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.

 

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Bringing It until I Fucking Die

Emancipating Sexuality brings it.
Janis Joplin

Someone I deeply respect, and who has had an enormous impact on the art and craft of my teaching unsubscribed from my blog this week.  It was after a particularly graphic post that I wrote, about practicing to be fucked in an alley.

While I understand on an intellectual level that the edge I walk in my work as a teacher of sexual liberation is not for everyone, inside my heart, I felt pain, and another surprising feeling: shame.

The voices of self-doubt rose strongly: am I doing anything that has meaning?   Am I not going to be liked, respected, accepted, loved because I insist on pushing the boundaries of sexual freedom in such a public way?  Should I tone it down, practice and explore privately? Am I too going too far, beyond that radical edge, to where my work loses relevancy?  The level of doubt was staggering.

Maybe, I thought, I should step away from this work, and go back to working with kids with dyslexia.  No one ever unsubscribed from that blog.  (Okay, I didn’t really have a dyslexia blog, but in my oh-so-fun shame story, they wouldn’t have if I did have one!)

I am not sure if self-doubt and feeling unworthy are the same exactly, but they are pretty darned close. Who am I to do this? Why would anyone want to work with me? These are the unworthy voices.

There is something so scary in doubting what I’m doing.  What if I’m lying to myself? What if I am delusional? I don’t want to be dependant on external validation by others, but in these moments, I find I am.

I know it’s not sexy. I know successful people often hide these kinds of thoughts behind a veneer of confidence.  Which is exactly why I want to speak them.  I get so tired when I try to hide insecurity, judgement, doubt.  Actually, hiding them seems to empower them, make them stronger.  I have found that if I just name these shadow feelings aloud, radical and scary as it is, they seem to dissipate. 

So, dear readers, today’s post isn’t for your benefit, per se.  It is for my own… to publicly own all of those unlovable parts. To claim transformational process as a state of being, replete with doubt and shame.  To be honest about how it actually is today, inside this skin sack I’m wearing.

And I do want the kind of world where we can all be honest about the shadow places, the fear places, the small places, and find love and acceptance out there. I spoke with my partner, who is often wise in the ways of transformative process.  What he said is that self-doubt is just part of the process.  It’s to be expected, planned for even.

And so, wallowing within the void of self-doubt, I prayed.  I asked Spirit for a sign.  “Please, please show me and let me know that you want me to keep doing this., that I am meant to do this.”  

I mean, I’ve trusted this process thus far.  I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting deeply that I am being led in good ways through my life.  I’ve made so many scary, risk-taking-you-could-really-regret-this-later kinds of decisions, and they have always worked out. I have trusted that a higher intelligence guides my work, and that there is a benevolence that is holding me as I move through my days. I have said, and continue to say, “Yes” to what is.

Well, I did get my sign, my coincidence, my synchronicity.  Yesterday, I came across and read a beautiful blog post, one which made me cry.  After reading, I was checking out more of the blog, an lo and behold, the author (someone I have never met) had written to me a couple of weeks ago, telling me how deeply they appreciate my work, how they are coming to San Francisco soon, how they would like to meet me.  In that moment of connectedness, I felt my heart open.  While I continue to feel  fear and sadness and the loss of the kind of passability that comes with being an educational therapist and not with being a sex coach, I know I am going to keep bringing it. In spite of self-doubt, I continue on, as evidenced by the writing of this blog post.

Because I think that  this TRULY what successful people do.  They keep bringing it, and bringing it, in spite of objection, persecution, obstacles, self-doubt, and loss.  They keep bringing it because they have to, because it gives their life deep fucking meaning, and they really believe in their work that much.  They truly cannot do anything else. They keep fucking bringing it, until they fucking die. I am of that ilk.  So, though I know the cost of admission is painful, and that the road will be fraught with self-doubt, I am going to fucking bring it, until I fucking die. I can’t really do anything else.