No matter where you go all people have as strong a sexual urge as the life force throbs within them. Interestingly, as adolescents the sex urge arises at the same time as spiritual questioning. Which gets fostered? It’s a source of constant challenge for humans to harness and keep in balance, and not let sex rule our lives or ruin our chances of leading otherwise happy healthy lives.
Similar conflicts as the entire world faces can be seen in microcosm in any community of gathered humans. At the Academy for Wayward Girls (where my current book nonfiction book is set), and other detention facilities, as well, it’s a well known fact among correctional workers that sexual competition and hostilities happen in times of forced internment. “Gay for the stay,” is the accepted mien.
Overpopulation and stress trigger odd, otherwise uncharacteristic behavior. I’ve been told by the Academy’s staff, the guards, that perhaps the biggest problem in the community of locked-up girls at Bowling Green (central Florida), there in a community of solely girls from twelve to eighteen, sexual misconduct is like breathing air to the inmates.
The Director told me: Sexual games become clandestine and competitively aggressive among these troubled girls in lockup. Not surprising, considering they’re isolated from any competing partners, male or female. Plus they’re lonely, homesick, and crowded together with no respite from the constant irritation of angst-driven noise and high-pitched aggravation. Fights happen way more than chats. Indeed, everyone accepts it: even hetero girls become gay for the stay.
There’s no privacy whatsoever, except when the door is closed to the toilet. Room checks at night to guard against sexual activity can’t stop the bed-sharing in a two-girl dorm room. When those bedoom doors close, girls continue with their sexual intrigue, figuring out ways to keep their pairing-off, switching, drama-games going. Youth of this age rage with sexual energy anyway, but the anxiety of having no freedom at all only adds to a teenager’s need for sexual release of some sort. Covert does quite nicely in jails and lockup.
In yoga the sexual energy is akin and connected to the awakening of the Kundalini Shakti. This is a tremendous upsurge of energy that arises in an individual when the spiritual center of a person has been awakened. The ecstasy that naturally happens when a person lets awakened consciousness into their life, is something every lover of God, from the fundamental religious person to the esoteric spiritual seeker is well aware of. Many people never get to experience it because it remains dormant, going back asleep within, if the Kundalini isn’t nurtured after being awakened in adolescence. Sometimes, later in life, after a traumatic event, the loss of a loved one, or some other catalyzing catastrophe, a person will have a spontaneous awakening of their Kundalini also. The awakening can happen at any time in life, but the first is usually–as a young teen.
Usually coming awake of its own natural occurrence around the early years of adolescence, coinciding with the time when a youth starts to ask questions like, Who am I?, Why am I here?, the Kundalini can, if not properly directed into spiritual outlets, become a raging compulsion to explore the mysteries of the corresponding energy that overwhelms us humans, sexual energy. Which of course, is what happens to the average teenager. Exploring a sure-fire arousal mechanism, such as our bodies, and others come nicely and erogenously equipped with, sounds more normal, than a teen getting instructions from a parent or priest or shaman, how to tap their newly awakened Kundalini.
One day in yoga class I tell the girls about the arousal of the spiritual energy, the Kundalini, and how the poses we do in yoga help us explore that divine energy all humans have within them.
“Say wha’?” that day’s new girl shouts to the others who sit in our circle. “Cunt-a what? Wha’ the heck is she sayin’” and all of us laugh our heads off. Then I explain to the new girl, the difference between the sexual, which she certainly knows, and spiritual energy we’re talking about that she’s never heard of. And its name, Kundalini, well, we all know what she mistook that word for. Easy to get them confused, these similar-sounding words, the name of spiritual energy and a well known sexual act so familiar to girls in lockup.
Sex or spirit, and let’s face it — even sports — they can all overtake any human as well as any other type of addiction does. Acting badly, being depressed, angry, or self-inflicting dangerous harm or behavior can be addictive. Especially to teens who don’t yet know how to love themselves. Acting good or badly is a choice we all have. To the girls in lockup, their crimes were the result of their addictions, behavior patterns that began in childhood or adolescence. The only way to stop an addiction is to first be aware of it. To not be in denial about it.
Anyone with a harmful addictive habit needs to have a crash, a bottom in order to be shaken from the false reality that what they’re caught up in is good for them. In Twelve Step programs this is called a bottom, yet sometimes, like my personal recovery story, I needed more than just one bad experience to call it “the bottom I need.” For me I needed a spiritual bottom, not just a physical (oh, many of those!) and a few mental one (yes, I lost my marbles, are they back yet?). Of course I don’t go into details about “my story” with my yoga girls. But I do answer specific questions when they ask. I am always honest, and it’s good for them to know someone who’s struggled as much as they are, there in lockup.