All sex is movement. Sexual movement involves your body, your emotions and your spontaneity. For sex to be more than two people experiencing mutual physical friction, movements of our whole self are called for. In the widest sense sex is much more than genital pleasure between two people. Sex is involved in the way we manage or fail to find a connection with every person we meet. It underlies how we can give and receive in work or in learning from another person. It is also the great secret governing whether we can get the best out of ourselves by creating an inner relatedness in which we call forth a flowering of our own potential through loving ourselves.
‘Sexercise’ is a way of tuning-in to the secret places of your body and mind, opening them to discover the wonder of your own sexuality, and through that tuning-in to and gently penetrating the secret places of another person. It is fun, it is challenging. It may take you to places you’ve never been before. It will certainly unveil the innumerable mutually agreeable ways you can make love with others and with yourself. It might even introduce you to the magical side of sex that links you with all livng things.
To penetrate these secret places, I am going to start by showing you how to tune into your pelvis. The process isn’t difficult, and the ideas and things to do that are given are not mysterious or outlandish. Some of the sexercises are very simple, but even the simple ones can profoundly alter the way you enjoy sexual relationships.
Tune-in To Your Pelvis
As an example of a simple sexercise, whatever position or situation you are reading this book in, take your attention to your rectum and genitals. Notice in general what you are feeling, what the sensation is in that area. Now gently tense the area. I mean by this the sort of tension you create when you badly want to go to the toilet, but are holding back the impulse. Notice how the tension involves other parts of your body and feelings than those directly concentrated on. The abdomen and even the face may change. You may even breathe more shallowly.
After a few moments slowly let the tension drop. Let it melt not only from the rectum and genitals, but also from the face and abdomen. Let the way it influenced your breathing melt also as you drop the tension. In fact let the feeling of ease pervade your whole body. Do this several times until you get a clear sense of the tension and the melting open feeling.
Having done this a few times, if you have opportunity to move, even if it is only your head, make the movement while still allowing the feeling of melting tension to take place. Notice whether the pelvic area tenses again to make the movement, or whether you can let the movement flow out of the feeling of gentle pleasure in the pelvis. If tension creeps in as you move, stop, melt the tension, and start again. Replay it over and over until you can move freely without tensing the genital area.
If you have never tried this before, it is likely that without realising it, before you consciously tensed the area, there was already a tension occurring in the pelvis. In most cases this is reasonably slight, but sometimes there is a powerful habitual tension operating unconsciously. By tensing the area and melting the tension you started to become aware of the tightness, and to melt it.
This simple process of tensing and relaxing the rectum and genitals, and learning to express from the open condition rather than tension, can produce very profound changes in the way we experience sexual contact, and in the way we meet people. This basic sexercise makes it very clear that if we cannot easily move without tensing our genitals and face, any sexual activity, because it involves movement, and movement in relationship with another person, will be inhibited in the depth of its pleasure and spontaneity.
Summary of Sexercise 6 – Melting Tension
- This can be practised in almost any position or situation in which you can take time to give awareness to your body and its sensations. It will help also if you close your eyes.
- Focus awareness on your genital and rectal area. Gently tense the area to create the sort of feeling one might have when holding back from going to the toilet.
- As the tension is held notice how the other parts of the body such as the abdomen, breathing and face react. You may breathe more shallowly for instance, or some degree of tension occur in the face.
- Now slowly let the tension melt. As you do so again notice how the body sensations and tensions shift. Let the feeling of melting tension also permeate the whole trunk and face. Even after the feeling of melting tension diminishes let the open melting feeling remain.
- Repeat the tensing and melting several times slowly. It might be that you realise you have fairly persistent tensions in the pelvis. So repeat the tensing and melting until you can feel a definite difference between the two, and until there is a diminishing of any residual tension.
- Only when you have reached this stage try melting tension in the pelvis and then slowly move some part of your body such as your head or arm. As you do so focus awareness on the genitals and rectum to observe whether tension immediately arises again. If it does, stop the movement, allow the tension to melt and slowly start the movement again. Tensions are often the result of habits, so repetition is important to develop a new habit. New habits take time to learn.
- If you can make a slow movement without the tension reappearing, explore everyday movements such as standing and walking. The aim is to be able to move without the tension – which is a sign of some degree of physical and emotional anxiety or stress reaction – returning.
- Once you have the skill to move and remain relaxed, take this out into everyday life. Drop tension while walking along the street or when talking to someone. You will notice that your posture then changes, expressing a sense of relaxed energy. You will stand straighter, and meet others with more radiance. It doesn’t matter if you lose balance once in a while and find tension creeping in. Take your awareness over your pelvis and face again and let the melting feeling spread once more.
- Using the melting of tension while in everyday situations is enormously important. Lots of people can feel at peace away from ‘the world’ or while not face to face in a relationship. To do the same on the street or in bed skin to skin is a skill of great value. Later we will take the sexercise into the loving meeting and discover its power.
- This sexercise is so important it is worth observing how the genitals and rectum react to normal social activities like meeting someone, working or watching the television. If you continue to melt tension in the pelvis fairly often during the day for a couple of weeks it becomes a habit for your attention to flick over your body checking every so often. The result is that you learn to remain more deeply relaxed in fairly challenging situations.
- Do not move on to the other sexercises until this one is easy and reasonably habitual.
This first sexercise can also transform your internal sense of well being from one permeated by habitual tensions, to one where a feeling of easy pleasure spills over into the way you move and meet others. Because it is so simple and yet so important I will take time to explain how it works.
First of all we have to remember that our body and mind are not two widely separated things. The way we feel as a person, the wealth or poverty of emotion and creativity with which we respond to people and events, is deeply linked with what is happening in our body. Of course the opposite is true also – what we build in our mind and feelings influences the health and well being of the body. So the pelvis – as are the other parts of the body – is a very real part of our personality and a faculty through which we sense the world.
If we look at what happened to Jean ([i]) this becomes clear. As a child she grew up with parents who were very controlling and tight people. One of the ways they managed to feel secure and deal with their anxieties was to have a very black and white moral code. Jean was thus taught that sexual pleasure was evil, something that was in some unspoken way bad. When her developing sexual feelings started pushing for attention during adolescence, Jean learnt to control and suppress them by tensing the muscles in her vagina, abdomen and thighs. Despite this she secretly desired a lover, so would fantasy meeting a dominating man who would force her to have sex with him, even if this included a low level of violence. In this way she could enjoy sexual feelings without feeling guilty – after all, she had been forced.
The muscular tensions in Jean’s vagina and thighs had not been consciously developed into habits. Jean was not aware of them. But what they did was to prevent her natural warm sexual feelings from emerging and leading Jean through the personality changes that usually arise from maturing sexually. Jean did not therefore develop a positive sense of herself as a woman, and was not warmly sociable or able to deal confidently with other people. She attended a group however, that helped her recognise the tensions and release them. The result was that the sort of physical movements and feelings she had been suppressing were able to emerge, leading her to easier sexuality and sociability.
So, because movements express our feelings, as is obvious when we laugh or cry, withholding such movements unconsciously through tension inhibits our self expression, and therefore prevents the full expression and growth of our personality. This in turn means we do not see and respond to the world around us as fully as we might.
Padlocking Our Love
In quite a real sense tension in any part of the body can have the same sort of effect it had on Jean. It can be like putting a padlock on a part of our personality so that it cannot open and function properly. Imagine putting a padlock on our love and sexuality at the age of twelve, and not taking it off! The changes from inexperienced youth to mature woman or man could not fully take place. The developing sensitivity and confidence that enables us to relate fully to the opposite sex and other mature people is missing in some degree. Missing also is the depth of insight into what people feel when in love, or when caring for their children, or when being highly creative, We might have read how to make the movements of love, but the deeply felt emotions and drives that make it a deep meeting with another person might still be under the lock and key of tension.
Some Eastern cultures depict the personality in a graphic way, and place a lotus flower on parts of the body. Each lotus is said to be a sense organ through which we see the world in a particular way. The flowers in the area of the pelvis represented the healthy sexual energy as a sense organ. Certainly it is worth remembering that if we have failed to experience the feelings of tenderness and passion in connection with the reproductive organs in our pelvis, or if these organs were damaged before maturity, we would also fail to have any understanding of what two people are doing when they kiss, or what parents feel when holding their baby. The organs of the pelvis are therefore sense organs. In this sense – the potential of the healthy functioning of our body leading to fuller awareness of oneself and others – your body is also intimately linked with your personality.
The first sexercise is a key to start opening the padlock that may be holding back your ability to express feelings of intimacy. One of the most important aspects of relationship is the subtle feelings that occur in us as we met and interact with another person. For some years I ran workshops called ‘Contact’. The aim was to sit with another person and honestly give feedback about what was happening in yourself as you met and related to the person opposite you. What I saw time after time was that as subtle feelings such as shyness, disinterest or anxiety were recognised and admitted, they melted and one felt an enormous shift in the contact and intimacy with the person. A way of using this will be described later, but I mention it here because the dropping of tension in the way dealt with in Sexercise 1 starts this process of being able to meet someone more fully and discovering an enormous shift in the way you relate to people and opportunity.
Something else that occurs as one practises the technique is that one develops the skill of self-observation. I mean by this that by monitoring whether ones pelvis and face are tense or relaxed, you are learning to observe things in yourself that may never have gained attention before. This can slowly bring about enormous changes in oneself as the underlying causes of tension and anxiety in a relationship may be observed as the tension is melted. In fact Sexercise 1 can be carried forward in a way that moves into deeper intimacy and self-observation. But before it can be used in that way other things need to be learnt. These will be looked at now.
Love Making The Natural Way
Movement is not only exercise, it is also the way we express ourselves. If we are unimaginative we might see the pelvis as simply a bony bowl-shaped container for our abdominal organs, and an anchor for over fourteen muscles. It is the one part of our skeleton which is furthest removed from animals, and women are more human than men in the radical shape of their pelvis. If we see pelvic movements as only a matter of muscles, bones and viscera, we miss much of its mystery. We might in fact miss finding one of the secret places of the body.
When animals make love, the movements they make are a spontaneous expression of their own inner feelings and urges. They are not the result of reading about the right position and optimum performance in a do-it-yourself sex handbook. In a real sense the life process is making love through them, just as our own life process breathes us. As humans we have the ability to interfere with such natural movements. We can hold our breath for no other reason than we want to. Or we can add our own values and judgements to our natural drives by accepting or rejecting them. Frequently, because the subtle sexual drives are more easily restrained than our breathing, our life style or attitudes lead us to frustrate the spontaneous pelvic movements necessary for pleasure and release.
The spontaneous movements which can accompany love-making arise out of our feelings and physiological drives. The muscles express these movements. If we restrain our innate drive to make such movements, muscular tension can arise. Because the urge to breathe is very pronounced, if we hold our breath the tension is felt very quickly. But with pelvic tension the build up is slower. Lower back pain is one of the signs of the slower build-up of tension in the pelvis, or elsewhere. Tension and the lack of mobility in the pelvic area can also cause the flowing pleasure and release of love-making to be diminished. What could be a melting pleasure and tenderness throughout the whole body, becomes just a local genital sensation without accompanying emotional pleasure. The flowing feelings of bonding and care, apparent even in animals, do not emerge. The sense of going beyond the boundaries of your own personality and touching a wider experience of life does not arise. There is a crude but potent description of this meeting of bodies only. It is called a ‘no handed wank.’
Having taught people these sexercises for many years, I have seen that when the tensions in the pelvis are actually released, a subtle but physically apparent vibration frequently occurs in the pelvis and moves up the trunk. This is most often experienced while relaxing, during a deeply felt contact with another person, whether sexual or otherwise, or while waking from sleep. So conversely, if you have not experienced this vibratory and healing flow, there is probably residual tension in your pelvis. This flowing energy or release appears to be linked with deep inner feelings and perception. Perhaps a sense of merging with ones partner.
