After 5 years of sobriety, in 1985, I began to notice a pattern in my sexual relationships: Even if I really liked someone, I couldn’t go more than 3 months before my attraction to them fizzled. I would then find some reason to end the relationship, although I never really understood why, and it made me feel bad. Thankfully, while I was leading a weekend retreat on Spirituality in Recovery, one participant pressed for bringing the subject of sex into the process.
Although I was unprepared, it gave me the opportunity to address the issue, and I shared my struggles with the group. When I asked if anyone else identified with the issue, all hands went up. I immediately felt a sense of relief, having previously thought I was uniquely flawed. And then I felt angry that no one had told me about this before, which launched my enthusiasm to shift the primary focus of my work. I began to create healing techniques for underlying trauma and sexual challenges.
The sexual-spiritual split, a deep psychic schism within almost everyone, prohibits loving relationships from forming and enduring. The chasm between sex and love, caused by generational, cultural, religious, and early programming, planted seeds in our unconscious that makes merging with another virtually impossible without the specific healing that new perspectives and experiences can offer.
In the previous article (Part One), I describe the subtle powers of Source Energy, our innate intelligence, to direct us forward. I have chosen sexual healing as the next pathway for expanding our access to Source Energy, although there is no particular linear course. Sexual energy, primal and fundamental to our nature, fully awakens our sensorial nature that always knows our best next step in life. A shift in perspective in our relationship toward the life force in sex can expand our Source Energy.
Like most of us who grew up in the Western world, I internalized sex and all references to it as shunned experiences to keep secret. Many of us received discordant messages in our formative years: love, family, and good deeds provide a happy, acceptable life. Conversely, anything having to do with sex, or even our bodies, was cloaked in a wall of shame and secrecy. While experiences vary, our collective consciousness suffers from this split, locking us out of our own rich, informative, multidimensional sensuality.
There are five key elements to dissolving the sexual/spiritual split:
Shifting Concepts: S.E.X.
Our erotic energy pathways have suffered trauma and distortion. To heal those wounds by utilizing expansive Source Energy, we must gently put our old concepts about sex aside. Most of us never developed a healthy, conscious context for having erotic pleasure. We clumsily fall into sex, gradually shaping ideas about it from what we have observed, and from our own, perhaps awkward, experiences.
When barriers dissolve, we are more likely to have more of what could be called “sacred” or “transcendent sex” and an openness to meaning and purpose for all types of lovemaking, including with ourselves. In paying attention to old sexual identities, we can rediscover, or in some cases reinvent, a new meaning of sex. Our willingness to detach from outdated conditioned thinking is the foundation for transforming sexuality to the sacred.
To help us step out of the cultural box, my partner and I created the abbreviation, S.E.X., for Soul Energy eXchange. It suggests we can choose to enlighten our sexual experiences by focusing on energy that comes from our souls, not just our bodies, and thereby designing a new outlook on pleasure. For those who are willing, it does take a bit of work. It’s rare that I’ve met anyone with an ongoing rich and fulfilling sexual life who did not have to go back in their history to create new contexts for their erotic experiences. But the payoff is huge.
S.E.X. Primary Energies
There are four primary forces in Erotic Ritual’s Soul Energy eXchange (S.E.X.): love, pleasure, lingam, and yoni, which are Hindu Sanskrit terms for penis and vagina. Though lingam energy is typically male identified as drive, pursuance, initiation, and aggression, it’s an energy shared in both genders. Yoni energy, feminine, receptive, creative, and artistic, is also found in both sexes. Love is an energy transmitted from the heart. It can be felt through hands of a lover or from a father or mother to a child. It is gender-neutral. Love means losing ourselves in the beloved. Pleasure takes many forms, but erotic pleasure can be defined as stimulation of the pleasure centers of the brain through visual and tactile stimulation. While some have a low threshold for erotic pleasure, others may find everything erotically pleasurable.
The kind of love we are exploring is the love that moves us to listen and intuit what our lover wants, to care about the other person’s needs. It is best to have the constant energy of love as the foundation for everything in life. The energy of love can be triggered by the energy of pleasure, but it is at its greatest when love is present first.
We have all experienced limiting conditioning in the expression of our lingam and/or yoni energies. Most of us experienced some sort of trauma that blocks our love and pleasure energies as well. Unlocking trauma and toxicity of shame and melting frozen erotic energies are pathways to the sacred. Judgment- free experimentation, using all four of these soulful forces, leads us on a path to the divine, to earth energy, and to a greater connection with the universe.
