Sex Talk: Cultivating a Profound Relationship With Your Sexuality

Take a look at the world around us, and it becomes readily apparent that we are living in a time of simultaneous convergence and deconstruction. As there is a resurging interest in spiritual practices in many circles, there is also a breakdown in the patriarchal, hierarchical church structures. The specter of clergy sexual abuse intermingles with a worldview promulgated by the church about the nature of relationships and sexuality that no longer has meaning for people today – men and women, young and even middle-aged. The gender roles we were raised with have broken down and blurred. The image of nuclear family as mom, dad and 2.4 children has been superseded by a far greater spectrum of family possibilities. Bisexuality, androgyny, gender fluidity and polyamory are more and more common, especially among the twenty something generation.

Erotic energy is far more than sexual energy. It is life energy. As our culture has evolved splits between mind and body, head and heart, heart and pelvis and sexuality and spirituality, we have forgotten what it means to be fully alive.

“Erotic energy is not just about having sex,” continues Suzanne Blackburn, whose participation in sexuality and spirituality work has catapulted her personal and spiritual growth. “It is about living.” As we have become disconnected from our bodies, hearts, souls, spirits, one another and the divine, we have lost touch with many of the most beautiful pleasures and experiences possible in being human. So many people today are searching for meaning and purpose, most often expressed through job dissatisfaction, addictions and broken or troubled relationships. The rise of industrialization, urbanization, the nation-state, global dislocations, war and poverty all contribute to the sex-spirit split for us both individually and collectively.

“Because our culture has repressed sexuality so much, it is repressing everything,” acknowledges Blackburn. “People who have repressed sexuality have also repressed other areas of their lives. If you are not joyful about your sexuality, it is hard to be joyful about watching a sunset or watching kittens play. Hopefully, by breathing life into one, you breathe life into all of it. It’s like giving birth. When the baby comes out of the birth canal and takes a breath, the baby pinks up. When we open up, breathe deeply, have fun, when we dance, we pink up.” This backdrop provides fertile soil for an emerging movement working to integrate sexuality and spirituality.

Living in the Midst of a Paradigm Shift

Bob Francouer, a teacher of graduate and undergraduate classes in Human Sexuality at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the editor of the Encyclopedia of Sexuality notes, “Sexuality and spirituality have always been joined and interwoven from the very beginning of the human race. It is only in the last 2000 to 3000 years of Western civilization that the two have been separated. And they have not just been separated, but have been seen as antagonistic to each other. The split between sex and spirit came out of the Greek philosophy of dualism, and a dichotomous view of humans as matter/evil/female and spirit/good/rational/male.”

Just as Western civilization went through a period of major cultural upheaval 2000 to 3000 years ago, we are undergoing a period of major cultural turnover and paradigm shift now. “The institutional churches are losing their credibility in dealing with sexuality and spirituality. They are losing their authority,” continues Francouer. Francouer is well versed in the changing paradigm worldwide. The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality is written by 300 experts in 60 countries on 6 continents. The encyclopedia includes in depth reports of all aspects of sexuality. Each country has a section on religious and ethnic influences. Having collected information from many cultures all over the world, “it becomes very clear the spiritual traditions are undergoing major revolutions in their patterns of thinking. People in many cultures worldwide are thinking now not in terms of marital and procreational values, but in terms of individual self-enrichment and fulfillment. The spiritual is a very important part of the new perspective.”

Significant leadership in the sexuality and spirituality is coming from women. Francouer acknowledges, “As women in developing nations are exposed to Western concepts and experiences of human sexuality, they are linking their religious traditions with the visions of Western sexuality. As women become more empowered in third world nations, they are gaining more control over their bodies and sexuality, turning more to their spiritual heritage.”

“When the human psyche reaches the point of convergence and breakthrough into a new level of consciousness,” reflects Francouer, “diversity is the first thing that happens. The energy spreads out and explores all kinds of possibilities. There is no one ideal paradigm nor five ideal paradigms. All the models we have had in the past have real difficulties being applied in today’s world. So people are creating their own models and patterns.” The new paradigms created need to include and consider the collective as well as the individual.

A Quiet Movement and Its Roots

The emergence of the sexuality and spirituality movement is very quiet. For one, the subjects of sexuality and spirituality are each daunting. Many people are frightened at the thought of delving more deeply into either one. Too, Ani Colt, publisher of Spirituality and Sexuality magazine and founder of the Sexuality and Spirituality Union Network (SUNetwork) points out, “One of the things that energized a lot of movements was the common experience of feeling oppressed. A sense of oppression contributed to the emergence of blacks, women and homosexuals. But the oppression of our sexuality is not even recognized because sex is always in front of us. It’s in ads, on TV, in the movies. It is much more subtle oppression. As a result, it hasn’t given us that organizing energy that has created the feminist movement, the civil rights movement and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans gendered community.”

Sex educator, sex coach and author Loraine Hutchins adds, “Erotophobia/sex-negativity is hard to battle because it is all pervasive and systemic. It doesn’t affect any one group at the expense of another like racism. However, erotophobia, like racism, really hurts everyone and diminishes us all. I think sex-negativity is a function of heterosexism, a system of oppression created by patriarchy, involving male supremacy and mandatory heterosexuality. This oppressive system hurts men as well as women. The parallel is in looking at how whites are made less by racism, in contrast to non-whites. The hurts are different and need different remedies.”

“Organized religion is of little help in the sexuality-spirituality field,” Shalom Mountain Retreat Center founder Gerry Jud acknowledges. “I make a big distinction between religion and spirituality. Religion is about controlling behavior. Spirituality is about development and liberation of consciousness – becoming consciousness itself. Sex permeates all of life. When people are intimate with each other, touch each other, look into each other’s eyes, dance ecstatically with each other, the sexual component is out front. You cannot take an effective spiritual journey without taking into account that we are sexual beings.”

