Zen of Sex

We are chemically made to connect, our bodies never stop sending out signals, and at conscious and unconscious levels our bodies never cease from collecting and sorting through those coming at us. The stronger ones definitely get our attention, we’re attracted, we want to connect, to touch, maybe even to shag.

Erotic energy is a powerful and positive force, we are bathed in it. If it is so pervasive and life enhancing, why is it so repressed? I’ve rambled on about the usual culprits of religion and society and the cloak of shame they reinforce. Its not that these are not important, but I think the grip of possession is equally as powerful.

Now for a disclaimer, I do not practice Buddhism or Zen nor do I have more than  a surface level knowledge of them. I do, however, think about non-possession in my own erotic journeys and the sense of joy and peace that comes from erotic connections where possession is not a factor, where the path of eros is one of love without possessing the other. One of my most memorable sexual journeys was with a monk, no not Zen but Anglican. And no, I was not an abused school boy but a fully willing thirty year old.

Can deeply intimate connections exist that are free of this sense of possession? For several years, I have journeyed along the erotic path with many men. With some, the journeys have been of short duration, with others of continued exploration lasting months, years, and even decades. With each man, the experience of love comes from deeply intimate touch, opening ourselves to each other, sharing orgasm, and allowing the post-orgasmic glow to flow through each other’s bodies. These are among the most loving gifts two people can give each other. My most successful connections have been the ones where we have understood we do not possess each other, just simply a heartfelt love and gratitude for allowing ourselves to so intimately journey together.

For me, there is no contradiction in being deeply erotic and eschewing the idea of possessing the other. This is more about a state of being than the number of times one engages erotically with another person. It’s about exploring touch space with those you feel drawn to. And, equally important, it’s about giving each other the freedom and love to leave that space. Non-possession is about love, sharing it, and baring our souls and bodies so that we can deeply nourish ourselves in the erotic energy that is so vital a part of life.


I can’t think of a word quite as overloaded with conflicting meanings and emotions as is sex. More than anything else, it is what keeps therapists and clergy in business, and with little wonder. While our bodies deeply need it, conflict surrounds it because in both social and religious contexts these impulses are funneled through the bottleneck of marriage. Standing guard at those sacred gates are the flame throwing guilt mongers haunting those who dare to transgress.

It has been a few months since I was last in Berlin, and always when I am back I am amused by the differences in attitudes towards sex here from those in the US or the UK. Of course, these are part of the differences in notions about the body and nudity. Just last week, I was in London visiting family and got to thinking about these things from a question my nephew asked. His question focused on the issue of sex and procreation. In short, isn’t that why we exist.

Well, not for me, and not by a long shot. Maybe we just are, and that is meaning enough. Much too much has been made about orgasm and the spilling of seed. Yet, it is this and the guilt surrounding it that continues to exert a powerful influence over most of humanity. There have been times in my Sacred Intimacy practice when I have been with other guys who enjoy erotic massage but only if it stops short of an orgasm, the argument being that is the point at which it becomes sex.

We are erotic creatures by nature, and we need to connect with each other erotically just as much as we need other types of connections. The fulfillment of connecting erotically is in an orgasm, whether it be an internalized one or spewing forth. One is not superior to the other, both are the culminations of building up erotic energy and allowing it to reach its full expression, which includes the dissipation of energy through the body after its initial release. And, it is important to allow the erotic experience to run its course completely.

It cannot be denied that procreation is an important aspect of being erotic, but it is only one part. Like all other creatures, we are part of a planet charged with erotic energy. There is meaning enough in savoring it, getting into its rhythm, and feeling its glow as we venture into its mysteries with others. Intimacy is a sacred ground where we can bare ourselves completely with others so that we can experience what it means to be alive. When we leave our clothes behind to enter the world of touch with another person, we are being about as honest and alive as is possible. That’s meaning enough for me.