Navigating Sexual Aversion

Triggers are powerful

Sexual aversion is a powerful somatic strategy for protecting oneself from unwanted sexual contact. In short, sexual aversion is a trigger state.  Triggers arise from experiences in our past in which our capacity in that moment to cope was overwhelmed. Triggers are, in effect, our brains and bodies caught in the past, although it can seem like the catalyst is in the present. Triggers always exist for a good reason, even if they have outlived their usefulness.

Our triggers can ask us to live small lives as we try to avoid being triggered. Sexual aversion is a trigger that can very much inhibit our expression of our sexuality. Shifting any somatic trigger is a process that requires commitment, attention, learning new skills, and practice.

It can become challenging when you want to have sexual contact with a partner and aversion is present. It is important to remember that the aversion has a reason for existing, and it comes from a wise place.

Impact on partners

Dealing with sexual aversion can have painful impact on you and your partner. It’s common for partners to feel rejected. It’s also common in couples dealing with sexual aversion for sex to become an area of high conflict, whether spoken or unspoken.

As with any somatic change, shifting sexual aversion requires a commitment of both partners to practicing a new narrative, new behaviors, and new choices. This means that both partners commit to finding a way through sexual aversion, together. It means that if as the partner of someone dealing with sexual aversion, if you feel rejected and shut down, you commit to your own work of tending those parts of you that are needing love and care.

What is healing? 

Rather than expecting sexual aversion to go away as part of a healing process, success entails learning to work collaboratively with your body, allowing all of the sensations, emotions and experiences to exist, without judgment.

Exploring the trigger of aversion in a safe, supported and structured manner can help shift the experience, with practice and over time. When healing trauma, it’s important to learn how to stay within a a neurological window of tolerance. This means finding the sweet spot in between your own neurological edges of not-enough and too-much activation.  This is where somatic learning can happen.

Somatic Commitment

Before beginning an in-depth exploration of a somatic trigger, it is helpful to establish the new narrative that you are shifting towards. This is called a commitment. A commitment is a powerfully-worded truth, written in the present tense, that names the somatic shape you are consciously creating. It is worthwhile to take the necessary time to create the most potent commitment.

For example, in the case of sexual aversion, a potential deisred shift might be having more choice and freedom in terms of your sexual expression. A possible commitment might be “I am a commitment to freedom in my sexuality.”  Using the phrasing “I am a commitment to…” creates an embodied statement.  The commitment statement becomes the new narrative you get to practice.

As part of the commitment process, it is crucial to know why you are doing what you are doing. This is the “for the sake of what”. In this case, it might sound like “For the sake of freedom, I am a commitment to self-compassion for my aversion trigger.”

Lastly, the conditions of satisfaction are worth enumerating. “For the sake of freedom, I am a commitment to self-compassionate exploration of my aversion trigger. I will know I have achieved this when I am consistently kind to myself when I feel averse, and allow myself the full range of my humanity.”

Practices to explore and shift aversion

After you create the new narrative, the next step is to consider the practices that support the new narrative. Triggers make us feel like we have no choice, and it is powerful to begin to reclaim our choice as a practice.

One choice might be how we engage with ourselves around our aversion trigger. Do we speak harshly to ourselves? Do we blame our partners? Do you give yourself permission to make a decision based on the amount of bandwidth you have in the moment? Do you move towards or away from the trigger?

The great thing about aversion is having opportunities to try different practices, notice what happens, and collect data. The following is a collection of practices and choices you can experiment with when your sexual aversion trigger gets tripped!

Acknowledge what is

Acknowledge what is happening, preferably out loud, perhaps even to your partner. Acknowledging what is is a powerful practice of being with truth. Shame often tries to silence this needed acknowledgment. Having an agreement with your partner ahead of time that you will share with them when you feel the aversion trigger can help them take it less personally, and be more available for loving support and connection.

Create Safety

Often people with sexual aversion have had experiences with unwanted sexual contact. Re-establishing personal boundaries and an internal, felt sense of safety is absolutely necessary.

Being safe means having the capacity to act on one’s own behalf. Safety is an internal felt experience that folks with trauma rarely have as embodied experience. Part of the return to sexual sovereignty is coming to trust that respect for one’s own boundaries will be honored. Choosing to not participate in unwanted sexual contact affirms a sense of self-trust.

As the skill of saying no is practiced and learned over time, while learning there may be mistakes. It’s possible to start a sexual activity feeling a yes, and then have that change, but not be able to extricate oneself from the situation. In this case, it is important afterwards to acknowledge what happened, and one’s role in it, with deep compassion for the learning process. Self-compassion is deep safety.

Make a choice

Make a choice about the best way to take care of yourself, right now. That may mean leaving the situation. That may mean getting curious about your experience. The choice you make depends on how resourced you feel in that moment, and how willing you are to do the work at that moment. Realizing you do have choice is powerful, in and of itself.

If you choose to take care of yourself by leaving the situation, follow your impulse of what will establish a sense of safety. How can you act on your own behalf? Acknowledge the power of that choice, and honor the setting of a physical spatial boundary. Track what happens somatically as you come back to center. What physical sensations do you note?

Support the contraction

If you choose to take care of yourself by getting curious about what happens next, start by supporting the contraction. Supporting the contraction means  physically, emotionally and energetically giving yourself permission for what is. This may mean tensing the muscles of your body where you feel something happening, or moving your body into a protected shape.

Stay with the contraction as long as is necessary, or as is interesting. Pay close attention to what is happening inside.  The practice of somatic awareness means learning to place your attention on the inside experience of your body. This is a crucial embodiment practice.

As you support the contraction, you may begin to lean into the physical sensations you are experiencing. You may choose to name each, and express it aloud. You can also note emotions that may be present. If there are any stories that come, note these as well. Be on the lookout for the guardian emotions like anger and rage. Pay particular attention to the deeper emotions such as grief, powerlessness, and helplessness, naming each.

Staying present with yourself, affirming that whatever is being felt is just fine to feel. It’s interesting to pay attention to how our nervous systems return to regulation after being disregulated. It’s interesting to note how we come back into our bodies if we have disassociated. All of this is important somatic information; there’s no way to do it wrong. It just is.

Practice the new narrative

It’s also useful to practice the new narrative when you are not triggered. This can mean saying it to yourself, writing it down and putting it places where you see it, or any other creative means of reinforcing. Practicing when not triggered can support remembering the new narrative when you are triggered.

Imaginal practices

Practices using your imagination can be powerful. An advanced practice is to practice feeling attraction and desire for your partner, when they are not present. Start by placing your attention on your own body, noticing what you are feeling. Finding a place inside that feels neutral or positive is a good place to anchor. Allowing your attention to be on your own genitals, noticing what you feel or don’t feel.

Next, pendulate your attention to an imaginal gesture/thought/movement involving your partner. Finding the right gesture or thought is important: find something that is positive, and has a slight erotic charge. It could be something you are doing to them, or that they are doing to you. Importantly, Pay attention to staying well within your window of tolerance as you safely explore erotic content involving your partner in your imagination. With this practice, it is very important to not force or bully yourself into making anything happen.

Move your attention back and forth between your own body, and the imaginal erotic thought concerning your partner. Notice what happens. There is no “right” outcome from this practice, just allowing yourself to imagine your attraction and desire, while noticing what happens in your body, and staying safe, all at the same time.

Ultimately, it takes time and practice to shift deep-seated somatic responses. It can feel like no progress is happening, which can frustrate you even further.  A wise teacher said “To change everything, start anywhere.” I recommend keeping a log or journal of what you try and experience each time you find yourself in the midst of your trigger. Remembering to do even one thing differently can begin to shift the entire system. In reflecting on the experience in your journal, you can acknowledge the work you did, thus validating your practice.

Get professional somatic support

Additionally, having skilled and compassionate support is helpful. Erotic coaches, guides and even wise friends can assist you as you direct your somatic education. “In its purity, somatic education is self-initiated and self-controlled. However, somatic education has emerged during the twentieth century as a procedure whereby this internalized learning process is initiated by a teacher who stimulates and guides the learner through a sensory-motor process of physiological change,” writes Thomas Hanna in Clinical Somatic Education.

Lastly, seeking expressions of sexuality that feel good to you and your partners. Often, when sexual energy is blocked in one area, like a river it finds its way around the obstacle. Where are you creatively expressing? Where are you sensuously enjoying? Working in collaboration with sexual triggers can require great creativity.

It’s a both-and approach: choosing not to live as small as the trigger requires, and simultaneously honoring the current truth and capacity of the body. It’s also true that we all limit ourselves with our habits and beliefs about what we define as sex. Can you and your partner be a team in exploring creative outlets for sexuality, that may look really different than either of you imagined?

In review

  • Create a somatic commitment statement, complete with for-the-sake-of-what and conditions of satisfaction.
  • Acknowledge and name what’s happening as soon as you become aware
  • Honor your own boundaries: Choose to not engage in unwanted sexual contact
  • Honor what’s working: where are you expressing your sexuality?
  • When triggered, assess your capacity in that moment, and make a choice about how to best take care of yourself
  • Notice sensations and emotions as they emerge whatever you choose
  • Offer yourself kindness and compassion for the experience
  • Keep a log of your practice experiences
  • Have support for your somatic learning
  • Be available for surprising expressions of sexuality between you and your partner that might not fit in the box of what you thought sex was!

If you or someone you love is experiencing sexual aversion, help is available. Feel free to reach out to me at http://www.emancipating-sexuality.com for support.

 

*I want to acknowledge the work of Meredith Broome, and Joseph Kramer, in informing this post.

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Get on your knees baby, and suck my … politics of desirability

Erotic Liberation and Emancipating Sexuality

There are many exploratory erotic spaces that I want to be in. However, the specific spaces I want don’t usually exist. Often, that means I create them, because I want them to be in the world.

Erotic Experiments

Recently, I created two very different erotic explorations, Transexy and Black Velvet. The events had very different intentions and different results. In reflecting and contrasting the two parties, I learned that my desire can’t be separated from my commitment to good body politics, and in fact, I’m turned ON by spaces that actively deconstruct the dominate narrative of attraction! Maybe you are too?!?

The first space I facilitated was Transexy: a sex party for transmasculine folks, many of whom had never attended a sex party. There were probably 50 people initially in the room, as I led us through a series of warm-up games. Games that help you know what you want in the moment, and communicate it clearly to your partner. Games that teach about boundaries and consent, as well as non-verbal negotiation.

You know, the type of sexy education we all should have gotten as teenagers, except we didn’t. And in this particular demographic there’s a higher percentage of folks dealing with really intense stuff than in the general population: dysphoria, shame, trauma, internalized transphobia, challenges receiving touch and having sex at all. So this party was a Big Fucking Deal. Just being naked together was an act of solidarity and revolution in a society that says trans bodies are fucked up, wrong, and that’s often best case.

The second space I facilitated was Black Velvet: a sex party in the dark for all different types of bodies, genders, sexual orientations, races, ages, body sizes, political affiliations. The only thing in these bodies had in common was that they were somehow connected to me or my fellow organizers, and we trust them. This party was held, from start to finish, in the complete darkness. Consent, boundaries, negotiation, desire… all without any sense of sight. Yep.

Black Velvet is an event that a friend and I conceived a few years ago, as we lamented over not getting to be gay males in the 1970’s pre-HIV sex scene. Dark rooms, also known as blackrooms or backrooms, were a common feature of gay bars, where anonymous sex can easily take place. We decided to create an erotic experiment that would recreate the dark room space:

Question: What happens erotically, between a group of people in a completely dark, anonymous, anything-goes-but-consent-is-required space?
Hypothesis: Participants will explore their own erotic desires, curiosities, hang ups, and boundaries, and will move beyond who they know themselves to be as erotic beings.

