Fucking Science: Erotic Experiments in the Dark

sex_scienceQuestion: 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.

Before HIV, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, gay male bars often had something called a “darkroom” or “blackroom.”  This was a space, in the back of the establishment, that was unlighted and could be used for anonymous sex.  You know, stop in for happy hour on a Friday, order a Bud, go in the back and get a blow job, come back and finish your beer.  Does that sound good to you?  I have always wondered why gay males get a different kind of sexuality than everyone else. Why do they get glory holes, bathhouses, anonymous sex? That’s always felt unfair, and I’ve decided to do something to change that.  It involves my living room.

Today, as I’m writing, I keep glancing in there, wickedly imagining.  Come Friday evening, it will be magically transformed into an erotic pleasure laboratory. Four sexual “scientists,” together with an invited group of people, will participate in an experiment called “Black Velvet.”    

Consider this imaginary scenario, culled from the invitation:

In this Black Velvet space, although there is no light, you will begin to notice the presence of other bodies.   Slowly, as you crawl through the space, you bump gently into a soft, warm presence.  You reach out a hand to touch, and jump slightly as your own erotic energy becomes merged with that of another.  You don’t know who.  You don’t know what that person looks like, their name, where they work, or what bits they have.  All you know is whether you enjoy the energy between you or not.  

If you do, and if they do, you stay and explore being in bodies in the dark together.  If one of you doesn’t enjoy the shared energy, you move away, move their hand away, or whisper “busy.” There is no shame. There is no expectation or obligation.  There is no commitment, other than to the truth of the moment.  

 Consent is always necessary… and it is given by your potential partner choosing to engage with you.  Your boundaries are not negotiable, and indeed the entire group is responsible for creating safer, supported space that welcomes all bodies, genders, sexual identities, and desires.  This group holds as its most profound value that the decision not to engage with someone is a decision to trust our deepest knowing, and is therefore a gift to everyone.

What will happen in this Black Velvet Space?  That’s completely up to you.  You may leave after being deliciously fucked by a hot stranger.  Or, you may explore what it is to be in a space like this and hold your boundaries and not engage at all. Or a thousand other outcomes.  The only requirements for how you explore a space like this is your desire to know yourself better as an erotic being.  

Are you still breathing?  Does this sound intimidating as hell to you?  I know it does to me.  I am really pretty scared about Friday night.  My intention is to open my body in new ways, and I don’t really know what that means or how it will manifest.  What if I go too far beyond my boundary? What if I fuck someone I don’t want to fuck, but they smell and feel so right?  My control issues/needs make it really, really hard to imagine being in a space like Black Velvet, and just surrendering. 

However, I am on fire with conducting erotic experiments.  I am deeply committed to using my body as a pleasure laboratory.  I am ‘all in,’ for maybe the first time in my life, in my ongoing explorations of body, sex, spirit and intimacy.

I’m really quite tired of my erotic limits.  I’m tired of only seeking the kind of sex that connects, builds intimacy, and endures the test of time.  I’m tired of sensation and pleasure being limited by my own narrow capacity. I’m ready to push past the boundaries I think I hold, and find what lies beyond them.Erotic Experiments

How do I know what I am erotically capable of, unless I conduct experiments?  How do I know what I might like unless I try it out? What else is possible for my genitals to feel?  For my hands to learn?  What else can I do with my erotic energy? How can I use the power of my orgasm to make electricity that lights my house? What happens if I turn my bits inside out and stimulate them?  To what edge of beyond trust can I push myself, while still staying connected and compassionate with my heart?

Oh there’s that trust word again.  I will say it is pretty intense, to be on this erotic journey in such a public way. It’s crazy hard sometimes, to claim radical sexuality and pleasure in this queer, fat body.   I am deeply trusting my own process as alchemical. I hope it stands for something that is meaningful to you.  Learning to trust diving into the void of not knowing, and learning to trust that I will emerge, intact feels like my great work.