Move The Hips – Shake It On Out
Moving our hips can shift such tensions, aid lower back pain, and certainly increase our mobility in love making. Not only that, but one feels good afterwards. The most directly helpful movement is to stand with feet about shoulder width apart and swing the pelvis backwards slightly, hollowing the lower back. Let the knees bend and the behind go backwards as if you are going to sit down. As the trunk begins to tilt forwards start pushing the pelvis forward while slowly straightening the knees. This brings you back to an upright position. Now start the ‘sit down’ movement again so the backwards and forwards swing of the pelvis becomes a flowing circle. It expresses the swinging pelvic movement occurring in spontaneous sexuality. If you have tension or stiffness in the pelvis and lower back the movement will be jerky or difficult to start with. Practise will gradually loosen the area though.
Things to watch for are whether the pelvis actually swings, and whether the forwards and backwards push get stuck at any point. If the pelvis is swinging the lower back will hollow and straighten; and if there is adequate forwards and backwards push the trunk will incline slightly backwards and forwards also. For instance, if you are pushing the hips forward and the trunk is in an upright position rather than inclined slightly backwards, you are restrained on the forward push. If you are in the backward swing and your trunk is not slightly inclined forwards, then you are restrained on pulling back. The vital factor, however, is whether the pelvis will swing backwards and forwards. To test this after you have become reasonably fluid in the movement, stand with your back against a wall, and place a hand in the small – or hollow – of your back. Lean back against the wall and while keeping contact between the wall, your hand, and the small of your back, swing the pelvis forward and backward. This will require some movement in the knees, but your back and even your head, should remain against the wall as the pelvis swings away for an inch or so. Swing the pelvis backwards and forwards in this way to see what sort of flexibility you have in the lower spine.
When you have finished the movement stand with eyes closed and imagine yourself doing it. I call this ‘meditating the movement’. The aim is to recreate the feeling or sensation of the movement without doing it physically. So with this movement see if you can crate the sensation or inner feeling of the pelvis pulling backwards and down, and then forwards and up. If this is difficult do the movement again and notice how different it feels to thrust the pelvis forward, than it does in pulling it backwards. The forward and backwards feelings are two very different aspects of how we express ourselves sexually. We may be stuck in a pulling back feeling, and out body may express this with a retracted pelvis. Or we may be locked in a thrusting forward feeling and posture, with a slightly hollow chest. The meditation helps find balance between these opposites.
Summary of Sexercise 7 – Hip Circling
- If you are wearing clothes when doing this sexercise, make sure they are loose and comfortable. The environment needs to be one in which you can feel relaxed and have space to move in and feel good. Pleasant but non-demanding music in the background may help with the atmosphere. But make sure it isn’t the type that grabs the body to make it move to a particular rhythm.
- Stand in your open space with feet about shoulder width apart. Check over your pelvis and face to drop unnecessary tension.
- Swing the pelvis backwards as if you are going to sit down. This should cause the knees to bend slightly and your trunk to tilt forwards. Now start to push the pelvis forward and upwards, trying to make it a flowing movement. As this happens the legs straighten and the head and trunk move to a position of leaning slightly backwards when the pelvis is in its most forward position. When the movement is liquid this causes a wave-like flow up the spine.
- You are now at the upright position, so continue this into the sitting down position and follow through again into pushing the pelvis forward. The aim is to keep the hips circling, with the trunk loose enough to flow with the movement. It may help to imagine a circle and move the pelvis around the circle.
- If your lower back or pelvis is stiff or the movements hurt, start gently and continue until the movement gradually massages the pain or stiffness. Do not be afraid of some discomfort.
- If the pelvis is swinging properly the lower back will be slightly hollow as the pelvis is pulled back, and this will change to a slightly convex shape as the pelvis pushes forward. Test this by standing with your back against a wall, and place a hand in the small – or hollow – of your back. Lean back against the wall and while keeping contact between the wall, your hand, and the small of your back, swing the pelvis forward and backward. This will require some movement in the knees, but your back and even your head, should remain against the wall as the pelvis swings away for an inch or so. Swing the pelvis backwards and forwards in this way to see what sort of flexibility you have in the lower spine.
- In this movement if the trunk is not held rigidly the rib cage contracts as the pelvis swings forward, and expands as it swings backwards. Therefore the breath cycle is to inhale as the pelvis swings backwards. Exhale as the pelvis swings forwards.
- Continue the movement for about five minutes – or longer if you are enjoying it.
- Meditate the movement.
- Do not move on to the other sexercises until this one is easy and reasonably habitual.
Pain – Pain – Go Away
If you can barely move the pelvis forward, gently continue trying to swing the hips to start the body becoming more flexible. The body is a living and responsive thing, so even if there is very little ability to move the lower spine, or if you have injured this area at some time, continuing with the practise gradually leads to improvement. If this causes pain, keep moving to the boundary of the pain. Gradually the boundary retreats as the body responds and become healthier and more flexible. The pain may simply arise because this part of your body has not been moved sufficiently to keep it mobile.
On the other hand, as you get the movement flowing, if there are any feelings of pleasure generated, let them suffuse the body.
Another helpful movement that can be done with or without a partner is ‘the whirlpool’. It is a movement that also relates to the mobilisation of the pelvis.
The easiest way to do this is to stand with feet about shoulder width apart, then imagine you are moving your hips around the inside of a large barrel, or that you are waist deep in a whirlpool that is swinging your hips in a circle. Keep the head floating reasonably steady. This is not quite as specific as the first movement, but still causes the pelvis to swing, and limbers-up the spine also. Whatever direction the whirlpool takes you, don’t forget to circle in the opposite direction also.
The benefits of this movement are that, like Sexercise 2, the pelvis is mobilised. Physical stiffness is loosened. Tensions resulting from emotional restraint or sexual repression are worked on and brought to the surface to release. This allows the natural feeling responses to sexual relationship to be opened to more fully.
Summary of Sexercise 8 – The Whirlpool
- Choose a place and space where you can feel relaxed about doing this movement. If you are wearing clothes use ones which are loose fitting enabling you to move easily.
- Stand with feet about shoulder width apart, preferably with feet parallel to each other. Melt tensions from face and pelvis. Also create the feeling of your knees being connected to your pelvis by elastic bands – your muscles. This means your knees are not locked, but are slightly bent and responsive to movement.
- Imagine moving your hips around the inside of a barrel or circle. Some people find the image of a whirlpool useful. As you move your hips in this horizontal circle keep your head floating in about the same position. If possible let the knees and ankles respond in a relaxed way to the movement.
- Make the circle as wide as you can. This means that when your pelvis is in the forward phase of the circle you trunk will be leaning backwards slightly. When the pelvis is in the backward phase of the circle the trunk will be leaning forwards.
- The breath cycle should be to breathe out while the hips circle forwards, and breathe in as the hips circle backwards – or are moving in the back half of the circle.
- At about half time stop and move the hips in the opposite direction.
- Continue the movement for about five minutes or longer if you are enjoying it.
- When you stop, stand or sit and meditate the movement. The aim is to recreate the feeling or sensation of the movement without doing it physically.
Whirlpool With A Partner
Done with a partner, the whirlpool requires more skills of co-ordination and relatedness than when you circle your hips alone. The aim is to remain aware of contact with your partner and to tune in to your partner’s movement and timing. It is certainly more fun that the hip circling alone.
Summary of Sexercise 9 – The Whirlpool Together
- You need a partner of either sex. Being a similar height can help but is not necessary.
- Choose a place and space where you can both feel relaxed about doing this movement. If you are wearing clothes use ones which are loose fitting enabling you to move easily.
- Stand back to back with feet about shoulder width apart, preferably with feet parallel to each other, and link arms. Melt tensions from face and pelvis. Also create the feeling of your knees being connected to your pelvis by elastic bands – your muscles. This means your knees are not locked, but are slightly bent and responsive to movement.
- Close your eyes and stand quietly together feeling the warmth and contact with your partner. Drop tension from the face and pelvis.
- In this movement neither partner needs to lead, but obviously you do have to start off in the same direction. Imagine moving your hips around the inside of a barrel or circle. Some people find the image of a whirlpool useful. Start slowly keeping awareness of contact with your partner. Keep the open state in your face and genitals. If you lose this stop and regain it before you start a gain.
- Make the circle as wide as you can. When your pelvis is in the forward phase of the circle you trunk will be leaning backwards slightly. When the pelvis is in the backward phase of the circle the trunk will be leaning forwards. This means that there will be an alternating leaning back and being supported, and a giving support, as you lean on your partner’s back, or are supported on their back.
- Do this slowly and be aware of how you feel as you are supported or giving support.
- The breath cycle should be to breathe out while the hips circle forwards, and breathe in as the hips circle backwards – or are moving in the back half of the circle.
- At about half time stop and move the hips in the opposite direction.
- Continue the movement for about five minutes or longer if you are enjoying it.
- When you stop, stand or sit and meditate the movement. The aim is to recreate the feeling or sensation of the movement, and of your relationship with your partner.
Open And Moving Together
Because love-making is usually a two way affair, and needs sensitivity to another person’s movements and needs, it is fun and helpful to practise the hip circling movements with a partner. After the Whirlpool try Sexercise 2, the horizontal hip circling with a partner. It needs a little more co-ordination than the Whirlpool, and is a more powerfully helpful movement physically and emotionally. It more directly links with the movements our body wants to make in expressing passion.
Try it first back to back with arms linked. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart, back to back and arms linked. Stand for a while with eyes closed being aware of the warmth and sensations arising from being back to back. Drop tension from your face and pelvis. Let the open feeling pervade you before staring the movement.
Decide who is going to lead and begin to swing the hips in the forward and backward circle – Sexercise 2 – and see if you can keep your behind in gentle contact with your partner. Start slowly so you can learn to feel the contact and develop the skill of moving together in harmony with each other. Gradually you can achieve a flowing and sensitive togetherness of movement. See if you can do this while dropping unnecessary tension. Leave the belly, chest and head open to any pleasure felt. Let any laughter or feelings be part of what you are doing.
Living processes tend to express in waves. This is true whether we look at things such as our heartbeat, where contraction follows expansion in waves, or in the digestive tract where the wavelike flow of peristalsis moves the food along the gut. In the realm of our personality the wave action of life is felt as heightening and dropping of feelings. So in using this sexercise there may be times when feelings of contact or pleasure rise and then fall away. This is so important we will explore it in greater depth as we use other sexercises. Meanwhile, in this back to back movement, it is enough to notice any highs and lows of contact and go along with them – letting the body express the highs, and perhaps slowing down or express less intensely with the lows. Even if you do not have a distinct feeling of any shift in your own feelings, try doing the movement with vigour, then slow down and do it gently and with sensitivity.
Summary of Sexercise 10 – Tuning In
- This movement can be done with a partner of either sex. It helps if you are either about the same height, or the shorter person stands on something like books to raise the height of their bottom to be in contact with the partner’s. Or the taller person bends their knees a little.
Be clear what the movement is. If necessary do the movement alone first. Decide beforehand who is going to lead first in doing the movement. After a period of practise change roles in who will lead and notice any differences.
- Stand with feet about shoulder width back to back with your partner. You will need to make close contact. Link arms, but not too tightly.
- Take time at this point to be aware of the contact as you stand back to back. Let tension melt from your body and be aware of the warmth from your partner flowing into you. Stand for a while relaxing into the contact.
