5 keys to being a sexually authentic, conscious and empowered man.
Being sexually authentic is your birthright. Sharing your deepest sexual truths with a trusted partner is one of the most loving, liberating, intimate and ecstatic of human experiences.
Many men hide authentic aspects of their sexual desire…for good reason! Our sex-negative culture, family, religions and even our relationships often deny men a safe, welcoming place to honor and discuss the full spectrum of their sexual desires. They seldom honor, bless and respect any but the narrowest view of acceptable sexual practice or frequency. In fact, the tangible fear of being shamed, harshly judged, or of losing partners, family or friends can leave many men secretive or shadowy about their true sexual desire. Some men are so deep in shame and guilt they can’t get past the fear of speaking openly about their desires to those closest to them. Some men can become consumed by fantasy, masturbation or porn rather than risk openly expressing what’s true to their partners…or even to themselves.
Many men were emotionally wounded (shamed or terrorized) as boys around their sexuality, if not in fact sexually abused. Many may have developed shyness or embarrassment, loss of trust, loss of confidence. They may have internalized the harsh voice of sex-negative moral judgment from their father or mother, religion or culture into their inner dialogue, or project that onto others. And to one extent or another, if they are secretive in their sexual expressions as adults, carry an innate fear of being discovered at the wrong time or place, the feeling of being busted, the fall from grace and the consequences that might bring. Getting honest about your sexual desires can be a struggle, even in a supportive environment. To become sexually whole, it is important to learn and practice techniques to consciously engage and embrace your authentic desires, and share them honestly in a healthy, fulfilling, consensual manner. This is also the path to begin to resolve the conflicted, wounded, shadowy, dis-empowered aspects of your sexuality.
Most people have a complex authentic sexual persona, as distinct as a fingerprint and inherent as their eye-color, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. There can be light aspects and shadow aspects, the parts we show and the parts we hide. There can be tender sweet aspects and primitive, wild instinctual aspects. These sharp contrasts do not necessarily cancel each other, but are a paradox that one can learn to hold honorably and in an ecstatically potent way sexually. Both light and shadow aspects of our sexuality possess a pantheon of archetypal parts and counterparts that we may carry at an unconscious level.
These sexual personas, or sex creatures as I sometimes call them, are distinct and independent from our outer social personas. Examples of these more primitive sexual archetypes can be dominant/submissive, predator/prey, beast/beauty, bad boy/good girl, teacher/student, mommy-daddy/son-daughter, older man-woman/younger man-woman to name just a few. There are as well, all the variations on cross dressing, transsexual, bisexual or gay sexuality. All and any of these expressions of Eros can be valid and authentic. They are far more typical within the sexual landscape than many want to believe. But for those so inclined, it is just their personal sexual baseline. It is their normal! Finding safe ways to express these sexual energies consciously and consensually can be powerful, healing and ecstatically fulfilling. A hallmark of practicing conscious engagement of your sexuality is that there be nothing involved that would be ultimately harmful or non-consensual in your engagement with partners. Being consciously sexual would support whatever is true in the realm of fantasy without judgment, and explore safe, consensual, and/or ritual ways to express any desire, no matter how taboo, with a consenting partner or through private personal rituals.
If you are already married or partnered in a long-term relationship, that is not likely to now embrace your authentic sexual desire, or if your social, religious or professional community will likely not, this is obviously very complex territory to suddenly reveal your sexual truth to. But I encourage you to start with claiming your sexual authenticity…for yourself! It has likely been the bastard of your personality your whole life. It has not been allowed to be included as a natural part of your everyday being. If you feel in am impossible situation sexually in your relationship, and that who you are sexually will never be accepted, you may feel you are faced with sacrificing your own truth, or ending your relationship. This may unfortunately be true. But there is a lot of middle ground to creatively work in that may offer enough room to allow you the dignity of owning your true sexuality and also preserve the mutual love and care in the relationship, if not enhance it beyond measure. It is a tragedy that many couples avoidance of the subject prevented them from discovering the depths of sexual intimacy they might have shared if they were not so afraid of their partner’s judgment. Now if you are single, you have the opportunity to get clear about your wants and expectations sexually. I want to encourage you to express them honestly right out the gate of any new relationships you pursue. If asking your first-time date to have a mature, informational discussion about sexual desire, feels near impossible in the dating world you have roamed in, I suggest you enter a different world. If you are serious about embracing your fundamental right to express your sexual truth, there are more straightforward paths to finding dates or potential partners that are open to if not welcoming of your desires. Why waste months or even weeks of time engaging someone as a prospective partner who turns out to be a terrible erotic mismatch. There are all kinds of alternative social and dating sites that offer up a full range of available, sexually progressive, mature, monogamous or polyamorous adult singles, from the sacred to the profane ranges of Eros. There are meet-up groups, lifestyle events, socials or munches, workshops, play-parties, snuggle parties, and erotic guides of every stripe to help you take those first steps in your journey.
