For the last few years, as Pluto has been crossing over my Midheaven, local and natal, I have been pulling all kinds of stuff out of my memory about my childhood, sorting things out and figuring out the chronology. I had not thought about my childhood much for many years. I hesitate to write this blog entry because of the power of what I call the fervid public (for some, religious) imagination. However, I have had clues these last few years that people have been going back and trying to find out everything they can about my relationships and sex life. With Pluto on the Midheaven, I am finally dealing with my public reputation. So, I will write a little about my attitude toward sex and how my attitude developed. This is not an apology or an explanation. This is a fury.
I have two older brothers, one seven and one half years older and the other four years older, no sisters.
I have a memory, I do not know how old I was, but have of a sense of being about six years old – I was probably older, of a friend of my older brother trying to get me to have sex with him. Later, I think I was ten or eleven, the friend of my brother’s did molest me, getting me to go with him and let him do what he did by piquing my curiosity. The friend of my brother told me he would make a woman out of me. When he was done and quickly going away, I remember yelling at him, “You did not make a woman out of me.” I do not remember his molesting me again. That molestation could be why I have never wanted to be womanly.
I had some neighborhood friends. I talked to my friends about what happened, but not my parents. What I remember is that I had promised the molester that I would not tell my parents and I would not break my word. I have a vague memory of being examined by our family doctor.
I think, as a result of the sexual interest from my older brother’s friend, I began acting and talking out sexual things with my friends. I do not remember the acting out involving any kind of touching. One of my neighborhood friends was two years younger than me. I was not sexually interested in the friend, but I do remember talking about boys’ “things” and, one time, being extremely aroused when she slept over. She would have been too young to be dealing with the sexual stuff, so my talking about and interest in sex would have been inappropriate, but I had no idea what was going on with my body. I have a memory that, when I would have been twelve and she ten, I put her in a position where the friend of my brother’s may have molested or attempted to molest her.
The summer before my thirteenth birthday, I hung around with the above friend’s brother, who was a year older than me. By the end of the summer, he did something that dishonored me. He was gone for a year, and when he got back the next summer, he got involved with another neighbor, a year younger than me. It was a heartbreak for me.
When I was fourteen, I was gone for a year from where I grew up. During that year, I went on one, very nice, date with a guy – to see Topkari – shortly before school was over. I don’t think we even held hands. We walked to the movie theater.
Mostly, when I came back from the year away, my old friends wouldn’t have much to do with me. I had no idea why and did not ask, except to tell myself they were busy working.
When I returned home and continued on in high school, boys were not interested in me. A friend of the family’s attempted to dishonor me at one point, I think when I was fifteen. I went on one blind date, set up by some neighbors, barely said a word all evening and had a miserable time. Other than the blind date and the movie date, I did not go out with anyone in high school. Another female friend of mine, who was my age and religion, and I did do some stuff with MYF. I recently had an epiphany that the older sister of the neighbor girl and boy was probably spreading rumors about me, and maybe still is.
After I finished high school, my brother and I and a visitor went to the local ballroom and I slow danced with someone.
So, by the time I finished high school, my experience with boys was pretty much that they were not interested in me except for sex. All in all, my years in high school left me with a deep sense of being different and extremely lonely. Probably, my inability to deal socially with what was happening was an early symptom of my developing schizo-affective disorder.
In my family, I had a good relationship with my older brother, but he left home when I was ten years old. My other brother, I idealized, but he was abusive to me. He left home when I was fourteen, but was home in the summers. My father was supportive and my mother critical during my high school years.
Shortly after I arrived at college, I went for a walk with another freshman. We made out, then I never talked to him again. I got involved with a different student who was involved with and in love with a girl back home and only wanted a relationship with me for sex. I do not remember how we got together. I did not like him much. Perhaps he pursued me. Perhaps I was too nice or needy to reject him. We were together for about two years. The second year we were officially not together but we spent quite a bit of sexless time together. He left to go to another school in his junior year.
At this point, at age 20, I decided to pursue sex for the sake of sex. I have never seen a reason why I should control my desires if a male is not controlling his. I am too honest and have too deep a sense of my rights as an equal. The double standard has always made me angry and one of the reasons I set myself on this path was to try to tear down the double standard with the force of my personality. I have not been particularly successful.
