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Emails to my Therapist

What Would Dr Ruth Do?

A few years ago, I bought a pin at a street fair for a couple of bucks. It’s the image of a mermaid and a merman in heated embrace. I think it’s kinda cool — not too terribly tacky. Wouldn’t put it on my skirt suit lapel the day I announced for president; but still, it’s no outrage.

But I’ve never worn it. I feel hesitant because of the erotic subject matter. And yet I write regularly here and in all my fiction about the intersection of spirituality and sex, about the sensual and the supernatural.

So why am I not wearing this pin once in a while? Is the pin more mightily out-there and public than the pen? Definitely not.

I’m a little embarrassed at this hesitation. It’s silly. I ask myself what would the famous Dr Ruth, “America’s Favorite Sex Therapist,” do? I’m betting she’d wear it. After all, she has endorsed a product called an eroscillator.
My feelings about this pin remind me that sex is still an innately private subject — even now, as sex tapes and sexting grow more commonplace. Even when the topic is sex-and-spirituality.

It’s also a subject that still needs talking about. Especially on any aspect that’s as controversial and, in my view, fantastically obvious as the spiritual-experience/orgasm connection.

I’m wearing the pin. I promise. If not tomorrow, then very soon. I’m betting Dr Ruth wouldn’t hesitate for a second.


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  • Nicholas
    June 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm Reply

    Go woman – remember only inspired action!, sound like you are there!

    • Peggy Payne
      June 24, 2015 at 3:07 pm Reply

      I take that as a yes vote, Nicholas. Thank you! I’m delighted to get your comment.

  • Lee
    June 24, 2015 at 4:02 pm Reply

    It’s lovely. Wear it! And be delighted at how many nice comments you get.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 24, 2015 at 4:13 pm Reply

      I will sure be paying attention to the reactions, Lee. Thanks for yours!

  • June 24, 2015 at 4:11 pm Reply

    I’m guessing you hesitate to wear the pin because as an image it touches only the surface, whereas the pen allows more depth of understanding. But so what? I think you should wear it anyway. It’s actually charming.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 24, 2015 at 4:15 pm Reply

      Good point, Sally! Also, I think that if I personally/physically accompanied each copy of a book or post, I might well be more hesitant with “the pen.”

  • June 24, 2015 at 4:20 pm Reply

    It’s very artistic, and rather pretty.I might choose to wear it to a party, but not a church function…..ha.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 24, 2015 at 4:26 pm Reply

      Interesting distinction. Might stir up more overt attention at a party.

      Though, I do know the effect of being in church. I once gave a reading from REVELATION from the pulpit at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Big awesome sanctuary. I omitted a potentially offending swear word from the excerpt I was reading. Couldn’t bring myself to say it there. My Simon & Schuster editor seemed shocked, said, “You’re censoring yourself?”

  • June 24, 2015 at 6:25 pm Reply

    Sex and spirituality are intertwined. Sexual sublimation, the process of distilling sexual energy and drawing it up into the brain, is the basis of Kundalini activity, which, in one way or another, is the basis of self-actualization — what some people call spiritual transformation.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 24, 2015 at 6:31 pm Reply

      And what do you think of wearing the mer-people pin, JJ?

  • June 24, 2015 at 6:34 pm Reply

    Send me one; I’ll wear it!

    • Peggy Payne
      June 24, 2015 at 6:46 pm Reply

      Large LOL, JJ. I’m sure it would look very fetching on you.

  • lou lipsitz
    June 24, 2015 at 9:15 pm Reply

    Nice pin. Wear to the Art Museum, or the gym. But be ready to spend some time in conversations. Check out a very profound book (I think ) Treating Sexual Shame by Anne Stirling Hastings. She’s on to this stuff – like your hesitation.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 24, 2015 at 9:28 pm Reply

      Thanks for the book title, Lou. I’ll seek it out for sure. And the gym? A nice set-up for a comedy sketch. Maybe SNL.

  • Bill massey
    June 24, 2015 at 10:33 pm Reply

    A few years back — when people could afford to fly first class — I was on the same “red eye” from LAX to JFK with Dr. Ruth. She had been to a fundraiser and boarded the plane still in her formal lavender gown. After takeoff, as soon as the captain gave the seatbelt “all clear,” Dr. Ruth stood in the aisle, stripped off her gown down to a slip, put on a sweatsuit, handed her gown to a flight attendant with a gracious request to, “Please hang my gown for me, will you Dear?” and sat back down, as everyone in first class applauded.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm Reply

      Wonderful story, Bill!! Thank you!

  • Bob Braxton
    June 25, 2015 at 4:06 pm Reply

    That it is a PIN is significant to me – folks used to “pin” before giving an engagement ring – “to go steady” / going steady. To wear some pin has its own connotations. chief Canaanite fertility gods were Baal and Ashtoreth. Baal (the son of El) was revered as the god with power over rain, wind, clouds, and therefore er fertility. Ashtoreth was a Semite goddess derived from the Babylonian god Ishtar.
    As worshipped locally in Canaan, she was the consort of Baal, and supposedly brought fertility to the people who worshipped her.
    While temples are occasionally mentioned, Canaanite worship often took place in open-air sites at the tops of hills, referred to in the Bible as “high places.” Usually there was a masseba or stone pillar erected as a symbol of the male deity and an asherah representing the female counterpart, some sort of wooden pole or image of the goddess. In front of these was a sacrificial altar.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm Reply

      And did the Canaanites wear some symbolic pin, Bob?

  • Brooks Montgomery
    June 25, 2015 at 5:43 pm Reply

    We need to plan lunch soon— and please wear the pin!! I want to borrow it long enough for a picture wearing it.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 26, 2015 at 3:37 pm Reply

      Good plan! It can become a meme.

  • June 25, 2015 at 7:09 pm Reply

    Great pin ! Don’t remember seeing it before, & I’d like to. I’ll also ask re eroscillator. Stimulating post as ever ! Do wear it some, perhaps on select days for select folks. And I’ll read the other comments on this post too . b

    • Peggy Payne
      June 26, 2015 at 3:36 pm Reply

      Nice double entendre, Bob. I’m glad you like the pin.

  • Jane Albright
    June 26, 2015 at 12:49 am Reply

    Wear it to the K&W. It’s not church and it’s not a party. Somewhere in between. Bet you’ll be noticed.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm Reply

      Good idea, Jane. Will report on what happens.

  • Bob Braxton
    June 26, 2015 at 7:45 pm Reply

    about wearing the pin –

    a long-term pastor (who was very funny) at Maryland
    PC(USA) pastor
    a congregant (married female) was wearing a pin where the pearls denoted the udders of a cow
    As she made her way after Sunday worship through the exit line he commented “Wow. What beautiful tits!”
    ( story told by my preacher spouse who heard the story from his own mouth )

    • Peggy Payne
      June 26, 2015 at 7:46 pm Reply

      Great story, Bob! Thanks! This woman wearing the pin was running for office in a dairy-farming area?

  • Bob Dick
    June 29, 2015 at 1:39 am Reply

    I think most folks won’t be close up enough to know what’s on the pin. Even looking closely and with a guide, I barely got the picture. So you can wear it anywhere, anytime. b

    • Peggy Payne
      June 29, 2015 at 7:26 pm Reply

      You’re right, b. Maybe I should make it bigger?!

  • June 30, 2015 at 1:27 pm Reply

    […] interesting response to the post last week about whether to wear the pin showing mermaid and merman in an intimate moment. A […]

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