This is an exerpt from my Master’s thesis titled “Erotic Embodiment and Integration of Soul, Spirit, and Body: Toward a Sacred Erotic Psychology Healing Praxis,” it is a piece from the Theoretical Foundation chapter, Sacred Eroticism as Ontology section.
To further understand the self-deepening and embodied feeling inherent in the erotic, I turn once again to Audre Lorde1, who wrote:
[The erotic] is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves. . . . the erotic is not a question only of what we do; it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing. Once we know the extent to which we are capable of feeling that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavors bring us closest to that fullness. (p. 54)
Thus, feeling is the first step toward healing our disconnection from our erotic lifeforce and experiencing the power of the erotic. Through fully embracing our own erotic experiences of satisfaction we are given access to our deeper and full Self. Through this experience of feeling we can determine where we are numbing out, freezing, or paralyzing, and where we need to expand our experience of emotions, pleasure, and sensations. We can also discover where our passions and desires lie through this same process. This is a wholly embodied process that is also cyclical. The more we feel the more we are embodied, and the more we are embodied the more we feel.
Another natural byproduct of both individual and cultural erotic expansion is the emerging of an anti-oppressive ethic that is inherent in this type of engaging with and experiencing the world. Through this process of individual growth and becoming, we bring these developments to the culture at large. This encourages us as a culture and species also move toward sacred embodied living. An anti-oppressive ethic is referring to a life ethic, or a value-based ideology. In this instance, the value is equality, diversity, justice, and self-expression as well as opposition to suffering, inequality, and discrimination. This ethic arises through the understanding of and connection with one’s higher self and soul’s purpose because of the centering of pleasure, wholeness, and authenticity that occurs when embracing the erotic.
[One] important way in which the erotic connection functions is the open and fearless underlining of my capacity for joy. . . . This is one reason why the erotic is so feared, and so often relegated to the bedroom alone, when it is recognized at all. . . . In touch with the erotic, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial. (p. 56-58)
This shift in personal experience and willingness to oppose the programming of the culture at large is at the essence of this anti-oppressive ethic. There is a compliance and complacency that one is required to buy into when unconsciously perpetuating intersectional oppression, either outwardly or internally. This shift toward the erotic, or the shift toward understanding our own individual capacities for joy and our own sources of personal power, is a shift away from accepting the narratives of oppression and obedience ingrained in all of us from the dominant culture. Embracing our erotic natures is a move toward self-understanding, sovereignty, and authenticity. This occurs through the recognition of, acceptance of, and responsibility over one’s own desires, joy, and pleasure.
The closer we are to full-bodied feeling and wholeness of Self, the closer we are to understanding our own sacred erotic natures and reason for being. This is the ultimate goal of SEP((SEP: Sacred Erotic Psychology, the interdisciplinary field that I am crafting/creating and working within.)): to assist individuals, groups, and the world toward individuation and the understanding of their soul’s purpose. The particular way I go about this is through investigating the erotic, and the archetypal, mythological, and metaphorical relationships the individual has with the erotic and the body. To this end, sexuality, emotions, connection to and understanding of the sacred, archetypal engagement, past experiences, family dynamics, complexes, the shadow, personal and cultural experiences of power, and many other aspects of the Self must be investigated and integrated within the life of an individual to work toward embracing what I refer to as one’s Whole Erotic Self.
- Lorde, A. (2007). Sister outsider: Essays and speeches. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press. [↩] [↩]
- Kraemer, C. H. (2013). Eros and touch from a pagan perspective: Divided for love’s sake. New York, NY: Routledge. [↩]
Instead of attempting to do a catch-up post before I write the “real” post by trying to recap all the things that have happened since the last time so many ages ago that I posted on here, I just need to write. I’ve been doing so much writing the last few years, but so little personal writing. Grad school has sucked up all my writing time and now that I’m writing my thesis I’m going a little bit insane. I am having a difficult time getting words down on the page, however, and I’m hoping that a bit of a free write will assist with that.
