Love is an energy. It is not something you can force. Love energy is something you can become receptive to, because it is always there underneath the surface. Love energy is joyous, and joy is always linked to sexual feelings. What we call sex is a small part of love energy.

Sexual feelings are very persistent because they are the natural flow of love energy in the body. So sex cannot be ignored, cannot be repressed. You are love; you can’t not think about it. If you don’t face your sexual feelings, they will torture you. If you try to forget about your sexual feelings, you will become uncreative. Your every action will be stiff, awkward.

Remember that sexual feelings do not have to lead to the expression of sexual feelings. And the expression of sexual feelings does not have to lead to sexual activity. Each stage can be enjoyed in and of and for itself — just as long as the emphasis is on joy. When the emphasis is on refusal and denial, something very ugly occurs and hatred is born.

 

Breathing can have a tremendous effect on sex. The more complete the breathing, the deeper the experience of sex. That’s why some people say that relaxed and easy breathing is the gateway to sexual ease. In fact, breathing can by itself lead to ecstasy.

 

Sometimes in sex a person begins to shake, to shiver, to tremble. If you’re wise, you’ll allow it. It is the body’s way of releasing blocked energy. It shows that you’re ready to open to your lover. You were afraid before — even though you may not have known it. And fear was inhibiting your sexual enjoyment. Fear is always what curtails sexual enjoyment. Now, opening to your lover, the fear is moving. If you allow your body to shiver and shake, the fear will soon be gone, and you will be far more vital.

 

You can feel someone’s sexual energy with all of your clothes on. Not even embracing but just barely touching. Yes, even without touching. Tuning in to another person’s energy, you can feel ecstasy even though you’re at opposite ends of a room.

And when you don’t try to do anything about it, the energy just goes on and on.

 

There are two kinds of sex: exhilarating sex and “getting-rid-of” sex. “Getting-rid-of” sex is basically an endeavor to reduce tensions. Sometimes it is necessary, because otherwise tensions build up too much, but it is not a high. It doesn’t make your heart sing. It doesn’t quicken your step or make you want to skip. Exhilarating sex brings delight and often tears and deep gratitude. The experience can be of profound awe, of having gone beyond gravity in some way.

The difference between “getting-rid-of” sex and exhilarating sex is the same as that between friction and electricity. A lot of people think that orgasm is due to friction, but true orgasm isn’t so much a result of friction as it is of energy. Orgasm is a function of love energy.

In orgasm your boundaries disappear. Your energy mingles with that of your lover. Your body no longer feels solid; you become pulsating energy instead. There are physicists who say that the universe is basically not matter but conscious energy. Orgasm is a way of bathing yourself in that energy — a way of being rejuvenated with God.

 

Lust and eros are totally different. Lust focuses on a part of the body; eros means being moved by the whole person. Eros is passionately wanting to be with a person, intertwined, interacting. Eros isn’t primarily concerned with sexual excitement; eros is excitement regarding a person. Lust reduces the other person to body parts. It is on a level with voyeurism. The lusting person, even with a flesh-and-blood sexual partner, remains stuck in the world of his or her own imaginings.

 

Power sex is a third category of sex — power in the sense of power over. Power sex focuses not so much on the actual sexual experience as on the effect that your sexual behavior will have on another person. Giving in to someone’s insistent demands for sex in order to placate that person is one example. Having sex in order to dominate or impose your will on someone is another. People who want to feel powerful might enjoy witnessing someone else have an orgasm, but the question remains whether this is ego gratification or sexual pleasure.

Helping someone to have an orgasm is a caring thing to do, but it may not really be motivated by love or even enjoyment. It may just be a kind of unpaid prostitution. Having sex because of what it does for another person gets you away from yourself and your own fulfillment.

 

Some people have reported that when they have been able to release anger, fear, and resentment in a therapeutic emotional catharsis, they are able to enjoy orgasm more fully than ever before.

 

Chemistry, they say, is what attracts people to one another. That may be. But if you don’t rise to a higher level after the chemistry has done its work, then the chemistry will eventually turn to hatred. The passion will still be there, but the attraction will become malicious and vengeful. That’s what soap operas are based on, as well as a lot of so-called great literature. That’s what many people still call love.

