We live in a microwave culture, which means we expect everything to happen and arrive quickly. We expect our food to arrive within minutes of ordering it. We expect our communication to arrive within seconds of sending it. We expect our things to arrive within days of purchasing them. Gone are the days when we would wait for days or weeks for a letter to arrive, or walk to the local library and covet the treasured time we could spend with dearly beloved books. Gone are the days when we witnessed firsthand the process by which the bread that sits on our table began as grains of wheat, then grew into feathery fields, then was harvested, pounded into flour, and baked into a fresh, golden loaf. With all of the gains in speed and efficiency that technology offers, something in the realm of slow soul-time is lost. We are forgetting how to wait. Life has, in some ways, become too easy.
This lack of patience extends into every area of lives, including our sexuality. And why shouldn’t it? If we expect instant food, texts, and books, why shouldn’t we expect instant pleasure? And with the proliferation of pornography, access to unlimited and anonymous insta-arousal has become easier than ever. Our culture is literally wiring us to expect sex to be effortless, fast, and meaningless.
The messages our culture propagates about sex have nothing to do with sacred sexuality. Sacred sexuality is a slow, complicated, enriching, courageous, exploratory experience that carries at its core the principles of mindfulness: non-doing, non-striving, patience, and presence. It’s a practice where two people in a committed relationship learn to place connection and curiosity above outcome, which means that lying down naked together is just as “valid” sexually as making love. It means recognizing that sexuality, because it touches on every aspect of our beings, will unleash worlds inside of us, both conscious and unconscious. It’s not simple. It’s not easy. And there’s nothing fast about the processes that emerge when we engage in conscious, sacred sexuality.
I know from working with thousands of clients and course members over the years that there’s a deep, cross-cultural longing to return to a place of true power and celebration around sexuality. Women know that mainstream sexuality isn’t the way, but they’re uncertain about how to traverse to a new place. How do we shift from what we’ve always seen and known and return to a place of ancient memory, a time when we knew that we were born to be wild, free, confident, and powerful in our bodies and sexuality?
The first step in crossing over from mainstream sex to sacred sexuality is to recognize that we’ve all been mis-wired in a multitude of ways.
We’ve been wired to equate desire with longing, which means that we feel most sexually alive when we’re pursuing an even slightly unavailable love object. This often comes up in my work when people say, “I don’t feel desire for my partner like I did for my ex,” to which I respond, “Was your ex slightly unavailable?” The answer is invariably yes. Or another version of this arises when someone says, “I wanted my partner so badly in the beginning but as soon as s/he proposed all of my desire vanished.” In these cases, the person is unknowingly programmed according to the circuits of the longing = desire equation. It’s a mis-firing that needs attention in order to realize that we can be turned on by presence and availability.
We’ve been led to believe that sex only means orgasms and intercourse. It’s like we only want dessert and have forgotten how delicious a salad can be (especially with tender leaves grown in our own gardens). We are an achievement and outcome oriented culture, and this mindset, which has been ingrained in us since kindergarten, naturally extends into the bedroom.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that if we’re not having frequent sex – which means 2-3 times a week – there’s something wrong with the relationship. And when sex is only narrowly defined as intercourse, we invalidate that the interludes of gentle kisses and sweet snuggles are also forms of sexual contact.
We’ve been programmed to believe that a stagnant sex life can be spiced up by purchasing new lingerie and trying out new sex toys or positions. While these may add some fun and flair to your bedroom explorations, without a solid connection and clear channels in place first inside yourself and then with your partner, there isn’t a sex toy in the world that’s going to ignite your desire.
In order to correct these faulty equations and mis-firings, we have to go back to the beginning and excavate our history as women. We have to address where the wiring went awry personally, in our family download, historically, and societally and then gently replace it with something new and healthy. We have to shed the layers and layers of body shame and sexual shame we accumulate simply by being a woman in this culture, let alone personal experiences that amplify and entrench this shame. And we have to receive a map for what true aliveness and healthy sexuality looks like, for we can’t chart new waters if we have no idea where we’re going.
This excavation and map is what I’ll be sharing in my new course, Sacred Sexuality: A 40-day course for women to heal body shame and ignite desire. This course has been simmering and gestating inside of me for many years, and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you for the first time. Registration is now open and I’ll be capping the number of participants for this first round, so if you’re ready to embark on this journey together, you can sign up here. The course begins on Saturday, June 24th, 2017, and I look forward to seeing you there.