Archive | Sex and Spirit

slow hands

There’s a new song on the radio that I am digging, Slow Hands by Niall Horan.

I just wanna take my time/
We could do this, baby, all night, yeah/
‘Cause I want you bad/
Yeah, I want you, baby/

Slow, slow hands/
Like sweat dripping outta my dirty laundry/
No, no chance/
That I’m leaving here without you, baby/
I, I know/
Yeah, I already know that there ain’t no stopping/
Your plans and those slow hands/

Not to get too critical, but I’m not sure about that sweat metaphor. I get the slow part, but sweat dripping from dirty laundry is not what I’m thinking of when I’m looking for metaphors about ‘slow hands.’  However, if a dude is eating right and exercising, his sweat is definitely a turn on, especially if it’s from the exertion of waiting for my slow hands to work their magic.

I also dig the song because it’s very clear the woman is in charge and he’s ready to roll with whatever she’s got planned. Amen, my sisters. [Tip to the dudes: always make your lady come first. Read this book. Do what it says. And if you don’t know if she’s come, ask her. And if she doesn’t know, find someone to help you figure it out. Female satisfaction leads to male satisfaction, youknowhatI’msayin’?]

Anyway…I dig this song because it speaks to something that I’ve learned after 20+ years of sex: the slower the better. In any given encounter (sexual, sensual, intellectual, etc) each move is a step towards the goal (sex, orgasm, connection, etc.) and if you can enjoy each step, rather than racing through it, it’s so much more delicious.

I will also say that one thing I think is different about my generation (or maybe it’s just my age) is that I don’t assume flirting will lead to fucking (a greater theory is outlined in this post). There are 200 steps between flirting and fucking (maybe 300-400 if you do it right), and no one step guarantees that the next step will happen. Each step- each touch, each eye contact, each sentence- is it’s own stopping point, it’s own playground. And the more you see it this way, the slower it goes- but it makes each step that much more exciting.

I made the mistake recently of not clearly communicating what I was looking for in a connection and I think my acquaintance jumped to the conclusion that ‘connect’ meant ‘fuck.’ Alas, no. I’m terrible at hiding my meaning, so if I ever ask for a particular type of connection that’s all I’m asking for. If I want an intellectual connection, that’s what I’ll ask for. If I want a sexual one, that’s what I’ll ask for (although, the chances of that are 0.000001%; my marriage is really fantastic). And if I want slow hands, I’ll ask for that, too.

One of the things the Slow Hands song reminded me of was the love scene from ‘Top Gun.’ I re-watched it a few weeks ago for the first time in 25+ years (??) and the one thing I was struck by is that, in the scene when they finally get down to it, and Kelly McGillis is standing there in a white-collared shirt, and Tom Cruise is in his jeans…you realize either this is the second go, after the quick, dirty, ‘ohmygod, I want you’ round or, they have been going rather slowly and this is all the further they’ve gotten in a couple of hours. They are going so slowly because they want to enjoy it all. And, ohmygod, the thought of going that slowly that just sets my mind|body|spirit on fire.

Can you imagine spending an hour undressing your partner?
Can you imagine going so slow it’s painful? (Ah, the pleasure of pain.)
Can you imagine feeling every moment- every button opening, every finger running across hot skin?
Can you imagine being strong enough to not rush?
Can you imagine the heavy breath of desire coming from your partner as they wait?

Yes. That slow.
Go that slow.

 

 

The benefits of going slowly aren’t just about turn on. They are about connecting more intimately- don’t just kiss me- touch and smell and lick my lips. Going slowly is about mindfulness- notice my pleasure by noticing my breath. And noticing yours. Going slowly is about sensuality and enjoying all your senses in any given encounter (sexual or otherwise). This isn’t a list of What Turns Me On, what turns me on is the organic, curious exploration of every little thing. The benefit of going slowly is to squeeze as much pleasure out of each moment, each touch, each motion, so that you are completely full of, and completely entranced by, the experience of your partner.

Going slowly is also about the joy of tension. I am not great at holding tension, except in my imagination. In my imagination, the best, slowest kiss goes like this:

He gently backs me up against a wall or a car so my back is supported*. He steps forward and presses his hips into mine, just enough pressure to let me know he’s there. We connect from hips to chest like a zipper being zipped up, very slowly. His hands are holding my neck, pressing at my waist, running along my sides- everywhere. Look me in the eyes, lover. Look at my eyes, my lips, listen to me breathe. When I start to moan from desire, that’s the moment to lean in closer and put more pressure on my hips. Smell the nape of my neck. Keep waiting. And when I can’t help myself and I put my hands into the waist of your pants and pull up your shirt from the back just so I can feel your skin, then get ready to kiss me. Keep looking in my eyes- watch the smoke of lust darken them- and hold this moment. Because this moment is where we cross the line and never go back. Hold the tension as long as you can. And then, kiss me.