- The lead person now – slowly at first – takes their pelvis backwards as if sitting down, slightly bending the legs as they do so. Then the pelvis is pushed forward and the legs straightened. The hip circling is the same as in sexercise 2. The difference is that you must become aware of the contact and response of your partner. If this doesn’t happen resistance, overbalance, poor movement rhythm occurs. The aim is therefore to get lost in the awareness of your mutual movement and its harmony. This may need quite some practise, because you are not only seeing if you can move your body in time with that of your partner, but also if you can drop tension and let any pleasure that arises permeate you.
- Don’t forget to swap roles at some point in regard to who is leading in the movement.
- Once you have got used to the movement, and feel in harmony with your partner, focus on any shifts of feeling as far as pleasure, contact or oneness are concerned. Let your body, breath and voice express these shifts in any way that arises spontaneously.
- Although you may get a sense of harmony together reasonably soon, continue the movement for some time. Keep focused on the sense of contact and your enjoyment or response to what is happening between you. Love making is hopefully not something over in two or three minutes. Therefore it is helpful to practise being focused on the act of moving together, and at the same time dropping unnecessary tensions.
- Take time after finishing to sit for a minute still in contact with your partner. Meditate the movement together to see of you can recreate the sense of contact. Then talk over what you felt during and after the movement.
- Do not move on to the other sexercises until this one is easy and reasonably habitual.
Hold Me Closer
To deepen your experience of harmony and intimacy, try doing the hip circling face to face with your chosen partner. But take time getting close. Do it sensitively and with awareness. Sense each others reactions. Respond rather than mechanically move. Take time to listen to your own feelings and don’t push yourself to levels of intimacy you don’t have an inner inclination for – nor press your partner to levels you can feel they are disinclined to approach. In practise this means not maintaining physical closeness with your partner if you sense they are not inviting it any longer. It means being aware of their small reactions such as tension, holding their breath, pulling back or going limp and passive. These are all signs of tension.
Remember also that this face to face hip circling is for PRACTISE. Relax. Enjoy it. Learn from it how to sense your partner and respond in an appropriate way. There may be waves of what I call ‘excitation’. I mean by this greater and lesser arousal or response. See if you can flow with these and relax into quietness when the excitation lessens.
Start very slowly. Take time to gradually move physically close. In doing so don’t concentrate on your thoughts, or even your fantasies. Be aware of how your skin feels against your partner. Watch what feelings and pleasures start to rise. Remain at that point of sensitivity to touching and body warmth for a while. Sense each others breathing and be a mirror so your outbreath is in time with your partner’s inbreath. Let the beginning of the movement be gently sensual.
To let this become the enormous pleasure and nourishment it can be, keep the open state going, and let yourself respond to what you are feeling. At times this might mean that you feel shy or tense. If so pause and admit these feelings to your partner. Such disclosures should not be commented on by your partner, or vice versa, and this needs to be understood at the beginning. Whatever is said needs to be heard and allowed a place in what you are doing, but not remarked upon.
So if I were your partner and the closeness produced feelings of sadness because my relationship had been without closeness for a long time, I would need to say what I felt, and you would need to listen without comment. If there were emotions rising with the feeling, space should be given until the feelings have emptied. Then continue with the movement.
This listening to each other’s body and its signals, each other’s feelings and words, is of primal importance in learning not only to develop a caring relationship with someone else, but also in meeting yourself more fully. This will be covered in greater detail in other sexercises.
With this in mind, gently make contact and let your body feel the open state. Now face to face, close, start moving slowly and sensitively. There may be tides of feeling, of pleasure, rising and falling. Respond to them. Let your body and even your voice or breathing express their rise and fall. Therefore as excitation rises allow the movements to be more expressive. As the excitation drops, allow the movements to be slower and quieter. If you or your partner feel the need to stop the practise altogether, this must be honoured without irritation. But if this happens it would be helpful to sit quietly and close for a while rather than to simply break contact quickly. If you lose the open state of face and pelvis, stop, melt the tension and start again. If the tension becomes intense and insistent this needs another sexercise that will be described later.
At first don’t take the movements into full sexual intercourse, otherwise you will miss the point. Often full sexual intercourse is riddled with habits that decrease awareness – that are expressions of automatic responses. The face to face meeting is to develop sensitivity and awareness – of our own body and feelings and those of our partner. Only take what you have learnt into intercourse when you gain experience and growth in this. So my suggestion is that this movement is used for practise only, to establish a different awareness and habits. If the practise is mixed with actual sexual intercourse, it loses its power as an safe area of practise where one can make mistakes, learn from them and discuss them.
These are signs of tension:
- Muscular tension. This can be sensed when your partner’s body becomes more rigid, less responsive to your own movements. Sometimes it may feel as if they are resisting you or pushing you away.
- Holding their breath. This is similar to muscular tension. The body is less mobile and the emotions repressed by not breathing.
- Pulling back or going limp and passive. Pulling away, avoidance of meeting face to face, or the absence of any response are all forms of tension. Sometimes a person is frightened of openly expressing their need to pull away. This might be expressed as passivity.
Summary of Sexercise 11
- Choose a partner you know you can be more than casually intimate with. If you are wearing clothes choose ones that are soft and not restrictive of movement and sensitivity.
- Talk over the aims of the sexercise with your partner. The aims are to practise how you relate to physical and emotional intimacy – to observe each others response – to give gentle feedback – to explore moving together and the tides of pleasure that might arise – not to move toward actual intercourse.
- Stand together in a space and environment where you will not be disturbed for the period of time you decide to practise for.
- Stand face to face a little distance apart and do not rush into the contact. Take time to look at each other and notice what messages you are receiving from your partner’s face and body. If you sense any absence of ease mention this to your partner. Don’t say it in a manner such as “You are tense!” Express it as your opinion or query, perhaps by saying “I have an impression you are tense – or anxious etc. – is that so?” People are sometimes completely unaware of how they feel, so there is the possibility your partner will deny this yet continue to show signs of shyness or tension. If this is so proceed with caution and simply point out to your partner any obvious signs of their stress such as held breath, stiffness of body, turning away of face, resistance. Don’t use these observations of each other like weapons however. If you do, admit that the direction of the practise had gone astray and start again. This is no different to losing the open relaxed condition and starting again. These are habits that need further practise to correct.
- When you are ready move closer and make contact, body to body. Sense how your partner responds. If there is initial tension do not at this point be in a hurry to mention it. Wait to see if being together quietly reduces any hesitation or tension. If the hesitations continue, stop and talk over what was felt in a non critical way.
- Be aware of body warmth and each others breathing. Let your face touch that of your partner, and feel the quality of the skin contact. Be aware of your arms around your partner and sense what you feel from their body. Close your eyes and focus on what pleasure or feelings this brings. Let yourself relax into each others presence. If you feel this ease arise start moving the hips in the circling movement already described – the hips circling backwards and down then forward and up. As you are mirroring each other you will need to find a way of moving and breathing that is harmonious. Take your time. Remember you are only practising, so meet stumbles with a creative spirit.
- As you find harmony in the movement let any pleasure arising from it flow through your whole body. Do this by melting any tensions appearing in face and pelvis, but also by being willing to experience what arises. Occasionally powerful emotions emerge. This is because pleasure and contact are a great healer and flush out old hurts or fears. If so there is no need to have any skill other than patiently being with your partner, or yourself, as the emotions empty out. Such emotions or fears are the things which stand in the way of intimacy. Their emptying enables closer contact to follow.
- Let your body, emotions and voice express the tides of feeling as they rise and fall. Be quieter and slower as the excitation drops. Should either of you reach a boundary, a point beyond which you do not wish to go in the practise, this must be honoured and the session ended. If this happens sit quietly together for a while and then talk over what was felt or realised. It is not always clear why one wants to stop, so no clarity should be insisted on.
- Continue until you feel satisfied you have had a meeting and a sharing in the practise. When you finish sit for a while in contact without talking. Then share any comments you would like to communicate to each other. Remember that new experiences take time to digest, so don’t let any enthusiasm or stumble be taken too seriously until days have passed and you have integrated it with your other experience.
- Meditate this movement together once you finish. Do this by sitting or resting while in physical contact with each other, then see if you can recreate the feelings that arose.
- Do not move on to the other sexercises until you feel at ease with this one.
Let It Flow
The previous sexercise is vital because a basic part of sex is movement – movement of a most intimate kind. The magic of sex is not only that we can share an intense form of pleasure, but we might be able to do so in a way that fulfils our own needs as well as those of our partner. So our movements need to be self satisfying and yet sensitive to our partner’s action as well. Perhaps this is why dancing has always had the connotation of sex and mutual pleasure.
But there is another important process we are trying to develop in these sexercises. The delight and tension release of love-making is partly achieved by the organs and cells throughout the body sharing the pleasure. Our cells share the work of keeping the body functioning, and they need to share pleasures too in order to maintain health. If the pleasure is only local, just in the genitals, then the satisfaction is only partial.
If the idea seems strange that our cells gain in health from feeling pleasure, remember that long before the arrival of human self awareness creatures were driven by the great power of pain or pleasure. Pain causes every type of living creature, from amoeba to mammal to draw back, to cringe. Pleasure brings about an expansive perhaps even playful state. In the condition of pain or tension, our glandular system and cells produce harmful substances which deplete the health and efficient functioning of the body as a whole. When we are feeling happy and relaxed our glands and cells produce powerfully helpful substances which promote healing and health within our body and mind. Happiness is healing. The writings of Norman Cousins about pleasure and laughter as a healing agent are now part of established thinking. So why shouldn’t sexual pleasure permeating the whole body be a prime healing power? We can all experience the fact that learning to allow love and sexual pleasure to pervade us heals physical or psychosomatic pain, and depression.
You can learn how to allow a more inclusive satisfaction to arise from sex by being aware of your pelvis and face and letting any tensions melt. Doing the movements together from the open feeling, and letting whatever pleasure arises permeate the whole body, is an excellent way of learning this more global pleasure. Often we tend to keep pleasure in just the area of its arousal. So the pleasure of food might be kept largely in the mouth, and the pleasure of genital contact kept in the area of the pelvis. Learning to drop tension in the pelvis and face is the first step in letting pleasure flow throughout our body and act as a healing immersion in joy. Daniel’s description of using this technique gives an idea of what could be experienced.
After learning about tensing and relaxing my face and rectum I realised that I had an almost permanent tension in my genital area. This was especially so during sex. I noticed I tightened and tightened the whole genital area as sexual intercourse progressed. This resulted in a sort of squeezed up, squeezed out orgasm. It was pleasurable in a very physical local way, but also sometimes incredibly painful. The pain was like being stabbed up the rectum, and occasionally I had to kneel on the floor with my behind in the air in an effort to get rid of the pain.
I persisted in learning how to let go of tension while ‘in the act’ so to speak. It took quite a while, but gradually I found that my whole pelvis felt open and responding in a way I had not experienced before. My penis is then something like a tuning fork that is being donged, and the vibrations or pleasure flow right up my body. When this happens there is no pain. In fact it has reached the point now where I feel very emotional in a joyous way and laughter bursts out of me because it is all so wonderful. I then feel very close to my wife, and have a sense of meeting her as if she were a young girl. I don’t think this is my fantasy. I think it is a part of my wife she usually hides, and I am one of the few people who can find her in this way.
In the past I used to go through the motions of being close after sex because I knew my wife needed it, but I didn’t really feel any connection. I was just empty and wanting to curl up in an isolated sort of way and go to sleep. – Daniel.
