One of my side interests is developing better sexual education and ways to unshame sexuality in our society. As an integral part of human nature, and one that affects our behaviors, goals, moods, and sense of self so strongly, I feel that it deserves a lot more attention and healthy guidance than what we typically get. In particular, it seems to me that the onset of puberty hits many unsuspecting children like a brick wall, with few supportive and safe spaces to go to for advice. 

In an effort to create a positive view of puberty and sexuality - as a beautiful and joyous challenge, rather than a hidden "there is something wrong with me and no-one can ever find out" sort of narrative - I thought it would be great to add the Sex Fairy to the pantheon of magical creatures kids grow up with - in line with Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc. This way they can always anticipate the big and important transformation coming, knowing that it will be tough, but will also give them access to new exciting superpowers, like love. It would also set an easier and lighter tone around having conversations about sexuality and asking for support. 

And as any magical creature, she needs a backstory to bring her into existence. Below, I tried a first pass at the Sex Fairy Lore - curious to get any feedback and reactions in the comments! 

Warning: this version may not be meant for kids and has some explicit sexual parts. This is intentional, in-line with the theme of uprooting the hush-hush culture around sex and creating an open conversation where we can "call a spade a spade" and drop the euphemisms and allegory. To me, clear language is also an important part of the path to consent culture. 


In the hazy mist of our distant past, all people had magic. We were born just like kids are today – small, helpless, and endlessly curious. Everything around us excited and amazed us – every splash of sunlight, every movement of a butterfly wing was imbued with indescribable magic. How could these colors form such crazy, and yet perfect patterns? How could these insects play around in such incredible harmonious dance of life? As we grew, we found patterns and rules governing some of the gears of our magnificent world clockwork – just as we found an ever-expanding abyss of questions and wonders at its foundation. And with time, we came to see the wonders of the unknown engulf our seeds of knowledge. In those far times, we chose to embrace this mystery of not knowing, and as we dove ever deeper into the wonder, we started feeling the heartbeat of the universe. In our love and trust for the world, our heartbeats synchronized, and our will merged with the world’s will. And so it was, as we grew into adulthood, the world was ours to command, just as we were its. Magic was natural as walking and unifying as sunshine.

Yet with time, as the world surrendered its ever more profound secrets to the love of the people, it overwhelmed us. The wonder and curiosity that has once taught us to see the magic, has now run thin, and we craved for the miracles to stop, to give us rest. And so separation has found its way into the world. Rather than acting out the world’s will, we started using our magic to resist it, to stop the world in its track, to keep things from changing any further. As we turned on the world, we turned on each other. Fear rampaged across our hearts, and our lands, as we fought for control of reality and of our lives. The deeper was our wonder before, the harder we battled the world now for our personal safety from change. And as the earth burned violet and blood flowed black, one warrior saw the end of all drawing near.

Like the others, Ea has loved this world deeper than her own heart. And like the others, she was now devastating and murdering to save herself from ever-growing changes. Finally, she saw it: the war, the destruction, the change that overtook her beautiful planet was beyond her powers to resist. And so she stopped – not the world, but herself. Not the changes, but her resistance to them. Not defeated, but surrendered. Ea saw then that as long as people had unlimited curiosity and love, we would have unlimited powers – and that was too much, too overwhelming for us to enjoy. She stopped trying to bring her world back to where it once was, and dared to move forward. She now looked to support new change – a change that aligned itself with the will of her massacred dying earth.

And she saw it. A soft limit on people’s love and power. One that can be overcome easily, but only by embracing change fully – by surrendering oneself and one’s will to another. Absolute power would only come with absolute surrender. Absolute surrender would take absolute courage. 

At long last, Ea felt her will resonate with the heart of her earth once more, like all those years ago when she was young and full of wonder. She realized she knew not what would happen, nor how she would do this – and the long-forgotten sense of trust and curiosity filled her with power. She was, again, one with the world and with all her people – even as we were destroying the last of each other. Her wings blazed violet with the glare of fires, and gold with the sunshine above as she rose over the scorched earth. Strands of energy spread from her in all directions, weaving a web, a matrix entangling all the people and creatures, permeating the earth. As energy currents grew, they drew power from people’s desire to stop change, our desire to control each other and the world – and the web tightened around us, ensnarling us, binding our magic inside our bodies. And as Ea saw the power draining from the enchanted fires, energy of destruction waning with them, and her people frozen and bound, turning slowly into stone, she saw that this could stop all – end all. 