Having conducted one Black Velvet several years ago, I wanted a chance to go deeper into the experience, and am doing so this fall with a series of three by invite-only events. Last Saturday was the first of the three.

The practice of holding complexity

At the first party for transmasculine folks, I knew the space was radical. There were moments when the healing in the room was palpable. I looked around and could almost see shame constructs crashing through the floor, to be returned as power and pleasure in community. I knew without doubt how powerful and necessary this space was/is. I feel dedicated to continuing to create such spaces for folks with marginalized identities and bodies. And yet.

At one point, I looked around, and the bodies lying on the floor made a map of oppression. Central to the space were the young, white, able-bodied, thin more masculinized body with beauty privilege. Surrounding that central pile were groupings of folks with less desirability cred: the fat, the older, the disabled, POC, less masculine folks. I couldn’t see class status, but I’m sure it was also reflected in the space.

All of the privilege centralized, and upheld by the folks having to do the emotional labor of wrestling with their own self-worth and feelings of desirability. It broke my heart. And this map was somewhat my fault; I didn’t set up a critical space, or invite in the politics of desirability to be named and seen. I don’t think I even realized them so clearly, until this party.

Hey, where did my gender go?

At the second party, because of the absence of the visual, I have no idea if this map of oppression repeated itself. My sense is that it did not. It was a much smaller group, in a small space, and the edges of the space aren’t very far from the center. From the reports that participants submitted, there is no evidence to suggest this happened. While we can never erase oppression and desirability politics from our sex spaces, I’m curious if these become quieter factors when you just can’t see who you’re are messing around with.

Some racial features, and body size somewhat identifiable by touch, but in my experience, most touch started with limbs, where it was pretty impossible to discern the entirety of someone’s presentation. The space was designed to be scent-free, so that a participant with a disability around scent could participate, so again, that subverted some of the centralization of able-bodies, in terms of scent.

For at least a couple of the participants in Black Velvet, the absence of the visual was distracting from being connected to their arousal. I personally found the absence of the visual helped me to concentrate on what I was feeling and experiencing with each body I encountered. It’s interesting to me how the actual erotic energy feels with various folks.

I had significant erotic encounters with four different folks, and a variety of other encounters. Each time, the energy I share with my partners has a distinct quality. There is one person in particular who is running a low base note of Eros, and I lower my dial and feel the connection open like a slow, wide river… deep and sultry and timeless.

I know that I feel more desirable in the dark. I don’t worry about what the connection “means” or how I’m perceived, or if I’m wanted. It is clear that if someone is engaging with me, they want me. It really shuts up the dumb stories in my head about not being hot enough.

Of these two events, Black Velvet is the hotter erotic space for me. And in part, it’s because there has been some negation of the prevalent visual narrative that tells me who I’m supposed to be attracted to, and who is supposed to be attracted to me.

At Black Velvet, I found that I was attracted to all kinds of bodies in the dark. Bodies I would probably never engage with erotically were I able to see them, because they don’t go along with my narrative of who I am attracted to.

Yeah, but what’s this have to do with desirability?

Here’s the thing. We all think that our desires, who we want, what we want, is just mysterious magic. Like, isn’t it surprising that my desire trends towards everything that culture tells me is attractive?

While many may think of who we are attracted to as personal preference, those preferences are not developed in a vacuum. It’s impossible to separate one’s desires from the culture and society in which they were formed, so it’s important to think critically about it. ~Tristan 

There’s this thing called sexual capital. The more you are what culture centralizes as “good, normal, beautiful” the more of this sexually currency you possess. You get to trade it for things like dates, being asked out, make-out sessions, getting laid, etc. Yeah, all the good stuff! The problem is, that just like in other forms of capitalism, some folks have more access to sexual capital than other folks do.

As an older, fat white person with sags and wrinkles and a weird gender presentation, I have less access than if I were younger, thinner, and conventionally hotter. I have more access to sexual capital because I facilitate erotic stuff frequently, and have experience with touch, boundaries, etc. Sexual capital isn’t good or bad, it just is. But sexual capital becomes bad when we refuse to acknowledge the impact it has in radical spaces designed for sexual exploration, especially on those with less access to it.

I had a heart-breaking conversation with one guy with less access to sexual capital at Transexy, who sat on the edges of the party. When I enquired if he wanted my help integrating in, he said simply “I’m waiting to be wanted.”

“this unwillingness to recognize how love, fucking and whom we find attractive is political. It’s like we, as a society, have created this whole untouchable area around intimacy in our lives – and perhaps the most important area – the area I think could use the most critique – leading to this massive resistance around analyzing any decisions relating to love and sex. You hear terms like “preference” or “love is love” or “you can’t help who you like” and the conversation stops there.” ~Hari Ziyad

I mean, of course privilege and centralization of certain bodies occurs in these spaces. It occurs everywhere, and why would we expect radical sex spaces to really be any different?? I always say that there are no safe spaces, spaces where we magically leave all our socialization at the door and show up pure and innocent in our desires. Nope. Never gonna happen. But we can start to create sexual spaces for exploration that deliberately hold a critical lens, and strive towards inclusivity.

Mia Mingus talks about moving toward the ugly. Ugly folks and those deemed less culturally desirable have just as much chance to be good at touching and connecting as folks who hold the beauty bundle, maybe even more, because they are working to gain sexual capital rather than having it handed to them.

I learn that for an erotic space to turn me on, it’s gotta be reflective of my politics. Erotic spaces that oppress, no matter how well-intentioned or revolutionary in their own way, just don’t get my nut off. In this post, I’m publically making a commitment to never holding sexualized spaces again that don’t have an active lens of critique and desire to deconstruct oppression, as opposed to reproduce it unconsciously.

Lemme say that one more time: I’m committed to creating revolutionary, erotic spaces for marginalized bodies and identities that hold a critical lens around sexual capital. I’m committed to bringing my work to people who think inclusivity is the hottest thing. And I am pretty certain that my politics can get even juicer, even bolder. That my personal and professional approach to sexual arousal that lifts people up can expand and evolve. Now THAT’S a hot erotic experiment.

In the dark
We are all desire
There is no age
No race or gender
Only passion
In the dark
We are sweat
Tongues
Flesh
Hands
Hard
Soft
Wet
In the dark
We are delicious

~Jake

If you like this, gimme some comment love below?

The Persian Woman on the Me and My Boi Blog Tour

Me and My Boi Cover

The new queer erotic anthology Me and My Boi edited by the indomitable Sacchi Green was released from Cleis Press this month, and includes my story “The Persian Woman.” Years in the making, you will be delightfully aroused by the plethora of erotica, by all of your favorite queer writers. I’m so honored for my work to be included in this slick, hot collection.

Check out the excerpt below, followed by links to all of the posts on the blog tour, and a chance to win a free copy of the book!

The story begins 

“Go ahead.  Tell me to pick up that glass.”

Nisrine’s molten eyes fill with tears as her gaze drops to the half-finished plate of insert Persian dish here) on the table in front of her.  We’re eating at her favorite Persian resataurant, which reminds her of her childhood.  The way her dark hair pours her neck, down her shoulders, I long to push it back behind her delicate ear.

“There’s a lot coming up for me.  I don’t think I can do this.”  Her tears slip out.

“It’s very simple.  Just look me in the eye, and push your will into me… make me want to do it for you.”

Nisrine and I have been seeing each other regularly for about nine months.  She is very like a child.  She has toys that go everywhere with her, with including a small stuffed tiger.  She likes to make up science terms, and talk about astrology.  She names all of her belongings.  I’m not in love with her, but I adore her.  She fucks with soft quick movements, and she’s one of the few femmes I’ve met who can make me, her daddy, come.

“Pick up that glass!” she commands, like a feisty little dictator.

“Hmm, that was good, think you can slip in some sexy badass Femme?” I purr.

“Pick up that glass, you filthy slut!” She’s imitating every pro domme she’s ever seen in a stupid movie that knows nothing about kink.  I love watching her struggle.

“No, a little softer, more insinuating… make it so I can’t resist.”

“Would you pick up that glass?” Nisrine murmurs, her liquid eyes never leaving mine.

Obligingly, I pick it up, and take a sip of water.

“Now, imagine telling my boi exactly how you’d like to be touched.”

Her gaze plummets immediately, and I take pity.  Reaching across the table, I take her soft palm, turn it over, and stroke the inside.  I look at her, without blinking, and watch as she does that thing I love; her eyes melting as she softens, and I can almost smell her pussy getting wet from where I sit across the table.  My girl.

“You’ll do just fine.  I’ll be right there, supporting you.”

We’d been planning the seduction of my live-in boi Miki for hours, ever since she whispered into my ear that she’d like to try taking charge for once.  I’d chuckled audibly when she asked if she could try to top me, but it got me thinking.  This luscious, sexy woman who’d been trained growing up in the Middle East to be demur, feminine…there was no way she could authentically dominate me.  But what a lovely desire.  My mind turned to my good boi Miki. Maybe, just maybe I could help her to dominate him.

My boi Miki, with the solid broad shoulders of the swimmer that he’d once been, is in collared servitude to me.  Miki would be easier for a novice to top, as he lives to submit.  He’s a ruthless bad-ass housing rights trial lawyer by day, and collared submission gives him a place to set his great fight down, and surrender.  Think Annie Lennox, circa 1988: tall, strong, feminine, masculine, in her uniform tailored suit and tie, and substitute sandy brown hair and green eyes, that’s Miki.

I keep him in strict chastity, and he is never allowed to let his fingers slip down between his legs, to finger his clit, or to touch his pussy lips that are almost always slippery with want and need. He would be thrilled to submit to Nisrine if it was my will.


Now for links to all the other posts in this tour, and the book giveaway info.

Me and My Boi Blog Tour Links

June 12—Sacchi Green— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 13—Annabeth Leong– http://annabethleong.blogspot.com/2016/06/me-and-my-boi-not-just-hair.html

June 14—Anna Watson— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 15—Sinclair Sexsmith– www.sugarbutch.net

June 16—Jove Belle– https://jovebelle.com/

June 17—Tamsin Flowers– www.tamsinflowers.com

June 18—Victoria Villasenor— https://breywillows.com

June 19—J, Caladine—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 20—Victoria Janssen– http://victoriajanssen.com

June 21—Dena Hankins–  http://denahankins.net/my-summer-of-boi/

June 22—D. Orchid—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 23—Pavini Moray– https://emancipatingsexuality.com/ 

June 24—Melissa Mayhew—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 25—Jen Cross— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 26—Kyle Jones– www.butchtastic.net
June 28—Aimee Hermann— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 29—Sommer Marsden— http://sommermarsden.blogspot.com
June 30—Axa Lee— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
July 1— Kathleen Tudor— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Anyone who comments on any of the posts will be entered in a drawing for one free copy of the anthology. You can comment on more than one post and be entered more than once. The winner will be announced and notified by July 5, if not sooner.

The refuge of the body, the succor of sexuality: Have you lovingly jerked off today?

Can you welcome yourself home to your sweet body?

2015 has been an ass-kicking year, for me and for many folks I know. “Relentless” is the word a friend used recently. When life is hard, and every day is a struggle just to get through, sexuality often gets relegated to the back burner. Our attention is scattered; our desire is seemingly non-existent. We may not think we have the time, energy or emotional bandwidth for deep erotic connection, with ourselves or others.

During these times, sex may be the last thing we want to do. Our masturbation becomes purely functional, or doesn’t happen at all. Actually living and feeling inside our bodies when we are suffering may be unbearable. And so we leave: we disassociate, check out, numb out, distract ourselves. We pretend that our sexuality isn’t hugely important. We forget.

