WEEK 2 CONTENT

Here’s Your Daily Research Projects and Upgraded Sex Ed

Week 2 Sexual Research

Are you ready for your 20 minutes? Click this link. Flip your phone. Connect and explore.

Return to Main Menu >>

Week 2 Upgraded Sex Ed

Got a 2 minutes? Read a section. Upgrade your education and make your training more effective.

Return to Main Menu >>

This Week's Must-Know Concepts

I did my undergraduate studies at Stanford. One of my first boyfriends had skipped college at 18 and instead went to work for Verizon. When I’d say something detached and abstract, he’d call me Stanford. When his grammar was appalling, I’d call him Verizon.  

Stanford and Verizon had a lot to teach each other. Yes, I had an impressive degree and the brain to go along with it. But I lacked his ability to connect with people. When our mutual friends needed emotional support, they’d call him. When they had deep questions of the soul (or wanted their resumes edited)—me.

My powers of analysis are wonderful assets—and when it came to sex, my brained caused me real problems.

During sex, my mind rarely rested. It was on all night assessing the situation: “He just made a noise. Does that mean he’s happy? I feel tingling in my thighs. Does that mean I’m getting turned on? I feel flat and empty inside. Oh no—something is wrong. All evidence suggests this is never going to work!”

I was almost never in my body during sex. The thought of simply feeling pleasure sent my head into a tailspin: “How do you DO that?” I wanted to know the steps to letting go.

I have, since then, trained myself to be embodied. It took training. Now, as a result, I almost always know what I’m feeling and where I’m feeling it in my body. I can describe what I feel in great physical detail. And as a result—I feel more.

This is how it works: every time we recognize and feel something occurring in our bodies, we built the muscle to feel more of it. Bit by bit, we strengthen our ability to be present in our bodies during sex and to feel more enjoyment, desire, and sexual sensation.

Great sex is never the same twice

Most of us agree that traditional sex-as-we-know-it fails to ignite desire and deliver us endless fulfillment. That’s why we’re all here.

Sex-as-we-knew-It fails because it puts us into a right/wrong mindset.

  • “Do this blow job technique correctly and you’ll blow his mind.”
  • “Use this new toy and watch her toes curl.”
  • “Shave your legs and you’ll feel sexy!”
  • “Try sex in the shower to spice things up.”

While these actions may temporarily provide a jolt of excitement into our sex lives, they don’t produce sustainable, long-term fulfillment and renewal. They fail because they require us to follow the steps, do the technique “right,” and have the “right” reaction to it.

Whenever we try to do something right, we’re not present with what is actually occurring in real time. Connection and creativity plummet. Instead, we’re in our heads wondering: “What am I supposed to do next? Is this going well? Is he happy? Am I supposed to be feeling this way?”

My sexual methods, in contrast, toss “doing it right” to the wolves. Rather than learning to recite and follow a sexual script perfectly, I want you to know how to go “off script” during sex and experience the pleasure that comes from improvising and exploring together.

Improvisation is vital for sexual fulfillment for two reasons:

  1. Great sex is never the same twice. Our sexual pleasure and experiences fluctuate constantly. What felt great last week doesn’t cut it today. While yesterday we felt full of desire, today we couldn’t care less. This is how sex goes when it’s off script.

In fact, fluctuating desires are a great sign that you’re no longer trying to control your sex life and are instead allowing yourself to be moved. When we allow ourselves to be moved by our sexual desires, we turn off our managing minds. Unmanaged, we naturally experience a wide variety of sexual states. This wide variety is what creates fulfillment.

When we improvise in sex, we participate fully

Have you ever done acting improv comedy before? I have and it’s a blast. It’s playtime for adults.

Improv comedy is unplanned, unscripted, and created spontaneously by the actors. It can be wildly funny because no one knows what’s going to happen next. The exhilaration of watching the actors scramble to make things up is part of the fun.

