Awakening Our Senses

Whenever I read something about how little of our brain capacity we actually use, I wonder the same about our physical senses. It seems to me that most of the time they are in sleep mode waiting for external stimuli to kick start them into motion. How often do we really engage all of our senses to their fullest? In my experience, not often.

Nothing engages us more completely than full-on erotic body work – or as I like to think of it, Sacred Intimacy. Doing this well takes commitment, trust, intentionality, and sensitivity. It also takes time. All too often, we get so focused on our cocks and the anticipation of orgasm that we lose sight of the sheer pleasure of getting lost in sensuality. Thus the need for time. It’s what we need in order to get out of our thinking bodies so that our physical senses can take over to guide us – even if this feels like a trip full of detours. Remember, it’s about the journey!

As noted in some past posts, rituals are an important component of an SI relationship. They can help calm our minds as we transition out of the thinking world. Rituals need not be hollow formulas. At their best, they provide us with some general outlines that create doorways through which we step from one kind of space to another. For example, I like to start with my partner and me being fully clothed looking into each other’s eyes. Then, with outstretched arms we touch each other’s chests as we begin to breathe in unison. This simple gesture signals that we have stepped out of normal space and have entered into intimate space. From that point on, we are each on our own journeys that ebb and flow as we find points to be in sync with each other.

In synching our breathing, our body motions begin to take over. We strip each other as we bring to life all of our senses through touch, taste, and smell all the while gazing at and listening to each other’s body. Little by little, we build on these opening motions improvising our way through the dance taking turns to massage each other. Each time the experience is unique because the variations in sensual interactions, rhythm, and choreography are infinite. In our dance, we take turns being active or passive, slowly building on the waves of pleasure that we are giving to each other.

There should be no rush to the end, we spend so much of our lives in the ho-hum world that we should take all the time we can to revel in the sacred space of sensual arousal. Follow your senses as they pulse wave after wave of erotic pleasure throughout your body. Let it build towards its eventual conclusion, but don’t rush things, let the waves ebb as you direct this energy throughout your body. When the final massive wave begins to crest, ride it and bring your partner into it as your bodies release all that energy in a final triumphal burst. But, don’t cut the pleasure short there. Breathe with your partner as you feel the energy continue rippling through your bodies. Let yourselves experience one of the most profound wonders of the universe, oneness with yourself and with another. If I were giving the sermon on the mount, this is the kind of brotherly love I would advocate for!

Pleasure

Guys, what is it about that moment of orgasm when we are spurting forth singing and crying in the rain? At that moment, the tips of our dicks are so exquisitely sensitive that we are in both a kind of pain and ecstasy at the same time. Even the most ardent of atheists have been known to cry out, “Jesus I’m coming, Jesus I’m coming!!” Now that’s what I call the power of pleasure. Without doubt, something extraordinary happens in that burst, that explosion of energy and ecstasy. When it is done, we lie there soothing our achingly sensitive members – truly spent. What calm and peace spread throughout our bodies as we let the life giving erotic energy flow outward from our cocks to all parts of our bodies. Seriously, can it get any better!

So, I got to wondering about this recently – as if a guy ever stops thinking about orgasm, especially the next one. This time the trigger was an article my friend Joe gave me on the physiology of our cocks and how after orgasm the tenderness and sudden deflation are part of a larger strategy worked out over the course of evolution – it was from Scientific American on why our cocks are shaped the way they are. As someone with a good bit of empirical training in my own background, I concede the point about the drive for reproduction and the mechanism of quick deflation as needed for not pulling out one’s own man milk from the nice little nest it was just deposited in. But, what about pleasure and it’s driving force in our lives?

