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Sexual Freedom

by Dawn Cartwright

Our spring issue is out now. Regular contributor and Neo-Tantra visionary Dawn Cartwright reflects on the evolving meaning of sexual freedom and how we can access it today. Dive on in to learn more…

Sexual Freedom

Awakening All Of Who We Are

by Dawn Cartwright

Very first thing: Tremendous gratitude to those who gave so much of themselves (there are many who gave everything) to bring about the First Sexual Revolution in the early 1900s and the Second Sexual Revolution in the 1960s. Immense gratitude to those today who still hold strong on sexual freedom and work diligently to raise awareness and protect the sexual rights of all human beings. Thank you to each and every revolutionary who has cleared, and is clearing, the way. Sex is the core of our aliveness, it is the wellspring of our sovereign sense of self.

The Third Revolution

Historian Kevin White used the phrase “first sexual revolution” to refer to the Roaring Twenties, the era of the flapper, premarital sex and “petting parties.” Industrialisation meant people moved to the cities in great numbers, leaving small towns where Victorian attitudes were still in place, and scrutiny was prevalent. The first sexual revolution gave men and women the opportunity to be themselves without fear of banishment, one of many first steps toward sexual freedom.

The second sexual revolution that arose in the 1960s and 1970s was a social movement that dramatically changed traditional codes of behaviour around sexuality and intimate relationships. “Free Love” meant increased acceptance of sex outside of traditional heterosexual, monogamous marriage. Public nudity, pornography, premarital sex, homosexuality, masturbation and alternative forms of sexuality became normalised. Movies have been made, and songs written about the second sexual revolution, which was intricately linked to personal freedom and autonomy on a global scale.

The new revolution is less about the social implications of sexual freedom and more about redefining sex itself. The focus has shifted from social rebellion to self-awareness. Not only are we having more sex now that sex is more accepted, we are bringing more of ourselves to the sex we are having. We are discovering that sex is closer than we’ve ever imagined, intimately connected to who we are. Sex is being redefined as something that may include, yet spans far beyond intercourse. The third sexual revolution is now underway.

Excitement, Plateau, Orgasm & Resolution

In 1966, at the peak of the second sexual revolution, Masters and Johnson revolutionised the world when they observed 382 women and 312 men engage in a total of 10,000 complete cycles of sexual response. Their studies concluded that when becoming sexually aroused and engaging in sexual activity, the human body experiences four phases; excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution. Their model brilliantly outlined “what” occurs in the human body during sex without describing “how” it happens. And this, my intrepid sexual revolutionaries, launched the new revolution.

The “How”

A contemporary of Masters and Johnson, Alexander Lowen, founder of Bioenergetics, had this to say about sex, “To be alive is to be sexual and to be sexual is to be alive.” Lowen recognised sex as an integral part of being human, an important step toward sexual freedom. His work created a pivotal shift in perspective that revealed “how” arousal appears.

Try this . . .

Notice the aliveness present in your body right now. Softly focus, orient toward the sensations you feel. Move closer and feel more of what is already naturally there.

What do you feel?

This is your arousal.

“How” does it appear? In 1984, Barry Singer, a professor of psychology, created a sexual response model that expanded on earlier models. Singer found that first noticing, then orienting toward, then moving closer to the attractive object, led to an increase in arousal. The stages of sexual arousal, from excitation to plateau to orgasm and resolution, unfold as you notice, orient toward and move closer to the aliveness inside of you.

Sexual arousal is a space you enter, within you. It’s not just one kind of feeling – it’s everything you feel, fully felt.

Sexual Freedom

“In some way one could say sex isn’t something you do, eh? Sex is a place you go. It’s a space you enter inside yourself and with another, or others.”

Esther Perel

The first sexual revolution had to do with the space we inhabit in the community. The second had to do with the space we inhabit in the world. The new sexual revolution is about the space we inhabit in our bodies. It’s a place we go, within. It’s no longer a linear journey through excitement, plateau and orgasm toward resolution. It’s a space we enter that is interwoven with who we are. An experience where every part of us is fully felt.

In response to a survey conducted in 2021, seventy-three per cent of all respondents wish they had more spontaneous sex. When you realise your sexual arousal is intimately connected to what you feel every moment, spontaneous sex is always accessible. Just open to feel what is here. It’s the ultimate sexual freedom.


Dawn Cartwright is a Neo-Tantra visionary, sacred writer, world traveler, and innovator in Self-Actualization Neo-Tantra fusion. dawncartwright.com

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