[This should take approximately as long as  ‘Ball and Biscuit’ by The White Stripes. Like, really, slow the fuck down.]

See? Awesome, right?
(I even turned myself on with that one.)

But in real life, I have had to learn to slow down. Eighty-percent of the time I’d basically just pull my partner down and kiss them**. I have no patience, sometimes. It has taken me twenty years to learn that slower is most often better. Twenty years of practice to really understand it and use it to my advantage. Twenty years to also understand that ‘slow hands’ is a tool you can use in a lot of places to enjoy life more.

So, try slow hands and see what it does for you. It’s great for sex, but it also applies to lots of places in life. Slow hands in the shower. Slow hands when you’re cooking. Slow hands when you’re dressing. Slow hands when you make the bed. Slow hands when you do chores. The mindfulness, the noticing, the enjoyment. Take it all in and let it nourish your body, mind, and spirit, because ‘Slow Hands’ and sensuality are one of life’s greatest gifts.

*Because no one likes to fall over when they are being well-kissed.
** I am short; everyone has to bend over to kiss me.

 

 

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Forged. Punk. Sexy.

I: Forged.

The other day on Facebook, I wrote to someone that I was becoming more ‘militant.’
And I didn’t like that. At all.

Militant. The technical definition is ‘combative or aggressive in support of a political or social cause.’ The synonyms are ‘zealot,’ ‘extremist,’ and ‘radical.’

These aren’t necessarily words I associate with myself. And I didn’t really want to associate myself with them. They felt too pushy, aggressive (obvs), and hard. The word militant made me feel like I was suddenly wearing armor.

And even though I am fighting, I did not want to feel that I was hardened.
Strong? Yes.
Hardened? No.

There is something about being armored or hardened that allows the feminine to shrink. The flowing, receptive, love- and creativity-centered feminine must be protected. And it is strong all on its own- the feminine does fight, and fiercely. But when ‘militant’ and ‘armored’ become my mask, the feminine within me recedes; I am fighting from a place that is not my true identity, which is the feminine.

As I began to play with the images and words associated with ‘militant’ I began to think of strength and power and how we grow those qualities within ourselves. And I began to think of swords being forged in the fire.

Sword makers put the original metal (which will be a blade) in the fire to warm it and make it maleable. Then they pull it from the fire to shape it and harden it. And they return it to the fire, repeating this process until the blade is finished.

The process of heating the metal, over and over, does something special to it: it hardens the ‘lattice’ of the metal and reduces any imperfections in the chemical structure. And as the shape and the edge and the clarity of the sword are forged, so is its strength and density.

It’s funny- when I was doing the work of letting go of the man I connected with during my Sex Surge, I forged myself each day. Stepping forward into my self, into self-love, and into what my soul knew was right every day. I failed sometimes, of course, but I always went back to that work- getting in the fire of my feelings, being shaped by what my soul knew was true, and pulling myself towards disconnection. I did not know how valuable that forging process would be to me now.

In my political work last week, I forged myself again. I knew, over and over, what I was fighting for. What I would work + plan + call + email + love + shout + pay + pray + live for. And each time I read something awful or read something positive or cried or got impatient, I knew I was in the fire- becoming stronger and clearer and ready to fight in my own way.

What is it that I fight for? The same old things: love, health, truth.
But now, with more strength and clarity than I have ever had before.

I am not militant out of hatred or fear, I am forged from returning, over and over again, to what I love most. Forged to fight.

 

forged-for-love-meriwether

II: Punk.

One of the other words that came to mind as I mulled about ‘militant’ was ‘punk.’ Those wonderful singers and artists (and a lot of pissed off teenagers) from the 1970s who turned words + pictures + fashion + music on their very heads. They blew the doors off traditional culture by saying, “FUCK YOU” to everything ‘normal.’

Yeah, I’m down with that.

There are a lot of men from my generation who wish they were punks. Many of them were inspired by the movie, Fight Club.  I read the book (because that’s what nerds do, even sexy ones). It is a Buddhist treatise on men who had inadequate or unavailable fathers and their inherent anger about a lack of role models and masculine support. In the book, the main character splits his personality to be one person at his day job and another at Fight Club. At Fight Club, our character feels real and masculine and adequate- something he doesn’t feel in his ‘normal’ life. In the end of the book, the main character ends up in a mental hospital – unsure of who he really is anymore.

