire the man will no longer find her attractive and she'll be branded as a fool. for once. And that's exactly the point at which her shame sets in. that is to say possessed by the man. and also of extreme jealousy. that at the point of our greatest joy we become crippled. but it is a very powerful central aspect of sexual longing. since the question whether we'll manage to create a more attractive future depends on our willingness to communicate openly about all this. She bashed him to death with a hammer. An archetypal image. the thing that she wants infinitely more than anything else. her feeling of being sinful and her feelings of desire. we have had this shame and this fear historically embedded into the very . regardless whether that person is a woman or a man. As women. There is a moment in sex when the woman's desire is : take me totally. The image of sexual submission : There is a sexual reality in which the woman loves to be conquered. then he and all others will think that I'm not worth anything anymore. And this is an essential and decisive moment in her sexual opening. And it is also an essential and decisive moment in her sexual shame. That's undoubtedly not the only image in sex. insofar as it concerns everyone who has at one time or another been involved with the issue of sexuality. since I want to let the men know some essential facts about women. The curse of being seen as a whore has dug itself so deeply into our feminine memory and our feminine being. and here. then the man will despise me. This is the point where. Once a woman moves into the realm of sexuality with an inner opening to satisfy this longing. I also want to encourage the women here to think and speak about their desires in the sexual area.

The theme of sexual violation has a place in women's souls as well. In it. she wants to belong to him completely. there exists also this desire for a total surrender. Neither vociferous demands for male castration. It is written in the Old Testament : "In pain shall you bear children. for an animal-like mating. in the future. After that. Will it remain tied up with fear. in the book "Rettet den Sex" [Save Sex] authored by several of us women. because you have followed your lust. is naturally also loved and desired by other women ? You cannot divide up sexuality like a piece of cake. She thinks that once she has given herself completely to him. It is a fact. and on our spiritual clarity.cellular structure of our bodies. It no longer makes any sense to react to these things emotionally with disdain or hate. whether or not we choose to change this reality in a positive direction. and it depends solely on our will regarding sexual matters. because she enjoys being attractive to others as well ? Will she be able to understand that other women have the same desires that she does. Right up to current times. Sexuality is a power and a quantity that is limitless. are of any use here. hate. and Adam's sin was that he followed that lust. whom she loves and wants. and remain with their seductive "No". The sexual attraction between man and woman in fact exists. especially not in those fantasies in which the woman is the "victim" and the man is the "perpetrator". The only question that remains is what we decide to do with this existential fact. a fundamental fact of our civilization and our history. unclarity and lies ? Will it continue to lead to sexual subservience and jealousy ? Or will we succeed in integrating it into new forms of living together ? Will we succeed in creating a new form of sexual understanding which is no longer tied up with the old barriers of possessiveness and rage ? Will the woman of the future participate with sexual desire and interest when her lover is attracted by other women. Sexual reality does not ask permission whether it may or may not be what it is. I have attempted to shed a bit more light on the connections involved here. That is the reason why both were thrown out of paradise. nor offers of therapeutic intervention to secure compliance. he now has her and no longer needs to be further concerned for her. as they have been fashioned up to now. rather. but you also cannot promise it to one single person. she retains her sexual power over men. for conquest. it . We need to understand what's going on. and that her male partner. women still cannot combine their actual sexual fantasies and desires with their joy and personal sovereignty. That's the reason why women prefer to entice men with their seductive wiles. It is a fact that one can never be totally satiated with sex. She stays beyond reach until a man comes along that conquers her." The sexual temptation was Eve's evil deed. As long as a woman stays with that.

Or when someone totally loses it and the sexuality which has been dammed up for so long in that person explodes like dynamite. every day. raped. Because these fantasies show a reality of desire. and which could therefore themselves be means of bringing them together – and by so doing make genuine. and often several. So what is actually true ? It no longer makes sense merely to say that fantasies just aren't reality. The witch burnings in the Middle Ages is one example of . sensually and sexually exciting contact with one another ? In full sexual contact between man and woman. our world will remain split between the world of fantasy and the world of the much more boring daily reality. want to support and bring into being with the power available to us through our conscious awareness. today. beyond legal prohibitions and the continuation of traditional morals. What women experience with fear and dread in their waking state. And as long as this reality of sexual desires is not seen. because the human male evidently has similar fantasies. Then.awakens in us a hunger and a joy that looks forward to a satisfaction of the senses through human contacts which we. suppressed and unintegrated sexuality has always led to cruelty and destruction. somewhere in the world. and which includes such fantasies without any suppression or cruelty. That last sentence seems to me so important for the construction of a humane society. And as long as this split remains. the dissatisfactions and tendencies to violence in human society are dammed up. In their fantasies. not positively integrated into the actual sensual contacts of men and women. one after another. wherever the dams of morality break. They point to sexual desires whose reality has never officially become part of the ethical. appears lustful and desirable in their fantasies. which is consciously experienced and affirmed. A lot of women dream and fantasize about being violently taken. in a way that no longer produces pain ? Is there a way in which a man and a woman can share specific fantasies with each other – fantasies which essentially have much in common. the men involved are often strangers. when they wake up. and when societies creates opportunities for that to happen. People are tortured. and crippled. These sexual fantasies of women have exact parallels in the sexual fantasies of men. The papers are full of such reports. not accepted. that it ought to be repeated three times over. a reality of sexual longing. as for instance in wars. And thus what happens is that these fantasies are acted out. no society has shown serious interest in finding humane ways of dealing with this issue. they are shocked by the agitation and the sexual desire which they have felt. lies a central "transformation-point" of violence generally. Can we find ways to have that which we desire. social and political questions anywhere. in the most brutal and destructive ways. Up to now. Up to now.

