― Anais Nin, Delta of Venus
Breath. Sex. Connection. Fear. Arousal. Confusion. Love. Fantasy. Argument. Love. Rejection. Pursuit. Object. Closed. Joy. Repression. Fight. Kissing. Anger. Touch. No desire. Orgasm. The many faces of the sexual experience, possibly an infinite list. While at UCLA, one of the mantra’s that we used and has stuck with me is “It all Belongs”. And really, until we meet this way of life straight on, we will experience suffering.
Sex and all it offers, is opening Pandora’s box. And we can think of Pandora’s box as offering it all and therefore it all belongs. The question about our sexual life to ask is how might I embrace all the aspects with kindness, resiliency, generosity, curiosity, and warm-regard, when the confusion, anger, rejection, lack of desire, no orgasm, affairs, etc… enter on the stage of sexuality. Might we find a way to have all the suffering sit before us and open up to it?
Sex in its most raw form is like fire, wind, motion, water, harshness, multi-dimensional, and transcendent. Yet we want to harness it, capture it, tame it, and somehow fit it into our conditioning so we remain comfortable, untroubled, invulnerable. If the absolute nature of sexual energy with all it’s qualities is beyond such constrains, then our suffering is more about our methods of tramping this very powerful energy.
Passion is defined as a powerful, strong emotion that is filled with love, desire, and even hatred and anger depending on the motive behind it. Emotions are physiological impulses that provide feedback on stimulus, either internal, external or both and have a half-life of about 90 seconds. Narrative feeds the emotion for better or for worse. If raw sexual passion arises then, what are we feeding into this powerful impulse? Is it more frustration, anger, edginess, if so, we begin a cycle of supplying our sex life with kindling of dislike, contempt, resentment, hatred, for ourselves and our partner. Another story we have the potential to cultivate is just staying present to how it arises and stay with the felt sensations and ride these sensations like a surfer rides a wave. We may choose to imbue those sensations with some space and freedom and warmth.
How we unite our mind to our body during sexual impulses/experiences, is how we will ultimately experience our sex life. The mind interrupts sex through the body’s impulses. How do you interrupt yours? If the mind is embracing the quality of love, then sex will be experienced in the body as love. If the mind is objectifying, judging, and conquering, then sex will be an experience of selfishness and dehumanization, disconnecting the mind and body from the raw form of sexual energy. Alas, suffering.
Applying mindfulness into the sexual experience of our lives goes without saying, it is essential, necessary and fundamental to a deeply satisfying sex life. To the degree that we become mindful of our sexual impulses and allow it’s form to arise and welcome it all, is the degree to which our sexual experiences will transform our lives into authentic intimacy. In allowing our mind to remain present, open, loving, accepting, and empathic to what arise, we come home to life and our bodies. "When love expresses through you it first expresses as the body. It becomes sex. If it expresses through the mind, which is higher, deeper, subtler, then it is called love. If it expresses through the spirit, it becomes prayer....” Osho.