I’m struggling. As always, it seems. I have had so many epiphanies and breakthroughs and beginnings of changing long-ingrained patterns, but it never seems like it is enough. And I suppose it will never be enough, because if it was I would have nothing else to work on or nowhere else to grow. I would like a breather, however. Can’t there just be a time with a bit of a relaxing, settling down, and not working on any major shit? No? Okay.
I’ve changed so much in the last few years, even just in the last year. I used to be terrified of, well, just about everything. Of myself. Of other people. Of getting what I want. Of my own power. I’ve been on a path of discovering and rediscovering my own personal power and shedding those things that have been in the way of my embracing and expressing it. My pathways were clogged for so long, and finally some bits of my own light are able to come through them and shine out of them. Still not all of them are clear, and others are gathering new gunk, but that is one of the continual processes.
Golden Dawn spiritual work, grad school, my father’s death, relationship changes, explorations in polyamory, coming into my own as a Hierophant and High Priestess, all these things have shifted and changed me internally to the point of sometimes I actually realize how strong and competent I am. Other times I am still frightened of the world and my part in it. I’m still insecure. I’m still socially anxious, self-deprecating, and uncertain of myself a lot of the time. I have worked on and healed a lot of wounds and changed old patterns for the better, but I still fall into the old pit of depression sometimes.
Aside from the stress of school and relationships, however, I am arguably the most content and least depressed that I have ever been, or at least for as long as I can remember. I am doing my work in the world, and sometimes failing at it. I am at least moving toward my work in real and tangible ways, and getting better at what I do.
I am not as enlightened or close to my ideal self as I would like to be, but I’m at least working on it. That is something. I’m grateful for the chance to be getting this really ridiculous self-designed degree in a subject that doesn’t even seem realistic or plausible to the majority of the world. I realize the privilege in that and am astounded by it. I think I’m calling it Sacred Erotic Psychology now, though even that isn’t quite right. It’s gone though a bunch of different iterations.
Relationships are consistently a struggle right around the end of the quarter. It’s like all the stress likes to get saved up until right at the end. So that’s fun. Onyx and I have had some rough patches in the last few months specifically, though we always go through alternating rough and smooth times, as is the nature of long-term relationships it seems. We had a period of really great connecting after a major shake-up in our relationship due to a rather major breaking of our agreements just before the end of last quarter. We both have come to a lot of insights of our own patterns in relationships and the patterns in our relationship with each other that we need and want to break. It has been really useful and there have been lots of growing pains. The period of connecting was really lovely and some of the best moments of our relationship in recent memory, but that too was broken and we’re now in a slightly awkward phase again. Yet not as awkward as a lot of the last year has been, so I don’t know. Only now there is a limited amount of time and energy available to really get back to smooth due to thesis writing.
So. Thesis. Yes. I need to be writing about the theoretical orientations that are foundational to my thesis, as well as historical background related to the body that informs my thesis, and the beginnings of articulating my own theoretical synthesis as well as my praxis approach. It’s a lot.
My current thesis statement/elevator speech is this: I am articulating how I as a practitioner can present eroticism as an embodied experience of love that promotes and nurtures intra-, inter-, and trans-personal connections. By integrating our embodied and mythological experience of our minds, hearts, and body/genitals though the process of identifying the disconnected parts needing to be integrated and using a variety of psychological and bodywork techniques to foster mutually beneficial relationships between ourselves and these parts we move toward experiencing and expressing our Whole Erotic Self through embodied sovereignty. This is important because loving connection and embodied erotic experiences can advance our own developmental learning, enhance our quality of life, and benefit the earth.
Not bad, right?Labels: change, connection, depression, exploration, Graduate School, growth requires the temporary suspension of security, learning, life, love, loving, poly, polyamory, psychology, relationships, Sacred Erotic Psychology, sacred erotic somatic psychology, struggle, the only thing constant, thoughts, what am I calling my degree again?, will
I miss the feeling of steel encircling my neck. The weight of it made it difficult for me to sleep on my back, and I still have difficulty sleeping that way, even though it has now been over nine months since I last wore it. It lost its meaning long before that, though.
