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Author’s note: the discussion of sex between men and women is used to show differences in brain chemistry, not to lessen or dismiss sex between others who don’t identify with those labels or sexual preferences.
Don’t get me wrong—having an orgasm feels good. Damn good.
It’s euphoric, explosive, warm and tingly, and sends a flood of feel-good chemicals sweeping through the body. Who wouldn’t want that?!
Humans are obsessive about sex. Just look at the widespread use of pornography, especially in the United States. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. About 35 percent of all internet downloads are related to porn.
Sex is on our minds, in our media, and a significant part of our daily experience. Sexual energy is powerful and potent. If used in a balanced way, it can assist us in creating the life we want to live. If abused or distorted, sexual energy can wreak havoc on our lives by becoming addictive—and we’ll do almost anything to satisfy the ache.
Those feel-good chemicals are no joke. Oxytocin, for one, is an important hormone that is especially useful during childbirth and mother/infant bonding and is released during orgasm, creating a heightened experience. It deepens connection and promotes feelings of trust and romantic attachment. Because of its role in bonding, oxytocin has been dubbed the “love chemical.”
As we are flooded with oxytocin, we are also rewarded with a nice dose of dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that lights up the reward center in our brains. Then, prolactin comes in making us sleepy—especially men. So, ladies, just know that if your man is falling asleep right after sex, it’s his brain chemistry doing its job. Women are wired a little differently—hello, multiple orgasms!
Ding, ding, ding! More of this, please! Right?!
Except the thing is, though orgasms feel pretty f*cking great, making orgasm the goal of our sexual experience can leave us feeling dissatisfied and disconnected—especially if your partner is falling asleep after reaching his peak.
Healthy sex is about connection. It’s about deep intimacy and mutual pleasure. It’s about energetic play. During sex, we are vulnerable and that vulnerability is bared naked for the other to witness.
When we engage in sex with someone else, we are creating something together. While orgasm is often an outcome, it’s not everything. The flirtation, the foreplay, the act itself, and the after-effects all play a role in reinforcing the bond between two people (or more, depending on your sexual appetite). This is why it really matters who we choose to engage in sexual play with, even if only energetically (virtual sex, sexting, fantasizing). It’s powerful energy to play with.
Even during masturbation, holding an orgasm as a carrot keeps us chasing something that feels sort of exterior rather than building that fire from within. Masturbation is beneficial for self-exploration and self-pleasure. We learn about our bodies. We learn what feels good for us—what we like. Self-pleasure, done mindfully, can boost self-confidence and a sense of wholeness.
When harnessed, sexual energy can be incredibly motivating. Resonant with the sacral chakra, it’s the energy of creation—literally creating another human being. Sexual energy doesn’t have to be expelled in just physical sex, but can be channeled to promote creativity and manifested desires.
It’s not about the destination. How often do we hear that? But it’s true, isn’t it? It’s not about the end result and if we only focus on that, we miss an entire mountain of experiences that got us there. Having sex just to get off is like dumping your power of creation into a black hole.
When we do this with others, without really connecting with the journey of sex, we are chemically reinforcing a false sense of closeness. This is why we feel like we’re falling in love with people we start having sex with, but often find ourselves in sex-based relationships that are not emotionally or spiritually fulfilling or worse…addicting.
Addiction only fuels the void, the longing, and the need for more. We feel drained and unfulfilled.
Sex is a beautiful thing. It feels good. It reinforces connection. It allows for powerful and intimate self-expression. It lights us up, fuels our fire, and turns us on. But if we focus on the end result, we will surely miss the whole of the experience with ourselves and others.
Be in the moment. Allow yourself to really be present with the sensations in your body. Speak to what you want. Look at your partner. Witness their sexual expression. Create connection mindfully and thoughtfully.
Rather than racing to the peak and chasing climax, you will feel far more satisfied with the climb.
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