and all the erotic bits and pieces that go on between man and woman. there's a lot of enjoyment in this seductive game. The fact itself of woman breaking free from her shame. consciously and joyfully. sexuality than from automobile accidents. doesn't work any more either. The woman conscious of her sexual power suddenly appears to him as something like a goddess. can be taken up again. murder and torture – every day. However she stops mothering him and treating him like a little child. After that. is then no longer the expulsion from paradise but rather the entrance and the way in. The old way of seeing man as the conqueror. which in old Hebrew is the same word as knowledge. to whom woman is counterposed as a member of the "weaker sex". the mythology of the Old Testament can be altered. I experienced that over and over again myself in my visits at the harbours of Marseilles and Nizza [in France]. If we do not include that fact in our considerations and in our readiness for a thorough change in our sexual behaviour. And she just as simply lets him know what she doesn't like. but that's the way it is. This is the point at which the genuine emancipation of woman begins. of course. Sexuality. he no longer needs to be so concerned to play the big conqueror. When it breaks through its barriers at one time or another without ever having come into consciousness and integrated into the life of the person. she can face man in her full sexual power. since that's part of sexual communication as well. Woman now lets the man know very simply how she wants to be taken. But now erotic play is no longer subject to this unbending rule which makes everything depend on that first yes or no. Once woman has overcome her old shame in a positive and genuine way. That's simply part of the process of transformation. the point where. women take on and shape their own role as sexual beings. since the man needs to detach himself from his own ideas as well. Because it is now played consciously and freely on both . that is to say unintegrated. for instance from his notion that he first of all needs to break a woman's actual resistance before he can have her. More people die as a result of unlived. is sufficient to make it impossible for her to be despised by any man. That sounds paradoxical. the various games of conquering and being conquered. the force of repressed sexuality leads to rape. After all. When woman does that. it will remain an empty appeal. "You may !" So the man needs to change his thinking in these respects. On hearing a clear "Yes" from a woman.that. But this goddess is one who suddenly says. it may well be that the man at first just can't get it up. That is their essential contribution to a new form of humanity. just like the woman. freedom from violence will never be possible. as a result of understanding the connections between these facts.

There comes a moment in the relationship between the genders when the decision is made whether there will be war or peace on earth. Here. quite the opposite. Solidarity and partnership between a man and a woman can only last and retain its sexual fire when both follow sexual reality. such as her saviour. We clearly pointed to such new social structures in our book "Rettet den Sex" [Save Sex – not available in English translation]. or some other comical figure. we first of all need to construct the spiritual field for this project. specifically in the areas of love and sex. Then they know that they love the same things in men.P. To whatever extent we become consciously aware beings. We are founding the Erotic Academy for the purpose of creating a larger space for sexual experiences and sexual understanding. while the man becomes the perpetrator. A field in which it will be possible to begin changing the course of human life.parts. Verlag Meiga. And then they realize that they cannot lose a man because of his involvement with another woman. 1989. and a corresponding sexual and humane understanding. instead of allowing ourselves to remain defenceless objects of the so-called "laws" of nature. It involves a fully lived and integrated sexuality. it no longer leads to violence and brutality and to a situation where the woman continually seeks the role of victim. The old views of what constitutes "faithfulness" and a "couple relationship" will of course need to be replaced by new ones. I thank you for your attention. there is the possibility for a genuine friendship among women. in which the linkages involved become more transparent. at the first gathering of the Erotic Academy. by F. Ayran v. instead of competition and struggle. in which the power of sexuality no longer needs to be squeezed into "marriage" or "couple relationship" forms – cages which are far too small for it – in those structures sexual abuse and sexual submissiveness would no longer exist. Dreger ) . Once women reach a consensus on this point. In such new social structures. to that extent we have the possibility of taking action to effect change. I've tried to describe that moment. ( translated from the German text in “Die Heilige und Die Hure”. The redemption of sexuality requires altogether new social forms for human beings living together. and that tells us clearly that we desire others as well.