The following blog was written by Maddy Lock, Les Ladies Intern.
In this most recent chapter of my life, I have been exploring the power of the erotic. Some of these explorations have come from my own personal exploration, such as reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle, or from participating in the Les Ladies Erotica Extravaganza for my internship, or from reading books about queer eroticism for my Queer Theory & Sexuality Studies class. Whichever way I have stumbled across discussion of the erotic, I have found that even from all these different sources, there is a succinctly common thread pulling all of them together. A few weekends ago, I was an audience member for the Les Ladies/So Many Women...So Little Time Erotica Extravaganza, a welcoming place that was open and vulnerable enough to allow women to share deeper parts of themselves than they usually do. I was lucky enough to witness some really incredible acts of self love and eroticism: many participants recited poems, sang songs, performed dances, and shared their art, followed by the heartfelt moans of appreciation and gratitude that replaced claps. There were women who were wearing leather strapped outfits, lingerie, dominatrix masks, and showing off cleavage, reveling in their divineness. There were women performing The Vagina Monologues, all gathering together to simulate moans and orgasms, as well as women sharing slideshows of naked women and sensual videos of a vulva being painted with dripping wetness. I saw these women tapping into a part of themselves that I am not normally able to see during our Masterclasses or book clubs, a part of them that screamed, I am powerful, I am joyful, I am expressing a deeply rich and expressive part of me that I love dearly! It was an exhilarating experience, one that connected so perfectly with a book I was reading for my Queer Theory class that week. Although we were only instructed to read part of Sister Outsider, I found it so thrilling and meaningful that I tore through more of the book than was taught to us. In Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, I read that, “The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling.” Reading this sentence brought a lump in my throat because it was so evocative of what I feel inside of me that I was struggling to understand how Lorde so perfectly put it into words. Audre Lorde is a black lesbian feminist, a woman who has experienced many challenges and frustrations and great bliss, a woman who is so in tune with the innate eroticism within her that she is able to describe it with such expressive language so that the rest of us may find it within ourselves as well. Lorde also mentions that the phrase “It feels right to me,” is one that “Acknowledges the strength of the erotic into a true knowledge, for what that means is the first and most powerful guiding light toward any understanding.” This immediately made me think of Glennon Doyle’s Untamed and her mention of the fiery, golden, guiding light inside of her that she names The Knowing. While we all possess this erotic knowledge deep inside, being able to actually use it as a lens through which we view our lives and the lives of others forces us to live honestly and energetically. It guides us in how to live peacefully with others who are different from us, to disengage from harmful lifestyle choices, to find inner joy, and to rebuke oppression with wild strength and protest. I mention all of this in order to ask you: How will you tap into your erotic resource? How will you use your Knowing to nurture yourself like a tender bloom? Madelyn Lock | Furman University 2021 Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Major Politics & International Affairs Major Les Ladies Social Media Intern