Week 1 Upgraded Sex Ed
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This Week's Must-Know Concepts
“Desire” gets a bad rap. Mention the word and you’ll get a reaction. People are either starving for it or wary of it. “That desire thing—it’s so elusive and I want more of it!” Or,”I don’t want to know what I want. It’s certain to mess up my life.”
From the standpoint of the Masculine Operating System—which thrives on order, logic, and clarity—desire makes a mess. When our goal is point A to point B with minimal interruptions, desire throws endless curveballs of distraction. We change our minds after months of planning. We feel a quickening inside that goes against long-standing beliefs. We’re inspired to take leaps of faith.
For the Feminine OS, desire is normal and important. Since there is no laid out path for Feminine exploration, the only clues we have about how to move forward are those small twinkling lights of our desires—what feels good, what we like, and what we want. We walk this unlimited, ever-changing pathway of fulfillment by following our desire.
How do we do that? I explain everything below.
The Convenient and Inconvenient Truth of Desire
We start tapping into desire by listening to that voice inside that whispers (or shouts) about what we want.
Desire often seems at odds with the respectable life we’ve carefully crafted for ourselves because desire is not dictated by what’s normal, convenient, or probable. Desire doesn’t follow the rules or care about our reputations. It wants what it wants, for no reason other than, “I like that” or “I don’t like that.”
Let’s look at two types of desires: what I call “convenient” and “inconvenient.”
Convenient desires are the ones we deem good, useful, or beneficial. They produce manageable results that we can easily say yes to.
- I want to eat Indian food tonight.
- I want a new outfit.
- I want to start running again.
- I want a hug.
- I want to lose 10 pounds.
Convenient desires are wonderful, beautiful, and true. They make us say, “Yes, OK, that sounds like a good idea.” They don’t make our hearts race or our mouths dry up right before we say them out loud.
Those heart-pounding, mouth-drying admissions are what I call inconvenient desires. The ones that humiliate us. The ones that nag at the back of our minds, just waiting to wreck our ideas about who we thought we were. They are so inconvenient, we’re often too afraid to admit them even in our own heads.
- I want to have sex with my coworker.
- I want to quit my job and travel around the world, regardless of whether I have the money.
- I want you to touch me delicately in my most private places.
- I want to rip all your clothes off right now and ravish you.
- I want to leave you and marry someone else.
Just writing these, my own heart starts to race a little. Our first thought to such desires is almost always, “But how could I ever do that?!? My life would fall apart,” or “I shouldn’t want that, it’s wrong.”
We’ll discuss more in the next section exactly what to DO about inconvenient desires. Here’s a preview: I don’t suggest following each one of them to the letter. However, if your deepest desires threaten to blow your life to smithereens… then you might want to reexamine your life to see if it’s the one you really want to be living.
Your desire is always trying to take you towards your fulfillment
Not the average person’s fulfillment. Not your mother’s fulfillment. Not your boss’s fulfillment. YOUR fulfillment.
Even when the path of “how to do it” is obscured and what you want seems impossible, crazy, or far fetched, your desires is acting in your best interests. It’s revealing more of who you are and what you like—so you can have it.
I can hear some of you thinking skeptically, “I can damn well think of many desires I have that did not seem in my best interests. In fact, when I followed those impulses and it lead to serious problems.”
Remember at the beginning of this section when I talked about how desire gets a bad rap? Exactly, this is why. What I’ve found is that our desires are a much bigger problem when we suppress them—not when we let them out and express them. We might have good intentions for suppressing desires—for example, we want to protect people we love or be kind and loving. But in truth, suppressing desires builds internal pressure—pressure that, eventually, will explode and cause REAL wreckage.
More on that in the next section. For now, I want you to think about it this way: if what we’re after is a life of fulfillment, it makes no sense to ignore our desires. Desire shows us what we want and what matters, what we enjoy and what gives us pleasure. When did we learn that suppressing and ignoring our deepest longings would deliver us happier lives?! The math doesn’t add up.
- Knowing what we want + following what we want = a better chance at happiness.
- Not knowing what we want + ignoring our desire = Mediocrity? Misery? Ambivalence? Compliance?
The first step towards gaining confidence in expressing what you want is to believe that your desire matters.
