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New Thinking on The Sensual, Sexual and Reproductive Stages of a Woman's Life- From Birth to 100

New Thinking on The Sensual, Sexual and Reproductive Stages of a Woman's Life- From Birth to 100

This article is from a serialized version of our new book, The 9 Lives of Women, by our founder, Christine Marie Mason. Follow these articles weekly. This is post number one in the series.

A Vision: In the future, all stages of a woman's life will be celebrated and understood. Women and girls will know their worthiness and their capacity. We will revel in the wonder of our bodies, and enjoy bearing and raising children in choice. These choices will be respected by the organizations we run, and those in which we work. We will play sensually and sexually in deeply satisfying ways until the desire to do so departs (very late in our lives, ideally). We will be embodied, happy, and sovereign.  We will connect with men - and/or other women - who are embodied, happy, and sovereign. We will be free of shame, and positively connected into our desires. We will have mass acceptance of sexual identity and sexual preference. Everyone will express her or his individual gifts in an environment where all people get to be strong and self-possessed, and all people get to be receptive—regardless of their gender. Each person will recognize the other as a spark of their consciousness, regardless of how they express their feelings and ideas.

There is a new awareness we need to develop, and inventive steps we need to take, to get to this future I envision, but we have also come very far. When I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s, the women’s movement had ignited around me, but it had yet to touch life in my small Midwestern suburb. My mother tragically died when I was eleven, and my father and both sets of my grandmothers raised me. They were very Catholic and sexually repressed. When I got my period, my grandmother said nothing and just handed me a welcome kit from Kotex. My father took me shopping for my first training bra, dropped me off in the department store and waited for me outside. Sex education in my school was only about basic biological information. We learned about our period, breast development, armpit hair, and later in high school, we were taught about contraception. They split the boys and girls into two separate groups. They didn’t teach about relationships, or offer any cultural context. There was no conversation around what to do with the energy and the power of sexuality coming from your body as a young girl.  The only message nested in this Midwestern mindset was “Look really beautiful. Look really cute and sexy, but don't act on it.”

When my father remarried,  my stepmother would repeatedly call me a slut if I stayed out past nine o-clock.  I felt confused by these messages, and the right way to be. I wanted to better understand the boundary between being attractive and being a “slut.” When I fell in love at 16, I was a freshman in college. I got pregnant because it felt natural,  and I decided to keep the baby. Before we knew it, I had three children and a degree from Northwestern University. But I lacked a certain consciousness around my choices. As I moved into the work world, mostly in the field of technology, and for corporations that were run by men,  I saw how hard it was to have children and be the most efficient worker I could be in their eyes.

Because of this struggle,  in my late 30s, I started to reclaim a feminine aspect of myself. I started my own company, so I could own my time and craft a culture that worked for my life as a mother who wanted to work on her own terms. Around the same time, I also started to come to terms with my experiences with body shame and sexual shame. I began to intellectually dive into  thinking around sexuality, liberation theology and consciousness, because I wanted to be free of shame. I felt like culture was not giving enough attention to women’s psychobiology and psycho-emotional lives, and we were reinforcing many of the paradigms that came from the era in which I grew up.

Now my focus has shifted from technological futurism to qualitative futurism, and ideas around how we can shift the messages that we send to the world, particularly to create a future that better works for women.  I want to expose the blind spots, the places where there are secrecy, and the cultural biases that we don't even see. You can’t have secrecy and liberation. My current company, Rosebud Woman, makes and sells products to support women’s sexual health and promote full self-love at every stage of a woman’s life from girlhood through menopause and into elderhood.  I believe that if you heal and balance women, it will also heal and balance men. 

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For more inspiration on life rituals, and reverence, explore our books:

Reverence: Creating Ritual for Modern Life

The Nine Gifts: First Aid for Mind, Body and Spirit