Au Natural

Earlier today, I took a walk around Walden Pond and was thinking of some warmer days when I would meet up with friends for a swim au natural, which had to be done on the sly. So whenever I walk around Walden, I am reminded of the euphoria that comes with a naked swim and the special connection with nature it gives us. As happy and healthy as those memories are, the prohibitions against nudity cast a dark shadow.

When I hear the term au natural, mostly I think of it as being naked. But then I started thinking about touch and just how natural it is for us to want to reach out and connect with others through our skin. Certainly, I am against unwanted touch, but even when it is desired by both parties there are hurdles to overcome. As a believer in evolution, I can understand and accept that such impulses are not all that different from other animals that greet each other with a sniff and a lick of the genitals. Nevertheless, I am choosy and want to select the people I let into my magic kingdom and for whom I toss off the fig leaf.

The practice of Sacred Intimacy is one of mindfulness and concentration on the power of touch. Given the societal and religious restrictions around the level of intimacy through touch, we need to approach it deliberately. Just as Thoreau went to Walden to live deliberately, we too can enter a Sacred Intimate state through a deliberate, or mindful, attitude. It is not with every one, nor should it be, that we want to explore erotic intimacy.

Because SI gives us a platform for stepping outside the regulations society and religion have imposed on intimate touch, it is all the more important for us to clarify our intentions, desires, and limitations. Intimacy has so many nuances of meaning that for an SI relationship to succeed both parties need to be clear with themselves and to communicate their feelings with each other.

Through my own SI practice, I have had some of the tenderest and most loving connections with other men. Many have transcended the boundaries of sexual identity. All of the successful ones have required a degree of work on the part of both parties as we delved into finding a ground upon which to open ourselves intimately to each other. When this works, we are in the realm of something beyond our bodies and identities, even though we are connecting through our physical selves. At some level, being naked and at one with another person opens us to the mystery that flows through all of us, this thing called life.



Millennial Sex

There’s a lot of chatter these days about millennials and gender fluidity, which struck a chord with me. I say this as being neither a millennial nor an expert on their sexuality; furthermore, I do not know one well enough to even have had an in-depth talk on the subject. However, what strikes me is that through my practice of Sacred Intimacy, I have experienced first-hand the struggles some men have to integrate their need for erotic touch with another man and their identities, especially if they do not identify with being gay. In conversations with them as well as in these posts, I have searched for ways to get beyond these identity constrictions so that we can focus more on following the wisdom in our bodies.

The phrase “back in the day” is one I often hear from younger people, and generally referring to the time when I was a lad. Then, early in the sexual revolution post Stonewall, the world seemed to suddenly burst into a plethora of identities based on how one defined one’s sexual self. It didn’t take long for the straight/gay dichotomy to open up to bi, bi-curious, straight acting, trans, and so on. Fast on the heels of this were a dizzying array of the active/passive roles that were nation based – most notedly with France and Greece being the main countries of choice. Sadly, it seemed like Germany, Italy, Spain, Scotland, or even Latvia were not considered worthy enough of sexual proclivities. Once a lad had self-identified in one of the top level columns and then in any number of the sub categories, the problem was how to make it all known. Advertising came to the rescue, though a good many of us would have preferred the Lone Ranger sweeping us off our feet. Be that as it may, it was advertising through such items as different colored bandanas and key chains placed in various parts of the costume du jour which told the world what positions or practices were of interest. While these items functioned to make clear what one was in the market for, it was so confusing that a boy almost needed to carry around a decoding manual on an evening’s prowl.

Each generation imagines the world anew, and my kudos go to the millennials especially if their brave new frontier is populated with people who are comfortable following their sexual instincts without tying themselves up in knots over questions of identity – with all due respects to those who revel in being tied up in knots. Although an important struggle for my generation was to establish a gay identity, life evolves and in so doing lays bare the shortcomings that inevitably arise with every new venture or exploration. As I view the practice of Sacred Intimacy, it is not far off the mark from where the millennials are today in focusing their sights on freeing up people from the limitations of gender and sexual identity. A key element of SI is the space it gives us in which two people can leave behind their identity issues to enter a realm wherein we interact with each other as whole, touch centered, and erotically charged people. Millennials just may be giving us a glimpse into a future wherein the transition to such spaces may be easier and open to more people.