I've been having a fairly interesting run of dreams about men lately, both erotic and not-so. They seem to be due to something fermenting in my brain, rather than straight (har-har) wish fulfilment, because my dreams about men in the pure nookie sense don't normally happen unless I'm actually currently shagging one. I'm very boring about my dream and fantasy objects - they're people I know, am attracted to, and 90% of the time (if not more) I know they're attracted to me.
The first one featured a guy who was much older than me, and while not "fatherly", was definitely acting as a mentor-like figure, while being very charming and obviously keen to have sex with me. I, in my dream, was in my early teens (although post-pubertal), and girlie
in such a way that I never have been. I think I might have been wearning a short skirt, even, and I have never worn one of those voluntarily past age 8. As well as being much older than me (as in late 40s/50s), he was also much bigger than me and quite physically commanding. Both of these things are frankly offputting to me in men in RL. However, in my dream, I was desperate
to shag him, and in fact we spent most of the time finding a suitable place to do so (that's fairly typical; I think I've only "consummated" sex once during a dream, alas).
On waking up, I immediately thought that the male figure in my dream was an aspect of me
. I certainly recognised the cocky charmingness that I can turn on at times. However, he also presented quite an air of authority, which I don't associate with myself, except perhaps when I'm at work. I'm not sure what his size and strength represented. When I was a kid and got into fights occasionally, I definitely felt like a boy when I was going to it, but a small, wiry sort of boy. Ironic, since I was above-average in height all through childhood - I'm average now, since my growth abruptly stopped at age 12. About when I got breasts, come to think of it. Feh.
Getting back to the dream, the imagery is positive, I think. It seems to be integrative
. I've had a couple more dreams featuring men significantly since, one of which featuring my skanky second step-father. I spent most of that
dream sending out "don't come near me" vibes - pretty similar to what went on for the 12 months I had to live in the same house with him in my teens. They worked, too. Since I haven't thought of him for years
, I'm not too sure what he was doing in there. I certainly don't have any skanky men in my life, and I'm not in the position of having to fend anyone off at present.
Jung talked about the anima and the animus in his theories - the anima being the "female principle" within each man (and with various associated archetypes), and the animus being the "male principle" within each woman. From M-L von Franz: "The male personification of the unconscious in woman -- the animus -- exhibits both good and bad aspects, as does the anima in man. But the animus does not so often appear in the form of an erotic fantasy or mood [like the anima]; it is more apt to take the form of a hidden "sacred" conviction.
"When such a conviction is preached with a loud, insistent, masculine voice or imposed on others by means of brutal emotional scenes, the underlying masculinity in a woman is easily recognized.
"...[I]f [a woman] realizes who and what her animus is and what he does to her, and if she faces these realities instead of allowing herself to be possessed, her animus can turn into an invaluable inner companion."
In Jungian theory, part of the process of becoming individuated
is integrating the anima/animus (and acknowledging the Shadow), thus allowing it to become a conduit between the conscious and unconscious.
Now, I know that gender theory has come a loooong way since Jung first formulated his thoughts, but much of this stuff spoke to me in my late teens/early 20s, and it still does. While I'm butch, I've never had any problems with gender confusion. I found it very easy to get in touch with the "boy pockets" - that's how I thought of them - within me. I still do - if I walk along the street thinking "Man, I am hotttt!
Watch out, chickies!" (as I do very
occasionally), that is a boy thing, most definitely. In fact, most of that stuff can be summed up by the adjective "cocky". If I'm feeling cocky (which encompasses "
assertively opinionated"), then I'm in boy-mode.
While this is most excellent for retaining my youthful demeanour - heh - it's not such a frequent state of being now, as a 38-year-old woman, than it was when I was in my early 20s. But it's a part of me that I get a lot of power from - if one doesn't think that's too foo-foo a concept - partly because it's the part that takes risks. But these days, I'm also a lot more aware of consequences.
I also actually don't want to be acting like a 17-year-old boy most of the time. So, there is a gap.
And perhaps that gap is going to be filled by the symbol - if you like - of a grown man
. I know that the part of me that is good at giving instruction or explaining concepts seems very male. Sometimes having sex in a certain mode feels that way too (it's not the boy
doing the fucking). As does the charmingness
, always. And, also, interestingly enough, responsibility
(as differentiated from the "keeping it all togther" thing that I think of as a very female trait). So, I think I might let those positive features of adult maleness percolate a bit more and we'll see what happens. Just so long as I don't flip over to the authoritarian insensitive oblivious-to-boundaries lover-of-heirarchy-who-refuses-
compromise shadow side (I don't think that's terribly likely in general
I'm not terribly sure why all this is popping up right now. My life is pretty stable and damn content. Well, maybe there's room
for these kind of ponderings, as there hasn't been the past few years. Also, if I'm like my mother, I only have a couple of years till I start menopause, so maybe it's a deck-clearing exercise. Heh.Big disclaimer:
This may all seem like I'm being terribly essentialist in what I consider to be "male" and "female", and really, I am so not
. But, as Jung used it, it's a convenient symbolic shorthand, and the archetypal figures associated with that symbol set do fit in this instance. Other sets of terms - say, if we tried to substitute butch/fem, or dominant/submissive, or active/passive - don't fit the concepts and feelings
I'm trying to get at nearly so much.
Also, as another aside, it's interesting how if we have had to struggle with our gender presentation (which I have done, but not my identity, as I mentioned), as we integrate it, we don't need to be so vehemently assertive about displaying the "right" symbol set. So, as a butch dyke, the older I get, the less I need to wear the leather jacket, or the boots, or the whatever (I have never
worn a baseball cap backwards). I can wear what I please, and yet I'm sure that my identity presentation is going to be congruent. Although it is
fun to fuck with people's heads. And I still need to drive my bitchin beast
. Of course. :-)