The most essential tenet of improv play is “Yes, and…”

The “Yes, and…” rule of improv dictates that we embrace whatever is occurring, and then add to it. This keeps the game going and keeps both people participating.

Here’s an example:

  • “We’re at the mall.”
  • “Yes, and I’m your father.”
  • “Yes, and we just had a fight!”
  • “Yes, and now I’m buying you new shoes so you stop crying.”
  • “Yes, and I’m not stopping until I get those shoes!!”

This exchange took an unexpected turn, even as I wrote it. I could have kept writing indefinitely, exploring new storylines. It’s easy to create with “Yes, and…”

What’s the opposite like? Here’s an example:

  • “We’re at the mall.”
  • “No, we’re not. We’re in the subway.”
  • “No, we’re not. We’re in the mall and I’m your father.”
  • “Fine.”
  • “You’re supposed to be happy to see me!”
  • “Well, I’m not!”

Geez—I have a stomach ache just writing that! This isn’t a play, this is a power struggle. One person takes over and one person gives up. It’s not very entertaining, and there’s no collaboration.

Full participation is what’s required for improvisation and exploration.
When we don’t say “Yes, and…” to what’s occurring, we enter into a power struggle with reality. We negate the feelings or fact that are occurring right in front of us negate our experiences: “I’m feeling sad, but I shouldn’t be feeling that way.” I tell you from personal experience, reality always wins that battle.

The most problematic archetypes in sex

When we start to fight reality and deny our authentic experiences (“I shouldn’t be sad right now,”) one of three things happens:

  • We beat ourselves up for not doing it right. (“What’s wrong with me? Why do I always have feelings right before we’re about to have sex?! I’m a mess.”)  
  • We give up on trying to play. (“It’s not worth having sex, I’m never in the mood. It’s hopeless!”)
  • Or, our partner tries to save the day. (“I’ll cheer you up! I’ll make sure sex goes well for both of us.”)

These three roles make up what my teachers Gay and Katie Hendricks call the Drama Triangle. It was invented by Dr. Stephen Kartman in the 1960s, and is renowned in many sociological and psychological circles for the way it describes human behavior.

The Drama Triangle identifies the three positions necessary to keep drama going: the victim, the villain, and the hero. We see these three characters in all movies, plays, books, and games. This is the fun side of drama. We also see these characters cause havoc in our own lives, the downside of personal “drama.”

Here are the three parts of the triangle:

The Victim is the one who’s in trouble and is suffering. “Poor me!” The victim feels persecuted, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, and constantly at the effect of other people. When stuck in the victim position, we lose our creativity and independence. We either wait to be rescued (by the Hero) or continue being oppressed (by the Villain).

The Villain is the one who makes others or him/herself wrong. “It’s your fault!” The villain oppresses, blames, shames, criticizes, and controls. When stuck in the villain position on the triangle, we beat ourselves up and judge others. People around us either withstand our harsh beatings (acting like Victims) or attempt to appease our wrath (acting like Heroes).

The Hero is the one who tries to make everyone (and themselves) feel better. “Let me fix this!” The hero is the classic enabler who feels uncomfortable when other people are suffering. The hero cheerleads, solves, alleviates, strategizes, and bends over backwards to make others feel better. The hero will always be surrounded by helpless people who needs saving (Victims) and outraged people who demand someone else fix the problem (Villains).

Of all three roles, the Hero is the most insidious and ironically causes the most suffering.

The Hero looks good on the outside. After all, what’s wrong with helping? But the Hero always does more harm than good. She isn’t actually helping. By rescuing “helpless victims,” she actually allows—and even requires—the victims to be powerless and to fail.

What does this look like, typically, in sex?