One of the things the main character laments is a lack of meaning in life:

…I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars, advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of the history man, no purpose or place, we have no Great war, no Great depression, our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives…     |Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk|

 

What they want, instead of their modern apartment full of IKEA furniture and their Audi, is a life of meaning. A life that fights the dominant system and standards and turns those men into feeling humans. They want to be punk.

What’s interesting now is that the men who identified with this book and movie are enjoying the fruits of the labors Palahniuk bemoans here. They like their power and money and position. Would they really give it up to be punk?

The Gen X guys (and gals) who identify with this novel and its characters are failing to notice two things:

 

ONE: It is the least punk thing in the world to wait for the fight to come to you.

You don’t need a Great War or Great Depression or anything to be given to you so you can have meaning and learn to fight. To wait for the economic or political (or whatever) forces to hand you a problem so big your entire generation has to fix it is to miss the point. Being punk means making a new system and bringing the fight to them.

Being punk, being in a fight to feel alive- you can do this with anything that undermines the dominant paradigm. You can be a punk on any subject that has an underdog. Racial justice. Economic justice. Reproductive rights for women. Hell, plain old rights for women (wouldn’t it be awesome if the women you knew never had to carry car keys in their fist at night, ever again? Fight for that). Gun safety. Healthcare for all. Political comradery (and some goddamn term limits- that’ll fuck the dominant paradigm quite well).

It doesn’t matter what you choose. As long as you choose and fight.

Billy Joe Armstrong, lead singer of punk band Green Day, said of their ballad, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” that it was the most punk thing they could do. They were ridiculed in punk music circles for singing a soft, thoughtful love song- they undermined the dominant paradigm of punk by recording that song.

Punk and fight are something you choose- whether life hands you the option or not.

 

TWO: The fight is here, now. 

The U.S. election and political landscape have handed you exactly what you wanted: a problem it will take an entire generation to fight and fix. The selfish boy-king that was elected is not here to undermine the dominant paradigm and create something different. He is simply here to exploit the dominant paradigm to his own advantage. Exploitation is not punk; it is greed. Exploitation uses the current system to gain power; punk gives the down-trodden and overlooked power in a new system.

You want to fight for Something Important in your generation?
Do it now.
Because the fight is already here.
And I know where I stand.

I am a punk for love + truth + health.
Where do you stand?

 

punk-graffiti

III: Sexy.

This blog is about rebellion and honesty and eroticism. I’ve covered honesty and rebellion; where does eroticism join in? (It’s like a political threesome. And I dig that.)

The erotic is that which ignites our lust and draws us towards our pleasure. The erotic is what keeps us hungry and alive. And that is what is sexy about political action – the forging of our strength and the action we take as punks is fucking hot, if you’re paying attention. Because political action is what brings us alive. It is proof that we are human and connected and compassionate. And that shit is some head-spinning foreplay for those of us who believe life is about those very things.

In answer to what is sexy about all this, I leave you the words of Layla Martin, one of my favorite dakinis:

1. HELL YES to celebrating, respecting and empowering women and their bodies.

Yes to a thriving sexuality. Yes to women creating future on their own terms. Yes to ditching old-school shaming of women’s bodies and fear around their sexual power. Yes to laws that support a woman’s right to choose what happens in her own body. Yes to a woman having legal protection against sexual assault and rape. Yes to overthrowing the lasting effects of misogyny and female disempowerment and creating a truly pro-female world.

2. HELL YES to men.

Yes to men standing in their power and using their voices to create a just and equal society. Yes to us all rising together. Yes to men who are true leaders of integrity. Yes to men who are choosing love over fear. Yes to men who earn their privilege based on their talents, their hearts and their work – not through entitlement alone. Yes to men who are creating a future through their visionary wisdom.

3. HELL YES to diversity.

Yes to people of all colors. Yes to equality. Yes to acknowledging the lasting scars of racism and working to counteract that legally and socially. Yes to everyone having a fair shot at success in life. EVERYONE. Yes to a vibrant world of multiculturalism and real justice.

4. HELL YES to sexuality in all it’s beautiful and vibrant diversity

Yes to being gay. Yes to being queer. Yes to being transgender. Yes to being heterosexual. Yes to being bisexual. Yes to your big, beautiful sexuality and whatever you feel like expressing with another consensual adult.

5. HELL YES to truth.

Yes to being in integrity. Yes to leadership that is honest. Yes to science and facts. Yes to making conscious choices.

6. HELL YES to the environment.

Yes to stopping climate change. Yes to f**king nature. Yes to health and balance so we can relate and get sexy in the best possible ways.

