“What if your deepest fears and wounds were the key to living a turned on, passionate life, sharing your gifts with the world, and having mind-blowing orgasms along the way?” reads the back of Alexandra Roxo’s debut book, Fuck Like a Goddess. It felt like a fair question to ask myself at the time, if not also a frightening one. Could I do the difficult, soul-wrenching work of healing my inner demons—if the payoff were mind-blowing orgasms? Sure, why not?
Roxo is a writer, actress, and the self-styled spiritual guide who was behind the Vice documentary Life as a Truck Stop Stripper. But she is best known for her work as a spiritual healer, creating virtual courses on sexual healing, which is the ultimate aim of her book. Roxo argues that all people, but mainly women, have been conditioned to make themselves smaller and to deny themselves sexual liberation because of social and religious constructs. Roxo’s theory is that all it takes to reclaim sexuality is to confront any and all sexual baggage, put it in a neat box, and stash that box somewhere where you can’t reach it ever again, or, as she phrases it, “putting your feelings in a container.” The book is part self-help, part religious undertaking; Fuck Like a Goddess is published by Sounds True, a company with a mission of “disseminating spiritual wisdom.”
At first glance, the book seems like a perfect vacation or fire-escape read, depending on your local level of quarantine. The cover commands: “Heal yourself. Reclaim your voice. Stand in your power.” That seemed like a lot of work, but I had nothing but time, and I figured it would be worthwhile if, in the end, I was better at fucking than when I started. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that “fucking like a goddess” has little to do with actually fucking. Instead, “fucking” is just Roxo’s euphemism for living a better, more spiritually balanced life that is focused on the energy of the divine feminine, which will allegedly lead to better sex.
Roxo explains this theory in the first chapter:
Whoever taught us that making love or fucking was solely about physical intercorse missed the point. To me, it’s to come into a divine union with. A divine communion with. Whether you are physically or metaphorically fucking, it can mean taking in the energy of creating so deeply that you feel you are making love to your life and that divine creating energy is moving through you. That you are becoming one with the source of all that it is.
In non-spiritual terms, Roxo wants to guide people to aggressive enthusiasm about their lives, to help them feel like they are in control both inside and outside the bedroom. The book provides the reader exercises to obtain this oneness and personal freedom through spiritual and sexual healing, a broad term used by Roxo to describe journaling and meditation. Despite the title, orgasms and physical fucking are not the main goals of the book; instead, the objective is to get more women in tune with the “divine feminine.” We were already off to a rocky start.
The first step in Roxo’s transformation is an internal journey; she asked me to revisit all of my ideas about sex, sexuality, and my own body and to investigate where those ideas came from, assessing if they originated from my upbringing, my religion, or pop culture references. This ritual was actually quite helpful; I don’t think I’ve ever really taken a moment to interrogate my particular feelings about my body, which, for a multitude of reasons, are largely negative. Roxo doesn’t ask in this particular portion of the book that the reader dismantle those ideas all at once but simply wanted me to acknowledge their presence and their roots.
One of the “rituals” Roxo suggests is journaling a “sexual inventory,” which involves sitting in your “container,” her terms for a safe space for healing work, and writing down my entire sexual history. All my partners, all of my experiences with those partners, and any lingering feelings about them, like that skin-crawling sensation I still get thinking about a guy I hooked up with in college who kissed in the exact same way he performed cunnilingus: all pointed tongue flicks and no skill. Roxo refers to this as decluttering my sexual closet. As in the previous ritual, the point was not to change my ideas about these people or events but to simply bring my thoughts to the forefront and store them in a single “container.”
If there is one thing that Roxo’s book emphasizes, it is the power of compartmentalizing. Roxo repeatedly stressed the importance of leaving feelings and thoughts related to this healing practice in the “container.” She advised that if any thoughts related to the ritual arise outside of the container to gently remind myself, “We are leaving all that in the ritual space.” I too love compartmentalizing. But if the end game is self-acceptance and divine love, then shouldn’t that permeate my entire life, even when it’s hard?
After I wrote down my very boring and mildly traumatic sexual history, it was onto the next ritual: talking to myself in a mirror. Roxo directed me to utter the name of each person on my list of sexual partners and either thank them for a positive experience or ask myself, “If I am still holding any shame, guilt, disgust, or pain about the experience I had with this person, then what is it here to teach me? Am I ready to accept this experience with love and compassion for myself?” Shame, in my opinion, is a valuable thing to hold onto as a reminder of behaviors one does not want to repeat, like agreeing to sleep with someone who repeatedly referred to me as a “sexual experiment” to people in public. Roxo was asking me to let shame go not just emotionally, but also symbolically, by burning everything I had written down about my past partners as a form of release. Her version of acceptance and compassion felt too much like Marie Kondoing my sex life, acting as if certain things never happened. If those things hadn’t happened in the way and at the time in which they did, I would be in a completely different place in life. I skipped the burning session and chose to leave my shame exactly where I had found it.
Then, we were onto body image healing rituals, which is where Roxo really lost me. Roxo suggested that I create yet another mason jar of emotions and gather friends I trust to discuss my “journey with [my] body,” including my sexual history, when I started masturbating, and anything else connected with how I saw or health with my body. To borrow a timeless quote, it was a no from me, dog! My friends are not Tupperwares for me to dump my body image issues into, nor am I theirs. Since I skipped this unnecessary sharing circle I was able to jump ahead to a section of the book subtitled “reclaim the pussy.” Roxo explains this theory as such:
When we begin to think about the internalized shame and pain associated with the female body, we cannot skip over the place that perhaps holds the most guilt and fear of all . . . the part that has been named “private” and covered and hidden away under nylon panties and tight thongs, stripped with hot wax and plastic razors. Call it your pussy. Your yoni. Your cunt. Your vulva. Call it what you will. But just call it! We can’t fully reclaim our trust and dialogue with our body if we don’t acknowledge the pussy. And even if you don’t have one, this does not mean you can’t be on the team to honor and support the healing of this physical and energetic space that has been greatly hidden and abused and to call on its power for yourself.
