We Are Stuck in a Sexual Catch 22

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The other day a good friend suggested that sexual desire and sexual urges are from our ‘lower’ or ‘base’ nature.

Or sometimes we hear it described as our ‘animal’ nature.

I think this is a pretty common view in our culture.

We hear constantly about “our obsession with sex”. The word ‘obsession’ delivers the same message, that sex is a human urge out of control. It sends the negative message that we have let our lower nature overpower our higher nature. And most people seem to agree this is true, based on the proliferation of porn online, the popularity of behaviors like ‘sexting’ and sending naked ‘selfies’, the use of sexual imagery in almost every form of advertising and entertainment and the constant stories of sexual crimes in the media.

Welcome to the human ‘Catch 22’.

On the one hand we are constantly told, in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that our sexual energy is a low, base, animalistic urge that must be controlled, yet on the other hand we are born with a built in ‘furnace’ of sexual desires—urges that want to be expressed and fully experienced.

Kim Anami, noted life and sexuality coach, describes it as our bipolar attitude towards sex. I like that analogy. We fluctuate between engaging willingly in sexual energy and then attempting to transcend it, riding the rollercoaster of opening up, then shutting down, opening up, shutting down, etc.

Even if we find a sexual partner with whom we are able to experience true sexual bliss—a partner who has given the space and safety to allow us to be fully open and vulnerable—we often subtly censor, or ‘make private’ that experience, as if it is something special we can’t share. This censoring more accurately reflects a learned discomfort about revealing that we have given in to our animalistic nature; knowing such behavior within our culture of ‘transcendence’ will almost surely lower other people’s view of us.

So how do we escape this sexual energy ‘Catch 22’?

In any process of inquiry, I love flipping things upside down to see if the reverse view holds a revealing perspective.

The common cultural view is that we must elevate ourselves from ‘unconscious’, animal body urges and desires into a state of spiritual consciousness, free from the physical world.

The reverse view would be this: we must elevate ourselves from ‘unconscious’ spiritual urges and desires into a state of body consciousness, free from the spiritual world.

Does this statement make sense to you, on any level? It may sound odd, on first reading, but if we dig into it a bit, I think it does make sense. Profound sense, actually.

First, we are definitely part of the physical world. We share energy within the physical system we call planet Earth. When we die, the energy that comprises our physical human body gets returned into the system.

Second, because of our ability to be conscious of our actions, thoughts and emotions, we almost intrinsically ‘elevate’ ourselves above the rest of our energy system (including all other living beings). We also naturally question everything. We wonder about the how and why of our existence. So we have this unconscious, intrinsic urge to be spiritual.

Third, many people on their path of enlightenment say the moment they “landed in their body” was significant. Truly landing in, accepting and rejoicing in our body, and its connection with everything else, seems consistent with the reverse view; that we need to elevate ourselves into a state of higher body consciousness.

Fourth, one of the reasons we use the word “lower” for sexual urges is because we consider our genitals (or root chakra) to be physically below our brain (or crown chakra). But I have no problem considering the reverse. If you think about it, there is no up or down in the universe. We tend to think up is into the sky and out into space. But the Earth, which we are part of, could just as easily be up. Our planet is round, so there is no empirical up or down. We are simply attached to the Earth. Who is to say our genitals don’t actually reside in a physically higher position, in relation to our source?

Fifth, the last phrase, about us becoming “free from the spiritual world”, is for me a truism in the sense that we need to be freed from the notion of transcending the physical.

So, perhaps our way to escape our human Catch 22 is to understand that we have things backwards.

What we call our lower nature is actually our higher nature. Instead of transcending FROM our lower selves to achieve a closer ‘walk with God’, we need to elevate our consciousness INTO our higher, creative, sexually-energized selves—the physical world—where ‘God’ actually resides.

Sexual energy is life energy, after all. There would be no life without it. Sexual energy is creative, generative ‘God’ or ‘Source’ energy, right inside us, and in all living things. Sexual energy is what makes us, and all facets of the beautiful planet we live on, tick.

And once we understand this, an ironic transformation takes place. Elevating ourselves into body and Earth consciousness actually elevates us into spiritual consciousness—the very thing we unconsciously desired in the first place. We don’t need to transcend our lower nature to achieve spirituality. Instead, we need to transcend into it, to embrace our true spiritual connection to the Universe—to God, Mother God, Source, or however you refer to the Creator of all things.

Truly understanding that sexual energy, and the love that it generates, is spiritual, causes us to honor our sexuality, instead of hiding and shaming it. We would honor one another—and our whole planetary system—much more deeply with this perception firmly embedded in our consciousness. In this respect, there would be no need to control or constrain sexual energy or our bodies. We would not be afraid of sharing sexual energy freely as a way of deeply loving and honoring ourselves and others.

What a joy it is to know that we can openly embrace and stoke the furnace of sexual desire inside us, surrendering ourselves to the total bliss of divine, healing, creative, loving sexual energy.

Embracing Our Sexually Energetic Being-ness

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Speak this truth to yourself:

I am a sexually energetic being.

