Sexuality as a Physical Practice

Ramon Castellanos

 

Sexuality is a rather broad topic, with many historical outlets that differ in perspective, and it is perhaps one of the most loaded topics in the whole of humanity. This article will be less of a how-to in any fashion, and will simply be a broad look at how sex, its maturity and overall health interact. Also to be clear, “health” here will be thicker than the idea of “being free from disease” or “being athletic”. Health in this article will be defined as “vibrantly alive”, referring to a state in which the forces of life completely infuse the body and mind, creating a state of vibrancy.

With this idea in place, it’s pretty easy for me to say, that health appears to be directly related to sexuality in many ways, and in fact, that the two are expressions of one another. Your overall psychosomatic health will display itself in a relationship to your sexual charge, and sexual maturity. Funny enough, this is a lot less about the act of sex in and of itself and refers more towards a state of being fully potent, like the tree that grows an abundance of fruit because of its ideal conditions and overall vitality. It also points towards the blockages in our being that prevent us from our full expression.

It could be said that your sexual energy is the essence of who you are. It’s your “stuff”, and represents your creative drive in general because it is, in fact, the energy of creation bursting inside of you seeking expression. The energy that is used for sex is also the energy that is used to “produce & procreate”, not just your children, but also your projects, plans, and desires. This idea is not new at all, and several traditions of the past illuminate sexual energy in this way this. In Daoist Medicine, and its offshoot Traditional Chinese Medicine, your sexual energy (among other things) is what makes up your “essence”, and is referred to as “Jing”. Jing is the foundational energy of the body and mind, and once it is extinguished, you die. In Ayurveda, a similar force is called “Ojas”, and is described in a manner which is pretty similar to Jing.

Author Napoleon Hill, in the rather famous “Think and Grow Rich” repeatedly refers to “sexual transmutation”, which is the redirecting of sex drive towards one’s projects, and noted that very successful people often have very high sex drives; which is no surprise when you consider how energizing and motivating sexual energy can be. I can present many more examples of respected traditions drawing similar parallels between sex and life, and while some of these are more accurate than others in their description, suffice it say that your sexual energy and your energy for life is strongly related. They are not one perhaps, but they are not two.

It’s useful to consider the fact that sex is a lot older than the human species, and is one of the primary drives in biological life. Darwinian evolution goes as far as to claim that reproduction is the measure of success in evolution, which may or may not be true, but certainly carries some weight as an idea. So realistically the notion that “we have” sex is bit misleading so much as that sex “has us”. We are driven to it by forces somewhat outside our conscious control and will even risk death for it. When you consider that in certain countries where infidelity or being gay results in being stoned to death, which is a horrifically excruciating form of execution and that there is still infidelity and gay sex, you see the magnitude of this.

However, much of sex and its implications for our personal evolution are shrouded in ambiguity and kept in the shadows. How is it that sex, and our state of being interact and what does how we engage with sex mean for our life? These questions have certainly been pursued by many, and yet a common awareness of these pursuits is lacking. It can be said, and I will point towards this again, and that is that, the way that you engage with sex, is the way you engage with life in many respects. When I say sex, I do not mean the act alone, but the “charge” in and of itself that moves through your body and animates you.

In this regard, it is a useful line of inquiry to ask yourself some basic questions, such as what is it that you really feel about sex? What is it that has been placed on you by parents, religion, culture, friends, society etc…What is yours?

In my own process of becoming more sexually mature, through much experimentation, personal exploration and research, I have seen certain overall trends and archetypes and would like to share a model for how I personally orientate towards the process.

There appears to be a spectrum of health when it comes to our ability to be sexual, and that this spectrum can be broken down into several layers. I do not want to present it in a hierarchical fashion as there is no truly objective measure, and we do not want to become goal orientated in this process. What we want is to flourish. This is developmental and you cannot rush metamorphosis. Also, I am simply presenting a model, it is not “true” so much as it is “useful”, so if you see other potential aspects to this, please use your best judgment and model it how you best see fit. I offer this simply as a tool, and it is based on how I have come to understand it.

 

1.  Sexually Wounded and in Need of Therapy.

To say “sexually wounded” is not in reference to traumatized sates alone, and to say “in need of therapy” is not only referring to the role of a licensed therapist. “Sexually wounded” is any inability to engage in healthy sexual relationships regardless of the cause, and “therapy” is in reference to some sort of healing intervention.