The first nationwide survey on sexuality and spirituality was conducted by Gina Ogden, a sexuality therapist and author of Women Who Love Sex: An Inquiry into the Expanding Spirit of Women’s Erotic Experiences. She is presently writing a book based on her survey results and hopes that the data will provide a baseline for broadening definitions of human sexuality, especially for women. Oggen contends that the field of sexology itself has reinforced the split between sexuality and spirituality. While she was a visiting scholar at the Radcliffe Institute, she happened upon the earliest sex surveys – conducted by women MDs. “The first survey, a century ago, was filled with hand-written responses about sexuality and spirituality,” notes Ogden. “But since the 1930′s when male scientists took over the surveying of sexual behavior, sex research became focused on what was easy to count and measure – performance by way of intercourse, orgasms and spasms, the mechanical part.” In her 25 years of experience as a clinician and workshop leader, Ogden found these mechanical features to be only a fraction of what women said was important.

“Almost 4000 women and men answered my survey with an outpouring of stories about sexuality and spirituality, about love and empathy and meaning and sex as a direct path to the divine. What is fascinating is that these stories echo the responses from those early surveys, as if they’re filling in almost a hundred years of blanks, the mysterious black holes in the history of the sexuality and spirituality movement. Maybe the scientific arm of the present day movement begins with Celia Mosher, who conducted that first survey in 1892!”

Ogden continues, “There is brain research coming out now because with advanced technology like MRI’s and PET scans we can really look at what is going on in the human brain over a period of time, like stop action. Researchers are finding that during sexual stimulation more than one center of the brain is lighting up. This demonstrates an organic basis for arguing that sexuality and spirituality are connected, that sexual response is multi-dimensional. This is in direct disagreement with all the sex research that focuses on performance, and the medical diagnostics that say if you can’t perform to their standards, it’s called dysfunction. There may be a political and social movement going on, but it’s important to remember that the capacity for connecting sex and spirit is in us. It is in our cells and our brain structure. It is built in. It has taken us 3000 years to remember it, to rediscover it, to validate it.”

A Wide Spectrum of Trainings and Practices

Many trainings, practices and methods have evolved to help people learn to work with sexual, spiritual, and life energies in their bodies, relationships and lives. These methods have been developed by visionaries who have built a community or network of people around them. There is some cross-fertilization between these communities, but more often the right hand doesn’t even know there is a left hand yet, never mind what it is doing.

Existing practices and trainings approach integrating sexuality and spirituality from many different directions. For example, the Human Awareness Institute approaches this work from an emotional and interpersonal direction, giving people skills for deeper intimacy and connection through its Love, Intimacy and Sexuality workshops. Tantric work, on the other hand, approaches the body and its energy field from a rootedness in spiritual philosophy. Sterling community work focuses on distinguishing the differences between male and female energy.

One of the common threads amongst the many approaches is the creation of a safe, sacred community circle. Joining together in holy ritual is a basic human need. We are starving for this kind of sacred circle. Trainings and workshops such as those profiled below provide help meet this need. I have selected a handful of significant programs in the sexuality and spirituality field, all of which have evolved over the past several decades. The purpose is to illustrate a range of what is available.

The Human Awareness Institute: Restoring the Purity of Heart and Soul

Stan Dale, 73, founder of the Human Awareness Institute, that has offered Love, Intimacy and Sexuality workshops worldwide for thirty four years, found himself on a path of integrating sexuality and spirituality while stationed in Japan when he was twenty seven years old. Having had a successful career in radio prior to being drafted, Stan worked at the Armed Forces Korea Network while in the service. He was put on temporary duty in Tokyo for the Far East Network, and was invited to a cast party for a motion picture being filmed there, “Joe Butterfly.” The cast party took place at a geisha house, a stunning 22-acre facility with trees, butterflies and flowers and buildings that looked like palaces. Through a twist of fate, he ended up living there for seven months when an old man who lived there invited him to stay. The old man told everyone at the geisha house to treat Stan like his son. The head geisha, nearly 70, gave Stan a quartz stone.

“She said to me,” remembers Stan, “‘What do you see?’ I said, ‘a stone.’ She said, ‘Yes…but come back and tell me what you see later.’ This went on for three days. I knew it was a trick. I examined it, had a magnifying glass, asked others what they saw…At the end of the three days, she asked me what I saw. Like a bolt of lightning, I saw the beauty of the universe. The words came out of my mouth.”

“At an event that night, the head geisha stood up. She gave me an honorific bow and said, ‘If you can see the beauty of the universe in a stone, you are now a geisha.’ I hadn’t known what geisha meant, but I sensed it was very special. The geishas taught me to look beyond everything I look at, to listen beyond everything I listen to, to go beyond what I touch. I learned an old adage to live by. If God wanted to hide, God would hide in human beings, because that is the last place we would think to look to find God.”

Stan learned to look for and see the spark of God, the magnificence that is every human being which may be camouflaged or obscured as we take the hard knocks of life. “As we walk through life in this world, the garbage keeps getting dumped on spirit,” notes Stan. Sufficient garbage gets dumped that people don’t recognize their own heart and spirit. “When something is in the body that shouldn’t be there, when it is taken out, it heals itself,” acknowledges Stan. “The heart heals itself. The soul heals itself.”

Just as the heart, soul and spirit get obscured by the garbage of life, sexuality has been equally misunderstood. “When we get the craziness and dirtiness out of the word sex, and put it where it belongs in spirit, heal and soul, then we get purity. “My vision is for every human being to be aware that their spirituality and sexuality is who you are, not something you get. My vision is for every person on this planet to see what is available when the garbage is indeed taken out.”

Shalom Mountain Retreat Center: Sustaining Spiritual Growth and Intimacy

Gerry Jud, now 83, is one of the true pioneers in the sexuality and spirituality movement. After getting a Ph.D at Yale, he started his career as a pastor in New Haven, CT. “I became interested in the question of why, in religious groups, the level of intimacy is exquisitely limited. People who get started in the field of a religious path soon level off. The journey comes to a halt. This troubled me as a church person, and so I began to study a way in which intimacy could be found among such people who are seeking a spiritual life, and how it could be sustained.”

