New Possibilities After a Diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction

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When I met Peter, he, like many older men, was struggling to embrace a new sexual identity. He had been referred to me by a sexuality therapist who felt that he needed a direct, interactive, hands-on approach to assist him in his quest to create an initiation into this new sexual identity.

Peter was in his sixties, a twice-divorced veteran recovering from a brain injury that had left him clinically diagnosed as impotent. Over the decade prior to his injury, his erections had become infrequent, and when he did have them they lacked the gusto of those of his twenties and thirties. After a cerebral hemorrhage in 2011, his erections ceased altogether. In spite of this, he remained optimistic that it was possible to recreate what sex was and could be for him. He was ready to empower his sexuality, rather than to see himself as diminished or victimized by circumstance. Inspiringly, he viewed his situation as an opportunity to create a sexual renaissance for himself  – a new golden age as he entered his golden years.

He confessed to me that, over the course of his life, he had never truly enjoyed sex. To some extent, he had seen it as a responsibility or a duty, one more thing he had to perform or achieve in a certain way to prove himself. As a result of this pressure, sex had been unsatisfying and he was uncertain whether he had ever been fully present for it. Sex had been angry and rage-filled at times. A military veteran, he held close the experience of war in his body and suffered from emotional, physical and spiritual numbness and PTSD for decades. Peter mentioned that anger felt like the only emotion he had been truly in touch with until his brain hemorrhage in 2011.

“Early trauma and war left me angry all the time. Anger was safe. I knew anger. It was almost a friend,” he told me. “But when I had my brain bleed, my entire life changed. Something shifted for me in my brain chemistry that affected my emotional body. I was able to access the places of emotion I used to have as a boy before trauma set in. Places of freedom, joy, wonder, curiosity, happiness.”

As he spoke, the excited young boy who had been lost since his early youth began to emerge, playful, curious and ready to engage.

From a place inside of him that had seen too much war and trauma, he told me: “Part of me for years was ‘Missing in Action’. I believe this brain injury has actually brought me into a state of grace. It gave me access to parts of myself and a wholeness that before was completely inaccessible. The brain injury also left me without access to the direct flow of energy to my genitals that make erections possible.”

“What a gift,” I said. “It looks like you’ll have the opportunity to expand your pleasure to your entire body. Most people never make it that far and their pleasure often stays trapped only in their genitals.”

His eyes twinkled.

“That’s why I’m here,” he said with a big smile.

“How do you want to feel in your sexual expressions, play and experiences?” I asked him.

“Free, connected, expressed … present. Like I don’t have to work. I want to play,” Peter told me sincerely.

Peter’s brain bleed had also apparently bled right out the angry warrior energy that had previously filled him. I suspected that this inner warrior had finally gotten so angry he just exploded, perhaps on an actual physical level causing the bleed itself. This was a classic opportunity for a shamanic reset in the system – an injury, ailment or illness that becomes an ally and offers us medicine that we need on in the deepest levels of our being.

I escorted Peter over to my floor palette futon and we began with a simple sitting meditation, noticing where sensation was present in our bodies and speaking out loud the sensations we were experiencing. Next we checked in with our body’s desires and made requests to each other on how our bodies would like to be touched in a non-genital focused way for one-minute increments. The body’s desires are always changing so the minute-long increments gave a contained space to explore both immediate and changing desires. Because the genital focus in our interaction was off the table to create a new form of sensual relating, it opened up a world of new possibilities for touch, intimacy and sexual self-expression.

Each of us took turns making requests and unfolding the true desires of the body now that direct genital contact wasn’t hogging the primary focus. The body revealed all of these beautiful subtleties and we had the opportunity to explore not just where we would like to be touched, but how, what pressure, what quality of touch – like feathers, kneading, delicate fingernails, squeezing massage, deep or right on the surface.

We then explored the intention of how we desired to be touched – with love, with curiosity, with tenderness, with passion, with pure carnal desire.

This progressed to a gentle, “as if” role-playing game: touch me as if you were a mother cradling her newborn; touch me as if you were molding my body out of clay; touch me as if this was the first woman’s body you had ever seen; touch me as if the burning desire of the whole universe resided in your fingertips. Each ‘as if’ experience created a new and profound opening for both of us.