At this stage, the person may have any variety of dysfunctions that are clear blockages to their ability to engage in basic sexual encounters. There could be trauma, health issues, severe repressions, erectile dysfunction, kinks which are in the extreme minority, and so on. Basically, the natural human sexual response is stifled, and they need some sort of therapeutic intervention to get them back to baseline as it were.

Obviously, sexual trauma is pervasive, and many people suffer at the hands of others in a sexual sense. This can clearly cause serious scars in someone and prevent them from engaging in relationships altogether. Some are able to face such abuses and move forward seemingly unscathed, but for many others, it leaves a scar. Surely a matter of degree plays a role in this as well but, never the less, because the sexual force is so powerful and overwhelming, when people shut this part of themselves down, it can often be akin to putting a lid on a nuclear reactor.

For anyone with a trauma that is sexual in nature, I would look up a sex-positive therapist or sex worker, who works with trauma. They are out there. A movement towards not just releasing the trauma but also embracing sex is essential. I am personally not a therapist, and so I cannot give a whole lot of practical strategies in this regard. If this is you, my heart goes out to you.

Severe repressions, extreme kinks, porn-induced erectile dysfunction and any other purely behavioral attachments, all serve us in the same way, and that is that they are blockages to the flow of healthy sexual energy and they tend to carry origins that are intense emotional charges. Each would likely require different interventions, but all of them are (unless clearly caused by sexual trauma) manifestations of how we have interpreted and engaged our sexuality. In other words, they are a direct manifestation of the person’s emotional state regarding sexual energy.

Because sexual expression is akin to the deepest form of self-expression, then we must look at what in someone’s life has derailed them from healthy human sexual interaction, by first wounding their spirit.

At this level we must look at religious institutions, overbearing parents, an early chastising of sexuality, non-sexual abuse, delayed internal development, body armor that prevents the flow of energy to move into the genitals, loneliness, self-deprecating impulses, performance anxiety, a lack of education and resentment. This is a broad area, with many possibilities.

All human beings (with only a minority of exception) at some level want relationships, want love and want sex. Any movement away from this is, in general, is going to be caused by some sort of emotional aberration that must be addressed and healed, so that the innate drive present in all humans can move forward unimpeded.

I would personally tie health-related dysfunctions into the above category for most people, with again, only small exception for things truly outside one’s control such as endometriosis or other traumas directly related to the reproductive organs. Health and the willingness to do what is necessary for it is an act of self-love, maturity and personal responsibility. If you have allowed your health to get so bad, that you cannot engage in sexual encounters then I think you must ask yourself what emotional causes are at the source of this long-standing self-destructive behavior.

Overall, anyone in this stage is in a place where their total expression as a human being has been stifled. To go back to the previous analogy, sex is like the tree bearing fruit, and for many in this stage, the natural culmination of basic human psychosomatic charges, what we call “sex”, has been eliminated. It is not often that you find these people thriving in every other part of life. The flow of energy through their being has been stifled and locked, and so has their self-expression.

 

2.  Base Level Sexual Health

This is the stage where most of humanity exists and where it has existed for much of our history as a society. The sexual responsiveness of hunter-gatherers is not a widely studied topic, or at least if it has been, I am not currently aware of it, so the history I am referring to with any certainty is related to the long trek of civilization.

Here we have basic sexual responsiveness, and this is run by survival based primitive drives that exist within the cultural attitude. An energetic charge builds in the body, and the desire for releasing it propels us forward in this ancient dance of polarity and allure. Like the animal we are, we mount, and romp and move our species ahead. Pleasure is felt, and basic appetites are usually satisfied for men, and sometimes for women. There is basic erectile function for the men, and/or at the very least “sufficient” female arousal and responsiveness.

Sex can last anywhere from 5-20 minutes in most cases. There is usually maybe 1 orgasm for the male and female. In heterosexual couples, the women at this stage do not orgasm with great frequency. Sex can often be found to object relating to other object here, as deeper subjective layers are often ignored.

This is the biological and culturally conditioned stage of sex. This is not on its own a negative thing at all and has been a clear driver of the human species for a very very long time. It does however not offer other deeper layers of sex. Generally, there is some repression, some shame, and suboptimal (not full potential) of sexual response in either sex. The act itself is short, often lacking depth, and moves around the need to procreate, even if that is not the actual intention.

There is also usually a substantial amount of body armor preventing the full expression of orgasmic potential. Body armor is referred to in various psychosomatic circles as chronic patterns of muscular tension or laxness and is basically emotionally charged muscular dysfunction. In movement circles, we often think of big movers in this regard, but we must also look at the muscles of the face, throat and even unseen internal muscles that control various parts of physiology.

