Containing The Force of Sexual Energy
- Understanding Cultural Influences
by Sheri Winston
Author of Women's Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure
order to truly comprehend our sexuality we must understand
it as a complex interplay between the evolutionary process
and the influences of our environment. Sexuality is one of
the most primal forces in our world. Of all creatures that
exist the vast majority reproduce sexually, making the act
of reproduction the most essential driving force after that
of personal survival. Yet, despite its innate and pervasive
power the topic of sexuality is a challenging one for many
people both now and in the past.
All cultures throughout time have recognized
that the powerful and primal sexual drive cannot be left to
run wild and needs to be contained in some manner. In sex-negative
cultures sexuality is controlled with rigid taboos, strict
rules and tough laws with transgressors being ostracized,
penalized or even killed. Sexuality is de-sacralized, that
is, considered to be profane. In such cultures it is common
to find inequities of power between men and women, with feminine
power and attributes denigrated.
In sex-positive cultures a flexible container
is formed of consensual agreements, respectful communication
and honoring ritual that channel sexuality into positive forms.
There is more likely to be a balance in power between genders
as these cultures honor both masculine and feminine attributes.
In cultures that honor sexuality there is an appreciation
of the sacredness of the act and of its amazing power to create
both new life and spiritual union.
In most Western cultures sensuality, sexuality
and ecstasy have been frowned upon, banned, discouraged and
shamed. In our current multicultural, multi-influenced milieu
these historic sex-negative beliefs still permeate our world
while at the same time we are also exposed to a ubiquitous
inundation of sexual messages and imagery from every aspect
of our media. In our pervasive modern media sexuality is used
to sell everything imaginable with its titillating power but
provides us with a view of sexuality that is shallow and limited
and does little to heal our ambiguity.
Our culture also maintains a mechanistic worldview
that tends to separate things into unconnected parts and to
compartmentalize aspects of our selves and our lives into
isolated fragments tucked safely away in cubicles. Sex is
such a volatile, taboo subject that it is especially alienated
and hidden for many people.
In some cultures sex was recognized as a path
to the sacred Divine, a meditation that can lead to cosmic
oneness, bliss and proof of the Divine’s love. For those
of us enmeshed in Western culture it may be hard to comprehend
sexuality as a joyful, loving and compassionate path of ecstatic
spiritual practice. But our sexuality has the potential to
be sacred as well as intensely pleasurable if we choose to
re-shape our beliefs and practices into a sex-positive framework.
Babies, Bliss and Bonding or Procreation,
Pleasure and Partnering
has 3 major overlapping functions; procreation, pleasure,
and the social functions of attachment and bonding. Of these
functions, it is successful reproduction that is the most
essential. That sex is also pleasurable is, in fact a subset
of making sex work since the drive to experience pleasure
is what makes us want to do it. The experience of pleasure
is also health-promoting as it releases chemicals, neurotransmitters
that reduce tension, de-stress, promote longevity and relaxation.
Sexuality is also about bonding, especially in humans due
to the fact that our babies are born so immature that they
require an extended period of intensive care before they are
competent to survive on their own. Hence the need for bonded
relationships to ensure assistance in the prolonged and intensive
task of successful childrearing.
“Mother Nature” i.e. the forces
of evolution is always conservative. She doesn’t waste.
If something can be used for more then one function, it will
be. The evolutionary design of any complex system has any
one thing serving multiple functions and purposes. The evolutionary
template for human sexuality and the reproductive system is
to make babies, grow, birth and nourish them until adulthood.
Sex is designed to make babies. Sex is also designed to create
human bonding for survival. The reproductive system conservatively
uses the same equipment to start the babies, grow and birth
them, nourish them and to create the bonded relationships
needed to support the family. The same hormones that are released
during orgasm are released during birth, breastfeeding and
when people fall in love. To have a useful model of sexuality
we must include the reproductive processes in our understanding.
Culture and Nature
Survival of the species drives us to want to have sex. When
seeking to understand and learn and expand our sexuality,
we must constantly ask, what is mother nature’s plan,
why does this work, what compels us to engage in certain behaviors,
what is in-born in the human animal and what is created by
the circumstances of our lives and of the cultural milieu
in which we live? There are some aspects of sexuality that
are clearly a part of being a human animal. The process of
arousal, for example is essentially the same for all humans,
while what triggers that arousal will vary from one individual
to another and from one culture to another.
Some preferences seem built-in, others so ancient
that they may as well be, and some uniquely new for our current
crazy times. For instance, let’s look at the female
breast, a marvelous structure that serves multiple functions.
First and foremost, it is designed to nurture a new human
being by providing love, physical contact, stimulation and
perfect nutrition. Secondarily, it is a luscious erogenous
zone, conveniently hardwired by nerves and hormones into the
But the size of the breast has absolutely nothing
to do with its capacity to produce milk. All breasts contain
the exact same amount of milk producing tissue, just like
we all have the same number of ribs or teeth. All of the size
variation in breasts is just window dressing. It is evidence
of social selection pressure over time that we modern humans
have a delightful variety of breast sizes. It’s also
evidence of some deep-seated preferences that male humans
have for the female mammaries. And we all came hard-wired
to be attracted to the place where our nourishment comes from,
babies love to look at ‘targets’, that is a series
of concentric circles, also known as the breast.
And yet, although pretty much all guys (a not
a few women, either) appreciate breasts, it’s not every
guy’s favorite body part. Nor would there ever be agreement
over the ultimate in size and appearance, although each culture
tends to have ideals. And in some cultures breasts are not
even considered an especially erotic body part. So there’s
one example of the tangled web that creates us as sexual beings,
a combination of millions of years of evolution, selection
pressures from biological constraints and human preferences,
historical and modern culture tangled with personal experience,
beliefs and preferences.