If, after reading that, you still have no idea what she means by “reclaiming the pussy,” she is talking about masturbation. Roxo wastes a lot of time explaining female anatomy, despite professing that the book is for people of all genders. In reality, a book that dedicates several paragraphs to the praise and worship of the cervix is probably not useful to people without a cervix. And it is indeed worship. Roxo writes: “Whenever I need to make a big decision or when I am confused about something I feel into my cervix. Not my head. Remember the mind is conditioned by past traumas...dropping deeper in, down to the cervix...is a way to connect to a very ancient part of yourself, a profound inner wisdom.” For those who lack a cervix, Roxo claims this practice can be duplicated by simply digging into one’s lower abdomen where a cervix would be if it existed.
For science, I spent a week breathing into my cervix for 10 minutes every day and trying to imagine my vagina as some sort of sacred energetic space. I had to “feel into the cervix, not with [my] hand but with energy.” On two occasions, I fell asleep, which was nice, but otherwise, my cervix felt the same as it did prior to the week-long exercise.
Finally, after a little over a month of healing, Roxo suggested I have some sex. “Begin listening here,” she writes. “For example, if it is dry down there, it may mean that the heart and the cervix are not connected. Unless you have a medical issue or even dehydration, dryness may be a signal that the mind is too busy and more presence, breath, and connection are required.” What I discovered from trying to have sex and listen to my cervix at the same time is that I have never not listened to my cervix before and did not need to read an entire book to explain how it works. Turns out, while I am not as sexually liberated as Roxo believes all people should be, I have at least that one thing nailed down.
By the time I reached the closing chapters of this exhausting book, one thing was abundantly clear: spirituality jargon is not for everyone, nor is it easily digested by curious non-believers. With as great a title as Fuck Like a Goddess, the book is bound to attract newcomers who are willing to give it a try but might be easily turned off by Roxo’s use of what is commonly referred to as “woo-woo” language. “Uncovering your full essence is a radical act,” Roxo writes. “It could take lifetimes.” I am confident that Roxo is referring literally to multiple lifetimes, not using a figure of speech. Roxo also writes, “I want you to commit to fucking life, to making love to it, becoming one with it like the goddess/divine being you are, for your own happiness and well-being...and also for us”—“us” meaning the entire population of the planet earth. Roxo explains that if everyone were to become more in tune with the divine feminine, we would collectively have more time to solve poverty, end wars, and reverse climate change. Personally, I wouldn’t bet on it.
Despite repeated invocations of its power, Roxo never defines “the divine feminine” very clearly. While—notwithstanding the book’s failure to fully deliver on the promise of its title—Roxo has written something valuable in that it asks the reader to trust themselves on an exploration of sexuality, she should have a clearer sense of a concept she leans on so heavily. Roxo loses the strength of her argument by constantly circling back to the divine feminine without ever providing a solid foundation. She gives people with cervixes something to ponder, but denies them the simple pleasure of pondering it with their mind.
Roxo’s hard-on for the divine feminine stems from her assertion that the male-god concept and the Abrahamic religions of the West are responsible for restricting, even destroying, women’s sexuality. But Roxo is unwilling to confront the idea that the male-god is a god concept created by human beings in their image and instead continues to blame a god and The Church for the failings of the world. She constantly conflates a divine figure with the trappings of organized religion and blurs the lines between who or what she truly blames for women’s subjugation. “For the church to be unable to control something so uncertain, so wild, is a threat,” she writes, referring—once again—to the cervix. For someone who preaches the value of compartmentalizing, Roxo cannot seem to put God, god-concept, and religion into separate Pyrexes.
She also, despite her casual references to goddesses and divinity, casually ignores early monotheism as a whole. Before Abrahamic religions were firmly established and Jesus’ divinity decided on by the Council of Nicea, the early monotheists erected statues to the “one-god” that were either formless or had breasts. Any legitimate concept of a single god exists outside of the gender binary, something that a person who claims to be knowledgable about divinity and spirituality should know and note in a book about spiritual healing. Moreover, the laws surrounding sex which are considered sacrosanct in Abrahamic religions were created not to control the “divine portal to the mystery of infinity between our legs,” as Roxo described it, but to protect tribal lineages and inheritances. Ironically Abraham, the OG monotheist himself, can be blamed for these rules after his extramarital affair with Hagar, sanctioned by his wife, became the theological breaking point between Jews and Muslims. This affair is also blamed for the lack of peace in the Middle East in most religious circles.
While Roxo’s attempt to heal people with cervixes from the inside out without having to leave their homes is a valiant one, she wastes too much time trying to work out her own personal issues with the male god concept and The Church, and her lack of clarity about her core concept casts a shadow over Roxo’s knowledge and ability to help anyone genuinely looking for a holistic approach to personal traumas. After all was read and done, I decided if I really wanted to fuck like a goddess I’d just have to pick one and submit my soul to her. I landed on Tefnut, lion goddess of moisture, and modern-day symbol of a wet ass pussy. May the goddess light our way.