In last month’s post, I attempted to create a working definition for Conscious Sexuality. This is how far I got:
To engage in Conscious Sex is to engage and commit your whole self to the erotic experience – to endeavour to become as fully present as you can to what is moving in you in each moment, and to what is moving in anyone else engaging in the experience with you. It is to be present enough to what is moving in the erotic body, or the space between erotic bodies, to allow an infinite number of possibilities to unfold there – including what might be described as miracles.
In this month’s post, I’m going to talk about some of the side effects I see unfolding as a result of practicing Conscious Sex. These are drawn from experiences reported by my clients, workshop participants, and colleagues, as well as my own. The side effects I’ll be exploring here are:
Integration – Intimacy – Ecstasy – An Expanded Definition of Sex
At one time or another, most of us, at least in the west, end up doing something you could call emotionally compartmentalising. It’s fairly understandable; we live in a culture that prizes thoughts above feelings; we are still, to a great extent, at the mercy of Cartesian dualism, experiencing ourselves as above or separate from our bodies; and many of us come from monotheistic backgrounds, which, to a greater or lesser extent, teach us to be afraid or ashamed of our physical and sensual selves.
So at some point, we start drawing lines. Perhaps something happens to us when we’re children, something that shakes our small, tender world, and which we have no language or outlet to process. Or perhaps we’re taught to equate being good with being giving, rather than with wanting or desiring. Or someone we wish to please tells us that this feeling, or that part of our body; this desire, or that bodily function; is too much, too messy, or simply not good enough. And so on, and so forth. And so, usually unconsciously and internally, we make a box to shut this feeling or that desire in, or we build a wall between our generous heart and greedy sex, or we disown this piece of our personality or past, turning it into our “shadow”.
To practice Conscious Sexuality is to strive to be fully embodied, and fully present to the feelings and sensations unfolding in that body. For many of us, this means that practicing Conscious Sexuality sparks a journey of reconnection, not only with other people, but also with ourselves. It’s not always an easy ride; most of us don’t really want to come face to face with feelings we shut away for a very good reason, or with parts of ourselves we learned to be critical of. However, with perseverance and patience, compassion and curiosity, and with kindness towards ourselves and each other, Conscious Sexuality can become a journey not just towards greater passion or pleasure, but towards personal wholeness, and healthier relationship with the emotional and physical self.
Integration and interpersonal intimacy have a bit of a chicken and egg relationship when it comes to Conscious Sexuality. A moment of profound intimacy with another person – one which brings with it the feeling that we are being deeply seen and held just as we are, in all our vulnerability and with all our imperfections – can contribute hugely to a journey of self-acceptance. Similarly, the ability to listen to what is moving in one’s own emotional and physical body during a moment of connection can make that connection much more profound – by allowing for deeper honesty, tangible presence, and greater flow.
Either way, there can be no doubt that the kind of presence and embodiment that Conscious Sexuality encourages and nurtures allows us to connect with one another in a more truthful and more fully engaged manner. Sharing ourselves fully, and receiving our lovers with our full attention, inevitably leads us into a deeper quality of connection. Indeed, there are countless reports of these practices leading to a sense of communion or oneness – not only with a partner, but some kind of divinity, the natural environment, and/or the universe as a whole. An experience, in other words, of…
By including not just our genitals, but our whole body; not just our body, but our heart; not just our heart, but whatever we define as our soul; not just our soul, but whatever we call on as our gods, in our erotic acts… we allow pleasure to extend not just to a small flash in our genitals; not just through every nerve in our body; not just into the very centre of our chest; not just into the core of our being… but out from our being into the Universe. And we can choose to follow – diving deeper into our own skin, or flowing through the electric currents of our lovers bodies, or traveling down into the warm molten earth, or flying through the stars… Or just into the volcanic heart of a really fabulous full body orgasm!
A Different Definition of Sex
That last – albeit somewhat excitable – paragraph should hopefully begin to offer a glimpse of how Conscious Sexuality causes our definitions of what is erotic, and what constitutes sex, to expand.
When we use breath to expand our capacity for pleasure, it’s all too easy for breath to become pleasure itself.
When instead of trying to get somewhere, we’re intensely focused on where we are, where we are can become just as ecstatic a place as the places we used to struggle to reach.
When we start playing with energy as well as with flesh, there comes a time when we can share orgasmic experiences that don’t require genitals – or even touch.
This is good news for a number of reasons. It opens up an infinite new horizon of pleasure possibilities for everyone. It allows us to let go of trying to conform to something we were told sex ought to be, and let our sex be what it is, which is usually far more interesting. And as the erotic expands outwards, a lot more of us who previously felt excluded can get a look in. And that’s a good thing for everyone.
If reading this has left you feeling eager to begin your own journey into embodiment, integration, and sexual empowerment, join us on the third weekend in March (17th-19th) for the first workshop in the Initiation series, Making Love with Self – a deep dive into the arts of radical self love and ritual sex magic. We’d love to have the pleasure of your company.