I remember in college, having a conversation with a friend in which I said, "I think I am asexual."
He responded, "You mean you think you are gay?" (He clearly had a limited view of gay sexuality)
"No," I responded, "I think I am asexual." And I thought that was true, at least at that time my life.
Backstory: To understand my comment, you need to get a picture of my college days. Clearly, I was not one of those hearty party types, who went to college for beer and babes!
Instead, I was on a different type of journey, majoring in "transpersonal psychology" which is the psychological study of religious experience.
Instead of attending frat parties, I was visiting ashrams and increasingly spending time alone, meditating and trying to figure out what it really means to be a spiritual person.
This led to many adventures, none of which involved sexuality. In fact, in my pursuits of Eastern practices (or at least, the ones that were taught at my university), sexuality and really anything to do with the body was considered to be demeaning and a distraction from some amorphous Higher Path.
Not wanting to do harm to any life, and seeking to be as "pure" as possible, I had a very strict vegan diet (or "macrobiotic", whose believers think that even drinking water is bad for you!!). And at 6 feet 3 inches (190 cms), I weighed all of 145 pounds (65 kg). Almost skeletal, I was determined to get as far away from my body as possible and find higher consciousness.
Snapshot: I literally would walk across campus barefoot, wearing all white, with a bemused look of Higher Consciousness set on my face. A bit embarrassing to admit, but yeah, that was the trip I was on!
So, in that context, my statement that I was "asexual" made sense; and considering my mindset at the time, seemed to really have been the unconscious goal.
This actually went on for a few years...until I met my first college girlfriend. :)
And somehow she managed to convince me that physical detachment was not only unhealthy, it was also anti-social and not a lot of fun!
It was with that girlfriend, and my subsequent graduation from university, that my life and my connection to my body and sexuality changed. As the need to make money pushed me into the professional world, I started to take jobs with men and women my age, and realised that so called "ordinary human life" was not so bad after all; in fact, it was something that I was secretly craving, but not wanting to admit it.
And I realised that spirituality was not just about our inner consciousness, it is also about how we are in the world, in our bodies, and with each other.
Years later, and several jobs and girlfriends later, as life circumstances started to get a bit overwhelming (perhaps the topic for a future blog), I got into therapy and learned about a practice called "Core Energetics", which is a form of therapy developed by a doctor that works directly with the body. I found that type of self-development to be amazing!
Core Energetic showed me that my physical, sexual energy itself is spiritual, and that the way I either use or block that energy will determine my health, wellbeing and connection to life itself. That sexuality is not a distraction from the Spirit, but can rather be a deep expression of it.
This later led to studies of Taoist Tantra, and ways to consciously channel my energy for greater vitality and virility. And not to forget, replacing some of those meditation practices with some intense sessions in the gym also changed my outlook on life. I was counting both mantras and grams of protein, and starting to enjoy being a man for the first time in my life.
(Those pursuits definitely helped me get in touch with my inner masculine essence and will certainly be topics for future blogs)
So how does all of this relate to the blog title, "Pumping Up Sexual Drive?" (Or was that just a catchy title to get you to read my story?)
Well, if you trace my own journey from ascetic, undernourished undergrad to Taoist gym rat, you can probably sense the shift that has developed for me. And the understanding that sexual drive is not about technique or PUA (Pick Up Artistry), though those can help at times too.
But rather, sexual drive relates to how much we want to honour and encourage those innate aspects of ourselves. That when we make our sexuality and masculinity our Higher Goals, and not treat them as lower and "base" aspects of ourselves, we can bring the power of our Soul and Spirit into the flow and expression of our physical self. And this is when Sexuality and Spirituality are experienced as the same energy.
That is the message that Tantra teaches us: The word "tantra" means "weave" and most people think of this as the weaving of the masculine and the feminine.
But on an inner level, it is also the weaving of our physical and spiritual existence. (And I just got a flow of chills running through my body as I wrote that, so I guess there must be some truth to it!)
By the way, I don't want to sound like I am demeaning who I was in college and my ghostlike appearance dressed all in white. Perhaps I had a very distorted mindset about spirituality at the time, but I think it was also very important for me to really experience that common dualistic view ("Spirit versus Body") and then grow beyond it. It was a valuable part of my journey, though a bit embarrassing to admit at times!
Looking ahead: In future blogs, I will want to go into more depth about the processes I learned in Core Energetics and Taoist Tantra and how they benefited me.
In addition, if you are interested in these practices for yourself, I invite you to check out our Soul of Men program, which is both an integration and evolution of the work I have done, as well that of my co-teacher, Mark.
The next training begins Saturday 9 November and we also have a Taster session coming up that I am teaching on Saturday 28 September in London.
Click here for more details:
I look forward to further sharing this work with you. -- E J
PS: This is perhaps the first time I have published a blog of over 500 words, which is an experiment but seemed appropriate for the topic. Let me know your reactions, and if you like the longer format. (Well, I guess if you are reading this part, then you did reach the end, which is a good sign?)
EJ is co-director of the Soul of Men training, which is a 9 month program in masculine embodiment and tantra training for men. He is a certified Core Energetics body therapist and works with individuals, couples and groups.