While all of these coping strategies offer us the ability to just get through whatever the hard thing is, there is also a hidden somatic cost associated with them. The more we are absent from our own felt sense, our own sensations, the less we actually feel. Our capacity TO feel becomes limited. And even once the hard time has passed (as they always do) we are then left with diminished feeling and sensation. Joy becomes something that others feel, not us. Pleasure is elusive.

I’m curious about a loving cultural reframe. What if we experienced our bodies as a refuge? What if our sense of safety was held within, and we could choose to find a sense of embrace inside? What if sexuality was a space of home, of welcome? If we could nourish our hearts through feeling pleasure? What if, when our hearts were bruised and tired, we brought loving touch to ourselves?

Trauma tells us that we are broken beyond repair. That we are unworthy of love and pleasure. That the only safety is somewhere else, never here, now. Trauma tells us that suffering is our due, that swimming and muddling through the quagmire of our brokenness is the ‘real’ work. We believe we just can’t get this body thing right. This is not the way things are supposed to be. We are not damaged goods.

Who or what is served by all of your struggles against embodiment? 

Imagine for a moment if there was a small dial, behind your left ear. You could just reach up, and change that channel of loyal suffering. Instead, you could choose the channel “I live in this body. It is my home.” And when things get so fucked up and hurty, and you are overwhelmed with it all, you find your fingers, rising of their own accord to that tiny place. Suddenly, breath fills your lungs, your belly. Your awareness drops down through the tissues and organs of your body. You feel your sex, resting and open and alive.

Your hands move down your body and find the places you know well, or the places you are only now discovering. The secret places of joy, where your body belongs to you and you alone. And your touch is that of an old, familiar lover, bringing care and adoration.

Is sexual liberation possible in this lifetime? Yes. If I commit myself to its practice, each and every day. If, when I forget my true work of freeing myself from all of my internalized oppression, I remember to touch myself and whisper “I am worthy of my love” and “I am safe in here.”

What do you think? If you’re curious about these ideas, please leave a comment below.

 

Flagging Green for Ecosexual Daddy giving redemption

“What are you flagging?” Sie asks.

I follow hir green eyes down to the matching green bandana hanging off my belt. I’ve been camping for days on the gentle land of southwest Washington state, without giving a thought to the queer hanky code that relies on colored bandanas in one’s back pocket to signify sexual availability.

“Um, flagging pee rag?”  I try for a mix of affronting honesty with irreverent humor to cover up the shame I feel at being caught un-queerly unaware.

“Daddy.” Sie says confidently. “You’re flagging Daddy. And receiving.”

The amount of math I do in the next half second is staggering. I’m flagging “receiving daddy.” This incredibly hot sexy genderqueer person just opened a door called “daddy” that I’ve been wanting to walk through for quite some time. Sie is a longtime friend, and I trust hir.  We’re at an ecosexual convergence, deep in the woods, sitting at a picnic table with a bunch of folks who are exploring the lover relationship between Earth and self. I have permission from my primary partner to explore my erotic edges. I want Daddy. I want hir to be my daddy. I want to get fucked, in the woods, with hir as my Daddy. And it’s all possible, if I can just ask for it.

“Yeah, well, that’s interesting, isn’t it?” I stumble through the sentence, aware that the other four picnic-table sitters have gone quiet and are looking at me curiously. “So, I was wondering if you’d be down to fuck me?”

I can tell that sie is surprised, didn’t quite expect that full-on of a reach-around. It’s hir turn to do the math. I wait.

“Well. Hmm. That’s a thought.”

Not exactly the enthusiastic response that would set my pounding heart at ease, but not a cool brush off either.

Another beat. I wait until sie speaks.  “What did you have in mind?”

And it’s on. We negotiate a scene for the next afternoon. I tell hir that I’ve never truly bottomed before, and that I want to be opened.

Truth, I’ve never been in a space where I’m not in control. I’ve been stone more times than I can remember. I’ve opened many people, had many hot erotic moments that I’ve driven. I’ve even surrendered to receiving pleasure from others many times. But this is different. This is turning over the power to another, someone I don’t know at all in their erotic personhood, someone who is powerful, fierce, ferocious. And definitely sadistic.

The next twenty-four hours pass slowly. I find myself excited by the ‘what-will-happen’ feeling. The winged insects are having a field day all over my inner landscape… it’s beyond butterflies into full on plague of locusts. I’m not scared exactly, I trust hir. I trust hir capacity to handle me, to be my Daddy.

When the time comes I’m showered and ready for our forest date, (which in the aftermath of a forest-floor fucking turns out to be kind of ridiculous.) We meet at lunch, and walk out among the Douglas Firs together, the unbelievable vanilla scent of the trees perfuming the warm Summer Solstice air. It’s the longest day of the year, and Daddy and I are going out under the trees to play.

I’ve brought the only thing I have to lay on, my lavender towel, which will become a sap-filled souvenir of “the time sie fucked me so hard I bled.”

Sie asks me to sit down. Tells me to call hir “Doctor.” Then tells me to remove my wife-beater, my belt. Sie wants it to be sexy. I get the unspoken subtext: this is not a strip-tease. Just be really hot for me, please.

I take off the thick black leather belt, and upon hir request, open my mouth to embrace the silver pentacle belt buckle. I’m not from Texas, but I know the importance of an oversize buckle. However, I pay the price for my cocky audacity when sie doesn’t just want me to tongue it, but wants me to receive the whole damn thing. I let the spit and drool roll out of my mouth, wanting to make apparent my commitment to abandon and submission.

“I don’t like pain,” I’ve told hir, and instead I’ve been told to be available for ‘sensation’ which may become more intense over time. Surprisingly, I am available. When sie pulls the dripping buckle from my mouth, the feeling of absence is an unexpected grief. Sie takes off my pants, and takes a long look. Sie tells me that sie likes my dick.

Without ado, Daddy begins to fuck me. Sie spits on my junk, and I feel the hotness of hir spit drip down between my legs. This is a fucking that will change my life, and I know it as I have it.

I’m sobbing. It’s profound gratitude for the queer labor of love we are both engaged in: this is work we can only do with each other in community. At first, sie is concerned and checking in, but I reassure hir that everything is so good, beyond good. That it is perfect and welcome and I want it all. My body turns and rises to meet this fucking, wanting every bit of hir inside of me.

My hands reach out and grasp the dirt, duff and detritus of the forest floor, pulling it into my fists to hold the fuck onto something, anything.

I call out to this doctor of love and redemption to make sure it is okay to touch hir back. I grab fistfuls of Daddy, brutally pulling hir to me again and again. I crawl into hir neck, kissing and nuzzling. Our mouths, come together open and wet. This surprises me, all the kissing. I tell hir I love hir, and I mean it, which also surprises me.

I begin to notice the sensation of deep relief. Beyond the pain and the filth, something inside of me feels so calm.  To be the Doctor’s boy, to give myself to hir completely. Hir hand, dipping inside of me again and again begins to touch my heart. I move towards, rather than away from, the splitting pain of hir fist, creeping its way inside my cunt.

When I feel the tearing of my tender bits, there is a moment when I choose to find pleasure over discomfort. I choose the bright sensation, the ecstatic pulling and pulsing that is building in my dripping cunt, over the ripping and burning. Later, I will bleed. I will feel the dull ache of an empty lonely space inside of me, about the size of a fist.  But for now I have it, hir fist, holding me firmly from the inside.

I call out to the trees, to the land. “Io Pan! Keeper of the woods and the beast of my body! Wild Love! Wild Love! Wild Love!”

I pray, and sie moans, “Here I am with you, praying. Here I am with you, inside your body, with you.” It’s the sweetest thing I’ve heard maybe ever.  I’m not alone in my body. Daddy is here. Sie is here. We are together, sharing creation and prayer and song and delight, and my body is the container that is holding us.

The trees call back: “If you want wild love, practice feral sex.” Hir fist pounds into my battered front hole, again and again. Sie tells me how good I am at taking it, tells me I’m a champion for getting fisted for the first time, and bottoming for the first time, in plain sight of passer-bys to boot. When shame rises up, I fuck even harder. But really it is the Doctor who is my champion, championing my queer desire, my desire to fuck the shame and trauma away so that I can feel free.

Soon, I squirt and squirt all over hir hand. I am fucking crying praying squirting surrendering and time just stops. We both notice that it is 2:30 for a really long time. I want it to be over and I want it never to end. The only things I know in this singular moment are the trees swaying above me and the exact edge where they meet the blue sky, and this beautiful lover’s embrace that holds me tight right up against my pleasure and my pain.

I know I don’t want to get fucked like this every day. I can’t. And yet I need this. This is me getting fucked queer. This is me saying yes and allowing someone to fuck me in the way that SIE wants to fuck me.  This is me, finding Divinity and Self and Home and World. This is mine.

There is mounting rhythm and pleasure. The Doctor’s not-quite-human face looms above me, gorgeous and open and brutal. I feel my orgasm approaching, and my eyes open wide and pour into hir ocean green gaze. Through my eyes I give every bit of my pleasure to this Daddy, my Daddy. I scream and come and shake, all at the same time. It goes on and on. From my healing heart, deep, wrenching sobs of joy and freedom.

And when the paroxysm of agonizing pleasure is finally done, and the sobs are quiet, the world is irrevocably different. I am the trees, I am this lover, I am this Earth and this sky. I am this everything.  Love is so present in this moment: rough, raw violent love, love that has fucked me free.

 

Erotic Being versus Erotic Doing

I’m lying on my bed, legs spread, my lover’s mouth on my junk. And I’m not doing anything.

Not tensing, not thrusting, not helping, not wiggling, not desiring. I am simply being, while my body is stimulated and pleasured. The sensation is exquisite. The pleasure builds and builds. As it builds, I feel each tiny movement towards increase. Meaning, as the pleasure increases, there are moments where I crave MORE pleasure. I move my hips a tiny bit, pushing my bits against my lover’s tongue. Or I tense my PC muscles ever so slightly, to increase the sensation.

All of my attention is focused on my receiving practice. Can I be still and receive? Can I just receive? Each time I notice my miniscule attempts to increase pressure or stimulation, I relax again, and remember my intention to just simply be and receive.

Recently, I learn that the name for someone who allows themselves to receive is disparaging; ‘turtle lesbian’ or ‘pillow princess.’ I’m grateful that I don’t have this framework, and that my practice of receiving can be free from judgment.

I practice and practice receiving. I practice Erotic Being, without Erotic Doing.

In my practice, there are moments of epiphany. For example, I realize the vast distinction between placing my attention ON something (like my genitals) and placing my attention IN my genitals. The difference is so subtle, and yet tremendous; it’s about living, feeling and being inside of my experience. My consciousness can dwell in tissues other than my brain tissue.

An old friend asked, apropos of nothing, “How do you make good decisions?” and I answered that I’ve been feeling into my junk, more and more. When I listen to the truth that is spoken between my legs, my decisions are good ones. My body does not lie.

In order to have more of what I want in my life, my capacity for RECEIVING more of what I want must be increased. I must build the muscle of having, of receiving without doing. Erotic practice is the perfect place to build this capacity. I ask my friends, “How are you good at receiving?” via text. Some respond, befuddled. Two write back that they receive when they get massages from their partners. One person responded that they pay attention to what’s going on in their body when something is being offered, and notices how their body feels different when they are open to receiving and when they are not.

In the spirit of celebrating of Erotic Being-ness, what follow are some thoughts on receiving.  (And what I mean is the practice of receiving things we WANT from the world, not getting all the stuff we don’t want or need.)