Playing Ones Own Music
There is a part of love-making that is not simply physical movement. It has to do with the way we communicate emotionally and energetically with our partner. The quality and sensitivity of our movements communicate to our partner in a non verbal way. Our own feeling depth calls an echo from our partner too, if they can respond. Exercising this area of oneself can be done in a gentle way in connection with the first two movements. After finishing the pelvic swing, for instance, I have suggested that one stand with eyes closed and create a visual and physical sense of doing the movement. The idea is to see if you can create the feeling of the movement without doing it physically. This means standing still, but imagining the movement, and creating a feeling of what happens when, for instance, the pelvis swings forwards or backwards. Although this has already been described, it is important enough to mention again in a little more detail.
In the pelvic swing for instance, there is a subtle sense of thrusting and giving while the hips swing forward, and a withdrawing as the hips swing back. So in the meditation, see if you can alternate these feelings in yourself. If you need to make the movement to feel this, do so. But drop the movement as soon as you can and make it as much of a feeling exercise as possible.
What you are learning to do in this meditation of the sexercise is to swing your inner mood or sensations from one state to another at will. Like learning the ‘open state’ in the genitals, this is of enormous importance. Our ‘natural’ way of relating to the world is to rely on an external stimulus to arouse us in some way. Our moods are often governed by events that occur, lifting us up if the event is something we enjoy, or producing a depressed state if the event is something which worries or concerns us. These mood swings or changes are rather like notes on a piano being struck. The piano simply responds and plays the sharp or flat or harmonious chord. In this sense the piano is ‘at the mercy’ of whoever plays the keys. Similarly we are usually ‘at the mercy’ of whatever events play the keys of our own inner feelings and responses. In the case of a lover or marriage partner, we may depend upon their good feelings toward us to find our own happiness. This is fine while the partner still gives us our needs, or is good enough to play harmonies on our sensitive emotions and body. But it is awful if they withdraw for any reason, or their tendency is to bash out conflict and pain on the keyboard of our body and psyche.
Learning to press our own keys and play our own music not only helps us be less dependent on others for our well-being, but when we do relate to others, it is far more enjoyable. We are less prone to being hurt by the other person’s changes. Being more in charge of our own responses also means we have some ability to direct what keys we wish to be stimulated in the relationship – not simply the ones the partner may care to play.
Although the meditations on the sexercises cannot be claimed to give us mastery over our psychic keyboard, they do bring us awareness of what the swings of mood and body feel like, and how to shift them to some degree. They DO help you to be able to shift out of a negative or frozen feeling state. They DO help you to find balance between the opposites of highs and lows, attraction and withdrawal, giving and taking, that are so powerful in your life and the life of all of us.
Playing Oneself With Skill
One of the first ways most of us learn to make love with another person is through fantasy while masturbating. If we accept that masturbation is our way of practising love-making without the difficulties that might occur when we are face to face with a ‘real’ person, we can use it creatively. The difficulties you might face while flesh to flesh with a partner can be practised while alone playing your own music.
While the practise area of masturbation isn’t going to provide a way of learning all the skills needed to become more fulfilled in love-making, it can certainly be of utmost value.
Boons of Masturbation
There are several ‘boons’ or benefits to gained through masturbation. The first great boon is that we can do it alone without pressure of someone else’s expectations about our performance. Equally important is that we are not pressurising ourselves through trying to live up to what we think or feel our partner is going to expect of us.
Secondly, masturbation is also a way of keeping oneself alive sexually, exercising ones ability to respond, to become excited and flow up the scale of pleasure. Some people suffer guilt about sexual enjoyment, and masturbation offers a way of meeting this guilt and dispersing it.
Thirdly, masturbation allows us freedom to practise and develop skills. Developing the skill of relaxing and building pleasure step by step might be difficult to learn unless one has a very skilled and understanding partner. The safe area of masturbation lets us practise skills that can be used later in a face to face relationship.
So in approaching masturbation as a learning process, it is helpful to drop cares of the day and social expectations, and consciously create an environment in which you are going to give yourself pleasure. Take time with yourself, recognising that the deeper levels of sexual experience can only surface when we relax and drop away our preoccupations with the everyday world of work and the demands of other people. It helps to imagine oneself leaving the everyday world behind by entering a special room, and gently massaging oneself with cream or oils. Massage sensitive areas away from the genitals to start with, the face and feet and thighs for instance. This is to slowly awake the fire of pleasure that you are going to blow into flame. So approach the genital massage at first only with passing caresses.
The spirit of this is wonderfully expressed in this fantasy described by Christopher. ([ii])
The imagery arose spontaneously and got more specific. I watched/experienced an exquisite Japanese ritual of meeting, touch, massage, that is leading to sex. The beauty of it is in understanding how wise and artistic the whole approach is. I see the slowness and gentle touch is to lead the awareness out of being bound by everyday affairs. It diffused my concentration on particulars of external life and gradually opened my senses to feel and allow pleasure. It helped me drop fixation on externals and allowed me to drop boundaries until I sensed myself as in a semi dream state. This allowed my feelings about sex to be not just a particular thing, but something that connects my body with a huge process which I shares with all nature. My partner is then not simply a human being, but the very essence of the female principle, merging with me.
I feel myself being put in a warm pool of water like a large tiled bath. Young women come into the water with me and touch my body. It is very sensual but not directly sexual. They rub me with oils and hold me. Slowly I feel myself relaxing and drifting into a sense of floating in the pleasure.
I laugh at the way the unconscious presents imagery. It is so wonderfully versatile, sensitive, artistic, crude – a master of imagery. The laughter is because the fantasy now changes, presenting me with the view of a hot dog being fried slowly in a pan on a stall. As I watch I feel or realise this is the heating up of my sexual feeling, getting me excited, the preparation for sex seen from a different perspective.
Now I feel ready to meet the woman. I feel as if she is a queen. I understand this as meaning that any woman is a queen when we make love to her, and should be approached as such. As I accept the approach of the queen I experience a subtle buzzing which starts in the area of my genitals and fills my whole being. It is not simply a physical sensation in the sense of something vibrating my body, it is also a feeling of pleasure. It produces a sensitivity, a state that responds more excitedly to any external contact. I have a feeling that this is like being the genitalia of a plant or some natural thing in that I have the awareness of how my whole being is connected with what is happening. I am vibrating in connection with the opposite – the female. My pelvis actually vibrated and shook with this. Somehow I felt that my vibrating, my fullness with life in its sexual phase, stimulates the female, and she in her fullness stimulates my aliveness. If she is dead my aliveness gains no response and so doesn’t fully express or realise itself. I go to meet the queen alive in heart, in mind, in genitals. Christopher.
Christopher’s fantasy is a form of masturbation in that it was a deeply felt sexual experience occurring without any contact with another person. As can be seen, it gradually led Christopher to an acutely receptive and sexually alive state. In doing so it gave him the experience of what this was like. If that had never happened he might never have known the enormous possibilities of his own sexual excitement. He might have still believed sex was only a genital experience, something that happened below the belt, the only art of sex being physical movements, positions and staying power.
However we gain experience it is still valid and useful. So another boon of masturbation is that it can enlarge our experience. Of course what we gain without a partner will still have to be taken the next step of using it flesh to flesh. Nevertheless, if pilots can now train to fly using the virtual reality of a computer-generated flight simulator, one can learn sex from the virtual reality of a sex simulator like masturbation.
Summary of Sexercise 12 – Masturbation
- Use masturbation as a source of healing pleasure and extending experience and fantasy.
- Approach masturbation slowly. Drop thoughts and cares of everyday life. You can aid this process by changing clothes, or having a bath.
- Undress and in a warm place rub yourself with oil or cream. Do not directly stimulate the genital area to start with. Work toward the genitals slowly, giving yourself gentle pleasure by touching and massaging your face, chest and legs. Move toward a feeling of deep relaxation in which your attention is absorbed in the physical sensations of pleasure aroused and any fantasy that connects with it.
- When you reach the state of relaxation in which you have less sense of boundaries, then slowly bring yourself to orgasm while dropping unnecessary tension from face and pelvis. In this way see if you can allow the excitement to flow up into your belly and chest. If you keep your face relaxed your mouth may open spontaneously to express the pleasure. If there is any urge to do so let yourself cry out or use your voice in the excitement.
Surfing Sexual Excitement
For men the next step in masturbation is especially important in moving beyond premature ejaculation. It is also an important general help in learning to arouse and meet sexual excitement and rides its waves. The aim is to get to the edge of ejaculation and relax back without climax. By learning to do this several times you gain the ability to ride the waves of pleasure without being swept away by them. Eventually of course one eventually allows oneself to be swept along by the cresting excitation into orgasm. There is a lot to be gained by riding the waves and dropping back however. In actual contact with a partner, this experience of prolonged yet controlled excitement gives one a much longer and more satisfying sexual experience. The orgasm is then much more mutually agreed rather than something that one is pushed into by not being able to ride the physical excitement.
There are movements which I call ‘playing the guitar’ that are helpful in producing high stimulation and pleasure without the massive push to ejaculation. One may even reach an orgasm without ejaculation. To use these movements it is necessary to approach masturbation in the way already described in Sexercise 7 – that is, slowly and by touching and massaging the rest of the body first, especially the face, chest and belly. This is because the more one pleasures oneself before the major event, the less tensely sensitive and reactive one is. The sensitive edge is taken of the trigger so it doesn’t fire at the first touch. This means one can stretch pleasure and explore its many aspects. Some of the pleasures of sex lie in the extremes of slow tenderness and explosive frantic movement. The further one extends the time making love the lower the ‘hair trigger’ becomes for the man, and the longer the touching and stimulation becomes for the woman.
Therefore although ‘playing the guitar’ is principally for the man, the practise of riding the wave and dropping back is also good for a woman to learn. If you as a woman press toward your own pleasure through powerful movements too soon, you may carry your man to his climax also, and rob yourself of a more prolonged pleasure and a longer or repeated orgasm.
To practise this rising and falling of pleasure you make crossing movements on the penis instead of the traditional up and down masturbatory movements along the shaft of the penis. At first these crossing movements need to be glancing touches to take the edge off the tense pleasure that may have built up in the genitals. As you relax move the finger tips across the penis rather like strumming a guitar. Playing the fingers across the base of the penis can activate a centre of pleasure that exists just above the testicles or where they join the shaft of the penis. As you call this pleasure into action and the heightened sensitivity drops, the fingers can be moved in a deep or even rough crossways rubbing.
As you can feel your body starting to move toward ejaculation – stop! Relax. Let the pleasure subside. When it has dropped start again slowly. Play this pleasure with awareness. Mix tender movements with rough and hard action. Remember that after ejaculation the pleasure subsides, but if you can get to the edge of the volcano and dance on the rim, the pleasure goes on and on.
Summary of Sexercise 13 – Playing Genital Music
- Use some small ritual like a bath or changing clothes to drop everyday thoughts and feelings.
- Undress and in a warm place rub yourself with oil or cream. Do not directly stimulate the genital area to start with. Work toward the genitals slowly, giving yourself gentle pleasure by touching and massaging your face, chest and legs. Move toward a feeling of deep relaxation in which your attention is absorbed in the physical sensations of pleasure aroused and any fantasy that connects with it.
- Now massage the genitals, but at first very gently to take the ‘hair trigger’ off your genital sensitivity. Keep checking to see if you are dropping tension from pelvis and genitals.
- As you feel yourself relaxing and becoming less sensitive, use the ends of the fingers to ‘strum’ the base of the penis. You will have to experiment with pressure of the fingers in this strumming to find what brings pleasure but does not lead directly to ejaculation.
- Play the pleasure so that it builds, but as you feel yourself getting near the point where the body goes into spontaneous ejaculation stop and let the pleasure and your body slow down and sink to quietness. When quiet start again and build up the pleasure.
