Episode 44: Saving the Planet Through Sex with Veronica Monet
Check out this unconventional interview with Veronica Monet about how fear of sex is destroying the planet. OneTaste's own Shane Metcalf asks Veronica some of the great questions facing our society around sex and sexuality. The topics range from the sexuality of Bonobo monkeys to the Catholic Church to Veronica's own personal experiences finding spiritual enlightenment through sex. Learn about the parallels that exist between primate societies and our own, how sexual oppression and repression are affecting our world, and what you can do to help. If you are curious about how sex can save the planet, and want to do your part to help, then start by listening to this broadcast.
Announcer: This program brought to you by personallifemedia.com is suitable for mature audiences only and may contain explicit sexual information.
Announcer: This interview was recorded at the One Taste Center in San Francisco on June 17, 2008.
Announcer: Welcome to A Taste of Sex: Guest Speaker Interviews coming to you from the One Taste Urban Retreat Center in San Francisco. For those of you new to the show, One Taste is an organization committed to developing awareness in all of those areas of our being where we have shut down. We offer workshops and practices designed to bring more connection to your life.
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Shane Metcalf: You are listening to A Taste of Sex. My name is Shane Metcalf. Welcome. Tonight with me here is Veronica Monet. Veronica, say hello.
Veronica Monet: Hello. [laughs]
Shane Metcalf: Veronica is a published author. She is a sex educator and in my opinion one at the forefront of an emerging movement that looks at the link between environmental concerns and sexual fulfillment.
Veronica, would you tell us a little bit about the work that you have done?
Veronica Monet: Well, you know, the work that I do is really about paradigms, so it is not like I am a researcher. It has got some great statistics that I can throw out there, and frankly, when I am birthing a paradigm I haven't written a book either. So it is not so much of the work I have done it is just the connections that I have made and which I am very, very passionate about sharing.
Shane Metcalf: Can you tell us what paradigm…? Are you giving birth to a paradigm now?
Veronica Monet: I am.
Shane Metcalf: What is that?
Veronica Monet: It really started around these Bonobos. I found out about these apes that we are related to and was fascinated with the fact that they look like chimpanzees, but there was this completely different lifestyles. Chimpanzees have infanticide, rape, murder and war, four of the big forms of violence. Coincidentally, human beings have infanticide, rape, murder and war. It has pretty much been with both species since we have recorded history.
We have kind of had a fatalistic attitude which is that it is probably genetically predisposed, and there is nothing we can do about it. And the best we can hope for culturally is just to try and contain or control these horrible urges that we have.
Then, we discovered the Bonobos, and it turns out they share the exact same amount of DNA with us as the chimpanzee does and they have no violence. Now, the worst thing that will happen to you, it's not like they don't argue; they do. They have competition for resources and for power grabs and all kinds of stuff, but for some reason it never goes past something like, maybe, chewing somebody's finger off.
Now, that does sound horrible. I don't want anybody to chew my finger off, and I am sure you don't either; however, when you put that up against…
Shane Metcalf: I don't mind nibbles on my fingers.
Veronica Monet: [laughs] Yeah, but chewing it off, probably not. But, when you put that up against the idea of killing babies, raping the females, declaring four-year wars which both chimpanzees and humans seem to have a penchant for those four-year wars. I don't know why. World War II and World War I went for about four years. Jane Goodall documented the chimpanzees that she was living with doing a four-year war, and it shocked her. It wasn't just that they had a war. It was the horrible, horrific things that they did, genital mutilation. Does that sound kind of familiar?
Shane Metcalf: Which species are you talking about?
Veronica Monet: Does it matter? They are both doing it, and that's the whole thing. Chimpanzees and humans have this horrific, horrific pattern of violence and the Bonobo doesn't. Well, it turns out the Bonobo is really sex positive and is what I call metro-focal. Some scientists make what I believe is a mistake calling it matriarchal because matriarchy would be, basically, just a substitute for patriarchy. Instead of a penis, you would have a vagina, who would be reigning terror on the planet.
When you have focal, it is centric. It is much more about sharing power, and it is not about having power over. The Bonobo has more like the kinds of checks and balances the Iroquois Indian had. The Iroquois Indian were some of the first to really establish democracy.