  • Receiving is an art. If you want to learn to receive, conduct an Indiegogo campaign. Make it count, make it meaningful. Put something you love out into the world, and ask your people to support it. This is a terrifying practice, not for the meek or inexperienced in receiving. This will shine the light on ALL of the shit you have about wanting, asking, and receiving. There’s pretty much no place to hide.
  • Receiving can be cultivated. I can rest back in my body, pay attention to meeting the world from my back, choose to open my shoulder muscles.  The more I receive, the better I get at receiving.
  • Resistance to a thriving receiving practice can hide out behind egalitarian concepts like “mutuality” and “reciprocity.” Meaning, I am only available to receive if I believe the giver is also getting value from me. We are all so fucked up when it comes to gifting and gift economies, that we sometimes greet gifts with suspicion. We carry a lot of baggage around gifts that came with obligation, gifts that we gave out of obligation, gifts that mean more than just a gift. I can deflect receiving by not simply accepting the gift/compliment/pleasure/promotion/support… I can be overly grateful, or grovel.  Not great receiving.
  • Receiving is an elevated form of connection. Babies are held in “receiving blankets.” Offices have reception rooms, and receptionists whose job it is to receive you when you arrive. Shipping and receiving. Receiving dock. Receiving lines. And of course, the Hebrew Kabbalah, “receiving.”
  • Receiving meets the offering with a full body presence, and an open-hearted welcome.
  • We could choose to pay more attention to how we receive. How we receive others: their ideas, their words, their feedback, their gifts, their gestures. How we receive ourselves: our stories, our wounds, our faults, our gifts and talents and joys.

When all is said and done, here’s what I think. Receiving, that gorgeous practice of receptivity, is hard work. It’s a special kind of doing-not-doing. When I am receiving, I am BEING receptive. And that is the erotic self I’m striving towards, these days; the one that can fully receive the pleasure that is offered to me.

If you liked reading this, I’d love to RECEIVE a comment from you below.  

Deep Humility, in service to sacred Eros

4 More Days LEFT!

Last night I went to the Pacific Ocean, and released the Rose of Jericho plant that had sat on my altar since the full moon. This plant, and its release, were part of the magickal manifestation spell I did for this fundraiser. I stood there in the moon-dark night, waves crashing against the shore and tossed the desert-dwelling plant into the salty deep with whispered prayers and kisses.

The Rose of Jericho, also known as the “resurrection plant,” is a tumble weed and can be blown over the desert for up to 10 years. This will spread the seeds over a very large area. It opens to release its seeds when water is present, and close in times of dry.

I imagined the plant, traveling in the dark water, and opening to release its seeds, its blessings. I imagined those seeds travelling far and wide, to bless waters and the land. I imagined that this film, Holy MILF, is just like this plant. It will travel the lands and waters, releasing its seeds, and growing new beautiful ecosexual projects.

sunI am humbled by this work. I feel such humility at being the caretaker of this project that so many gorgeous witches believe is crucial. They were willing to put their bodies, their sexuality, their private relationships with nature and themselves onto film, in deep service. The musicians were willing to allow the chords, melodies and harmonies of THEIR erotic relationship with this planet to move through them, in hopes that they would serve others.

I don’t think I got until last night the enormity of this spell that we’ve been collectively casting. That this is not “my” film, but I am in stewardship to it! I am so grateful to be the vehicle, and so awed that this exists now, because of all who contributed.

In these last few days, I want to urge all who read this to feel into your own body, and know this simple truth; you can be in service to your sex, your pleasure, and your planet by helping this film be firmly rooted in the world.

It’s not me who is asking for your financial support. It is this film, that wants so whole-heartedly to be in service to our species. Please reach deep and give this film some green love! And if you feel called, why not ask your friends to do the same?

It’s our connection, our deep felt connection, with the Earth, that is calling us home to wholeness. No scare tactics or statistics are ever going to be enough to get us to make the necessary changes for continuation of humanness here, on Earth. But our ecosexuality just might be.

Please donate today. http://igg.me/at/holymilf/x/2953128

Free Your Sex! Your Toolkit for Erotic Liberation

With great pleasure that I announce:

My new 40-page ebook called “Free Your Sex! Your Toolkit for Erotic Liberation” is now available for free download! 

16 tools to set your sexuality free.

 

This book contains 16 of the best tools I know to help you deepen into pleasure, and get the intimacy and transformation you need in your sexuality.  

I hope you enjoy it, and may it serves your pleasure well!

Download the free PDF here!

What happened at Geography of Pleasure? One man’s experience (guest post)

The circle of trans guys holds usThe Circle Holds Us

By Marcus, a participant in the “Geography of Pleasure” workshop. 

After the last day of the workshop, I was driving home meditatively, feeling the edges of my being. Not clicking from one radio station to the next, and blasting my senses with distracting stimuli. I wanted to allow myself to feel.

When I arrived at my place of residence, I thought, ‘I am home.’  I was feeling in my body and holding myself in a pleasant, nonjudgmental observation. My awareness of self was for once not about boundary patrol against shame, fear, or violation.

Two days before, I arrived at the workshop space in a daze, overwhelmed by the feeling of  being around other people. I had become so used to the security of isolation and shutting down before I could be rejected. Alone, I could (unsuccessfully) pretend that I was all the things I wished I could be, and remove myself from reminders of failures and inadequacies.

I tried to relax into the comfortable seating, dim lamp lights, and the circle of anxious strangers, only to find myself comparing my body to others and listing off all the ways I lacked qualities that I admired in others and so wished for myself. The expression of trans masculinity became ever so in focus. I began to irrationally perceive my body to be physically smaller and smaller and uglier and uglier, as I unrealistically assumed perfection and invulnerability in others.

Though it was my intention to stay and not run or hide, my body sure wanted to run as we began to take turns speaking in the first of many circles. I was suddenly morbidly afraid of looking and sounding funny, and not being taken seriously. Amazingly, these divisive views between myself and others were gradually broken down, in a way I never thought was capable… I will now attempt to describe some of my most groundbreaking workshop moments.

eyeSustained Mutual Eye Contact:

This scared me a lot, as I have long experienced this as mutual invasion of private space. While it is a common expression of wanting to know and be known, sustained eye contact was something I only normally used within the following contexts: romantic interest, aggressive challenging, or conversations. I felt extremely exposed because it was as if I were ‘caught’ seeking an inappropriate level of closeness. There was little excuse for me to stop looking, because the activity did not allow for typical distractions. It was very unsettling to feel that emotional nakedness that I reserved for almost no one. By the end of the workshop, I no longer felt such reservations once I understood seeing and being seen to not be a threat. Instead, it can feel so loving and fulfilling!

Body Observation

When I allowed my body to observe and be observed, I was overcome by the emotions of others and the energy of the room. When I felt loving, gentle gazes caressing my body’s surfaces, I realized the toxicity of my self-directed gaze. I never extended to myself the same kind of understanding and acceptance I aspired to give others.

Movement/Body Expression

Moving to music felt awkward. I was confronted by my body’s lifelong reluctance to express itself. Interacting with space around me felt dangerous compared to stillness, which felt so safe and contained. My initial line of thinking was that I don’t know how best to move, so I might as well not.

Though I had a blindfold on, I still felt a critical gaze upon me, the kind that has long held my arms down, my torso stiff, and my legs frozen. Then I realized no one was laughing, and others were similarly focused on their own movements. I had nobody to apologize to for my movements, as no one could see. This activity allowed me to ponder the following questions. What am I holding back from, when there is no one to please but myself? What is possible of myself, when no consequence will arise from honoring my impulses?

It was difficult to surrender, and I don’t think I fully could yet, but I willed my mind to allow my body to interpret the music how it pleased. I allowed myself to enact my varying emotions: playfulness, exploration, loneliness, calm. To stand and shuffle and wave and swagger and sit the way the music called my body to do.

Healing Ritual

Healing another, watching the healing of others, and receiving my own healing all were magical moments. It was when shame, anger, and grief looked startlingly beautiful in all their ugliness. When I realized we needn’t harden against it all. We could all face and absorb the immense shame and trust that our existence would not be smashed to smithereens.

For me, the ritual felt like bones being reset, and being allowed to heal with alignment and clarity. I had to dig really deep, because I had buried so much of my shame. Entering the circle forced me to verbalize what was holding me back from the happiness and pleasure in life that I desire. I found, and released fears, inadequacies, and traumas that my body was holding despite my amnesia.

Eros field trip 

(NOTE: Eros is a men’s bath house (very trans-inclusive) in San Francisco that generously donated admission for anyone in the class who wanted to go and check it out on Saturday night.)

I had reservations about going to a men’s sex space as a straight man with no prior inclinations towards having sex with men. But, I am really glad I went, as it was exciting to explore a new space with unfamiliar dynamics, all while feeling so safe because my amazing friends from the workshop were around!

I discovered I was actually physically desirable to some individuals, and the context of the men’s space really made me feel validated as a man. (Though I do worry about assumptions being made, based on my body type.) I also realized I still have some work to do about feeling ok and not guilty when enforcing my boundaries.

I did not discover any desire for sexual interaction with other men, but I now yearn for more access to intimate men’s spaces. This hasn’t really been open to me as a straight man, and I have, for a long time, adopted a normatively competitive gaze towards other men. For me this has fostered more feelings of isolation, inadequacy, and jealousy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABull Kelp Meditative Embodiment Activity

We were invited to sway to nautical music while imagining ourselves to be bull kelp. The idea of being rooted and just o.k. with my existence while swaying with the movement of the water was strangely profound. When we were invited to return to feeling the edges of our bodies, I could not help but weep from the sensation of viewing myself with non-judgment and comfort. It shook me to observe how long my body has been deprived of my love, and how long I have gone without noticing!

Anatomy Lessons

 I appreciated both lessons on the chest and the genitals and the fact that they were presented in dysphoria-reducing language. I have had some bottom surgeries, and am eager to understand my genitals. Tissues have now been rearranged, rendering some parts more accessible, and others less or not at all.

Despite having pored through countless anatomy articles and diagrams, I learned a new term and site of pleasure: the perineal sponge! This knowledge has helped me gain a better understanding of how to best stimulate the nerves that I thought were no longer accessible.

magic touchTouch

I felt extremely soothed, and so grateful feeling the love and care of the two people working together to bring me the release from muscle tension I desired. They were eager to comply, and I grew in my comfort to be able to ask for how I wanted to be pleased. For once, I experienced the joy of trusting another’s desire to please me. It was liberating to not feel guilty or burdensome

My body felt extremely honored by their touch, and I had never known that comfort and love could accompany such vulnerability. Who knew that exposure doesn’t need to be just about shame and embarrassment and instead could feel so delicious and freeing? I didn’t.

The Circle Holds Us

We took turns in a circle being held and holding one another, before everyone stepped backwards together towards the center of the circle. How amazing it felt to be this stable entity of love, so unyielding in its solid hold of me, despite how fragile we may each feel in so many moments of our lives. In this moment I knew I was not the scared person I was on Friday who was eager to shut out the intrusive presence of others. Instead, I leaned into the warmth of our bodies, the life of our collective breaths, the energies of trans masculine brethren with whom I felt an unmatched closeness.

Culmination and Integration

This workshop was such a highlight of my life after so much anguish and pain. I have rarely cried so much and been so deeply moved. There was a ‘before workshop’ era of my life, and now the ‘after workshop’ time is only beginning. I left with the profound understanding that there are truly greater possibilities for really knowing others in a way that facilitates the closeness and healing that I so desire, yet have always been so afraid of.