I set myself some rules. First, money was not to be related to sex in any way. Second, sex would not be with anyone in a position to advance me school or job wise. Third, sex would not be with anyone who was married or in a relationship. I relaxed the third rule for those married men whose wives had left them after a married woman broke up my relationship of two years to the man I was involved with for the last two years I was in college. (Her husband later seduced me, and, interestingly enough, is the only person I am still in touch with from those times.) Fourth, when in a committed relationship I would be faithful. I have followed these rules, to the best of my knowledge, over these last forty years. I have been in a relationship with my husband for the last twenty-eight.
In Sex in America: A Definitive Study, Michael, Gagnon, Laumann, and Kolata, 1994, Warner Books, Chapter 12 is on forced sex. On page 226, Table 17, is a list of frequencies of behaviors for women who have been forced into sex at some time in their lives and for those who have not. From the list, I think my experience with sex is average for those forced into sex. We learn in Recovery (at Recovery International meetings) to judge our behavior based on what is average. We learn not to go to extremes of blame or to strive to be exceptional.
I was lucky enough to go to a college where sex was accepted, both for men and for women. Since getting out of college, I have not been very successful in my search for sex for the sake of sex. At times, it has been years between sex. Out in the more average world, I have found myself ground some for my behavior.
I have had the feeling, for example – from the former assistant leader of our Recovery group, that there are those who think I developed my illness (the schizo-affective disorder) because of my sexual behavior. While I was ill last year, one of the thoughts that I had, in reply to my thought that my illness was what we call in Recovery “fate appointed” and not something to blame myself for, was “We do this to people all the time.” Certainly, when I developed psychosis in 1977, I felt like I was being psychically attacked. So, to try to sort this out, I will list indicators of schizophrenia from the book Healing Schizophrenia: Complementary Vitamin & Drug Treatments, by Dr. Abram Hoffer, MD, FRCP(C), CCNM Press, 2004, and indicate which one’s I have had. From Dr. Hoffer’s book, Chapter 2, some of the indicators of schizophrenia are as follows. (I have indicated whether I feel the indicator applies to me. The question marks indicate that I do not know if the indicator applies.)
- smaller in stature: ?
- narrow in chest from front to back: ?
- left and right sides not the same – disfigured: ?
- more likely to get tuberculosis: no tuberculosis
- pronounced fatigue and listlessness: yes
- decrease in sex drive: yes
- changes in menstrual cycle: never could keep track of
- very attractive physically: ?
- age more slowly – appears younger than is: yes
- lose hair color more slowly: yes
- allergies rare: except for two antibiotics, yes
- rheumatoid arthritis rare: I do not have RA.
- diabetes mellitus rare: I do not have either type of diabetes.
- suffer violent physical shocks without going into shock: yes
- shock serves to reduce symptoms: yes
- resistant to pain: ?
- decreased fertility: yes
- tend not to get cancer: no cancer yet
- withdrawal and shyness starting years before the full disease: yes
- educational problems: in college – not before
- colors very brilliant or flat: no
- lines and forms distort and change: once
- lose ability to distinguish faces: no
- notice changes in my face when I look in the mirror: yes
- cannot tell when people are looking at them – think people stare: no
- hallucinations: mostly no
- sounds are louder or too soft: yes
- become aware of own thoughts: yes
- hear thoughts in my head: yes
- hear thoughts as if outside head: yes
- hear voices: no
- thoughts are about sex or religion: yes
- more or less sensitive to smells: yes
- over aware of body odor: no
- aware of odors not present: yes
- excessive cleaning due to odors: no
- invades other’s personal space: ?
- distortion of perceived body: yes
- changes in taste – think being poisoned: no
- sense of the passing of time distorted: yes
- synesthesia: no
- think I am controlled by magic or the influence of others: yes
- feeling of omnipotence and power: yes
- mind blank: yes
- thinking slowed: yes
- thoughts jump around: yes
- memory and recall so disturbed clear thinking impossible: yes
- wrong ideas (paranoia): yes
- depression: yes
- mood swings: ?
- flat affect: yes
- difficulty with more than one conversation at one time: yes
- attention decreases during the day:?
- distortion of sizes of people approaching: no
- loss of cohesion of senses while driving: a little
- fail to recognize friends: no
- mistake strangers for friends: no
- being put off by perceived rejection: yes
- standing too close to or to far from others in social situations: yes
- speak too fast or too slow: ?