He did his research and development work at Kirkridge, a major Protestant retreat center in Bangor, ME. Influenced by leaders in the human potential movement, including the folks at Esalen and in humanistic psychology, Gerry reached a turning point in his work when he worked with primal therapy techniques. “My first wife drowned after seventeen years of marriage. We had three little children. As a religious person, I did the best I could with that tragedy. It wasn’t until I got into primal scream work that I was able to release my anger. That changed everything for me.”

“That led me to see that people on their spiritual journey are not stuck in their conscious minds. They are stuck in the twilight,” a deeper subconscious layer that is often inaccessible to the conscious mind. For people to move forward in their growth work, Gerry recognized they needed to work at this deeper level, which he called the “twilight zone.” He developed a system in which he created an intensely tender, loving group of fifteen people. He would work with each person, one at a time, using deep breathing to put them into an altered state of consciousness.

Gerry initially started working with clergy and their wives, but his work soon grew to include people of all different religions and cultures. He eventually left his church job and founded Shalom Mountain Retreat Center in 1975. He found his work growing to include sexuality as it became apparent that the journey to God needed to include working with sexuality. Gerry’s pioneering work helped give birth to yet another body of work, the Body Sacred.

Suzanne Blackburn describes the Shalom experience as “a beautiful blend of all that we know in modern psychology and all that we know about love. It’s community at its best – a community that holds people to their truths and never withdraws love regardless of that truth.”

Body Electric School: Learning About Erotic Energies

The Body Electric School for Erotic Massage was founded by Joseph Kramer in the early 1980′s. Suzanne Blackburn speaks to the essential contribution of this work. “Kramer realized that men were compartmentalizing orgasm. For most people, initially men, if they were orgasmic, their experience happens within a five inch radius around the genitals. Kramer was interested in developing a body of knowledge to make orgasm a lot more – a full body, full person, full spiritual experience. He went on a quest to find out how to do this and created an experiential school for teaching about erotic energies.”

As we live with breakdown and deconstruction at so many levels of life, one thread that emerges is a hunger and longing, both spiritual and erotic. Suzanne Blackburn, reflects, “We are in a culture of dis-remembering in a lot of ways including the natural flow of erotic energies through and around us. Alex Jade of the Body Electric School uses the term ‘erotic amnesia.’ A lot of work is now available to help us re-member.”

Kramer drew upon ancient traditions and modern wisdom, and blended this knowledge in a new way that is accessible to men and women today. Body Electric work teaches people to wake up to their own bodies through breath, movement and touch, including Taoist erotic massage.

“Body Electric work translates ancient wisdom into practical exercises people can do in the here and now. We carry these ancient teachings in our bodies. It doesn’t take a whole lot of teaching for our bodies to wake up and remember. Our bodies hold the wisdom,” comments Blackburn. “In our culture it is generally not okay to take your clothes off with strangers, to talk about your genitals and erotic experience. The facilitators of Body Electric workshops are able to create a very safe space that allows people looking to be more alive in their bodies, to heal shame, open to more intimacy, celebrate living, and most importantly, to reconnect genitals and heart.”

Growing out of the AIDS devastation, the sudden linking of sex with death and attempting to recover from this, the school was exclusively for men until twelve years ago. “In response to women’s interests in this work, Joseph sought out women teachers,” chronicles Blackburn. The school currently offers a women’s program and a small mixed gender curriculum.

Sterling Men’s and Women’s Weekends: Distinguishing Between Masculine and Feminine Energy

An outgrowth of the human potential movement that offered us an opportunity to explore what it means to be human, Sterling men’s and women’s weekends provided a forum to explore what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.

Joe Boyer, who is involved in leadership in the Northeast region for this work, speaks to the evolution of the men’s and women’s weekends. “Throughout the history of the world, masculine and feminine roles were established that worked for many years. In more recent years of civilization, these roles have unraveled with politics, the industrial age, wars and all the conditions that called for the women’s movement. The women’s movement pushed us towards equality, but this posed new problems. The divorce rate went up. As a society, and as men and women, we had lost touch with the essence of the male and female roles that had worked for millions of years.”

Sterling work explores the essence of what it means to be male and what it means to be female, and what each gender’s roles and responsibilities can be. The goal is for men and women to be able to come together and have relationships that work. What is being distinguished here is energy – what is true masculine energy and what is true feminine energy. “The more unisexed a couple gets,” reflects Boyer, “the more it loses its vitality.” Rather than becoming androgynous, which implies a melding of gender energies, we need to become more clearly rooted in our masculine and female energies. “We need the distinction of masculine and feminine energies to understand who we are and what our inner selves are trying to tell us. This is not to say a man should shun his feminine energy. The key is learning to distinguish it.”

An example of the difference between male and female energy is the way each gender feels a sense of essential expression. Men feel a sense of essential expression when they provide and act. Through acting, men connect with the resources of the world, helping do what needs to be done to move things forward. Women feel a sense of essential expression when they nurture and foster connections. To nurture, you have to fully connect with another human being, to be able to plug into another, experience what they are feeling and empathize with them. In this way, women keep the relational fabric of society together.

When we look at the symbols for male and female, the male symbol is like an arrow, pointing or directing, and the female symbol includes a circle, bringing together and including. Men may take women’s nurturing efforts for granted. Unfortunately, women may not recognize the expression of emotional energy by men. When women nurture and when men work, each gender comes from their heart. This expresses an intention to emotionally be there for another. It is their way of trying to emotionally connect. For men and women to relate and get along, being able to recognize and appreciate these essential energies and their expression is fundamental.

A big piece of Sterling work is empowering people to become the men and women they always wanted to be. Our culture delivers lots of messages about what a man or women is supposed to be, but these messages may not ring true within an individual man or woman. “The Sterling Men’s Weekend is promoted as a modern initiation into manhood. This culture lacks this kind of initiation. The closest thing we have is the military. The military, however, makes you into the man they or we want you to be. The Sterling weekend is about making you into the man you always wanted to be.”

In order to serve the world at large, we need to have a clear strong sense of self, including a clear sense of gender identity. In this light, Sterling work helps men and women get rooted in that sense of self, so they can then come together to help shape a better world.