But her plan had love, even as her people had forgotten it. And her world knew love, even as it laid scorched beneath our feet. From the earth beneath each person emerged flowers of two kinds – snake lilies and orchids, wrapping gently our bodies, transforming us into two kinds of form. The flowers found their way to the centers of our bodies, turning into two forms of sacred portals that would now give us access to the force of love coiled tightly inside us. The snake lilies became an outward portal, the cock – projecting the seed of creation through the fabric of existence, impregnating it with structure and meaning. And so became men. The orchids formed an inward portal, the pussy – accepting the flows of the universe deep inside their bodies, to nurture them and give them new life. And so became women. 

And neither portal could bloom without the opposite. Separated, they were enough to keep us alive, but not to reunite us with the heartbeat of creation that sourced us, not to free us from Ea’s restraining web. To wield the full power of our life once more, to move the world to our will, we had to first surrender our will to another. When the cock penetrated the pussy fully, surrendering the man’s power to the last drop, filling the woman’s body, heart, mind and soul to the brink, when we gave up our separation, becoming one inhabiting both bodies - only then could we flow with and through Ea’s restrains. Only so could the wonder of the unknown fill us once more, letting us resonate in our innocence with the world, as the world, limitless.

And thus became sex - the path to absolute love, yoga and power - but also the door that guarded these. Ea swore henceforth to guide her people through that door, lest we forget our true source. And so it is, we are born, as always, small, helpless, and endlessly curious. For the first twelve years, the snares of Ea’s web do not touch us, and our wonder grows freely. But as we approach the threshold of power, Ea comes to bind our love inside us, so that we might learn true surrender. Our cocks and pussies focus our bound life-force and become our guides on the path - in touch with our inner magic and outer purpose. The more we surrender to these guides, their call and their power, the easier our path to love becomes. 

And yet so often we resist. We shame their call. We shame love itself as a weakness. Our pride tells us we are separate, we are too good, or we aren’t good enough. We fear change, we fear losing control we never had, fear losing ourselves we never found. Unwilling to surrender to the omnipotence of wonder, we start seeking refuge in the limited power of knowledge. We discover laws, and we write down rules. We form rules even around sex – the very path to freedom. Especially around sex.  It is the prime threat to our precious limitations, to our familiar cage. We reduce sex down to another conquest for our pride, to ownership, to an act of merely carnal pleasure – anything but facing what it really is. We cannot resist its fascination and its power, and yet we fear truly experiencing it, knowing it will incinerate our beliefs and ideas of who we are. 

Ea keeps a patient watch on our struggles and desires. She knows the path of sex is hard. Absolute surrender takes absolute courage. She guides her people gently, from the first initiation of puberty, through every act of devotion to love, and every heartbreak of attachments. Patiently, she grows our passion for each other, for the world, and reminds us of our source in love, our birthright of pleasure – so that one day we may be bound together in true freedom. 

 

“The moon has become a dancer
at this festival of love.
This dance of light,

This sacred blessing,
This divine love,
beckons us
to a world beyond
only lovers can see
with their eyes of fiery passion.

They are the chosen ones
who have surrendered.
Once they were particles of light
now they are the radiant sun.

They have left behind
the world of deceitful games.
They are the privileged lovers
who create a new world
with their eyes of fiery passion.”

 

-Rumi, The Privileged Lovers

-25

10 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 7:22 PM
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None of this looks anything at all like "drop the euphemisms and allegory".

Yeah, so I have no problem with being as explicit as you want with kids about sex, and definitely don't want to demonize it or even discourage it. It's a cool thing. They should look forward to it or at least not be afraid of finding their own approach toward it.

It's also not some kind of mystical hoohah.

Love is not a superpower. Instinctive attachment is one of the things kids should be warned about. Ending up in its grip in ways you can't live with or control is probably the biggest risk of sex.

