Both men and women struggle with accepting and enjoying their sexualities. But is there something men can learn from a woman who expresses her sexuality in a positive light?
Katy Perry has become one of the most popular and recognized pop artists today. Her songs and personality resonate with so many people around the world, especially with young girls and women. Her recent fame in becoming the highest earning singer/entertainer last year is undeniable proof of her success with millions of fans the world over.
As an admired international celebrity, this puts Katy into a highly influential position as a role model for young people everywhere. Being a role model, like beauty, is ultimately in the “eye of the beholder,” meaning how Katy currently is or can be a role model depends in large part on the people who look to her as a significant other in their lives—not just in what she says or does, but in how others interpret those words and deeds.
I emphasis this point because I want to focus on a particular aspect of Katy’s music here: that of feminine sexuality.
About a third of her songs in each of her three pop albums deal with sexuality either directly or within a romantic love relationship. Either way, those particular songs are layered with innuendos and allusions to sexuality from a feminine perspective. While this is not anything unique or special in today’s pop music industry, there is something different about the sexuality expressed by Katy Perry in her songs. From what I can tell, the overwhelming majority of the songs that expresses or hints at sexuality are done in a positive, uplifting, or vitalizing mentality.
Many of her contemporaries sing of sexuality in a more degrading way (in my opinion) that reduces sex and sexuality to a series of sexual organs and motions between men and women who may or may not really love each other. But Katy, through her songs, gives a more sincere or joyful take on sexuality, and notably between lovers! Her perspective includes not just the physical but also the emotional and even spiritual aspects of sexuality played out between and within earnest persons. That alone makes her an amazing role model for girls and women everywhere!
But how does all of this apply to men? After all, Katy sings from a woman’s experience, not from a man’s point of view. How could she possibly be a role model for masculine sexuality as well through her music?
First of all, there is the prominent positivity around sexuality that shines through her music for us to consider. Many women continue to wrestle with accepting and embracing their sexualities without being shamed for it by society at large; and yet here comes Katy Perry with her lyrics and beats that provides an authentic alternative to the shame-riddled messages on women’s sexuality—one that sees sexuality as natural, good, enriching, life-giving, blissfully joyful to experience, and worthy of self-respect!
As men, we could take a page from her playbook about our own sexuality; cause let’s face it, our masculine sexuality is not portrayed in positive terms either. We are bombarded with messages that define our sexuality as that of “conquests,” diminishing something incredibly intimate and personal into a superficial number. Moreover, we tend to insult our own sexuality by reducing our partners to being that “piece of ass” we want to or did “hit”—as if we rather have sex with a slab of steak than with a real person. On top of all that, a man’s manhood may be called into question if he doesn’t have the “right kind” of sexuality, or is not “pious” enough within conservative communities—however that is defined at a given moment.
Essentially, our masculine sexuality is regularly reduced to its most narrowest and animalistic interpretation possible: an itch to have physical intercourse with attractive members of the opposite sex. That’s depressing when you step back and think about it, and yet it remains a powerful shaming tool against men by other men and sometimes women. Point being, we can learn to view our sexuality as good, enriching, life-giving, emotional as well as spiritual by listening to how Katy expresses that perspective within feminine sexuality.
I say this because all of our sexualities share a common core when you dig deep enough. Our inherent sexuality reveals to us our need, our desire, to be seen and known for who we truly are body, mind, and soul—to be touched and to touch, to be cherished and to cherish, to be loved and to love. How we express our sexuality and with who we express it with are unique to each of us, but why we wish and need to express it is universal to every human being.
Therefore, if we as men can listen to the acceptance and celebration of sexuality within others, even from women as with my example of Katy’s music, then we can learn to adapt that deep acceptance and enjoyment to our masculine sexuality as well. We need that self-acceptance and self-respect around our sexualities just as much as women need it around theirs!
But there is more to it than that. I believe that men can greatly benefit from having a feminine sexual role model or source to draw upon, and not just any ol’ sexual model. I first considered this perspective while reading through John Welwood’s Love and Awakening: Discovering the Sacred Path of Intimate Relationship (which I also covered in my previous article). In discussing the unique strengths women can offer men within relationships, he states that
“Since she is often more attuned than he is to the subtle energy currents flowing within, one of her greatest functions in his life is to arouse him—to stir him to feel. If a man is often a woman’s teacher, protector, and guide in the visionary, intellectual, and worldly spheres, a woman often leads and inspires a man by teaching him to come into his body, rouse his vitality, listen to his heart-consciousness, and dance with life’s energies.”
I think Katy Perry’s music easily fits the bill of the inter-gender paradigm described here by John. In this sense, her music can become a kind of agent provocateur in a man’s life—stirring him (as art can powerfully do) to come into his own body, to arouse his inherent vitality, to listen to his heart, and to dance with his sexuality that encompasses all of him (not just his genitals). Women, and those more in-tune with feminine sexuality, are in a unique position to demonstrate this side of sexuality often lost or discouraged from men—and Katy’s music is no exception!
Of course, that does not mean Katy is the only model or absolutely best source of feminine sexuality for all men. I use her as an example here because of her deep impact on my own life, especially with my acceptance, rediscovery, and celebration of my own sexuality. However, not everyone will resonate with her music as deeply as I have. Thus, if you feel this is the case for you, then consider finding your own feminine model or source that does speak to your personal sexuality. As I’ve said earlier, a good role model is up to the “beholder”, not so much the “beholden”.
Nevertheless, I will be discussing this last point further in my upcoming article (have you heard “Peacock” by the way?). In the meantime, take a moment to consider what I have shared here about how a woman’s sexuality can help a man find his own fulfilling, authentic sexuality.
Photo by annefegurasin