We all arrived in the world because of it, no exceptions, so it’s a major bummer to see the treatment (or lack of) that it gets.
And it’s more than a bummer. Some serious s*** goes down in peoples’ lives and in the world because this is a conversation that many of us aren’t willing to have. There’s a lot of pain following all of us around when it comes to sex.
There’s only one way I know of to release that pain back out into the ether from whence it came, and that’s honest conversation.
So I’ll lead this one.
This article is for YOU if:
This is also your chance to opt out of a very raw and unfiltered conversation around sex. Try another blog post instead if you’re not up for it.
Maybe not personally, but at least through these words… As a sexual being (which we all are) who do you imagine me to be?
There’s really important backstory in order to get to More Sex in One Simple Step…
Lately I’ve had some amazing crushes and incredibly connective experiences, sexual or not. One friend, I asked if I could kiss her, just walking down the street as we said good night. No fluff added to my question, no prancing around the issue, just “Can I kiss you?” It felt clear and decisive, confident.
With another woman I shared a mind blowingly sensual hour and a half of dancing to slow, sexy music before we took things upstairs to her bedroom. Ever heard of cervical stimulation or cervical orgasm? I hadn’t until this spring when I read about it from David Deida. It was a profound and touching experience for us both.
Within the past couple weeks alone I’ve transformed what were, for me, some intensely awkward and scary interactions into some of the most deeply connective interactions with women I’ve EVER had. Some involve sex, some don’t. And they were all perfect, however each one unraveled.
I now have more physical touch in my life than I ever have and I am so grateful for it. I’ve craved more of it for years and years and years. I’m so grateful that I now get to create as much of it as I want. I am grateful to be on be on the path of deepening this way of being.
I’m 33 as I write. At the beginning of this year I’d had sex with 3 women, all of them the only committed girlfriends I’ve ever had.
I would find myself, in talking about sex to others using the words “I’ve only had sex with 3 people.” Or in 2010 at age 30 it would have been “I’ve only had sex with 2 women.” Or in 2009 at age 29… you get the picture.
Only 3 (or 2 or 1) people. Others have it and I don’t. I feel broken.
My pattern was that I’d get connected with a woman and have fun for about 3 weeks and then a huge wave of dark feelings would come up and I could not force myself, though I always wished I could, to be close to her anymore.
I craved connection, closeness from a intensely deep, yearning place inside of me but at the same time some wave of darkness would keep me separate from it. I would lose my capacity to have fun, I’d become brooding and aloof. Anyone who knew anything about body language would have noticed in an instant. I would tentatively give a kiss. When we cuddled my body would not face theirs, like two people having a conversation where one person’s body is angled away from the other’s.
The overall picture was that I’d pull someone close and then push them away.
The first three times I was in a position to have sex (seriously, no pun intended) I didn’t. I couldn’t get a hard on. My body wouldn’t do it.
The first was 10th grade, at a party at my parent’s house (Hi mom and dad! I’m talking about sex and yep, I threw a party in 10th grade!). I liked this person. She was really nice. And I couldn’t get it up. And the next day I was cold to her. My body had shut me down and the dark icky feelings had made themselves present. I knew it hurt her really badly, her friend told me so, but the feelings that came up inside me controlled me and I had nobody else to guide me through them.
One more my first year of college. She was gorgeous. One of the most gorgeous women I’ve ever met. Then the moment came and again, I couldn’t get it up. Filled with embarrassment I went down on her hoping to make it better. I said “Tell me what feels good”. I’d never went down on someone before, only talked with a friend once about it. He said to “trace the alphabet with your tongue.” So I did that for a few terribly awkward moments. She wasn’t wet, my mouth was somewhat dry, I went straight to her clit (come to think of it, I think this was my first experience with a woman’s clitoris) and stayed there, and it didn’t take long until she said “Come back up here.”
I didn’t stay another night at her house after that. We stopped seeing each other. There was and never has been any communication around the moment. My body still tenses up when I think about this moment. I still have hurt I haven’t released here.
The third attempt was my second year of college. I haven’t told too many people about this one. We were drunk. I asked her if we could have sex and she said “I’m on my period.” I said “That’s fine with me,” and pushed forward. We went to the store and got a condom and I couldn’t get it up. She left to go hang out with the other couple of people we’d been with that night.
