Our bodies are like maps that tell the story of each step that we've taken. We wear our histories in the ways that we move, hold ourselves, and, yes, even how we fuck. Take a moment to reflect upon your most recent sexual experience. What were the precipitating circumstances? Was it a hook-up? Sex with a partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or fuckbuddy? Beneath the narrative about who did what to whom and for how long or how well, try and locate the emotional context that surrounded this encounter. How did the experience leave you feeling? You might remember how you felt leading up to the actual contact. Maybe you walked away feeling really good about yourself. Maybe you experienced the opposite--difficult feelings that you didn't know how to reconcile with the thrill of acquisition.
If you know me, you have probably heard me talk about how much I love sucking dick. And, there have been plenty of blowjobs that I have given after which I felt like a fucking rockstar. These instances were deeply validating and nourishing for me, even on a spiritual level. On the other hand, I've also been on my knees doing what I think I do best, only to feel really shitty about myself during and afterwards.
Allow me to elaborate.
A few years ago, I hooked up with a guy that I'd been pursuing for weeks. I couldn't stop thinking about how excited I was to see his cock for the first time, taste it, and consume him. I finally got my chance to suck him, but during our encounter, I didn't really understand how to interpret some surprising feelings that came up for me--seemingly out of nowhere. While I was giving him head, I kept ignoring a nagging feeling within me to stop. Inside, I started pulling away from what appeared on the outside to be a hot hook-up. At the time, this reaction made no sense to me. We "looked the part." I was using all my special tricks. He was making all the right sounds. But, there I was, in the middle of doing exactly what I had been fantasizing about for a while, yet I was feeling mysteriously bad about myself. Additionally, because my boundaries were so lax back then, I went ahead and sucked him until he came before honoring my resolution to leave simply because I didn't want to disappoint him. Afterwards, I ended up binge eating a bunch of Thai food--both a maneuver for comfort and the continuance of a shame spiral that had begun way before the blowjob.
Looking back on that night, I distinctly remember having felt disconnected from myself before I met up with him. I remember feeling like I was not good enough to be hooking up with a guy that I had imagined to be "out of my league." I remember feeling like being on my knees for him was the only way that I could have him. At the time, I had not yet begun to understand that what I truly needed was never going to come from even the most spectacular blowjob. I had been going through a lot of challenges in those days and was quite skillful at dick-stracting myself daily instead of dealing with my core needs. What I had been aching for was self-acceptance. It was a highly clarifying moment of awakening for me that shifted my perspective going forward as well as my blowjobs.
Now the body. Skip forward to now. I tune-in and listen to the internal experience that guides me into my sexual encounters. Below the surface of the most throttling physical sensations, emotional currents carry and define the meaning of our sex. To access this wisdom, I've been learning to get out of my head and more fully in my body. The body holds wells of our memories about how we have defended ourselves as gay men, beliefs about our inherent worth as beings, and learned physiological responses that surface as both pleasure and inhibition. No matter how much we try to achieve the "image" of hot sex, I don't believe that we will feel fulfilled unless we align our internal experiences with our outward expressions. Being chosen by someone else isn't going to help us to fully accept our own selves. To do so, we have to venture into the depths of our own body histories and begin the process of healing what hides in the shadows.
What was it like for you growing up? Were you bullied? Did your families accept you? Did you have to sneak to jack off or explore your sexuality? As a gay man, you have likely received a heavier dose of rejection than is tolerable, and to cope, you might even go to sex, itself, to try and heal. Indeed, sex can be a powerful healer. However, I'm most curious about what's happening under the skin on an emotional level before, during, and after the sex. This, I believe is the nebulous place at which we descend into a mythopoetic realm, the collective unconscious, and, ultimately, the source of our souls' healing. It's all in the body. Every experience that we have been through--positive and negative in impact--will show up in how we fuck.