Next we stood up and disrobed in front of each other. I went first and asked Peter to simply be present and hold space for me while I did. I took off one piece of clothing at a time and we paused to breathe in between each one to notice what sensations we were feeling in our bodies and to speak on them. Then I invited him to disrobe as well. We stood and breathed. I then spoke what I observed about the story of his body in that moment, where my eyes were drawn to see and what they saw. Silver hair, warm twinkling eyes, hands that had held guns and babies, a stray hair here, a special freckle there, a long lean body trained both as an athlete and a warrior.  I asked him to mirror back to me what he saw, where his eyes were drawn to my body so that we could fully take each other in. Long brown hair, softness, rosy cheeks, large nipples, femininity. He did a beautiful job recounting what he saw. I received a new perspective for myself on being witnessed through his eyes.

We took turns now in longer increments sharing touch, only this time we focused on how we desired to touch each other. We asked permission with each touch and there was space to say no if it didn’t feel in alignment for us. We rolled around and played and laughed together for several hours as we explored how desire and sexual energy wanted to move through us.

As our sacred space came to a close, Peter confessed to me: “This is the most present I have ever truly been with a woman. I can actually feel the desire in my body and it can be expressed without the pressure to perform. I can’t recall ever feeling this free before. So much has just become possible.”

When the effort to move past scripts and ingrained patterns of touch and relating was presented, a new form of relating that is based on presence and authenticity has permission to unfold in the space shared between bodies. Our bodies are always changing and transforming and so are our desires and how they want to express themselves. When we work with the body’s true desire, we can be present to the possibility of expanding the pleasure palette within the body and its capacity for sensual self-expression.

Peter told me he is ready to actively pursue dating with renewed gusto and to explore the possibility of physical intimacy based on the new possibilities in sexual self-expression available to him. He is also complementing our experience with Western medicine, exploring possibilities for assisting his erections but also freeing himself from the imprisoning mind-set that erection with ejaculatory orgasm is the apex of sexual experience. There is a wide scope of supportive allopathic ways to just about guarantee an erection. What they can’t guarantee is any happiness from it. With Western medicine and the explorations into the possibilities of returning full erectile function, Peter now has a new space to play in – a penis that can maintain an erection with a template for presence and authentic connection.

The path of self-discovery Peter is on is one of enthusiasm and wonder rather than a quest to fix a part of himself that might be considered broken. Peter knows he can have new and deeply fulfilling sensual and sexual experiences and now erections can become a part of that experience with the support of western medicine and compassionate and caring health professionals. It was his commitment to creating a template to break scripts and old ways of being and to move into his authenticity that allowed for this to unfold. Peter wrote me a few weeks ago saying that he is having a marvelous time exploring penis pumps, injections and supplements to increase his erectile possibilities. He reports that they work and that every part of this journey continues to be a learning experience. He’s excited to explore all of these possibilities with his next partner from a place of presence and authentic connection when the right relationship comes along.

I wish for him presence, play, powerful penis pumps and new possibilities for relating as he steps confidently into this new identity of sexual self-expression!

Here is a closing piece of advice and comment from Peter:

Something I believe in so strongly is the act of getting support. Getting support from caring and loving sources. It is remarkable just how lonely and debilitating it is, processing the realities of impotence. What men need to know and understand is what I learned and frankly am still learning – unless you want to remain stuck in the world of feeling badly about yourself, you MUST reach out and trust. Men who are already in a loving relationship with a caring partner have in this regard a great advantage. Presumably that partner will be there for them and process with them the oftentimes painful truths that impotence brings to light. It is men such as me not in any such loving relationship who need to be reminded of this. Men who find themselves twisting slowly in the breezes, with not a clue, and nowhere immediately to turn. It is these men who need great comfort, and these men who need to know that the worst thing that they can do is to do nothing.  It is never easy and never over.

To those men reading this who might be embarking on a journey like mine, I’d like to say that there are no magical endings. There is much experimenting, much unknown to be explored, many turns along the way that will not be fulfilling. At its essence comes the willingness to commit to the process of healing and becoming whole.

 

 