Shane Metcalf: One of the largest inspirations to our Constitution.
Veronica Monet: They absolutely were. The whole idea that we have a House and a Senate and a Vice-President and a President and a Supreme Court, and it all came from the Iroquois. They weren't calling it that, but that was exactly what they did.
What they had was they had a chief and they had a grandmother. So, the chief was kind of like our President, making decisions, and the grandmother would come along like Congress and say, "No".
Shane Metcalf: Maybe, we need more grandmothers in Congress.
Veronica Monet: That's what the Bonobos have. They have an organization based on grandmothers. The oldest females are in charge of the government, if you will. They are not in charge of it in a way of having power over their subjects. This isn't about a matriarchy. It is about putting a check on male violence.
The chimpanzees have patriarchy, so the males are in charge, and they trade sex for political favors. How do you trade sex for political favors? The chimpanzees are not doing bi-sexual behavior. They are trading their female sex slaves as a reward, and usually they are plotting to murder the guy that's in charge. They will get a couple of guys to help them do it. Notice I use these pronouns you are not supposed to use when you talk about animals.
Shane Metcalf: Are you describing an episode of Rome?
Veronica Monet: I know. [laughs] I am going to borrow a term from Franz Duwall. He is a leading primatologist. He coined this word called anthropo-denial. We have something called anthropomorphizing, and it has become like the huge taboo in the science community when you are studying animals.
You should never attribute any kind of human characteristics to them, and Franz Duwall comes along and he says, "If I see two chimpanzees negotiating a political deal and wheeling and dealing payoffs in the form of sexual favors with their females that they are going to get power over, why wouldn't they call that politics? It looks like politics.
Anyway, long story short. The chimpanzees look an awful lot like humans as far as their behavior goes, but Bonobos look more like some of the cultures that we have eliminated on this planet. Indigenous cultures and some of the goddess cultures that a lot of people have even argued, did they ever exist.
Now, that we have discovered the fact that right now in the year 2008 we have got this species living on planet earth that embodies everything we ever thought that goddess cultures might have been about. It becomes more of a reality to envision that humans could possibly live this way and may have in some distant past.
The question that I come up with now is just how viable is it in the face of violent cultures because the Bonobos themselves - there is only about 10,000 of them - and they all live in the DRC, which is the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The chimpanzees, there are more of them, which if you are a scientist, you would probably say it might be that violence seems to have more evolutionary advantages, and you might say the same thing about the goddess cultures and the indigenous cultures that we have obliterated; however…
Shane Metcalf: Not completely, but still luckily we have not completely exterminated them.
Veronica Monet: There is the Mooswa in China. That is a little more like a matriachy, actually. The women actually are in charge of the property and the finances, and the men have no role at all except to fertilize the eggs and leave unless you are somebody's brother. If you are the brother, then you have quite a bit of sway.
Anyway, I started looking at this and thinking, wow, this is really interesting. How come people aren't going that extra step and saying, "We might want to emulate this sex positive, woman centric, or female centric behavior if it leads to almost an obliteration of violence. Why wouldn't we at least want to have a conversation?"
This is why I say we are paradigms because we realized that when people are completely enmeshed in whatever paradigm they currently inhabit it is very difficult for them to think outside the box. So, most people are saying, "Well, it is really nice that they have so much sex, and that they are not violent. But, of course, we could never do that."
Of course, my question is why not? Why couldn't we do that?
Shane Metcalf: Now, Veronica, when I read the title of the topic, the lecture that you are going to be giving at One Taste tonight…
Veronica Monet: Which is how fear of sex is destroying our planet.
Shane Metcalf: And when I read that, my whole body got chills.
Veronica Monet: Awesome.
Shane Metcalf: We are in the 21st century. We have some incredible challenges facing us as a race. We have a skyrocketing population. I think I just read that we just hit 6.7 billion. We have global weirding. We don't know what's happening with the climate. There are a lot of guesses. We are in the middle of a mass extinction. We have ocean fisheries depleting. We have desertification, deforestation, war, terror, some pretty big challenges.
Veronica Monet: We do. We do. I mean, a lot of people are wondering if the humans are even going to survive.
Shane Metcalf: How do you link the fear of sex to these problems?
