How does sex become such a fertile ground for what we call perversion?
How do we take something so pleasurable, and twist in all kinds of darkness?
And once we take a turn down some dangerous, dark alley, can we come back? (Hint: the answer is yes.)
I think we try to take the power back from our more disturbing fantasies when we use words like kink. “I have a kink,” we can say, and it gives us a niche, a community, a place where we can play and express (as long as our kink is consensual, of course).
I don’t think this is wrong or bad; I think it’s part of a process. How does this feel, how does this look when I try this role on, when I take it out of my head, and into the world. In this space we can begin to rid ourselves of shame, and get a real feeling of connection and belonging.
And for some people, this is the place where they stay.
But I postulate we can go further, become more whole, access more sexual pleasure and connection.
While I have kinks, I can safely say that all of them came from dark experiences that were inflicted upon me. All of my kinks come from deep fears that I am not enough, or sexual experiences where I was disempowered.
So, while I value that there is a place in society where we can be kinky, and play with power in sex, I also feel like it isn’t the endgame. With awareness, we can harness this power, we can collect our hurt parts and come into wholeness, and rewire our fantasies.
Fantasy rewiring isn’t for everyone. It’s work. It’s some of the most fulfilling work I’ve done, because it keeps me from shitty, sex-based, crazy relationships in which I pine and obsess and feel utterly powerless. Fantasy rewiring has changed my taste in men from a darker, narcissist-type asshole to you know, an awesome, supportive partner, whom I also have amazing sex with. This is, in my experience, beyond worth it.
For me, in relationship, there’s nothing less than bringing my full sexuality to the table.
I don’t want to be thinking of an ex-boyfriend while I have sex. I don’t want to be thinking of a porn scene, and I don’t want to be almost there, and bring in the deepest and dirtiest of my sexual fantasies during those last 30 seconds.
What I want is to be deeply connected. What I want is to share when those fantasies DO creep in—that’s the level of intimacy I seek. I see sex as a space for transformation, where we can transcend society and law and the bullshit we deal with every day, where we can be animal and human and god-like, where we can plug into one of the most amazing things our bodies can do.
I want that experience to be intimate, and playful, and exploratory. I want to be able to cry there, to get pissed off there, to be the range of what a human can be. I want to be present. I want it to be a meditation, a mindful practice of pleasure. I want to create something with my partner, something that is brand-new each time, something that doesn’t have to be linear.
What I don’t want is to be in my own head, with my own fantasies.
For me, reprogramming my fantasies has taken a few steps.
First, I became aware of my fantasies.
What kind of porn do you watch? What fantasies do you fixate on, from old lovers? And the most telling one—what’s a fantasy you have that always brings you to orgasm, or seems so dark that you would probably never tell anyone about it? What fantasies seem to bring you the most shame, and the most pleasure, simultaneously? Perhaps that shame is part of the pleasure at this point. We can wire these things together so tight, that we begin to associate shame with pleasure, and we need it to orgasm. And yes, with practice, these pathways can become undone.
I became aware of the negative effects my fantasies were having on my intimate experiences and relationships.
Because of my fantasies, I was never fully present with my partner. The memories and imagined scenarios disconnected me from my body and my sexual sensations. They disconnected me from my sexual energy, and from exploring other facets of sex, beyond the visual and mental. They encouraged me to seek out men who I will politely describe as “sketchy.”
I did ceremony and meditation to detach from old partners.
I’ve had sex with a lot of people. I have no shame in that: much of it was fun at the time, and that’s the path that’s turned me into a sex educator.
There’s an idea in the spirituality that a man’s energy stays in a woman’s sexual chakra for seven years after they have sex. While this might seem hokey to you, I began to think about this on a practical level. Being entered by so many people, and especially being entered violently or without consent, or even on those nights I really didn’t want to have sex but did it to appease my partner—the trauma from those experiences is present in the body and in the way we hold tension. That trauma informs our energy body, and wires the brain.
Recapitulation ceremonies allow you to clear this energy from old partners, and give you a ritual space where you can take back your womb as your own. I found this work very empowering. I’ll post an audio or write-up detailing one of these ceremonies soon.
I started using a jade egg.