The Four Classic Dramatic Couples

There are four classic couples:

  1. She’s the Victim, he’s the Hero. In this storyline, she’s lost touch with her desire and doesn’t know what she wants. He rusehs in to save her: “I’ll turn you on. I’ll make all the moves. I’ll show you what your body can do.” This might seem like a positive thing. Who doesn’t want to be saved?! The problem is that our Hero never truly saves anyone. He simply keeps her helplessness in place by acting as if she incapable of feeling her desire on her own.
  2. She’s the Victim, he’s the Villain. In this storyline, she has again lost touch with her interest in sex—only this time, he doesn’t try to save her. Instead, he gets upset, offended, or outraged at her disinterest. He puts pressure on her to give it to him. This relationship dynamic will often become abusive and devolve into pattern #3.
  3. He’s the Villain, she’s the Hero. After being threatened or bullied, she adopts the Hero role to appease him. “I’ll just have sex with him. It’s easier than being pestered constantly. It will keep him happy for a week.” Like all heroic moves, this temporary fix causes big problems down the line when she ends up resentful.
  4. He’s a victim, she’s the villain. In this scenario, he needs sex and she isn’t giving it to him. Poor him! He’s helpless to get the sex he needs from his mean, old wife. He pouts and whines. She becomes increasingly turned off and frustrated by him.

None of these scenarios provide the most fun, adventure, and connection that’s possible between men and women in sex. Yet, most of us have engaged in at least one of these patterns.

Why?

Because the Drama triangle is very addicting. It’s addicting because it’s fueled by adrenaline, and adrenaline is a powerful substance. Drama also protects us from feeling vulnerable. We play out roles rather than reveal our tender emotions.

Radically fulfilling sex requires that we leave these roles behind and honestly participate in sex. Sex is a shared creation. It’s not his job or her job. It arises between two willing people.

Which Role are you: the Victims

In sex, each role comes with its costume and its outlook on sex. Here are the main roles worth identifying so you can begin to explore what your patterns are and how to step away from them.

Victims

“The Broken Winged Bird/Princess in Distress”: this is the classic feminine stereotype, the woman who is fragile, virginal, and in some way broken. She requires a rescuer to show her the way to her own pleasure and save her from the torment of her brokenness.

The hardest part to leave behind: The vast majority of fairy tales portray this compelling stereotype: poor Cinderella, with her mean step-family and limited access to the world! She must be saved by Prince Charming. For women, acting like a broken winged bird garners near endless male attention. The problem is, playing this role saps our power. We end up feeling helpless in ways we don’t enjoy, like abusive marriages and unequal human rights.

The way out: Retire the Princess in Distress and step into equal partnership. Do this by accessing creative choice. Ask yourself: “What are 5 things I want to create in this partnership?” Anything from going to Italy to having another child to cooking more meals together. Write them down.

 

“The Wretched Husband”:  In this classic male stereotype, the hard working man just can’t win his wife’s affection. Despite all his efforts, he remains without the sex he craves. Poor him! He requires a villainous woman to continue denying him access to what he most wants, which is touch, love, and connection.

The hardest part to leave behind: Rather than exercising creativity to get his needs met, a man stuck in victimhood acts like a boy in hopes his mommy will save him. He drops his manhood and gives himself an excuse to check out of the relationship. He garners a lot of sympathy points from his friends, who are stuck in the same role struggling with women who don’t want them. Even though this character grows more and more reviled by his wife, men still stay stuck in it for years because it’s a safer alternative to boldly going after what they really want.

The way out: What’s one thing you genuinely appreciate about your partner? Her smile? The way she shows up in her job? Her cooking? The way she parents your kids? Once you’ve identified one thing you genuinely appreciate about her, tell it to her simply and directly.

Which Role are You: the Villains

“The Do me Queen”: This woman is just waiting to be impressed. “You want sex? Make it easy for me.” For her, all conditions must be perfect before sex can occur. The Do Me Queen sets up hoops for men to jump through before they reach her, the prize. If she’s turned off, it’s the fault of someone or something else: the weather, her partner, her childhood, her work schedule. If you want to have sex with the Do me Queen, be prepared to do all the work!

