I grew up believing that when it comes to sex, more is better and that every opportunity presented was meant to be gratified. That’s what being a man was all about.
Sadly, This belief left me disinterested in encouraging intimacy with my partner that did not end with intercourse. I felt depleted, sad, and unfulfilled in my life.
My sex life improved when I stopped responding to every sexual urge and fantasy. I became aware of how the fantasies in my mind and the development of my nervous system had conditioned sexual habits that drained the vitality and creativity from my youthful existence. As an adult, my imbalanced sexual energy led me deep into frustration, anger, resentment and an inability to be present with my family.
I grew up in the early years of easy-access internet porn. For a budding adolescent, it was a free for all. Home alone after school, a room all to myself and all the sexual stimulation I could dream of. I was also tremendously anxious, always listening for my father to come home from work, always looking over my shoulder, ready to hit the eject button from my fantasy world of excitement and pleasure. My innocent childhood escape from an abusive and scary reality would become the material for my journey into Manhood.
My relationship with porn ended permanently around the age of 20, however, my intimate sexual relationships carried the undertone of shame and frustration, as I was totally helpless against pre-mature ejaculation. At best my sexual explorations with women would last a few minutes. My value as a man was determined by my ability to not only last with my partner, but to provide pleasure as well. I was not able to match the fantasies that I had witnessed countless times in the videos I had watched as a teenage boy. I felt insecure around other men, imagining that they were all Casanovas, experts in the art of pleasure. This struggle and self-ridicule was an undercurrent as I entered into marriage and fatherhood.
In the beginning of my journey of healing, I did not have the patience and commitment necessary to take on the work of over-hauling my subconscious urges and patterns. With my wife, I was constantly turned on and this put strain on our relationship; I felt that my arousal must always lead to sexual gratification and I placed the responsibility of meeting those needs upon her. When she “wasn’t in the mood”, I would become irritable, unstable and insatiable, unable to focus on anything but my immediate needs for release.
Slowly however, I grew tired of the same old feelings of being at the mercy of my own energy. I put more effort into understanding my sexual energy and the power that my body is capable of generating. I wanted more, not only with regards to intimacy but also from life. Sexual energy, I learned, could become a constant source of creativity and clarity, of life force and drive and I wanted to be able to harness this resource to be a better husband, father and human being.
The first major step was to retrain my body’s impulse to ejaculate. This requires patience and self-encouragement. It also initiated a deeper conversation with my wife, where I opened to be more vulnerable and honest about my insecurities. That was terrifying, admitting that I felt lacking and ill equipped for lovemaking. We started working together and she fully supported my journey and the practices that I was integrating. I went through periods where I would have intercourse in my dreams followed by night emissions or “wet-dreams”. I felt embarrassed. As my practice progressed, the dreams altered as well and I would find myself withholding ejaculation while fast asleep. Progress. I was becoming more sensitive and aware of the kinds of thoughts I was allowing to germinate in my mind. The dreams continued to morph to where I was rejecting the opportunity to engage sexually with women altogether. I began to feel more patient in my daily life, more energy, focus, and more synchronicity with my wife.
Redesigning my subconscious has been a journey; not constant progress. I have fallen backwards at times, felt discouraged and inadequate. I have berated myself for slipping up. Through it all, I have learned to listen more closely to the rhythms of a greater intelligence, the union of masculine and feminine, and recognize that intimacy and sex, is not always the same thing. I can embrace my wife without uncontrollable arousal or fantasy of where a kiss might lead. For me, this has been the true journey into Manhood. Tempering my energies, learning to dance with the fire of sexual potency and possibility to channel this force into refining myself as a human being.
I appreciate physical touch. My wife desires connection. Often this looks like embracing for several minutes, just curled up in each other’s arms. Other times we share contact as we pass each other in our home. Physical connection and the recognition that our bodies are not isolated, but are woven together energetically, is the underlying truth; this is what allows us to keep our fire lit, reminders that if we do not add wood, the fire may go out. When that fire wants to roar however, we are present together enjoying the heat and losing ourselves in the great cosmic dance.
I am Grateful for the journey, and hope that as more men become aware of how they are showing up in the world, that we do not shy away from the challenging conversations about what is means to take responsibility for ourselves, including our sexual energy.