The exhortation to become what you already are is even more relevant with sex than with any other aspects of our lives. The conditioning most of us have around sex is heavy-duty. It is typically our sexuality that receives most denials, most double standards and most traumas, from us and from outside influences. One does not need to have been victimized sexually to feel sexual stigma from one’s environment, sexual humiliation or simply peer pressure around sex.
I finished high school in 1989 in Canada, and the big thing in teen sex at the time was to lose your virginity. Many girls would simply lose their virginity, willingly, while getting smashed at weekend parties. When I’d ask my girlfriends how their first time was, most of them could not remember it, and were happy to have gotten rid of that “burden”. They were not any more knowledgeable about sex post-virginity, hymen out of the way so to speak, but they were like everybody else in school. And believe me: scores were kept in some mysterious unwritten black book, where the virgins and non-virgins were known in high school.
“Don't knock masturbation - it's sex with someone I love.” Woody Allen
I did not get into this trend of high school sex, but I used my infamous virginal state in a humorous way. In other words, instead of hiding myself, denying my truth, and empowering the natural meanness in the kids due to my difference, I flaunted my virgin-hood.
Chanting the virtues of masturbation to whoever would listen to me, my favourite line at the time was: “Why do you think God gave us hands for?” As Sun Tzu advocated in the Art of War, the victorious one is the one who knows oneself and one’s enemy, and then one can “subdue the enemy without fighting.”
Making love is underrated, when not restricted to marriage.
After talking about pornography with a male friend, he directed me to a couple of porn sites that he knew of as I wanted to understand the visual stimulus many men need to “get off”. I checked out one site in particular, and found a video that was top-rated, and whose title raved about the emotional sex and how real the couple on the video was. The lovers in question were average looking, but they were evidently in love and their lovemaking was real, which was why this soft-porn video was so highly rated.
In fact, from what I observed on this very popular site, and reading through some erotic literature online, the more real the feelings involved are, the less shocking and distasteful the video or material is. There is indeed no need for a bunch of toys, harshness, and whatever else people feel they should add, to make something out of nothing. In my opinion, it is a good sign that we still intuitively or instinctively know the value of what is real, emotional, and loving. It is what makes us humans.
It is about the power of the human touch.
In my opinion, our society needs to go on a sex diet to get off the addiction to the fast sex we are having with little or no emotional presence, and, at the same time rediscover how to have sex with feelings involved, even if the sexual relationship is not long term. Being present means that you are not thinking of something else, including what you may or may not get from this sexual get-together afterward. It means that you are focusing of what is happening with your body, and with your lover’s body; in short, it is the physical and sexual intimacy of the encounter that matters here.
“What do you want?
What do you do?
Everything. But I don't kiss on the mouth.
Neither do l.”
In this excerpt from the dialogue script of Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts, playing a prostitute, briefly explains that everything goes with her sexually except kissing. There is a hierarchy in sex where embraces, caresses and kissing are seen as more intimate, more involved and more romantic. When my spouse and I experimented sexually with a few strangers, more than half of them were uncomfortable around kissing, and a couple of men asked me permission before kissing me. There are plenty of sex tips about how to have sex, but the most important one, in my not so humble opinion, is that in sex, like most things in life, you get what you give.
Why, for instance, be afraid of emotional intimacy with a stranger? After all, we are already in bed with this stranger, in our nakedness, and yet penetration is OK but not kissing or caressing? We owe it to ourselves to go in more depth with our body and sexuality; we are not machines. The sex you are having is intimate by definition; therefore, in that moment you are having an intimate relationship with the other person. Two bodies and souls meet to create a sex encounter, it is about sharing with another. Sexual intimacy is also emotional intimacy; the two are inextricably linked by Nature.
Wild sex, good sex is fuelled not by drugs, but by the energy and heart invested in the sex encounter.
Waiting for marriage or the long-term relationship to express some passion and loving feelings is like waiting to eat right only when you have the time for a full banquet. As legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden would say to his players: “If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
There is no time like the present to live our life, to stop programming it and BE; otherwise you may just end up with honeymoon sex followed by a boring routine. You will win long-term by honouring your body, sensibility and sexual desire, and you will also know without a doubt if this one is a sexual or romantic relationship worth pursuing because all of your senses will have been present with you.
Furthermore, being present while you are having sex does not mean that the sex needs be the most romantic and elaborate as long as you are both OK with what is happening between you two. In other words, should you and your partner have sex to just release the tension, which has happened many times in my own relationship, there is no need to feel guilty about it, but simply honour the moment consciously as you would the love sex. Any sexual problem can be resolved by starting with your true response to sex.
What is most important is to be yourself, and be with your Self in the moment.
For instance, I would and still do find myself breathing out and sighing a lot, among other things, while I am having sex with my spouse. It was quite hard for me, despite my partner’s openness and encouragement, to express my real sounds for a long time, as I felt guilty about them while my own judgements told me that I was breaking the mood or simply ruining the moment. Whose moment was I ruining? His, of course…but I am also half of the equation, and the sighing and heavy breathing out is part of my experience.
My companion and I are both concerned about our sex life, and we address the different issues that come up on a regular basis. He was quite worried about the fact that I did not often look as if I were having a good time, and to some extent, compared to him, I was not. His concern for my experience is as big as mine for his, and quite often, my showing any discomfort facially or otherwise would stop him in bed. Through our communication and firm intention to bridge our differences, we agreed that I would let myself have my own experience during sex, i.e. with faces and sounds, but if a problem came up I would simply communicate it to him in words.