Energy Orgasms ~ A Romp with Queen Anne

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“What’s wild carrot?” I asked on my first herb walk several years ago.  It was a name I’d heard Kate, our herbal guide, say several times as we began our afternoon walk through Prospect Park.  Kate led us over to a tall slender stemmed white flowering plant with a red center.  “This,” she said triumphantly, “is wild carrot.”  “Queen Anne’s Lace?!” I exclaimed overjoyed that I knew a plant, and wasn’t a total herbal neophyte.  “Yes, also called Queen Anne’s lace,” Kate confirmed.
Hypnotized, I moved closer to the plant.  Something about Queen Anne’s Lace always attracted me. Growing up, I would often find myself simply standing by her, feeling the draw to be close to her stately presence. On family vacations, I had a tendency to walk over to her at road stops and run my fingers over her bird’s nest of delicate white flowers with the mysterious solitary red center that appeared even more crimson in the summer’s sunlight.
On this particular herb walk, Kate, our guide, invited us to speak with wild carrot and open ourselves to receive any intuitions or information from the spirit of the plant.  Having never actually had a dialogue with a plant before, I played along and followed my intuition as it guided me towards a tall statuesque Queen Anne’s Lace towards the middle of the field.  I stood in front of her delicate flowering top and introduced myself.
“Hello.  My name is Isis.”  In that instant, I was immediately swept into a deeply ecstatic state, as if meeting a long lost love.  I felt my womb space open and expand and the edges of my labia begin to tingle and become moist.  A pleasurable wash of energy galloped up my spine and my mouth opened letting out a sound that could only be equated to an orgasmic surprise.  I blushed and quickly looked around to see if anyone heard me.  The other women were deep into their own meditation and did not hear my very public pleasure-filled moan. My Goddess, was I having an orgasm in the skirts of Prospect Park?!
I turned my attention back to Queen Anne.  Rather than having a happy chatty conversation like I assumed the other women were engaging in, the waves of pleasure continued to roll through my system, and the hair on my arms goose-fleshed and stood straight up on my body.
 “Oh Isis,” I heard a voice say.  ‘Ha!’ I laughed out loud losing all awareness of anyone else around me.  “Did I just make this plant, moan?”  I stammered in my mind.  I then felt the two of us, the spirit of the plant and my spirit pull together like magnets. I could feel my heart beat in my uterus and my energetic roots unfold from my legs and reach out and twine around Queen Anne’s roots.  Wave after wave of orgasmic energy moved up my spine.  After about five minutes, Kate, our herb guide, asked us to circle again. I was sure my energy field looked like I’d just had a romp in the hay.  My cheeks were flushed, my heart racing and a glint of perspiration covered my skin.  Had I just made love to a plant?  Kate looked at me quizzically catching my eye and asking if I was okay.  I nodded, and darted my eyes around.  Did anyone else notice my quickie with the plant?  When she asked for impressions around what we experienced, my lips remained sealed.  I wasn’t one to kiss and tell.
My life’s work the past decade has been dedicated to the study and teaching of sacred sexuality through the lens of Shamanism.  Orgasmic experiences were a dime a dozen in my line of work.  But having an energy orgasm with a plant… This was an entirely new paradigm that raised even my eyebrows.   Startled by my experience on the herb walk and feeling the calling of my spirit to immerse more fully in the green world, I signed up for an herbal apprenticeship with Susun Weed at the Wise Woman Center.
The day before the start of my herbal apprenticeship, my husband and I drove up from New York City and stayed in a B&B in the Catskills.  We unpacked our bags and checked into our room.  As we settled into our cozy accommodations, I took a look around our room and discovered that above the bed on the wall was a picture of Queen Anne’s Lace.  So that’s what this apprenticeship is going to be like, I thought, silently laughing to myself.
As apprentices, our main assignment over the course of our apprenticeship is to cultivate a green ally relationship with one plant.  We were asked to ally with one plant by sitting with her each day, breathing with her and listening for her song.  When the apprentices were given our plant ally assignment, I felt Queen Anne dance beside me. “Yes,” I told her. “I know. We’re allies.”
Throughout the seasons of the seven-month apprenticeship, I meet with Queen Anne  daily for the first two weeks and then weekly.  I saw her grow from a feathery rosette with a white tasty root, to a statuesque Queen who towered over most other wild flowers and finally to the dried hand of the death crone as fall and winter turned and all that were left were her seeds, holding her blue print for the next year.  During the seven months we spent together, she and I moved from rapturous romps to bosom buddies.  I realized too that our first meeting was her acknowledging my work in sacred sexuality and was also her way of telling me she too was an ally in the sexual arts.
As a young maiden plant, her green feathery hair drapes along the Earth’s floor and her curvy and plump womanly root body nestles against the grooves of the Earth cradling her powers for her second year’s growth.  In sitting with her maidenly form in her first year, Queen Anne tells me “Most don’t, but you can actually sauté my greens and root as a tasty vegetable addition to any meal.  My maidenly first year leaves are brain food and supports cell health in the brain and circulation in the body.”
Her second year, she grows a long slender stem and has a crowning white head with a mysterious crimson center.  This is when she is ready to be harvested and when her womanly magic is afoot.  Queen Anne tells me “With strong intention brew my crimson spotted flowerheads in boiling water for fifteen minutes and drink the day after an unwanted potential impregnation.  I will support a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the womb by making the inner surfaces slippery so that it comes right out.” 
In her final phase of life, after her head closes, she instructs me “Take my seeds and carry them in a sweet medicine pouch next to your night table where you keep condoms and lubricant.  I go there if an ‘accident’ happens. Take two teaspoons of seeds every four hours for two days after your ‘opps moment’ and I will keep you from being with child.  In my second year of life I have a hairy stalk to remind you of the psyllium like qualities to move eggs from the womb.” 
“My second year head furls back in the fall but my first year leaf stays green.  In two years, my life is complete and seeds scatter and begin again.   I am the keeper of the maidens moons my red dot shows you when your cycle is upon me and I help bring it on.”

