Something that is interesting in sexual connection is the sense of responsibility that is often present. Often this is directed to pleasure, or to the “goal” of a peak orgasm. One common responsibility is to try to give our lover pleasure or to give them an orgasm. Or the converse intention can exist….trying to gain one’s own pleasure or orgasm out of an encounter.
The trouble with these two approaches comes when there is any sense of disconnect….if I give up my own pleasure to try to give you pleasure, then there will be disconnect between us. Or if I am not interested at all in your experience and am just there to have my own orgasm, there is also disconnection between us. I am just masturbating together with you, rather than making love with you!
Trying in itself can be a huge block! Trying often stops things from happening, because we are 100% active and there is no possibility to receive. A large portion of the ancient Taoist oracle, the i ching, is dedicated to grasping when to act (yang) and when to receive (yin), and more importantly, how to let these two dance together.
It can come to the point in which one or both of the lovers are trying so hard to make something happen, that there is no space for magic to unfold. The whole sexual act becomes too yang, too controlled. Without some space for surrender, no deep magic can occur, and certainly no transcendence. At best there will be a relief at the end.
I met a lover once who went to another extreme…he felt that each was responsible for their own pleasure and so he would encourage his lover to self-pleasure whilst he self-pleasured and then come together at some point for penetration. The result was again that a certain connection was missing. There were two separate energies doing their own thing, rather than two energies coming together in divine union.
It is indeed important that we can take responsibility for our own pleasure…that alone we can self-pleasure and learn of our bodies, our pleasure and our energy. The Taoist solo practices consist of meeting self-pleasure with total awareness, and it is deeply empowering to know one’s own sexual energy. However, solo practices are preparation, but they are not for union itself.
Coming together with a beloved is not the same as two people self-pleasuring at the same time. There is now the opportunity for connection, for two energies to meet and mingle and dance together; to energetically co-create something greater than one could create alone. And a big question is how to allow for divine union without trying too hard? How do we drop trying without becoming passive?
A lot of Tantra is about making space. We use ritual to create a space between lovers. We create a beautiful physical space for meeting with our lovers. We may use a simple tool such a breathwork to make the space for energy to move. The actual magic is received; it is not actively made to happen. We may light candle, bow in Namaste to our lover, sit in yab-yum posture together and begin to breathe together…but those actions are only to make space. The space is then filled with whatever happens, beyond our control or planning. It will spontaneously arise, uniquely between two people and uniquely in each situation. If it could all be planned out to detail, making love would certainly not be so fun!
Tantra is quite mindful of creating space (and these spaces do not have to be heavy and serious; they can also be playful and fun). When you look at the popular social scenes, a lot of it is about creating the space for experience to happen: bars, dancing, sexy clothes, low lights…all of these have evolved to create space for potential connection, possibly leading to sexual union! Many tantricas simply do this with strong intention and consciousness.
Which leads onto the subject of intention, closely aligned with taking responsibility. Intention is a non-invasive form of yang. It is about setting direction, but then surrendering to receive what comes. If someone is absolutely fixed on the idea of having an orgasm in a certain way, then that is excessively yang. If however, the intention is set for opening oneself and one’s beloved, then there is still plenty of space to allow for what arises in the moment and for what is naturally unfolding.
A great way to explore responsibility is to set up different scenarios with one’s lover. A simple, but profound, session is for one person to completely receive and one to give, or to direct the energy. In this you may discover that you find is easier to give than to receive or vice versa.
You may also notice subtleties, such as trying too hard, or being too passive when you are the giver. Perhaps you lose connection with yourself when you pleasure a partner, feeling disconnected, or even resentful. Perhaps you are afraid of “failure”, and so stay passive.
As a receiver you may find it hard to surrender. Maybe you want to tell them what to do (a form of staying in control). Or maybe you suffer through discomfort without letting them know. Do you fake your pleasure at all? Do you tense up? What happens to your breathing?
Because these sessions can bring up a lot of things, it can be a good idea to “hold” them as a session and not just as love-making. It is powerful to sit together first, to bow in Namaste, and then one by one to speak you intention, fears and boundaries about the session. Afterwards there can be a space for sharing, though it is important to be very sensitive.
Example of creating the space together:
The couple, sitting on cushions on their bed facing each other, bow in Namaste
It is important for the receiver to speak their boundaries completely and clearly before the session. If one waits until the partner crosses a boundary, you then make them “wrong” and this can have the effect of them pulling away because they feel rejected. It is a very sensitive area, and so rather than telling someone off, it is much much better to speak your boundaries first. This is why it is essential to know your own body and energy before connecting with someone else. Once a session begins, then you can relax completely because you have already shown your boundaries, so now you can relax and enjoy.
Take care when sharing afterwards to speak of your own experience and not make your partner wrong. “I notice I am tense and having difficulty letting go” instead of “you are not making me relaxed”. Again this is a matter of responsibility, and not making our experience our partner’s responsibility. Most likely, if we do not relax during a session, we are trying too hard or too attached to a fixed outcome.
This kind of held session can really help us to discover so many aspects of the interplay of yin and yang. If we are stuck in just one (maybe we give easily but cannot receive) then these two forces cannot play freely during love making. If both partners can allow both flows of energy, then this stops the whole love making from becoming one partner’s responsibility.
Ultimately the sense of responsibility can completely dissolve away, making a dance with no dancer. If a couple make it their intention to meet, to connect, on the deepest level, then the energy flows by itself. There is no doer, and no-one being done! Instead of using our yang, our action, to try to make something happen, we use our yang to make a space, to create connection which then allows for happening.
Our yang, our inner masculine, then becomes about showing up and holding space. Our yin, our inner feminine, becomes about surrendering and receiving. The yang builds the container. The yin fills it. And ultimately the yin and the yang dissolve into the space beyond duality. There is no-one there anymore to be responsible…only two people in deep surrender to the mystery; the Divine playing through itself. Love making is then a divine unfolding, total bliss, an act of worship of what Is. The paradox is that we cannot make this happen by volition, for it is when we get out of the way that we are graced.
© 2021. Shashi Solluna. All rights reserved.