After saying many goodbyes, I entered the elevator, alone. The loneliness was momentarily terrifying. I was so sad to leave the space, because the world outside will never be nearly so safe, with facilitators actively shaping healing vibes. But even as I return to my real life, where my physical and emotional boundaries are continually tested, I recharge and revive when I think of being in that circle of bodies, holding and being held. Even now, my heart is still overflowing with love for our capacity to heal so much pain. I revel in the memory of that circle. Emancipating Sexuality Calls us home to Erotic Wholeness

Revolution happens when trans-masculine people invite pleasure into their bodies, just as they are.

bridge-to-tunnelI dip my pen into the blood of my heart, and begin to chronicle the myriad of thoughts, sensations, feelings, body epiphanies and erotic somatic learning that happened this past weekend.

It is only now, four days out, that I can bring myself to write of the beauty, the heartbreak, the joy, the community and the exquisite pain that was the first Geography of Pleasure: Embodiment for Trans Guys workshop.

Here’s what I notice: my heart aching mightily with the openness we created together.   I find my heart expanding into love and joy, and contracting into fear and anxiety, in a regular pattern.  I find I want the rawness and intensity of the workshop space in my everyday life.  It is hard to return to dishes, kids, and regular life.

How can I describe how the electricity in the room as we smashed paradigm after paradigm? How to write of the power of claiming our rightful erotic space, as humans who live on a trans-masculine spectrum? How can I describe the utter suffering that the people in this circle have endured, that has impacted every aspect of their lives? And how can I describe the fierceness and righteousness of watching the erotic call each of us home to our bodies, just as they are in this moment?

Truly, I cannot.

But what I can describe is the feeling of success I have as a facilitator of a crucible that created demonstrable transformation for participants. People looked different when they left.  They felt different. They felt like their context around pleasure, their bodies and their relationships had shifted so much that it was difficult to articulate. They spoke again and again of feeling a sense of safety that they had never in their lives felt.

I knew the workshop was going to be potent, but I really had absolutely no idea to what degree we would change everything.

One of my favorite reflections comes from workshop participant Jun C:

“I came in feeling like I had nothing to offer. I now feel like I have everything to give.

“I feel like I finally found the kind of community and connection with other trans-masculine people that I’ve been looking for that I couldn’t find for so long.

“I had initial reservations coming in (didn’t we all?)  I thought there was a very likely possibility that it was going to be some hokey new age-y type thing that usually strikes me as being disingenuous, devoid of real substance, with a false type of enlightenment. I don’t know yet how to articulate the sparkle magic that happened, but I’m so glad I was there.”

This workshop arose from a vision I had of a room of trans-masculine people, working together to banish shame, craft community, and communally welcome into our bodies the pleasure that heals trauma, brings sensation to numbness, and replaces fear with joy.  And this bold vision actually happened.

As a facilitator, my heart grew larger and larger with each story, each sharing, each time I sobbed with the hurt we have all borne. The scars I saw this weekend, (and I saw many,) denote a strength and a resilience, a determination to live in our bodies and to be truly ALIVE, without apology.

Perhaps I will write in greater depth about the specifics of what we did, but for now, I am basking in the delight of a heart full of passion for continuing and growing this work.  We  have already been invited to Portland, New Mexico, Toronto, Minneapolis and the UK.  You’ll be able to track our progress at http://www.geographyofpleasure.com.  I’ll be posting participant written reflections on my blog, as well as spoken reflections on our website and youtube. Stay tuned!

Our dream is for every trans-masculine person in the world has access to pleasure and embodiment, in the body they are in, RIGHT NOW! 

The Sting of Rejection, the Birth of Desire

When they write the rejection letters, why can’t they just say “Thank you, we’ve chosen another proposal.”

There’s always the bit about how many awesome proposals they received, how it was excruciating painful to choose (as if I care) and how truly, truly amazing my proposal is.  How they look forward to seeing my work out in the world.  And in the really stellar rejection letters, they find a way to ask for my continued support for their project.

So far this year I’ve received ten rejection letters, for a variety of projects, including conference proposals, writing contests and performance proposals. Each proposal I’ve submitted has taken hours upon hours of work to conceive, articulate, edit, answer all of the questions, and gather submission materials.  Each one has been a dream, a calling forth of something important into being, only to let that dream slip away, perhaps to be reborn in a different form, or perhaps not.

The painful heart of rejection

With each rejection, the sting has been less. I won’t say it’s stopped.

I really, really wanted to create that performance piece about the circus freak show: the fat lady, the bearded lady, the half-man, half-woman, and the sexuality of each.  It would be a powerful reclaiming of the fetishized, for purposes of validating our own eroticism.

But. “When the Fat Bearded Lady Sings Subterfuge”  is not to be, at least not this summer.

With every proposal, and also with every rejection, I feel I stand at a bifurcation point: one path leading one way, another leading to a completely different destination.  Taking the path marked “Reject” leads somewhere, often to somewhere unexpected and enlivening.

Creating meaningful content is not a challenge for me.  I have ideas all day, every day.  The challenge is to curate the ideas, discern which ones will further not only my work, but the issues that I stand for. Faith seems to be the only means by which to understand the mystery of why this project, this idea, and why now. Or why not.  I am choosing to engage with the various selection committees as a divinatory process.  The Hand of God, tapping my creative efforts that best serve my people.

The generative force behind all of my ideas is erotic.

It is inarguably the tide of Eros, churning within the moving  rivers of my body. Each idea is a desire born of an embodied longing, bubbling up. These things, they want to be born, they yearn to manifest.  They crowd around, like impatient spirits waiting to reincarnate.

When I answer the call of a particular desire, the ebullient and effervescent delight which courses through my body is sublime. Merely putting the words onto paper is sometimes orgasmic. Letting them then go off into the world, to be petted and stroked and sometimes mauled by complete strangers is oddly liberating.  They are not mine alone, anymore.  They belong to us, to our species.  What is our medicine today, this week, this decade? What beauty, what insight do we need to ensure our collective survival?

Sometimes the desires are resilient. Tough, with bouncy edges.  Sometimes they are tender, and become easily cracked and disheartened.

Sometimes, when I send an especially beloved desire out into the world, it has the quality of reaching out to touch an achingly desired potential lover, for the very first time.

That moment when you don’t know if your touch will be welcomed.  That fragile, heartbreaking pause between your gesture, and their acceptance when the entirety of your self-esteem is up for grabs.

I’m practicing trust in my creative process, when I send those ones out, that the rejection I face will not damage me.  That the burn of Eros will be fed by the ashes of rejection, and honed into an ever-clearer flame of yearning and expression.

It is a terrible-wonderful thing, to put one’s heart on public display, time and time again, for critique and judgment. The not-good-enough trolls stand just at the edge of that autonomous zone, waiting for my transgressive heart to cross the border into the land called self-doubt.

But wait!  Ding, you’ve got mail! What’s this? A call for submissions for a new zine on fat acceptance? A film contest exploring marginalized sexuality?

Sorry trolls, not today.  I’ve got the work of desire, burning down the house.  

P.S. Geography of Pleasure: Embodiment for Trans Guys is happening 2/21-23 in San Francisco. 

Sex Sells, Feeling More and Erotic Leaps of Faith

Feel more pleasure with Emancipating SexualityLast week I wrote that what we accept as our capacity for pleasure is actually far smaller than what we are capable of experiencing as humans.   

Perhaps you thought, “OK, so then I’m going to increase my capacity for feeling pleasure and expand my sexuality.”

Indeed, how does one expand into feeling more pleasure, if one has already accepted that the limits of our pleasure capacity are inflexibly where they are?

Or worse yet, what if we have don’t realize that the limits to our capacity for feeling pleasure are ones that we ourselves have created?

Before we consider the question of how to increase our capacity for pleasure, let us first acknowledge our diminished capability to enjoy the fullness of our human sexuality.   Let us ground into the historical contexts of how we have ended up here.

Throughout my blog, I have often written of my own experiments as I attempt to expand my erotic self and broaden my capacity for pleasure.  I write of my own experiences for a number of reasons, mainly because I trust personally people who walk their talk.  Therefore, my integrity compels me to be transparent about my process.  Blogging keeps me accountable to my chosen course towards erotic wholeness. Importantly, transparently blogging about my sexuality helps hold my shame at bay. 

Ironically, the shame of not being or having the sexual self we know or imagine is possible can actually  be enough to block us from seeking that self.  Therefore, it is crucial to the sexual wellbeing of the planet that we begin to break silence about our shame.  That people with marginalized identities also claim sexuality.  Through sharing our erotic journeys, we not only give ourselves permission, but also model and give each other permission to seek authentic sexual expression.

When I started exploring my erotic nature, I was optimistic, but guardedly so.  Perhaps there was more to my sexuality than I was experiencing.  I had a vague sense of missing out on something, but assumed (incorrectly) that the experience I was having was the extent of the experience I could have.  I thought the sex that I had, though limited and at times non-existent, was good enough.  Plainly put, I settled for the experience I had  and tried to wrap my sexuality around it. I did not try to expand the experience to meet the edges of my sexuality. 

After all, I had read enough about women’s sexuality to know a few things (or so I thought.)  I knew that that many women didn’t masturbate.  Many women didn’t orgasm during penis-vagina intercourse.  Many women didn’t have more than one orgasm. Many women didn’t even orgasm at all.  Since I was capable of coming a couple times when I had penis-vagina intercourse, and I masturbated, I was doing better than many women.

I set my own sexual bar super low.

What were some things I was missing from my sexuality?

  • Play and Exploration and edge-pushing
  • Desire and Fantasy
  • Transcendent sexuality and sex magick
  • Embodiment, sensate focus and being present during sex
  • Freedom for fantasy during sex and Freedom for all kinds of fantasies
  • Exploring different turn-ons
  • Toys, different positions and mixing up the patterns of sexual encounters
  • Gender play and different sexual partners
  • Anal explorations
  • Knowledge of my anatomy
  • Squirting  and Kegels
  • Breath, movement and sound
  • Ecstatic sexual encounters  and meeting the Divine during sex
  • Awareness of erotic energy, and ability to work with it
  • Kink, BDSM and power exchange
  • Communal erotic encounters
  • Allowing sex to crack open my heart
  • Full Body orgasms, G-spot orgasms and orgasmic spaces beyond the clittoral
  • Acceptance for my kinks and turn-ons
  • Curiosity

Shit, that’s a whole lot of missing!

The most interesting thing is that I really believed  I was doing good!  I ACCEPTED that the limits of my sexuality were real.

Barnaby Barratt, a psychotherapist, sex therapist, sex educator and tantric facilitator, implores that, “Our sexuality encompasses everything about our embodiment.  It is our sensual and erotic connectedness with all that is around us.  It is the medium of our alignment or misalignment with the universe, the grounding of our being-in-the-world.”

Why do we accept for our sexuality something that is less than perfect alignment with the universe? How did it come to be that I accepted those limits?

While most of us probably feel some degree of shame about where we are in our sexual expression, it turns out there are actually a number of really excellent reasons why we are where we are.

Here’s the crux of it: Our sexuality is informed by a complete paradox.  Ubiquitous in the United States are both blatant sexualization and  blanket sexual repression.  We all encounter examples of both of these hundreds of times each day.

Sexually Explicit or Implicit Advertising

Oh Hi, Sex-Sells Advertising!  The earliest known use of sex in advertising was in 1871, by the Pearl Tobacco brand.  The advertising featured a naked girl on the package.  Since then, sex has been a powerful advertising tool used to sell almost everything.  And it works, too, since we are hard- wired to respond to sexual connotations.

Brooke Shields was only 15 when this came out in 1980. Text read "Want to know what comes between me and my Calvin Klein's? Nothing."
Brooke Shields was only 15 when this came out in 1980. Text read “Want to know what comes between me and my Calvin Klein’s? Nothing.”

We actually even respond to messages that only imply sex, meaning advertisers merely have to access the part of our brain that recognizes sexual messaging.  According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, average American adults are exposed to approximately 650 advertising messages each day.