After spending seven months with Queen Anne and graduating my herbal apprenticeship, I feel like my relationship with her has only just begun.  As a sacred sexuality teacher, I’m not surprised that Queen Anne chose me as an ally when so much of her energy teaches about healthy sexuality and reproductive choice, something that our religious and political climate still attempt to usurp control over.   Queen Anne reminds me how to listen to the seasons and cycles within myself and to honor my body, my sexual energy and my reproductive choice as my own intuitive right as a woman.  My relationship with Queen Anne brings me deeper into my own inner rhythms around conscious conception and personal sexual power.  As a sexual shamanic teacher, my wish is for each woman to align with and feel Queen Anne’s support on the rapturous road of their lives.

Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett has researched and written substantially about the effects of Queen Anne’s Lace as herbal contraception.  For more information on Queen Anne’s Lace as herbal contraception Click Here

Lunar Dominant Masculine Sexuality

Lunar Dominant Masculine Sexuality – A Case Study

My practice is like a nature walk – on each encounter with a new client, we take a journey, never quite knowing where we’re going or what we’ll discover along the way.  We trust in our full surrender to universal guidance and divine transmission that we will be lead in the right direction in a state of grace.  This week held a particularly inspiring journey that I felt called to share.

A new journey began this week as I met with first time client, Gabe.  Gabe is a handsome massage therapist and yoga practitioner in his mid thirties.  He is tall with a beautiful body and a gentle spirit. Gabe contacted me specifically around his interest in Shamanism and also hinted that he felt he had blocks in his system particularly around sexuality.  Many of his questions and contemplations around relationships and sexuality were deeply thought out and held profound insights that had come from true introspection on his part.  Gabe had recently broken up from his relationship of two years with his live-in girlfriend and contacted me with the impression he was blocked or stuck around his sexuality.  When I inquired further, he said it took him time to find a connection or feel a connection in sex.

Gabe explained to me in the past, his girlfriend would often desire sex or initiate sex, which generally resulted in Gabe doing his best to please her, but ultimately leaving the experience one-sided and on his part void of intimacy or true connection.  Gabe found these interactions difficult and found himself challenged in his ability to stay present for sex or to generate the connection that both he and his girlfriend desired to experience.  He expressed that he needed time to feel or generate an authentic connection for this desire to awaken and for him to become aroused.  He found it difficult to connect on command.

Gabe expressed to me there were times when his girlfriend or a girl he was dating would reach out and grab at his chest or crotch which instead of turning him on, resulted in him feeling objectified and shutting down.  He had trouble getting or maintaining an erection during intercourse and often defaulted to oral sex as a way to pleasure his partner without having to make himself perform.  This pleasuring while sometimes enjoyable for him, mostly got his girlfriend over until the next time she initiated sexual contact.

I asked Gabe to tell me about the times he did feel connected to his girlfriend or other women he had dated in the past. Successful sexual moments he did site were having sex right after a yoga class, making love after giving his girl friend a massage, passionate encounters unfolding when meditating with his beloved.   “I want the women I date to be attracted to what’s inside me,” Gabe confided.

In an energy assessment, I could see that Gabe’s soul body was deeply interwoven into the sexual desire within his physical body.  Based on what I perceived, I was not surprised that Gabe could not find himself aroused from outward sexual suggestiveness or isolated sexual acts.  His soul body desired to be witnessed with the power of deep presence before his sexuality would awaken.  Sexual Shaman Kenneth Ray Stubbs talks in depth about the distinction of the four energy bodies and their ability to orgasm in documentary Path of the Sexual Shaman.  The circuitry for Gabe’s sexual turn on in his physical body was located within his soul. Uninspired by the common form of masculine arousal coming from sight based desire, Gabe’s erotic connection needed to ignite from the inside out, not from the outside in.

