Everything We Need to Know About Sex and Love We Can Learn From King Kong
As surprising as it is, the most recent remake of King Kong contains everything men and women need to know about intimate relationships and love as they pertain to the future of our world. For those of you who haven’t seen it, I’m sure I won’t give anything away in this article that would have come as a surprise to you. Really, what could there be at this point after three major motion picture versions and more than a dozen spin-offs? Let’s see; Kong dies, the guy gets the girl and ignorance reigns supreme in the final, woefully misinterpreted statement, “It wasn’t the airplanes, t’was beauty killed the beast.”
Actually the most recent iteration of this potent allegorical tale is a phenomenal love story which warrants close attention for any man wanting to know the secrets of winning and keeping a woman and for any activist searching for the secret to peace and justice on the planet. Kong’s got it figured out, and if I were the hero, Driscoll, facing those post-Kong odds, I might just heave myself off the Empire State Building at the end rather than attempt to fill the ape’s (giant) shoes. After all, we all know what they say about shoe size.
Whether intentional or not, the story of Kong is a reminder of a once full, fierce, protective, answer-to-no one but god, reverent masculine. And in its tribute it is also a statement (rather painful at times) against what has become of man under Patriarchy; small minded, petty, opportunistic, fearful and contracted.
So, let’s begin at the beginning. First there is Kong, a creature who is mistaken for a wrathful god by the extremely scary looking island natives, who are of course, ‘simple savages’ (projection of the most perfect sort). In hopes of keeping him appeased these savages ‘feed’ him beautiful women (though even a first grader knows gorillas are vegetarians). They see his size and his fierceness and assume that he is cruel, murderous and barbaric. So he is. Give him mindless women adorned with quills and furs and he behaves like a savage, dragging them through the bushes and eventually casting them off as if they were nothing. Hmm...sounds all too familiar does it not?
But in this modern version of Kong we’re given enough evidence to imagine that he is hungering for something more; that he has a secret life created out of his own inner spirituality and connectedness to the divine qualities of his wild jungle surroundings. Kong’s kingdom is heaven; complete with beautiful sunsets, vast horizons and perches affording views of it all. And Kong appreciates all of it at the end of each day as he settles into a contemplative hunker atop his mountain sanctuary. All the better that he must occasionally face terrifying creatures and fight grave battles which could easily end in his death - but that never do. What man, stuck in a cubicle-and-headset existence all day doesn’t long for a world like that? Kong is a fantasy for what modern man has sold to the highest bidder but is still deeply motivated by.
Then, in walks Beauty. Within hours of their meeting we see that Kong is captivated by her; that she warms his ‘savage’ heart, gives him something to laugh about, something to gaze at, and most importantly, something to protect with a fierceness before only sublimated into rageful and destructive anger. Here is the crux of this story’s social commentary; that man has allowed his fierceness to be turned against his own soul’s longing and against all life. In our modern world, a world that has disallowed the importance of beholding true raw beauty and knowing that it’s the only thing that reminds us why we bother with the fearsome task of living, man’s options have been whittled down to either destructive anger or impotence. Within impotence is a constantly simmering kettle of rage, so really, what it boils down to is anger or rage. If you’re a man, take your pick. Either way we all lose.
Disowned, immature anger/rage isn’t powerful or attractive nor is it even a viable survival mechanism. Anger is all about moving away from something, it’s about destruction. Fierceness, on the other hand, is about moving toward, protecting something that is important. It is about perceiving beauty and desiring nothing more than to protect it as if your very life depended on it, as if you understood that without beauty there is little to make the breath go in and out.
Once he beholds Beauty and his wild angry heart warmed, Kong discovers this quickly and soon he finds himself embroiled in the small-minded machinations of The System that has evolved at the hands of modern man; greed, voracious ego and the urge to violently destroy anything that may challenge its small-minded definition of masculine.
So here we have the current state of man and an offering of what he might want to become if the world is to survive another 100 years. But what of romance, and the lessons to be learned from King Kong regarding the rather beleaguered dance between the masculine and feminine? I have had a running conversation with all my female friends. It goes in and out of the therapy room with me and often ends up being the one offering in a hat full of fancy psychotherapy tricks that provides any amount of true hope for the women and couples I see. After millennia of misunderstanding and fear around women, sexuality and the important role of inter-dependence between the genders, as well as the economically effective but decidedly one-sided campaign called the Woman’s Movement, coupled with the rise in single-mother headed households and an ever-growing men’s movement encouraging men to develop their ‘feminine’ selves, the socially acceptable definition of the feminine has come to rely on power-over, becoming strong and strident, needy and bitter. And the masculine has responded, becoming fearful and enraged or, perhaps worst of all, soft. No longer is it obvious that there is a relationship between men and women, never mind that our very lives depend on this intimate ecology.