But whatever path is right for you, I want to encourage you to raise your authentic sexuality out of the shadows to its rightful place alongside of your intellect, emotion, creativity and spirit as an integral aspect of your personality. Most men have been socialized to keep their authentic sexuality on a leash, where it is hidden, feared, secreted, shamed and harshly judged by the unconscious mind and cultural messaging. You have every right to embrace, honor, bless, love and advocate for your sexual rights. Start there. Claim what is yours. Start to bring it into your own aware, benevolent acknowledgment. Welcome it out of the wasteland of your unconscious sexuality that holds all the projections placed on it – sex-addict, deviant, disgusting, selfish, rapist and every dark projection imaginable. If you are an honorable and conscious man, your sexual authenticity does not deserve to be so vilified, unloved, hidden and scorned. Hold it up to the light and cheer! Know that somewhere out there in the gene pool are plenty of cohorts who will respect and admire your sexual honesty, if not be ecstatically turned-on by your desire. It is impossible to simplify something as complex as our sexual natures in a brief article. My intention is to stimulate your own natural yearning to be fully authentic, so you can begin your own inquiry. For me this means developing a practice that supports whatever the authentic desire is and untangles and diminishes whatever resists, judges or fears the conscious expression of the desire. From my work as a therapist with hundreds of men, women, couples and groups over the last 13 years, I have developed what I call the 5 Keys for consciously engaging the fullest range of your desire and find fulfillment in sex, life and relationships. I will define them briefly here. A more in-depth view of these and other aspects of integrating your authentic sexuality into your everyday life can be found on my website.
The 5 Keys to Embracing Your Sexuality and Finding Fulfillment in Life & Relationships
1. Sexual Authenticity
Each person has an innate, authentic sexual identity, as distinct as a fingerprint, and as inherent as your eye color. This is the first step – uncovering the deeper dimensions of your sexual desire, untangling the desire from all that resists, fears and judges you unconsciously, and owning what your personal sexual truth is. This includes understanding the core themes or Personal Erotic Myths’ as I define them, that maps the erotic types you are attracted to and the frequency of desire (For more about PEM’s see my “Discover Your Personal Erotic Myth Survey.”
2. Sexual Honesty
Your authentic sexuality is your birthright! Once you know what is sexually authentic for you, the next step is to learn how to express it honorably and in a forthright manner. This will mean also working through all that has kept it hidden in shame, fear and harsh internal judgments, so that you can move beyond those into advocacy. This will be critical to clearly communicate what you desire and deserve sexually and avoid disastrous erotic mismatches in your future relationships. Part of this practice will be to create a safe environment to encourage and support your partners to be honest as well, and bless them for their own sexual honesty.
3. Sexual Empowerment
By developing easy to use practices of conscious intention, negotiation skills to review and set boundaries, discussions about consent, presence, physical embodiment, and mindfulness you can learn to advocate for and embody fully your own authentic desires. These practices will also help diminish all that resists your desire physically, emotionally and psychologically. Attaining presence does not mean healing and resolving decades of shame, fear, harsh judgments or other serious issues that may have occurred around your sexuality. That can be a much deeper level of personal work. And this can be a perfect starting point to doing that deeper work. But practicing presence can allow you to recognize, to be aware of and to have an intention or choice about whether those past issues need to be around every moment. You can learn to put them aside and be present with your intention in the moment and who you are with right now. This level of presence itself generates tremendous trust and safety – the bedrock of any hot sexual engagement with your partners, no matter how off the charts and edgy the desires are. This level of awareness and intention is where you and your partner can begin to be engaged in a deep dance of intimacy and connection, and you can become an extraordinarily present, embodied, ecstatic lover to your partner(s).
4. Sexual Shadow
Bringing awareness to the ways you may have been out of integrity through expressing or hiding your sexual desires in shadowy, secretive, unhealthy, unconscious non-consensual ways, is an important step in consciously embracing your authentic sexuality and learning to express it in a conscious forthright manner.
Learning to understand and embrace paradox allows us to accept we can be both frequent, perverse, wild, dark and taboo in our desires without detracting anything from our ability and desire to be a loving, tender, honorable, and considerate of our partners. Being authentic sexually does in no way detract from our being a good parent, partner, worker, citizen or spiritual, soulful being. The task here is to learn how to hold both your darkest desires and your most lofty aspirations for the world in an aware and noble balance that is in integrity with your agreements to your partners and yourself.
There is no perfection in all this. We will fail if we are striving for perfection. But we can develop a strong intention to honor our own personal sexual truth, and be in integrity with our agreements and values, even if we stumble. And we can develop practices that help us continually renew our connection to our intention to be conscious men sexually and otherwise.
Photo: Samarel Erotic Art