 

Good sex depends less on techniques than on how appreciative you are able to be. And to be really appreciative means to be content with the present moment. You don’t think about tomorrow; you don’t think about the next moment; you’re too involved with your feelings in this moment. Obviously, if you’re straining for orgasm, you won’t be very appreciative of this moment. You won’t pay much attention to what is actually happening. But if you wait to feel appreciative until you come, you’ll find that you’ll have come and gone!

Some men think they have to give their woman an orgasm, and some women think so, too. Some men think it’s up to the woman to give them an orgasm, and some women accept that view. Some women are convinced that a man always wants to come. Some men are convinced that a woman will be unhappy if he doesn’t have his penis inside her. All these beliefs are wrong at least part of the time.

 

Impotence and frigidity are messages, not calamities. They are messages from your deeper self.

Don’t you think it might be a good idea, before you go rushing off in hope of a cure, to figure out just what the message could be?

 

If you want to avoid poisoning yourself with resentment, then it’s vitally important that you always do what you want to do. If you want to give to others, give! But if you’d rather receive, then giving may make you resentful. Regardless of how nice or loving or generous you would like to be, you can’t get away from being true to yourself.

Freely and enthusiastically telling someone that you love him or her feels great. It’s a heartwarming thing to do. But when the other person asks for love, expects it, and almost demands it, then saying “I love you” starts to feel like a chore. Even worse: it feels like a lie.

Love doesn’t do well with obligations. And sex doesn’t lend itself to rules. They both follow laws of a very different kind.

 

A great deal of attention has been paid to the sexual organs, but the “equipment” is not what sex is about. You can experience sexual pleasure in many different parts of the body besides the sexual organs. When you are sensitive enough, you can experience delight in parts of your body you never thought of. When you are really sensitive, you can experience orgasm even in your nostrils or your wrists.

 

Foreplay can last for hours. It can energize you more and more and then even more. And after an hour or two of foreplay, you can feel so contented that there’s hardly a need for after-play — or for anything else.

 

One misconception has been that sex requires intercourse and vigorous movement. In fact, it doesn’t. Tantra, a concept that is widely misunderstood, can be practiced even without intercourse. The connection can be through the eyes and the pores of the skin. Instead of peaking in a crescendo, the energy goes on reverberating inside the couple for a considerable time. There is very little movement, but there is a slow glow — increasing, pulsating, building up, intensifying. There isn’t the kind of abrupt orgasm that we are usually familiar with, and the experience can go on for hours. One term that has been used for this is “valley orgasm.” People who practice this discipline — and it is a discipline — sometimes have out-of-body experiences.

 

You cannot have sex. You cannot manage it. It cannot be reduced to mechanics. You cannot master it. If you really go into sex, you disappear. And only if you surrender to sex — if you give up all attempts to take charge of it — only then will you experience what sex is really all about.

 

The fear of moving deeply into sex, the fear of going insane, and the fear of death are linked. They all have to do with the fear of losing control. Yet only when you discover that it’s OK to lose control, that you’ll survive, and that you’ll enjoy life more than ever before, will you experience how really magnificent life can be.

 

Sex is a joyous expression. Sex manuals, and even books that talk about the “joy of sex,” appeal to the mind; they appeal to sobriety rather than to joy. Joy doesn’t care whether it expresses itself sexually or not. Joyless people focus primarily on sex because in sex they at least feel something. Joyless people can’t bear knowing that they don’t feel anything (or at least not very much). To joyless people, even a twinge of sensation, a localized fibrillation of the senses, is better than no feeling at all.

 

Many people who want relationships hope to find peace and harmony. But a relationship is also a learning experience, a war of attrition between egos — and sometimes that means friction and struggle. And sex is an instant barometer of that struggle. The struggle isn’t only about needs — his needs versus her needs. The struggle is also a conflict between higher and lower levels of love and awareness.

 

Women and men can vitalize one another with their energy. As long as a man retains his male fluid, he can very quickly recharge whatever energy he loses. But the loss of vital body fluids will in time deplete a man. Some people say it may even shorten his life. And because of this there are men, particularly in the East, who practice sexual restraint. They avoid ejaculating. They believe that energy not frittered away will rise to the higher energy centers. Then, new kinds of pleasures become available — orgasms not of the genitals but of the higher centers of consciousness.

