Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be tied up and tickled until your body just gives in? Or maybe you are thinking more along the lines of being flogged or [fill in your particular idea]. On the other hand, perhaps your fantasy involves being handled with care: being washed with soft sponges by three boys at once and then sensually massaged with sweet-smelling oils? Either way, I’m sure we all conjure up all kinds of scenes in our minds on occasion.
Some – I would even presume many – of us do so not only in the privacy of our boudoirs when we are alone, but also when we are currently having a good time with another guy. Some of you may now feel a little cringy, even feel guilty for having done so while having sex with a guy and thinking about a completely different one… hold it right there, Diego! There is nothing wrong with fantasizing at any moment. Thinking about something hot and steamy during sex could simply be a way to make things even more enjoyable!
Don’t forget: it is extremely difficult to keep your mind on one task – just ask anyone who tried silent meditation for the first time and finding their mind drifting off in unexpected directions. Sex is no different in that respect: you may be fully engaged with your partner, but your mind is still akin to a roomful of wool and two dozen kittens!
Wouldn’t you agree that one focused supporting fantasy is better for your sex life than a distracted mind trying to sort to untangle dozens of thoughts? (insert kitten analogy here). I’d say: as long as you remain with your man of the moment and the fantasy does not take away from your engagement with him, all is well!
Next time you find your mind drifting into a particular fantasy, consider this: wouldn’t it be fun to ask your man to try that one out?
Some fantasies are worth living out. Some are just fantasies!
Sometimes we are confronted with something we do not really want to see and there are several ways to react to this: keep looking and be outraged, look away and be outraged, or look away and keep going about your business as you did before. All of those are common reactions, but they have very different effects on us.
Why bring this up in the context of conscious sensuality and tantra? In order to properly focus on your own experience, it is important to accept whatever someone else’s experience may be. If you have ever been to a group activity involving any kind of embodied experience – be that tantra, ecstatic dance, or similar – you may have seen things you did not expect: an unexpected erection or an unusual groany sound coming out of someone's throat. Or you may have seen someone else going into a state that made you cringe a little, or maybe even question what you were doing there. It is important to separate what you see other people experience from what you actually feel and do yourself. Find your own truth and let others do the same.
Looking at the three reactions mentioned above, the most upsetting one is actually to ‘looking away and be outraged’: it’s this reaction that has the biggest potential to fester and become an obsession, even a crusade against whatever that person has seen and was upset by.
Moving on: ‘looking while being outraged’ is an interesting one (and I would associate that with disaster tourism theory). Clearly, whatever that person sees holds a certain fascination and makes me wonder where the outrage actually comes from. Is it actually outrage at what they see? Or a sense of desire, exclusion, curiosity, shame or something else?
Option three – looking away and move on – appears to be the most sensible one. It indicates that someone has seen something, acknowledged it, dealt with it and moved on. Best result scenario if ever I saw one.
Sadly, either of these mindsets can be created even more easily by just IMAGINING something without even having seen it in person. That could explain the huge number of people who hold strong beliefs on all manner of subjects they never really experienced themselves.
Personally, I’m very much in favour of a fourth option: keep looking and enjoy. I believe this is the sign of a truly open mind, full of curiosity and acceptance of whatever others are doing and having fun with. And maybe even trying some of it out for yourself...
Check in with your reactions. Understand them and move on.
As you have probably understood by now, Tantra encourages a more subtle approach to your encounters with any partner(s). That does not take away lots of opportunity to ultimately shift towards the more rowdy, active, dominant or kinky side of things, but anyone who has encountered tantric teachings and incorporates them into their sexual encounters will often return to the softer approach.
And there I said it: “softer”! It is true that we get aroused by certain things, and that arousal often shows itself off with a rock hard erection. Nothing wrong about that! That is how things are and a physical encounter brings a physical reaction with it. However, looking at tantric practices during sexual encounters, things are a little different.
First and foremost, the tantric spirit is not just another form of physical experience in the first place. It’s about an internal process with a huge mental and spiritual element to it. Of course, your body might not understand at first that you are actually aroused if that arousal comes from within. Second, it takes a bit of effort to connect to your partner on an emotional level. Obviously, that removes some of the sheer raw animal side of any encounter. Your energy goes into that tantric element rather than the sheer bodily arousal.
Both these elements can make it more difficult to maintain an erection, and THAT IS OKAY. Of course, it’s ever so brilliant if you have one, but is that really the be all and end all of everything? Granted, sometimes having sex is about the act itself and fulfilling that urge, but if that is not the main driver and you simply want to have a good time with a man you like… an erection may or may not be necessary. So forget about performance anxiety: there are ways to make your man and yourself happy that do not require a hardon!
As gay men, we can be trapped by one particular belief: we imagine to know what our partners think about us, because it is easy to project our own wishes, fears, objections, hopes and insecurities onto our partner. He’s a man as well after all, and likely to have similar considerations. With a woman, you would think, this is a bit more complicated. While that last statement may hold some truth, the one about men is most certainly wrong!
Yes, of course he is another man, but what makes you think he feels, experiences, thinks the same as you do at any given moment? Ultimately, we all want to come out on the other end of a joyous sexual encounter thinking that we did well. But does ‘doing well’ always have to include a raging erection? Personally, I don’t believe it does, yet how many of you define their performance by having an erection all the time? The sales of erection-enhancing drugs tell a chilling tale of insecurity!
Is it really your partner’s experience that creates that insecurity in you? Or is it rather something that comes from inside yourself? Maybe you could take a good look and find out if what you believe is expected of you is really just in your head.
Look inside first of all, be yourself and forget what you believe your partner thinks
There are times when you have spent an afternoon or evening (or even days) with your partner and things just keep going for both of you – there simply never comes a moment when it feels natural to stop. Those are blissful times, and hopefully will never cease to return.
Nevertheless, at some point you may feel that you have had enough and need to be on your own, relax, reflect or you are simply sore (it happens). Those are moments when your mind is so entangled with your partner’s that it seems impossible to separate yourself from him. Maybe it even feels like a betrayal of your connection to even suggest that you’ve had enough and you want to stop. Have you been in that position? You probably have – I believe we all have been there at least once – but how did you solve the issue?
One way would be total honesty: just tell him how you feel and find a way to disentangle yourself from each other in a gentle yet definitive way. It’s all too easy to stay where you are and hang on ‘for just a little longer’. Here’s the thing: you have already clarified your needs and prolonging the separation more than necessary is ultimately going to hurt you both. My advice: when that time comes, be gentle but move forward swiftly.
The only other option is to NOT move on and continue until there is a natural break. Believe me, I have tried that and usually it fails: neither one’s needs are being met here. You had felt the need to interrupt and you now feel under pressure. He will sense that something is not going right and either feel self-conscious (maybe even somewhat disconnected) or oblivious to the situation and unlikely to help you out.
Clearly, the second scenario is utterly unhelpful and will only lead to heartbreak. The lesson here is simple: stick with your needs and make them known. Sometimes a short break is enough and you’ll be back. Sometimes you’ll shift your togetherness to having a hearty meal or a drink and a meaningful chat. Either way, you’ll both be better off: there will be other times to continue what you did together. In fact, it’s more likely if you stick with your needs, make them known to each other and listen to what the other has to say.
never be afraid to say what you feel
These are my own thoughts on aspects of my work I feel strongly about.