I’m not sure that she was actually on her period.
Looking back on this last one I know that she was actually telling me “No.” I have held a lot of shame pushing past her no. I still do. For a long time that shame was painfully compounded by my inability to fuck like the man I felt wasn’t.
And I found myself at age 25. Way past the point when I figured I should have had sex with at least a few people and figuring that something was broken with me. I was a 25 year old man who held disconnected, extremely painful, and shameful sexual moments as the ones that defined his relationships with women and physical intimacy.
I would look at other men that I knew were having sex and feel like they had something special that I didn’t have. I would look at someone I was attracted to and oftentimes do nothing about it. If I made a move it was very tentative. If they made a move on me, especially a very forward one, I would often totally withdraw.
The short story, as I’ve figured it out thus far, is that my body had basically shut me down to physical intimacy, and for two main reasons.
There’s more depth I could go into on both points, but no more is needed to say that though I never consciously knew what was happening, I now feel that my physical body, in its infinite wisdom, created all of the icky, dark, torturous, needy and at the same time rejective feelings that have held such a strong grip over me for so many years. Again, the overall pattern was to pull someone close but at the same moment push them away. It created these feelings to keep me from engaging in disconnected, passionless relationships.
These feelings did their best but in the end the things we fear most are oftentimes the things we bring into our lives. I ended up experiencing a good deal of that which I feared.
My most recent ex-girlfriend said something toward the beginning of our time together that struck me deeply, and still does when I recall it. She asked me what sex meant for me. I don’t recall what I said. I do remember her answer when I asked her in return. “Sex is a way of talking without having to use words.”
Something began to crack open within me in that instant. A lifetime of misunderstanding, poor (and barely existent) sex education, and painful memories began, very slowly, to fall away. I was blown away by the beauty she invoked. I had never thought of sex as something beautiful or even connective. Just as a thing that people do that feels good. As something I didn’t have enough of, something that others did have.
“Only 3 people” = Lack of acknowledgement for the beautiful moments I had shared and the amazing people I had shared them with. “I’m broken” = Self deprecation. “Others have it and I don’t” = Jealousy.
My life is a realm of possibility. I know this now. When possibility exists so does choice. The choice I’m willing to make is to settle for nothing less than the deepest and most intimate interaction I can create. This is my goal as I wake up each day, whether with myself, in conversation, with women, with men, the world… And most certainly with physical intimacy and sex.
And the choice to create this kind of connection is actually one of the most simple choices I’ve ever made. Scary sometimes (ok, oftentimes), but fear never killed me. Did it ever kill you? And how often do we find more trust on the other side? 100% of the time for me. How about you?
The choice I get to make is to be honest. I borrow from a great teacher when I say “Honesty is the greatest aphrodisiac.” And it’s true. This is the one simple step.
Very recently I created (not fell into or got lucky with) one of the most profound and connective experiences I’ve ever had with a woman and it all started with honesty. We were naked in a hot tub and I’d like you to know that this is one of the most gorgeous women I’ve hung out with in a long time. Old patterns came up with intensity. Feelings of neediness blended with an urge to withdraw wrapped themselves around my body. If I’d have made a move it would have been totally creepy yet the alternative was to be cold, distant, and awkward in the moments when I did actually say something.
How it felt: Stuck between one rock and a hard spot.
There is always a 3rd option though, and it’s to actually talk about the rock and the hard spot.
Bring them out into the light where they belong. In this particular instance, after spending a few minutes getting my nerve up, I said “Can I share my experience right now with you?” (Yes, genuinely). And I told her more or less exactly what I wrote three (short) paragraphs above.
Now, not everyone will be able to meet such openness with equal openness. But she did. And step by step we moved deeper into rapport with each other. Deeper into connection. We moved to not actually touching each other but visualizing kissing and touching each other as I stood next to the hot tub, still naked and feeling quite like a Greek God in the full moon light. She stayed inside the tub the whole time. We moved down to the grass where she lay and I stood and and for some time I simply took her in. And it took me consciously giving myself permission to do so, to let myself really take in the beauty of such a gorgeous woman being soaked in moonlight as the land fell away from us down into the valley miles below. It took intention to know that my attraction and appreciation were things that she also craved. We moved to deep conversation about having children, awe inspiring natural places, and life before colonization. We moved to a place of deep safety and a space that I held where she released, with as guttural and body-felt a scream as I’ve ever heard, some long locked emotions that I could tell had tormented her just as the ones I now speak about have tormented me. Then we moved to sensual touch for a while. And then we moved to the rest of our evening as separate, yet deeply connected human beings.