7. HELL YES to love.

Yes to love in action. Yes to the kind of love that makes us not just kind and decent people – but also fierce and powerful in service of the things that matter.

8. HELL YES to sexuality.

Yes to our bodies. Yes to sex being gorgeous and artistic and free. Yes to LOVE motherf***kers!! YOU HEARD ME!!!

9. HELL YES to embracing our shadows.

Yes to embracing the nasty thoughts. The hidden thoughts. The shame and the guilt…and YES to having clear spaces and community to work through those parts of being human so our actions can reflect love and not fear more often than not.

10. HELL YES to freedom.

Yes to dancing in the streets. Yes to being playful for the fun of it. Yes to being joyful because too much seriousness is a f**king disease.

11. HELL YES to community.

Yes to embracing truth and freedom no matter what a government tells you is right or wrong. Yes to building loving connections that last. Yes to choosing based on your own inner wisdom. Yes to unleashing ecstasy and our wild souls on this world.

And finally…

12. HELL YES to relationships.

Getting through this week from hell showed me so much about partnership and the power of love.

As state after state was turning red and I knew the inevitable with all the sinking feeling of dread and terror in my body on election night, I went into shock. And in that shock and pain, Andrew and I held one another into the night.

And the shine in our eyes…the magic of our love…I thought, the whole world could crumble and still…this…this…

So let’s be that for each other.

The warm hug.

The loving eyes.

The strength when it all feels really hard.

I’ll be there for you and you can be there for me.

And create that for yourself all around you…you deserve it.

I’m a big YES to taking action.

::: ::: ::: :::

In the end, what’s all this about? It’s about me, becoming a new person. Someone stronger and clearer and more ready to fight for what is right than ever before.

It’s also about you and what you’re becoming. What are you becoming?

Action and in-action create outcomes. Not making a decision is making a decision. And we are responsible for the outcomes of our choices as much as we are responsible for the outcomes of our not choosing.

I would rather have the strength and the courage to act on what I know and want for this world, than stand by, sheltered in cowardice. I will step forward in love – in what I value the most – and take action. To forge myself, over and over again, and become strong. To stand against the system and make space for love of every shape and size.

“The helping professions have traditionally concerned themselves with wellness, health, and wellbeing. Wellness cannot stand on its own. Unless wellness is supported by justice, fairness,and equality, it is bound to fail. Poverty, marginalization, exclusion, and injustice are just as deleterious to the body as they are to the soul. To heal the soul, we need to heal the community. To heal the community, we need to change it.”

Prilleltensky, Prilleltensky, & Voorhees in Liberatory Psychiatry

 

 

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The ultimate orgasm mmmm….

“If you are not regularly having orgasms in the senses that comprise your mind and intelligence…and most particularly with the person you claim to adore…if you are not- and I mean regularly having orgasms of insight, discovery, understanding, and revelation…then I am afraid you are probably extremely confused about sex.

Because the physical aspect is really pretty mundane compared to the whole other ‘lost universe’ of mutual relational ecstasy. And ‘sex,’ as most adults understand and experience it…is far too commonly and easily substituted for its sources. This tends to become either boredom or addiction. Those are not really erotic- they are reactive.

Underneath all of our confusions about these matters, just about everything is fundamentally sexual, but not precisely in the ‘naughty’ sense.

And it’s all just as natural as rain or night- but it would appear supernatural because we have forgotten or lied about most of our actual relational nature as animals and human beings. In nature, nearly all relational expression actively elicits eroto-sexual connotation or carries similar content. Period.

And the results of recognizing and engaging with this are far beyond mere physical orgasm.”

| Darin Stephenson |

sensual-rain-leaf

 

 

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sex. spirit. + pain.

| This is a story in four parts. |

One.

In the past week, I have had the honor (and I do consider it a deep honor) to listen to six women who needed to talk about their rapes and sexual assaults. And I want to say two things:

1. No matter where your emotional pain comes from (sexual assault or bad day at work) please do not negate your pain by comparing it to someone else’s pain. There are stories in our society that comparing pain helps us feel better. This is generally untrue. What negating our pain does is hobble our emotional self. It leaves our story untold. It diminishes our capacity for self-compassion. And it leave us feeling guilty for our pain, and feeling our pain is the only way to heal it.

Your pain is your pain and that is all that needs to be said. Do not compare, please. It only hurts your heart further.

2. Although there are legal definitions of what constitutes ‘violation’ (sexual or otherwise), on the human level, ‘violation’ happens the moment you feel violated. Emotional overwhelm (trauma) is the definition of ‘violation’ and it occurs at a different point for each person. Just because your violation does not meet legal standards does not mean violation did not occur.