- make mistakes in social aspect of status of others: yes
- talk too soft or too loud: yes
So, out of 59 adult indicators, I definitely recognize myself as having 38, while 12 of the indicators are a definite no. For the rest, I am not sure if the indicators apply. Not only do I have a majority of the symptoms of schizophrenia, my life has followed the progress that Dr. Hoffer describes for the disease. While anti-psychotics controlled my psychosis originally (while shutting down my mind), I eventually ended up psychotic most of the time, while still on an anti-psychotic. My adjustment to society has slowly fallen apart over my life. My parents were both professionals, but I find myself sidelined in life, with no status even though I managed to get through a graduate program and received my PhD.
Dr. Hoffer considers the syndrome of schizophrenia to be of physical root and has cured many patients using his knowledge of physical processes in the body. I have been responding well to treatment based, in part, on Dr. Hoffer’s research. I think the evidence is that I have a physical disorder.
That said, I have had some external evidence that things going on in my mind affect other – some important – people. Starting in 2009 and on into 2010, I progressed into a mentally wild psychosis. I had been slowly going off of the anti-psychotic I am on, trying to manage my illness with a nutritional supplement. In the March of 2010, I started trying to strictly depend on a nutritional supplement. I had begun taking the supplement in May of 2007, and had been feeling quite a bit better. My doctor got me back on a low dose of the anti-psychotic in May of 2010.
I have had the thought that my illness, and the distortion to my consciousness that the illness produces, have been exploited for profit for many years, now. A few years ago as I have started to recover from my illness using the nutritional supplement, people started showing up in my life, I believe, to attack me. These last few years, particularly in 2010, I feel like I have been attacked on the psychic and social level by some persons who, I feel, thought they were doing an act in support of religion by attacking me. Also, I have felt like the some of the attacks were politically motivated.
I suspect that I was an easy target, due to my illness, but I think that psychic attacks have been aimed at many successful, liberal women, and some others, these last few years. I think that, for some of the attackers, I have been attacked because I stood up for feminism when feminism was becoming unpopular. I sometimes suspect the attacks are by some religious crazies who have learned an ugly way to manipulate human consciousness and are applying the techniques with some idea that the techniques are god given. At other times, I feel like the attacks are motivated by an attempt to control politics or sporting games, and that money and power are involved.
Since September of 2010, I have been working with a medical clinic, rather than on my own, to try to recover from my illness using diet and dietary supplements. I have had quite a bit of success so far. Changing my diet made a huge difference. But, I have had the internal experience that, as I have gotten better with diet and supplements, some of those persons who have been attacking me have been manipulating my consciousness to bring me back into a psychotic state. Dr. Hoffer, in Healing Schizophrenia, writes that he was only able to cure about 50% of chronically ill schizophrenics and that the cure can take a long time. I do feel like I am slowly getting better.
To get back to sex and me, I am angry because I think people are still making an issue out of my pre-my-husband behavior – almost thirty years ago and back. I think the ethos around women and sex is phenomenally strong – women who are “loose” have sex for gain or to manipulate – women who are “loose” are out to get your husband / boyfriend – women who are “loose” use sex for advantage – women who are “loose” are not to be accepted into decent society – once “loose”, always “loose” – women who are “loose” should be available to any male that wants them – women who are “loose” are “trash” – women who are “loose” have no morals. These stereotypes are far more deeply ingrained than many people realize. I should not still be dealing with sexual bigotry 26 years into a faithful marriage and no evidence to the contrary, particularly being the good and decent person I am, who treats people with human dignity.
I read a letter in Dear Abby or Ann Landers many years ago from a woman who was harmed by the jealousy of the wives of some of the men she worked with. She wrote that she was not interested in getting involved with their husbands, for the wives to lay off. I feel like I have been in the same situation as the woman a number of times. The phenomena is common enough to show up in the advice columns.
Many years ago, a man I was involved with told me about a rumor that was circulating about me. The rumor was based on something I had written and shown to another man I was involved with. There was no truth to the rumor but the rumor spread wildly. I would never have know about the rumor except that the man was a good enough friend to tell me about the rumor. I think that – astrologically I am in this life to realize the harm of rumors – and – that rumors are countered by friends and since, I have been so isolated socially, the rumor mill about me has been able to run willy-nilly for most of my life. That rumor is the one rumor that I have been told about. I suspect there have been many more and that the rumors have just been getting bigger and bigger.
