Michael Kimmel | Life Beyond Therapy
You never know where you’ll get good advice.
I was having a conversation with my mom and she told me how much she wanted to see the latest “Twilight” movie. I was surprised. Mom lives in a ghost town in Arizona that’s really far from a movie theater. For her to see any movie involves a long drive. “Twilight” wasn’t a movie that I expected her to be excited about.
I haven’t seen any of the “Twilight” movies, but according to Mom, “Twilight” shows us two extremes for sexuality: (1) Deny your sexual energy, be afraid of it and repress it, or (2) Do whatever you want sexually, let it rip. I would call the first what Freud named the “superego” and second what he calls the “id.” Teenagers want to let the id call all the shots, but their parents are the voice of the superego, telling them, “No, you can’t do that.”
The “ego” is Freud’s idea of the adult, mature balancing act that finds the middle ground between the extremes. Our ego wants us to feel good about ourselves and our sexual energy, and to express it in ways that honor ourselves and the people we are sexual with.
The id would have us hookup, use each other to get off, and be done with it. The superego wants us to never have sex, labeling it as bad, dirty and something to avoid. We need a healthy ego that allows us to enjoy sex and enjoy our bodies, while containing our sexual energies so we don’t just go acting out sexually all over the place.
Anonymous sex addicts, I’m talking to you.
There is a tendency I observe in our community to over-identify with the body, including how it looks and what it desires. But we are much more than our body; we are intelligence (head), emotions (heart) and physical desires (body). I call these the Three Musketeers, and their motto is “One for all and all for one.”
When the head, heart and body work together, sex can be amazing. You can connect with your partners intellectually (“I like and respect you”), emotionally (“I really like being with you”) and physically (“My body is excited by you”).
What could be better than experiencing all three of these at once?
Tantric sex has a similar focus: balancing sexual activity between expression and containment, quietude and excitement. Tantric sex urges us to connect to our partner spiritually as well as physically so that sex is a great adventure shared intimately by two or more people.
Back to “Twilight.” Mom said, “In the ‘Twilight’ movies, blood is a symbol of life energy and power. The people in the movie have to learn to hold and contain this energy. They have to learn to work with it, make peace with it. They have to learn to be right on the edge of it and experiment with it.”
This sounds like what the Body Electric Workshop calls a full-body orgasm: your body energy is raised to a high pitch but you don’t actually orgasm or ejaculate. It’s more about feeling totally alive than it is about getting off.
Let’s be honest, it’s not difficult to get off. You can always find a willing partner somewhere. What I’m talking about here is becoming a connoisseur of your own sexuality; an expert at giving and receiving sensuality and pleasure.
Doesn’t that sound a lot more pleasurable than just getting off?
Take it from Mom and “Twilight.” Learn to hold and work with your sexual energy so you don’t just act out. Leave behind the teenaged sex life, with virtually no impulse control, and embrace a sexual life that awakens all aspects of yourself and offers a whole range of sensations, from gentleness to wild abandon.
I guess, in this case, Mom knows best.
—Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals and deal with anxiety, depression, grief, sexually addictive behavior, coming out, relationship challenges and homophobia. Michael is currently accepting new clients. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit lifebeyondtherapy.com.