The garnets inlaid in the steel ring began falling out of it months before it stopped living on my neck. We replaced them, one by one, but they never stayed in place for very long. I knew that their falling out marked that the power dynamic we had crafted and worked to forge over so many years was beginning to end. We were both so tired of pushing and pulling and talking and talking and talking but never seeming to ever get what either of us wanted or needed from the other. There were problems and circumstances, as there always are. I’m sure I could have done many things better, but it was what it was.
I have only ever been good at service and surrender in my imagination, which was a large part of the problem. The reality of it has never quite worked out the way I see in my head. There is part of me that still yearns for it, though, that has always yearned for it. I’m yearning for it especially now that it has been absent for so long.
I’ve changed so much in the last few years, and so much more in the nine years since we first talked and in the nine months since I’ve not been wearing his collar. I wonder if I could do it right the next time, if I could dedicate myself to serving in whatever way I could make work. I wonder if I could surrender myself in the way that I crave and fantasize about. Or am I too stubborn, too bratty, too unreliable and unwieldy to ever experience what I really want. I wonder if I could actually do it, and I think I have changed enough that I could. I am better at relationships now, better at knowing and communicating my own desires. I have had glimpses of it in myself and see the potential of it there, but it’s never panned out in the past.
I’ve been working consciously on vulnerability, on opening up, on surrendering, but all of it outside of the confines of a power dynamic. I think that has been good in some ways, but the submission dimension of my life has been shut off for too long. I couldn’t make it work in the years that we tried, and so I abandoned the wanting of it long before nine months ago. In the last nine months, though, I let myself forget what it felt like to kneel at the feet of someone and pour myself into their hands. I let myself forget what it felt like to have consistent subtle reminders of being owned and loved in that way all in order to not allow myself to feel the pain of the loss of it.
I miss feeling owned. Claimed. Held. Treasured.
I want to sink into the comfort of the will of someone else and put myself aside with the trust that I will also be taken care of. In my work I get to do some of that now. I get to focus on what is best for them and put myself aside, but the reciprocity is purposefully not there. In the rest of my life, though, that aspect of it has fallen away.
I wonder if I have the time to add it back in, though. That’s the rub right there, I think: time. It seems that this would need to be with someone new. I’m fairly certain none of the people I’m currently seeing have the craving in them to be served in this way, or the time to make it happen themselves. Between school, work, and the partners I already have I don’t know how I could add someone else in to the mix like this, but I want to. I want to know, to figure it out. I have a wonderful girlfriend that I get to Top, and Onyx and I engage in kink and rough sex, but it’s really not the same. Due to how our lives are now I don’t think this is somewhere I can go with either of them, even though I would like that if it could happen. I could experience the occasional surrender with each of them, the bodily sexual experience of submission, but probably not the experience of a sustained power dynamic over time.
I do need to find another person to be with, in all this spare time. This deep need in me to submit isn’t getting met and doesn’t seem like it will any time soon. I would enjoy for that person to be one that I can lay myself bare to, and one that I could grow for as well as with, but this seems like it might be more work than I have the ability for. If nothing else I need someone to submit physically to regularly in a way that I am not experiencing, and maybe service in other arenas could be part of that as well.
Now that I am allowing myself to remember the longing for surrender, submission, and service that is within me it is beginning to feel overwhelming. I miss the warm feeling I would feel in my belly when kneeling next to him with my head against his thigh and his hand in my hair. The comfort of the heavy steel pressing on the nape of my neck. The feeling of being owned. Someday I’ll have that again.am I really a service submissive?, bdsm & kink, change, collars, conflicting desires and actions, desires, difficulty, fantasy, life, love, meditating on the will of someone else, mental bdsm, O/cp, obedience, Owner, relationships, service, submission, trust, want, will
Sometimes pleasure is really difficult to access. The more stress and overwhelmed I am the more I get away from those things that make me feel good, and, ironically, from those things that resource me. My unparalleled attention to detail combined with my overactive imagination and my tendency to over think gets me in trouble more than it helps.