Sexual energy flows through me, and all things.

The same divine power that created all life, which allows life to reproduce and flourish, flows through me.

If I tune my awareness, I can feel the creative, healing power of sexual energy inside me.

If I tune my awareness, I can feel sexual energy in my surroundings, since all life is imbued with sexual energy. I can feel it in other people. I can feel it in nature. I can feel it in the things we have constructed. I can feel it in the sun. I can feel it in the rain.

I can lovingly embrace all the sexual energy around me and let it flow through me. I can embrace the world as wholesome and full, just as it is, even if it needs healing.

I can feel loving sexual energy in the water from the shower on my skin.

I can feel loving sexual energy from the touch of another.

I can feel loving sexual energy from the sun’s warmth on my skin.

I can feel loving sexual energy from my own touch.

As a beautiful sexually energetic being, I recognize my ability to be more loving, content, creative and engaged in the flow of life. I recognize my ability to hug, hold and touch others more than I do now. I recognize that I can generate joy and increase by combining my loving sexual energy with another.

I choose to use this divine, creative energy for positive things. I am a sexually energetic creator, and must honor that free gift.

No matter what body shape I have—whether or not I have given birth to children, have sustained injury or loss, have wrinkles or folds, am small or large or young or old—I am a beautiful, loving sexual energetic being. I am equal to, and connected to, all other sexually energetic beings, including all animals, trees, flowers, insects, humans, etc.

I lovingly honor them.

Look in the mirror each morning and say, “I am a beautiful, loving sexual energetic being. I am rich and creative. I seek to share that creative divinity with others, honoring and healing them with my loving touch and encouraging them to embrace their own divine loving sexual energy to empower and enrich their lives.”

Enjoy.

Casual Sex or Not, Women Want Loving Sex

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In a fairly robust survey of 24,000 students over five years, done by Paula England at New York University, results showed that 74 percent of women had an orgasm the last time they had sex in a committed relationship, versus only 40 percent during their last casual ‘hook up’. In contrast, 80 percent of men had an orgasm in their last casual hook up.

This study spawned a wide number of recent media articles. You can read one of them, from the Globe and Mail, here.

Some of the ‘speculations’ from this study were:

  • Women are not free in a casual context to say what they need.
  • Guys care more in a relationship.
  • Practice with a partner yields better success.
  • Women’s path to orgasm is widely varied, not just derived from intercourse.
  • Women are still stigmatized for wanting casual sex.
  • We’ve been sold a bill of goods that the sexes can participate equally in hook up culture.
  • Maybe women are just as satisfied from the hook up, despite no orgasm.
  • Women may feel the quality of the sex is “weirdly irrelevant”.
  • Women are more focused on giving pleasure, than receiving.

While there is likely truth in all the statements above, the study, and the tenor of the interpretations, left me feeling uncomfortable. It seems to ramp up a debate that shouldn’t be a debate.

In a world where a huge percentage of young people are conditioned by the narrow spectrum sex of porn, there is a lot of distracting debate about the wants of men and women.

One of the women quoted in the Globe and Mail article, Vanessa Martini, says this: “You have to balance a lot of things in your brain, like what’s more important to me – just getting off, or do I actually want to have a connection with this person?”

Most porn is about just getting off. And if we believe what the endless videos portray, there is a lot of pleasurable ‘just getting off’ happening. I think, however, that Martini’s inner debate about connection is significant.

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Women intuit far more easily than men about connection. Just look at the bonobos, or the characteristics of matriarchal societies. There is no more intimate connection between a man and a woman than the physical union of penis in vagina, with the divine, generative power of sexual energy flowing between the partners, whether they acknowledge the divinity of it or not. There IS connection. Period.

Women get this, much easier than men, on a deep level. And when this connection is not acknowledged, there is dissonance. So for both women and men, it is not a question of do I want the connection or not, it is do I want to ignore the connection or not.

Women want to have sex at least as much as men. Perhaps more overall, since their sexual engines can keep going... and going... once at full throttle. But here, for me, is the important point. Women, whether they are having casual, hook up sex or not, want loving, honoring sex. They want to embrace the connection, even if it is only in passing, whether they will see their sexual partner again, or not.

Loving sexual energy is in all of us, male and female. Men, despite the cultural influences that bury their honoring desire even deeper than women, intrinsically want to express their sexuality in a full spectrum, loving way as well. Making a connection with another human being is not something we need to be afraid of. It is natural. It is divine. And we can embrace it.

The Bonobo Factor: Promiscuity

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Read the introduction to this series of posts here.

Bonobo Love Secret 05 - There’s Promise in Promiscuity

“Sex At Dawn” co-author Christopher Ryan writes:

All the casual sex among bonobos is arguably a big part of what has made them among the smartest of all primates. Until human beings came along and messed things up for them, bonobos enjoyed very high quality of life, low stress, and plenty of social interaction in hammocks. In fact, of the many species of social primates living in multi-male social groups, not a single species is sexually monogamous. Each of the arguably smartest mammals—humans, chimps, bonobos, and dolphins—is promiscuous.