Veronica Monet: Well, the human population has doubled since I was born. I was born in the year, 1960. There are twice as many people today as there were in 1960. That's frightening. That's frightening. I live up in the woods, man.
Shane Metcalf: Thank you for coming to the city.
Veronica Monet: I can't believe that everybody has got to live all crammed in with each other. I worry about losing the option to even live in a remote place. Why are there people on the planet? Well, that's really simple biology. It's called sex. People have sex; they make babies.
Shane Metcalf: One of my favorite sayings at One Taste? You have 6.7 billion people on the planet. All of us were created by an orgasm, and nobody wants to talk about it.
Veronica Monet: No one wants to talk about it.
Shane Metcalf: No, don't mention the "o" word.
Veronica Monet: But, orgasms don't have to be about penis-vagina sex, and this is the thing. We can't have an intelligent conversation about all of the other sexual alternatives. Of course, everybody wants to have orgasms. And, of course, everybody wants to be fulfilled in a sexual way, but what if we could have a conversation about tantra? What if we could have a conversation about masturbation? What if we could have a conversation about sacred sex? Once you really delve into sex, you know, like you and I have or as a full time preoccupation you realize that it is a huge topic. We don't do it justice when we just limit it to penises and vaginas. We just don't. That is what most people know.
And then you have got this command in the pages of the Bible, but you know, a lot of people don't run their life according to the Bible. But, a lot of people do, and the Bible says, "Go forth and multiply". Then, you have got churches like the Catholic Church who are going out of their way to say you can't use a condom, and birth control is a sin. OK, we get to this point where people are not allowed to do non-procreative sex. They are only allowed to engage in procreative sex.
The Surgeon General got fired from her job because she mentioned masturbation would be a good thing to teach kids. The reason she was saying masturbation would be a good thing to teach them was because they wouldn't get sexually transmitted diseases. They would learn about their bodies. They would be able to embrace pleasure.
Shane Metcalf: That would be in line with abstinence.
Veronica Monet: Right. Well, it is healthful, but it's not really in line with abstinence because abstinence is all about not having pleasure. We go back to these old religious Victorian principles, and they are really about no pleasure. People need and want pleasure, but we haven't been able to have any really intelligent conversations about ways to do that without bringing more people onto this planet or subjecting yourself to sexually transmitted infections.
AIDS, we can't have an intelligent conversation about that. For one thing, the U.S. government has got PETFAR which is the prostitution initiative. They want you to sign in blood practically that if you are going to take Federal funding you don't promote prostitution. What this happens to do is put a lot of fear in people that they can't even talk about condoms. Why? Because a lot of law enforcement uses condoms on a female. If a woman is in possession of a condom, they use it as proof of prostitution. How backward is that?
So, people who want to have sex, want to have pleasure, want to protect themselves with condoms get thrown in the camp of committing an illegal crime of prostitution, and then people can't talk about condoms because that would mean they were furthering prostitution.
Then, the U.S. government which gives a lot of money away has made it so that you have to sign this document saying that you don't further prostitution which, again, the net result is we can't have a conversation about pleasure or prevention. Pleasure and prevention are off the table.
What's on the table is abstinence, like you mentioned, which is ridiculous. Do you know that just this year we discovered that people start masturbating before they are born.
Shane Metcalf: I had no idea. So, that's what I was doing in my mom's womb.
Veronica Monet: We are not just talking about little boy fetuses grabbing their penis because it happens to be handy. We are talking about females, little baby girls, before they are born putting their hands between their legs, finding their clitoris and achieving an orgasm in the womb.
Shane Metcalf: Fascinating.
Veronica Monet: Well, it is not only fascinating, it is revolutionary information because if you thought you were going to be able to teach your kids to not masturbate because it is a sin it is too late. They did it before they ever had their first breath of air. There must be something really wrong about morals and values and cultural standards to try to teach us to abandon the very fabric of our nature, our essence.
Shane Metcalf: I think this is indicative of what an extraordinary time we do live in because we have these unprecedented challenges and problems, and yet we are also discovering this kind of information.
One of the questions that I have and that I am constantly fascinated by is how do we have an integrated sexuality so that we understand our nature as sexual beings? How do we integrate that with the rest of our work, our play, our activism, our morality? How do we use our nature as sexual beings to create the kind of world that we want?
