Last week I had to write about Katie Hill given the political situation that had erupted. I got a huge response from that article—thank you to everyone who wrote in and expressed your thoughts, whether or not we agreed. I always appreciate hearing from my readers and we don’t have to agree.
What is clear is that this situation stirs up some strong feelings in us. I invite you to ask yourself what your strong response is about if you had one (again, either way). That can be illuminating for some of what is moving inside of you or what begs to be explored.
So while Katie Hill was resigning, Halloween was also happening and I really want to write about All Hallow’s Eve because it’s such an interesting cultural phenomenon worth investigating through a sexual lens.
Halloween is the most sexual holiday we have, unless you count some of the pagan holidays that earnestly celebrate the magical generative sexual energy of the natural world and fertility, like Beltane. Of course, Halloween comes from the pagan holiday Samhain so it’s rooted there with our modern day twist.
What makes Halloween the most sexual holiday?
Halloween allows us to play out and express our shadows, whether we see it as that. As a culture, what do we put into shadow, tucked away from view consistently?
Our sexuality, of course.
We are still so uncomfortable with sexuality culturally, so we put it away and most of us don’t feel a whole lot of permission to fully and openly explore it the way we want to. I talk to people all the time who tell me about their desires to have space and permission for sexual exploration and are not sure how or where to get it.
On Halloween, we get permission to express parts of ourselves that we do not normally get to express. Parts that we keep put away or don’t really bring out for one reason or another.
Whether it’s your obsession with Harry Potter or Beyonce, or some other latest craze, there are constants we can always count on at Halloween and these are worth some analysis.
Overwhelmingly, the most common costume themes for women are uber sexy ones: a sexy witch or cop, short short skirts and high high heels, vamps, sluts, sexy freaky vampires, anything that allows women to put on a super hot outfit they would probably not normally wear.
Many people like to critique women for their slutty costumes and “how dare they dress like that?” Why do you care?
On the other hand, the constant we can always count on from men is that many of them will cross-dress.
They will dress as some version of women, get their sexy high heels on, shave, put on make-up and do their best femme. Or their worst, if they feel they can’t pull it off, which then comes off like making fun of women and femmes.
And sometimes it is because men are so uncomfortable with their own femininity.
What does all of this have in common?
- We all want to feel sexy. We want to experience the overtly sexy part of ourselves.
- We have a fascination/obsession with femme attire, and want to connect to that part of ourselves or know what it’s like.
- We want to play with our gender and amplify it.
- We want to be unabashedly sexual and once a year Halloween gives us the perfect opportunity not to worry about what other people think about our sexual overtures.
This dress up holiday is often lubed with a lot of liquor, working out our inhibitions through drinking—not unlike the way we often treat our sexuality or sexual interactions. We are often not sober and lucid for it.
Many of us have figured out that gender is fun and that we get to play with it everyday. Queer, trans and non-binary folks are hip to this and do it all the time. But in the straight world, we don’t get permission to explore the edges of gender and to be sexually outright or to sexualize ourselves in whatever way we choose to.
If we do, we get judged and our sexuality or gender gets questioned. So that keeps us in line. It keeps the status quo status quo. Boring.
Thank the goddess for Halloween, where we can vamp it up all we want and explore a part of ourselves or a part of our sexuality that just doesn’t get to come out to play on the regular.
We need those opportunities and if we all felt we had them on a regular basis, we would have a lot less internal conflict about our sexual proclivities, desires, expressions, fantasies and identities.
It’s a good way to keep us in line and it works like that. Be attractive but not overly sexual, they tell women.
Be tough and confident, able to initiate and always ready for sex—as a man would be, they tell men.
If we bucked all of that, if we had the permission we really want to be who we are sexual beings, we’d see a lot less violence on Halloween as well because we would be at peace with this part of ourselves.
It is slowly changing but we are a far cry from sexual openness and freedom.
What if everyday were Halloween?