Implicit Sexual Suggestion
Implicit Sexual Suggestion

We live in a society that is completely sex obsessed, 

and simultaneously completely sex-phobic.

Pervasive Sex Negativity

In juxtaposition to the images above, consider the following:

Receiving these contradictory messages can be disastrous in our search for authentic erotic expression.  On top of that, layer the traumas, stories, shame, abuse and bad sex many of us have had, and it’s a recipe for sexual shut-down.  Seen through this lens, the fact that we can feel any pleasure at all is quite remarkable!

“Many of us tell ourselves that “sex is not all that important to me,” and then we immerse ourselves in substitutive activities. We plunge into all manner of heartless addictions, or we become preoccupied with policing the sex lives of others. We even lose our awareness of how disconnected we have become from our sensuality. We no longer recognizer our own inhibition, nor do we see its roots in our unconscious shame and guilt.” ~Barnaby B. Barratt

Those who do attempt to cultivate an authentic erotic experience often find themselves facing strong societal prohibitions.  However, when we turn our attention to that quiet, internal voice that compels us towards wholeness, we know we must question the limits we currently accept as immutable.

Sometimes we are required to accept things on faith.  Take leaps of thinking and believing that are unsubstantiated in our lived experience.  Sometimes, we just have to believe there is more, and set off it search of it, hoping we will find it.  I had to leap into the void of giving up my sexual limits, (without having any proof I would get something better,) before I was able to start consciously evolving my own erotic experience

I started this post with the thought “Okay, then I’m going to increase my capacity for feeling pleasure and expanding my sexuality.”  That is indeed the topic.  Stay tuned for further thoughts.  And until next week, I invite you to do one thing: consider that perhaps the current limitations of your sexuality will be different in the future.  Perhaps something deep inside hears the truth of this next statement:

Without a doubt, there is more for you to feel.

These boots were made for walking: Fluevogs, Sex, Divorce and San Francisco.

I moved to California in 2004, from a homestead in the backwoods of the North Carolina mountains where I literally baked my own bread each week. I could never have imagined all the ways San Francisco would infiltrate my skin, my soul, and my sex.  It ended my marriage, and brought me into my true partnership.  It turned me queerer than I’d ever dared to express before.  It radicalized my life. San Francisco has been, and continues to be, my totally  hot transformative lover, like no other.

Today I’ve been pondering what it is that my child self wants.  Making room for the desires of that girl, and trying to give her space for play and trust.  This afternoon, she has called out for dress up. Boots, in particular.

And although it feels incredibly vulnerable to share, here’s a little post-holiday gift for you.  I wrote this poem in 2005 about the pair of Fluevogs I bought that eventually changed my life. When I wrote the poem, I didn’t know all that would happen, but you’ll notice that somewhere I had a strong inkling, or at least some forshadowing.

As it turns out, I’ve ridden those boots home to a sexuality that continuously expands and furthers my expression of my deep, animal nature.

Back in 2005, my then-partner told me I looked like a prostitute (he didn’t mean in a good way) the very first time I wore the boots.  I was heartbroken.  But something raw and powerful inside insisted I wear them anyway. Ultimately, that moment informed my decision to leave my marriage and reclaim myself.  I felt a distinctive “fuck you” to those threatened by my sexuality.  I continue to feel that way.

In the post-capitalist-frenzy of the holidays, may my humble offering remind you that we can always travel home again, and sometimes the ticket is even for sale.

Buying the Boots on Haight Street, 2005

These boots are San Francisco.

As the striding, heel-crushing totems work their black magic,

supple black leather, long lines, heels curving up like city streets,

I tell my companion I am not ready to ride these.

As the striding, heel-crushing totems work their black magic,

my fingers trace these routes.

I tell my companion I am not ready to ride these

She says I will not wear these boots until I wear these boots.

My fingers trace these routes

like streetcars of desire.

She says I will not wear these boots until I wear these boots,

and there is longing, coveting, desiring.

Like streetcars of desire

carrying a bad-ass passenger,

There is longing, coveting, desiring

to be the woman who owns these boots.

Carrying a bad-ass passenger

Up, up, up, up

Oh, to be the woman who owns these boots,

pouring my legs into the casings, making me taller, badder, readier.

Up, up, up, up,

supple black leather, long lines, heels curving up like city streets,

and pouring my legs into the casings, I am taller, badder, readier.

These boots are San Francisco.

The Day I bought my Fluevogs (looking a little apprehensive.)
The Day I bought my Fluevogs (looking a little apprehensive.)

Is this what I want? Adventures with Wanting, Yearning, and Craving

Is desire at the root of everything human?

(We all come from desire.)

I wake up today (everyday,) and not a full minute goes by before I’m thinking about what I want.  Coffee, return that phone call, text my crush…. and the list goes on.  Every moment of every day, thinking and feeling into what I want.  Sometimes getting what I want, sometimes not.  Sometimes able to ask for it, sometimes, the desire smoldering inside.  Doing all of these human dances, with desire as my constant partner.

It’s got me thinking, this desire thing.

What is it? It seems like every big religion’s got the word on Desire.  Recognize this one? “And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and it was desirous for the eyes, and the tree was lovely to behold.”

buddha_stars1Buddha teaches that attachment to desire is the root of suffering: The second noble truth the origin of suffering:  Within the context of the four noble truths, suffering (dukha) is commonly explained as craving.

  • Craving for sensory pleasure
  • Craving for Union (togetherness)
  • Craving to not feel painful feelings (not aloneness)

 

 

 

 

ChinnamastaShakta Tantra (the Hindu variety which I practice) resolves the fundamental dilemma presented by being human and having desires and those desires causing suffering by directing human desires towards liberation rather than repressing them. This philosophy argues that trying to deny certain desires only empowers them further. Rather than repress potentially harmful impulses, Tantra tries to harness them in service of setting ourselves free.

Of course, Christianity gives a narrow container for the expression of limited desires, and seeks to control through fear and punishment all desires that fall outside that purview.

Pagans seem to welcome desire and pleasure, and don’t fret too much (maybe not enough) about the impact on our spiritual development.

In my admittedly very limited knowledge of Islam, it seeks to provide a code for the expression of human desires, seeking balance between wanting and fulfillment of wanting.

Judaism prescribes a law-filled code for the fulfillment of desire as well, that at least includes pleasure.

None of these ways of engaging desire really work for me.  They seem like how it could be, or should be, or an idea…. but not personal enough. My own experience of desire is so complex.  It is often glorious, often painful. My desire ignores codes, rejects shoulds, and is often the antithesis of what is culturally conditioned.  I wonder if this is not the experience of most of us?

Every person I have ever worked with or discussed sexuality with has expressed their desire in completely unique, and specific-unto-them terms.  The only common thread is the liminal, and ever-changing nature of desire, and its insatiable quality.

I want permission for my desire.  This process you are reading is about me giving myself permission, and hopefully giving you permission.  Imagine, all of us, simply wanting what we want.

I desire things that I am not supposed to desire.  I desire much that my socialization tells me are taboo, wrong, disempowered, disgusting, shameful, abhorrent, too far from common decency, too powerful, too violent.  I notice my desire like hunger.

Last week, I noticed the gnawing in my belly.  I tried to fill it with too much Halloween candy. I tried to fill it with socializing, with sex. I tried to fill it, and then I stopped.

Just noticing the hunger, noticing the emptiness, is so hard. It is so terribly hard to just sit with it.  My mind clamors: Try a beer. Try some cuddling.  Try a bath.  Soothe it, dissipate it, quiet it.  Somehow lessen the ravenous void of its immense gaping maw.

Wanting is terrifying.  It is the rawest, most bloody form of nakedness that I know.  Wanting without a tether, without something at the end of the desire, is what lies at the root of the hungers we try to feed through addictions.

This is what I want, right now.

I want her. I want her precious, big-eyed vulnerability.  I want her tenderest tears and fragility. Her badass intellect. Her heartbreak. Her need.  I want to make her come and cry, and then wipe her tears with my hair. I want her to want to give her orgasm to me. I want to cut her heart wide open, and take it from her chest, licking the dripping blood off of it (this is a metaphor.) Or maybe I just want her to text me.

I want him. I want his fierce submission. I want his most vroom vroom passionate passion to have room to express.   I want him to have the flexibility to turn his crazy erotic energy up and turn it down, at will.  I want to see him naked, dancing, feeling completely free within his bondage.  I want the intensity of his James Dean eyes turned on me, his unfettered desire throbbing and thrumming as he awaits my instructions for the afternoon. I want him to serve me lunch.

I want to build a container (a world)  in which you never again question if you are wanted or desirable.

I want to be able to name my desires freely.  (Ironically, while writing this a dear one emails me.  In that moment, I find I want him, too, and write and say so.  Naming my desire is terrifying.)

I want reassurance that my desires are not too big, too disturbed, too insatiable.   

I want to feel poignant, intense feeling. I want to not be separate, insecure, alone.  I want erotic community.  I want magick and synchronicity.  I want clean underwear.

I. want. to. be. taken. care. of.

There are other desires, things named and unnamed, that I will probably never do or have.  I name them (and ask you to know that there are others I am not naming here) because I don’t want to offer you a diluted version of the truth of my desire.  I don’t want to give you lukewarm permission to be fully, completely in your base human desire.  So here is what I also want: I want to sell my body, to make them pay for it. I want to tear and bite with my teeth, rip with my blade.  I want to hurt.  I want to humiliate and I want to worship. I want to lay my body down and open, prostrate myself in front of the Divine, and offer the service of my meager life.

And it never, ever completely goes away, no matter how close, how intimate, how much power exchange, how much energy, how many orgasms.  The wanting remains.

I feel so humbled by the power of my desire.  I have spent years trying to quiet it.  Trying to feed it.  I have this big, fat body to show for it, all my wanting.  While there are certain standbys for bringing comfort and offering temporary satiation, I find that even they are growing old and cold and less effective, as I get closer to being able to express the heart of my desire.

What I am learning about desire, as I give myself full permission to want what I want, is that it almost never is what I expect it to be.  It is continually surprising and an elegant mysterious process of uncovering what I want in each moment.

Internally, my experience of my desire is sweetly familiar and freshly distinctive and exceptional.  I notice I can’t breathe deeply.  The best I can do in that moment is to say, “Sitting here, next to you on this couch, touching your hair, I am feeling desire.”

Of course, the next logical question is “What is your desire?” and it is here the breakdown and the loss and the grief occur.

I can only express around the edges of my desire.  It is not because I am shy, or inarticulate, or unable to tell you because of shame or repression.  It is because when I try to put my desire into words, there is something essential I cannot capture.  Using words, I cannot put my yearning into pure form.  There is something lost in translation.  And no matter how close I get to expressing what I truly want, when you give it to me, there is always another translation gap which I also grieve.

So many different, intricate dances with desire.  What I’ve never done is just stay open to it.  What is on the other side of this yearning?  What is it to not know the answer? What is it to wait, hungrily waiting?  What is it to acknowledge that the want in me is the want of the very universe, exploding itself into being?  What is it to allow feeling that power, to feel the hunger that will never, no matter what, stop?  And even as I contemplate, and practice, just sitting with the wanting, there is that within me that wants to want.

You ask me what I want.

But my dear, although I can never tell you, of course I want you. And I want you to want to be wanted by me.  I can’t tell you in words.   But my eyes, my eyes can tell you.  My eyes can tell you, without losing the pure raw brutal power of my lusting want, my aching need, my unadulterated desire.  I want you. Just look in my eyes.

Tell me what you Desire. 

Take Me Down Where I am Whole: Take me down, to My Black Velvet Sexy Soul

il_570xN.171899971Yesterday was the 27th anniversary of losing my virginity.  

