Seven

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I was asking myself recently what I want from sex. There seem to be three things. First and foremost, it's to quell an itch, or satisfy a hunger. There's a very basic need in me that rises to the surface and asks to be met. This is appeased by any sexual activity; but it keeps on rearing its head until, traditionally, orgasm occurs. Secondly, there's a desire for what I call sexual trance. That's a state that I recognise primarily through a complete absence of thought. If I'm making love and I'm not thinking - not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, but also not thinking about whether I should thrust more or less, or change position, or pause for a while - then I consider I'm in a sexual trance. Thirdly, getting closer to my wife. This seems to depend on both of us being in a sexual trance, which then becomes a mutual sexual trance.

I seem to require orgasm as a goal in order to be sexually motivated. That doesn't mean it has to happen; but I think it has to be available - a possibility - for sexual excitement to even begin. Sexual trance comes once excitement has reached a certain level, but only if it stays at or near that level for long enough. Often, I find myself making love without ever attaining sexual trance. It's more like sexual excitement, followed by sexual frenzy, followed by orgasm. There's connectedness, of a sort; but it's not the melting together of bodies and minds that I hanker after. I tend to castigate myself after succumbing to frenzy, however enjoyable it is, because I know I've missed out on something valuable, by grabbing at something less so.

This differentiation reminds me of tennis. I enjoy winning, but what I enjoy more is being 'in the zone', regardless of the outcome. Generally, long rallies provide my entry into this arena, during which thinking ceases. There's just me, the ball, and an opponent, who's like another part of me.

To have the sorts of rally that precipitate being in the zone, it's no good just knocking up. Knocking up is fun, but it lacks meaning. I've never once got anywhere near the zone while doing this. As soon as there's a goal, though - in this case, winning - everything changes. I stretch my mind and body to hit a good ball and to return well; and when I do that, and my opponent does the same, there's a chance I'll be propelled into the zone, and maybe they will too.

Without the prospect of winning, the game tends to flounder. That doesn't mean I have to win; I just have to have that possibility open to me. It's not even necessary to finish the game. The key is simply to be sufficiently motivated to ensure good rallies go on long enough for attentiveness to replace distractedness. In my experience, the rally then starts to 'do itself'.

Being in the zone while playing tennis is analogous for me to sexual trance when making love. Getting into a sexual trance seems to require the equivalent of meaningful rallies, necessitating time, repetition, and movement; and also a goal, which is orgasm, even if the ultimate goal is a level of excitement somewhere short of orgasm.

It's obviously important to know where the risk of excitement turning to frenzy is highest. In tennis, its epitomised for me by trying too hard to hit winners. The other extreme, of not letting sexual excitement build sufficiently to deaden distractedness and enable a trance state to come about, has it's equivalent in tennis as 'percentage play', where getting the ball in play is enough. Often, it is enough, but it makes for a dull game.

I thought of all this after we tried Van Urban's preferred sexual procedure the other night. We were tired, so lying down in the scissors position with genitals touching but 'doing nothing' seemed an attractive option. The trouble was, it became boring. Well, not 'boring', exactly. It was no more boring than having a prolonged cuddle. While perfectly agreeable, it just wasn't passionate. Not even remotely. It also became uncomfortable, after a while. In the end, we repositioned ourselves in 'spoons' and then slid into sleep. Pleasant, without being transformative.

The next time we made love, we decided to use any position we liked, to allow overt movement, to encourage the build up of excitement, but to not allow it to boil over; and to stop twenty minutes after penetration, curl up together – with penis in vagina – and go to sleep.

That worked well, though I found myself the day after wondering if this was the way forward. It seemed a little inconclusive. In tennis terms, it was as if bad light had stopped play.

We tried this again, yesterday. Again, it worked well, initially. We had repeated the lying down with genitals touching in scissors, but we both found it soporific. That is, it was insufficiently arousing to move on to the second part, which involved penetration. We re-engaged in a more traditional fashion, kissing, and then settling for any position we chose. We didn't move much, just enough to keep things simmering; but then, after a while, something very different started happening.

