At the end of our most recent Koinonia event, I shared that, for me, pleasure and revolution dance hand in hand. In that sense, I’m a drop in a river that has been flowing for longer than we can know, a river running through Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata, first performed in 411 BC, which tells tall tales of the women of ancient Athens going on a sex strike to stop the Peloponnesian war – and also through the electrifying performance I watched on Zoom earlier this year by Estudio Jorōgumo shibari, a queer feminist collective practising “ropes for resistance” in Mexico. It’s part of why it feels possible, and even generative, to keep offering work that is oriented towards pleasure in these “interesting times” – because pleasure can be both a resource and a tool for change, and because the world we are changing towards must be one in which everyone has the permission and possibility to embrace their pleasure. …
One of the most common topics I explore with my clients in psychosexual coaching sessions is communication – including the question of how to do it.
“It’s all very well identifying this boundary or need, but how can I communicate it to my partner(s)?”
“How do I tell someone I’m not interested in a romantic connection with them without being an arsehole?”
“How would I even begin to articulate this desire?”
These are all questions that are fairly common in a container that is focused on bringing the seeker into deeper relationship with self – especially when the intention behind that enquiry is often to be in more sustainable, pleasurable, and/or co-creative relationships with others.
Change. I’m used to being surrounded by folks who want it in one form or another – from my coaching clients, to my close people who are creatives, activists, and/or magicians. But in this last year, that clarion call for change seems to have become universal, even as the changes each of us desire can appear vastly diverse. From global movements calling for long overdue shifts in how we treat our planet and each other, to the folks who just really want a hug Right Now, it seems so many of us want to be living through different stories, personally and collectively – and we’re struggling to know how to begin to tell them.
I’ll be honest: in the midst of all these “urgencies” (as Donna Haraway names them) it feels like a strange time to be talking about sex magic. In her introduction to my book, Igniting Intimacy: Sex Magic Rituals for Radical Living and Loving, Barbara Carrellas wrote: “[Sex] Magic is the art of transformation. It’s the ability to imagine an alternative existence and then create and sustain that existence.” But what does that mean at a time like this? How can we draw on sex magical practices in ways that feel like they have meaning in the face of personal and collective exhaustion, frustration, and grief – not to mention the sheer size and volume of change that is calling to be brought forth? …
Twice this year I have had the exquisite pleasure of training a group of sexuality practitioners in the art of Ritual Fireplay. After the most recent course in Stockholm, a day immersed in ritual, bathed in firelight, and interspersed with sweet sounds of sensation and release, I’ve been thinking a lot about magic.
Specifically, why magic and ritual are woven around and through so much of what I offer in the work that is Making Love with God. …
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 …
When we first began, it seemed appropriate that an event based on the four elements should begin with their invocation. Or at least, it did to me, with my pagan witchy roots, and the same could be said of the core members of the team who were helping me make this new vision manifest.
Two years on, the circle has to be two people deep in order to fit into the venue, but still we turn together to the East, West, South, and North, and invite the elements of each quarter into the space. The participants are encouraged to notice each element as it manifests outside of them, and also as it manifests within. Later, they will find their way to the spaces inspired by and infused with each element; they’ll dip strawberries in the chocolate melting in Earth, join a cuddle puddle in Water, boogie down into their bodies on the dance floor in Air, and frolic and make love in Fire.
And this is just one of the rituals I hold of which the four elements form a core ingredient. In the last few years, I’ve found myself blessing and binding couples with them in handfastings; calling upon them to cleanse the recipient of a rite of passage as they stepped through a ritual portal into their new identity; and, as my second and final year of Interfaith Ministry training gets underway, I find them making a seemingly inevitable appearance in my every ceremony assignment.
But what I’m reflecting on today are the ways in which I’ve noticed Air, Water, Fire, Earth entering into my personal practice again; how they support and sustain me, the gifts they offer when I seek to be cleansed, healed, and nourished. And so I wanted to close this loose triptych of posts about finding spiritual and sexual healing in the face of this mad year with something of an ode to those elements, and a reminder to lean back, to breathe, drink, surrender, and ground yourselves in them. …
Yesterday, my beloved and I had some long-overdue quality time together. In the late afternoon, as we made headway with two delightfully obscene slices of cake in the Rainbow’s End, I found myself apologising for how low I have been over the last couple of days, and the impact that has had on our togetherness. With infinite gentleness and understanding, my beloved reminded that I have been in the dumps since the Referendum.
It’s true. And without going into why that is, I will confess that recent political events – be they the fallout from Brexit, the shootings in Orlando and those of Alton Sterling and Philado Castille, or the closing of the UK’s Department for Climate Change – have had an impact on my mood. And on our sex life. If anyone is surprised at the concept of a sex therapist facing challenges in the bedroom, let’s just say the phrase “my mess is my message” is funny because it’s true.
We were home and happily snuggled up when the news from Nice came in, swiftly followed by that from Turkey. I went to my altar, lit a candle and prayed, and felt the mixture of shock, sorrow, and powerlessness that is becoming all too familiar of late sink into my belly. When I lay down with my beloved, I suggested we take it in turns to express our thankfulness for the blessings of safety, shelter, and sheer aliveness.
And so today the only thing that feels appropriate to write about is:
How the hell do we have pleasure after grief – whether that grief be personal, political, or both?
I was recently scouring the web in search of resources on the subject of energetic genitals for a client, and was rather disappointed to find good ol’ Google drawing a blank. In this post, I intend to take that blank, and run with it as the perfect excuse to lavish some wordy attention on one of my favourite kinks: Energy fucking. …