In honor of the long road of my sexual life, I’m reflecting today on how it was to make that first decision about sexual engagement, and how it is as a sexual being 27 years later.

Last Friday night, my friends and I offered “Black Velvet.”  This was an intentional experiment in what happens to our physical attractions, erotic engagement and sexual behavior when we enter a completely dark space. What happens if we have an hour and a half to do anything we want, as long as we obtain consent from our partners?  In the numerous conversations and emails that have occurred in the days following, I have learned that setting down our sexual baggage both is and is not an easy thing to do. 

When I first made the decision to become sexual, it was about a year after I had visited Planned Parenthood for the first time.  At 14, my friend and I made appointments, without telling our parents, to have pelvic exams and to start on birth control pills.  I remember being so terrified of pregnancy, and so terrified of my own sexuality, that going on the pill preemptively seemed like a wise, mature choice.  Even in light of my current concerns about the effects of hormones on developing sexualities, I stand by that choice and have great respect for PP to this day.  I remember taking my first peach colored pill, and realizing that I was taking my sexual power into my own hands.

Friday night, when I entered into the black velvet darkness, I had a similar sense.  This was about my sexual power, my way.  I had no fear about being in that space, as I trust my own boundaries, and even more, I trust in my ability to recover from breaches to my boundaries.  No matter what could have happened, I felt secure in knowing that I could eventually handle it.

When I met Terry, first real intimate love of my life, we decided that we would have sex together, and share the loss of our virginity.  We set a date, wrote a contract, talked about how it would be, and what we wanted.  I don’t know where the consciousness came from, because certainly no one in either of our families had helped to guide us, but there it was.  We both wanted a connected, playful, supportive and joyous experience.  We both wanted a space free of gender obligations.  We both wanted creativity and exploration.  We both wanted something meaningful. And that is what we created for ourselves.

It strikes me that in crafting the Black Velvet space, how strongly these principles from my earliest sexual encounters continue to shape my values around sexuality.  Conscious exploration and experimentation are the premises on which Black Velvet rested. Freedom from gender assumptions was a dearly-held desire. Play, connection, joy and support were all ingredients we stirred into that cauldron.

The experiment that was Black Velvet was so many things, to so many people.

I’ll only speak here from my own experience, although I’ve been collecting data from others.  What I am able to say is a common thread I’ve heard in reflections: how difficult it was to leave assumptions at the door.  Whether it was feeling excluded from a dyad already in progress, or concern about violating someone’s boundaries, or an unease about not knowing someone’s gender or queerness factor, our fears, assumptions, beliefs and stories make it very difficult for us to have a pure experience. 

I think back to October 28, 1986, and to the purity of the encounter I had with Terry.  Joy and connection.  The utterly astonishing feel of someone’s naked chest against mine.  The pain at the most gentle of penetration. The exhilaration of finally opening my body to someone I loved. The pride that I had done it in the way I wanted, with the person I wanted, and not drunk at some party. The sadness, knowing something was forever altered inside… not having grown into something yet that clearly had a vast and limitless potential.  The not knowing how to operate the parts, the bits, and yet feeling at the same time the exact knowing of how it all worked.  The vulnerability of showing my arousal, my desire, my pleasure.  The rawness of naked skin, exposed genitals, and bared heart. 

Contrasting these feelings to Black Velvet, I see the effects of 27 years of sexual exploration with myself and others. I know how to operate the bits. I know how to touch, and listen with my being.  I now know a lot about pleasure, connection, and sex.

My encounters in the dark were both fulfilling and unsatiating.  I loved being able to touch people, without knowing who they were, or what they wanted, and having to trust my own desire as a barometer, as well as trust that they would uphold any boundaries.  Loved it, and found it completely challenging.  Hearing fucking and slurping noises, moans and what sounded like orgasmic moments made me feel surprisingly tender, and not erotic. I loved being playfully grabbed and roughly pulled, and being slowly seduced into a full body encounter.

That evening, after Terry and I made love for the first time, I felt full of meaning.  I felt like I had the most beautiful secret in the world.  Feeling the rawness between my legs was like a prize… the deep ache inside made me feel grown up, in love, and powerful.  It was less about my connection with Terry, and more about validating a deep unseen source of power, almost completely unexplored.  It’s like when you venture into something just enough to realize the magnitude of what could potentially be possible. 

Black Velvet was also like that.  Having had it once, I want it more and more.  I want to push more into that womb-like chamber, penetrate more deeply into the folds of its mysteries.  I want to know my assumptions, my filters, my lenses.  I want to know the way trauma informs my judgmental self.  I burn to understand sex that is purely about physical connection.  I am intrigued to comprehend how two people can be in an experience and have completely different realities.

Terry is still so dear to me to this day. Our sweet, queer explorations set a course of supportive experimentation which clearly I hold as a deep value.  How completely beautiful it is to me that on some level, my 15-year-old self recognized what my 42-year-old self would want and need. 

Black Velvet opens consciousnessThe most important revelation from the Black Velvet space is about time magick.  The potent knowing that this self, right now, is setting the stage for what my sexual self will want and need, far into the future.  Possibly 27 years in the future.  I am so grateful for the journey, the road, the hurts and harms and healings.  I am so grateful for the pleasure, the breathe, the community.  Our sexual healing begins the moment we step into it, no matter how trepidatious or cautious we are.  Thank you Terry. Thank you Black Velvet.  And Thank you Pavini.  

As the soundtrack ended, and the sounds around me in that black velvet space gentled and slowed, one of my fellow organizers spoke a benediction.  They blessed our work, and our play. They reminded us that sexual exploration is our birthright. That while it may be up to us and us alone, it is indeed possible for us to create these spaces for ourselves to deepen our experience as erotic beings.  And sometimes it requires stepping into our own darkness, our own black velvet, to reach deeply for healing, truth, and liberation.

One of our feedback questions from the experience was about erotic experiments, and what ideas participants have for events they would like to see happen.  If you have an idea, please drop a comment below or email me.  Happy Samhain!

Paying Eros: Fuck your Creativity

Erotic Liberation and Emancipating Sexuality

Do you truly know your own will, when it is free, unbound and without regard for loss?  Do you bow to the will of Eros, or do you seek to bind your creative nature to the will of your logic? How far can you go, how far are you willing to go, to serve your own creative muse? What will do you choose, during your Earth time, so you may bring the one true, exquisite work with which your heart smolders? Will you set ablaze your life, foolishly and courageously risking being reduced to ashes? Will you hope to light the world with your outrageous claim to radiance?

Are you willing to feed your work, your true work, the thing your very soul requires for food, with the pleasure that arises hotly from between your legs?  From the moist delight that graces your yearning lips or from the relish of your sticky fingers?  Will you caress your project with the hungry touch of a lover? Trace the edge of your story with one slow, wet, finger tip? Let your gaze hover over your canvas, ripe with the slick yearning of your want?

How much raw lust do you bring, will you bring, to that which you must do before you are killed by desire?

Will you lay on your couch, your lover’s tongue lapping up your slime, as you type outlandish poetry furiously, moaning, onto a computer screen that your half-open eyes don’t even see? Will you stir your passion into the bubbling pot on the stove as your crazy crush rubs and humps against your backside, leans into your neck, whispers naked wanting into your soft ear? Will you let flamboyant dreams overtake you, draw you to the far edge of the universe of your imagination and make mad plans, as the fingers of your darling probe the holiness of your body?  Will you tear off your bandages, rip off the scars and scabs of your heart, so that Eros is reinstated as your top, your Dom, your Sir?

Will you let your fingers bleed the words onto the pure page, great smears of red, writing the words your mouth does not even know how to speak? Will you drop your hands to your sex and use the smut you find there to fuel your collaborations? Will you use your own salty sweet cum to trace the brutal and beautiful designs of power and lust over the flushed-skin trembling one  at your side? Designs made of desire like wire brands searing the flesh in subtle patterns that speak truth louder than clothing can hide? Will you dip your pen, your wand, your brush into the feral sweat in the creases at your lover’s hips, and wet the virgin page with your unfulfilled, unsatiated passion?

Will you endure or inflict the agony of blows, strikes that carve out the heart leaving unfamiliar and unexplored chambers for love to fill? Will you marry your violence, your pain and terror to the starlit night and full moon perfection of joy and beauty? Will you join all of your selves, your broken child, your mighty wise one, and your fierce healer, in service of the Art of your life? Will you bleed? Will you cum? Will you give the cherry of your erotic self in service to the Eros of the Earth?

Will you Fuck with merciful abandon?

Will you Fuck with freedom and with the innocence of violets and ferns unfurling next to streams? Streams that flow like the waters between your very legs,  streams that carve away the flesh of the Earth as your fingers tear at the pathways to arousal of your beloved self? Streams that dissolve rock as your flesh and bone dissolve resistance, break boundaries, abolish thought and control?  Will you know God through your fucking, through your fucking, bleeding, pissing, cumming body?

Will you?  Because that, muthafuckas, is Erotic Liberation.  And whether you believe it or not, you exist right now only because of Eros, brilliant and deliberate or misguided and pathologized as the case may be. Eros is owed the tremendous debt of remembrance.  We each of us are completely and utterly responsible for restoring innate and right relationship with our deepest creative source.  Let us pay homage through feeling. 

Bring back right relationship with Eros and Emancipating Sexuality

  

My new zine “Sexual Liberation Front” Free Download

Sexual LIberation FrontThis summer, I published my first “product.”  I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio during the 1980’s, when the hardcore punk scene was going strong.  I came up on zines, and have a strong affinity for information being distributed in a sub-culture underground.  This first issue of my zine is a labor of love, and I offer it in spirit of the gift economy: it will not be sold or bartered, ever.

It feels really scary to put a huge piece of my work out into the world, and let go of control over what will happen with it.  But it feels important in service of our collective sexual liberation.  That said, may this delight you, instruct you, challenge you and ultimately serve you.

Sexual Liberation Front: For Queers and those of Marginalized Sexual Identity

Zine Free Download

Please share, print,  and disseminate widely, with credit.

And no pressure, but if you do read it, it would mean a lot to me if you would drop a note and let me know.

My deepest love for all who read.

Receiving the Fruits of Love

“Desire consists of three stages.  First, getting clear on what you want.  Next, communicating it.  And last, being available to actually receive what you want, and recognizing it when it comes.” ~me

Often, this process breaks down for people in one of these stages.  After a number of failed attempts, we subconsciously learn to push away our desire, as it has become the source of pain.  To be truly intimate, we must reclaim our desire.  We can practice each of the three stages.  When we learn to consciously and actively receive, we begin to realize that our desire is not all encompassing.  We begin to know that it’s okay to be hungry, because sometimes we are full.  We begin to allow the yearning that brings us closer to Spirit, because sometimes we know the feeling of one-ness, of not-alone-ness.

Receiving is an Intimacy Technology skill.  Perhaps receiving seems like the most intuitive part of the process.  Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “Pavini, I TOTALLY am able to receive what I want.”  I believe you.  And also I invite you to consider the following.

It’s my belief, that beneath our cool exterior, most of us  feel a sense of profound inadequacy.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Tara Brach, Brene Brown, and many others link our chronic suffering with a deep-seated sense of being unworthy. In fact, the Dalai Lama has ‘”expressed astonishment at the  degree of self-aversion and feelings of unworthiness reported by Western students.”  And he’s hanging out with the kids who are actually working to undo that particular belief!

When I was first falling in love with my partner, I was deeply worried about what must be horribly wrong with my partner, since they were falling in love with me.  How could I possibly actually receive love and care when I believed that the giver was deeply flawed?  And that I was deeply flawed?  If I am not worthy of love and care, I can’t actually receive it.