In the last year I’ve been gutted, split from clavicle to navel and opened up so I could see what was inside. I’m still figuring out what I found there. I’m still figuring out how to integrate that knowledge, what to keep and what to discard. I always strive for change within myself and know I can be better, stronger, faster, but I am never satisfied no matter how far I’ve come.
Of the many relationships in my life (romantic and not, sexual and not) there are very few in which I feel truly seen, truly appreciated. There are some in which I feel suffocated by the projections bring placed on me by the other. There are some in which I am able to catch glimpses of recognition. Mostly, though, I don’t allow myself to be seen. I rarely feel safe enough to allow myself to be seen, but my idea of what safety looks like is a pretty narrow band.
I’ve been greatly inspired by the work of Brene Brown lately. I’m trying to allow myself to be more vulnerable, to open up more, but it feels so… open, exposed, and like the weaker position. I know it’s not weaker, but it is a less strategic position. It feels like a less powerful position, because if I just lay myself out there than the other person can poke at all my vulnerable exposed flesh and organs. They can do as they please, without reciprocating unless they feel like it.
I try too hard. I try to be what I think the other person wants more than I try to be myself sometimes. I’m not being inauthentic, but I am not authentically showing all of myself when I do this. My own fears and insecurities bubble up and I think I have to hide some part of myself or another in order to be liked, in order to be okay. Part of me knows I don’t need to do this, but part of me worries that if I show all of me to someone they will run away screaming.
Like anyone getting a Masters in Psychology I can trace this back down to childhood. I can point to the wherefore, but I can’t always identify it in the moment.
I keep reminding myself to expand when I get in this state, rather than contract. While there is a time and a place for contracting it doesn’t seem useful. I need to push past my level of comfort and allow myself to be open, be exposed, be real. I need to stop overthinking and just be. I need to confront the parts of me that tell me to contract, to shut down, that tell me I’m not not interesting enough or not worthy of the attention. I need to recognize that I am interesting, that what I have to say is important, that it isn’t selfish to talk about myself, that other people want to see me. I’ll get there eventually.Labels: change, fear, growth, growth requires the temporary suspension of security, life, overthinking, overthinking overanalyzing separates the body from the mind, psychology, relationships, surrendering to gravity and the unknown, vulnerability, worries
I didn’t realize how much this anniversary would hit me until today. It’s been creeping up on me slowly, and I kept looking at the calendar realizing it was coming, but the weight of it only recently sunk in. In a few hours it will be one year since my dad died (it was a little past midnight on the 6th, if I remember the time correctly).
He really was one of my closest friends for a lot of my life and someone I felt like I could share just about anything with. I’m grateful that before he died I was in a class called Family of Origin and I had many long conversations with him about his parents and life, things I had never known before. While a lot of our conversations were around mundane things like television shows and movies we were able to have deep discussions around spirituality, philosophy, sexuality, psychology, and other things not only beginning with s or p. He had a truly terrible sense of humor, full of puns and bad jokes (which I love and inherited less of than I’d like), and always knew how to make light of serious situations. He wasn’t always easy for me to be around, and we didn’t always get along, but I always knew he loved me and I always loved him.
I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to come out to him as queer and poly and grateful his reaction was neutral, but interested. He acted as if it was completely normal and/or not a big deal to be those things (which is true, but not all parents/people react that way). He supported me throughout my entire life in anything I did, both financially and emotionally; the greatest pain I’ve ever felt, aside from the loss of him, was the sting of his disappointment in me, which was luckily few and far between. When I experienced the complete devastation of the relationship I was in he bought me a plane ticket, no questions asked, and allowed me to live with him for four months. This allowed me the space and time to figure out what to do next. We grew closer during that time, which I really cherish and am so grateful for. He was an amazing father and an amazing man and he is dearly missed by me and everyone who knew him.