With a tip of the hat to the evolutionary biologists, I think we boys can do them one better. Do you really think that even the most hetero of guys goes charging into a shag like the light brigade mainly because he wants to have a baby? Right, I thought so. No, it’s about pleasure – and, the longer you take to ride the wave the better the experience is. I am always flabbergasted when I read in scientific studies things like the average time it takes a man to reach orgasm is like something under 5 minutes!!! If that is true, we gay lads have our work cut out for us in educating all men on how to draw out the experience.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from practicing erotic massage is to spread the experience of touch out over the whole body and for a long period of time. Through tantric exercises, it is possible to learn how to control the flow of erotic energy when it is beginning to peak, and a sensitive partner will help you do this. It’s like surfing, just keep riding the waves until you get into the big one. As you crest, let the energy rip through you as it squirts out with all its magnificent power. Sure we are tender afterwards, who wouldn’t be following that kind of explosion – it’s the best part. Yet, all too often we want to cut our pleasure short by jumping up and toweling off. If you are in that mold, you are missing out on a lot. Try lying there in your partner’s arms and letting the energy ripple through both of your bodies. If when I am massaging someone, or being massaged, we are able to time our orgasms to happen at the same moment, the experience is even more profound.

Nobody knows guys better than gay men. We understand our rhythms and how to maximize the ecstasy that ripples through our bodies. Maybe we are what evolution put in place to awaken all men to truly experience their bodies. I’d like to think that consciousness has matured to the point where we can value the gift gay men have for all men – the gift of pleasure. Believe you me, I know there is a lot of work to be done in overcoming the taboos built up around us and that we do need to move with caution. But, we have a gift to give, and one that we can be proud of.

Intimacy

Most of my adult life has been about finding an answer to Rupert’s question (see Beyond Taboo): if we  love each other spiritually and personally, why not physically? Why not indeed! We gay men are usually accused of having a fear of intimacy or an inability to achieve it because we are too promiscuous. Interestingly, these criticisms are often lobbed at us from a heterosexual world full of married couples whose own intimate relationships have long since faded into oblivion.

What is intimacy? A good question since a lot of this blog is about Sacred Intimacy. There is no one answer, intimacy is a state that occurs on several levels. My focus is on massage and Sacred Intimacy and here the key is intentionality and openness. I have shared some very rewarding and intimate massages with men I either did not know or knew only somewhat and whose identities ran the gamut from gay to straight with all shades in between. What brought us together was a desire to share touch in a deeply healing and intimate way. We were willing to strip ourselves bare to enter into the rhythm of touch and eros. Were there squirts along the way or happy endings? Absolutely, and they were marvelous! After all, our bodies are meant to be touched, and intimacy is about giving.

I find it interesting, and telling, that in just about every area except touch greed is associated with holding things for ourselves and love with sharing. It’s amazing that we have so successfully built taboos around one of the most loving things we can do for each other. True intimacy is about creating a loving and supportive space between people. Leave your clothes behind, step out of the verbal thought world and into a universe of sensuality through touch and the ecstasy of orgasm. Massage in this context is transformed into something more than a mechanical body rub, it is an opportunity to wholistically explore healing with another person. All of us have this potential, you do not need any special training just a sensitivity for touch and the desire to engage your whole body and soul with another.

This is perhaps what Rupert was getting at. If only Gerald had been able to open up his body to him so that they could have shared themselves entirely with each other. Maybe there was something of romance in it, maybe not. That is not important. What I see in Rupert’s question is the need to open our whole selves, body and soul, with other people and in so doing build a circle of other like minded people – a circle of sacred intimates. To those who criticize the gay world for being too sensual and incapable of intimacy, I say have a deeper look and if what you see is about loving and healing each other toss off your clothes and join us!

Beyond Taboo

When I was in my 20s, something I read in D. H. Lawrence’s Women In Love really hit home. It was what Rupert said to his friend Gerald and the gist of it was: if we love each other spiritually and personally, why can we not love each other physically. That blew me away because it turned all of taboos that haunted me about homosexual love upside down. Long story short, I was much more successful at breaking through these barriers than was Gerald. Poor lad, he was not able to follow Rupert’s lead but ended up wandering off to die in a frozen Alpine field. Few would probably disagree with me in thinking that Rupert’s steamy embrace, hot loins, and warm lips would have been much more preferable.

Never having understood why intimacy between two people of the same gender should be the object of such harsh condemnation, Lawrence’s words were like balm on the wounds suffered from homophobia. Ideas have power, and I was much in need of something to deal with the homophobic milieu in which I was raised. It did not matter that I came from a solid, well-educated family in the northeast, anti-gay images were such a part and parcel of the social fabric it’s a wonder any of us survived.