Conscious Relating: The New Paradigm for Love

While we have made progress in accepting same sex relationships between men and men and women and women, the culture as whole still offers a pretty narrow view of what constitutes an acceptable loving relationship. Our high divorce rate illustrates that even straight heterosexual men and women struggle in the most accepted form of relationship called marriage. Sexuality, intimacy and emotional needs are often difficult to talk about in relationships, and as a result it is hard for many people to be truthful in their expression of their sexuality.

Deborah Taj Anapol, a pioneer in the field of exploring conscious relating and integrating sexuality and spirituality, speaks of the new paradigm for love. “Right now what is occurring in consciousness is a marriage or blending between the masculine and feminine. With this shift comes an understanding of love as consciousness, rather than feelings for an object or love as something finite. The new paradigm for love is one of partnership, rather than a dominance/submissive form of relating.”

Relationships are based on honesty when they come from a climate of mutual respect and emotional safety. In the old paradigm, when relationships fail, partners often distance from themselves and each other with lies of omission and commission. When intimate relationships are formed from a utilitarian base, responding to social expectations, economic necessity, or gender role expectations, it is hard for men and women alike to find an authentic way of relating. When relationships are formed from a more spiritually integrated place, one comes to a partner freely, from a place of unconditional love and choice.

When people are ashamed or afraid to admit their needs to themselves, never mind their partners, it is hard to have a paradigm for love. Learning to know ones emotional, sexual and intimate needs becomes a spiritual journey. For many people, alternative lifestyle options are needed for authentic and vital relating and expression. As we move through a paradigm shift, forms of relationship may need to adjust to accommodate our individual and collective growth and change. Committed relationships may range from marriage to God with a celibate lifestyle to polyamorous relationships where people are both emotionally committed and sexual with more than one partner. Some people commit emotionally to a primary relationship with a person of one gender, yet engage sexually with another person or other persons of the other gender. Some individuals and couples choose to study and practice sacred sexuality to increase both their sense of connection and pleasure.

Bob Francouer comments about the shifting paradigm, “I think the outcome is going to be a much greater, more open, tolerant diversity. Once premarital sex was taboo. Today, in many circles, including mainstream circles and even churches, premarital sexual relationships are taken for granted. We will see different lifestyles that are socially responsible and fulfilling for the individuals. As we live into our seventies, eighties, nineties and beyond, some people will change their pattern of relationships.”

Where we will evolve to will be an interesting question. Women are taking a leading role in bringing an sex-spirit integration into the culture. More and more men are realizing they need to heal their wounded hearts to bring themselves more fully into their own lives and relationships. I am excited about the healing potential this emerging movement has for life on Earth. Perhaps, as we reconnect with our bodies, our hearts, our souls and one another we will indeed create a world that can live in greater harmony and peace.

The Boston Area Sexuality And Spirituality Network

In response to a groundswell of interest, the Boston Area Sexuality and Spirituality Network was founded in May 2002. The group exists to create a forum for people interested in integrating sexuality and spirituality to meet, dialogue and exchange resources. At the first meeting of BASSN, one of the themes was the need for an umbrella organization that embraced ALL forms of sexual, spiritual and gender expression. One member stated, “I can find a group of bisexual women pagans, but that group may not dialogue with transgendered Christians or hard-wired straight monogamous people.” BASSN offers an umbrella, welcoming people who identify with the many dimensions of gender identity, orientation, sexual expression and spiritual identity.

What BASSN members have in common is the desire to create a community or tribe where INTEGRATION is possible, creating a safe space where people can explore and learn from both differences and common threads. The group sponsors monthly meetings, which are like mini-workshops. Topics the group has addressed so far include: integrating sexuality and spirituality: what does it mean?, the essence of gender, safe touch, ways of loving: forms of relationship, and sexual energy.

The group will be organizing a Sexuality and Spirituality Leadership Forum, gathering together pioneers in the S and S field to share their visions and work, and to see how everyone can work together to support one another and this emerging field.

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Sex Talk: Cultivating a Profound Relationship With Your Sexuality

Let’s talk about sex!

But let’s talk about it in a different way. We’re not going to talk about the oh-that-feels-so-good, get-me-off kind of sex, but the kind of sex that is all-encompassing where you feel you are making love to life.

This is a journey of remembering the profound nature of your sexuality and the wild ride which may await you.

Your relationship with your sexuality is like a dance, and you can reap great benefits when you learn to trust this part of yourself. Are you ready to embrace letting go of everything in order to feel the infinite places this kind of relationship with your sexuality may take you?

Sex is magic. It is an unspoken language that deserves reverence, understanding, deep listening. It is voice, it is expression and your personal presence. When you truly open yourself that way, a force arises in you that has a presence like a black-belt black-belt or a Samurai warrior: one graceful step takes you out of harm’s way, your decisions are decisive and they align with your own body, mind, sex, and spirit.

With the right intention, you can truly unleash your spirit in your sex life.

This is where you bring your potent, rooted, turned-on self, to share with another who matches you in their own rooted, emotionally clear, turned-on self. And it does not depend on physical penetration. It is a shamanic journey in itself, so hold onto something or just be willing to lose everything.

Because each moment life will either penetrate you, will come towards you because you attract it – or it will be repulsed by you and remain at arm’s length; you will be untouchable, un-penetrable.

Now imagine cultivating such a relationship with your sexuality which was far beyond the mere act of sex with another person. How different it is from that boring old story: meeting someone in a bar, feeling physically turned on, taking them home, having wild, explosive, sex, and it being over and fizzling out. You know, the sex where it’s all about thrusting? It only touches the physical, superficial layers of your being.

And then there is sex that is abusive. where there is no awareness at all. All that shows up is disconnect. One is so consumed with their emotional burdens and pains that, rather than receiving what they need to transform and be loved, they lose touch with life. They may walk around not feeling their body and all they feel and know is anger, rage, sadness, discord.

Let’s not judge these situations as right or wrong. Let’s look closely and use them to finally bring some much needed awareness and compassion to the topic. Let us discover what it is that all beings need to receive to finally remember and enjoy the richness of this connection with their own sexuality.

