People still aren’t talking about this. So I have to.
Rewind…I’m in eighth grade, on a date. It’s awkward and strange. A school dance with a cute girl who I had been friends with previously and who I am a little attracted to. We awkwardly dance around a bit, but never fully in our bodies following the song of our desires…we politely walk around the courtyard together where the dance is being held and we sit down and chat, but there is none of that JUICE of physical connection or emotional closeness that is the whole reward of a successful date.
I dig up the courage to reach out and grab her hand, and she takes it at one point, but nothing more than that. Nothing sexual, no kissing, no cuddling, nothing tender or rich, nothing deep or heartfelt…nothing raw and primal, nothing that opens my heart or my pants. Just. Slight. Handholding.
It was around the same time that I was spending roughly every afternoon after school watching channel 52, a channel we were receiving only barely – it was distorted and I had discovered access by accident and only with great difficulty – this channel contained a multi-colored array of bodies doing strange and novel things…my first introduction to sex, and nay even to relating to the opposite sex, was through masturbation to pornography. Artificially-created, commodified, simulated sex. Sometimes, I couldn’t even clearly see what they were doing! But still, what I could see turned me on, woke me up, and enlivened me. It’s funny how something so mangled and misaligned as PORN can still touch a drive so real and true as sex…and shock that awake in a way so subtle and yet so profound and powerful!
The reason I was so awkward with that woman on that date was because I was so alienated from the embodied expression of my own sexuality. It was something I only did, and could only do, ALONE…something that was shrouded in secrecy and that felt icky…and there was no one to talk to about how to do it right, or how to bring it up with members of the opposite sex, and certainly there were no clear models for effective or healthy expression at that point – other than seeing Captain Kirk on Star Trek, which had started my whole fascination with sexuality and romance et cetera at age three…but William Shatner has himself disavowed his fantastic and fictional portrayal of sexuality found there! (I know this because I asked him at a Star Trek convention recently). I was alienated from my own father at this time too, and had never received any indication of what to do with this part of me. So none of the models I had growing up were actually empowering or helpful.
I’ve seen this clearly: when I am not using pornography, I’m like a magnet for members of the opposite sex. I’m focused and clear, I’m on fire for life. The vibrant and vital experience of an erection sparked by a beautiful member of the opposite sex wakes my whole being up and makes me available for the possibility of connection, both emotional AND physical. One of my teachers once said that the greatest gift, the greatest compliment, you can give a member of the opposite sex is your hard cock (or your wet pussy, as the case may be). I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it certainly makes connection easier when you can discern the truth of your desire for it in your body!
Our problems individually and as a culture when it comes to sex and relationships stem largely from the existence and use of unhealthy social norms and confused cultural, parental, and religious messages around sex and relationships. Pornography is actually a symptom of this. And luckily, it’s the one that’s easiest and quickest (relatively speaking) to eliminate…it’s an emblem for the invasion of your mind by viruses around sex and relationships. It’s kinda like when you catch the flu by eating some contaminated food – you were happy and healthy one minute, munching on something that is delicious despite being covered in germs you can’t see, and now you’re in a pile on your bed coughing and your nose is filling with snot…that’s how most people are walking around when it comes to sex and relationships. They’re sick and they don’t even realize it. The food they were eating got them sick. The food they’ve eaten all their lives has been making them sick. They’re so sick they’ve come to live in that sickness as if it’s normal!
So the first thing to do, is STOP EATING THE FOOD. You need to detox your mind and your body from the contamination of unhealthy and inaccurate attitudes and programming around sexuality. Stop allowing other people – movies, TV, porn, parents, religion – to tell you what sex and what relationships to be having. Start clearing out your time and your energy of the unreal opinions of others. What you might think are facts are only opinions, and wrong ones at that!
Porn itself is unnatural, unhelpful, disaffecting, disconnecting, depersonalizing, a waste of sexual energy that has almost always left me feeling like an addict – shameful about another loss of control and anxious about the impact it will have on my relationship, my energy, my performance, my presence, and my focus throughout the day – all of these and so many more aspects of my life are reliably diminished and negatively-impacted through any orgasmic use of pornography, for me. Most people who use it are numb to these impacts, operating at a diminished capacity, because it’s so pervasive in their daily lives.
In contrast with my awkward date above, I’ve had more sex more easily and more intimate and satisfying connection, since I made a point to not use porn. My engagement in conversations with people who I’m attracted to is vibrant, electric, effortless, and natural. My involvement in my own life and taking consistent action on what matters to me is just as vibrant. My satisfaction with both is my own and no one else’s, in aligned harmony with my understanding of my highest good and my willingness to bring that about day-in and day-out.
My client who took my coaching and ran further with it than I ever had, Ben, is amazing. The reason he created more, and more quickly, than I ever had in the realm of dates and relationships (and every area of life besides) is because he was storing, channeling, husbanding, and harvesting the rewards of using his sexual energy wisely – avoiding not just porn, but even orgasm. It seems like, at our highest expression, we are meant to be conserving sexual energy and circulating it throughout our bodies, not tossing it and sperm at every pretty picture on the Internet that deceives our brain into believing we’re having sex.
Now, I’m not going to tell you not to masturbate or orgasm – that’s, as they say in the nofap community, “hard mode.” I’m not going to tell you you need to do the whole 90-day detox I did from all sexual and romantic stimuli. No, instead I’m just going to challenge you to take ONE step into that much larger world and stop using porn. You’ll be amazed at how your desires change, at how you start to view yourself and members of the opposite sex differently, how you are on fire in all areas of your whole life.
Sure, there will always be those higher levels of activation of your sexuality – starting from your average porn-using level, advancing up to being in the world without porn, to being without traditional ejaculatory orgasm and instead having multiple non-ejaculatory orgasms while retaining semen…but moving up that scale takes work, time, patience, accountability, and – in a word: a coach.