It would be my contention that if we are ever going to really tackle patriarchy as expressed in the desire to control things like women's sexuality, we're going to have to understand the roots of where the desire to do so comes from - as well as the deep affects it has on us all.
Sometimes when we need to tackle big questions like that, the best place to start is with our own personal stories. They might not take us directly to all the answers, but they can help us at least begin the journey. It is in that spirit that I offer mine.
As I've said many times, I was raised in a right-wing fundamentalist christian family, church and community. As such, I got through most of adolescence by buying all I was taught and doing everything in my power to be a "good girl."
After finishing college at a private fundamentalist christian college and getting a master's degree from an evangelical seminary, I started to question my faith. I began to read books about women's spirituality. The three that had the most impact on me were The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler, The Great Cosmic Mother by Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor and When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone.
It was as I was finishing that last one that an awareness hit me: I could shed the burden of always being a "good girl" and that meant that I had the freedom to chose when I wanted to have sex and with whom. I can't explain the profound sense of freedom I felt at that moment...it is beyond description.
I'm not one that typically has visions, but that night I had perhaps the most powerful dream of my life. I saw myself as a skyscraper under construction with the metal beams still exposed. In the dream, the shape of the building was shifting and molding itself into an entirely new pattern.
When I woke up and remembered the dream, I knew - deep within myself - that I was becoming a new person...one of my own choosing rather than someone else's mold.
THAT is what sexual freedom means and why it is so threatening to those would would try to control us.