Sex is far bigger than many of us realize. We aren’t taught as children about the potential and bigness of our sexuality and life force. Sex, we are taught, is this superficial thing we give away, share with another for great pleasure or feel obligated to give away to another. And yet it is so powerful that it can stir up so much emotional chaos.

As I sit here and write, after a one-hour vipassana meditation on my week-long solo retreat, I feel my body so open, so available to life. I close my eyes and feel the pumping of my blood through my veins, the temperature changes within my body, the softness and tensions of various parts of my musculature. I feel as if life is entering my heart and caressing my sex!

I am in tune with the subtle movements of the trees, the soft caress of the wind. My ears are so sensitive to the sweet sounds of the song birds, the buzzing of the bees, and the echoes of the crows in the distance. Vitality, connection, information and wisdom. I am in my eyes, being penetrated by nature. I have said yes to joining, in divine partnership, with what life offers.

But it was not always so.

The Exploration of my personal sexual evolution:

Exploring my personal sexual evolution takes me back to when I was ten years old, to when my menstrual cycle began, to the heavy blood flow and extreme physical and emotional pain that came with it.

This was the beginning of learning about who I was as a sensitive sexual being. So often this stage of life for a young woman or young man is overlooked. What was the environment like for you during this rite of passage called “puberty?”

My parents were newly separated at the time. I remember being with my father out for breakfast at a small town restaurant in Connecticut. It was morning, most likely on a Sunday because I spent the weekends with Dad.

I remember suddenly being hit with so much physical pain and cramping, the start of a very heavy cycle. This was the beginning of some big changes in my body, and no one ever sat me down to talk to me about the emotions, the physical discomfort and the feelings that would only grow from this day forward.

So often children are left to figure things out for themselves. These days there are many places where the way children are raised in holistic mindful ways is increasing, which is an extraordinary gift. When I was ten years old things were not so open yet.

Being as sensitive as I was, I can imagine how much easier puberty would have been if I’d had the support, the community, even a mentor as a younger child to help me understand my body, my emotions and my sexuality on a bigger scale.

I traveled many places on my sexual journey, and many of the places I traveled are considered not-so-conservative by some. Her (my sex) and I have explored many places together and today we have created an enriching relationship. I have always been an explorer of life and human nature. And in all my explorations of life I have always had a deep reverence for (her) my sexuality.

I explored fun places, riding that dangerous edge with my sexual energy and discovering the vast world of pleasure through my teens – even though I did not share the fullness of my virginity until I was eighteen. I waited for no other reason than I always felt that when someone was going to penetrate me in such a way and enter my body, they needed to have a certain amount of presence and care.

In my 20′s things took a turn for me. After three years in a relationship, I found myself curious about life again, open to adventure and the changes happening within me. My partner at the time was not as sexual as I was. We would joke that, at 20, he was like he was 60. He understood this and we laughed about it, and at times, even processed about it.

My sexual life force and connection pulsed through me and I yearned to be met in this way. I yearned to have a partner to share this wordless communication with. We loved each other but we had different needs at the time. Back then I did not yet have the tools to communicate my sexual needs. I was in an environment where I didn’t understand whole parts of my emotional body.

Then it happened: the kiss. A single kiss I shared with a man I was attracted to who was not my boyfriend – that triggered an avalanche of guilt, shame and self-punishment. I judged myself so harshly, and, without the support to help me understand my feelings, I instantly ended my relationship. It is not what my boyfriend wanted, but I ended it. I felt confused, very confused.

Today I am grateful to be aware of just how many ways there are to relate. That awareness took two decades of self-transformation and cultivating rich relationships to develop. Twenty five years ago, I was still stuck in a shell of old concepts, conditioned stories and other people’s truths.

This is when I entered the wild, free-spirit nymph phase of my sex life.What began as a free-spirited nymph who was open and light-hearted shifted into a place to run and hide my heart.

These were an intense few years where shame and self-punishment lead the way. I dishonored my body and spirit with sex, and I dismissed my voice because I thought I was undeserving. This is when I forgot that sex is magic.

For me, sex became less about feeling, and more and more about emptiness. I allowed men to touch me the way they wanted – in whatever way they wanted. It became all about getting the guy in bed, and it hurt, physically and emotionally.

The years started to numb me out. I grew more and more numb until finally I had no choice. Everything in my life came to a full stop. It was a wake-up call. After nearly six years of intense competitive bodybuilding, dysfunctional relationships, and disconnection from my sex and my emotions, I collapsed. It felt like my life was over, yet it was the start to actually living!

It was time to allow all that experience to be my teacher, to be the wisdom and the fuel for serving others. It was time to cultivate a new relationship – body, mind and spirit – with myself through nearly seven years of celibacy. I knew it was time, and that I had the power within me – that, indeed, I was the only one who had the power – to change my life and my relationship with my body and my sex.

Looking back is so interesting. Today I feel alive in my sexual journey, giving voice to my sex and giving my desires permission to be lived. I put my personal story here so that you know you are not alone. We are in this together!

Today, this article is here to supply you with information and support to do something different. Together, we will revolutionize your relationship to intimacy, to sex, to connection, to life itself! I want you to know that you don’t have to wait until something big knocks you on the head or drops you to your knees to start your revolution.

I have worked with clients who were stuck in a phase of repulsing life. I had one client say “I think my guardedness and armor is very much needed and beneficial in life.” I’m not trying to say that putting up armor is right or wrong. Rather, I want you to think about how deeply you desire to feel, to be touched, to feel alive, tuned in, creative, aroused; how deeply do you want to experience the fullness of life?

My sexuality is potent and in flow, even when physical penetration is non-existent. She (sex, sexual energy) is flowing, is creative. She is alive when I allow myself to listen to her, to embrace her, to touch her through my presence.

My sexuality is a language and the act of sex is a form of communication. It is a place where, when my partner matches my presence and connection, words no longer matter.