Rape and sexual assault are not just perpetrated on the body. They hurt the heart and spirit, too.

 

Two.

In Tantra, the emotion or intention of each person in a sexual coupling is very, very important. Tantric texts and beliefs state that how and why a man thrusts into a woman matter deeply. That his energy and intention are thrust into her as much as his penis is.

This means that when a man rapes a woman, he is thrusting in to her with an energy and intention of dominance, degradation, power over, fear, frustration, and brokenness. These emotions are deposited inside the woman just as much as his cum is- and she is left to carry them and deal with them.

This also means that when a man thrusts into a woman with love, curiosity, kindness, excitement, joy then what is left behind in the woman, emotionally and energetically, is positive. She has not been violated. She has been respected and loved (even if the people aren’t in love).

This is also why you can fuck someone – quick, hot, dirty, raw- and still have it be a loving experience. The intention matters because it produces a different energetic connection between the two (or more!) people involved. If the fuck comes from a place of respect and good intentions, the heat just makes it more satisfying.

 

Three.

My gentleman readers, please don your ‘hat of empathy’ – we’re going to imagine something. [My lady readers get a break. You already know this story.]

Imagine yourself waking up super groggy. Like, you know you’re going to need at least an extra cup of coffee today. (Or maybe like when you had a lot too much to drink in college.)

As you wake up, your realize: someone is on top of you. And they are heavy and you can’t figure out how to get them off of you. It’s a big guy. Football player big. And although your hands and legs desperately want to defend yourself, they are not working right- everything is in slow motion and just doesn’t connect.

As you try to defend yourself, you realize: this person is moving with you. When you roll or move, they do, too. In fact, they are inside you. You desperately double check around you: yes, pants are down; yes, shirt is out; yes, legs are spread. Someone is inside you- fucking you up the ass.

(And yeah, I’m gonna say it that way, because that is what most heterosexual men fear the most.)

Now, good for you if you’re the kind of guy who likes to be pegged on occasion. We all know a little prostate massage feels like a million bucks. But this is not a prostate massage your requested. This is someone fucking you up the ass and you can’t get away.

How would you feel?

Angry?
Violated?
Terrified?
Might wanna puke?
Humiliated?
Desperate to get away?
Run and hide and cry?
Murder the person?

Yes. All of that, I suspect.

This is how it feels to a woman, too.

This is just one of the many flavors of rape. And it is horrific.

The worst part is, women know this story from the time they are 11. The fact that I have to ask you to imagine this means it’s not part of your reality in the same way it is for women. Think about that. Think about how lucky you are that you don’t have to know these secrets from the time you are in 5th grade. What a privilege you have.

 

strong-woman

 

Four.

I have this belief that Life gives men who used to be cads little girls as their own children. Cads- the guys who maybe had two or three girls on the line at the same time. Dudes who maybe didn’t give a fuck if she felt more connected than he did. Guys who screwed around and spent a little too much time at the strip club. Those guys.

I think Life gives those guys little girls for kids sometimes, so they will understand how precious women actually are. So they can see the innocence and joy in their little eyes and wonder, ‘were those girls like that once, too?’ I like to think Life gives those guys little girls so the former cads can teach their girls how to stay away from men like they used to be. And in this way, make more strong women who will not put up with male bullshit. Of course, doing that would mean they have to admit what kind of men they used to be (or maybe still are).

I want a society full of strong women. Women who will not put up with bullshit.  I also want a society where women who do not have to fear men, because men have their back. Just like those former-cad dads did/do for their little girls.

If you love women, if you profess to love holding them or caring for them or just having sex with them- if you love women in any way, you need to start creating a society where they are safe. Where rape is such an irregular problem that we are surprised by it. Where women are so respected for their basic humanity (not to mention their super powers) that no one would even think of raping them. This also includes a society where men are trustworthy, kind, expressive, and vulnerable.

Rape violates a woman (or man, if he is the victim) at every level. This is not okay. This is not the best we were designed for. And we must do better, because we all – men and women – deserve it. We deserve a society that is safe for everyone.

 

 

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a force for the transfiguration of the world

“From a Sufi perspective, the whole universe is a phenomenon of desire. The Divine desire pervades all things and beings, empowering each according to its capacity. For the mystic, the truest education is the education of desire. By means of this education, the indwelling Divine desire is liberated from the constraints of the ego and becomes a force for the transfiguration of the world.”

| Pir Zia Inayat-Khan |

 

red-flower-desire

 

“The most powerful starting point for any endeavor is not the question, ‘What do I want?’ but ‘What does Life (God, consciousness) want from me?’ How do I serve the whole?”

| Eckhart Tolle |

 

 

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