The Way In
Excerpts from the first chapter of
The Art of Sexual Ecstacy
by Margo Anand
While making love or just afterward, have you ever wondered, "Isn't there more to sex than this?" Most of us have.
Have you ever felt incomplete during sex because your partner has already "landed" before you have even had a chance to "take off"?
Have you ever felt bored with sex in a long-term relationship and found yourself wishing you could recapture the passion that used to make sex between you so exciting?
Have you ever wished to be touched at the core of your being, yet felt afraid to open yourself up and be vulnerable?
Have you ever glimpsed an ecstatic moment in love and later felt that you didn't know the way back?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you sense intuitively the value of peak experiences in lovemaking -- those special moments, either preceding or during orgasm, when you feel transported beyond the limitations of your personal problems and preoccupations. Suddenly you are flying; you feel gloriously alive, filled with light and laughter, at home in a moment that seems to go on forever, in a space that fills you with awe. It is these rare, intense, often unexpected experi-ences that awaken fresh energies and inspire feelings of closeness and gratitude between you and your partner.
As a psychologist specializing in enhancing sexuality, I have worked with thousands of people around the world who have come to me because they want more out of their love lives. Most either have had peak experiences through sex or feel intuitively that they are achievable.
Because we know such moments are possible, each time we enter into lovemaking, we secretly hope that this time we will enjoy them again. We hold the vision of a deeply fulfilling and joyful embrace, in which the vibrant pleasure of the body encompasses the delight of the heart, the meeting of minds, and the mutual recognition of kindred spirits.
Such moments are often described as "a sense of flow." When you let yourself relax into a flow your body knows what to do before your mind thinks about it. You forget everything else, you are totally absorbed. Time seems either to stand still or to move very fast. Your perceptions are expanded. The touch of your lover's hand can send ripples of delight all the way down to your toes. In the embrace of a loved one, you feel floated out of self and time. Naturally, easily, you move into the state of relaxed awareness comparable to meditation.
Such peak moments leave unforgettable memories, and most of us yearn to find this ecstatic sense of flow again. Yet normally we are unable to do so because we lack the cultural context in which to understand it and the personal skills with which to cultivate it.
My first peak sexual experience took place in Paris, France, my hometown, when I was 18 and set me off on a course of study and teaching that I have pursued ever since. At the time I was very much in love with a young American artist named Robert. He certainly fit the all-American male image: tall, strong, good-looking, and more than capable of sweeping me off my feet. Sex between us was raw, primal, and wild, fulfilling my adolescent dreams of how a "real man" should behave with his woman. I was studying yoga at the time, however, and was beginning to experience some subtle dimensions of feeling-quiet, medi-tative, serene moods -- and soon I began to wonder what it would be like to integrate these states into my sex life.
I spoke about my feelings one evening during our lovemaking. We were having sex in the usual energetic way, when I said, "Robert, please slow down; let's try something new." We stopped and simply relaxed; staying bonded together with Robert still inside me. I was lying on top. I felt excited because I had initiated something new, removing his respon-sibility for making something happen. There was a subtle switch of roles, and I felt him shift into a more feminine, receptive attitude. We remained like that for many minutes, relaxed while at the same time feeling the excitement of sexual arousal in our bodies. I soon felt a kind of warm, glowing energy beginning to diffuse itself through my whole pelvic area.
We wanted to maintain sexual arousal, so when the excitement began to fade, we returned to our usual style of active lovemaking. Then, just before the peak of orgasmic release, we stopped, relaxed, and became still once more. We repeated this pattern several times, and then some-thing totally unexpected happened. Suddenly we both seemed to be floating in an unbounded space filled with warmth and light. The boundaries between our bodies dissolved and, along with them, the distinctions between man and woman. We were one. The experience became timeless, and we seemed to remain like this forever. There was no need to have an orgasm. There was no need even to "make love." There was nothing to do, nothing to achieve. We were in ecstasy.