A New Paradigm—Wholistic
It is time for a revolution in our understanding
of sexuality that I call Wholistic Sexuality. This concept
includes an understanding of culture and biology, that incorporates
the wisdom of ancient sex-positive cultures and the information
available from modern science, and that recognizes that sexuality
is an essential connected aspect of being a healthy human.
Sexuality is about connection. A wholistic sexuality paradigm
introduces concepts that bring sex back into connection with
all the other aspects of our lives in a way that honors the
power of our sexuality and recognizes that sexual expression,
pleasure, intimacy, fun and joy are necessary for people to
be integrated and whole human beings. We need to recognize
that in order to be a fully healthy human being, we need our
sexuality to be healthy.
This does not imply that in order to be healthy
we must be in sexual relationships with other people, but
rather, that we must create and maintain a good sexual connection
with ourselves. In other words, wholistic sexuality is, first
and foremost, about our relationship with our self. It includes
our physical relationship with our body, our history and experiences,
the beliefs that we were exposed to as we grew up, our current
beliefs, our current and past relationships, our community,
the media, our culture, and all other aspects of our world.
It is all of these components and more create our internal
sexual relationship. Indeed, sexuality it is a holographic
component of our interwoven, inseparable mind-body-spirit.
The Spectrum of Sexual Experience
Wholistic sexuality includes healthy, loving
relationships of many forms, not limiting sexual expression
to heterosexual penis-in-vagina intercourse as the norm of
sexual behavior. It recognizes that our human birthright is
to be able to enjoy the amazing gifts of our sexual potential
to achieve an intimate and loving connection to ourselves.
And when the right person or persons are available, it includes
the ability to have satisfying and joyful erotic relationships
with others. We need to recognize that our sexuality changes
over time, it grows, shifts, matures, and develops. It is
a journey, that is an on-going process of discovery and learning.
At its best our sexuality can be a profound and deeply meaningful
part of a healthy life. Only when we have a healthy relationship
with our own sexuality, are we free to have healthy sexual
relationships with others, that are based on respect and caring,
and that have the power to bring increased sexual pleasure,
health and joy to all.
We need to expand our definition of sex beyond
that of goal-oriented, penis-in-vagina heterosexual intercourse.
In a wholistic view it includes all activities that bring
consensual erotic pleasure and is not limited to a single
Good, Great or Ecstatic Sex
The experience of sex needs to be understood
on a spectrum, to recognize what is currently available to
us as well as to see what is possible and to recognize when
sexual experience is emotionally damaging or physically harmful.
Bad sex is uncomfortable and unsatisfying. It
is essentially nonconsensual and feels pressured, coerced
or forced. There are unaddressed needs or sublimation of ones
own needs to meet the needs or desires of others. Sex that
is shame-based or degrading can be an expression low self-esteem
and unresolved childhood wounds or painful experiences. Often
one person is feeling powerless while the other asserts an
unhealthy dominance. Good sex is satisfying and usually
mutually orgasmic. It meets basic needs to feel connected
and attached. It is based on mutual consent and basic principles
of respect. The experience of orgasm is limited to the genital
Great sex includes expanded whole-body or multi-orgasmic
capacities. It is based on intimate connection that meets
deep emotional and perhaps spiritual needs. Great sex expresses
love that is reciprocal and establishes a genuine bond. It
utilizes sexual energy whether it is consciously activated
or unconsciously present.
sex truly carries one outside the small separate self into
a timeless feeling of being connected to universal divine
bliss. It erases personal boundaries and one can experience
a sense of merging with the other that has enormous power
to heal wounds and create a sense of Divine love. Everyone
has the capacity to experience this and for many people rapturous
sex is the easiest path to the experience of ecstasy. It usually
consciously employs sexual energy techniques.
The basis for shifting ones experience of sex
into the higher realms starts with establishing a healthy
loving relationship with our own sexuality. This needs to
be combined with an understanding of the skills and techniques
that are available to each of us to learn how to expand our
Women's Anatomy of Arousal:
Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure
by Sheri Winston
Chock-full of information, illustrations, erotic art, games and exercises, a guided tour, wholistic sexuality, orgasmic abundance ...
The clitoris is just the tip of the volcano. Women have a largely unknown network of structures responsible for arousal and orgasm that even most medical professionals don’t know about. ... This fun, sexy, empowering guide combines lost knowledge with ancient and modern sexuality information to illuminate every woman’s secret paths to fabulous, orgasmically abundant sex.
OrderWomen's Anatomy of Arousal in our Bookshop
Making Love: An Herbal Guide - digital download
MP3 digital download - David Winston. 8th International Herb Symposium 2007. Run time 1:37:21.
Making Love: An Herbal Guide to Sexual Health.
Sex is an integral part of our lives, yet so many people suffer from lack of sexual fulfillment due to physiological and psychological problems...
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Herbs and Sexual Hormones - digital download
MP3 digital download - Matthew Wood - 7th International Herb Symposium 2005. Run time 1:25:03.
A study of the excess and deficiency of estrogen, progesterone, and androgen, the patterns of imbalance they create, their relationship to wider hormonal imbalances, and the herbs that treat them, with a salute to the heritage gift of great women’s remedies received from the Native peoples of America.
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Sexy Herbs - digital download
MP3 digital download - Ed Smith. 4th International Herb Symposium 1998. Run time 1:34:52.
Class for Everyone: (1.5 hr): In this informative and fun workshop, Ed covers herbal sexual tonics for men and women, aphrodisiacs, sexual stimulants, eroto-enhancers, and the treatment of erotomania, impotence, frigidity, and other such maladies.
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