My sexuality is a kind of meditation; and meditation is a sexual act. In meditation, you becomes so still: you observe, you fill up, you open, and allow life and spirit to fully enter you. I want life to penetrate me. All of nature, the sounds of nature, the wind, the warmth of the sun, the water’s caress. I love feeling so alive, for, are we not meant to experience life to the fullest?

Through cultivating this partnership with nature and life itself, you are able to explore, get to know yourself in rich new ways. Why? Because you will be more open, more aware, sensitive and present.

To engage so deeply in sex, we must approach it from a holistic viewpoint. Sex is not a mere physical act where our genitals are touched to the point of orgasm. It is not even about reaching orgasm. I am so tired of hearing about the power of orgasm.

I believe it has become a distraction from cultivating a rich, deep relationship with sexuality and the penetrative reality of nature and life itself. Stop seeking the quick pleasure, the shallow bliss! Stop getting drunk on orgasms! They are a distraction. You can go deeper!

I am not saying to stop orgasming as orgasms are a part of our sexual nature. However, I am inviting you to uncover more, to broaden your perspective. Yes, orgasm is a part of our sexual experience, but it is such a small part of our potential experience. Think about the sensations that lead up to orgasm, that energy.

You know, where you lips start to quiver, your body heat rises, sweat dripping from your thighs, your heart and pussy become one. What if this aroused energy was there beyond the sexual encounter that may have stimulated it, yet you were not dependent on having an orgasm or outward response to maintain it?

When you show up with reverence and devotion to yourself, your sex is a part of that self, it mirrors how you relate to others. With reverence for yourself, you naturally begin to feel and see life differently. From this place of self-love, you can allow life to make love to you in every moment.

You move with a sense of grace, a sense of ease, of connection, of awareness, presence, compassion and even fierce vulnerability. There is power in this. Yet this power, which lives in your center, is not one of force or of manipulation, it is one of understanding.

Imagine your life, relationships and interactions are touched by such qualities. Your actions would become quite different. Like a martial arts or Qi Gong master, your movements change because life, breath, feeling is moving you. Your choices are different. People respond differently to you.

You melt a room like butter when you walk through it. You know where your own boundaries and the boundaries of others lie. Communication and conversation provide means for intimacy rather than argument. You become more productive and creative, which leads you to feel fulfilled on all levels.

Sex shifts from hard, physical, forceful penetration to ravishment, to whole-bodied, spiritual penetration that touches your soul.

A sexual union where even the slightest of touches puts you into greater connection with “pure existence”. Thought disappears, replaced by awareness of the most intricate of movements. You and your partner dance as if you are one. In each breath you can feel life pouring more life into you.

You feel liberated and safe within your own self, where you may give voice to all your desires and fantasies. In all of this you never lose yourself for an instant. Rather, you find yourself, you unleash your spirit as you allow yourself to disappear into formlessness.

What has your journey with sex been like? What mantles of shame, embarrassment, and unworthiness have you taken-on regarding your own potent beautiful sex?
I believe that when we open through sex we have the ability to feel the universe. Sex is as mysterious as the universe, and at times that may feel scary, intense, beautiful, and magically sweet all weaved together.

I invite you to give thanks for all ways your sexuality moves through you, and for all the ways your sexual experiences have taught you. There is wisdom in everything!

I invite you, as I have done, to apologize to your body, heart, spirit and sex for the times you may not have honored this part of yourself; to apologize for the times you have tuned out your own voice or thought yourself unworthy.

Remember the resilience of your spirit!

Take time today to reflect on your sexual journey, talk to your close friends about your sex and how your relationship with sex has evolved over the years. Write it in your journal and do an honoring ceremony for you and your sexual evolution. Mourn, laugh and feel.
There is wisdom in your sexual evolution.

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Common Myths About Child Sexual Abuse and Incest

The first response the majority of people form when hearing of sexual child abuse or incest is denial: “I do not have to be concerned about that in my community.” “That would never happen in my family.”

The unbelievable reality is that a person who sexually abuses children may seem very average and ordinary to the world. He/she may be a leader in the church, in the community or in business, a sports coach, scout leader, or celebrity. Sex offenders do not fit a classic stereotype and are not necessarily uneducated, unemployed, impoverished or an alcoholic.

The majority of people find sexual abuse and incest even more difficult to believe or accept when the sex offender is someone they like, admire, love, and/or marry. Tragically, the unwillingness to accept the facts concerning sex offenders leaves children vulnerable to becoming victims and increases the likelihood they will be abused.

Myth: Rape/incest runs in the family–it is in the genes.

Fact: Rape is not in the genes in the family of someone who rapes. Rape is perpetrated by someone who is acting out rage. Physical and sexual child abuse are the majority factor in creating the level of rage that compels anyone to commit rape, domestic violence or murder. We have known for a long time that the one commonality among rapists is physical and/or sexual child abuse. Serial killer, Ted Bundy is a classic example of this phenomenon. Since 80% of sexual child abuse survivors are sexually abused by family members there are usually several generations within a rapist’s family–sometimes both maternal and paternal. Current statistics reveal 70% of children are physically abused once a week. It is believed the number of children who are physically abused has decreased in the past 15 years. However, the current rapists in society would have grown up in the era when physical abuse was more prominent, therefore, we can assume there is a high percentage of people, who are potential rapists when we consider date rape and rape in domestic violence, which is seldom reported or if it is reported, is seldom prosecuted. Therefore, society has no way to access the number of rapes committed per capita.

Myth: Children lie or fantasize about sexual activities with adults.

Fact: Using developmental terms, young children cannot make up explicit sexual information. They must be exposed to it to speak about it. Sometimes a parent will coach a child to report sexual abuse falsely. The key indicators of the falseness in such a report are the child’s inability to describe explicit details, the inability to illustrate the act, or gross inconsistencies within the account.

Myth: Most victims of sexual abuse are teenaged girls.

Fact: While more girls than boys are sexually abused, many are abused before their first birthday.

Myth: Boys can’t be sexually abused.

Fact: Masculine gender socialization instills in boys the belief they are to be strong; they should learn to protect themselves. In truth, boys are children and are as vulnerable as girls. They cannot really fight back against the sex offender. A sex offender generally has greater size, strength, knowledge, or a position of authority, using such resources as money or other bribes, or outright threats–whatever advantage the sex offender can take to get what they want.

