Navigating a Sexual World
As a sexuality coach, I’ve seen and heard it all.
The hook-up culture is here and it isn’t going anywhere. It’s a new world to navigate and unfortunately, it’s usually navigated pretty poorly with casualties and lingerie strewn about.
Broken or closed hearts are common effects as well as STIs and unintended pregnancies. Which leads me to one of the most culturally pertinent questions of our time – is there a way to experience this culture safely?
It’s Not Easy Being Easy
Recently a client asked me, despite hook-ups being a part of our culture, why women still experience such shame around having one-night stands. She wanted to know why walk of shames were a thing and why, after getting fucked into next week, she felt so embarrassed.
What women want in bed is to get to a place of sexual liberation and freedom where they don’t have to hide behind their cervical and clitoral orgasms like curtains before a school play. And while that place exists, it takes some groundwork to get there.
The fact of the matter – it’s not easy being easy.
I know it sounds funny but it’s true, and it’s true in a way that you may not expect. Full sexual mastery and freedom in this world takes a lot of courage. We live in a world that shames us sexually at every turn. Even in progressive circles, prudishness is rampant.
I know people that are polyamorous or in open relationships, but they don’t tell many people, especially their family members. Friends of mine that have come out as homosexual struggle with the further stigma of sexual non-monogamy, and couples that want to have another partner also struggle with being open and honest about their desires.
A Society of Labels
This being said, the pursuit of finding and learning how to have good sex can be very difficult. Being a woman who claims to like having sex with multiple men is a very provocative stance. And since we live in a society that loves to put labels on people, if a woman claims to like hookups, then she has to go around with that on her forehead for pretty much the rest of her life.
She’s “that woman.” It’s the Scarlet Letter.
If she chooses something different for her life next year, she may be graced with some acceptance. If she claims to have righted her ways or has “grown up” and can see more clearly, maybe she can be accepted once more.
Why is this? Logically it doesn’t make sense that some relationships are ok and others are not. Every relationship will end at some point. It could be that it ends after the first night when there is a failed attempt at making your pussy wet or it could be after seventy years of galaxy-imploding vaginal stimulation. As a sexuality coach, I’ve seen it all.
But still, there is a story that has been created and largely accepted that longer relationships are to be cherished and the short ones are shameful and a failure. We even see this with divorces.
Divorce is often considered a failure because it didn’t last until one person died. Personally, I’m grateful that the couple chose divorce rather than resorting to the death of one of the partners! Kidding (maybe), but you get the point. Thankfully this paradigm is shifting but we have a long way to go.
History of Sexual Rejection
In Christianity, promiscuity is considered a sin against one’s body and highly frowned upon. The threat of going to Hell is enough to keep most members of that faith on the straight and narrow. Or at least torment themselves with guilt if they don’t.
Eastern philosophies and New Age practices are becoming more popular and many of them teach that there are energetic cords attaching women to every guy they have sex with. Some also teach that women are taking on the karma of the men they have sex with and also the karma of every other person that he has ever had sex with!
Damn, that’s about as good of a fear tactic as the Christians have with Hell.
Many people can’t see this and are scared off, leading women to hide what they want in bed or to engage in what is called energetic cord cuttings, intended to release the person from the individual they had sex with.
Self-Love Comes First
The women I know that want to learn how to have good sex and have pushed through all of this are the ones that first learned how to love themselves. When you know that your primary relationship is with yourself and that YOU will always be there for YOU, then there’s not as much need attached to a relationship and there’s not as much need for acceptance from society. Despite my focus being on tantric sex and my profession as a sexuality coach, this is relationship advice I bestow to all of my clients.
These women also push their edge and purposefully feel uncomfortable in order to clearly see what conditioning remains so that they can clear it, and with it, clear the guilt and shame that usually comes along. This is where true awakening begins.
Conditioning comes up regularly, and rather than habitually rejecting or accepting what comes up, they remain unburdened by thoughts and emotions, questioning where they are coming from and determining if they are truly their thoughts and emotions or if they have been put on them by others.
Most of the time, they find that they are not their own and yet they had been carrying them for a very long time. This is a good practice for all areas of our lives.
Sometimes, these women push their edge and find that their truth is somewhere else. That’s ok. They are usually glad that they went to the place of finding their authenticity. They stare their limiting belief systems in the eye and watch them crumble. They take responsibility for themselves and choose not to allow others to dictate their lives. They empower themselves.
A Personal Journey, Through and Through
Despite teaching tantra for the last 6 years, I am still evolving into my own wholeness and full integration. I see more clearly the patriarchal control of systems that have been in place for so long that they aren’t even noticed anymore.
We’ve become so used to them that even when we try and break free, we typically rename it, make it seem fresh and new, and go right back into the same old chains. It’s similar to a way that those in abusive relationships behave. If they finally escape an abusive relationship, unless major trauma healing takes place, the individual will usually go into another abusive relationship because that feels normal and normal feels safe.
I see this in many people that have left the religion that was pushed on them as children. They go into another belief system that is just as limiting. Awareness is key to moving past this. Having compassion is vital. Reclaiming the lost and stolen parts of ourselves is the way to wholeness.
