The Erotic Gateways of Sexuality
Embodied Intimacy from the Ground Up Series
May day is the perfect moment to dive into the discussion of erotic gateways in this from the ground up series. The first day of May is the fertile, blooming gateway into the fullness of summer. Let’s step over this threshold and discover what turns you on and inspires pleasure and purpose in your life.
Do you know what turns you on? What does it mean to be turned on? Notice the image that pops up immediately when I ask this question – and the corresponding body sensations that arise. Do you notice a softening and warming of your core and pelvis? Do you also notice tightness in your stomach or fluttering across your chest? Pleasure, both the experience and the thought of it, is complex. The complexity of pleasure is not a problem. It is an opportunity to refine our knowledge and experience of ourselves – an internal compass keeping us on a trajectory of health and evolution. (I’ll talk more about the complexity of pleasure next month.)
At the beginning of this series, I wrote about the sexual excitation system (SES) and the sexual inhibition system (SIS), as described by Emily Nagoski. These two systems are continually in a dance together – excitation (the turn-on) interweaving with inhibition (the turn-off). Both of these systems have wisdom for us; the SES gives us the experience of pleasure and longing, that delicious sensation of being drawn out to merge our senses with the environment, while the SIS reminds us of our boundaries and edges and teaches us what we need to fully open and surrender to the erotic moment. The things that allow us to actively engage with this dance are our erotic gateways.
What are Erotic Gateways
An erotic gateway is anything that engages our ability to access erotic mindfulness – our ability to access timeless enjoyment of our senses in the present moment. We all have a few erotic gateways, though many of us have more effective gateways than we think. Erotic gateways show up in four categories: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Here are a few questions to help you create your inventory:
- Think beyond the sexual realm: What are the tastes, smells, or sounds that relax and expand your senses? Think delicious food, essential oils, music, etc.
- What are the fantasies that ignite your pelvis with heat? This could be a sexual fantasy, an immersive, non-sexual fantasy, or a combination of both.
- What are the activities that immerse you in the present moment and banish the running “to-do” list? Perhaps yoga, dancing, art-making, cooking, etc.
- Where are the locations (mountain trail, ocean, fine dining, festival, backyard garden, etc.) that make life feel more vivid?
- What type of touch invites your skin to reach out and touch back? Playful nudging, light touch, being restrained, etc.
Take a look at what you’ve listed in answer to these prompts. Are you surprised by anything? This is your palette, your erotic repertoire that is available to you at any time. I recommend engaging with your erotic gateways on a daily basis to incorporate a relationship with pleasure and generative inspiration. Rather than moving through your life making decisions based on avoidance of discomfort or mitigation of anxiety and fear, your can learn to move from the core of your body toward what feels good to you. Engaging with your erotic gateways is a path of combining sensation with deep feeling toward personal empowerment and ultimate validation of your permeability and agency of being in a human body. As Audre Lorde, an activist for erotic and personal empowerment says:
“Recognizing the power of the erotic within our lives can give us the energy to pursue genuine change within our world, rather than merely settling for a shift of characters in the same weary drama.” -Audrey Lorde (1984)
I hope that you and your partner will join us for the upcoming Couples Workshop journey! We will explore erotic gateways and so much more! Details for registration found below!
Saturday, May 20th 2017, 1 pm – 5 pm
Maitri Yoga Center
9000 W. 88th Ave, Westminster, CO 80005
Workshop Investment: $195 per couple