The hardest part to leave behind: The Do Me Queen stays hidden behind her throne and avoids the risk and humiliation of expressing her own desire for sex. This archetype often plagues women who inherited strong negative conditioning around sex: don’t be slutty, don’t let go, be modest, stay safe. The Do Me Queen covers her natural thirst for sex and puts the onus on him: “It was his idea, so I’m not to blame for sex.” She has all the control because she’s the one calling the shots—though, of course, control isn’t getting her the connection, pleasure, and self-love she really wants.

The way out: Bow down to your own sexual desire and love for your partner and express it to him: give him a for-your-pleasure blowjob, profess your love in a poem, rub your body all over his. If you didn’t love him, you wouldn’t be with him. Time to reveal your cards, lady! It feels better for you, too.

 

The Enforcer: This man demands he gets the sex he needs. His wife owes him sex, and he’ll be damned if she’s not going to give it to him! Enforcers use their tempers to pressure their partners into giving them what they want. They throw fits, exact agendas, and justify their behaviors based on the edict: “I need sex and it’s her job to give it to me.”

The hardest part to leave behind: This behavior is often very effective in the short term. Most women, when faced with pressure from men they love, will buckle. When I suggest Enforcers give up their methods, they feel afraid. At least they’re getting some sex. Even if it’s through questionable means. They fear if they stopped controlling her (“Sex at least once a week, that’s all I ask!”) then they’d lose the meager amount of sex they’re getting.

The way out: When was the last time you asked her what she wanted? Ask her as soon as possible: “Is there something  you want that you haven’t asked me for? Or something you’ve asked me for that I ignored? I want to hear it now.” Then wait, and listen.

Which Role are You: the Heroes

“The Dutiful Wife”: Often married to the Enforcer or the Wretched Husband, the Dutiful Wife sees her husband’s distress, pulls up her apron straps, and has sex with in order to appease him for a few days or weeks. Her job to make sure he’s happy. She usually has no idea what SHE wants.

The hardest part to leave behind: There are two big challenges to dropping this role. One: helping others makes us feel very important. We are needed. We are wanted. We feel vital to the relationship. We worry that our partner might not stay with us if we weren’t always so accommodating to him. Two: the dutiful wife appeases her husband’s anger. Most women have a natural fear of men, especially angry men—often rightfully so. Many women use this role to feel safe.

The way out: The Dutiful Wife tends to be passed down from mother to daughter. The remedy is to be completely honest—first with yourself, then with your partner. Ask yourself these questions: Who did you learn your style from? What are you most afraid might happen if your partner gets upset? What do you most want? 

 

“The Knight in Shining Armor”: The brave and noble Knight tries to do everything right so that his partner will be happy. He pours money, time, resources, and attention onto her. Sadly, nothing he does ever seems good enough. This, however, doesn’t stop the Knight for trying!

The hardest part to leave behind: Most men love to be the hero. They love to see a woman smile and to make her happy. The hardest thing to leave behind for men who fall prey to the Knight is the idea that if he just did a little bit more, then she’d finally be happy. This addiction is akin to gambling. “I’ve give her one more dinner date, one more vacation, one more favor—then she’ll see how much I love her.” It’s never enough. The Knight’s heroic efforts are actually covering his own fear and pain, and disabling his ability to take a stand for himself and what he believes in.

The way out: Ask your partner: “How often you feel really listened to by me? How often do you feel like I’m trying to fix your problems?” Listen to what she says and instead of trying to solve anything, simply repeat back to her what you hear. Next time she’s upset, don’t make it a problem. It’s not a problem. Instead, simply be present with her and allow her emotions to move through her. 

 

When we’re playing out these roles, we aren’t fully participating in sex. When we’re making demands, or running around trying to save the day, or waiting for the perfect mood to strike, we aren’t creating and exploring what we most want with each other. Instead, running a very familiar storyline.