So what will be the conclusions of the Black Velvet erotic experiment?  Will participants explore their desires, curiosities, hang-ups and boundaries? Will we emerge from the darkness, with deeper and fuller knowledge of our erotic capacities?  And will we be able to make it stick, make it count, make pushing our erotic edges translate into more space in our whole lives?  Or will it just be a cool, I-live-in-the-Bay-Area-and-we-do-weird-sex-shit-like-this-cuz-we-are-so-hip kinda deal?

I do not know.  Participants have agreed to send me their reflections within 48 hours of the event, so there’s my data collection. I will write to you next Monday (are you noticing that posts come out every Monday?  You could *subscribe* if you never want to miss one again!) Next Monday, I will describe the event and my experiences, should you be so interested.  (I’m also teaching an Intimacy Technology class next Monday on trust: please consider attending.)

If you like this post, it would make me deliriously happy if you would consider conducting your own erotic experiment in the next week or so. Post a comment below telling me what will be, or drop me an email and tell me what happened.  I know I’m not the only erotic revolutionary here! 

What might happen on our planet if we build

a critical mass of erotic consciousness? 

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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

  

Erotic Energy 101: Tools to maximize pleasure

Erotic Energy Emancipating SexualityLiving in Northern California, the term “energy” gets bandied about with quite a degree of frequency.  And in my field, that includes erotic energy.  We talk about “erotic energy regulation” and “moving through your energetic blocks.”  Now, admittedly, I’m pretty woo.  But sometimes I feel challenged by what exactly I’m supposed to “do” when playing with energy.  I feel it, I know it exists, but how to engage it in meaningful, and pragmatic ways?

Why work with Erotic Energy? 

Well, Neo-Tantra has claimed erotic energy as part of the branding.  Personally, I find it really distasteful.  But I’m not willing to let them have all the good stuff!  I think that everyone can have access to the skills of erotic energy regulation without having to subscribe to a vague ‘sacred sexuality’ doctrine.

Emancipating Sexuality and Erotic Energy
Oh Gross.

I work with erotic energy in different ways.  Deepening my understandings (like writing this piece) is one way; practicing and experimenting with things is another.  I work with erotic energy because I find that I don’t truly know the edges or limits of my own potential as an erotic being.  I am of a curious nature, and find that engaging energy in my sexual encounters provides deeply pleasurable and often transformative encounters.

 What is a working definition of “erotic energy?”

Dictionary.com offers the following definitions:

Erotic: pertaining to sexual desire

Energy: The capacity to do work, available power

Therefore, a working definition of ‘Erotic Energy” could be “The available power of sexual desire.”  Of course, I want to add “pleasure” to this definition. Thus, here’s my definition:

“Erotic energy is a resource available to humans at all times, and can be understood as ‘the pleasurable power of desire.’”

What are the tools to access and use erotic energy to maximize pleasure?

I believe there are different skills involved in working with erotic energy.  There are a set of foundational skills of embodiment.  Then, there are skills of creating, sustaining, moving and sharing erotic energy.  Many people have access to some of these skills, and can choose to develop others.

Foundational Skills

Aware of Body Sensations

Aware of the inner landscape of the body

Sensation is returned to areas of the body once numb

Lives fully in all areas of one’s body

Able to breathe fully into the belly: the belly is soft, and movements are smooth

Able to place one’s awareness in different areas of the body, and hold it

Able to move the “I” who is experiencing out of the head region, and place it into different areas of the body

Has a “pleasure map” of own body

Aware of own energy field

Can access own energy field at will

Erotic Energy Emancipating SexualityCreating Erotic Energy

Able to build sexual charge within the body

Able to turn oneself on

Can use tools of breath, sound, movement, touch, fantasy or visual stimulation.