On the regular, guys that I work with share with me how difficult it can be for them to get out of their heads during sex. For instance, we may fantasize throughout the entire live encounter. We can stress out about how our dicks are functioning or how they are being perceived. We may obsess about our bodies and try to avoid being seen by keeping lights off, avoiding certain positions, or closing our eyes so that we can feel more comfortable. Maybe we avoid all this discomfort entirely by going straight to our "winning formula" (my dick-sucking maneuver) so that we can maintain a strong element of control. Truly, we cope in a variety of ways with our fears of being seen and the challenges to allow exactly what we are aching to experience--pleasure. Many of us carry so many inhibitions because of childhood trauma, rejection from caregivers, bullying, and even family dynamics that have nothing to do with sex. Unfortunately, we also tend to carry impossible standards for ourselves and unrealistic expectations about sex. Many men utilize substances to circumvent inhibitions. Even hookups are live fantasy; we don't have to really feel the full effect of our inhibitions if we intend to walk away and never see our sex partner again.
On the upside, we can utilize the wisdom of our bodies and the reactions therein to guide us into the healing that sex can provide. Beyond the physical sensation, sex offers us joy, connection, validation, and so much more. Most interestingly to me, my sexual practice is a mirror in which I witness my own personal evolution. The more that I surrender to the difficult feelings that I have buried within my own body, the more my sexual experiences become ecstatic. My body is most electric when I am deeply present, and this is something that I have to practice! If you desire to experience more joy, thrill, and freedom, in your sex, your own body can open this pathway for you to deepen in many ways.
To deepen, we have to start unraveling the body-stories that we've been telling ourselves and reenacting. Likely, we have been quite influenced by porn and a collective mythology about what good sex looks like. Unfortunately, when watching porn, albeit potentially thrilling, we observe absolutely nothing about the internal experiences of the actors. We don't know what they are feeling beyond what they are saying out loud (i.e. "fuck yeah," "fuck me," "oh fuck," or something similar). What we as viewers don't experience is the range of emotions that the actors are feeling. In addition, we don't know if they are sober, if they feel comfortable, if they are truly having a good time, if they are being treated with respect, etc. So, we might have picked up the notion that good sex means looking a certain way instead of using our bodies to access what lives therein.
Here are some methods that helped me to get started on my current path.
1) Slow down! The moment that you realize that you're moving into your head, slow down. Connect with your breath again. Maybe even ask your sex partner to slow down with you. Increase speed and intensity again if you are able to stay present with the rising energy. Even having fuck-me-against-the-wall-sex is best when we are super present with ourselves and our partners.
2) Bring what you're experiencing internally out into the room. This helps to normalize what you're feeling and allows you the opportunity to connect with him about it. Try and locate the emotion(s) that you are experiencing. If possible, fuck from the real emotion that is present for you. Rather than conforming to a prescriptive role or scenario, try using your body to express exactly what you are feeling on the inside. This takes dedication because it can be really vulnerable to witness what we are carrying and make it known to another. If you are feeling worried, find a way to express this with your body somehow. Whatever you're feeling--sad, angry, self-loathing, powerful, excited, jealous, vengeful, proud, godlike, etc.--express it with your body to the best of your ability. Try and let go of top/bottom, dom/sub, what you pre-agreed to do with this person over Grindr, and so on. Just flow from a place of emotion. Even if you are in an anonymous hookup, and it's just raw sex, there is an emotional context beneath the surface upon closer inspection.
3) Find a conscious sex buddy to share an ongoing practice. Think of this as a step between a hookup and a boy/girlfriend. Ask someone with whom you feel comfortable to create a unique container with you. Many times, we may wait until we are in a relationship to explore the dimensions of sexual emotionality. Make a bucket list of fantasies to experience with each other. Debrief after sex. Share what came up for you. Journal about your peaks and valleys in your shared experiences. Some men, myself included, have been able to work through a lot of shit just by agreeing to make space for the "uncomfortable" with another man who is empathetically attuned and committed to sexual growth.
I hope these tips will inspire you to get curious about the sex that you're having and offer you some ideas to get started. I believe that you know what you need better than anyone else knows what you need. In creating a sexual practice, you can strengthen your relationship to self, experience more fulfillment, increased connection, higher heights of sexual fulfillment, and personal growth. I often think that, in our present-day times in the gay community, a conscious sexual practice is the ultimate kink. Here are some more ways to get inspired!
Work with me to start unpacking! Book for some Sensual and Intimacy Coaching with Steve. He offers flexible treatments for individuals and couples online and in the suite in Southampton. Further therapies available are Professional Counselling, Hypnotherapy, and Emotional Freedom Technique, Meditations and Chakra Balancing Techniques, all of which may help you overcome intimacy, body confidence, underlying traumas, spiritual and sensual issues.