Recently I had a conversation with a private client. She told me she stopped masturbating because it was just too hard.
When we first started working together, she told me her main struggle in sex was her inability to let go and enjoy the moment. She spoke about having to concentrate very hard to reach orgasm, and if she was with a partner, she had to disconnect and separate from that person to climax.
She spoke at length about not knowing what was happening in her body, feeling disconnected from her own personal physical experience. When we worked together in person, she struggled to describe the sensations and emotions she was feeling in the moment of internal curiosity.
When I asked what was hard about masturbating, she told me that she just kept crying, feeling overwhelmed with sadness. When I asked what her intention was for her time, she told me she wanted to be open and present to her feelings.
I celebrated her win. She frowned.
She said, “How do I get past feeling so awful?”
Why would I celebrate her feeling sad?
If you’ve spent minutes, months, or decades living only in your rational, logical, intellectual mind, divorced or disconnected from truly inhabiting your body, it only makes sense that the first kinds of sensations and emotions you might feel are grief, sadness, or emptiness. I celebrate because the sadness that has been pushed down, suppressed, and hidden away is finally having the chance to leave your body.
The truth is, we live in a society that doesn’t teach us HOW to process our feelings. At early ages, we learn that little boys are not allowed to cry because it makes them weak, while girls are allowed to cry because they are already perceived as weak (and emotional). Yet, as adults, women are supposed to put away their emotions when they enter the workforce, (in many cases to be more like men), while men’s predominantly accepted emotion in both public and private is rage. (And this is just the basics for the gender binary paradigm.)
So, when people of any gender come to see me and we start touching the sadness, grief, and despair, I celebrate. Because, congratulations, you are expanding your range. You are letting yourself actually FEEL.
When we humans let ourselves feel the grief of all the times we’ve held back or been hurt, when we’ve brushed off our frustration as “no big deal” or endured sex or touch with someone when we didn’t want it, when we let our sadness have some space, we HEAL. Plain and simple.
The path to profound states of erotic bliss, ecstatic embodiment, sexual satisfaction, compelling relationships, and audacity in your sacred purpose MUST include healing.
We just cannot heal without feeling and letting the sadness out. We cannot heal without acknowledging the profound depth of emotion in our human experience. We cannot heal if we keep suppressing our tears, our grief, and our longing.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with sadness and grief when you masturbate, keep going. Get naked, touch your body, roll around in your freshly cleaned sheets, dance naked in front of the mirror, and keep making friends with your erotic body.
When you stop doing this, you damn up the opening that lets out the grief and lets in the love.
Yes, it will be challenging. Yes, you may want to turn away. Yes, you may even curse me or someone else in the process. That is OK.
Masturbation (and sex) isn’t always going to be fireworks, shooting stars, and an inter galactic merging with the cosmos. Sometimes, it is flat and boring, frustrating and dull. Sometimes, it feels like you’re writhing in the black hole of your own despair, while trying to remember that you’re gonna be OK.
When you keep going, when you try again tomorrow and next week and the week after that, this is how you break through to the other side. This is how you feel more connected to your body, your pleasure, and your desire. This is how you begin to understand just how powerful and worthy you are.
This is how you do self-love.
Recognize that you might go from numb to hurting before you get to neutral. From neutral, you may go back into tenderness and frustration before you read feeling good. You may spend lots of time at neutral or mediocre goodness before you can catapult into awesome. All this capacity building gets you to amazing, exhilarating, and ideal. Celebrate your progress throughout the feeling process.
To stop just won’t get you where you want to go. To expect that you’ll go from numb to exquisite in 2 months or 10 attempts simply puts too much pressure on your precious soul.
So, don’t give up. You deserve to let go of the grief, to restore your resilience, to come home to your body, and give yourself the gift pleasure and possibility.
Stay in your practice.