In short, what I am advocating is not Viagra for women or a miracle pill of some sort that will give you sexual ecstasy for one night, but tried and true experience to attain real, durable, sustainable progress in your relationship and sex life.
Battle of the sexes
“Have more sex!” my boyfriend would often tell me, which was generally followed by “Your body will get into a groove with it,” and “I see how less stressed you are after sex.” I judged him for a long time on that topic, because he was a man, and because he obviously had an agenda; not to mention his sex advice seemed so simple, too simple in fact.
“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.” Ludwig Wittgenstein
I did not consider his “basic” advice seriously for years. I focused on healing the emotional issues that came up around sex, including my judgments. I completely overlooked the physical aspect of sexual healing championed by my partner. He felt that we simply needed to have more sex, in order to put my body at ease, among other things, and not to mention that I would feel physical pain during sex if it had been a little while.
My companion had a very good point, in that I could not “fix” a physical thing such as sex only through the lens of energy patterns and emotional movement. Part of my approach to sexual healing had to integrate the body, my body in action in bed, whether or not I would orgasm. He was also right about the fact that more sex is better for my body’s shape and general mood; indeed having more sex releases more feel-good chemicals known as endorphins.
In my relationship, I’m the first one to complain about gender discrimination and sexism, yet I can be guilty of it as well.
It was over a lunch-date with a girlfriend, who was recounting her meeting with a man she had fallen in love with, that I realized my bias towards my boyfriend’s perspective at times. Indeed, this friend of mine was only saddened by one glitch in her most wonderful love story, and that was on how to have sex. She and her new mate had not only failed to bond sexually, but it was almost immediately quite painful for her to the point that she had to ask him to stop. However, she was adamant that this obstacle would be overcome by having more sex.
Lo and behold! I saw that this “sex practice advice” out of my girlfriend’s mouth all of a sudden seemed so right, but not from my partner’s mouth. I also reassured her that she was not alone with this problem, and it did not mean that her newfound love was doomed.
Men and women can both be guilty of sexism, though it is often associated with men.
Stereotypes need to be transcended, and it starts at home with our spouse and family members. Men need to be encouraged to talk more about sex from their emotional perspective as we women get to do so often in and outside of our relationship.
On the women’s side, we need the same support from our partners in talking about our physical experience of sex with them. It might just prevent commentaries such as one from a self-proclaimed heartless bitch (Anita Monical): "Me have an affair? Yeah, like I actually wanna fake orgasm for two men."
In my experience, the belief that men can separate their emotions from their sex life is an incomplete and distorted truth. What is more accurate is that men can better compartmentalize their lives, and are thus better at focusing on one thing at a time. On the other hand, in general, women approach sex and life with an all or nothing disposition where everything is being felt globally, and in one single moment. Women are often better equipped at multitasking since they are thinking and feeling so many things at once.
How many times have I found myself scattered and unable to block out the noise inside my head, and at times outside, while my partner could zone in on the sex we were having without even making the effort to focus?! It must be said, and it is widely known, that due to the fact man is programmed to sow his seed far and wide, for the purpose of continuing his genes, he is therefore instinctively on a mission so to speak when he is having sexual intercourse. This biological difference between men and women has yielded many value judgements and generalizations about men’s apparent disconnection or detachment to emotions, love sex, and fidelity.
It is very tempting to make such value judgements, but I would caution against them even as most women and men make them. Not only does our difference need not be divisive, but also we all need to learn to form our opinions of others based on their actions and content of their character, and not their form. Form is what can be treacherous; some of the nicest food packaging out there holds the worst foods possible for our health. And, let us not forget the obvious that men also have a heart like women and they feel the same emotions we do.
In addition, there are other factors that come into play in a sexual relationship, regardless of romance and gender even, such as sexual curiosity or fantasies, cultural, social and religious upbringings, not to mention the sexual power struggles that may emerge in the bedroom.
The topic of sex is quite complicated in fact, but a good starting point is to know who you are and to want to know who you are having sex with, if only to better the sex. Sexual intercourse is so intimate to begin with that unless you are intoxicated, you should get a sense of where your partner needs some help, patience and compassion.
A basic example of mine that comes to mind is when I found out how a lover of mine would masturbate when he was a young boy, and how this experience shaped the way he ejaculated later on in life. Indeed, he felt so guilty due to a strict religious education, and was so afraid to let himself come that twenty years down the road, he would not let himself ejaculate fully or tried to speed it to such a point that I could feel his breath shorten in his chest, diminishing greatly the power and relief of his orgasm.
I began to encourage him to lie down and take care of his breathing out and to not immediately worry about cleaning me off, if he had come on my body---basic ejaculation etiquette as they call it.
Let’s end with the beginning: being ready to have sex.
Before one can focus on how to have sex, one needs to be ready to have sex, and that includes the responsibility that comes from having an adult sexuality . There is no point in rushing ahead if you are still uncomfortable, or inhibited or traumatised. Your body naturally knows what to do, but it needs to feel ready. One knows when one is ready.
The movies would have us believe that a man and woman can meet and have the most passionate sex almost immediately and effortlessly, but this is often far from the truth. To give you an idea, when I first got together with my companion, we spent the first couple of hours, lying next to one another, scared, and not really knowing what to do. Then he was then 34 and I was 25 years old; we were not virgins, and we felt quite passionate about one another as we do today.
The point is to let yourself be as you want to in the moment, and trust that what is right will unfold because you are being real with yourself. Sometimes, lying next to the other’s body, learning to get comfortable in such intimacy, and let desire develop more may be what needs to happen first. Each person and situation is different, there is no one size fits all in sex.