Sexual freedom is on the rise. Just this past week, several notable Republican law makers came out in favor of the right for marriage equality regardless of gender preferences. The interesting thing about change is how after it is done, we can hardly remember how it was before. Before long, coming out will no longer refer to gender orientation and who we have sex with. According to a recent article reported in the NY Times, ‘coming out’ will increasingly be about how people choose to have sex. Thanks in part to the 65 million copies of Fifty Shades of Grey in circulation, practitioners of kinky sex are now coming out and their numbers are multiplying fast. Fetlife, a website catering to kinky persuasion has added 700,000 new members this year bringing their total membership to over 1.7 million.
Archive for the 'Fire' Category
The new year is a good time to re-orient our experience of pleasure. It is easy to confuse the continuous onslaught of instant gratification that our culture gorges on with the deep healing experience of pleasure. Here are a couple of guideposts to help distinguish and navigate oneself towards the healing experience of real pleasure. True pleasure does not cause harm. True pleasure resets the chemical balances in the brain and body towards centered-ness. True pleasure heals the past in the present, releasing us into a new way of seeing ourselves and the potential in our lives.
The other day I got a note from a loyal customer who shared the unfortunate story of her husband’s poorly executed penile implant that left him both significantly shorter and with erectile issues. Her request that I address some writing towards sexual healing, particularly aligned with disability issues, has stayed with me. She ended her note saying, “We have been unable to shake the anger and hopelessness and this issue has ruined their lives.”As I thought about the gravity of her experience I remembered one time early in my sex education career when one of the women attending my workshop shared a similar story. Following a problematic hysterectomy, she was unable to have the same kind of orgasms that she had regularly enjoyed throughout her life. I remember her despair also described in the same terms of ruining her life.
All the great spiritual teachings are founded on love. For thousands of years, the mystics have been teaching the truth of our deep connection to this conscious universe, which is the source of all love and often called God. Quantum physics has demonstrated the truth of these ancient teachings not only through the interconnection of all living things as energy, but even more deeply in the mirroring of space and time within each of us. It turns out that the vast expanses of energy, of which reality is constructed, exist both in the cosmos and the trillions of synapses in each human brain. To embrace this truth changes everything, for we experience our deepest knowing here- that the source of love is not out there, in some far off distant galaxy, but rather is so profoundly close, closer even than our most intimate experiences.
Moist love, as opposed to dry love, is a container where the partners adhere to each other. Think of garden soil and how fecund moist soil is literally the root of anything that wants to be cultivated. Any gardener will tell you that water alone is not enough to heal dry, cracked land and will instruct you on the seasons of amending the earth you are cultivating. This metaphor goes a long way in describing how to moisten the intimacy in your relationship as well. Tantra is actually the process of amending the foundation of your love. Even though its most immediate results are often measured in the passionate heat produced in awakened lovemaking, these moments are nothing but fleeting fireworks if the very same practices are not levied deep into the foundation of your love.
I have been swimming in a sea of tantra this week at the Yoga Journal pre-conference Tantra intensive in the Rocky Mountains. There are Elk crooning, calling their mates outside my bedroom window. The scene is breathtaking, like living inside a postcard. The program was a true intensive, with a wide range of lectures, asana, mantras, yantras, fire ceremonies, and trance dancing filling twelve hour days and opening me to the vast landscape of some of the earliest recorded spiritual doctrine in human history. My previous encounters with these ancient teachings have all revolved around the mysterious sexual rituals that many people associate with the meaning of Tantra. Over the years of building Good Clean Love, I have received multiple invitations from Dakas and Dakinis whose practices were limited to what was identified as the “Left Path” of Tantra, which focuses on elaborate external practices including sexual rituals that are described in great detail in the earliest Vedic teachings.
The story that has shifted the mainstream consciousness of sexuality is about a young beautiful virgin, who doesn’t recognize her own beauty and a deeply troubled young man, that channels his childhood pain and extreme wealth into a fringe sexual lifestyle that verges on violence. The plot twists and turns around submission and dominance, one of the oldest and most common fantasy themes in human history. How this story shifted the sexual landscape of our culture and has captivated the attention of millions reveals the singular most significant truth of our collective human sex drive: our access and witness to our fantasies is where our sexual motor either revs up or languishes. The dynamics of sexual dominance and submission has been transacted throughout our ancestry so many millions of times; it is no wonder that Fifty Shades of Grey taps this deep nerve of our collective sexual history.
Sexual dissatisfaction is one of the top reasons cited when we leave our relationships. It is also one of this life’s most worthy challenges to take on; not only for the meaning and pleasure it can bring to our relationships, but also for the very real health benefits that a satisfying sex life bestows on our well being. I also believe that learning how to satisfy our sex drive and grow our comfort with our erotic selves is a window which reveals our deepest humanity. It is no surprise that a massive consumer market designed to offer a quick fix for our sexual desires has ballooned into a billion dollar industry, but despite the millions of options available, there is no magic pill (even those that manage to sustain erections), toy or DVD of new sexual techniques that is going to bring you the kind of passionate intimate connection that we all long for. There are however some pretty straightforward shifts in focus and attention that will lead you towards more satisfying sexual experiences and a comfort with who you are as an erotic human being. Here are a few ideas, which are not listed in order of potency. Even if you only try one at a time, take note on how your intimate life responds.
“The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking. Immediately at the moment of perception, you can feel the mind going to work, polling one center of the brain after another for signs of recognition, for old memories and old connection.” – Lewis Thomas
Our sense of smell is ancient; primal as well as the source of our most powerful emotional memories. This is also the sensory pathway which is the key to sexual attraction and compatibility. These facts belie the little attention that our sense of smell evokes- partly this is because we have so little language for scent. Our scent language is often limited to “it smells like…” and our recognition of scents is often clearly delineated between pleasant and unpleasant. But there is a world of scent cognition that goes unrecognized every day and new research into the remarkable olfactory processing of life is demonstrating how seemingly invisible forces actually color what we see and hear as well.
How we spend our time is what our life is made of and our intimate relationships are a clear reflection of the time we invest in them. Relationship growth is a capital investment in time and without it, deep connections wither on the vine. It is easy in this era of instant connectivity to lose sight of what it means to commit to the real face time that love demands. Arguably, making time for making love is a deeply meaningful measure of the health and sustainability of your relationship. This is especially true when you consider the outrageous scheduling demands that we agree to without hesitation for our work lives, our children’s activity calendar or our favorite online social media connections.What makes scheduling the best hours of our intimate life so difficult?