Why do girls feel empowered to engage in sexual activity but not to enjoy it? For three years, author Peggy Orenstein interviewed girls ages 15 to 20 about their attitudes toward and experiences of sex. She discusses the pleasure that’s largely missing from their sexual encounters and calls on us to close the “orgasm gap” by talking candidly with our girls from an early age about sex, bodies, pleasure and intimacy.
In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.
What if studying tantra could heal our addiction to porn? What if tapping into our natural abilities to experience ecstasy changes everything?
I was really nervous when I first realized that I wanted to teach Tantra. What would people think? Would they be offended? Talking about sex is such a no-no. I live in a very small conservative community, so how was this going to work?
But then a good friend said to me, “Do you realize what you’re offering people? Tantra is essentially the OPPOSITE of porn.” Once I realized this, I never looked back!
Porn is a funny thing. Despite some opinions, I don’t believe it is inherently evil. Lots of people truly enjoy watching porn, including many couples who use it together to have a new experience. Yet it is seemingly undeniable that there are some real dark sides to porn.
Besides the obvious violence and anything involving children, there are much more insidious issues:
1) What We Look Like Is Everything
Porn focuses on being stimulated through the body. And so we are subconsciously told that sexuality depends on what your body looks like. You must be young, fit, and have perky breasts and a large penis, otherwise you can’t be a good lover. And ironically, this sets up a huge self-worth issue in everyone, particularly those who don’t see themselves as young, fit, and perky. And for the ones that do, they still quite often don’t see themselves as perky enough, or big enough. Ultimately, no one leaves feeling happy with themselves.
2) It’s All About Successfully Pleasuring the Other
Porn focuses on pleasing the other. Now obviously there is some part of us deep down that knows that the desire to please our partner is actually a wonderful thing. But that isn’t usually how it comes across in porn. It comes across as the only thing that is important. That bringing the other person to orgasm is the only goal. And what’s wrong with that, you ask? Well it is the message that our unconscious receives, that this is the only goal of lovemaking. That if you can’t bring your partner to orgasm, then there is no point making love. We end up with things like performance anxiety on both the giver and the receiver side.
3) Connection and Intimacy Aren’t Important
Porn has nothing to do with connection. It is simply a series of physical events that two people do together. There is no connection or intimacy. And this isn’t always bad — sometimes a round of rockin’ porn sex can be fun, but again it sends programming to our subconscious that this is what sex is about. That the connection doesn’t matter and it’s just about getting off.
4) This Is All We Are Capable Of
The worst part of it is that porn makes us believe that this is all there is. We think that we know what sex is all about and that porn just plays the edge of it, which is what is so titillating. But it isn’t true.
THE TRUTH IS that we as humans are using maybe 5% of our sexual abilities. It’s like having a piano where we think that there are only 10 keys. So we get really good at playing “Chopsticks.” But the truth is that there are 88 keys and we can actually play phenomenal, mind-blowing music. But we just didn’t know.
Porn deepens the belief that “Chopsticks” is all there is. So we just play it edgier and edgier so that hearing it still interests us. But we are missing the boat.
So how does Tantra change all this?
It shows us the other 78 keys on the piano, and then teaches us how to play.
1) We Are So Much More Than Our Physical Bodies
The sexiest part of us isn’t our physicality. A truly sensual person has a presence about them that is absolutely captivating and enthralling. They can look at you and gently touch you in a way that will leave you spellbound. They will bring you into their inner quiet where you will breathe and touch each other, sending chills and orgasms throughout your bodies. What their body looks like is quite irrelevant.
2) Pleasuring Is Greater When It Is Mutual
We are energetic beings as well as physical. When we are touching our partner, if we are really present and enjoying the feel of our partner’s skin, they will sense this. Your touch will be different than if you are just doing it in order to please them. When you are truly in the moment, there is an electricity that comes out of your fingers (or other sexy parts) and permeates your partner’s entire body. As your partner’s body responds to this, this pleasure cycles back to you, and the giver and the receiver roles start to become blurred. There is just simply pleasure being shared regardless of who is doing what.
3) Connection Is Everything
We are DESIGNED to connect with each other on a very deep level. Human beings do not do well without feeling deep connection. We call it “neediness” and “being desperate” when someone is feeling disconnected. But it’s really just because deep down we know that we are capable of phenomenal connection. And when we feel this amazing connection, things in our lives just get better. Depression lifts. We don’t feel as anxious. We notice the joys in life. We appreciate each other. We feel a level of contentment and happiness that we just don’t experience when we are all alone.
In tantra, this connection comes first. This is the foundation of all the sexual play. It’s like you first have to “plug in” to each other before the energy can flow. And so there is real intention to drop our guards and allow each other inside to truly connect and experience each other.
4) Sex Is Meant To Be a Multi-Dimensional Experience
When we actually bring in everything that we truly are into our intimate experiences, we go from having simply physical sex to having an experience involving our minds, emotions, feelings, intuition, passion, and presence, plus a pile of dimensions that you can’t even explain — they just happen.
And the most amazing thing is that it doesn’t take any tricks. It doesn’t take a pile of methods or fancy sexual abilities. It is actually incredibly natural and programmed into us; we just haven’t accessed it.
So Will Tantra Rid the World of Porn?
I don’t think so. We love sex. Our sexual desire makes us feel alive. And truthfully, watching other people have sex can be very titillating.
Tantra heals our REAL relationships with REAL people. Learning how to actually be intimate with others allows us to have incredibly satisfying relationships with the people around us. We feel deeper connections and our intimate experiences actually heal us and make us feel wonderful about ourselves!
So porn won’t go away, but for many, the addiction can fade, because once you start experiencing the opposite side, your true potential, true intimacy, and the sexual experiences that we are designed to have, the porn can’t own you. It just doesn’t come close to comparing to the experiences you’ve had.
Written by Katrina Bos
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