Able to feel touch, whether self or other, through skin, eyes, heart love, life

Profoundly touched by the natural world

Profoundly moved by the capacity for beauty created by the human species

Sustaining Erotic Energy

Able to maintain a level of erotic charge

Training to increase capacity to sustain pleasure

Can ‘hang out’ in the Valley of the Orgasm

Able to hold erotic charge through orgasm, and retain

Sustains a level of consistency in libido, with natural ebb and flow

Moving Erotic Energy

Can pump erotic energy through the body through:

  • kegels
  • the microcosmic orbit
  • pelvic thrusting
  • hip opening movements and poses
  • exercise of the pelvis or pelvic floor muscles

Can allow sexual charge to move beyond the genitals and circulate throughout the body

Can allow the mind to soften, and embrace the slipping away of time and space

Utilizes both Muscular excitement (Constriction) and muscle relaxation to build charge

Sharing Erotic Energy

Able to dissolve personal boundaries

Can merge with another energetically

Can feel a field of erotic energy shared between self and others

Can allow own erotic field to open to include natural world

This list is about some of the energetic possibilities that we can access as humans.  It is not exhaustive, and while many people can probably access some of these skills, most people probably cannot access all of them, all of the time.  I know I can’t!  So not to be disheartened if this list seems overwhelming; it’s just potentials!

I will continue to write about erotic energy and its regulation.  If you are intrigued by your own erotic potential, I invite you to try this.  Masturbate to the edge of orgasm, and stop.  And pay particular attention to how you feel and what you notice internally for the next hour.  Then, masturbate again, and notice what happens.  And if you like, drop me a line at pavinimoray@gmail.com and let me know what happens!

Frustrating Orgasm Tincture and Erotic Training

Frustrating Orgasm
If only this worked!

Among my clients, I hear a continual theme of frustration around orgasm.  As a culture, orgasm has become the only permissible destination the sex train can stop at.  I don’t buy it.

Superficially, it would seem that culturally we are hedonistic, desireful, and ever-seeking more and more pleasure.  I don’t agree.  What seems truer, just beneath that skin layer of consumerism, is our absolute terror about staying with our pleasure.

We’ve learned to stay with our pain, our suffering.  We sit with it in therapy, and feel the spiritual elevation of allowing our suffering to crack open our hearts.  There’s something we deem morally good about feeling our pain.

And I say that there is another road: one in which pleasure can also bring us into the presence of the Divine.

The problem here is often thus: when we begin to feel extreme pleasure, we disallow it.  Our story of ourselves at our core is often one of un-deservingness, unworthiness.  Who are we to receive such pleasure? To be open to such unrestricted arousal? Who are we to allow ourselves to feel liberation and exaltation through our senses?

No, pleasure has to be gotten on the quick.  Furtively, hurriedly, we clench down to encourage our elusive orgasm to happen.  Without genital tension, we might take too long, and our partners might give up, leaving us frustrated.  Or, we find that extreme pleasure in the body is too intense, and we can’t bear it as it borders on overstimulation and even pain.

Just get the pleasure over as soon as possible, get the orgasm out of the way, and be done with the whole corporeal mess.  Change the sheets even.

Viewed through this lens, frustration about not being able to come, and coming prematurely before you want to stem from the same source: get’er done.  They are both not the true thing.

The Hitachi Magic Wand vibrator, beloved and useful as it is, has a stake in this orgasm predicament.  Putting out such extreme vibrations, people become dependent on a certain level of stimulation that is inhuman, and hard to recreate for a sustained period of time.  Reaching for the vibrator when the frustration starts to creep in is perhaps a quick fix, but ultimately perpetuates the same disallowal-of-pleasure cycle.

My teacher, Joseph Kramer, says that we must train to maintain high states of erotic energy in the same way we would train for a marathon, or any sport.  I believe that maintaining high erotic energy in the body actually changes the body, and what it is capable of.  It changes how much pleasure we can receive.  And ultimately, receiving pleasure challenges our story of unworthiness and forces us to reclaim our agency as worthy, sensual and powerful beings.

Here are some suggestions on Erotic Training.