Perhaps more than in other rituals, through Erotic Ritual we learn that we are all expressions of a much larger source of communal energy. It melts barriers and we feel less isolated. Notice when you are having an erotic experience there is always giving and receiving of energy. Sometimes it’s reciprocated or sometimes one is consistently giving or receiving, and either is fine. Allow yourself to be really present in any prolonged erotic exchange and you will find yourself in a circle of energy. (The yoni expression fully experiences the lingam expression, and vice versa.)
The very private issues that people have shared with me about sex have ranged from not feeling that they are desirable, to experiencing a sexual apathy, erectile and/or orgasmic dysfunction, or feeling detached from a loving partner. Sometimes it’s an obsession with body parts that they just don’t like or think something is wrong with.
Many people carry much the same type of burden, sometimes silently. The principles of Source Energy can have a very beneficial impact in renegotiating and resolving these hardships. With the right resources, including therapy in some cases, the barriers to erotic fulfillment will dissolve, creating possibilities for a blissful engagement with one’s self and with another.
When the sex in a monogamous relationship is unsatisfying, a substantial foundation is at risk. If the condition lingers, with sex becoming almost nonexistent, then the relationship is compromised. Often couples aren’t equipped with the tools to communicate sensitive issues. Their avoidance, sometimes lasting years, continues the downward spiral. Addressing these problems with the assistance of Source Energy can enhance those very skills.
Happily, mine is a loving, growing, and sexually fulfilling relationship, lasting many years. All of our efforts have paid off. Creating sacred time and using it for shame-free sex while opening our hearts, along with taking responsibility and respecting ourselves, have all been key. Sexual loving intensifies consciousness and pure love. In that vast, nurturing ocean there is no ego, nothing to defend, only a sense of just being and connection.
Communication in these sensitive areas can at first feel like hard work. With practice, it eventually becomes quite natural. When my partner and I explored having a committed relationship those many years ago, my primary request was that our sexual relations be the first priority in our union. Even in a number of long-term relationships I’d been in there was the sex-spirit split, along with undeveloped communication skills, causing sex and sensuality to wither. They were left with a sense of deadness in a potentially thriving relationship.
Instead, having made the commitment, we began a life of focalized conscious S.E.X. Expansiveness and sexual gratification became a planned, sacrosanct part of our time together. While it might seem to defy spontaneity, let me suggest that there is a significant payoff. Respecting existing realities—being tired, stressed, too busy, or distracted—doesn’t mean spontaneity is stifled. Rather, without earnest communication of our needs and desires, or without planning, we cannot build rich, enduring erotic lives.
Sexuality, Higher Consciousness, and Fantasy
Although it could feel clumsy, it is crucial to learn to express what we need and desire, as well as what we fantasize about. I like to call it reclaiming adolescent awkwardness, to allow people to go where it might be difficult, in order to heal the sexual-spiritual split, a requirement in forming intimate relationships that are authentic.
In sexual counseling, many are curious about where their fantasies come from, often feeling shame for having them. I tell my clients good fantasies are like rainbows, mysterious and beautiful, sometimes fleeting, and they are to be respected. Their origins may vary from abuses early in life to Freudian, or they may relate to recollections of pleasure from our past. Sometimes they mysteriously come from no conscious recollection whatsoever. Focalizing Source Energy filters the shame out of our fantasies and allow us to fall more deeply in love with ourselves. Self-love is essential to grow in sacred sexuality. Having fantasies doesn’t mean we’re bad or that something is wrong with us, as we don’t have to act on them. Only shame is Godless. Removing the shame from our fantasies transforms them, and that contributes to keeping a long-term relationship sexually alive.
Natural Resistance to S.E.X.
With all our knowledge we still encounter resistance to a loving fusion of our sexual and spiritual energies. The delicate nature of exploring repressed sexual history is likely to trigger that very resistance. When we appreciate the essence of our resistance to removing shame, our fantasies can be an entryway to joyous energetic harmony, where we can experience full-body orgasm along with deeply felt spirituality. Full-body orgasm refers to a burst of the four energies in S.E.X. that can take over every dimension of our physical and subtle energy being. When this happens, we can experience expansiveness and sometimes formlessness that is sublime. It is a full-body encounter that is uniquely restorative when we feel depleted and deeply relaxing when we are tense.
If we can consent to the reality that energy and its many vibrations and frequencies make up our physical reality, we can learn new skills to heal, with an efficient pathway to our inner wisdom. When we energetically experience resolution in our bodies from sexual barriers, we land in the divine center of Source Energy. As we tap into it, the more it begins to lovingly lead our lives.
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Michael Picucci, PhD, MAC, SEP, therapist in New York City, New York
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