Every Desire is one Dot in the Dot-to-Dot Puzzle of Your Fulfillment
Instead of seeing desire as a wayward and scandalous force ready to wreak havoc on your nice happy life, see it instead as one dot in the connect-the-dot puzzle of the life you’re meant to live.
Our desire, if we let it, will organize for us a life that’s more perfect than we could ever plan. This desire-based life won’t always be easy. Following desire takes gumption and can take us to strange, troubling, or contradictory locations. The payoff, however, is that we can be sure the life we’re living is the one best suited for us.
One of my teachers told me about what he called “Death Bed Goals,” those aspects of life that you look back on while dying that cause you to think: “I led a good life. I’m happy with my life.”
For years, I knew very few of those goals. The only one I was certain of was this: “I want to really go for it in my life and have left no stone unturned. I want to look back and see that I was always true to myself and went after what I wanted.” That to me would be a life well lived, regardless of at what age I take my last breath.
How about in sex?
When it comes to sex, desire truly is a light in the dark, uncharted territory of the Feminine Operating System and of women’s sexual fulfillment. Without any predictable paths to follow, “what we want” is often the only clue we have about what to do next in a sexual encounter. Desire truly is a light in the darkness.
I like to think of it like this: every time we come into sexual contact with each other, we are like two little kids adventuring through the woods at night. We each have a flashlight and are looking for the path—the path of greatest pleasure, fulfillment, and connection in this moment. “The music” as we called it in Level 1.
We are searching for clues about where this path is: a rustle of leaves over there, a sound over here. We point our flashlights in that direction and say, “Let’s go this way!” We explore.
Since the path is new and constantly changing, we must keep our flashlights shining on the ground so we can follow the path as it twists and turns through the woods.
In sex, the flashlight is your attention, the path is your desire, and the woods are your bodies.
We use our attention to explore our bodies, and discover and follow the path of desire.
The only real clues we have in the uncharted territory of sex are:
- How does this feel?
- Is there anything that would feel even better?
During sex, some desires pop up as ideas in our heads:
- “I want to change positions.”
- “I want you to go faster.”
- “I want you to make me cum.”
Other times, desires show up as movements. Our bodies take over. We might:
- roll over or grab each other.
- lay still and simply breathe together.
- pull our partner in for a deeper embrace.
Each time we express what we want and move towards pleasure, we point our flashlights towards deeper fulfillment.
Remember, there are TWO flashlights at play here, not just one. Two people—your partner and you—are finding the path together.
At times, your desires may seem at odds. This is normal. What do we do when that happens? That’s what we’re going to discuss next.
What desire type are you?
When we first start expressing our desire, sometimes a flood of ideas rush through that aren’t our end-all, be-all fulfillment. “An entire closet full of boots” or “12 hours of sex straight” might not actually be our deepest callings in life—or lead us to our ultimate happiness.
At other times, we can only think of tiny desires that we aren’t even sure we want—but we can’t hear any other voices inside except, “I want a sandwich?” or, “I guess I want to take a shower.”
When beginning to explore our desires, I see two core patterns emerge:
- Those of us who habitually “put the lid on” our desires because we’re afraid if we allowed our desire out, we’d do something reckless.
- Those of us who deny and lose touch with our desires to the point where we worry that we are empty and devoid of passion.
Which pattern do you follow? How about your partner?
Whether we try to contain our recklessness or can’t even hear a single whisper inside about what we want, these two equally troubling experiences are both easily solved.
Let’s first examine the “reckless” folks. I’m one of these people, so I understand this one first hand. When first asked what we want, we answer with wild, extravagant response: “I want to go skydiving! I want 10 husbands!” (I actually told my parents this when I was 8 years old). Or we refuse to answer because we fear our desires are so enormous that simply speaking them will flatten the 10 square miles around us.
Because we believe our desires are enormous, we put a stranglehold on them—especially on our sexual desires. This has a “damming” effect and creates a backlog. The longer we keep the lid on our desires, the more pressure builds behind that dam of self-control. We worry that if we let that backlog out, we’d explode and something terrible would happen: we might hurt people, be unfaithful, abandon our children, or become drug addicts.