The second biggest risk is probably running afoul of other people's demands and expectations, most of which are born out of making way too big a deal out of the whole thing. What you suggest feeds that by making puberty and sex sound like much bigger issues than they have to be. There are pretty much no deals that big, actually.

You don't get any "superpowers" at puberty. Childhood is not, for the most part, some kind of guard against having too much power, and certainly not a guard put in place purposefully by some benevolent spirit. Nor is puberty necessarily difficult in any way, and it's possible that building it up as such could make it difficult.

And there are no fairies. There's also no Santa Claus. Nothing ever was or ever will be magic. Adding to the list of those lies is not a win.

Not to mention the fact that by the time almost any kid reaches puberty they'll more likely be in active rebellion against that stuff than liable to be swayed by it. Nor is it useful to openly speak through metaphors; poetic metaphors obscure and confuse much more than they help with any topic.

Yes, I find it odd to introduce more confusion to kids, especially about a thing people already largely try to confuse them about.

One of my side interests is developing better sexual education and ways to unshame sexuality in our society.

I generally support this goal.  And more generally to reduce shame for all non-harmful behaviors (and perhaps to increase shame for some harmful-but-common behaviors).  Sex and sexuality: less shame.  Cultural obsession about sex and especially other people's sexuality: more shame.

This, unfortunately, seems to be more about the latter than the former.  It's not about your expression of sexuality, or what you want, it's about how you want other people to think about and deal with it.  Add to it that it's a very indirect metaphor in a setting that seems targeted to manipulate younger people, rather than a factual (if fictionalized) story that might make it just less of a big mystery.

I'm not sure it's a topic that belongs on LW (it's important and somewhat rationality-adjacent, but it's also not directly about rationality).  I'm pretty sure it's a topic I don't want on LW - it's about kids and sex, and no matter how clinical or theoretical the text, it's liable to draw very unwanted attention from a different crowd than LW usually has).  Even aside from that objection, I don't think this attempt works very well.

hmm, with all this feedback I'm wondering if my framing of this story as "sex-ed to smooth out the impact of puberty" is not quite fitting. I definitely have a sense that this story can play some beneficial role in promoting a more healthy sexuality in our society - though perhaps my framing about puberty is misplaced? 

Does the creator of this allegory not know how babies are made? Because the strangest thing about it is that it contains not a whisper of a hint of procreation. And there is none in the comments so far either.

Children's first enquiries on the subject come well before puberty, with the question "where do babies come from?"

I appreciate the attempt. I agree that discussing sex more openly, especially with and around children, is likely to be broadly of benefit. I am, however, left with some concerns. Please accept my attempt at a thoughtful critique.

I acknowledge the "draft" status of this story but I don't think this narrative line is very promising, and it notice it falls into at least a few of the cultural potholes I think we'd do well to avoid. The "make love not war" message is fine (if a little abstract) but I don't think it helps support an "easier and lighter tone" or points to any needed truth about being sexual in the world. Rather, it comes off as needlessly moralizing.

Ea acts on people without their consent: changing their bodies and altering their fundamental way of being, binding their ability to choose unless they act the way she wants them to. Strong objection! This does not convey a message I would like to see more of.

I disagree with the heteronormative, PIV-only, binary-reinforcing nature of the narrative (though I acknowledge that it rhymes with many creation myths). Sex (both biology and interaction) is far more complex than that, and we have ample stories in the culture that make it harder for people to think into that space.

Emphasizing only PIV sex is a gross oversimplification and needlessly specific at the same time. Not "carving reality at the joints" at all. This is another mistake that comes to us from the culture. Consider, instead, a simpler and broader definition: "sex" as acting on a body specifically to produce pleasure in that body. And for more-than-one-person sex, we must emphasize consent!

I disagree with conflating "love" with "sex", though I recognize once again that the culture does so very hard. This is both confusing and euphemistic. We need to separate the concepts of attachment, sexuality, and strong goodwill; not encode them all as a single category.