After that extraordinary experience I tried many times to recapture the ecstasy in our lovemaking but without Success. Robert quickly forgot about it, but I began to feel that ordinary genital orgasm was not the on1v desirable state to which lovemaking could lead. Like many others, I felt the frustration of loving at 10 percent of my potential. I recognized that the pleasure of routine or recreational Sex was not the ultimate pleasure; indeed, it was just a beginning. How would it be, I wondered, if during lovemaking one could consistently re-create the conditions that led to bliss? I decided to search for ways to cultivate ecstatic states in conjunction with the sexual experience.
For the next 15 years, I explored the great traditions of ecstatic sexuality. What I discovered and developed is a unique path to sexual ecstasy that I call High Sex. It is this path that I teach as a complete practice in this book. It emerged gradually through my study of various traditional and innovative sexual practices in the East and in the West, on three continents. Far from being complex and esoteric, High Sex is a simple, step-by-step process that is accessible to anyone who wants to find a gentle and conscious way of bringing the spirit back into Sex, of honoring sexual union as a bridge between body and soul.
High Sex takes the experience of orgasm to a new dimension -- a dimension in which genital orgasm is only the beginning. It inspires you to explore the full capacity of orgasm, culminating in ecstatic body to- body and soul-to-soul communion. It is an experience of the whole body, the whole being. The path of High Sex helps your body to be free of tensions, your heart to be trusting and open, and your mind to develop such psychic skills as visualization, imagination, and meditation. When this integration has taken place, you are ready for a new qualitatively higher sexual experience in which physical Pleasure becomes 1 delight of the heart and an ecstasy of the spirit.
The course on sexual ecstasy that I have developed teaches you how to contain the energy charge that erotic arousal generates, which is normally concentrated in the genitals, and to consciously redirect it through the body using subtle channels that are comparable to the meridians in acupuncture. When this energy reaches the heart and head. A whole range of peak experiences becomes available. Orgasm is experienced as ecstasy, pleasure floods through every pore of your body, your heart dances with delight, you feel contentment and peace, and your energy is expanded beyond the boundaries of your body.
This experience is not, as many people believe, beyond the reach of ordinary human beings. Ecstasy is a state as natural as sleeping or breath-ing. It is our birthright. As children we are born ecstatic. The world is a place of wonder. We are not separate from things but intuitively and profoundly connected to what is around us. In growing up, we lose this sense of unity as we adapt to the cultures that surround us and separate ourselves from the fullness of life. According to R. D. Laing, a psychia-trist who has given much attention to ecstatic states, "To adapt to this world, the child abdicates its ecstasy." We simply forget.
By emphasizing ecstasy, High Sex distances itself from the so-called sexual revolution that began in the 1960s. That revolution was about access. It was a rebellion against the puritanical attitude that made sex forbidden outside the context of marriage. Instead, sex was freely ex-plored for its own sake. Through the sexual revolution, more people felt better about having more intercourse with more partners in more ways. Thousands of books and articles told us to have more intense orgasms, to multiply their number, to coordinate them between partners, and to extend them.
For many people those goals were accomplished, but as psychologists, sociologists, and others have pointed out, this access to orgasm has not brought about long-term satisfaction, physically or emotionally. Somehow, "having" sex, as one "has" other things, seems to be self-limiting. Using sex for relief, entertainment, or reassurance that one is attractive appeals to needs generated by the ego but diverts attention from our real sexual potential.
Today the issue no longer is access to sex, but a transformation of sex; it is no longer transitory pleasure for its own sake, but a recovery of our ecstatic self in love. We need to bring the spirit -- the inspiration to manifest our highest potential -- back into sex. We can discover erotic bliss not by separating sex from other higher purposes and treating it as recreation only, but by cultivating the art of sexual ecstasy to reach higher states of consciousness and in this way deepening our intimacy with our loved ones.
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