Generally, we are both able to voluntarily contract our pelvic muscles so that my wife can feel my penis move inside her and I can feel the walls of her vagina tighten around me, without either of us shifting our bodies at all. But, to be honest, we're not very good at it; and even if we were, it would have the feel about it of being somewhat contrived, as we have to separately decide to do it. However, I started noticing a succession of wholly involuntary penis tightening episodes taking place, at the same time as - noticeable as different because of their smooth quality, duration and intensity – an associated series of vagina tightening. For my part, the penis tightening seemed to be the result of a different set of muscles firing to those I was used to – or maybe it was just that the sensation was so different it felt as though no muscles were being used at all, and that I was the recipient of the sensation rather than the cause.

This went on for some time. The sensation was a fluttering, streaming kind that had its own inertia, which ebbed and flowed. Occasionally, I or my wife would move, creating friction, which produced a surge of traditional pleasure, elevating us to a new plateau; but once there, a different sort of pleasure prevailed. In musical terms, the gross movements we made were like chords in an organ crescendo and the (longer) periods of non-movement were like light fingered piano notes.

It's always a sensuous experience making love; but this time it became sensuous on a different level: our lips and limbs seemed to take on a life of their own; and although we moved our bodies, it did feel (to me, at least) as though they were being moved for us.

At one point, my wife queried the time. By then, I had forgotten what we had previously agreed. I glanced at the clock, saw it was still not eleven, and said something like, “Time for a little more”. It's so hard not to be greedy in such circumstances. I was already contemplating with a certain satisfaction repositioning ourselves for the long, slow, descent into sleep when, suddenly, my wife moved in a wholly impulsive, involuntary way. It was so unexpected, yet so delightful, I orgasmed instantly. Sadly, I was sufficiently disappointed at falling at the final hurdle I failed to appreciate the moment as much as I should.

Talking about it afterwards, my wife mentioned that it could not have been a simultaneous orgasm, as I had moved so much afterwards. From this, I managed to piece together what had happened. For the first time in a long time my wife had reached orgasm without in any way tensing herself or appearing to strive for it; her orgasm had induced my own, but I had misread what her vibrant movement represented. Annoyed at having failed to stop prior to my own orgasm, my traditional way of thinking had intervened, which stated I needed to start thrusting fiercely in order to enable my wife to reach a climax. That frantic thrusting, which my wife supposed was me trying to ejaculate, but which was in fact me trying to 'give' her 'satisfaction', negated for me - as it so often does – most of the pleasure associated with orgasm.

Any disappointment didn't last, though. I feel little different today than I did yesterday, in terms of mood; and my wife seems as affectionate as ever. I'll monitor this as carefully as I can, over the succeeding weeks.

Comments

Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Keep us posted on your insights please..

I just read last night something that made me think of this post. It was about how when you think of your happiest moments, they are usually moments when you are so engrossed in something so that the present moment is all your are sensing (in the 'flow' playing tennis, having great sex..). In these times, we aren't thinking about the past or the future, we are simply just there and duality is nonexistent. Could it be more broadly said then, that thinking about the future or past tends to diminish our ability to be fully present and thus diminish our everyday happiness? The chapter was written in context of zen mediation with the idea being that zen teaches one to have more of these 'present moment' ..uh...moments all the time. If through practice one can become able to be 'in the moment' of just being, breathing, sitting, etc.., then one can experience those states more often in simple everyday things, things we usually don't notice cause we are thinking so much (even washing dishes!). the point being its not any special activity itself that makes it pleasurable (although these are easiest at first), but that you are fully attentive and IN it and thus, present-moment existing. Sorry for the zen rant...

Anyway, it made me think of your post :)
Cheers!

Too true

That's absolutely right. It's not the special activity in itself that counts, but the way we do it, with full attention to 'now'. As you suggest, though, this is easier with some activities than others - sex being, for me at least, one of the easiest!

I'm convinced that thinking, vital though it is for running aspects of our lives, can also ruin its quality. I mean, we don't need to 'think' in order to walk, but how many of us are able to 'just walk'?