The thing to remember is that taboos come from fear and serve no purpose other than to impose fear. One of the reasons that Sacred Intimacy has been such a positive experience for me is that it is about the beauty of intimacy, and intimacy regardless of gender. It is about a quality of love that is different from romantic love, it is about love that is both Platonic and sexual at the same time. I know, these are supposed to be contradictory notions, and that sexual love is part of romantic love. Well, it’s time to think differently. The power to bring people together in a loving and sexual way also has the power to throw the rules out the window. This is radical because it goes against the standard narrative of love and marriage that has its grip so deeply in all of our lives. When Rupert spoke of physical intimacy, he talked of it in the context of love – it was not about something like power over Gerald – that would have been easier to dismiss as perverse. No, this was about going into uncharted waters, and thus into an area for which we do not have good models as to what things should look like once we are there.

Actually, I think we might have more models than we realize, it’s just that we probably suppress a full appreciation of them. We have all seen examples of men and men, or women and women, together caring for and supporting each other. Maybe we quietly thought that they were “queer”. Well hallelujah, they probably were and thus we can all point to examples of same gender couples helping each other through life. Isn’t that a big part of what it is all about?

In the best of relationships, people stay together because they heal each other. Simply by observing relationships, we know which ones have gone sour – the ones that do more to drain each other’s energy than to add to it. In your own lives, go to the ones with positive energy, be damned with the taboos, throw them off as you strip down and get into your physical connections with your partners. Move into that non-verbal space where you connect with the rhythm of eros. If the bond with your partner is truly one of love, you will have no trouble finding out how to proceed and will come out of it feeling healed. For those people who can never get beyond condemnation, pay them no heed, shut the door and let them wallow in their own misery. For the rest of us, we need to get on with our own life affirming journeys – hold your partner, begin the dance of eros, and let it take you into its flow.

The Journey

We like to talk about life being a journey, maybe we even like to fancy ourselves as pilgrims on it, but do we really live it as a journey? It seems to me like much of our lives are given over to routines. When we actually do carve out time to go on a journey, it can be so planned as to not have any room for adventure. Maybe, with all of our technologies, we have been able to extend the familiar to such an extent as to all but erase the unknown?

What does this have to do with Sacred Intimacy? At first glance maybe not much, but actually a lot. If SI is anything, it is a journey, and one that really needs both parties to be fully willing to enter into. As with all journeys, fears crop up, and especially when you factor in the active exploration into spiritual, physical, and sexual realms. I came of age with the AIDS panic of the early 1980s and was marked for years with phobias about it, which to a degree, I still am. A long time ago working with an SI partner, my hesitations about having contact with his semen led to a frank discussion that was one of the most helpful in my life. We had developed a trust in each other, and I believed him when he said that what is not in the room is not to be feared. Taking time to talk about this helped to build greater trust and delve deeper as we continued on our way. This would not have happened had we not been able to share our fears. By sharing them, we nurtured each other in a supportive way that allowed us to move forward.

I am not trying to gloss over the sad truth that as wonderful as man milk is that it too can be tainted with some nasty things and end up being a wolf in sheep’s clothing. What’s a boy to do? Give in to our fears? No, but do listen to them and find a way to build trust in your partner – all of which takes time and effort. While it might not seem so at first, one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves in SI relationships is laying ourselves bare – and of course bare assed! Seriously, exploring these paths is about exploring honesty, and the only way to do that is to give ourselves room for airing the fears that crop up along the way. Just as important, we need to allow each other to use the crutches we need to protect ourselves and partners. Even today with a long-time SI partner I trust is HIV-, I still cannot have unprotected anal sex – that’s the crutch I need and he honors that. Does this hinder the depth of our explorations? I do not think so, if anything having the permission to show my weaknesses has deepened our connection.

In the end, oopps, that could be a pun and no doubt should be! Yes, in the end showing our fears is what leads to healing, to continuing to engage with another in spite of  our imperfections. This is the path to wholeness. Have my crutches hindered my journey? Sure, but they have also led to finding ways of dealing with them that have ended up making my experiences more real and more human. Are there other fears/weaknesses? Plenty, but that is for another time!!!