The triangle is the opposite of “Yes, and…” Instead, it’s one giant argument. The victim says, “I’m helpless!” the hero says, “No your not!” the Villain says, “Yes, he is!” and on and on.

 

There’s one quick and simple way to end this madness and to step back into creativity, improvisation, and connection.

 

That’s what we’re going to explore in the next section.

 

When being a Smart Person becomes a problem

If you’re reading this, you likely have a well-developed intellect and strong analytical powers, as well. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be drawn to my work. Strong minds are an asset. And in sex, our intellect derails pleasure using one primary method: by making what we feel mean something.

Our brains, bless them, are meaning-making machines. That’s what we do as humans: we attempt to make sense of the chaotic, flabbergasting world in which we were born.

We constantly sort experiences into good or bad:

  • Smiling person on the street, good.
  • Car careening towards us, bad!

This is an accurate assessment to make. When it comes to sex, however, our interpretations aren’t always on point.

Here’s an example: crying.

Many of us readily think crying = bad. It means that something is wrong. But is that always true? How many of us have cried at a touching movie or upon seeing our child do something brave? I’m tearing up just remembering those moments as I write this.

I’ve also cried during sex—often—even when nothing was “wrong.” It didn’t feel sad; I was simply overcome with emotion.

I used to make this a very wrong thing to do. Most of my early sexual partners verified this assessment. They would become annoyed or distressed with my crying, or try to make me feel better—neither of which hit the mark.

I remember the first time I was sexually engaged with a man and tears welled up in my eyes, and he didn’t try to do anything about it. He didn’t ignore me. He just kept fucking me. It was the most relieving experience I’d had around crying, because for the first time my upwelling emotions weren’t seen a problem. They were a part of the experience of letting go. I accepted them, and he accepted them, and we both enjoyed a rich connection because of it.

This example highlights the distinction between our experiences—the sensations and emotions we feel in our bodies—and our interpretations of those experiences—the stories, judgments, and assessments we make up.

Our interpretations are almost always up for debate: one man thinks it’s a turn on when women talk dirty to him, another finds it disgusting. One woman feels embarrassed about how quickly she climaxes, the other mortified that it takes her so long.

These are interpretations of “what happens” during sex. When we want better sex, interpretations are not helpful to focus on.

What is helpful is to focus on the sensations and emotions we feel during contact with each other—the raw, physical feelings that occur in our bodies. These are always real and fascinating, and provide us a way to connect deeply with each other.

What are you actually feeling?

Remember in the last section we talked about the triangle, and I told you there’s a foolproof way to step out of those archetypal roles and into more connection?

Here it is: drop your interpretation or assessment of what’s happening, and instead focus on your experience of what’s happening.

  • Interpretation = a story, idea, judgement, or conclusion.
  • Experience = a fact, physical sensation, desire, or emotion.

What’s the difference? Here are some examples:

Experiences Interpretation
I feel a crushing in my chest. “I’m a terrible person.”
I’m feeling anxious and agitated. “He must be bored.”
I feel lump in my throat. “I’m a loser, she’s going to reject me.”
I feel angry and confused. “You’d rather watch TV than hang out with me!”

Experiences occur RIGHT NOW inside of our bodies. Interpretations usually happen in the past or future, and always occur in our heads.

We connect more easily around our experiences. Why? Take a quick listen. Which one fosters more connection to your ear?

You’re acting like a real asshole. I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach.
I feel tight around the corners of my mouth, and my heart aches. I’m getting old. No one is ever going to love me.

Expressing our experiences generates closeness and compassion, even when the content of our experiences isn’t nice or sexy.

“I feel sad. My hands are tingling. My mouth is dry. My eyes feel prickly like I’m about to cry.” Not exactly romance novel material. And I’ve witnessed first-hand relationship mend and sexual passion rise when couples share their in-the-moment experiences with each other.

So, what are you actually feeling? Beneath the assessment and meaning making, the worries and judgements.