  1. Hide the Hitachi away, for at least two weeks, somewhere far from the bedroom.
  2. If you have a partner, block out a chunk of time, say two hours.  For that two hours, take turns in 15 minute blocks pleasuring each other.  Orgasm is not the goal.  If someone gets close to orgasm, turn the stimulation down a notch and continue.
  3. If someone gets overstimulated, try this reset technique.  Stop all stimulation, and remove the hands from the genitals for about 15-30 seconds.  Slowly reengage, with a gentle touch.  The neurons should have had time to reset.
  4. If you find yourself feeling really turned on, and the story kicks in and says something like “I can’t take this” or “I’m never gonna come” or “I just want to use the vibrator and get this over with” try acting like a sex coach to yourself.  Try saying “See if you can stay with the pleasure just a little longer” or “What happens if you just keep with it?”
  5. Touch your genitals each and every day, or have a partner spend time touching them, with no goal except exploration.  Let curiosity guide the touch. Orgasmic Meditation from One Taste suggests stroking the upper left quadrant of the clitoris for 15 minutes daily, with no goal other than pleasure. I assume this could be translated to the glans on a penis.

This year I’m committing to Erotic Training, and to exploring the pleasure potential my body holds.  I’m letting go of orgasm being the only acceptable outcome, and I’m challenging myself to receive more and more pleasure.  As I move through 2013, I’ll be posting my findings and offering up the jewels of my research for your erotic benefit.  May my pleasure serve yours. 

If you like what you’ve read, take this next 60 seconds to write publicly your erotic commitment to yourself this year, and post it in the comments to be witnessed!

Sex and Shadows: Thoughts at the Autumnal Equinox

Folsom Street Fair San Francisco, CA
Folsom Street Fair San Francisco, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The equinox happens twice yearly, once in March and once in September, when the day holds equal parts light and darkness, depending on where you live.  At Equinox,  I think about the different tensions I attempt to hold in balance in my life.  It’s a day for looking at shadow, and having enough light to not get lost in it.

Oh yes, it’s true, sex is full of shadow.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “shadow,” it’s a term from Jungian psychology that means all of the aspects of our selves of which we are unconscious.  It often carries a negative connotation, and we can often see our own shadow by examining our criticisms, judgments and condemnations of others.

So much of sexuality is hidden in shadows.  Words like “perverse” and “deviant” when applied to human sexuality bespeak a moralistic damnation that reveal just how puritanical our culture is regarding sexuality.  Puritanical, yet paradoxically hyper-sexual and sexualizing everything and everyone. I mean come on!  We sell thongs for pre-pubescent girls with “Juicy” written across the tush.  (Saw them the other day in Ross, just in case you think I’m making this sh*t up.)

Yesterday I volunteered at the booth of the Center for Sex and Culture at the Folsom Street Fair.  All day, I was surrounded by over 40,000 people flaunting versions of their own sexuality.  Sexuality that is usually left in the shadows, behind closed doors, suddenly flooded the sunlit streets of San Francisco.   For many who come from all across the country to attend, it’s a chance to normalize and celebrate their sexual proclivities that may be unwelcome in their own communities.  For those from San Francisco, it’s an annual reminder why we live here, since we feel a sense of belonging we never felt back in Oklahoma.  It’s certainly a visual circus.

The initial thrill at the parade of the human pulled-pony costume wearing-riding crop bearing trainers in their carts.  The ‘heavy-petting zoo. ’ The slick and slippery lube wrestlers with accompanying 50-gallon-drums of lube. The daring antics of the ariel rope suspensionists,artfully binding and then suspending other humans in the air and then doing things to them.   Leather Daddies at Folsom Street FairTen thousand leather daddies that look like they just left audition for the Village people… and what I thought every man would look like before I moved to SF.   However, after  about fifteen minutes, my eyes acclimate and adjust, and the ‘depravity’ around me just seems normal.  Not exactly wallpaper, but certainly not the orgiastic debauchery the rest of the world thinks it is.  It’s just a street fair, with a bunch of naked people, leather, costumes, corn-dogs and greasy fries.  And stuff for sale.  But still.