Of course, some of our best insights come from thinking while doing other things; but also some of our worst descents into negativity; so it would be nice to be able to control the process.

needing a goal

You say you need the goal of orgasm to get into the trance, or the possibility of winning to play tennis. I can see your point, but perhaps it might be better to still keep a goal but not have it be orgasm. Is there another goal you could have that is deeper and more meaningful to you that could propel you into the trance state but without the danger of having merely frenzied sex or merely orgasmic release? I found it interesting that when you described the three things you want from sex, the physical itch was first, then the desire to be in trance, then the desire to connect with your wife through trance. It makes sense that it would come in this order, the motivations for sex starting at the more biological level and then reaching more spiritual goals.

Why not have the goal of deep trance connection with your wife be primary, and use and integrate the other desires towards this end? Ken Wilbur says that one characteristic of evoltion is the ability to transcend AND include all stages of development. So an evolved, more spiritual form of lovemaking would not mean reaching a level where the more primal, biological urges were overcome, but rather those urges would be the foundation for something larger.

I've noticed it does take time to reach trance states, because they usually occur during deep relaxation (alpha state), and it takes awhile to shift from the analytical thinking (beta state) that drives most of our activities, and slowly relax into a larger awareness that is not so goal oriented. Maybe the basic primal itch or hunger you speak of is more of an itch to release tension from such frenzied, goal-oriented living and ways of thinking, and so naturally results in frenzied, goal oriented sex. If this is really the case, then consciously becoming more relaxed in all you do would be more conducive to experiencing a trance state with your wife, because there would be less build up tension from rational thinking and goal oriented being, and less of a need to release this tension through sex.

In the frenzied, more orgasm-oriented sex, the partner is a means to a release, in the trance state, the partner is the conduit for discovering a more relaxed self, and when we are relaxed we are finally able to really see our partner.

Motivation

I'm not sure I can consciously choose to have a deeper motivation for sex than the biological one. It seems to me all sexual desire begins there, because all humans - all men, anyway - need the goal (conscious or unconscious) of orgasm to get sexually aroused, as without orgasm there would be no ejaculation, and without ejaculation there would be no procreation, and therefore little point, biologically, in getting motivated.

Although I don't think it's possible to get aroused without that goal, it certainly needn't be a conscious one. I can direct my attention in different ways, as you suggest, which is what I do try and do. I like to think I can treat the 'itch' as my engine or driving force, and set my 'real' goal or destination higher. The ultimate goal may be getting closer to my wife through sexual trance; although I'm definitely guilty of wallowing in a personal trance much of the time.

So, in a way, I am doing - or aspiring to do - what you suggest; but I'm doing it back to front.

I'm still having difficulty reconciling good sex with a relaxed state. Most of the trances I experience - sexual and non sexual - are the result of repetitious activity that require effort. I'm not overly keen on meditation, although I have used auto hypnosis at times; but I find the passive state quite difficult to be in, unless I'm otherwise occupying my mind.

Now that I think about it, I

Now that I think about it, I haven't ever gone into the trance state either without some amount of active intent getting things going. But then once all the energies are flowing, you can relax into the charged state without it dissipating. So maybe the trance state is the ability to relax into the dynamic, playful, open balance that shifts between active and receptive roles (i prefer to use the word receptive when speaking of the yin principle).

As you mention, we can't really totally bypass the biological urge, nor do we need to, since our genitals already have that goal themselves. You mentioned in some of your posts that after periods of little stimulation with your wife, both of your genitals started pulsing and talking to one another of their own accord with only minimal encouragement from you. You were able to remain in a charged but relaxed state and let the already-present energy naturally do its thing. So relaxation, in my mind, means not so much being totally passive as it means being comfortable, open, and trusting, that orgasmic energy is already present and that it naturally wants to flow through us, and therefore may need less "help" than we tend to give it.

In meditation, too, I can feel energy fields expanding and contracting constantly. This dual dynamic that is at play is a basic feature of all matter already. On an ultimate level, I don't know that there is such a thing as total receptivity or total activity, or total tension or total relaxation, since you cannot have activity except from inactivity, and cannot relax without tension. The two states define eachother and becom one another. I think this constant shifting, this pulsing fluctuation, this continual change can be very unnerving (I'm speaking in broad terms here, not just about sex). It's hard just to get a hold on things in this great flux. So a relaxed trance state may be one in which the mind and soul have found a level of comfort with this constantly changing dynamic of yin/yang, not trying to control it all the time, and not being wholly overwhelmed by it either.