The nature of the imagination is probably to blame. Most people do not have a lot if sexual experience. According to Sex in America: A Definitive Survey, Table 6, in 1992, 59 percent of those surveyed had had 4 or less sexual partners since age 18, 81% 10 or less. From my experience, there is a great deal of difference between sex in fantasy and sex in reality. The more restricted sex is in reality, the more sex as fantasy becomes the reality of those having sex. “Loose” women tend to end up in the fantasy space. The imagination is possibly a result of our big religions and the way the religions manage the mind. I think that the fervid side of the imagination is the soft underbelly of religious belief.
There are some rumors that I think are going around that I would like to comment on.
I have had the impression these last few years that someone has really pushed the rumor here in this town where we live that I was a prostitute. Obviously, I was not.
I think that there is a rumor that I steal children’s souls and possibly there is a rumor that I molest children. These rumors need a little more explanation. I have no children of my own. I do not like babysitting children, but I do like playing with children – for many years, much more than I liked interacting with adults. In public, children seem to notice me. I often smile at children to try to get a response from the child, often ignoring the adult with the child.
If I see a child who is suffering, I try to get the child to feel better. Part of how I do this is by projecting out emotionally with a will behind the emotion. Part is just playing to get the child’s interest. I am not sure why I do this, except that the ruler of my ascendant is in the house and sign of children, both of which are ruled by my heart’s energy, which is in the house and sign of healing along with most of the rest of my personal energy. (Also there in the house and sign of healing, with most of my personal planets, is a point of problems from gossip.)
I have had the idea that, in simpler cultures, those of us with the type of illness that I have heal through interacting with children. The idea comes from reading the book The River, by Rumer Godden. So maybe I have just been trying to heal myself.
I think that parents are frightened by my interaction with the parents’ children because I have a tendency not to include the parents in the interaction and my interest is usually strong. It probably seems strange that I am more interested in the children than the adults. I will say here that my interest is innocent. I just enjoy playing with kids.
I think that a rumor has been started that I am a witch and that I interact with people to steal personal energy. I take astrology seriously, I have played around with fortune telling, but I do not practice witchcraft or any other type of spiritual/mental discipline, other than practicing Recovery – which is cognitive behavioral therapy and based on medical science. I have found that the exchange of personal energy is basic to any human interaction. For those of us with mental/emotional illnesses, our personal energy can be quite distorted, but the way to get back to “normal” energy is through interaction – such as at Recovery meetings or in one’s daily life. Saying that people, particularly women, who have illnesses in the schizophrenic spectrum are witches has been happening for centuries, if not millennia.
Some things that go around are not rumors but interpretations. I think that there are people who have spread the idea that I am seductive in the way I talk to males. I was nonplussed when I was first made aware of the interpretation. I am not seductive by any intension on my part. I am just warm and interested, that is all. But awareness of the interpretation really messed up the way I interacted with males for quite a while.
So my fury – that social and psychic violence has been done to me to remove me from myself – that society would distort who I am as a person to try to fit me into the mold of a stereotype – that society would deny me my right to exist. I am not alone in this.
According to Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses, the archetype of the virgin has been distorted over time. According to George, at the height of Greek culture, virgins were single women who had sex for religious purposes and whose children were called the sons of god. By the height of Roman culture, virgins were chaste, though the virgins still served a religion.
When it comes to sex and the craziness of some religions, according to Judy Chicago in her book, The Dinner Party, Catholic monks destroyed the work of Sappho because they found the work pornographic. Just fragments of Sappho’s work remain. The monks’ perceptions, modulated through the beliefs of their church about sex, and the monks’ fervid imaginations lead to the destruction of what is reputed to have been of great, great beauty.
I was born under the sign of the virgin. I think my life is about reclaiming the archetype of the virgin – the archetype of the single woman who is free to have sex – for women.
(I have noted over the last few years of the world trying to force women back into the old molds that men are loth to give up the sexual exploitation of women – for example, the pushing of swim suit issues of a major men’s magazine – seems minor, but it isn’t.)