- If possible play the pleasure in its mid range for some time. By mid range I mean not too near the edge of ejaculation. As sensitivity decreases you can be quite rough in movements, even grasping the penis. This expresses the explosive side of sex, and one learns to tolerate this while still being relaxed. Drop tension from the face and pelvis until it becomes habitual.
- Dance on the edge of the volcano without plunging in as long as you can, coming back to relaxation. It might be that you experience an ‘energy orgasm’ without a physical orgasm. In the energy orgasm one experiences the excitement and emotion of orgasm without the physical ejaculation. If this satisfies you it is okay to stop when you are ready with culminating in ejaculation. If you need to however, move through to fulfilling your body in a full orgasmic experience.
Are You A Sexual Athlete?
There is one more sexercise to end this chapter on the pelvis. It relates directly to the hips and genitals. To understand the usefulness of this we have to remember that sex is partly an athletic event. Staying power is helped by being able to easily relax while love-making, and the ability to move into certain postures. One of the most helpful of these is being able to bend the trunk backwards. Mobility in this can be gained by sitting on ones heels on the floor, placing hands on ankles, then raising the hips so the trunk is arched and head hanging backwards. The helpfulness of this is due to the pressure it places at the base of the male penis when either of the partners incline backwards during coupling. The pressure decreases sensitivity and increases length of lovemaking for both partners. It also adds pressure and so in some phases of love-making, brings an intensification of pleasure and penetration. If relaxation during movement is used with this posture, along with spells of quiet every minute or so, it is a great aid to satisfying ones need for a long loving contact.
During sex the man moves into the posture while kneeling facing each other and coupled. The woman uses his body for her own enjoyment. If you are the female partner you can be very active and enjoy the powerful penetration this posture gives, without your man feeling he will explode too soon into ejaculation.
Summary of Sexercise 14 – Bending The Branch
- Sex has more creative variations if your body is flexible. Backward flexibility enables you to use a posture that is helpful in increasing length of sex and penetration.
- On a carpeted or padded floor kneel down with knees and feet together. With your trunk in the upright position lean to one side and slightly backwards to place your right hand on the right ankle. With this support lean back wards a little further and place the left hand on the left ankle. If this is not possible see description of alternative below. **
- As your body adapts to the posture let your head slowly drop backwards while you take the full weight of your trunk with your arms and hands on ankles. Let your pelvis push slightly forward and up. In other words the pelvis moves slightly in the direction the knees are pointing, and the spine curves a little more.
- Let your breathing come as it will, and hold the posture for as long as is comfortable.
- A variation of this posture is to kneel with the feet and knees slightly apart but with the toes towards the other foot and touching. This forms a sort of cradle into which you sit. Then support yourself with your hands on the floor behind you as you lean backwards. From that position you can either raise the hips up and forward with head back – or lower your trunk backwards to the floor. Obviously this supposes you are reasonably flexible. But even if you are not, regular practise of leaning back to the point where pain begins, and holding the posture for a while, will soon enable you to go fully back.
- When you are comfortable for a reasonable time in any of these postures you can use them during love making. They can be used in various ways. For extending male staying power the man should be the one to lean backwards while the woman moves as she wishes on his extended branch.
- The woman can use any of these posture to enjoy the variety of pleasure arising from different sorts of body contact. The posture of taking the spine right back over the cradle of ones feet is very useful for raising the hips and so giving greater penetration and pleasure. It also gives the ability to lift the hips even further at any time.
- If these postures are difficult an alternative way of mobilising your spine is to practise a similar position with the help of a partner. To do this posture/movement you need to stand on a surface which is not slippery. If necessary remove socks or stocking. Ideally it is done either with bare feet on a non slippery surface, or with trainers which have a good surface grip.
- Stand facing each other with hands clasped in a firm grip. The person who is supporting you – the helper – stands with one foot placed between your own parted feet, which are about shoulder width apart. The helper’s other foot is placed back so he or she can lean back onto that foot to take your weight.
- You now drop your head backwards and allow your pelvis to move forwards slightly so you lean backwards supported by your helper’s hands. Do not do this suddenly. Move into it slowly to feel how far back you can go comfortably. DO NOT SIMPLY LEAN BACKWARDS WITHOUT BENDING YOUR PELVIS FORWARD. If you do your body weight will pull your helper on top of you heavily.
- When you are ready to come out of this backwards bend, squeeze your partner’s hands as a signal and let him or her slowly pull you into an upright position.
- As you get the feel of this posture it is wonderful to do with as much upper body relaxation as possible, especially as your helper pulls you up. Keep your eyes closed and relax for a while when you are up, to let yourself absorb the wonderful feeling this posture gives. If you are supple and let your pelvis swing forward and legs ‘strong’ rather than limp, you can easily go right back so your head touches the floor. Coming up from this far back is a wonderful feeling as long as YOU DO NOT TRY TO PULL YOURSELF UP. You must let your partner pull you up. Otherwise your leg strength will pull your helper flying over onto you.
Tune-in To Your Legs
For many years I have helped people discover how to unlock the secret power trapped in their body. The legs are a wonderful example of how, when we relate to our body in the right way, enormous confidence and feelings of positive motivation are released. Also when expressing your feelings freely during love making, your legs play a big part in how you hold your partner, and what position of love making you can move into. Personally I don’t see the various positions of love making as things one needs to use as a sort of gymnasium of sex. But having a mobile body enables you to allow the variety of feelings and urges that arise in the passion and pleasure of love.
For instance, as a man, it is a very beautiful feeling to sit cross legged and have my partner sit naked on my legs face to face, with her legs around my waist. The wonderful mixture of pressure, warm moist flesh and pubic hair against my genitals, and suspended breasts against my chest, is a sensual feast. Without being able to sit in that posture, the nearest one could get to it would be to sit on a stool. But when sitting on a stool, the thighs are not spread open to allow ones love partner to sink deeply onto one.
Sitting on a chair, the woman who cannot let her knees drop sideways cannot truly open her secret warmth and wrap her legs around her partner.
Recently a woman friend, told me, “The first time my present husband had sex with me, he said he had never experienced a woman opening her legs the way I can. He kept saying what a marvellous experience it was. This was because I had practised some leg stretches until I could drop my knees sideways.”
Opening Your Legs
For a woman, opening your legs can be a very powerful sexual signal, and a very deep self offering. If it is done with skill it becomes an artistic as well as sensual act. Sensual pleasure arises mostly from the way flesh touches and moves against flesh. The pleasure blossoms into ecstasy when your emotions blow against the glowing ember produced by feeling warm open lips against flesh, and the ember leaps into fiery flame. But many tender moments of loving sensuality come from feeling your partner’s skin, weight and expanse of flesh against you in unusual ways. What would it feel like to be kissing with lips and genitals, and yet have your partner’s thighs lying against your chest? It’s easy if you can bend at the waist until your head touches your legs.
Without attempting to be a gymnast in love though, here are some ways to bring greater suppleness to your legs.
Summary of Sexercise 1 – Opening The Legs
- Always wear soft loose clothing for these sexercises, not tight corset-like leotards. Or if comfortable, wear nothing at all, or just a pair of briefs.
- The movement needs a reasonable floor space, about the size of a spread single blanket. So stand in such a space where you feel at ease about doing an exercise. then place your feet about double shoulder width. If you have stockings or socks on and your feet begin to slip, take the socks off. It is important to avoid your feet slipping. This could lead to slight injury.
- Look to see if your feet are parallel to each other. If they are splayed out straighten them and let the weight load be taken on the outside under-edge of each foot. Do not lock the knees back in a rigid way. Keep the knees ready to flex.
- Now let your head droop forward allowing the trunk to follow until your hands touch the floor. If this doesn’t quite happen take your feet a little wider. Then with hands supporting on the floor, slowly take your feet wider apart, maintaining their parallel position and taking the weight on the outside of the foot. Keep moving the feet apart until you reach the point where pain begins in the muscles – probably on the inside of the thighs. Bring the feet a little together from that point.
- Make sure the hands are on the floor just under the shoulders. Then bend the right leg at the knee. This will cause the left leg to stretch by dropping the hips slightly. Now straighten the right and bend the left knee in a similar way. The resulting movement is one of swinging from left to right. Repeat the movement until you feel you have well stretched the inside of your legs – probably about five times in each direction.
- When finished stop in the central position, inch your feet slightly more together, take your weight and balance on your feet and slowly bring your head and trunk up in to the standing position. Rest.
- This stretch is to enable you to take the legs wider apart without pain. It applies to men and women.
The main objectives in stretching our legs in a sexercise is to enable the legs to be opened wider, and for the bent knees to be capable of dropping sideways. As an example of this, the classic sexual posture is portrayed as the woman lying on her back with her knees bent and in the air, and the man lying between her thighs. This means for the woman that her thighs are still fairly closed. She has to drop her knees sideways to let the man lie between her legs. If the knees can be dropped further apart, there is a full opening and a comfort in the position. It also means other positions are easy and enjoyable.
Something I have noticed is that even if you can do the postures given only reasonably well in practise, during sexual intercourse the body seems to be experienced differently. One can move into postures easily and often go beyond what was possible in practise without pain. Or if there is pain it doesn’t seem to be noticed. Ones attention is focused elsewhere.
Another two stretches that aid this are ones which are particularly to widen the knees falling sideways.
Summary of Sexercise 2 – The Open Lap
- Use this stretch in an open space again, with loose clothing.
- Sit on the floor with legs straight out in front. If it is difficult to sit like this without an inclination to lean backwards or forwards to balance, put your hands just slightly to the rear of your behind. Take you weight on your hands and slightly lift your hips off the floor. This lets the weight of your trunk hang from the shoulders and allows the spine to straighten.
- Bend your knees and bring your feet toward you so the soles of the feet are together and the knees dropped outwards from the centre to whatever point they will fall. Using your hands, inch your body slowly toward your feet – still with soles of feet together.
- Bring your trunk as near to your feet as you can tolerate while the knees are dropped outwards. Then take hold of the toes of your feet with both hands and while holding them straighten your spine. This will probably pull your feet a little nearer. Meanwhile move your knees downwards towards the floor, widening the gap between them.
- This is never a very easy posture for most Europeans, but there can be rapid improvement if you do the posture at least two or three times a week and hold for a minute or so. When you begin to feel easy in it and it becomes enjoyable, try keeping the soles of the feet together and lying backwards onto the floor.
- Apart from a useful sexercise this posture is also well worth doing for its benefits during childbirth It stretches and opens the pelvic area.
Summary of Sexercise 3 – Foot To Thigh
- You need a space large enough to sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Bring the right foot toward the trunk, helping with the hands. Take the heel of the foot up as far as you comfortably can into the crutch, while keeping the left leg straight.
- Hold the heel well into the crutch and see if you can drop the right knee down toward the floor. If it is difficult, hold the foot in place with the left hand and gently press the knee down with the right.
- If the right knee drops easily to the floor, take the right foot in both hands and lift it up onto the left thigh. If possible the toes should be well over to the outer edge of the thigh. Then again see if you can drop the knee toward the floor. Take your time. Your body will respond if you give it weeks instead of minutes. Gradually your knees will open and muscles adapt.
- After holding the position for a minute or so put the right foot out on the ground with leg straight again. Now stretch the left foot to the crutch in the same way and repeat the procedure.
- End by sitting with legs crossed in front of you. If you can easily do the above stretch it may be possible to put one foot in the crutch – for the man the heal goes under the testicles – and the other heal in front of it. Otherwise put one leg over the other in an easy posture – for instance the left heal touching the right thigh and its toes under the right calf, and the right heal under the left calf.
