Sexuality and Emotions

 

Remember: you only have one energy. At the lowest point it is called sexual energy. You refine and transform it. Energy starts to rise. It becomes love, it becomes prayer.

~Osho

 

Sexuality is often undervalued or overvalued. Where is the center? The heart is to be found in the center. Without the heart as center, sex becomes empty and hollow, a compulsive recurring behavior or a repeatedly returning release of tension.

Adult Sex or Childish Hunger

All kinds of love are sought in sexuality. Much is mixed up together. A lot of the searching for touching and tenderness has its origin in our inner child. At the same time we are grown up and searching for adult sexuality. A lot goes wrong in the sphere of sexuality because of this mixture of childhood lack of love and adult sexuality. This is because the one cannot be supplemented by the other. The child’s hunger for love cannot be fulfilled by sexual contact. They are two quantities that we should differentiate between. Something is wrong when you need sex on a daily basis because you want proof that the other loves you. When you subconsciously try to satisfy your subconscious child’s hunger in an adult sexual way, sex will never be fulfilling and never enough and your child’s hunger will also not be satisfied. This mixing is, in reality, the deepest source of much sexual disappointment, but also of a phenomenon like sexual addiction. In the case of the latter, sexual abuse and affective neglect often play a major role. We can see the optima forma of confusion between adult and child here. Our emotionally neglected inner child does not want sex. It wants parental love and that is completely different.

What should you do if you recognize yourself in this description? It is, in the first place, about making an inner distinction between the child and the adult. Before you become a whole person, you must see and feel your dissociatedness first.

What are the needs of your inner child and what are the ones the adult has? If you have a partner, it is good, beneficial, and enriching to be able to go to him or her and ask for a hug and for attention like a little child. At another moment, you may want to express your love for your partner sexually, but do not mix these feeling up.

Sexuality and Power

Old connecting threads often intermingle right through our current sexual relationships. Power plays a major role in sexuality. With power, you can enforce love, for example, or what you take to be love. An example:

Up till twelve years of age, Harold thought, very purely, that his mother would initiate him into sex. Of course, within our culture, this led to a disappointment. Now that he is an adult, he has nightly power struggles with his wife, with whom he is otherwise good friends. He frequently wants sex and makes a lot of fuss if she sometimes does not feel like it. Many nightly rows are the consequence. He finally discovers, within Spark of Light Work, his longing for his mother, his huge lack of physical warmth, and his longing for sexual initiation by his mother. He suddenly feels the connection between his anger about the physical contact he did not receive from his mother and the power struggle with his wife, the second woman in his life.

How much old anger about unfulfilled love plays a part as power in our sexual relationships? Two issues play a role here; on the one hand, when there is a lack of warm physical contact with the parents this need will be ‘sexualized’ which means that it will be taken to a genital level where it does not belong (men especially tend to do this). On the other hand, the mother is the first great love in the life of the boy and the father in the life of the girl, for whom an enormous longing exists. There are many little girls and boys who want to ‘marry mummy or daddy.’ Freud ultimately based his whole oeuvre on this. When something goes wrong with your first great love, it will have further consequences for your other relationships. Partner therapy or sex therapy without studying and experiencing that first great love, is work half done.

Sex as a Painkiller

The longing for sexual contact can develop when you do not feel good, are unhappy, or feel completely worthless. The ‘great’ feeling sex gives you, works as an emotional painkiller. The high of sexual excitement is an easy method with which to pep yourself up and drive away feelings of loneliness. But for how long? There are more people addicted to sex than we realize. People talk and write about it more often since Clinton and his sexual affairs. This is a good thing, but is sexual addiction also recognized within ordinary relationships? The way out of this intermingling of sex and defense of emotion is obvious: learn to feel what you feel, pay attention to it, talk about it, or work at it, as described in this book.

You should also make the decision to not mask your feelings in any way again. When you feel vaguely unhappy and long for sex, ask yourself what you really want and which feelings really play a part.: do you feel afraid, unloved, alone, or hurt? By giving that attention together with your partner, you will enrich, and make your relationship more profound in a completely different way. Perhaps so much intimacy of the heart will occur that it will be good to be sexually intimate too.

