In the church I grew up in, dance was frowned upon. It was seen as seduction and a gateway to premarital sex.
When the Christian rock movement made it to our church, I recall being encouraged by youth group leaders to make sure my hips didn’t sway too much to the music. That while there was a beat, I should be careful to monitor my movements for the men’s sake in the room.
They said the movements of my body were distracting, whether I wanted them to be or not.
No matter if my dancing is in response to worshiping God, if a man saw a woman worshiping fully, full of passion, exuding eros, it was only natural; he would think inappropriate thoughts. (I wrote about the problems with this thinking here)
The only solution was for me to temper my passion.
Feminine eroticism has been regulated to the bedroom, in the service of masculine desire when feminine passion shift toward something outside of these confines; she is labeled a temptress.
We see it in the way religious organizations tell young girls, well before they have fully formed sexually, that their body is tempting to the men around them. They cannot wear what lights them up, dance with full joy, or live with the full enthusiasm of their soul because it tempts men.
These girls are not aiming to seduce anyone. However, their passions and joy divinely gifted terrify the masculine. So we regulate it.
We tell our daughters not to dance. Don’t dance when Spirit moves you. Don’t dance when the song playing gives you joy. Keep your passion, tempered.
A meme that fluttered around Christian feminist social media recently asked women to comment, “when was the first time you remember your body being sexualized.”
While the stories ranged into the horrific, the most telling stories for me were the ones that showed parents fearing their daughter’s femininity.
Five-year-old girls playing in the back yard sprinkler being told not to dance to Spice Girls while their uncle was visiting.
A six-year-old’s mother said she couldn’t try on her mother’s heels because it will make men think things.
And just as painful, a boy’s parents said he is disgusting because he was wearing his sister’s clip-on earrings. Because if femininity is a means to demean our daughters, then it terrible for our sons to respect, admire, or want to participate in it.
The erotic is a source within all of us that connects us to our soul. When we connect fully to this divine self, we no longer need institutional rules or systems telling us the “right” way to think.
The erotic tunes us into the divine, turns up our intuition, and expands our understanding of God.
When we are told not to dance, not to dress in ways that light us up, and to control our passion, they are telling us to disconnect from God. The God in us and around us.
Please, dear, sister! Do not shut down your erotic self.
Do you want to know more about erotic spirituality? The Erotic Convent is launching soon! Click here for the info!