A woman will also receive many sublime dividends if her man preserves his seed. After all, no one can enjoy a well that’s gone dry. A wise man once said: “Give her baskets of peaches. Don’t uproot the tree and send her the roots.” An odd metaphor, but true. Treat the roots lovingly, and there will soon be a lot more fruit to enjoy.

The wise neither grasp for the final climax nor avoid it. They know that the grasping approach short-circuits the delights of sex and limits its horizons. They prolong the act in order to arrive at sex’s deepest fountain. That magic fountain flows only during an absence of purpose and hurry.

Complete avoidance of discharge, on the other hand, kills spontaneity. Why set a limit to what may happen? Such a fixed goal inevitably rules out a whole host of unknown possibilities. That is as much true for the goal of coming as for the goal of not coming.

Remaining open to the flow, to whatever does really come, neither straining nor restraining, would seem to be the most rewarding attitude of all.

 

The French call orgasm la petite mort, the little death. That’s because there can be, in orgasm, terror and dread as well as joy and delight. Sometimes the feelings during climax are so intense that you feel you’re actually dying. Do delight and dread both have to be inherent in sex? Yes, because sex is at the point where we are raw, where we enter into the holy and the mysterious. Having experienced that, having known that time when our personality was out of action and of no avail, we die in another way as well: we die to all in life that is not true, and to old loyalties that are revealed as devoid of real meaning.

 

To think that sex is physical and physiological is to miss the point. Sex is neither carnal nor spiritual; it is a meeting of the two. In the moment of greatest fulfillment, the other is viewed with an adoration usually reserved for God — because in that moment, the other has become an expression of God.

Sexuality and spirituality go together. Sexuality leads us to others, and spirituality leads us to ourselves. Without the playful lovingness of sex, spirituality remains abstract. Without the surrender of spirituality, sex may remain nothing more than a kind of interpersonal masturbation. The people who are highly sexual are often on their way toward becoming spiritual, whether they know it or not.

Genuinely spiritual people are in a sexual relationship with unseen forces, with energies that are invisible. To the spiritual person, the attraction to God is experienced as sexual, but this time the focus of the attraction is not in the genitals but in the heart. The experience of opening the heart or the third eye is sexual.

Choosing to live sensually refreshes you and opens you to the ongoing mysteries of life. That’s why sensuality can be the beginning of spirituality. Sensuality leads you from your restless, random, obsessive thoughts back to your skin, to your flesh, to your senses. Spirituality leads you to your center.

 

According to research, most people think that others have better sex lives than they do.

In truth, most people are not living in sexual paradise. Most people are living in sexual misery. Their sex lives are not great. Why else would people assume that others enjoy sex more? If people were truly satisfied, fulfilled, at peace, what need would there be for so many jokes about sex, so many movies about sex, and so much pornography? So don’t feel bad about your sex life — and don’t compare yourself to others! Sex improves as you learn to appreciate what you’ve already got.

 

Sexual magnetism is the outer manifestation of your inner life, and mostly has to do with self-esteem. You can try to copy what that looks like, but you won’t be very convincing. Copying a style can take you only so far. If you want something that will attract people to you, try improving your self-esteem.

 

If you’re going to enjoy your flirtations with the opposite sex — or the same sex — then one thing is absolutely essential: you must be able to say no. Without the ability to say no, life becomes hell; sex becomes a constant burden.

When you’ve learned to say no, the quality of your yes changes. It becomes a real yes. Only when you are fully able to say no will you become able to say yes! from your whole being.

If there isn’t a deep yes! inside you, then having sex with someone won’t really give you very much. It will just be local. It will be puny in comparison with what it could be. If there isn’t a deep yes! inside you, you will be divided — and how can you really enjoy sex when you are divided? Sex requires your total involvement.


William Ashoka Ross is a psychotherapist in Kirkland. Washington. His new book, Sex: There’s More To It Than You’ve Been Told, is a collection of honest and compassionate observations about sex and love. We’re thankful for permission to reprint excerpts from it.

The book is available for $5.95 postpaid from Judy Ford & Company P.O. Box 834, Kirkland, WA 98083.

— Ed.