We began with a clearing where we burned Artemsia – a powerful herb, which helps anchor the soul body into the physical body, bringing it into deep presence and connection within oneself.  We then did a simple meditation where we began with bringing our awareness to the outer most layer of the skin and working our way in to find the inner most and truest layer of self where our divine essence exists.  This inner most layer is always available to us but is often one that we forget to access as we default to more surface based way of connecting.  During our meditation, when we both journeyed to this inner place, tears welled up in our eyes and an erection in Gabe’s shorts.  “The connection is incredible.  I’m so open and turned on.  I feel like I’m flying and I also feel so nervous and vulnerable.”  Gabe’s soul body was luminous and powerful and in its presence and awakening, his physical body went into full force arousal.

We then explored various degrees of openness within his soul body so as not to overwhelm his system.  We explored fully open, opened at half-mast, and being completely contained and wearing our opening behind a veil, knowing we need only part the curtain to find it again.

I asked Gabe to drop into his soul body connection and ask to be shown a symbol for this connection within him that he could use to access this space at will.  After a second he laughed and opened his eyes.  “What did you see?” I asked.  “A white circle..?”  He said confused.  Duh!  I thought – The image of the full moon.  It was indeed the night of the full moon where our energies were at their peak and lunar energy was fully present on the Earth.  “You’re lunar dominant,” I blurted out not even really sure I knew what that meant.  Tears welled up in Gabe’s eyes.  “That makes so much sense,” he marveled.  “Other intuitives have told me I have a strong connection with the moon.”

In Taosit tradition, it is said masculine sexuality is like fire – quick to ignite and quick to extinguish where feminine sexuality is like water – taking a long time to rise to a boil but sustainable and rolling when tended long and well.  On the most basic level, Gabe’s sexuality was core water and feminine and like waters of the world, it was governed by the moon.  Because there are many preconceived ideas of masculine and feminine and this polarity I’ll take a moment to clarify that by feminine I do not mean woman in gender –terms, nor masculine to mean male based, but am rather referring to a quality and/or characteristic of energy.

Each of us has certain rhythms and cycles to our inner body, emotions, mind-sets.  Most commonly referenced, for women, our menstrual cycles frequently sync with the lunar cycles and to the cycles of other women.  Men, less commonly discussed, are also subject to influence of lunar cycles even though in our western world we commonly perceive the masculine to be solar dominant as we live by a solar dominant calendar and in a solar dominant society and thus solar dominant sexuality – always turned on.  But what does lunar dominant masculine sexuality look like?  For Gabe – it looks like nurturing presence, intimacy and connection of his soul body during sex.  With this piece of information, instead of blaming or judging himself as blocked or broken, Gabe is now seeing the unique beauty of his sexual desire within his soul.  He can now move forward celebrating his lunar dominant sexuality by being aware of what is going to turn him on and creating those situations and seeking a partner who is ready to connect on a sexual soul level.

Another piece Gabe and I examined in our time together was how Gabe was actually getting into relationship and meeting his partners. When I asked him how his relationships with women generally started, he told me that women were generally the ones to approach him and make the first move.. I inquired if he had felt attracted to or magnetized towards these women initially and he said no – while they were beautiful, he didn’t feel his soul calling to be with them.  I asked him if there were women he was attracted to on a soul level and if he had approached them or ever asked them out.  He said he did experience attractions to certain women but never acted on them.  Gabe and I discussed that each time he chose not to do that he was telling his soul and its sexual desire that it didn’t have to be honored or taken seriously.  This struck Gabe deeply.  I gave him the home assignment of listening for the connection and vibration of attraction towards a specific woman and to acting on that desire through engaging the woman in conversation.  In addition, Gabe also agreed to get an app for his phone that charts the moons phases so he could better understand his own cycles and how the moon physical body and soul body.

I was deeply moved by my session with Gabe and was humbled in contemplating this form of masculine sexuality and the depth and complexity of its sensitivity. Of course we desire deep connection with another to inspire our sexuality but Gabe’s sexuality has taken sacred sex to a whole other level.  In sacred sex, we seek the sacred through sex, in Gabe’s paradigm, we must be the sacred first to initiate sex.  Gabe’s soul has an inner bullshit meter for sacred sexuality and it comes out as a ruthless ref calling foul on any false play. “I’m not feeling it,” his soul will tell him.

Gabe’s ideal future partner will be one who is interested in the spiritual dimensions of sexuality and is on their own journey of self-inquiry.  In session work, I am often shown different cultural, religious and spiritual blueprints and pattering of sexuality that are on the planet, and I feel Gabe embodies a new form of masculine sexuality.  As the women I work with articulate wanting a deeper and more spiritual connection in sex, I wonder secretly if they have the patience for this new masculine that has sex only from soul connection. Women – are you ready for him?

For more information about Isis and her work visit www.sensualshaman.com