Power In The Legs
If our legs, as psychological and physical sources of power, are not being used properly, we lose confidence in life and in love. Without the power that comes from your legs you lack the ability to stand up for yourself. You cannot pleasurably or playfully meet another person’s power and positive strength. Instead you may feel attacked or demeaned simply through your partner expressing their own vigour of body and mind. Instead of a happy play and creative flux of mutual strength and creativity, one feels attacked, and responds with counter-attack. This is not productive of a happy and surging relationship. Anna describes her experience of this.
My first marriage was one in which I constantly felt I had been aggressive in my behaviour to my husband, Adrian. Throughout seventeen years of marriage he responded to me as if I were attacking him. So much so, and because I had nothing to compare with, I felt I was a destructive person in a relationship.
I left Adrian for reasons other than described and started a relationship with Mark. For a while everything went smoothly and then while walking one evening along a country lane I started talking animatedly with Mark. I was astonished and disturbed when he crumpled emotionally and literally fell in a heap in the road. The thought hit me – ‘Oh God, I’m doing it again. I must be some sort of destructive bitch forever hurting people.’
I wasn’t living with Mark at the time so we parted with me still struggling to understand what had happened. At work the next day I couldn’t help nibble away at the problem as I was going about what needed to be done. In the back of my mind I was looking at the things said, and in analysing them suddenly realised there was something quite ridiculous about feeling I had been aggressive. I had only been talking about things I was feeling strongly, and hadn’t been aiming anything at Mark. This meant that Mark had crumpled simply because I was being my normal enthusiastic, strongly expressive self. I immediately got on the phone to him and said that I didn’t want to develop a relationship with someone who flopped down like a pile of cow dung simply because I had been strong. I explained that I hadn’t even been directing the things said at him, I was only talking generally. He grasped this. We later married and when I stood up on my hind legs and felt good, or angry or strong, Mark was there with me. It was a completely different situation to my first marriage.
What Anna describes is the sort weakness or strength we unconsciously associate with our legs and occasionally with our spine. Expression of these unconscious associations riddle the English language. We see it in such idioms as beings legless; didn’t have a leg to stand on; my legs went to jelly; my legs were paralysed; I couldn’t stand up for myself; felt like I had a ball and chain on my legs. We also talk about being supported in a relationship, or perhaps having to stand alone. All of these refer to the emotions and attitudes which provide or deny not only our confidence, but also our ability to happily be ourselves.
In a sexual relationship, and in sex itself, these attitudes support or reduce our sense of value. They make the difference between a dependent or independent relatedness. They are the point of change which makes the difference between feeling insecure and of little value as a partner, or feeling confident of ones vale and standing, and being able to create mutual support and love. There is a huge contrast between feeling independent and through that choosing to stay in a relationship because you value it, and feeling dependent and inadequate, and desperately clinging to a relationship because you fear alternatives.
We all know what it is like to feel dependent. In childhood we were all dependent upon our parents, and that may have been a happy situation if our parents were caring. As an adult however, it can mean feeling demeaned or abused, because the feeling of dependence may lead us to tolerate behaviour we would not otherwise accept.
Finding our own strength and relating to another person from that power is a wonderful experience. In making love our sexual feelings flow with enormous freedom if they arise out of positive self esteem. We no longer attempt to overpower our partner to become top dog in a contest of will, or to seek to trap or be passive with them because we depend upon them for our own feelings of being wanted.
This is all interesting or boring theory, but what I want to show you is a way of experiencing and extending the power and confidence of your own ‘legs’. I want to show you how you can stand up, perhaps for the first time in your life. It is a wonderful experience. If you discover this it will certainly change the way you are loved and love.
Count Me In – I’m Standing
As a baby there was a time when you stood for the first time. Perhaps you can’t remember that, but if you have watched a baby do this you can see it is something that produces strong feelings, perhaps pleasure and pride or maybe uncertainty. As a baby we start by not being able to rise from the floor except on hands and knees. So in tuning-in to the secrets your legs have in store for you, I need to have you play with some movements involving standing and going down.
As with the other movements, it is helpful if you are wearing loose soft clothing – things you can move in easily and your body does not feel restricted by. You need an open space about six feet square, or about the size of a spread blanket. It helps if you can move around a little without the fear of banging into something or knocking things over. At first the movements are practised by yourself. When you experience the power of yourself in standing, then you can use the movements with a partner and explore what it does in your relationship or during sex. But by all means practise with a friend or friends who wish to explore these sexercises with you. In this movement however, we are not in close proximity, so need personal space.
It is important to have an environment in which you can feel free to express yourself easily, even to easy expression of emotion or unusual movement or use of your voice. This is more necessary in this sexercise than in the previous ones.
The reason for this need for freedom of expression is that in most everyday situations we are restraining ourselves quite severely, perhaps without knowing it. This is because in many public or even family situations, certain things are taboo. I remember in one work scene a young woman slipped and fell near a group of colleagues. She had previously broken her arm and it was newly out of plaster and tender. In falling she banged her arm and the pain led to instant crying. As I walked toward her to help her up the other people scattered with great spread. It appeared to be from embarrassment that someone cried in public near to them.
Other taboos are the expression of anger, affection or irrational behaviour. There is also a taboo on easy touching outside of a sexual relationship. In this sexercise one of the aims is to create an environment which allows more freedom of expression than usual. This is not only helpful for the sexercise, but also as you learn to create it, it can become a feature of your sexual experience and other relationships too.
To start I want you to stand in your space with feet about shoulder width apart, then drop hips down toward the floor with knees bent in the squat position. At this point we are just trying out the movement so experiment with standing up and squatting down again. If you find it is not an easy position because you have to raise your heals to keep balanced, place a couple of thick books, a rolled up small rug, or a piece of wood to give support. This should make it easy to drop your hips near to the floor without having to worry about keeping balance. In fact unless you can relax in the position reasonably well it will not be easy to complete the last part of the sexercise.
Once you can easily move between the up and down position do the movement fairly vigorously for a minute or so. I suggest starting from the standing position with feet shoulder width apart. Take an in-breath and as you do so take your hands and arms backwards slightly to open or widen the expansion of your rib cage. Let your head drop back a little also, to express this expansion.
From that open in-breath let your breath out through your mouth – in fact blow it out noisily as you drop into the squat position. As you drop let the hands swing forward and up until they are together in front of your chin or face with your elbows bent. This position is quite opposite to the standing, as the head is dropped forward as limply as possible, so your hands may in fact be touching the top of your head. The chest is also contracted and the trunk bent forward.
Without making yourself dizzy by too rapid a movement or too deep breathing, move between these opposites. If you need to rest in either of the positions allowing your breath to cycle as it wishes. Then when ready to continue start from the appropriate in or out breath.
When you feel acquainted with the two polarities of the movement - the ‘up’ and the ‘down’ – take time to be aware of the different feelings in each. As you near the end of your fast movement slow down. Be aware of what each position feels like by staying in it longer, allowing your breathing to cycle as described above. While in the ‘down’ position see if you can drop unnecessary tension and droop or let go in the way one might in going to sleep. Close your eyes and let the feeling of letting-go pervade you a little. If you cannot possibly do this in the squatting position for some reason, use a low stool or chair to support you so you can allow your trunk to droop forward onto your legs, your head on your knees, and relax. Get a limp ‘rag doll’ feeling.
As you move into the ‘up’ position breathe in and open your eyes. Slightly exaggerate the in-breathe by taking your hands and arms backwards, head up and slightly back, chest open and expanded. In this position be aware of the more open, dynamic and active feelings it might produce for you. The words ‘might produce’ are used purposely because we each have slightly different reactions to body postures. So do not be concerned if you feel quite different to what I have described. This will be dealt with shortly.
To end this part of the sexercise, when you go down, stay in the position and notice whether you have any inclination of your own to move into the ‘up’ position. Take your time with this as it is very important. So far you have done the movement because you have been willing to follow the instructions I have given. But now I am saying do not stand up unless you can notice a real motivation to do so. Don’t do it on automatic.
What is it that moves you to stand up in the morning? It isn’t a silly question. It might be that it is duty, or a desire to avoid losing your job, or habit. Maybe you simply want to go to the toilet. Perhaps you would otherwise stay in bed. In other words you would stay in the ‘down’ position. The positions in fact represent deeply important polarities in our life such as rest and activity – expression and withdrawal – confidence and uncertainty – waking and sleep.
Taking notice of whether you want to stand up or not is a way of seeing if you are simply going about your life on automatic, or whether enthusiasm and motivation fires you to express. Perhaps when you give awareness to whether you have an inclination to stand up you notice that you want to stay down or sink even further into rest. If so that is quite normal. Sometimes we have been pushing ourselves too hard, or have been pushed by others, and have never allowed ourselves the healing of sinking deeply into ourselves to contact our own reservoir of energy and enthusiasm.
Another response might be that you stand up fast because you don’t like it ‘down there’. This sometimes happens if you associate the ‘down’ position with personal defeat or failure instead of rest and recuperation.
Don’t worry if at this first practise you cannot find any motivation other than an automatic response to stand up. But do take time with it. Wait and be aware of the feelings that arise. If you are lucky you will feel a growing desire to stand, to be ‘in the world’, to be interacting with others with your own strength. If this moves you to stand, you will rise with more of yourself involved than usual. You will feel almost as if you are radiating a sort of ‘I AM’ feeling, ‘I EXIST’. Here is how Cathy describes her practise:-
I had done the standing and squatting movement quite a few times, usually with positive results. This time was so different though. There were several of us practising together, and Tony was leading the group. It took me quite a long time to find any urge whatsoever to move to a standing position. I simply squatted there waiting and wondering why it was taking me so long. As I waited I saw that my life had been plagued with lots of hesitations. For much of my life I had felt as if I had to continually struggle simply to exist. Standing up meant somehow meeting these difficulties and shining through them. Shining through is different to struggling to survive. Did I have whatever it needed to do that? Was there something alive in me enough to break through, like the budding seedling pushes through the heavy earth and reaches up to live?
At the time I didn’t have all those feelings so clearly thought out, but that is what it was like. Then I could feel something stirring in me. Our group was outdoors among fir trees and a warm wind was blowing. It touched me and I could feel that I wanted to be a part of life, to stand up, to be whatever was in me to be. My legs pushed to the earth and my head lifted. As I rose to a standing position tears came to my eyes. What an immense thing this was, to stand, to face all the things that tried to pull me back down, and yet to raise my head and dare. I stood, crying at the wonder of it, realising how long it had taken me to face my own fears, to find independence and stand on my own feet. But then, not only was I standing, but I had the impulse to take a step, to walk. All I had ever done, all I might ever do, was in that step. It was unforgettable.
Summary of Sexercise 4 – Standing
- Decide on giving yourself the freedom to express easily. If emotion, movement or fantasy arises in this sexercise let it happen. In everyday life we hold back much of ourselves because much of what we feel is inappropriate. Unfortunately we may fail to give ourselves a time to be free. Sex is a time to let go completely. This sexercise is a practise run for letting our enthusiasm rise.
- Stand in a space in which you can move easily. Wear loose clothes. Have feet about shoulder width apart, and experiment with the squatting movement, dropping your hips down toward the ground. If you need to use something support to your heels, do so. This enables an easier squatting posture. Should this still be awkward for you, sit on a low chair or stool.
- Squat and stand a few times to warm up. As you begin to feel at home with the movement do it in time with your breathing. Start from a position of standing with breathe in, arms away from the sides and backwards slightly to open the rib cage, and head slightly back. From that position breathe out through your mouth noisily as you drop down into the squat. As you drop swing the arms and hands forward and up towards the head, bending the elbows. Let your head droop and hold the position for a moment as you relax face and genitals. Then stand, breathing in through the nose as you do so. Swing the hands down and backwards and head up and back to open the chest.