Of course, what has become of men and women does not represent our natural states. It has taken the patriarchal culture of domination about 4500 years of brute force to mold us this way. The feminine is longing to be in the company of a truly strong, fierce masculine man who, in his tenderness, will gaze upon her in breathless wonder, overcome with the desire to do nothing more than devote his life, alongside his brothers, to the protection and well-being of not only her gorgeous self but everything within her domain, everything she cultivates and tends to. And the masculine is dying to find its place of integral importance and power in the world and, more specifically, with women; to be needed and in that need be viewed as strong and indispensable. Not just to fix the washer/dryer but perhaps even something a bit more intimate and powerful. The men I counsel are so ready to remember their integral and irreplaceable role in the important act of offering tsunami-size pleasure to the feminine.
Of course, second only to holding a door open for a woman, the concept of being fierce with a woman is terrifying to men and women alike. After decades of being told that sexual relations must be equal we have all made the mistake of reading ‘equal’ as ‘neutral’. I stopped counting years ago the number of women who told me they desperately longed to be taken by their men. We women have been moving mountains for millennia now but nothing we do holds a candle to the knowledge that we can move the masculine simply with our feminine presence. To know that we have an ancient power over men is the feminine’s trump card, which in happier times, she used with great reverence and wisdom prompting our ancestors to sculpt Her miraculous abundance and voluptuousness out of the very rocks of the earth.
I have been asking my women friends a simple question lately: if you lived with women, in a community of celebration, laughter, authentic healthy emotional expression, physical touch and nurturing, great food and late nights in your beautiful communal homes of dancing, doing art, singing etc., what would you need a man for? Barring only a few exceptions women respond every time with “protection”. Clearly the feminine remembers our original human story, remembers the original relationship between the masculine and feminine. Though our current reality tells us, over and over again, that man is woman’s single deadliest predator on the planet today, despite the horrifying reality of our female lives across the globe, we still hold onto a vision that our men will protect us. It must be mentioned that after offering ‘protection’ as their first choice, women follow it up with need number two: “great sex”.
So, this is good news men, because it turns out that you have only one (or two) functions, the first of which Kong very quickly acknowledged without question. When duty calls he rises to the challenge, protecting Beauty with his very life, storing her safely in a rock crevasse, cave or Empire State Building window ledge while he fights the vampiric bats, the toothy T-Rexes, the horrifying crustaceans and finally, to his demise, the modern masculine. He does this because Beauty brings him the feeling of Love, offers him a reason for his fierceness...deep in his lonely heart, he is melted down to his fundamental masculinity simply by being in the presence of her radiance. The innate and important nature of his highest self is called out by witnessing Beauty. And this is a win-win for him, because she is responsive to his power and surrenders in complete trust that he would sooner die than allow any harm to come to her.
It might just be, men, that you are here to gaze upon beauty, to appreciate it within your bodies, to be made (literally) bigger and stronger in its presence, and to desire to protect it and serve it with everything you’ve got. The masculine is built to be fierce protector - to make sure that Beauty (and all in her purview: the earth, children, life itself, all of it) is never threatened.
It’s true: we’re off course. But there is still a chance to return to the fundamentally life-serving characteristics and innate desires of the masculine and the feminine. The masculine and feminine are built to dance as a team, neither one nor the other prescribing the direction or the goals, but rather moving together on a trajectory that is constantly in service of life while remaining reverent of their vast differences. This fundamental relationship between the two basic energetic principles which exist throughout all organic life on the planet is the barometer for not only our survival but our thriving. And given that, we have some work to do, but the path is right before us with neon lights and flashing arrows.
So men, here’s your challenge. Tonight, upon seeing your woman, take a deep breath and look at her with your Man's eyes. As you behold her, imagine that the fate of the world rests upon your shoulders and that all you must do is see, touch, taste and fully experience her womanhood...anyway which or how doesn’t matter. Just drink it in as if it were the nectar of life itself...because it is. She and the breathing pulsating world around her have the power to create and sustain life. See her, take her and worship her for her incredible ability to remind you that you are born to be fierce, powerful and tender and that right now the world is in desperate need of your fullest expression. And women, this is your challenge as much as it the men's; you must remember your power, and your beauty. You must allow your fullness as a being worth protecting. Without this ancient dance, the very delicious spark of life has no flint upon which to strike.