The good news is I’ve never seen anyone with this fear actually DO anything reckless after deciding to allow their desires to come out. In fact, our desires are ironically much milder than we ever suspected.
When initially faced with the idea of giving my sexual desires air time, I felt convinced I’d leave my family and fuck my entire town if I let even one drop of my desire out from behind that dam.
What actually happened when I released a few drops of desire was this: I realized I knew nothing about my genuine sexual expression and I stopped having sex for an entire year. I didn’t become the reckless “Fuck-zilla” I had imagined I’d be.
How about those of us who can’t feel our desire, and worry that we don’t have any?
Typically our desires were not accepted, by ourselves or our families. We learned to “shush” our desires and tell them to go away. When we do that for long enough, the voice of our desire has grows all but silent.
What’s true about desire is if we don’t listen to it, it will stop speaking to us. It’s similar to a child. If we continually don’t have time to listen to a child, the child will learn to seek attention elsewhere. This doesn’t stop the child from speaking—it simply stops the child from speaking to US.
If your desire has learned over the years that you don’t listens to it—why would it bother trying to talk to you?
The good news is that once we start allowing space for our desire to speak up, its voice will get louder. When we first begin, we may only have small or faint ideas about what we want, desires that we judge as superficial or uninteresting. “I want a ham sandwich,” “I want to pet the cat now,” “I want to kiss you on the cheek,” don’t seem very juicy.
However, what matters is not the content of our desires, but instead that we are listening and allowing them to have a voice.
What do you want to Feel?
When we first start expressing what we want, we often discover desires that aren’t our end-all, be-all dreams come true. They will either be over-inflated: “I want to take over the world!!” or be repressed whispers: “Maybe ham instead of turkey…?”
This trick helps to get underneath some of these knee-jerk desires to the real deal of our fulfillment.
Our desire is to pointing us towards the direction of fulfillment. That direction contains valuable information not only about what we want to do—but also how we want to FEEL.
You’ll be exploring this for yourself in this week’s research. The basic idea is that inside of every desire—for an object or experience—is the desire to feel something. “I want to take over the world,” might or might not be true… but what’s certainly true is you want to feel vibrant, purposeful, or alive.
“I want a closet full of new boots” might or might not be true… but what’s certainly true is you want to feel beautiful, abundant, or powerful.
Here’s the format:
“I want _________________ because I want to feel ___________________.”
Once we know what your real desire is, it will feel as if we’ve struck gold. Our desire is a powerful, invaluable substance—not only because it orients us to the direction of our deepest dreams, but also because our desire is very compelling to the people who love us.
Recently, I was coaching a woman client who was struggling in her sex life. Her partner was a great guy, fun connection—but the sex wasn’t working for her. He rushed right into intercourse and touched her too roughly. She had repeatedly told him what she wanted: to slow down and touch her more softly. To no avail. How when she asked him, he threw his hands up and said, “I can never do it right.” She came to me feeling hopeless that he’d ever be able to understand what she wanted.
Through coaching, we realized that she’d been approaching the problem backwards. She was making requests of him (“Slow down,” “Touch me this way.”)—but she hadn’t told him WHY. She hadn’t expressed her real desire or the way she wanted to feel.
At the beginning of our session, her real desire revealed itself in how she spoke. She said, “I just want to relax and open up all the way to him in sex.” But she had never actually told him that.
Once I pointed this out, it became obvious to her. I said to her, “It’s as if you’ve told him, ‘Scrub the bathroom, vacuum the car out, and then sweep the whole house’—but you hadn’t told him, ‘My mother’s coming to visit tonight and I want your help getting the house to be ready for her.’”
Her desire to open up all the way is something I’m would inspire him. That’s the kind of desire our mates—in particular our male partners—would defend with their very lives.
However, since she hadn’t told him her deeper desire—how she wanted to feel—he was feeling bossed around and criticized in bed. He didn’t know WHY she kept telling him what to do and how to touch her—he only knew he was frustrated that what he was doing it wrong.
When we express our true desire, it feels good for our partners. That’s how desire works. We back each others’ truest desires all the way, because true desire is leading to everyone’s greater fulfillment.
Quick tip: If you’re stuck on a surface-level, directive desire (for example, “I want him to pay more attention to me.”), try answering the questions, “But why…?” and “What do I want to feel?” (for example, “I want to feel passion and connection with my partner.”)
