Sexual energy is life force energy.
When we repress our sexual energy, we are repressing our lives. And here’s the thing — almost everyone is sexually repressed, one way or another. Most of us just don’t realise it.
No topic on Earth is more loaded with our fears, anxieties, beliefs, expectations, and desires than sex. No topic is more burdened by contradiction. And certainly there is no area where we have less access to useful advice and support.
Sex sells and it is used to manipulate us everywhere and in every way. But it’s also a taboo; so while it’s okay to use it, it’s not okay to talk about it. We restrict our children from seeing sex in the open, but when they lock the door to their room, they have pornography on tap. We’re forcing sex into the shadows. We manipulate the animal aspects of our sexuality to sell our sh*t, while at the same time shaming the very instincts we manipulate.
One thing that quickly becomes clear to anyone consciously exploring their sexuality is shame. Personal shame, body shame, pornography shame, masturbation shame, desire shame, fantasy shame, slut shame, religious shame, gender shame, gay shame, family shame, patriarchal shame. You name it, we’ve shamed it.
Sex has become a cultural neurosis.
And one of the biggest problems we face relates to societal expectations. We are brought up on fairy tales that tell us the same thing in many different ways — that we will only be whole when we find our “other half,” our prince or princess.
This is a lie. Perhaps the lie, when it comes to our sex lives and relationships.
When we go into relationships as incomplete individuals looking for wholeness, we seek what we lack in the other person. While this can work in the short term, it is never healthy. A constant push-pull of neediness and distance plays out. We become trapped in patterns of manipulation. It’s ugly, and it certainly isn’t love.
The horrible reality is that almost all of us manipulate our partners in one way or another. We don’t do it intentionally, and most of us never really even see that we’re doing it, but that doesn’t change the fact. And this is as true for me as for anyone else.
My personal healing journey was initiated after a brief love story ended suddenly. What I experienced was something I never anticipated. While my head was saying , it’s not a big deal, it was never meant to last, my body was experiencing deep trauma. As this experience unfolded, I was forced to submit to what was happening in my body. It was hard, I was hurting, but in some way I also knew that the pain was good; I knew I was healing.
As I explored these feelings, I had a sudden realisation — this was the first time a woman had ever left me… And as I sat with this reality, I began to see something much more important —I have always controlled my relationships.
Suddenly, right in front of me, I saw over a decade of long-term relationships and one very clear pattern — I maintained emotional distance, because at some point early in my childhood I made a decision never to be hurt again.
Okay, so it took me a long time to come to this realisation. It was not a linear process and it’s not like I have a distinct memory of consciously making this decision. But, as I have peeled back the layers and attempted to come to terms with my personal traumas, there it was, as clear as could be.
The impacts of this realisation in terms of my life have been profound. I had no idea that all of this was playing out under the surface, preventing me from connecting deeply with my partners. And the thing I know for sure is that if I hadn’t done the work, I would have continued repeating the same patterns unconsciously for the rest of my life.
As circumstances played out, in the midst of all of this exploration, I was introduced to Tantra. It has taught me many things, but the most important and core teaching is this — our primary relationship is not external, but internal.
That is to say, no one can ever make us happy if we‘re not happy and complete in ourselves. Everyone has a masculine and feminine aspect (an internal polarity), and it is only by achieving harmony in this internal partnership that one can have any hope of achieving external harmony with another.
The path toward achieving this inner harmony is not the ascendant path of meditation and religion, but the descendant path — the path through the body, through feeling. Both paths lead ultimately to the same destination — awakening. But Tantra is the path into our shadows and darkness. Through our fears and traumas.
This is not to say there isn’t bliss and ecstasy in Tantra. There absolutely is, perhaps more than we ever imagined possible. But these states are outcomes, not objectives. They come from going into our pain and darkness because this is where the blockages are.
In Tantra, everything is welcome. Because in Tantra we realise that pain does not come from the thing itself, but from our aversions to it, our fears of it. When we learn to open up to life, we allow life to flow through us. Tantra is not about sexuality, but life—flowing with life. Bliss and ecstasy arise naturally when we are aligned with the flow of life.
And, if we want to flow with life, then we cannot ignore sex. Sex is life. It is where life begins. When we repress our sexual energies we are repressing our life energies—there is no distinction.
Before I got into Tantra, the little I had read led me to believe it was about learning to have multiple orgasms by circulating energy around the body. While this is true, it’s a minuscule fraction of what Tantra is really about. And rather than being objective things that must be practiced, these outcomes begin to happen organically as you sink deeper into your body and begin to understand how energy flows. As you begin to feel.
I choose the Tantric path as someone seeking deeper spiritual awakening. Given the depth and complexity of sexual repression in our culture, it is only natural that sex is an obvious starting point for many on a spiritual path.
In a period of about a year, I have experienced many amazing shifts. In physical terms, I have learned to separate ejaculation from orgasm. I have begun feeling the way energy moves within my body and experiencing multiple “energetic orgasms.”
But far more important than any of these physical outcomes — I have experienced my heart opening. I have begun to let love in (and out). I have learned about my “inner woman,” and have begun listening to her needs. I have assured her that I will never put another woman before her again.
I will never seek wholeness externally again, because I know it can only come from within.
Amidst all of this work, I have met a woman. She is also on this path and understands every word I’ve written here. Together we’ve touched depths that neither of us knew were possible. We’ve had sexual experiences that I could only describe as spiritual. And, instead of the “honeymoon period” wearing off, our connection continues to deepen and expand with time.
But rather than becoming addicted to each other, our intention is to support each other’s growth. This is not easy, especially as the love expands, but it’s something we always return to. It’s our foundation and for the first time in my life, I feel like it’s a foundation I want to build from.
I offer all of this in the hope that it may inspire others to open this door into personal healing. And the message I want to leave you with is this — by beginning to liberate my sexuality I have begun liberating my life. It’s as simple and powerful as that.
This is by no means an easy path, but what path worth choosing ever is?
Author: Richard Widows
Image: Flickr/Briggite Dee Fries
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina