When I was five years old, I discovered orgasm.
It was innocent: a simple rubbing that led to an amazing feeling. And of course, I wanted to feel it all the time.
I remember riding a banister in the hallway in front of my mother and brother. I can’t recall what my mother said to put a stop to the behavior, but I understood quickly that it was sinful. I internalized that: not only was I doing something bad, but I was bad for doing it.
(This led to sneaking orgasms with a lot of shame and guilt, like lots of others who had early childhood experiences like this.)
At that point I began to lead a double life. I was often alone, so I spent a lot of time having orgasms. Sneaking them when no one was looking. Having this incredible, secret feeling that was somehow terribly wrong at the same time.
We learn to wire the utmost pleasure and bliss of orgasm, arguably one of the most divine feelings we have access to, with deep shame, confusion, and turmoil. The deep layers reside in our bodies and unconscious minds, making decisions for us, and keeping us from free, ecstatic, and even spiritual pleasure.
Yes, orgasms can lead to spiritual pleasure.
Many of us were raised in religions that not only separated the two, but vilified sexuality. Especially a sovereign sexuality: one that we enjoy by ourselves and not necessarily with a partner. This often leads to a separation of sexuality and spirituality.
I have always considered myself highly sexual. But in my teens and 20s, I felt little or no connection with anything resembling God—perhaps because it seemed I had to pick either sexuality or spirituality.
It’s difficult for many of us to entertain the idea that spirituality and sexuality can not only coexist, but strengthen one another.
It seemed that when I chose sexuality without spirituality I cycled through feelings of addiction, chaos, and numbness. I often toiled in the aftermath of rash decisions, or I hurt others, following a drive that showed up as spontaneous as it was insistent. A pinprick at the back of my neck, a hollow in my throat, coupled with the need to feel someone new.
This often left me feeling bad about myself, which just intensified the shame and guilt I had learned to associate with sexuality.
Fortunately, I discovered another way…
I learned about conscious sexuality.
I learned that not only can we heal shame and trauma through our sexuality, but we can also connect more spiritually to the divine.
I discovered how my true sexuality yearned to be expressed—and it wasn’t something from porn, nor was it dependent on a partner. Furthermore, it wasn’t a masculine version of sexuality, which was the only sexuality I’d ever been shown. It was something different: slower, with more ebbs and flows—and somehow more animal and more connected to the divine—all at the same time.
Discovering the yoni egg introduced me to the dance between divinity and sexuality.
I found myself spontaneously praying, something I hadn’t done in at least 20 years: praying to a god that accepted all of me, that celebrated me even now, especially now, in my full sensuality. A god that appeared to me in turns as sparkling energy, as a goddess, as a warrior, as an alien, as an archangel: always appearing as a facet of me, yet beyond me. Appearing as unconditional love.
As I’ve deepened my experiences with self-pleasure, I’ve found it to be a crucible for healing not only my sexuality, but my relationship with shame, with worthiness, and with spirit. Our sexual pleasure can be used as fuel for transformation when we work with it consciously, when we ignite and expand our energy bodies, and when we use intention to connect with the divine.
Here are six ways you can begin to bridge sexuality and spirituality in your own self-pleasure.
Take it one step at a time and sit with the feelings that come up: you might experience guilt, shame, elation, connectedness—and that’s all okay. You’re changing a sexual story, one that might run deep. You’re changing a neural pathway, and emotions will arise for healing as you do so. Be gentle with yourself, and above all, enjoy the pleasure available to you.
Invoke a Sacred Space
You can mark your self-pleasure as sacred in many ways: by lighting a candle or incense, playing music or chants, anointing yourself with special oil that you only use for self-massage, setting up your bed or nest with a supersoft blanket, or wearing something soft and luxurious.
Set an Intention
Intention is the most important part of a sacred self-pleasure practice. What do you want to experience? It could be, “I connect to my sacred sexuality and my original sexual innocence.” “I desire to experience a deep connection to the Divine.” “I feel my sexuality as holy.” “With this practice, I clear my sexual shame and blocks.”
Spend a couple of moments at the beginning of your practice refining your intention.
Call in Your Guides
Yes! You can call your guides in. I call them in when I experience doubt or fear…and I call them in before I self-pleasure. They not only hold a protective and compassionate space for me, they work with my energy body and allow me to experience deeper, fuller pleasure.
My clients are often surprised that you can ask your guides to be with you during masturbation. Your guides give you unconditional love, and they will support any healing endeavor. They’re not here to judge your sexuality: they’re here to help return you to your original essence and expression.
To call in your guides before your practice, simply say: “I call in my well-guides to assist me in my self-pleasure practice, for my highest good and for the greater good of all beings.”
Slow Down and Come Back to Your Body
Slowing down is key in a spiritual self-pleasure practice. Most of us are used to fantasizing or watching porn while we masturbate, which takes us out of our own experience. Instead, try focusing on the sensations in your body. Give them full attention. Use slow strokes, starting by incorporating more of your body than you’re used to (perhaps stroking your face, hair, chest, or inner thighs) and stay present with yourself. If you do move into a fantasy, or frustration, that’s okay. As with a meditation, see if you can come back to the sensations in your body, over and over.
Use Your Breath as a Tool
You can use your breath to move sensations and emotions. The microcosmic orbit is a tool that moves energy in the body, resulting in deeper, fuller pleasure and orgasms. Use your breath to visualize your sensations expanding into your body, into your energy field, and out into the universe.
Give Yourself Unconditional Acceptance
So many of us rush past confusing feelings during self-pleasure: grief, shame, rage, or numbness. We think we’re supposed to be feeling 100 percent pleasure, 100 percent of the time. And that’s just not true: in fact, masturbation is crucible for healing. When we experience a difficult emotion or memory, it is surfacing for our love and attention.
Be gentle with yourself when you experience suffering. See if you can find a piece of yourself who can hold the pain, who can accept it, and offer it the love, compassion, or witnessing it needs. When we can offer acceptance to these painful parts, we begin to integrate, heal, and become whole.
On the other side of wholeness is more capacity for life and pleasure. A realm where sexuality and spirituality complete each other and inform one another. A life where we don’t have to choose one or the other—where sexuality can be a doorway to the divine, greater healing, and more love.