An interview with Barbara Marx Hubbard by Jessica Roemischer: Is sex evolving?
Barbara Marx Hubbard, the grand dame of the “conscious evolution” movement, emphatically states, “Yes!” As an author, a futurist, and the president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution, Hubbard has been at the forefront of an emerging worldview positing that humans are at the threshold of a new phase in the evolutionary process. And this, as she reveals here, has great implications for our favorite pastime.
A wonderfully spry and energetic seventy-five-year-old, Hubbard freely admits to “not being that sexually oriented” and says that sex had never been primary in her relationship with her eighty-one-year-old partner, Sidney. While that would, under most circumstances, consign the sexual dimension of a marriage to the back burner, in Barbara’s case, she has characteristically used it as an opportunity to discover a deeper evolutionary significance and possibility. “Wanting to be responsive to Sidney,” she says, “I began to ask myself, ‘What is my heart’s true desire? If recreational sex is not what motivates me, what would motivate me at the deepest part of my being?’” That question led Hubbard and her partner into a dynamic exploration of the evolutionarysignificance of sex. And as she explains in the following interview, when two people come together with the conscious intention to evolve, sex becomes a “regenerative” experience that can ignite passion—the passion to become a new expression of man and woman, co-creative partners with the evolutionary process itself.
What Is Enlightenment: Barbara, you have recently been speaking about a new form of sexuality called “co-creational” or “regenerative” sex. Could you begin by describing how co-creational sex is different from procreational and recreational sex?
Barbara Marx Hubbard: In procreative sex, there’s a higher purpose, which is to create life. The fact that the woman’s body is capable of receiving a fertilized egg and creating another being is mysterious, miraculous, and sacred. That is its most profound purpose, the extraordinary miracle of the biological imperative. So there is a sacred meaning to sexuality, which is to reproduce the entities that are engaging in sex, no matter what those two entities think they’re doing! Recreational sex, on the other hand, is for intimacy and pleasure. It’s enhancing in many ways, but it doesn’t have the higher sacred purpose of procreational sex.
In evolutionary sexuality, or what I call “co-creational sex,” rather than reproducing the couple or engaging in intimacy and sexual pleasure for recreation, the sacredness of the intimacy is compelled by a vision of the couple evolving through their union. In that sense, evolutionary sexuality is comparable in its sacredness to procreational sex. While nature’s purpose is to reproduce the species through procreation, in co-creational sex, we are using the sexual impulse to evolve the species for the highest purpose.
WIE: How did you begin to discern a higher evolutionary purpose for sex beyond that of reproduction?
Marx Hubbard: I began to observe a fundamental inequality between men and women in their later years and sought its significance. As we live longer and longer lives, more and more women are entering menopause. They are no longer producing eggs, and yet men continue to produce sperm until they die. So I began to ask myself, “Is there a higher purpose for the sperm, since the man continues to produce so many of them? And if he loves a postmenopausal woman and she has no eggs, is it possible, through intentionality, to unlock a higher purpose within the coding of the sperm? What if the woman desires, above all else, not a new baby, but a new body and a new being—sensitive to spirit, capable of self-healing, self-generating, and self-evolving?”
Currently, males inseminate women to conceive babies, and as men get older, they have recreational sex. But what if the woman’s desire brings forth from the male sperm its true fulfillment and noble purpose? What if the male inseminates the woman with the evolving potential inherent in the sperm, triggered by the woman’s desire to give birth to her self? What if he is consciously inseminating and co-creating with the woman the new being who is required for the evolution of life on earth? The woman has the biological capacity for self-reproduction through sexuality, and she may also have the capacity for self-evolution through sexuality. Now this exploration is occurring only in the realm of intention and imagination—in the imaginal realm. But men find it very empowering when the woman says, “I feel that the sperm has a higher purpose.” It’s very arousing to the man, that’s for sure! It really would be shocking if I became the Dr. Ruth of “evolutionary sexuality.”
WIE: If there was demonstrable proof of this, something unprecedented would happen in the elder generation in this country, and in the world. It would definitely start a revolution!