Think about the best orgasm you have ever had, and go back toward what your body did. Was there some spasming, shaking, or vibrating? If it is truly the best you have ever had then it is likely there was at least a little. The body shakes and vibrates to release stored tension. When you are having sex, your breath will often become more inhale focused, and tension starts to rise and build, seeking an escape…an explosion of energy. Then this mounting “charge” is dissipated and released through a sudden pulsating and vibrating shake off as it were that coincides with the feeling of bliss. You are then, in the case of this level of sex, usually tired because of this “blow off” of energy, and this is especially true of men, but also of women.

The work of Wilhelm Reich suggested that the degree to which a person could “let go” of the tension and surrender to release, was the degree to which they were psychosomatically healthy. The reason for this is that if your habitual character is rigidly held in your muscular apparatus then there is a strong resistance towards this “full release” and what you have is partial release. I personally view this as spectrum as well, with later stages focused on continuous opening and deeper layers of release and surrender.

This current level of humanities sexual potential is also grown inside of the culture that we have created, and in general, that is one that does not fully honor your sexuality. It seeks to stifle it and siphon it back to you a little bit at a time. You do know the well of power that lies here. I mean when you consider the state of modern sexual education, you can get a picture of what I mean, especially when you look into some of the material we are going to cover in the next sections. Suffice to say that society conditions you, and your genetics predispose you to treat sexual encounters as a way of blowing off this “primal steam”, with little in-depth understanding of what is occurring.

Despite this, it does appear that sex has quite a few health benefits and that many epidemiological studies find an association between sex and good health. You wonder, however, if this is a chicken or egg situation. Due to the fact that sexual health and general health are often linked, it is possible to say that healthier people tend to want more sex than unhealthy people. It is also possible that the act of sex, even at its most basic level confers many health benefits as well, and this possibly creates a virtuous cycle.

Even though the deeper layers of sexual expression are not reached, the ability to engage healthfully with another human being is a basic human need. So despite the fact that this layer only scratches the surface, it does appear to be the primary stage that keeps humanity moving forward. So this stage will suffice in terms of survival, but if you want something more, then you will need to move into the next stages.

 

3.  Conscious Sexual Practice

This is where your sexuality begins to become “conscious” and somewhat of a “practice” as you begin to liberate it from the shadows it once dwelled within. As we begin the practice of consciously applying sexual skills of some sort or another, our sex life begins to transform and so do we.

This is where primitive survival based sexuality is no longer satisfactory and something more is desired. In many ways, it is a transition based level of sexual expression, and if you get stuck here, you never get to feel your full sexual vitality because the focus on “technique” or “experimentation” will keep you stuck in a goal based format. None the less, this is a necessary stage.

So to enter this stage is to begin to relate to your sex as something that can be improved upon, and that for the average person to be good at, requires some learning. You do this by exploring the world of techniques, various breathing skills, ejaculatory control, vaginal dexterity, manual manipulation, polarity work, the work of becoming multi orgasmic and “out of the bedroom” erotic energetics. The overall goals are improving you and your lover/s sex life and cultivating your sexuality.

All in all this stage is characterized by a technical focus, an initial journey of exploration, the overall goal of learning, becoming more sexually open, learning to shed repressions, and shame. Rarely does this stage ask you to focus on releasing deeper layers of tension that inhibit the personality. This is a major stumbling block in the current sexual literature that only a few teachers talk about.

Nothing is stable at this stage and it can be awkward, fun, and exciting as one begins to learn about what the sex/sexes they have chosen to engage in sexual activity with really want in bed (most really don’t know), open themselves up to try new things, open lines of communication, explore fantasies, learn technical skills, begins to tune into the breath and even begin exploring the energetic practices of western sexual magic, Daoism, and Tantra. These traditions are old, documented and are treasure troves of sexual wisdom.

As a quick note, much of what makes it into the western sphere with the label of Tantra really is not true Tantra at all, because real Tantra and its goals are often not desirable to many western people. In that same vein, in regards to sexual techniques, there is a lot in “Western Tantra” that could be useful, if you realize it is not authentic Tantra, and view it more as a particular collection of skills.

