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!
These are my own thoughts on aspects of my work I feel strongly about.