Veronica Monet: My answer to that is that we have got to expand our definition of sex. We really do. We need to realize that sex is like living at our core. If you are into tantra, then you envision this as being kundalini energy which lives at the base of your spine.
If you are doing yoga exercises and meditation exercises, your objective is to achieve not an orgasm but rather to take that kundalini energy and push it up through your chopras out the top of your head and achieve enlightenment. There are amazing things that happen if you learn other ways to relate sexually.
I had an amazing sexual encounter about a year ago with a friend of mine, and we took three days of making love. Now, we didn't make love for three solid days, but we made love for several hours three days in a row. We didn't achieve full penetration until the third day.
Now, we were doing a lot of eye gazing. We were circulating breath where we were breathing each other's breath. He would breathe out; I would breathe in, and I would breathe out; he would breathe in. We were circulating our breath. We were looking into each other's eyes. By day three, we were feeling like one person. We lost our boundaries in that moment, and I never achieved an orgasm.
Instead, I had an amazing spiritual experience which lasted for an entire month. For 30 days I am having these involuntary pelvic contractions, and I don't know what it is about. I go on the Internet, and I look it up and find out that it is called a kryias, k-r-y-i-a-s. This is related to things like shakers, Quakers, not just yogis but religious people who go to church to have what they consider a spiritually, blissful experience. But, it is actually sex.
Shane Metcalf: Orgasm in the church.
Veronica Monet: It is. If we weren't afraid of this word, if we weren't afraid of really seeing where sex lives, we would realize that for the artist who doesn't have penis-vagina interaction may not be having sex with other people but takes all that sexual energy and throws it into their art. This is where our great works of art, whether it is a bridge, a building, a book, a painting, this all comes from sexual energy. Anything creative is sexual in my opinion, and that is where we need to realize that sex is at our core. It is where our empowerment comes from.
You know, in nature if you sexually mature you are now an adult. In the United States of America you are never allowed to sexually mature because you may have a Bill of Rights that says you have got freedom to assemble, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, but you do not have freedom of sex of any kind.
The government can absolutely take your right to have sex away any time it wants. It is not in any of the amendments. It is not in the Constitution. It exists nowhere, so the only reason you are allowed to have sex is because the government hasn't decided to pass a law against it, but if it wants to pass a law against it, it can and it will.
Now, what I find very interesting, too, is why governments and religions are so interested in controlling sexuality because I believe that your sexuality is not only your creative core but I think it is where your empowerment lives. Without your sexuality you are not fully empowered, and that is advantageous to people who like to have power over others.
Shane Metcalf: Let me ask you a question. Do you see that we are in the middle of a new sexual revolution?
Veronica Monet: Not yet.
Shane Metcalf: What would that look like?
Veronica Monet: We would need for people to actually start seeing how little sex exists in the culture right now.
Shane Metcalf: That is ironic that you say that because we flaunt it so much.
Veronica Monet: So they say.
Shane Metcalf: All of our commercials and…
Veronica Monet: I am here to tell you as somebody who has created porn and produced porn and starred in porn and worked as an escort and done phone sex and all that stuff, I don't see a lot of sex in the culture. I see a lot of anger and a lot of insult and a lot of violence. I see people taking nudity and calling that sex.
I see people taking competition for one's ego, like OK I want to be better than you or prettier than you, sexier than you, hotter than you and those sort of type of things, and calling that sex. Using a body part to sell a piece of merchandise, I don't consider sexual in any way, shape or form. I don't. I think the overarching emotion that is aroused by our popular media is fear and insecurity, and the last time I had sex fear and insecurity were no part of it.
Announcer: Listen to A Taste of Sex, Erotic Poetry Reading, a companion program to Life in an Orgasm-Based Community. It is Open Mike Night at One Taste San Francisco, a weekly audio program on personallifemedia.com.
Shane Metcalf: For our listeners out there, what is a way that they can immediately starting now bring more sex into their life, more of what you are calling sex of this creative, vital life force?