As I type my body is still caught up in the images and sensations of the hour and a half or so that we spent together. We never kissed. We never had sex.
The practice is no different.
Are you there to connect and be present with the person you’re having sex with? Or are you just using them as a human body to masturbate into?
“I’m noticing that I’m not really here with you. I feel checked out and it doesn’t feel right to me. How do you feel?”
But now that we’ve traveled together all this way through this piece of writing I need to be truthful and say that it’s not about the sex. It can’t be if I want to truly feel and love and live. It’s about connecting honestly and deeply with the person in front of me.
More on this in a moment…
From a place of such utter simplicity, “Can I share my experience right now with you?” I created with this amazing woman in the hot tub something that will define me and who I am for the rest of my life, and in the most empowering way I can imagine possible.
The choice I get to make that separates pain/awkwardness/fear from deep connection is this simple choice: Speak what’s true for me.
At the very core of this is “How does my body feel?”
So with someone I’m attracted to sexually: “Can I share my experience?” (Wait for the yes and if it doesn’t seem wholehearted don’t push past it.) “Right now I’m feeling butterflies in my stomach. I’m really nervous to talk to you but you have a radiance that nobody else in this room has. You look really amazing and I just wanted to share that with you.”
Then let go of expectation. And letting go is a practice, a meditative one. We get better as we practice. We get to choose where our attention is placed and I choose to bring it time and time again to the sensations in my body, this moment, the feeling of my fingers on the keyboard…
It’s a practice of releasing any expectations around getting to sex, getting to a date, getting to whatever you think you want and visualize in your head. It’s simply communicating about what’s present in the very moment. This is what’s called being present. You may know how hot/attractive it is when someone is being truly present with you. There’s no other feeling like it. This place is opening and expansive. Prime conditions for tapping that ass in a very loving, respectful, and when appropriate, primal-desire-of-a-wild-fucking-animal kind of way.
Seem contradictory? Don’t want sex in order to have more sex?
It’s a practice. BE PRESENT, PLEASE! Fantasizing about sex inside of your head when in front of you is a human waiting to be connected with is not conducive to having sex. Being in the moment, aware of your body, and truly being with this person IS.
This is something I’ve figured out only very recently. It’s that when I say “I’ve only had sex with … people” there are a couple things going on. Firstly it completely negates the amazing experiences I have had. Secondly it denies that people who do have a lot of sex often have it just as bad off. Worse even. They can be with a person yet not be with a person at all.
I don’t know what feels worse, the idea of being totally alone, or fucking another person yet being totally absent. I don’t care to try to figure out which.
People who have lots of sex can be just as disconnected and pain stricken as I have been. It took me 33 years to realize this. It took me 33 years to begin to appreciate who I am and what I’ve got. To say to myself that where I’m at with sex and physical intimacy is absolutely the perfect place and that I’m so glad to be here. This, again, is being present with what’s true. “I’ve had sex with __ people.” Perfect. This is true. There’s no way it could be different, so why fight it?
Read that line again and then once more. It is truly profound and has completely changed my life.
I’ll repeat myself (again): It’s a practice. But I practice it daily, hourly, moment to moment when I notice my thoughts going somewhere that don’t serve my growth as a powerful, present human man. I choose to bring my attention back to who I am in this moment and when the opportunity arises, to share that truth with another and watch connection unfold in front of me.
It’s morning time. I haven’t stretched or eaten yet and so I’m going to go take care of my body. I’ve got a day of being present to live out and I’m going to begin that by being with myself.
This stuff is really important for me to share. I would say that I hope it’s been useful for you to hear, but that would be me not being present, it would be me having hopes and expectations. I know you’ll take from it what you will, and that’s perfect.
Thanks for being with me.