Warning: Sudden Change of Thought Ahead

I know the whole known universe is freaking out over “50 Shades of Grey” and if I were a good blogger, I’d write a piece on it.  Somehow it just makes me sigh.  I remember how betrayed I felt when I saw “Occupy” books starting to appear in the big box bookstores.  I’m talking about when something I’ve dearly loved in the counterculture suddenly gets picked up by the mainstream culture.  Examples: Paul Simon playing in Starbucks, hoodies for sale with anarchist patches already installed sewn on, Grateful Dead listening fraternity boys, Converse sneakers for sale at Target, and so on.  It’s kinda like that with the whole shades of grey phenomenon.  Yeah, it’s great that kink is becoming more accepted and more people are exploring playful sexuality.  Yay!  And hey, folks, there’s so much more available than “Hello Kitty spankers.”

It’s not that important to me to have my sexuality validated by demonstrating it in public, but I felt a tremendous gratitude that this venue exists for those who need it.  And I don’t want our freak status taken away, or too normalized.  I like it here at the margins.  It feels free, safe, and like corporate America isn’t gonna start infringing in the marketingly annoying way they commodify effin everything.

We now return to the Equinox and the Shadow

I do find it meaningful to seek my shadow, and seek to understand the dark depths of my sexuality.  It makes them not so scary.  And I hafta say, I think our collective shadow around sex is really intensely scary.  It’s much bigger than an annual street fair can counteract.  It’s the denial and repression of our very life-force, even as we hungrily devour the next porn magazine depicting non-consensual sex acts on teenage sleeping girls.  Porn-addiction is a smokescreen, folks.  It’s the shadow that’s too easily seen to truly be shadow.  Real BDSM and Kink?  (Not talking the spankety-spanky stuff, but more like The Secretary) Often, these are a really healthy attempt to bring from the shadow into the light our sexual desires that are in opposition to the ones we think we “should” have, if we are good girls and boys, or the desires our culture affirms as ‘okay.’

What does traditional mainstream culture tell us is okay?

  • Missionary position: one penis, one vagina, close your eyes turn out the lights and….go.
  • Blow-jobs for men (but probably not from their wives.)

What does our culture of mainstream porn tell us is okay?

  • It’s okay to have sex with anybody, anytime, any position.  Oh yeah I love it, squirt gush cum done.
  • It’s okay that there are no feelings, no intimacy, no connection.  You don’t have to feel.  You don’t have to connect.
  • Sexuality is not about anything but bodies.  Just parts with other parts.

No, the real shadow here is how we commodify the very thing that brings us into existence on this planet.  How we regulate it, or try to.  How we fear it so intensely that art becomes suspect.  How we use it to sell absolutely everything.  How we make it all about a visual, and not at all about the intense intimacy, energy, and connection.   This really pisses me off.

Says Jack Morin, the author of The Erotic Mind,

“Eroticism is the process through which sex becomes meaningful.” The erotic is “energized by the entire human drama, including the unruly impulses and painful lesson that no one – except those who retreat from life – can possibly avoid. No wonder the erotic mind conjures up images of debauchery as well as delight… eroticism is the interplay of sexual arousal with the challenges of living and loving.” 

You get it right?  Sex is about being alive.  The shadow of sex is commodification, moralism, judgment, repression, condemnation.  It’s not even about death… it’s about just not being alive even as we live and breathe.  All I can say is: Resist.  Resist with your body, with your desire.  Resist the corruption that everything is sexual and nothing is sexual.  Resist with your kink, your fetish, your refusal to desire what you ‘should’ desire.  RESIST with your whole heart, your fiery passion, and your aroused genitals. Let us retain awareness of our sexual shadow, and not identification with it.  Happy Equinox.