Veronica Monet: When I work with people one-on-one, I ask them to start with masturbation rituals because that really takes us back to where we started, which was in the womb. This is where your sexuality again got started in the womb before anybody ever had a chance to tell you that you are a boy or you are a girl or that you should stop putting your hand down there. [laughs]
If you will go back to that, that's, I believe, a good place to start because you start changing and shifting your relationship with your own body, and you get to come face-to-face with your own shame. For myself some of the ritual that I like to do, I like to meditate for half an hour before I masturbate so that I have really opened up my chopras and done a lot of conscious breathing and become much more embodied.
Now, this really flies in the face of a lot of what we have been taught about spirituality. Spirituality was supposed to be like out of our body, but what's interesting to me is that by becoming into your body and experiencing sexual ecstasy you can be transported into a spiritual place that then takes you out of your body.
Shane Metcalf: I think that is one of the paradigms that you're really cracking open is that sexuality and spirituality actually coincide. They fit. They work together and are complementary.
Veronica Monet: I am going so far as to say that you can't really have a spiritual experience unless you have paired it with your sexuality. I think sexuality is really the only true door to spirituality.
Shane Metcalf: It is funny because there are a lot of people who do a lot of meditation, they do a lot of spiritual work, but they kind of leave the sexuality as the last door to open. It is definitely my experience that it is a Pandora's box of sorts because there is so much that we put in there, so many feelings that we never allowed ourselves to feel. And we have crammed them in there, and so as we start to open up our sex some wild things can happen. It is not always comfortable emotions that we feel in our body.
Veronica Monet: No. Well, any gross experiences can be challenging, and it can be scary. The first time I had a fire breath orgasm…
Shane Metcalf: That sounds delicious.
Veronica Monet: It is tantra, and I was taking this class from this wonderful tantrica named Joalla, and I was there thinking, this is ridiculous. I don't believe a word of this, and these women are all having orgasms around me, and I thought they were hysterical and I thought this is like a contact high or something. I am far too intelligent to have this.
So, I was trying to think where I laid my purse and I was going to get it and go. About the time I was getting ready to bolt out of this room, I felt a bolt of fire; lightning is what it felt like. It started up the base of my spine, and it would shoot out the top of my head.
Now, it never once, I was not touching my genitals. I was fully clothed. The only thing that was going on with my genitals was that I was contracting my PC muscles where your pubic coccygis muscle which is in the pelvic floor. It is the same muscle you use to stop and start a flow of urine. Coincidentally, it is the muscle that the dog uses to wag his tail.
That was the only way that I was activating anything genitally. Everything else was just about doing conscious breathing, in through the nose out, through the mouth. And then, we were tilting our pelvises so that we were creating openness and blood flow down there. Our hands were on the floor. Nobody was touching their genitals at all.
When I had this experience it did not originate in the genitals. It did not wind up in the genitals. I didn't feel any genital pleasure whatsoever, and it was still very definitely an orgasm, but it was so spiritually centric, it was so mind expanding that I felt like I was shot up into the sky to kiss the face of God, and it terrified me. It terrified me so much that I wouldn't do it again for a long time. [laughs] It was like, no thank you.
Shane Metcalf: What was that?
Veronica Monet: No, thank you. I would rather masturbate to porn or something, you know. A lot of times we are more comfortable with the shameful, dark, desperate, 'I shouldn't be doing this', but we have actually learned to turn our sexuality on with thoughts that this is shameful or dirty. It takes a whole reorientation to move into a spiritual sexuality, and I am not saying that one is better than the other.
But, I am saying that one is more expansive than the other. That if you can move away from things that say sex is shameful, dark and dirty and if that is your turn-on, if you can teach yourself to move away from that and move into sex as expansive and creative and life affirming and empowering, that it really can take on almost a magical perspective.
I do think sex has a lot of magic. I practice affirmations and creative visualization at the moment of orgasm. I will be thinking about things that I want to create like go save the Bonobos. In my mind I am flying over the Congo getting ready to meet my first Bonobo and we are going to save them, and I have an orgasm in that moment because I want to attract those things to me.
This is perhaps the most confusing thing about activating your spiritual, sexual self, is that you become very energetically focused, and you walk into rooms, you walk through the forest and you feel things. You feel how much of you and the rest of creation is energy, and it is really difficult to be shut down and taking for granted the impact that you are having on the environment when you absolutely know that everything around you is just as alive and just as feeling as you are.
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