What constitutes 'sex' for you?
But then, what IS sex? Why is it so hard to separate sensuality, embodiment and sensory experience from sex?
The simple answer is that all those things mentioned above are part of your sexual experience, but sexual experience is not always part of those other experiences. Think of it like this: Water, tea leaves and heat are all part of a cup of tea, but they also exist without the cup of tea.
We need to be able to feel the constituent elements of the experience we call sex on their own, so that ‘having sex with someone’ does not equal sensuality or embodiment, but sees them as independent experiences that play a part in having sex.
More importantly, you’ll have to define what exactly constitutes ‘sex’ for you! When do your actions cross the line between ‘being touchy feely’ and ‘having sex’? There are so many thoughts on this subject that it is impossible to tell at which point ‘sex’ begins: it’s different for each of us. Where do you draw the line? Do you have to be naked? Does it need to involve more than one person? Does it have to involve genitals or penetration? Do you have to be close to each other, either physically or emotionally, or both?
Approaching this from the other side, we probably agree that hugging is not sex. But is that always the case? What about caressing or massaging someone?
I want to float the idea that it is less about the action and more about the intention: I can give my auntie Doris a friendly hug, and that hug is VERY different from hugging a boyfriend in the middle of an extended sexual moment. Massage is similar: a sports massage has a very different intention from a tantric massage. Expectations and intended outcomes are different!
After this introduction I have some homework for you this time: ask yourself properly “what constitutes sex for me personally, where am I switching in or out of ‘sex’ mode?" You’ll be surprised at just how hard it is to define those boundaries. Good luck!
Beyond simply “not lying,” practicing satya means living in a way that aligns with your own highest truth. It's about being honest with yourself, honest with others, and refraining from judgment — making sure that you speak and act with thought and intention (not just saying whatever is on your mind).
This entails that you need to be very clear about your own highest truth, right? But have you ever really given any thought to those absolute truths you hold dear? This kind of truth goes way beyond “I want my pay check to be enough to be good for another month and save a bit on the side” or “I want to be healthy”. We are firmly in the territory of “what is it that ensures my happiness long term?”, “how do I want to be as a human being?”, and ultimately as far as “where am I not truthful to myself?”
This is about norms and demands we put on ourselves, and how we perceive ourselves with regard to being able to uphold those norms and fulfil those demands: how truthful are you to yourself when it comes to judging your behaviour against your own standards? Don’t you occasionally slip and tell yourself that something has been more successful than it really was? Or have you not found on occasion that what you took as a good result for yourself ultimately didn’t hold up to your imagined outcome, and yet you quickly decided that it was good enough?
There is something to be said for ‘good enough’, as long as you are not being untruthful about it. ‘Good enough’ is okay unless you lie to yourself in the face of hard evidence telling you otherwise. It’s about proper alignment of what you believe is true with what you see is true. In the end, being truthful is something that starts with yourself: if you are lying to yourself, how can you be completely truthful to others about anything?
This is where satya starts: right here, in your own mind, with your own thoughts and actions. And then it radiates out to all those around you. So be truthful in your ideas, thoughts and assessments of what is real, and act accordingly.
These are my own thoughts on aspects of my work I feel strongly about.