The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sex and Consciousness

Sex and Consciousness


Back in the late 80’s, I was researching a book that came to be titled “Iron Shadows,” and dealt with a sex cult.  To research it, I began to associate with a controversial gentleman named Harley Reagan, and his group, the Deertribe.   There are differing opinions on Harley and the origin of his sexual teachings, but here’s what I can say: they are quite powerful indeed.  They seem to be a combination of several different traditions, filtered through a rather brilliant and unusual mind.  The question of authenticity I will leave to others.

Along the way, I had some extraordinarily intense experiences, some of which I will be commenting on over the next year.  The reality is that there is a reason why sexuality is the second Chakra, why it is so important and vital a human motivating force, why it causes so many of us so many problems.

Those cultures that have spoken of sexuality without sniggering seem to have said something close to the following: the intensity of an orgasm is in direct proportion to the amount of your ego you release at the moment of completion.  In other words, orgasm is an intensification of the exact same “Flow” state we seek in writing, sports, art, dance…wherever total immersion in the experience is desirable.

SEEK ENERGY. Just as resolving fear frees up the energy bound in irrational self-protection (just get in touch with your animal self—it will protect you just fine, thanks, freeing your higher mind for creative, intellectual, and spiritual pursuits), human sexuality has much to teach us. If it were not an incredibly powerful source of energy, why would there be so many rules and laws and guilts and prohibitions surrounding it?  As we search for energy, cleaning out the storehouse of negative experiences and untangling the snarl of our emotions, sex gives us a perfect opportunity to check the basic operating system of our psychology, physiology, and socialization.

I suspect that there is no other single activity that says as much about us.  Nothing that simultaneously engages every sense, and every human attribute.  Intelligence?  Absolutely!  Creativity, sensitivity, anatomical knowledge, focus…all go into being a good lover.

Emotional health?  Yes!  Spontaneity, ability to accept pleasure, empathy for the partner (the ability to give your partner joy can be greatly increased by simply considering your partner to be an extension of your own body.  Whatever you do for them, in essence, you are doing to and for yourself.) The ability to trust. The ability to judge appropriate partners. 

And on, and on.  Honesty.  Passion…ah, there’s a good one.  I think that the single most attractive thing about human beings is their level of passion.  When focused, it creates excellence.  When focused and in alignment with both personal and social values, it produces success. When focused on physicality, it produces the secondary sexual characteristics that we find attractive (it takes DISCIPLINE  to maintain a sexy body past thirty!   This is why a woman with a dynamite body at 40 is FAR sexier to me than a girl of 18 with the same body.  At eighteen, that body is a gift from God, and says nothing about her.  At 40, it tells me, from across the room, volumes about her discipline, values, energy, and self-respect)

And sex has been one of my greatest teachers—in both a positive and negative sense.  We’ll go into that.  But I wanted to start with the initial rule I set down for myself pretty early into my relationship history: I decided to treat women the way I would want someone to treat my sister, my mother, or my daughter.  To never engage with them sexually unless I genuinely liked them.  Could honestly say that, if she were a guy, I’d want to hang out with her.  That if she were in an emergency and called me at three o’clock in the morning a year later, I’d take the call.

Unless I genuinely cared, what right did I have to engage with her on such an intimate level? There is a damned good reason men and women have different approaches to sex.  Women get pregnant, men don’t.  Wired into the hindbrain is the possibility of creating life, of investing gigantic emotional and financial resources in bringing a child into the world, caring and nurturing that child.  And for that reason, I no longer believe in “casual” sex.  Oh, yeah, we play that game—and I played it more than most.

But at the core, I think all human beings—women even more than men—are actually asking “are you the one?” every time they get into bed with someone.  Yeah, it’s all giggles and free love on the surface, but underneath, it’s “will you give the final damn about me? Will you at least be my friend?  Genuinely care?  Actually SEE who I am?”

We walk through the world so terribly alone. Sex is one of the few times when we drop some of the mask.  But we got so badly guilt tripped as kids, and many of us (I know I did) as a result went in the other direction, and said that sex could be treated like a party favor.

It can’t. 

In Sufism, there is something (I believe is) called a “Muta” contract: basically an agreement between two people to get married for the evening.   No casual sex here.  It is a call to care, to embrace the divinity in the human being you hold.  To cherish them, and actually care about them.  Even if just for a night. 

If you cannot do that, why are you there? 
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As we move through the human energy systems, looking for ways to raise that force, to free it to evolve our spirits, let’s look at this.  What exactly is this force?  It is beyond fear, or sex, or power, or love and hate, or knowledge.  It is beyond labels, and yet labels can be useful, as long as we don’t cling to them.

For me, the power of sex lies in burning away the illusions that separate one human being from another.  For me, this is a male-female thing.  But what my gay friends have told me says that this experience is universal and pangender.  One of my favorite ways to freak a guy out is to ask him: “So…if you were sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island, what kind of guy would you shack up with?” 

It’s fun watching them try to lie.