I’ve been so broken over the past year, but have begun the process of healing, and a lot of that is because of the support and love from a lot of you reading this. I’m letting myself feel the grief that I still hold, and will probably always hold, for how early his life was over, for my inability to call him up whenever the urge strikes me, and for the knowledge that I will not be able to share the future important moments of my life with him.
I’m not sinking into the grief again, but I’m allowing myself to feel it. Now I’m trying to honor him, his life, and what he always wanted for me: for me to be happy, be healthy, be myself, and do what I love today and the rest of my life.Labels: family, gratitude in grief, grief, life, the only thing constant is change
I’ve taken a break from the internet in the last few months, specifically this break has been from the online persona I have been developing on this blog since 2007. I experienced a mental breakdown of sorts, a deep depression that was catalyzed by the death of my father but had begun long before he passed. I had to step back from life and to go inside of myself. I no longer had the strength to keep moving forward so I stagnated for a while. It was necessary.
Life has been on an upswing for the last few months. All the things happened at once: I was beginning to feel like myself again, Stian and I were getting closer, and I began a few new relationships. Since then school has been figured out, I have a lot of ideas for the future and plans in that regard, and all my relationships are developing positively. More and more lately, however, I’ve been realizing just how much writing on here has meant to me, and I want to get back into it.
I have other ways of expressing and processing my thoughts and emotions now than I did when I began this blog. It is easier for me to talk openly and honestly about those things that are close to my heart. While that was a big part of my development of this blog it was not the only purpose of it. In my time away I’ve realized just how important writing is to me. I’ve had to do a lot of it in school, but that is less flow-of-consciousness writing and more actually-having-to-plan-things-out-and-be-organized writing. While I enjoy both types, there has been a distinct lack of the former in my life as of late. For a while I was so internal, so closed off, that I was unable to write, I was barely able to breathe. Now, though, I feel the desire to share pouring out of me.
Dance has become an integral part of my life experience in the last few months as well. For a long time I forgot how necessary it was to move my body in that way. I did a lot of dance when I was younger and I have wanted to take a class for years, but just never got around to it. I began taking a couple swing dance classes in November and began another three weeks ago. I hope to continue as best I can in the upcoming months, but travel plans will get in the way somewhat. I have aspirations of taking bellydance and burlesque classes as well, and who knows what else. It has become as important as sex to me, as important as breathing. I need to remember to dance, preferably every day.
What else has changed and shifted in the last few months since I have been away? I’ve been on a femme swing as well. My gender presentation has embraced femmeininity to the nth degree. I’ll certainly be discussing this in an upcoming post. Onyx and I have moved from being non-monogamous and theoretically poly to having other partners, and there have been shifts between us and our relationship as well both because of this change and because of the natural progression of our relationship to each other. Again, there will be a separate post. Or probably many separate posts.
There’s so much more needing to pour out of me, but this is where I begin again. This isn’t complete (is it ever?), but it is a (re)start.Labels: being in the moment, change, clearing triggers, connection, depression, disconnected, growth requires the temporary suspension of security, I probably should have posted about this sooner, it's good to be back, life, mental breakdown, moving forward, poly, relationships, ride the spiral to the end, school, shifts, thoughts, vulnerability, what I did on my vacation
I’ve mentioned this a few times in previous posts, but I am currently going to Graduate School. I am in the Integrative Studies in Psychology program at Antioch University Seattle studying the Psychology of Sacred Sexuality, or some combination of Pychology, Spirituality, and Sexuality (and probably gender too since I can’t do anything without gender). I don’t know exactly what my thesis will be on at the moment, I have about a year before I *really* have to know what that will be, but it will deal with those three or four topics in some way.