Sexuality as a Repetition of Old Misuse

It is a well-known fact that if you were sexually misused as a child, you will tend to fulfil your need for love with sex. The compulsive repetition behavior behind this is disastrous. It does not solve anything. The only way to fundamentally liberate yourself from this compulsive repetition is to mobilize your repressed anger and sorrow. Proceeding from there, you can once more start to feel what you really need; sometimes sex, but usually love.

Sexuality and Intimacy

There are people who use sex to avoid real contact. The emptiness of contact has to be filled by sexual diversion. People often tell me that their relationship is   ‘rubbish’ but that ‘sexually everything is fine.’ There are people who avoid sex because they are frightened of intimacy. An example of the latter:

An average marriage: a long standing marriage but a problematic sexual relationship. He avoids sexual contact in this relationship. He is very ingenious in finding reasons for not having sex. He is tired from working, does not feel well, or thinks that she insists too much. He broods on an idea for months, but is indignant when she suggests that he perhaps does not want sex at all.

The only thing that really helps is to be honest and sincere towards each other. In our modern society, we seem to be very emancipated with regard to sex, but things are seldom what they seem. Our ability to be completely intimate, with heart and soul, lags behind our ability to have sex. Here, we see what happens when sister emotion is denied and oppressed. Sexuality cannot do without intimacy and intimacy does not just fall into your lap. Emotional growth and courage is necessary to start on that road.  The ability to be intimate has nothing to do with sex, but with the ability to share your emotions, your heart with another person. Many fears lie in wait that are often not even recognized e.g. fear of attachment, fear of abandonment that may go far back to your childhood. Feelings of inferiority can play a role here and all kinds of imprints that tell you that you will get it or be humiliated if you show your true colors.

Sex remains a delicate subject in many families. Teenagers prefer to consult anonymous information sources. Most questions asked on the children’s help phone are about sex and the same goes for the question and answer section of young people’s magazines. These candid youth magazines give the impression of a youth for whom sex holds no secrets, but what about the connection with emotions?

Carl Rohde, a cultural anthropologist, said in an interview about the sexual development of the past century:

The great thing about the past century is that sexuality was rediscovered at the beginning of it. Sexuality has always been there, of course, but it has been rediscovered. It seems that, since Freud, we all have the idea that our true identity is in our sexual organs. On the one hand that sounds pretty provocating, but psychoanalysis keeps quite a firm hold on that. If you repress sexual energy you become completely depressed is what they say...A society came into being where people suddenly started to think ‘I must do something with my sexuality otherwise I will suppress something or other.’ On top of that, the twenties and thirties saw the rise of the consumer’s society which went together with secularization. The moral ‘go ahead and enjoy’ came into being. The culture of ‘go ahead, enjoy’ went against the culture of self-control and modesty of Christianity. In that culture Freud said that you can enjoy sexuality. He not only says that you are allowed to enjoy but that you must enjoy, otherwise you have a problem. That was very new, also because Freud’s theory had the nature of a scientific study.’

Together with the rise of Feminism whereby women discovered that they had their own sexuality, and the invention of the pill of course, sexuality was freed from the nineteenth century Victorian Puritanism that was full of shame.  It is now time for the next step and that is the connection between sexuality with the possibility of being intimate and for that our work of emotional liberation is vital. Then the pendulum will once more hang in the middle. Sexuality will then be neither overestimated nor underestimated but find it rightful place in our human relationships.

Sexuality as Primal Energy

How would you react if I said that God’s energy is really sexual energy? If you are shocked, that means that your idea of sexuality is restricted to what you experience in your relationships. Sexuality is, however, much more. Sexuality is primal energy. Everything came into existence because of the fruitful cooperation between male and female energy. It is the same with God. As we have primarily made God male, we have difficulty seeing that God, the Totality, from whence everything originated and became individual, is also a whole of male and female, electric and magnetic energies. There was a male Creator but also a female Creator. Both created and brought everything else forth with their sexual energy. Sexuality is truly creative energy.

We, in our ignorance and backwardness have forgotten this story. We have also forgotten that we worshipped God as a Mother. It is important in our evolution to bring the image of the great Father and Mother together again and that for us to realize that we came from both, from their sexual energy. If we regain an intensely felt relationship with that energy, we will be able to worship sexuality as a holy, healing, and creative energy. We can then feel that sexual energy is more than erotic or genital energy, but that it has to do with liveliness and the creative urge. Sexuality will then become a sparkle in everything you are and do.

 

Riet Okken

From my book: The liberating power of emotions

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