- Move between the standing and squatting with some energy, but not so fast as to make yourself dizzy. If you need to you can rest either in the standing or squatting, allowing yourself to breathe normally until you start again from the appropriate in or out breath.
- When your body begins to feel at ease with the movement, and you can do it without being focused on the mechanics of it, start to notice what you feel in the poles of the movement. Slow the movement down and pause at each pole. Notice the difference between the standing and the squatting.
- Enhance these differences. It may help to close your eyes, droop the head and drop tension while squatting. If you cannot relax in this position try using a stool or a support for your heels.
- When you move to the standing position, open your eyes and breathe in. Let yourself feel something of the dynamic action of standing with the chest open and expanded.
- When you have become aware of the opposite poles of feeling in the movement, stay down in the squat. Let yourself relax into it. Kneel down or sit on a stool if you cannot relax in the position. Drop your head, drop tension from your face and pelvis. Droop!
- Now take time to observe whether there is any motivation to stand. Don’t simply stand up automatically. Notice what it is that makes you want to rise. If you can notice any urge to rise, follow it. Let IT move YOU, rather than simply making yourself stand up. This may take time. Be patient, and don’t be discouraged if you get no clear urge. Simply end the exercise after about ten minutes. But if there is a motivation to stand, follow it until you feel yourself standing with real motivation or enthusiasm. Try it several times until you can feel a different quality in the way you stand.
In teaching people how to play with and enjoy their body, it often surprises me how impoverished an experience some of us have of touching, exploring, rolling around and tussling with someone else. I shouldn’t really be surprised as the first time I got together with two friends and explored close physical contact outside of sex, I was frightened by the intensity of my own need to be close to and hold the male and female friend who were my partners. Over the years though, this became ease in being close, and a sense of wonder at what depths of myself emerged through undemanding physical contact with others.
A sexercise which is a good introduction to playful contact with someone, and uses the legs to exploring strength and fun in meeting is one I call Love Wrestling. I call it this because it is non competitive but assertive way of getting close to a partner. It needs a fairly large space. This is important because the fun comes from being able to romp without worrying about hurting yourself on furniture or other objects in the room. Even a space the size of a double-bed blanket is sufficient IF you both agree to stop when you get near the boundary of your space.
If you are wearing clothes make sure they are loose, soft and fairly strong. Stand facing your partner – male or female – and put your hands on each others shoulders. Lean forward and put your head onto the shoulder of your partner. Find a position in which you can brace yourself against your partner enough to be able to push against each other using the strength of your legs. Experiment with this to get the feel of the right position.
Once you feel in contact and braced, the aim is to use your legs to push your partner to the edge of the blanket. To do this you have to be powerful and energetic with your legs, and let their power flow through to your shoulders and arms.
Don’t make this into a serious contest. Enjoy it! But do let your energy really break through. Shout and groan. Growl at each other, pant and rave. If you are half hearted and wimpish with this your partner, even though small, will easily push you over the edge. But if you let the animal in you flow through your body you can find resources of strength and assertiveness.
It always seems to me that if you try to be prim or passive, or are uncertain and let others make your decisions all the time, you will not be able to find strength to resist and push your partner in this sexercise. So you need to let your hair down, don’t be pushed around, get the strength flowing up from your legs and pelvis into your shoulders and arms, put some guts into it.
Do You Have 12 Volt Sex When It Could Be A 100 Volts?
Watching how people use their body, it is obvious that some people have never got the whole voltage of their energy flowing into what they do. The movements such people make often seem jelly-like. The movements seem to lack vigour and purpose. Watching a woman or man weight train or move who has learnt to express vigorously through their body is a pleasurable thing. Their strength and personality shine through what they do.
If you lack this sort of vigour, the way you move or remain passive in sex will be jelly like too. The power of your feelings is trapped somewhere and perhaps never engages with your partner or the world. You are most likely having 12 volt sex without knowing it. Believe me, you could be having a 100 volt, or even a 150 volt experience. So try the love wrestling and let your soul shine through in the process. When you have tried love wrestling a few times, change the rules by doing it with your sexual partner and let the course of events move toward sex. But keep the game going. Sex is VERY exciting when it is a wrestle and not easy to get!!
Summary of Sexercise 5 – Love Wrestling
- This is a way of using leg strength to express assertion and confidence in meeting a partner in play and sex.
- A fairly large space is needed. For the sexercise to be enjoyable a minimum would be about the size of a double-bed blanket. Even then, move furniture or objects on which you cold hurt yourself, just outside that area, and agree to stop the wrestling when you get to the boundary or the area.
- Wear soft loose garments if you are wearing clothes.
- You can have the same or opposite sex partner. Stand facing your partner and put your hands on each others shoulders. Then lean forward and put your head onto the shoulders of your partner, and vice versa.
- Experiment with the head placing and hands to find a position that feels right. Now brace yourselves against each other, pushing slightly against each other using your legs. This will bring your trunk lower and leaning slightly forward, perhaps bending at the waist a little.
- Do a few trial pushes against each other to gauge strength and position before you start pushing in earnest. When you are ready warn each other that you are about to start in earnest.
- Remember this is not a contest, so don’t try to injure each other. But do let yourself go as far as the space and environment will allow – i.e. if you have rubber mats underneath in a gym you can be a bit more daring than if you are in your house with furniture near at hand.
- Push and dodge to get your partner moving where you want them. Let a few growls out if you can feel the assertive feelings to go with it. Be aware of how you are using your legs and push with them letting their strength flow right up to shove your partner back. It helps to keep the waist slightly bent so you don’t get overbalanced. Be assertive. It means to be forthright and positive, whereas aggressive means to be hostile.
- From here on let it be a rowdy game, experiencing each others strength and letting your own meet that of your partner.
- When you are good at the game, let the game move toward sex with the person you want to make love with. Get the volts pouring through by wrestling your way into each others body. A little oil on your skin knocks it through to a 150 volt experience!!
- As things warm up break the rules! Drop down onto the ground and grapple. The oil will make it very sensuous.
- This is so hot I take no liability for what happens. You’re on your own!
Tune-in To Your Hunger
Hunger is one of the big features of sex. Just as an empty stomach, falling blood sugar or energy brings about the hunger for food, so the influence of hormone levels, glandular pressure and emotional need produce sexual hunger. But sexual hunger also arises out of our identity or image of ourselves. It is easy to see that many people of both sexes view themselves as highly sexual and desirable. This isn’t simply something they think of as a sort of self assessment. If you have a temperament deeply influenced by whether you are sexually desirable, you will probably dress and act in the role. You will fight a long and hard battle with the ageing process in an attempt to remain nubile or virile. After all, without being nubile or virile you would be uncertain of your identity!
Other people see themselves as intellectuals, or creative, and so on. These people wouldn’t need to have sex simply to retain their image of themselves. But beyond such differences there is still sexual hunger.
Especially for women, hunger is a factor in sex in another way as well. If there is an absence of feeling wanted as a woman – not as a person – many women get hungry for food, and start a battle with weight. With this hunger the need is to find the bottom line in the situation. What is it you are hungry for. Is it really food? Is it sex? Is it to feel you are really wanted? Those aren’t always easy questions to answer, but by tuning in to your hunger, and learning to listen to it, you can go a long way to making it a friend instead of an enemy.
Our first movement to express our hunger was – hopefully – to suck on our mother’s breast. Our mouth and tongue are incredibly sensitive. Through them we reach out to the world from our hunger and touch it. Our teeth are a part of this hungry reaching for the world too, and when we express our emotional and sexual hunger, it is often our hands, lips, tongue and teeth we use.
Tuning-in to our hunger helps us to more deeply enjoy the satisfaction and emotional and sensual nourishment we get from contact with our partner. It also helps us to become aware if our needs are being fulfilled. There are subtle but important experiences in sex that we may not be getting. This is a bit like eating nice looking and tasty food which has in it no vitamins and minerals. It looks good, it tastes good, but you gradually feel bad on it. And if you still keep eating it you get sick. Most of us know what it feels like to love someone who is indifferent to us, or whose desires go to someone other than ourself. This can happen to us not only as an adult, but also as a child. The hunger to be wanted and loved can be so great it consumes us.
Are You As Hungry For Me As I Am For You?
Recently a divorced male friend, Doug, told me some of the secrets of his sex life. He is a very sexually active male in his forties. Having recently split from a four year relationship, although now having sex with a younger woman, Sheila, he doesn’t allow himself to feel emotionally connected to her. Doug noticed that when he masturbates Sheila, her vagina relaxes and opens ‘like a flower’. When he enters her during sex though, her vagina is often tight and uncomfortable for him.
When talking to Sheila about this, she told Doug that her tightness was probably because she was anxious about letting her emotions flow fully. If she did she would want to be much closer and committed with him than he did with her. Doug had often told Sheila that he was still emotionally connected to his previous love, and didn’t want to make any deep connection to Sheila because of that, and because she was much younger than he.
It is fairly clear that Sheila and Doug are allowing their hunger for each other to be only partially satisfied. The physically sensual side of their relationship appears to be enjoyed by both of them, as well as the sexual release and pleasure they both get. Although they live apart, they meet often and spend time together sexually. But their emotional and social need for each other is not met because of mutual decisions to avoid it.
Doug and Sheila’s situation is fine if they can both remain happy and healthy, and manage to get their emotional and social need for closeness satisfied somewhere and somehow. They are both aware of where the lack arises, and are decisive about it. But if they were not sure of what they were hungry for with each other, and lacked awareness, the situation would be different.
Doug and Sheilah are both people who have a lot of anxiety and feelings of insecurity concerning relationship. This is possibly what makes it difficult for either of them to commit themselves any more fully to each other. According to recent research, only about one or two percent of people are actually born with an anxious disposition. This suggests that however deeply etched the insecurity is, it is still only something that was learnt through difficult childhood experiences. In other words the feelings that keep Doug and Sheilah from getting closer are negative habits learnt in childhood. With a little persistence you can change and create a completely different relationship. Of course it helps if your partner also attempts to be creative in a similar way.
I know this for myself because during a time of great inner pain and depression just after my divorce, I experienced a turning point in my life and relationship that had to do with transforming a habit. The moment occurred as my present wife returned from shopping. I was in our bedroom standing staring out of the window into space feeling dreadful, empty of any pleasure, and without any motivation to do anything. As my wife entered the bedroom I turned my head to look at her. I could see her happiness shining through her body from her upright energetic movements and the openness of her face. It struck me that she was feeling good because she had been out of the house and away from the heavy atmosphere of my depression. But as she took in the story of my position and the window and whatever my own body posture and facial expression was telling her, I saw the enthusiasm drain from her and she wilted slightly like a plant lacking water.
It hurt me to see how my situation affected her, and in that instant I didn’t want to go on building that sort of deadening influence into our lives. I wanted to be a source of pleasure and support, not an eroder of enthusiasm and love. I knew my wife had responded to what she had seen of my posture and facial expression, so I straightened up, smiled, walked toward her and hugged her and told her how pleased I was to see her. The result was extraordinary. Her posture straightened again. Her brightness returned, and she talked with pleasure about where she had been.
I learnt from that experience and repeated it over and over until I actually developed a new way of responding in our relationship. Although at first it was something I acted out from regret at what I was doing, slowly it was no longer an act. Such is the way with habits. At least I saw that what had felt like inevitable parts of my personality that were ME, changing showed my depression and pain was a form of habitual response to events.
Getting close to our partner without any clothes on, and kissing, are ways we can tune into our hunger. I realise you most likely get skin to skin already and kiss. What I am suggesting is to take time with your hunger and let it blossom.