Marx Hubbard: It would! Sexuality is not just a small aspect of life; it is an expression of the life force of evolution. And that life force in the postmenopausal couple has a higher purpose that hasn’t been fully experienced yet. The intention, the love, and the intimacy this idea generates in my partner and me is itself vitalizing—even if it hasn’t actually changed my DNA. I’ve projected this forward into the future, imagining that if we reallyare going to be able to extend our life span to a radical degree, then sexuality would have to assume a higher purpose beyond recreation in order for it to take on the sacred dimension of procreational sex and express the dynamism inherent in the life pulse. We are a self-evolving species now, and consciousness evolution is not only about our psyches and our social action but also about our own bodies. To raise sexuality to the possibility of regeneration and self-evolution is a wonderful exploration.
WIE: You have coined the term “regenopause” to represent this new perspective on the postmenopausal years.
Marx Hubbard: Yes. When I was fifty, I was diagnosed with a form of chronic cancer, and I began to search for the deeper plan of my being. I heard an inner voice that asked, “Would you like to regenerate or would you like to die?” I had no idea I had such a choice! And this inner voice said, “Cancer is the body’s panicked effort to grow without a plan; regeneration occurs when you say yes to the deeper plan of your being.” I realized that this deeper plan involved tuning in to the evolutionary process and becoming an embodiment of that. When a woman in her menopausal years is overcome by a profound impulse to co-create and to self-evolve, this signals a next phase in the life cycle of the feminine. I asked for a word that would describe what I was going through in my postmenopausal years—the internal liberation, as well as the desire for co-creation—and the word just flashed: regenopause.
Regenopause happens when the woman gets so turned on to her creativity and her life purpose that it starts to activate her at the cellular level. When an increased spiritual desire to participate in evolution crosses over into the aging process, it sends a signal that says, “We’re not finished, folks. We’re not ready to go yet. It would be a waste of evolutionary time to die now because look what it took to get us here!”
Our species is being asked to self-evolve, or we will devolve and die. And I think that the regenopausal woman who is activated by this life purpose is, perhaps, the missing link in the story. So many women are entering menopause, so many women are turned on, and our culture is finally open enough to call us forth without trying to destroy us. It’s the first time in modern history that we can even begin to see the potential of the “feminine co-creator.” We haven’t seen this full-scale woman until now because, in our culture, women haven’t been allowed to pursue this except in a very narrow way. So regenopause transforms menopause into a new and open-ended life cycle, which doesn’t have an existing lid, or an existing label, or a social image of itself.
WIE: You seem to be observing that women in their later years are awakening to an evolutionary or developmental context for their lives—that they are thinking about what it would mean to evolve and to be free in ways they hadn’t even begun to consider when they were younger.
Marx Hubbard: That is exactly right, and I was one of those women. I got married in 1951 at the age of twenty-one, and I was of the generation that Betty Friedan wrote about in The Feminine Mystique. Through interviewing hundreds and hundreds of women, she discovered that we had no self-image after the age of twenty-one, and that that was accompanied by a kind of malaise and sadness. Then in the sixties, we burst out with the women’s movement. But I think that there is a third phase to the women’s movement in the third millennium, because over the last fifty years, the evolutionary perspective has taken hold. This new phase is about the drive to self-evolve and self-express, which is different from wanting equal rights in the masculine world. It’s deeper, and it’s motivated by a passionate love of our potential.
WIE: This next step is the most exciting aspect of what you’re talking about because it would mean transcending many of the premodern, modern, and postmodern notions of what it means to be a man and a woman. It seems that you’re pointing to a natural, unpremeditated, and spontaneous expression of a liberated masculinity and a liberated femininity.
Marx Hubbard: This is the new Adam and the new Eve—whole being with whole being at the Tree of Life. In the story of Genesis, Eve was not only going for the Tree of Knowledge, she was heading for the Tree of Life, which is the tree of the gods. And it seems to me that the human species is heading for the Tree of Life. We have the power to destroy worlds and build worlds, to change our own bodies, and perhaps, eventually, to have ever-evolving life. Now, when the woman has become whole, so that her own masculine and feminine are joined, and the man too has become whole, they can come together beyond domination and submission in such a way that will bring forth the greater potential of each. So we see the couple as a very powerful arena of self-evolution. And when you add sexuality—from procreation to recreation to regeneration—you begin to see the New Man and the New Woman gaining the wisdom to guide the new powers of humanity forward.