So yeah, somewhere along the way we swallowed a bunch of crap.   Unpacking and rewriting the unworthiness story is crucial.  And it can be a long road to recovery.  Feeling worthy definitely takes practice and repetition over time.

Once I’ve been working on the worthiness thing for awhile, then I can turn my attention to receiving.  Even if  if I can receive love and care, doReceiving massage can help you practice receiving other things.  I notice that I am receiving long enough to feel satiation?  If all we ever feel is hungry, we lose the sweetness of dancing along the spectrum between full and empty. We numb to the subtlety and nuance of our experience when our ability to move between binaries is stuck.

When I first left my marriage, and I was living on my own, I spent an entire Thanksgiving weekend painting my living room the color of sweet potatoes.  I listened to Lauren Hill, danced, cried and made my space gorgeous.  After the long weekend, when I was standing looking in the front window to my home, and all the lights were on, I had a curious sensation.  I couldn’t place it at first.  And then it hit me: I was content!  I had never had that experience before.  I luxuriated for months in the satiation of all of my work of leaving, moving, and creating.  It was a wonderful way to receive myself, with love.

One way you can assess how well you are able to receive is by asking someone to give you a massage.  (It’s in the name of research, tell them.)  As you are being touced, notice how deeply you can allow the touch to soak in.  Do you feel it just at the skin?  Can you allow it to absorb further in? To your muscles?  Bones?  Heart?  Can you actually feel the love pouring through someone’s hands and into your body?  This month’s Intimacy Technology class is on Receiving.  On how we can practice being available to receive more of what we want intimately, and how we can recognize it once we have it.  I hope you’ll join me on Monday, May 20 at 7.

Intimacy Technology

So, remember when I posted that list of Intimacy Skills last fall, and it went viral?  Over 4,000 people read that post.  Holy Moly.  It got me thinking that although we are all supposed to KNOW how to be intimate, no one ever really teaches us explicitly.  Kinda like sex.  Unless you are super lucky and have an amazing family of origin, you probably struggle with intimacy, just like me.  When so many people read that post, I realized that there is a gap in our skill sets, and that I could come up with something to fill it.

I did a trial run of a few classes last fall, and they went really, really well.

I am writing a book, called “Intimacy Technology,” to help people access the skills to have intimacy more easefully.  I believe intimacy skills can be taught, practiced, and mastered.   To kick my ass into gear about writing the book, I decided to develop a series of classes, each one a chapter in the book, and present them over a year’s time.  I develop content for the class, for the book and workbook, and the peeps get to explore and practice building the intimacy skill in a low-risk environment with plenty of support.

Next Monday, January 28 starts the Intimacy Technology series.  We’ll meet just about every fourth Monday for a year.  Participants will receive strategies and tools that are immediately applicable to their relatings, be it with friends, co-workers, lovers, family, children, etc.   So, without further ado, here’s the promo: (And make sure to check out the special pricing for buying the whole series upfront)

Intimacy Skills in San FranciscoIntimacy Technology Series:

Transformative Skills for Potent Connection

 

“Have good boundaries.  Communicate well.  Know your true desire, and be able to ask for it. Be authentically vulnerable, and take emotional responsibility. Trust.”  All these are skills needed for true intimacy.  But where do we learn them? Mostly, we learn by trial and error, or costly therapy.  But what if developing intimacy skills was structured and fun?

Intimacy Technology is a skills development series.  Each intimacy skill is isolated, broken down into practical components, and practiced in a supportive, exploratory and playful environment.  In these classes you will explore the skills that build the intimacy muscle, with practical strategies and immediate results.

This is a year-long series, though you can attend as few or as many classes as you like.  Perfect for those who are single, newly in relationship, hoping to be in relationship, or in established relationships of any orientation or configuration.  Drop in cost is $30, or attend as many as you like for $250 paid in advance.   We meet most fourth Mondays of the month, from 7 – 10 p.m. in San Francisco.

January 28: Communication: Skills to negotiate desire, sex, emotions and conflict.
February 25: Joyful Boundaries: Honor, set, and maintai physical, energetic, emotional boundaries
March 25: On Fire with Desire: Find your desire, communicate about it, and receive it
April 22: Breathtaking Vulnerability: Opening yourself authentically
May 20: Getting what you thought you wanted Receptivity, availability and open-heartedness
June 24: Story: How does your intimacy story keep you from true intimacy? How can you rewrite it?
July 22: Dark Shadows: Meeting and knowing our darker desires, compassion and bringing our full self to intimacy
August 26: Successful and Supportive Intimacies: Allyship, gratitude, generosity and cooperation
September 23: Emotional responsibility: Owning what’s mine and mindfulness
October 28: Terrifying Trust: Opening to receiving love, intimacy and compassion
November 25: Intimate Risk-taking: With harm-reduction
December 16: Holding Space: For everyone’s feelings and needs

I’m in the process of renting space near public transport in SF, and as soon as that piece is in place I will publish the location.  I’d appreciate if you’d share this post on facebook, and forward it to anyone who could benefit.  I’m also looking for someone to do set-up and promo for a full work trade position for the series.  You can read more at http://www.emancipating-sexuality.com or register HERE

To Know My Desire…

Working definition of Desire: The foundational current of energy in the body from which all acts of will and creation initiate.

Desire creates Life

So why bother? Why struggle to understand desire, to know its workings, to attempt to re-ignite it? Why fucking bother?

Well, what would life be like without Desire?  And I’m not talking only about sexual desire.  The sexuo-creative-lifeforce-Chi~prana-hungeryearning is what I’m naming.  It’s the flow of energy that moves through the body, inspires action and growth.  Without the flow of desire moving through the body like a river current, the internal space stagnates, becomes rigid and cement-like, and movement and growth are both impaired.

Who do you know who has tried for years to stifle and repress their Desire? And how did that work out for them?  Not so great, yah? Most likely, they are bitter or brittle, inflexible and stony.  And as much as they try to control it, the hunger leaks around the edges, yes? Desire repressed takes enormous energy to contain.

The essence of desire depends upon its movement and flow, so we are a conduit, not a container.  We can learn to hold desire as a river moving through its banks. Our bodies are the banks and edges.  Desire is the flowing water that erodes and changes us.  Indeed, set free desire has its way with us.  Dammed it does no one any good.  Let the waters run free again.

The River of Desire

Desire sources from our yearning to remember who we are and our purpose.   The very moment we allow the flow of desire to move through us unhindered is when our lives become the appropriate size for us. 

It is through our breath we come to know our Desire.  We quiet inside, and start to notice the gentle tugs on our attention that come through our senses.  I wrote yesterday of how our Desire is subjugated and we are force-fed the Desires the capitalist world would have us have.  Learning to reconnect with our own authentic desire that is less flashy than superbowl ads is challenging.

Can you feel it? Can you feel the yearning you have inside towards healing, towards wholeness, towards union, towards cooperation? Towards the Divine as you know it? Sometimes the pull is so quiet, so subtle.  So we practice.  We practice paying attention to Desire.  We practice noticing the places it is noticeable already in our lives.  We deliberately cultivate our relationship with Desire.  Most importantly, we give ourselves permission to feel Desire.

This is where Desire is fraught with challenge.  What happens if our Desire is not met, cannot be met?  What happens if we must sit with this intolerable yearning forever?  What happens if we desire something that the person whose job it is to meet our desire (a.k.a. our partner) can’t or won’t?  And also, what happens if we actually get what we say is our desire, and the hunger doesn’t abate? What about that gap between my internal experience of desire, what I am able to communicate in words, and whatever shows up to meet that desire? How about the grief I feel when I get almost the right thing, but it’s never quite it? It doesn’t stop the reoccurrence of desire?  Oh, complicated indeed.

Better, perhaps, to not give full permission to feel the desire, judging by all of the complexities that occur when I feel it.  But then, we’re right back to that repression, and blocking the flow of my want, my craving, even though it’s still there.  I asked you two weeks ago, and I ask you now.  Just for a moment today, can you let yourself be pulled by the sweet tug of your Desire?  Can you feed it one long, lovely breath? And what happens next? Yeah, you know I want you to comment.  And if you didn’t check out the Desire Worksheet I created, try it out and let me know what you think.

Stay tuned for more about Desire, libido, and lust.

So tell me what you want, what you really really want? Relearning Authentic Desire.

Most of us have an incredibly complex relationship with Desire.  

We come into this world as hedonists; pleasure- and comfort-seeking, pain- and discomfort-averse.  Soon, however, our education in overriding and subjugating our desires begins.  As toddlers, we get the lesson that just because we want that twenty-foot blue gorilla doesn’t mean we get it.  And if you’ve ever been around a two-year old as they are learning this hard lesson, they are pretty pissed off about it and really want you to know.   “I want what I want when I want it” could be their mantra.  A trip to the grocery store with the under-ten crowd is a solid reminder that children are completely aware of their desires and aversions.

Mommy! I want it!!

With further socialization, us human-types realize that the attention we receive when kicking and screaming maybe not the attention we’d like to get.  We learn to accept not getting what we want all the time.  We’re taught to ignore basic body desires like peeing or hungry, instead synchronizing our desires with the correct time for those on the elementary classroom clock.  Mid-morning bathroom break for all kindergarteners: this is when you have to pee.  12:30 Lunch time for the fifth grade: be hungry now.  Tick. Tick. Tick.

This body training begins the process of moving us away from our authentic desire.  Ironically (or not,) as we start to move away from our organic desire, the $255 billion ad industry begins to feed us a steady diet of easily fulfilled-through-three-low-payments-of-$19.99 desire.  Our desires are policed not only by what we are taught as socially sanctioned behavior, and adherence to a timetable and our parents’ control, but also by a mega-industry that exists for the sole purpose of making us hungry, of creating false desire within us.  We are offered a devil’s deal: quick, constant and cheap fulfillment of desire in exchange for real, (and perhaps delayed) deeply satsifying satiation.

Example #1: In order to fulfill our desire for human touch, we can trade the felicitous (yet inconstant and ephemeral) satiation of a parent’s hug  for the ever-present satisfying touch of a teddy bear, featuring a recorded echo of our absent mother’s heartbeat.

Example #2: We have an innate desire to explore the natural world.  Hunger to witness the wonder of the starry night sky and full moon is fulfilled not with a camping trip outdoors, but with Uncle Milton’s “Stars in My Room.”  Companies like Baby Einstein and LeapFrog Learning capitalize on exposing children to natural patterns and rhythms that were once learned outside.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, average children view 40,000 ads each year.  That’s a whole lotta being told what you want!  Is it surprising that we find it so hard to access our authentic Desire, when we’ve been force-fed our own desire for years??

Relearning authentic desire is a process.  My deep belief is that we do know what we really want and need, but must remember and relearn listening deeply for the truest voice of our Desire. 

Tomorrow I’ll be writing more about finding authentic desire within, and how to regain the absolute knowing we had as babies.  Until then, check out this worksheet on Finding your Desire http://www.emancipating-sexuality.com/resources.html that I created this morning.  Yeah, I’m a teacher, here’s your homo-work.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Let the sweet pull of your Desire…

No top ten lists.  No more helpful hints to drive your wo/man wild.  No superficial engagement with your sensual nature.

Today, just today, let the quiet tug of your Desire sway your course.

Notice the body’s subtle hunger for smell, texture, color.  And….Follow.

Can you remember how it is let your nose lead, your fingers, or your tongue?  

Can you give yourself permission to be drawn by beauty?

Desiring color and texture

The very moment we allow the flow of desire to move through us unhindered, our lives become the appropriate size for us.

If you want more Desire in your life, practice desire.  Just now, this beautiful October day, what happens if you let desire have its way with you for one small moment?