I am really loving this school. I’m near the end of my second quarter and aside from a lot of the shifts it has made to my own lifestyle and the workload being intense1 I am still happy with it and excited about it. I have recently finished a prospective timeline which will have me out of school in March of 2014, so I’ll take two and a half years to go through the program, which is about what is expected2. I’m planning on going for a Ph.D. afterwards, which will probably be in the Fall of 2014 to give myself a little break, but not much of one.
This program is very self-designed. I can do independent study classes and just about anything I would like to around Psychology, Sexuality, and Spirituality. I’m building off the existing Psychology & Spirituality degree (which is awesome), but adding my own twist to it bringing sexuality and gender into the mix. I’m probably going to be focusing on Depth and Transpersonal/Integral Psychology and looking at Sacred Sexuality from a variety of viewpoints.
I’ve already learned so much. That is cliche to say, perhaps, but very true so I don’t care. I love the amount of self-analysis I’m required to do in my classes (I know, shocking, I’m usually not one for self-analysis, right?) and although I’m not always doing as well as I would like to as far as keeping up with everything I’m still getting a lot out of it.
So, obviously my posting has been erratic in the last year or so. I have shifted a lot of my goals and aspirations for life in some ways and not in others and I have been processing events and feelings much more verbally these days than through writing as I used to. I think it’s a testament to how awesome my relationship with Onyx is at this point, we talk about anything and everything and rarely are able to hold on to something for very long if it is bugging us. I don’t feel the need to explain things on here before bringing issues to him, and there are far less issues than we used to have back in the day (though now the biggest issue for us is time, of course).
The drifting away I’ve done from this blog isn’t only because of what I wrote above. I start so many drafts it’s not even funny, but I have a difficult time finishing them and getting them actually posted. This is mostly because I keep telling myself that I can’t blog until I do this, that, or the other thing for school, and yet I then turn around and don’t get all my school work done. Sigh. I have plans, though, and I hope to achieve them some day.
- though no more than any other grad school, no doubt [↩]
- you could technically do it in two if you really wanted to rush it–I don’t [↩]
I missed my annual x-years-since-we-met post which would have been six and on July 28th like I did for five, four, and three (sorta, a little late on that one). I have talked about our anniversaries quite a few times over the years and wanted to make it a bit of an annual post, but this year I’m a little late for our meeting anniversary or our moving-in-together anniversary (August 26th).
The 19th of November, however, happened to be our (re-)collaring anniversary, the date he first collared me six years ago and the date he re-collared me last year. Saturday night we both took the night off and spent it together, although it didn’t quite turn out the way we were planning. There was going to be dinner at home, movie watching, snugging on the couch, beating, begging, and ass fucking, but many of those didn’t happen. Instead, Onyx came down with a horrible migraine complete with nausea, and at one point I also had an upset stomach and was otherwise generally low in energy. It wasn’t exactly the best night ever.
Still, we made the most of it, mostly just lots of snuggling on the couch while watching various things and some making out when we were both feeling better. At one point I put a blindfold on him… but that was to help with the migraine.
Despite the lackluster night we’ve been pretty great lately, really we’ve been great since March 2010 when I came back from Juneau. Sometimes I wonder how it can be this good, to be honest, so one unexciting night is to be expected every once in a while. One of these days I’ll get around to writing about the after work tradition we’ve started1, but until then I wanted to make up for my lack of yearly post.
We’re in our seventh year, which seems pretty remarkable, especially for someone who had never had a relationship last longer than about six months prior to this relationship2. We’ve both made mistakes, continue to make mistakes, will make mistakes, but it is our ability to get through those together that has kept us together. That and the massive amounts of work we’ve put into communication.
I love you, Onyx, and I look forward to every day I get to spend with you, my Owner, my Love, my Daddy, my friend.
- for those of you who don’t know, Onyx gets home from work around 7:30am, and I am usually fast asleep… feel free to imagine what we may have started doing. [↩]
- that would be me [↩]