I consider Pamela Madsen a kindred spirit in the realm of pleasure activism. She is a tireless champion of women’s erotic self-empowerment and an excellent writer, voluminous blogger, and author of the cheeky memoir Shameless. Her recent blog post on meditation and sexuality makes some excellent points.
Meditation is the perfect entry point to many profound sexual experiences. Successful meditation and successful sex all start with the same three key entry points:
1. Get comfortable.
2. Slow down.
3. Connect to the breath.
When we are able to approach sex just like we approach meditation (without rushing to go somewhere fast) we are able to touch deeply ecstatic or erotic states where we have “alterations in bodily perception” and a “diminution of self awareness” according to researcher Gemma O’Brien who studied the link between sexuality and meditation…
According to the study, when you meditate, the left side of your brain becomes activated and when you engage in sexual activity, the right side of your brain runs the show. Both of these brain responses helps you to stop the constant thinking or talking in your brain. And herein lies the key—when you are able to stop the chatter, and float into what can be called “falling into the gap,” “states of higher consciousness,” “erotic trance states” or even what is known as “sub space” your brain helps you by allowing you to lose physical and mental boundaries. That is where we can find enlightenment or dare I say it—bliss.
Check out the whole blog post here and let me know what you think.
At the Rowe Labor Day retreat in Massachusetts for gay, bisexual, and questioning men, I conducted a workshop called “Learning from Porn.” I felt ever-so-slightly scandalous broaching this topic while attending a conference at a Unitarian Universalist retreat center. At the same time, like my teacher and mentor Joseph Kramer I’m committed to healing the split between sexuality and spirituality in our culture. We all have bodies, and it is our spiritual invitation to inhabit them fully and mindfully. And reading a poster in the Rowe library enumerating the core values of Unitarian Universalism, I resonated with its championing “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”
As a number of participants in the workshop immediately acknowledged, almost every male adult has some kind of love/hate relationship with pornography, that ubiquitous form of entertainment that heavily influences the norms by which we judge our bodies, our desires, and our sexual partners — but we hardly ever talk about it to anyone. I wanted to create a safe, non-judgmental context in which to consider a few pertinent questions: What is hot about porn? What myths about sex does porn perpetuate, for better or for worse? What aspects of pleasurable sexuality never show up in porn? I quickly learned that men have plenty to say on all these topics.
Most public discussions about pornography tend to focus on addiction, abuse, exploitation of women, and so on. Those problems clearly exist, but I believe that as human beings we always have a positive reason for doing what we do. And as a sex therapist, especially one who works with a lot of gay men, I’m acutely aware of the paradox of porn — that however much it contributes to shame, compulsiveness, and distorted ideas about sexuality, looking at pornography is for many men an important doorway into erotic existence. So I purposely wanted to open the discussion by asking what’s valuable about porn…. Read more