To do this stand with your partner in a warm private place, wearing a single layer of loose easily removed clothing. Slowly make contact by holding each other, but don’t rush this. It is too easy to have sex automatically. All sorts of pressures or expectations push us to ‘do sex’ rather than move to it from our own needs and hunger for it. We may feel that it is expected of us to have sex now we are physically close and intimate, so we simply get on with it. We might feel, even if not admitting it to ourselves, that not having sex would mean we are not capable as a man/woman, and the more often we do it the more woman/man we are. Another pressure to what I call automatic sex is that we might have sex to get something else, like someone’s attention and support. We might allow sex with our partner as a business arrangement to make sure of getting money, a roof over our head, food, or even as an escape from loneliness rather than as an expression for longing and hunger for our partner.
So this sexercise is a way of finding out what hunger and desire we have for our partner outside of automatic action.
Once near to each other, pause and feel each other’s body heat. Notice what you feel as you brush against each other and gently touch lips. Don’t go for the stereotyped TV kiss one sees so much of, where there is an open-mouthed, tongue protruding, massive contact immediately. Wait for your desire to build up and let it express in the contact you have with each other. Hunger for another person is usually felt as a yearning in the belly which often flows up the body to the chest and mouth. Sometimes ones feels it as a sort of breathlessness and a desire to get as close to the person as possible. There is an urge to take your partner into you, like being hungry for them and wanting to take them into your body, or to get into them as fully as you can.
In whatever way your hunger arises, let it direct how you connect with your partner. The urges that arise will lead to semi spontaneous movements, or an urge to touch, rub or kiss.
It may help to let the hunger flow into kissing at first. The kissing then ignites further hunger, so let it flow from there.
If there is no sense of hunger, during the sexercise do not move on to further sexual activity without the hunger. Pause at this very first stage and notice what you are both feeling. Admit to each other what is felt and it will gradually shift. If you find it difficult to find your hunger, read chapter five and use the sexercises given.
Summary of Sexercise 15 – Hungry Kisses
- Stand near each other in a warm place. Wear loose easily removed clothing.
- Get closer until your bodies touch. Brush against each other. Feel the body heat generated between you. Gently touch lips.
- Notice any desire or hunger this arouses in you for your partner. Allow this hunger to express in kissing, touching or rubbing. If it moves in that direction, let the hunger flow into sex.
- Your hunger may at times lead to expressing verbally. Don’t suppress this urge to say things to your partner, even if what you say uses swear words.
- If you cannot feel any hunger or desire for your partner, do not simply have sex automatically. Wait and notice what feelings or images stand between you and your partner. Admit these to your partner. This usually shifts them. Read chapter five if you cannot move beyond this point.
- The overall aim of this sexercise is to recognise your hunger for your partner and give it more chance to flow into your sexual contact and express through your body.
I Want – I Want – I WANT
There seems to be a huge divide between people who spend their whole life wanting and desiring things indiscriminately, even criminally, and those who dare not allow their wanting, or express their desires.
Kissing – Wanting – Bottom line.
[i]This description of Jean is taken from Robert Van de Castles book The Dreaming Mind.
[ii] Taken from The New Dream Dictionary by Tony Crisp, published by the Optima imprint of Little Brown, UK.
Tune-in To Yourself
Being There For Each Other
Making love to our partner can be just as much of an old habit as going to the corner table when the telephone rings a week after it has been moved to a new site. When my second wife and I started our relationship we decided we would try not to live out the mistakes we made in our first marriages. Some mistakes were obvious. For instance I had allowed small irritations to mount one on top of the other without dealing with them. Then result was that minor irritants combined and formed a huge sense of separation and emotional distance.
But some habits are not so easy to see. Some of them we don’t even know we have until we stumble over them. In trying to be aware of each other’s feeling responses in making love, we slowly formed the agreement that it was okay for either of us to stop at any point if we inwardly felt ill at ease or tense. Without that agreement I don’t think I would have noticed that at the very beginning of sex, at the point where our bodies were touching and starting to be aroused, I felt awkward and didn’t have an inclination to proceed. In the past I had pushed through this feeling without really noticing it. In admitting the feeling to myself and Hyone however, it defined and I realised I felt like a teenager who theoretically knew what movements to make, but hadn’t been helped to find the inner awakening of affection and pleasurable contact from which the sexual act can flow spontaneously.
Because I felt my partner was supportive rather than critical, and because I didn’t try to hide my awkwardness, I was able to stumble around in it for a while until I found an emerging sense of natural warmth and arousal growing in me. I then didn’t need to ‘know what to do’ because my actions and responses became natural expressions of how I felt and the wonder of being close. This showed me that for many years I had been working on automatic – on habit.
The Magic Bed
The closeness we create in bed, or in the act of love, can enable us to find real change, real growth and pleasure in our relationship skills. One of the great sexercises is therefore that of creating an explorative and non critical sexual relationship. If you haven‘t already got that, it needs practise in the beginning. You need to go very slowly because there is a tendency to feel extremely open to criticism or ridicule when exploring sexuality.
Summary of Sexercise
- This is to be practised with a partner. The partner can be of any gender. The partner need not be someone you know or have an intimate relationship with. It is however, best if they are seriously interested in learning something of how they react in a relationship.
- The aim of the exercise isn’t to move inevitably to sexual intercourse. Even if you are with a partner with whom you know you can arrive at intercourse, don’t have that in mind as where you are aiming at. It is important to meet each other moment by moment rather than pushing toward a goal.
- After finding a partner to explore this with you, it is important to arrive at an understanding, an agreement. The agreement is that 1- The sexercise is an experiment and an exploration in regard to relationship. It is not to be taken as in any way binding regarding future relationship. 2 – An attempt to be as honest as possible with each other by not hiding what is felt or thought. 3 – To take responsibility for ones own feelings and reactions. In practise this means not blaming ones partner for what one feels. 4 -The readiness to stop the process at any point if one of you wants this. It MUST be agreed that this can be done without irritation or blame from a partner who might be ready to or desiring to continue. I am not saying nobody should feel irritated or frustrated, but that this must be stated as “I am feeling irritable/frustrated.” Rather than “You have made me irritable and frustrated and need to do something about it.” 5 – Agree that the experiment and agreed conditions should last up to one hour. At the end of that time the sexercise is finished, and there should be a statement to that effect such as “Okay, let us end here.”
- Talk over these agreements to make sure you both understand them and see what they mean in practise.
- Use a space and environment which is conducive to spending some time together, and in which you will not be disturbed. Sit in facing each other, preferably on cushions on the floor if that is comfortable. You should not at this point be in contact in any way physically.
- Ask each other if you are ready to start. If there is agreement continue. If not wait until there is or end the session. Mutual agreement is a fundamental need in this.
- Look at each other and as you do so take note of how you feel, what your inner reaction is. Notice whether you are tensed or relaxed. Be aware of your posture and what it is expressing. Perhaps you are leaning back away from your partner. Take note also of what thoughts or memories occur to you.
- You may never have done this before, so remember this is an experiment, a time to explore within the protection of the agreement. It is a way of learning. So there may be stumbles and difficulties. These are a natural part of exploring and learning.
- Tell each other in an unhurried way what you are experiencing in your body, your thoughts and your feelings. This doesn’t have to be every tiny little thing, just the main trend. So you might for instance say things such as – I don’t feel very relaxed – I keep thinking I ought to be somewhere else – I’m feeling a bit nervous – I have an urge to reach out and hold your hand – my mind is a blank – I keep worrying about my appearance – I feel pleasure at being with you – I notice I’m sitting hunched up as if I am tense.
- As you are observing your own responses, part of the sexercise is to give feedback. So if you partner actually said “I keep worrying about my appearance” – the aim is not to simply say a reassuring thing such as “I think you look nice” – but to observe your own responses and state them. So you might in fact notice that you hadn’t really been aware of your partner’s appearance because you were so worried about your own. Or perhaps you actually feel the person does not attract you. Then phrase this in a way to take responsibility for it, such as, “I am feeling I don’t want to be sitting here.” Even if that is the case this does not mean the experiment is failing. Not at all. The sexercise is about observing such feelings, admitting them and seeing what happens next for the duration of the agreed time. Don’t turn this process of declaring your observations into a conversation. Just say what you have to say in a few words and stop.
- Quite enormous changes of feeling can occur as you continue. Often the admitted feelings melt and give way to a new level of response. Some level of intimacy or ease is reached, but not always. Overall there is a movement through subtle barriers that stood in the way of meeting each other more fully. If emotions arise give them to your partner in the sense of allowing them and admitting them. Look at your partner as you do so. Don’t forever be looking away or with closed eyes. You may both move to intimate physical contact. But even this may shift and change as you take notice of what is felt at each moment.
- Undoubtedly you will hit barriers, your boundaries, beyond which you wither will not be able to, or not choose to, move beyond at the time. These are important. If possible define whether it is your choice that you do not go beyond that point of intimacy. Choice is your power and expresses your decisions from which you shape your life in your own unique way. If it is not from choice, then there is some aspect of your experience that is locked out of your decision making, and needs further observation.
- A great deal can be gained by using this technique a number of times with the same different people. It enable you to learn to move into and out of intimacy with awareness of what you want and how to admit you want it. The practising brings a clarity of how you handle a relationship, what fears and barriers you have, and also what strong points. Hearing another person’s honest feedback is also a very rare thing. It brings clarity about how someone else is responding to you, and how you impact with others. Later it will be explained how to use this in a directly sexual relationship. Certainly the confidence and information you gain about yourself will naturally spill over into sexual and other relationships.
Actually experiencing this form of meeting can be an amazing adventure or a real enlightenment. Here is an account of one such session between Ed and Polly.
I had know Polly for some time, but I had never used this form of meeting. Polly is a divorcee, a nurse, and someone I naturally like. My own situation at the time was of being married.
We sat opposite each other and were quiet for a while. I wanted to be in touch with Polly’s body in some way so I told her and she felt easy with that so we moved closer and held hands. I can’t remember every detail but I remember I was feeling close but without any desire to get closer. Then Polly started telling me she had warm feelings for me. With quite some feelings she said she loved me. I had used this approach quite often so it didn’t knock me back or anything. But in observing my own feelings I couldn’t notice any response to what Polly was saying, and I had the sense she expected a reply. So I said something like, “Well, what you are saying is really strong, but I don’t feel anything like what you say. I just feel calm and observing.”
Polly seemed to experience something powerful and started crying, and when she did that I could feel my own emotions respond. Then she explained that what I had said had suddenly pushed her to remember that this situation we were in was like a replay of something that used to happen between herself and her father. She had felt it as some sort of duty to tell her father that she loved him, but in fact she didn’t have any feelings for him. She had grown to believe her lie though, and it wasn’t until we had started being honest with each other that the lie had been exposed. This relieved me as I couldn’t understand how, if someone felt love for me, I wouldn’t have some sense of it.
After that it was like a wall had been dropped between us. I began to feel feelings of warmth and connection with Polly, and she with me. We played a bit and laughed and put our noses together looking into each others eyes close up. All I could see was one big eye looking straight into me. It was a very nice feeling. Then something amazing happened and I can’t even begin to understand how. Suddenly I was Polly. I was completely in her body although I was physically sitting in front of her. It was one of the strangest things I have ever known. Although Polly didn’t feel it to the same degree, she still felt something big had happened and held me close.
Gradually the feeling got clearer. It was like I was trapped in a woman’s body, and was scared I wouldn’t be able to get out. I realised it was about being born and told Polly. She then held me by wrapping her legs around me so I could really feel a woman’s body holding me tight. Slowly I wriggled free, and in doing so knew that I was facing a fear that getting near a woman might somehow trap me, and with Polly’s help I was finding my way beyond this fear.
Boundaries – are they fear or intuition?