What if my partner and I want different things?
People often come to me in a panic: “My partner wants x and I want y. What do we do?!?” They act as if having any sort of disagreement when it comes to desire is the end of the world!
Certainly, conflict can be uncomfortable. Most of us prefer to get along and be in agreement around topics like sex.
Desire, in its benevolence, offers us a way through the conflict that can innovate solutions we would never imagine.
Remember, beneath every desire is the deeper desire to feel something.
I’m going to give you a real whammy of an example to show you that this really works.
“I want to have sex with someone else.”
I live in the Bay Area of California, so alternative relationship styles are a more common conversation in my cultural bubble than in most other places in the world. However, even inside the “free love” bubble of San Francisco, hearing that our partner is even thinking about wanting to be intimate with someone else can feel deeply troubling, distressing, or even disgusting.
If we can withstand the initial shock and blowback, both from each other and inside ourselves (“You want to what?! How could you! I’m leaving. I’m such a failure. I’ll never be able to look at you again!”), we can approach this puzzle just like any other expression of desire: how do you want to feel?
I want to have sex with someone else sometimes translates literally. However, the vast majority of the time, it points towards something more important—how we want to feel. “I want to have sex with someone else” might or might not be true… but what’s certainly true is that we want to feel loved, attractive, and inspired. We want to feel passionate, adored, and safe. We want to feel desired, important, and respected.
Each of these desires to feel something is almost always something our partner can get behind. I want my partner to feel safe and loved and desired. Hell yes, I do! If we follow that path, laid out by how we want to feel, and back each other’s desires to feel safe, alive, passionate, etc. new solutions open up that can be deeply rewarding for both parties—and ironically pull a couple even closer together.
Always say yes to your desire—then decide if you want to act on it or not
However, I do recommend always saying YES to it. What’s the difference? Let’s take a look.
There is good and bad news when it comes to desire.
The good news first: in order to want something, we don’t have to know how to make it happen. Desire is our compass, not our destination. I’ve learned that the “how” of desire takes care of itself as long as we are willing to follow the direction it’s calling.
The bad news: desire can not be controlled. We can try to quell its urge. We can ignore the whisper for years. We can even flat out deny it. But desire has a way of leaking through the cracks of even the most careful control.
In the end, we want what we want. We aren’t able to stop it.
However, wanting what we want doesn’t mean we need to act on it.
In fact, there is an enormous difference between recognizing and expressing our desires, and taking action upon them.
Here is my personal rule: I always say yes to my desire—always, no matter what. Then after I say yes, I decide if I want to follow through with it or not.
Why do I do this?
First off, because I choose to believe that my desire wants the best for me. It’s not trying to lead my astray and it’s not evil. I want it to keep talking to me, therefore I tell it YES. I welcome its wisdom.
But I don’t always choose to follow what it says. My desire has all sorts of wild ideas about moving houses, abrupt career changes, having sex with 20 year-old-men, or getting out of the car to give that driver who cut me off a piece of my mind. Based on my larger goals and deeper desires, these “in the moment” wants aren’t always in my best interests to follow.
However, I always say YES to them and allow them to be true for me because even if the content is not exactly in line with my life’s purpose, the feeling behind them always is. I want to move houses because I like a lot of motion and action in my life. I want to fuck 20 year olds because I love the way younger men worship older women, and I want to feel more of that adoration in my partnership. My notorious temper actually points towards my deep desire for justice and safety.
It’s worth embracing our desires and mining the gold hidden in them. Simply allowing our desires to be true and real—even if we never do anything about them—has a dramatically positive effect on our lives and on our sex lives.
After I say yes, I then examine the consequences of following this desire at face value. What’s the cost and what’s the gain? Sometimes, even if following a desire is going to rock the boat, it’s worth it—for example, to have a career change that initially brings in less cash but leads towards much greater fulfillment. Other times, even if a desire seems like a lot of fun and adventure, it’s not worth doing it—for example, ditching work and going skydiving on the day I give the presentation I’ve been working on for a month.
Understanding desire will change your life for the better. It starts with saying YES. That’s what we’re going to research this week.