Understanding that all we need is inside of us and that we don’t need someone else to complete us. We are whole and complete already. This coming home to ourselves is the transformation that liberates us and makes it easy to be easy and to enjoy learning how to have good sex.
A big part of moving into a place of sexual acceptance is normalizing sex and realizing the health benefits of it. A Duke University study reports that having 200 orgasms a year will subtract six physiological years from your body and appearance.
Another study found similar results. It found that sex helped participants look 7-12 years younger. And another one involving 3,500 people showed that having sex three times a week increased their youthfulness.
Here’s the catch. The study noted that the anti-aging benefits happened inside of loving and supportive relationships, rather than casual sex. And once again, casual sex is stigmatized and this time science backs it up.
But, what if loving, supportive and casual could happen at the same time? What if a woman was so in love with herself, so confident in her choice to have casual sex, so confident in her ability to choose a casual sex partner and so confident in her ability to guide a new lover around the anatomy of her unique body that even in a casual sex situation she could open up emotionally and sexually? This is conscious casual sex and I personally believe that women are fully capable of this. I’ve proven it.
Sex is important for our physical, mental and emotional health. We don’t live in a world where people get married in their adolescent times of sexual awakening and continue having sex with the same person forever. Yet, that is what is required to maintain the outdated moral code of conduct that has been placed upon our sexuality and yet also receives the health benefits of sex. Who can maintain that? No one that I know.
Doin’ It on Your Own Terms
We don’t judge a woman for waiting until she is 35 to get married anymore but if she owns that she chooses to have casual sex rather than be in a series of short term monogamous relationships otherwise known as serial monogamy, she is stigmatized.
Our culture values relationship, the idea of commitment. The question is, why is it important to be in a relationship? Is it just for the sake of being in a relationship? Maybe relationships are what we need to be called to a higher standard. Maybe, if we were able to have sex outside of relationships without guilt and shame attached, then we could really choose the right relationship for us and not get into it because of sexual desire or societal pressure. The ending of a relationship in which two lives have become intertwined is arguably much more damaging than a casual sex relationship.
Learning how to have conscious sex can exist in casual sex relationships or long term monogamous relationships and anywhere in between or beyond. Unconscious (consensual) sex can as well. The length of the relationship has nothing to do with the two parties involved in the act of sex and their support and love for each other at that moment.
Conscious casual sex can leave men and women feeling just as energized, uplifted, happy, calm, centered, grounded, confident, happy and peaceful as sex in a committed relationship can. It all comes down to the consciousness of the individuals involved.
Perhaps another way of looking at it is through the Buddhist belief that we’ve lived 10,000 lifetimes with every person that we come across. How casual is that?
Possibly we are in a time now where humans are experimenting with casual sex for the first time. Does that imply that there is inherently something wrong with it? Maybe we can educate women and men on how to have good sex consciously. We are writing the story. It can be one of empowerment or disempowerment. I know what I’m choosing.
The Science of Sex
With all of this said, it’s also important to look at the science behind what happens when we have sex so that we can make enlightened decisions. We know that lust is a driving force that is part of our humanity. It drives us towards procreation. It’s what gives us the desire to have sex. Used in moderation, lust can help us succeed.
The human sex drive hasn’t changed for 4 million years. It comes from deep within the primal brain. It is a basic instinct that comes from testosterone that is in both men and women. Oxytocin is the hormone that creates sensations of falling in love and it can trigger the release of testosterone.
Oxytocin is released during sex and bonds us to another person. Those are the feelings of love that are experienced. The areas of the frontal lobe are associated with reward and pleasure and they become activated with arousal. The more activated these areas become, the less activated the decision making part of the brain also becomes. In other words, the higher the levels of lust, the lower the levels of self-restraint.
Self-restraint can keep us from falling in love with the wrong person, getting pregnant when that isn’t our desire, contracting STIs or finding ourselves in other harmful situations. Taken to the extreme, it can stifle our creativity and passion and shut down our expression of love for ourselves and others.
History shows us that the most successful people have always been driven by lust and focused by self-restraint. Lust and self-restraint go hand in hand. One without the other is disempowering. Our creativity and success come from an ability to have both.
When we have sex with another person, feelings of love naturally occur even if it is only a one-time sexual experience. Evolution designed us this way so that we would care for and take care of each other. The question that arises from this is how can we be emotionally mature enough to experience love without commitment?
The two can exist separately even though we have been conditioned to believe that they shouldn’t. We have been taught that if we love someone, we will stay with them. That isn’t always in our best interest. We can receive the health benefits of sex and the euphoria of falling in love and also choose to not commit to a long-term relationship with that person.
When we lived in tribal societies, sex with multiple partners was normal and it benefitted the tribe to have that bond between members of the tribe. It can benefit us still in our current society to have people in the world that feel love for us even if we aren’t choosing to be in committed relationship with each other.
To share intimacy with another person is a special experience and it can be nice to know that those people are in the world with you even though you chose to continue on your separate journey in life and are waiting to meet a person or people that you truly want to be in relationship with and have alignment with.
Conscious casual sex comes down to self-love, self-empowerment, and education around sexuality. Maybe it’s not so casual after all.