Jade eggs are just that: little spheres that are made of jade. Crystals have certain properties, and jade is thought to enhance love and connection, and clear trauma. That makes it the perfect stone to insert into the vagina during any sexual energy work, or during rituals like the one I mentioned above.
On a practical level, jade egg work strengthens and resensitizes your vaginal walls for more pleasure. Jade eggs can help you experience stronger, deeper vaginal orgasms and states of pleasure, as well as cervical orgasms.
I use a jade egg for Kegel practices, self-pleasure, and vaginal healing.
I began forgiveness work.
Forgiveness work is important because it allows us to let go of experiences that hurt us, and supports us in getting our power back. Holding onto grudges is hard work, and it expends a lot of energy that we could use on healing ourselves. Forgiveness does NOT mean okaying someone else’s shitty behavior, or excusing it, or telling them you forgive them. What it does mean is letting go of that heavy grudge you carry around, and becoming lighter in the process.
I did a lot of forgiveness work with partners who mistreated me, and like most people, most of my forgiveness work became internally focused: I needed to forgive myself. Forgiveness practices like Hawaiian Ho’oponopono allow us to see the ways our “bad” experiences have given us opportunities to grow and become who we are today.
What does forgiveness work have to do with fantasies? Well, let’s say your fantasies revolve around being submissive in sex, and this works to your detriment during sex, because you end up putting your pleasure on hold to serve others. In your awareness work, you’ve realized you never got your father’s approval, and your sexuality is just one more facet where you are vying for men’s approval. Forgiveness practices that focus on your dad, on your lovers who reinforced this pattern, and on you, will support you in getting over shame, and undoing just a few more threads that tie you to your old fantasies.
I began experimenting with mantra during self-pleasure, and staying completely mindful to my pleasure, rather than visualizing anything.
I’m not gonna lie, the first mantra I worked with was, “Your pussy is perfect.”
I had an ex who was really good at dirty talk, and I wanted to be able to provide my own dirty talk. I wanted to be my own best lover. This mantra allowed me to give me what I wanted, without finding someone harmful, or even just lackluster, to provide it for me.
Another mantra I used often was, “I am a good girl, and I deserve pleasure.” This was a direct response to how much I loved being told I was a bad girl, for so many years. I wanted to deeply know that self-pleasure was natural and amazing, and again, to untangle the shame from sexual pleasure.
Mantra during sex is amazing. It is often referred to as sex magick. It’s a powerful way to reprogram the brain, because you are associating a thought that maybe you don’t quite believe yet, with exquisite sexual pleasure. This wires the brain to LOVE thinking that thought. You can use mantra during self-pleasure to envision anything you might want, like more money, or an amazing partner—it’s a powerful way to bust through limiting beliefs.
I began focusing on visualizing the microcosmic orbit and flares of energy, rather than only sexual imagery.
When we get rid of negative fantasy, we need to put something else in its place, or the negative will creep right back in. You can use experiences with your current lovers, if that feels good. Most often, I focus solely on the incredible sensations I’m experiencing, and I imagine energy.
Imagining energy during sex is an ancient practice from Taoism and Tantra. Imagining energy allows you to become sensitive to real energy pathways, and grow your own sexual energy. You can cultivate a lasting feeling that is much like MDMA—all you need to do is focus on the energy, breath deeply, and allow yourself to make sounds. Energy sex is by far the most pleasurable I’ve experienced. It takes practice to get sensitive to this energy, but the payoff is huge, and it becomes second nature quickly. To learn more, read about the microcosmic orbit.
It’s important to note, I’m not against all fantasies. But we focus on the visual so much in our culture, and there are so many other delicious parts of sex to explore. And obviously, I think many fantasies can be tangled up with shame, separation, and disconnection. By taking time off from the fantasies we’ve used thousands of times, we can come back to fantasy with a fresh perspective. When we take time off from a kink to explore where it came from and what it truly means, we can choose whether or not we want to come back to it, from an empowered place.
During this work, as with all personal growth work, remember to be gentle with yourself. We’ve spent decades cultivating our sexuality in a certain way, and it takes time to nudge our sexuality in a different direction. But the result is more pleasure, more empowerment, more integrity, more connection, more acceptance, and a renewed sense of wholeness.