Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Women's relationship with desire

05 October 2016, 20:34

It is very common for women in our day to be suspicious of desire. Over many centuries, we have become used to being the objects of men’s desires. In our time, the sexual objectification of women has perhaps reached an all-time high. Not only is the image of a women’s body as object of sexual arousal for sale in any medium and form imaginable, many household objects – anything from cars to shampoo to video games – are sold with a women’s body as the focal point.

The effect of this on women is complex. On the one hand, many women are repulsed by this objectification and as a consequence even become estranged from their own erotic impulses. On the other hand, many women also aspire to look like the objects of desire.

In a beautifully crafted book called Open to Desire, Buddhist psychologist Mark Epstein presents the possibility that we as women may engage our desire from a subject rather than an object position. He refers to writings of feminist Jessica Benjamin and reflects on her writing: “Can women be their desire? The challenge for women, she added, is to move from being just an object of desire to becoming a subject: she who desires.”

Epstein describes this relationship to desire – that of being rather than having your desire – as quintessentially feminine.

What if you were to embrace your erotic desire as a space to be in – as a space, with spaciousness, without any demands for completion, achievement or satisfaction? Imagine how much could be revealed and developed in you in such an open space of desire. Can you feel how just being your desire could draw you into a life of simple pure presence?

You could of course continue to do what many women have done: deny and suppress your desire, judge it or pretend that isn’t there. What good will that bring you or the world? Will it make you more alive? Will you feel more authentic? Will it really make you more pure, more spiritual, if you suppress your desire? Or will it add just one more layer of veneer to cover the truth of who you really are?

It is interesting, but not surprising, to me that women are more inclined to suppress their eroticism than men. I would ascribe this to the following:

  • We live in a world where women’s sexuality has been demonized. You are either a virgin or a whore. You are either a submissive, obliging Eve, or a child-eating Lilith.
  • Men have had more space and permission to explore sexually. In fact, in some conservative cultures it is almost assumed that men would have extramarital relationships, where as it is expected of women to remain faithful to one partner. In many cultures, it is accepted that men would masturbate and fantasise, but the same activity among women is met with significantly more and foreboding.
  • Women have been sexually objectified and the features of female sexual icons created by the media are unattainable for most women – this has left many women feeling distinctly unsexy.
  • Many women tell me that they have simply been too busy with child-rearing to consider things sexual.
  • A high percentage of women have had sexual experiences that have been markedly unpleasant, if not directly abusive.

These are some of the reasons why women suppress their eroticism. You may have others. The point is: we can stick to our reasons, or we can start to own - to be - our eroticism, reclaim our lifeforce, inter grate what is in the unconscious. If we say “yes” to this journey, we’ll sooner or later find ourselves ready to enter the inner temple – to meet the meditation of the real.

This is an extract from Sexual Awakening for Women by Dr Shakti Mari Malan. Visit her website: Shakti.co.za  to buy the book. 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
What do men mean when they say th...

As much as men think they are the ones confused by relationships, they have a better idea of it than most women actually do. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
DP Ruto, not Kenneth the main man...

DP William Ruto will be the main man for the Jubilee Party in 2022, Kiraitu Murungi insists. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Jittery times for DP Ruto as Kenn...

Peter Kenneth is a genuine threat to DP William Ruto's 2022 State House bid... and the DP's allies know it. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
I will name those sabotaging DP R...

A Jubilee Party Governor says that he will name and shame those within Jubilee he says are undermining DP William Ruto's 2022 State House plans. Read more...

ODM official acquitted of defilem...

A Nakuru ODM official on Thursday broke into tears after the court acquitted him of defilement charges leveled against him by his 15-year-old cousin. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Man who attacked US Embassy a 24 ...

A man who attacked the US Embassy in Nairobi was a 24 year old from Wajir County. Read more...