Harville Hendrix published his book Getting The Love You Want in 1988. I opened my copy of it a little while ago, and I read a section titled body taboos. Hendrix makes the point that we are taught early in life to numb ourselves in a variety of ways.
We take that numbness into our adult relationships, and we scold ourselves for breaking any of the rules we were taught. We try to remain numb even while attempting to create successful relationships. Our partners are likely to be numb in ways that differ from our own, and one of the rules is that we are not to discuss our numbness.
He used the example of the rules that govern breast feeding and the perception that it requires privacy for the sake of the public good.
The internet provides abundant opportunities to experience being numb. Nudity abounds, as does pornography. Nudity is often quite specialized. There are sites that show photographs of female feet, for example. What causes us to scold ourselves for harmless pleasures? We were told early in life that such behavior is a mark of correctness and responsibility.
The photo that illustrates this post is from a series I created that recorded this woman’s entire pregnancy. I assembled them into a book.
It is normal and natural for an infant to want to have those good feelings, but we rarely allow it.—Harville Hendrix, Ph.D
How much richer would our life experience be if we confided in each other how we have numbed our impulses? The first step is to simply give ourselves—and others—permission to speak.