What does this mean for us?

Whether said tongue in cheek or not, what Ryan is suggesting is that the bonobos show us that we can potentially enhance our ‘intelligence’ as a species by embracing a healthy multi-partner approach to sexuality. If that’s true, we have a long way to go. Most modern cultures consider women who openly sleep with multiple partners as “sluts”, or worse. And men, who seem to ‘get away with it’ more easily, do it mostly in secret, dishonoring their partners. Perhaps we humans are getting ‘dumber’ as a result.

Interestingly, Naomi Wolf, in her recent book “Vagina”, describes research that shows that women have a highly complex pelvic neural network that works with their brain to affect their consciousness, confidence, risk-taking and autonomy.

Clearly the female neural network is far more diffuse than the male and has a lot more going on: in women, there is a tangle of neural activity at the top of the uterus, at the sides of the vagina, at the top of the rectum, at the top of the bladder, at the clitoris, and along the perineum. ... [The female neural network] looks like the tangled skein of a hundred thousand golden threads that has been drawn upward.

What a beautiful description. She also notes how male pelvic neural networks are quite similar from man to man, but that “no two women are alike”. The pelvic neural network varies greatly from woman to woman. That is why each woman’s path to orgasm, and the type of orgasm she has, is so variable. It will be as unique as her wiring is.

The evidence shows that both male and female pelvic neural networks are strongly wired into our consciousness, and therefore affect our ‘intelligence’—the way we think about ourselves, about others and about our world. To have this wiring stimulated in different ways by different people, who each bring a different ‘energy’ and ‘resonance’, can only benefit us. While men can grow and learn from intimate interactions with a variety of partners, I believe women, with their far more profound and varied wiring, can benefit even more greatly from multiple, honoring, intimate interactions.

So perhaps, like the behavior of the bonobos suggests, we humans need to openly embrace the idea of healthy male and female promiscuity to continue to evolve as a “smart” species.

Neither male nor female promiscuity are currently conceived as a healthy practice, however. While male promiscuity is quietly tolerated, female promiscuity faces massive cultural barriers.  Research published this year by Zhana Vrangalova, at Cornell University, shows there is still virtually no tolerance for female promiscuity. Not even by females, who swim, like all of us, in the waters of patriarchy.

Perhaps this goes back to Ryan’s previous “sisterhood is powerful” point. The bonobos suggest that women need to rediscover the way they are naturally wired, to embrace desires they have been made to feel shameful for, to fully embrace the power of loving sexual energy, and join together to embolden a renewed, rich femininity. Change will not come by one woman acting in the face of the inevitable tidal wave of patriarchal judgment.

And enlightened men need to reassess their possessive tendencies. They need to see benefits to setting their female partners free, while still loving them deeply. And they also need to elevate their own promiscuous predispositions to a place of openness and honesty; honoring each woman they have the beautiful grace to be intimate with.

Read Part Seven HERE

God is Sex: The Divine Connection

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If you haven’t noticed, we live in a world full of sex. It requires no specific belief system or path of enlightenment to understand—to really understand—this one simple principle: life could not have been created, and would not exist, without sexual energy.

Whether or not you see and acknowledge the constant flow of sexual energy in the world around you, you know what it feels like. The sexual energy we all experience within ourselves, the desire and arousal, is congruent with the power or force that created life, indeed, created all things.

Does that make it divine? Well, at the very least it tells us that sexual energy is essentially Source or God energy. In other words, at its essence, sexual energy is incredibly powerful, creative and good.

Doesn’t the beauty of our world, our universe, amaze and astound you? Haven’t we all felt that moment of breathtaking exhilaration when viewing the wonders of nature? For most of us, that is where we most commonly experience a sense of the Divine.

Every living thing you see is a sexual being, from flowering plants and trees and insects, to birds and plankton and the largest of animals. Human beings as well. Without sexual energy, life does not exist. The powers of attraction, union and reproduction are in full flow around us at every moment. Even at the level of the base particles of matter the same principles of attraction and union are at play.

Yet somehow, over the centuries of human existence we have managed to develop ways of thinking and behaving that diminish our view of sexual energy. For many people it is scary. Sexual energy must be something to fear, because we have created laws and beliefs, often completely unfounded, which constrain and contain our experience of it. That is, our ‘allowed’ experience of sexual energy is very narrow. In almost all modern patriarchal cultures this has led to an underbelly of life-limiting shame and guilt. We see sexual energy as only part of our experience, not as a reason for being—a root connection to the power that created everything. We have little concept of its honoring, healing, creative and connecting power.

So, my friends, I challenge you to contemplate the statement “God is sex”— or to state that in a different way, “our connection to Source, to the Creator, to the Divine, lies within the creative power of sexual energy, inside us and all around us”— with an open mind, listening to what your body, and soul, has to say as well.

This blog will continue to examine ways to enable this. Such contemplation and discovery enlarges us from a narrow spectrum experience of sexual desire and sexual activity into a full spectrum experience of unlimited, affirming loving sexual energy.