There is only the slightest nod to the dangers of sex. Fluid transfer is a known disease vector and attempting to complete a pregnancy is about as safe as crashing a car, to say nothing of the cognitive side-effects of engaging in powerful hormone-changing behaviors. I suspect you intended for these issues to be addressed in other moments with Ea? This sort of story, I think, should probably cover all the bases at least a little. Sex need not be the huge dark secretive deal we currently tend to make of it, but it does need to be approached with an enormous amount of respect for the possible consequences. Without that, informed consent is impossible.

Maybe you don't need an origin story? I can't easily think of one for Santa or the Tooth Fairy. If somebody's written those, they don't appear prominently in the culture. Maybe a story about what happens when the Sex Fairy visits a person would be more in line with the extant mythology.

I really appreciate your care in having a supportive tone here - it is a bit heart aching to read some of the more directly critical comments. 

  1. great point about the non-consentual nature of Ea's actions - it does create a dark undertone to the story, and needs either correcting, or expanding (perhaps framing it as the source of the "shadow of sexuality" - so we might also remember the risks)
  2. the heteronormative line I did notice, and I think could generalize straightforwardly - this was just the simplest place to start. I love your suggestion of ""sex" as acting on a body specifically to produce pleasure in that body."
  3. And yes, there are definitely many many aspects of sex that can then be addressed within this lore - like rape, consent, STD, procreation, sublimation, psychological impacts, gender, family, etc. Taking the Freudian approach, we could really frame all aspects of human life within this context - could be a fun exercise. 
  4. I guess the key hypothesis I'm suggesting here is that explaining the many varied aspects of sexuality in terms of a deity could help to clarify all its complexity - just as the pantheon of gods helped early pagan cultures make sense of the world and make some successful predictions / inventions. It could be nicer to have a science-like explanation, but people would have a harder time keeping that straight (and I believe we don't yet have enough consensus in psychology as a science anyway).

yeah I don't know how cultural myths like Santa form or where they start - now they are grounded in rituals, but I haven't looked at how they were popularized in the first place. 

I know of a blog you might find interesting: "Small Gods" is a series of portraits of contemporary deities (the author made up) with short explanations of their domains. There are plenty of puns, and also some surprising seriousness. Maybe you'll find it inspiring to explore some other work in the genre?

https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

huh, thanks for the engagement guys - I definitely didn't anticipate this to be so triggering... 

I'm hearing two separate points here: 1) magic creatures and fairy tails do more to confuse rather than clarify; 2) let's be careful not to scare kids about sex nor make it a bigger deal than it already is. I think we could have a rich discourse about each of these, and I see many arguments to be made for both sides - with neither being a clearly resolved issue, imho. Just as an example, here are some possible counters I see to these:

1) What role do fairy tails and lore play in our education and building understanding? For one, "all models are wrong, some are useful" - so I don't think that whether Santa exists or not is really the interesting question, I'd rather ask in what ways is it helpful / confusing? As far as story-telling is a good vehicle for humans to convey values and information, it serves its purpose. As far as lying to kids - I'd say we can keep Santa without claiming things about him that aren't true. I think another important purpose of such lore is ritual - of which Christmas is an example. Ritual practices have a clear role and impact on people, that can be cognitively very beneficial if not abused. 

2) Yes, sex may already "too big of a deal," but not in ways that are constructive / helpful. The hormonal impact of sex on our mind itself is hard to overstate - it really is a huge deal, for some people more than others. Since this is a question of qualia, I can reliably talk only about personal experience - and in retrospect I see that it ran my life for a number of years, the more so the more I repressed it. Learning to sublimate that energy, and really enjoy it in areas of life outside of sex has been the single greatest shift I experienced in persistent personal happiness, energy, and productivity. And this is what I'm referring to in this story - to me, sex and its broader impact is the most magical thing I have experienced in life, and so if anything is worth calling magical, I'd say this is it.  

Of course, both of these points are a biased side of the full story, and I wouldn't personally 100% agree with these, as reality is always more subtle and balanced than such arguments. If you like, check out some other, perhaps more scientific discussions I wrote around related topics:

a rationalist perspective on "magic": https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/uRiiNMCDdNnGo3Lqa/magic-tricks-and-high-dimensional-configuration-spaces

Is Santa Real - as an effective theory: https://www.pchvykov.com/post/is-santa-real