Myth: Sexual abuse of a child is usually an isolated, one-time incident.

Fact: Child sexual abuse and incest occurrences develop gradually, over time; often, repeat occurrences are generally the rule rather than the exception.

Myth: Children will naturally outgrow the effects of sexual abuse or incest.

Fact: Sexual abuse or incest affects every aspect of human development. The damage is profound, extensive and pervasive. It is deeper than the physical and emotional level–it is a soul injury that requires multifaceted, multidimensional, therapeutic processing conducted by a professional who specializes in sexual abuse and incest trauma recovery.

Myth: Non-violent sexual behavior between a child and an adult is not emotionally damaging to the child.

Fact: Although child sexual abuse often involves subtle rather than extreme force, all survivors experience confusion, shame, guilt, anger, as well as a lowered sense of self-esteem; these are classic aftereffects, although they may not initially reveal obvious signs.

Myth: Child molesters are all, ‘Dirty old men.’

Fact: In a recent study of convicted child sex offenders, 80% committed their first offense before age 30.

Myth: Children provoke sexual abuse by their seductive behavior.

Fact: Seductive behavior may be the result, but is never the cause of sexual abuse. Amy Fisher, the Long Island teenager who shot her sex offender’s wife in the face and whom the media dubbed, Lolita having an affair with a married man, is a perfect example of this myth. During her trial for attempting to kill Joey Buttafuoco’s wife, Amy Fisher revealed that she had been sexually abused before her abuse by Buttafuoco. Her behavior that many considered seductive and promiscuous was, in fact, a result of prior abuse. However, regardless of the victim’s behavior or reason for such behavior, the responsibility for appropriate behavior always lays with the adult, not the child. A sixteen-year-old girl is no match for the cunning and streetwise tactics of a man twice her age, therefore, the ability to affect adult consent is unreasonable to expect.

Myth: If children wanted to avoid sexual advances of adults, or persons in positions of greater power, they could say, stop or no.

Fact: Children generally do not question the behavior of adults. In addition, bribes, threats, flattery, trickery and use of authority coerce them into cooperation and compliance.

Myth: When a child is sexually abused, it is immediately apparent.

Fact: In cases of incest against children, as much as the sex offender might be hurting the victim, the child loves him or her and needs her family. Therefore, she convinces herself that she is somehow causing him or her to behave this way, and she remains silent. In her confusion of loyalty to her sex offender, she protects him or her by holding the secret. Thus, she carries the shame and guilt. In cases regarding sexual abuse and incest, the victim often believes that she has cooperated with the sex offender in some way and places inappropriate blame on herself. Therefore, although with tremendous suffering, she hides her pain through denial, dissociation, numbing, zoning out, hyperactivity, as well as other distracting behaviors. However, the aware parent would recognize these behaviors as a sign that something is wrong.

Myth: When the sexual abuse victim is male, male homosexuals are the sex offenders.

Fact: Heterosexual men, who do not find sex with other men satisfactory, perpetrate most child sexual abuse. Many child molesters, even though they are heterosexual, abuse both boys and girls.

Myth: Boys abused by males are or will become homosexual.

Fact: Whether victimized by males or females, boys or girls, premature sexual experiences are damaging in many ways, including confusion about their sexual identity and orientation.

Myth: When a boy and a woman take part in sexual behavior and it is the boy’s idea, he is not being abused.

Fact: Child abuse is an act of power by which an adult uses a child. Abuse is abuse; a woman engaging in sexual behavior with a male child is still sexually abusive, even if she thinks he initiated the contact.

Myth: If the sex offender is female, the boy or adolescent is fortunate to have been initiated into heterosexual activity.

Fact: Premature or coerced sex, whether by a mother, aunt, sister, babysitter or other female causes confusion, at best, and rage, depression or other problems in more negative circumstances. Whether male or female, to be used as a sexual object is always abusive and damaging.

Myth: If the child experiences sexual arousal or orgasm from abuse, he or she has been a willing participant or enjoyed it.

Fact: Children can respond physically to stimulation (get an erection) even in traumatic or painful sexual situations. A sex offender can maintain secrecy by labeling the child’s sexual response as an indication of his or her willingness to participate. You liked it, you wanted it. The survivor is then manipulated with their own guilt and shame because they experienced physical arousal while being abused. Physical, visual or auditory stimulation is likely to occur in a sexual situation. It does not mean the child wanted the experience or understood what it meant.

Myth: Males who were sexually abused as boys all grow up to sexually abuse children.

Fact: Only some sexually abused boys become sex offenders.

Myth: Boys are less traumatized as victims of sexual abuse than girls.

Fact: Studies show that long-term effects are equally damaging for either sex. Ironically, males may be more damaged by society’s refusal or reluctance to accept their victimization, and by their own resultant belief that they must ‘tough it out’ in silence.

Myth: If a child is sexually active with his or her peers, then it is not sexual abuse.

Fact: The act is abusive if the child is induced into sexual activity with anyone who is in a position of greater power, whether that power is derived through the sex offender’s age, size, status, or relationship. A child who cannot refuse, or who believes she or he cannot refuse, is a child who has been violated.

Unless and until, society focuses on sexual child abuse prevention, before the damage is done, sexual abuse of children will continue to proliferate. Child sexual abuse is the greatest hidden epidemic in the world.

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It’s All About Sexual Self Confidence

Most people think only of “sex” when they hear the word “sexual” or “sexuality”. What most of us don’t get is that sexuality is broader than sexual intercourse, and to be sexual means more than engage in a sexual activity. Our sexuality is a continuum of self-disclosure of who we are as females or males. It concerns how we feel about ourselves as well as our sexual beliefs and behaviour, our values and emotions, where and how we focus, express and use our in-born God-given raw sexual energy.