This is the stage where those interested in sexuality as a topic of exploration, will most often find themselves and there is a growing movement in this direction. Once you start learning technical nuances and attempt to modify your sexual behavior in a way that begins increasing pleasure for both you and your partner, you are starting to flirt with this stage. Of course, reading an article in a health magazine now and then is a really elementary example that barely scratches the surface here.

One realizes there is a whole world out there of sexual intelligence, both during and outside the sex act itself. Though I am taking a few liberties with this word, it is similar to what Esther Perel calls “erotic IQ”. It points towards not just who we are when we have sex, but our overall capacity for eroticism and the dynamics of living an erotic life. In this stage, it could be said that we begin to and raise our erotic IQ.

As sex begins to take a positive shift, you may start to encounter old resistances and limiting patterns of behavior both within yourself and in how you live. As you begin to facedown current thresholds for pleasure, skill, communication, and connection, and you turn into your fears, repressions, and shame, who you are will need to transform. The ability of your body to channel orgasmic forces and sexual energy will also usually be challenged somewhat because it can be like turning up the dial on your “juice”. This ability to accept pleasure may be one of the biggest challenges as you question your worthiness of it, and own newer levels of freedom.

 

4.  Sexual Mastery

This stage of sexual mastery is reached once there has been deep qualitative shifts in your sexuality that now have become a part of who you are and how you engage with erotic energy in general. This is a stage where most sexual repressions are removed, and the ability to use sex as a vehicle for deeper layers of release, penetrative intensity, armor removal, and ecstasy lies. Here sex can last anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours and is one continuous sensual melding of energies that includes the energies of both soft and/or hard, and anywhere in between. The division between the primal and the divine (often made in many “sacred sexuality” schools) is lost and both modes fuse into one another.

Though you have gained and possess technical expertise, the use of the technique is now secondary to an honest raw spontaneous expression that is uninhibited, but now very importantly also “skilled”. So even though there can be a high degree of technical skill, this stage is less about “doing” something to your partner, and more about connecting to your partner, you now just have a broader vocabulary for that connection. You move from object-object dynamics, and into subject-subject dynamics. It is a place where technique and freedom offer a profound sexual experience, and where we are in flow state for a large part of the encounter. It continuously ask you to open yourself more, to experience greater amplitudes of pleasure, to be more vulnerable and more raw, and to really surrender to an ecstatic sexual union.

At this stage, it is possible as both a man or woman to have many orgasms and in fact, the ability to become multi-orgasmic could be said to be a hallmark of this stage. Many men do not realize that orgasm and ejaculation are actually separate occurrences that happen to occur really close to one another, but they can actually be separated. This allows you to have “full body energy orgasms”, and not have to stop. So in effect, the male can become multi-orgasmic. The same potential is there for women too of course and seems to come more naturally to them (in general)

This is where your full potential and potency is felt and explored. Sex has become one of your arts and you choose not engage in it unless it can meet certain criteria. It’s almost the shift between junk food and gourmet cuisine. Sex that is pleasurable, intense, long lasting, with rolling waves of ecstatic pleasure, and a deep heartfelt union is possible, and once you have had it, it changes you. Here the proverbial “fucking” can meet and unite with “making love” for something that is quite outstanding. It is a bit of a paradox because even though by the standards some would use, “performance” can be quite high, but the goal here is not on performance at all. There is no metric here to measure yourself against.

This is also the stage where sexual experiences can begin to pour out into your life and change how you live with more reliability. You can become more open, and yet more assertive because your personal power becomes more readily accessible. Perhaps your career improves as well because of your sheer vibrancy and commitment to bliss, which alters your standards of lifestyle.

This stage has no end as you can always go deeper and always open yourself to more sexual energy, to deeper levels of love and to higher amplitudes of bliss. To get to this stage a substantial amount of personal transformation will usually have to occur, as increasing the depth of your sexuality almost always affects the rest of you. The way you relate to yourself and to your body will have to shift and a shedding of culturally imposed ideas, demands and limits will also have to occur.

Body armor release becomes more significant in this stage because a tight a rigid body is not going to be able to channel the immense forces of ecstatic bliss. This is, in my opinion, is one of the greatest aspects of this type of sex. An ability to meld, connect with another and then also release our false layers through erotic rapture…. What’s not to love?

Getting here often requires a high degree of personal care through nutrition, a physical practice, meditation and breath work outside the context of sex itself, combined with a high degree of relational skill and an ability to be erotic, open, and potent in the entirety of your life. This “total” transformation is also why this sex is so rare. You cannot engage is life transforming sexual union and remain the small limited person that many of us start off as.

 

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