Freya Watson reveals how couples can create a sex life that goes beyond pleasure to something extraordinary.
But when you scratch below the surface, it’s not uncommon to find that men have their own zones of discomfort—different perhaps, to those of many women, but there nevertheless.
Raised in a non-mainstream religion that didn’t have an issue with sex per se, I managed to escape much of the angst sexuality brought with it for some of my Christian peers. I came into sexuality early, though not in a conscious or active way, and have always been intrigued by it.
All the same, there was something missing in my early experiences of sex—something I’ve written about before. The sex was, well, just ordinary. And I knew, deep down, there could be more to it. Sure, there were plenty of positions to play around with, techniques to experiment with, lovers to get to know. But somehow I expected the pleasure of it to last a little longer and to go a little deeper. Yet it didn’t. And no amount of being more wild or free made it more fulfilling. It was just a physical experience.
As I began to look for the missing depths, something happened that I hadn’t quite expected. As I re-discovered my own depths, the partners who’d been game for a laugh when it came to trying new positions and situations became quite reluctant when it came to my admittedly basic attempts to bring more of myself into our sex.
They were wary of exploring inner depths, uncomfortable opening up emotionally and reluctant to engage in mature discussions around sexuality and desire. It seems that although many men (and women) consider themselves relatively uninhibited, they are still unconsciously carrying ancient religious and cultural views about sexuality. As long as the physical is kept separate from the emotional, which is kept separate from the mental, it is relatively easy to have hot, horny sex without causing ourselves inner conflict.
One of the curses of the modern age is that we all tend to compartmentalize ourselves. In my experience compartmentalizing our physical, emotional and mental is a lot more common in men than in women. It seems to further exacerbate old, but still prevalent, ‘norms’ in terms of what is expected from a man.
Sometimes a man’s discomfort with his own sexuality is hidden so deep it can take months or years for it to appear, creeping out at times of stress or anxiety. Other times it becomes apparent through confused emotions around sexual arousal and desire, abuse of porn, or simply comments made about the sexual choices of others.
The unconscious will always try to make itself known. if we are aware and brave enough to have a peek at what’s lying in the darker corners of our psyche, the results can be greater fulfillment and more openness to life.
The thing is, once you bring the totality of yourself into your sexuality, something shifts deeply. By bringing heart, mind and body together at the same time with a lover, the potential is there to create an alchemical change that opens a doorway to an experience which is way beyond limited physical pleasure, great though that is in itself. Sex becomes an experience that is broader than the meeting of two people—an experience that seems to take place on several levels at the same time with any sense of self dissolving.
But to get to this place requires that a man be willing to explore areas he might not be entirely comfortable with. These three elements are key to creating a sexual rapport that goes beyond physical pleasure to the territory of rapture and ecstasy.
1. Face underlying beliefs. The easiest way to find belief systems that we may not be aware of is by noticing what awakens strong reactions in us, particularly negative ones. When we find our emotional buttons are being pressed, we have the chance to do our own inner detective work, to find out what it was that triggered the response.
Its amazing what beliefs we carry unknown to ourselves—beliefs around what is right or wrong for men and women in terms of desire and sexual expression. Deep down, fear is usually at the root of any negative belief system—and fear is the biggest obstacle to love and openness.
Without challenging the beliefs we carry about love and sex, no matter how much affection we feel for another it won’t necessarily translate into great sex. I’ve known quite a few men who have a hard time reconciling their sexual desires with their love for a particular woman. The scene from The Godfather springs to mind here, when one of the male characters explains that he has a mistress because he can ask her to do things he could never ask of his wife—”that’s the mouth she (my wife) kisses my children with!”
2. Connect the genitals with the heart. While the world has moved on significantly in thirty years in terms of emotional intelligence, we still have some way to go in being able to connect our sex drives with our hearts.
I hesitate to say this is more a male than a female issue but perhaps it’d be fair to say that men are more comfortable in keeping the two separate than women generally are. Life seems simpler, somehow, when sex and love are separated. Less messy, as one male acquaintance succinctly put it. Yet, it’s also less fulfilling.
If we can put aside our expectations and beliefs around love (see the first point) and find a way of engaging from both the heart and the body with our sexual partner—no matter how casual or permanent that partner is in our lives—the experience touches more of ourselves and more of our partner, bringing more fulfillment and, yes, more pleasure.
3. Surrender. In a world that favors the masculine traits of direction, structure and logic, there is little space for the yielding, flowing, receptive feminine energy.
Great sex, though, is a moment-by-moment practice that shifts and changes depending on mood, energy and emotions. And the more a man can be fully present in each moment during sex, the more he becomes aware that there seems to be a dynamic at work of which he is but a part.
He becomes an expression of a force that appears to be greater than the sum of body, heart and mind. This kind of sex can become the gateway to spirituality—to an experience of life beyond the ordinary. And to experience it, it asks that a man be willing to let go of his normal patterns of thinking and acting and, for a while, that he tune into the subtle flow of energy and emotion within himself and his partner, responding from a deep place of knowing rather than a place of habit or thought.
Sex is one of the most ancient, esoteric, and perhaps often misunderstood, ways of connecting with spirit. When two people come together with a sense of love and desire, there’s a spark between them – an energy that flows back and forth, encouraging the dissolution of boundaries and the merging with something greater. When there is discomfort or fear present, it shuts down this flow of energy, making us less sensitive to our lovers as well as less available to pleasure. Cells in the body contract with fear but expand with pleasure, and sex can bring us to a place of expanded awareness if we can surrender deeply to it.
Coming at it from the other perspective, spiritual awareness can open us up to a deeper experience of sex. When we expand our awareness to encompass something greater than our physical bodies – perhaps through a meditation practice or something similar – we also expand our ability to connect with others from that soulful place.
And when we choose to bring this awareness into our sexual intimacy, our experiences of sex become deeply spiritual—blissful, mind-blowingly indescribable, and also incredibly healing. Sex is no longer just a physical or emotional connection between two lovers. It becomes an opening through which cosmic energy can find its way into our lives with lasting, positive effect on our mental, emotional and physical health.
Photo: Samarel Erotic Art