Our raw SEXUAL OR EROTIC ENERGY is that creative rhythmic flow that sings and dances throughout our being; arms, legs, hips, chest, breasts, and even eyes. It permeates each little bit of your body and soul and makes you quiver with sensation and anticipation. This energy is about creativity, sociability, emotional life and sexuality. It is a profound source of joy and pleasure which is nurturing, healing and bonding. It is the centre from which one reaches out, expands and relates to others.

Many religions consider sexual or erotic energy “sinful” and some cultures regard it as a “lower”‘ or “primitive” state. This kind of thinking and attitude creates a blocking of this energy and deprives many of the knowledge and wisdom that comes from a full understanding of the power of our sexual energy. It denies our minds, bodies and spirits the sensuality of being alive, sexually magnetic, healthy, vital, mysterious, joyous and fulfilled. It makes many feel depressed and sexually unconfident about themselves. It reduces humans to sexual DO -ings, limits passion and connection in sexual love and has a way of draining the passion, love and life out of those whom we have a sexual relationship with.

On the other hand, when the energy in this area is balanced, we see our selves as sexual BE-ings; Our thoughts, emotions, intentions, dreams, hopes and actions are infused with purpose, meaning, passion, sensuality, desire, vitality and life. We become highly sensitive to the flow of erotic energy in our body, and as a result become better lovers. This is good not only for our sexual partners, but our personal confidence too.

SEXUAL SELF CONFIDENCE is knowing that we’ve reached a level of psycho-sexual development where we feel desirous and desirable in and of ourselves without the desire for anything else outside of ourselves. It is when we know that there is a unique and valuable part of us which we can’t wait to unlimitedly and unconditionally offer to someone of the opposite sex. It could be thought of as a sort of higher level of self esteem.

You can do all of the *right* things like improve your outer appearance, work on your communication skills, learn a few dating tricks, be romantic, sensitive and spend thousands of dollars on dating sites or speed dating, but if your sexual self confidence is low or not there, the opposite sex will sense it and, in turn, will perceive you as lacking MASCULINE OR FEMININE “VALUE”. Something about you will make them see you as a time waster, a friend, someone to be exploited, a business contact or even a casual lover but not as a potential long-term lover, sexual partner and life companion.

SEXUAL SELF CONFIDENCE is the blueprint of how we interact with the opposite sex, who we are attracted to, what we will try and who or what we will avoid. Our level of sexual self confidence also influences everything we think, feel, say or do and affects everything and everyone who comes in contact with us. It influences the way we stand, how we walk on the street, how we talk to customer services people, how we respond to stress and how we go about everyday things – it even influences how we pursue success and what kind of success we chose to pursue.

When you have high confidence in yourself as a sexual male or sexual female you become MAGNETIC to the opposite sex. You project a magnetic sexual state because you’re not distracted by a judge-mental attitude, inhibitions, neediness, insecurities, anger, long-simmering resentments, emotional wounds, memories of painful humiliations, confusions, jealousies, fears of inadequacy, rejection or failure, distrust, control and conflict, self-doubt, confusion and shame. You can more usefully direct your sexual urges, energy and activities to amplifying one little spark of interest into an emotional connection and lasting bond.

When you have high confidence in yourself as a sexual male or sexual female you embody a self-assured relaxed sensuous state and are more able to expressively use the body as an intelligent communicator of ideas, emotions, sexual interest and desire. You are more capable of figuring out how to get more of what you want out of life and operate in ways that help others get what they want. You take risks when appropriate, are decisive when necessary, ask for what you want and voice your opinion knowing that it will be highly valued by the other.

When you have a healthy doze of sexual confidence, you love sex and are capable of pleasing your sexual partner and making love for longer periods of time because you know that you have sexual “value” that your sexual partner will appreciate. The intensity of your true erotic yearnings, feelings, desires, and impulses draw out the best in your sexual partner. Both of you feel energized, strong, sensual and you age better and more gracefully.

The higher your sexual self confidence the stronger your SEXUAL AURA or EROTIC PRESENCE. When your sexual presence or aura is strong you have no need to constantly aspire to be “sexy” , act “sexy” or dress “sexy” because YOU JUST ARE – and it shimmers in and by itself. Around some intensely sexually magnetic people you can almost feel electric sparks.

When the opposite sex senses that you are really cool with yourself like that, they will find themselves irresistibly drawn to you, and most times they don’t even know why…

Sadly, however, most men and women walk around in a sexual coma, resigned to the idea that nothing can be done. In other words, most men and women have forgotten or do not know what it’s like to be a SEXUAL BEING.

Let me put it down like this, the difference between a SEXUAL BEING and a SEXUAL DOING is like the difference between being a pampered passenger in a Porsche with an expert driver at the wheel and slogging along a bumpy road in a really old Volkswagen with a bubbly driver who will neither ask for nor accept the directions he or she badly needs.

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Sex Toys Bring Women New Feelings – They Don’t Complain Any More!

The world’s largest trade fair has come to an end. It has brought us a comprehensive overview of global adult toys industry as well as the premium brands, newcomers and latest trends. According to news reports, we found out that a newcomer has already caught everyone’s eyes and ready to make a great coup in the adult sex toy industry.

Xmybox is the premiere online retailer of UltraZone and FunZone’s sophisticated and fashionable adult novelty products. Xmybox aims to please with a focus on quality products and first-class service. Let’s have a look!

According to the news reports released by Xmybox, Ultrazone is mainly designed for users who have special and premium needs for adult entertainment. These customers are those females who have medium or even higher social positions and successful career life. Ultrazone emphasizes on the perfect user experience and superior functions. What adult toys could bring to the users should be the wonderful feelings as well as the satisfaction to their life. Some may consider the toys as erotic things; however, they bring the basic pleasure and happiness to your life.

Xmybox ‘s another series: Funzone is also a very popular collection of interesting adult toys whose main buyers are young people and adult toy beginners. Funzone focuses on a “young, playful, adventurous” user experience. All products of Funzone are made of soft and bendable materials, environment-friendly and safe enough for even daily use.

Cheeky pets are featured products of Funzone. All Cheeky Pets products are designed in animal shapes such as little crocodile, adorable bear, and rabbit and so on. Will young customers show interest to this creative and fancy brand? Only time will tell.

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