There’s a point when we can go so far into something that we come out the other side.
That’s where I find myself with this piece.
There was a time in my life when I would have written a post saying that you should chase the O. Run after it. Do everything you can to get it. More more more. Those were fun days. But here I am, looking onto an entirely new landscape.
If you didn’t pick it up from the title, the O I’m referring to is that pinnacle point that we are taught is the purpose for sex. Most people alive now have been taught very little about what sex is and how it can transform us, for better or worse. But the one thing pretty much everyone has learned about sex is that we should run toward the finish line – that big O – as quickly as possible.
For some, reaching the finish line is enough. And don’t misunderstand – the finish line is quite lovely. But what if there’s more to sex than a race? What if there are entire unexplored universes of pleasure that appear when we pause in the blissful erotic tension that happens when bodies touch bodies?
It might make us wonder why, in the face of this magic the gods have gifted us, our first response is an expedient and total release of it.
Secrets of Erotic Energy
The magic of the erotic is distinct from, but sometimes overlapping, the magic of sex. If sex were a planet, the erotic is the jet fuel. If sex were a jungle, the erotic would be the mist passing over the plants. But because sex is action and the erotic is subtle energy, it’s easy to bypass the part that hums beneath the roaring engine.
Even if we never notice it, the erotic already exists within us. We need nothing to create this energy and it cannot be destroyed. It can be highlighted – by another person, experience, or thing. This highlighting is not a flamethrower coming from an outside source, but a spark that can warm from the inside out.
An Open Book
The erotic is vast and rich with information. It tells us what we want, what kind of person we are, and how we want to live our lives. It is a bottle filled with delicious perfume whose scent fits us perfectly. And yet when we first catch the aroma, we think we should pop the top off and pour it out.
I want to suggest a different orientation. What if we are meant to receive our own erotic energy and let it simmer within our skin? What if we could train ourselves to hold on to it like a precious gem that reminds us of the depth of our being?
We might then understand its true power, and our own.
The chase for the O is the perfect example of how we’ve been conditioned to push aside the erotic in the pursuit of a moment’s pleasure. We see the O as being outside of us. We reach for it. We run after it. If we manage to catch the O, we consume it quickly and immediately want another.
Imagine getting the most delicious food imaginable and swallowing it all in one bite. Now imagine getting that same delicious food and gazing at it for a few moments before you finally slide your spoon in and let the taste melt in your mouth. Then repeat this over and over and over until you finally scrape the bowl clean.
This is what’s possible when you search out the erotic in the place where sex once was.
Not the End, the Beginning
The end of the chase is good news for those whose Os are elusive. Rather than seeing a finish line you’re not reaching, focus your sexual experience on learning what your body responds to and what it doesn’t. And for those who can find the O easily, let this be an invitation for a new way to experience what happens when you receive and hold, rather than quickly release, erotic energy.
I’m not saying that this should be the end of the O. By all means, enjoy yourself. Instead, I’m offering the possibility that the finish line you reach is just a bookend for an infinitely pleasurable experience.
For the elusive O types, the easy Os, and all in between I offer a practice to connect with your breath as a tool for more pleasure. The breath is the first point of entry to your erotic power.
It’s surprisingly easy for the mind to chase after pleasurable sensations (or shoo them away, depending on the person). Using breath in sex allows us to notice and stay with the sensations of the body. The breath is the erotic power – the prana, life force, qi – that animates our form.
Here’s a practice that you can do during sex or in all the erotic hours outside of your bedroom. Pause right now and tune in to three sounds around you. Blink your eyes and feel the weight of your eyelashes as they touch. Inhale. Trace your breath as your body receives it, noticing the effect as it travels from the top of your nose down to your perineum. Exhale. Feel the path from your perineum to your nose. Notice the softness in your mouth, your tongue resting behind your teeth.
Linger here in this state of receiving your vast erotic self for just a few moments and contemplate the mystery beneath your skin.
How do you experience the erotic outside of sex? Music? Nature? Good conversations? How do you know it’s there and what does it feel like?