The quickest way to find out is the focus on the one the place sensation occurs: your body.

The magic of sensation

Feeling more physical sensation and emotion in sex increases fulfillment, especially for women. Yet as women, we often shy away from feeling the intense sexual sensations we crave. And as men, we often shy away from saying and doing things that will cause our partners to feel more sensations.

For example, we don’t say what we want out loud. We tighten up our bodies while we’re being sexually touched, which causes us to feel less. We avoid sexual contact when we’re not “in the mood.” We lie to each other, so the other isn’t upset. We don’t act on our own desires out of fear that we’ll hurt each other.

Why do we do this?

Because feeling sensation is, well, sensational! Feeling our bodies causes us to release control. This is a scary prospect for many of us.

The ost, however, of staying in control is that we don’t get the touch, attention, or pleasure we want. We might feel safer, yes. But that safety also creates a cage and we end up prisoners of our own lack of trust in ourselves.

We often realize we’re stuck in a cage and that we want more sexual connection. The way out, we think, is to learn how to have great sex. If sex goes well, then we will feel more confident and sexy. When we feel confident and sexy, we’ll want more sex—right? Sort of…

The problem with the “make sex go well” strategy is it ends up being just another cage. We’re touching each other, sure, and we’re also stuck in our heads analyzing and interpreting the touch. “Is this right? Am I doing a good job? Is this what great sex is?!”

Pleasure and sex, when it comes down to it, is a series of physical sensations.

That’s it.

It’s a series of tingling, jolting, buttery, smooth, wiggling, hot, pulsing, pulling, clenching, vibrating, tickling, expanding, soft, or shimmering sensations inside of our bodies.

Through paying attention to sensation, instead of our interpretation, we get to feel much more in sex. Forget about making sex “go well.” Instead, focus on what you are feeling in your body.

  • What are your physical sensations like? Are they hot, cold, fast, or slow?
  • Where do you feel it when you get turned on? Is it quick tightening in your genitals? Or is it as subtle yet all-pervading as a blush?

Focusing on the in-the-moment sensations of sex is the most radically rewarding practices I have ever taken up—one that has taken my sexual experiences far beyond “going well” and into more intimacy, creativity, collaboration, and fulfillment.

"The choice is always to feel, or not to feel"

Let’s get acquainted with the most common ways of avoiding sexual sensation so that you can become aware of your habits—and bring you attention back to your body both in sex and connection.

Vagueness: “What happens in vagueness, stays in vagueness.”

Vagueness diminishes the intensity of the truth. It also lowers connection and intimacy.

  • “How are you feeling?”
  • “OK.”

That exchange meant nothing. It was platitudes most likely delivered out of cultural propriety.

We do this with each other, too, especially around expressing our desires.

When we want sex, we might say, “Do you want to go to bed?”

This is a vague desire, at best. We do it because it looks like it will soften the blow of our desire. It also protects us from exposing ourselves. If our partner rejects us, we weren’t openly invested from the beginning.

The problem is, vague requests get vague answers. They’re also annoying. When we’re vague, we require our partners to go digging for what we really mean. I prefer more interesting pastimes than trying to figure out what my partner is trying to say to me.

The remedy? Get specific. Use details. Don’t say, “I want to go to bed with you.” Say, “I want to peel off your clothes and bury my face in your breasts.” Or, ”I want you to get on top of me and bite my neck and fuck me like you have the strength of 20 men!”

Positive Interpretation: “This feels good.”

I’m sure it did feel good—but what does good feel like FOR YOU? What feels good for me is most likely dramatically different. I want to know what YOUR body experiences. I want to know what GOOD feels like in your cells. Is it shiny? Is it hot? Is it slow and smooth? Where do you feel it? In your genitals? On your face? All over your skin?

While interpretations like “good” can be convenient time savers in the rest of our lives, when it comes to sex they are lazy. Get specific. Describe what you felt, rather than your interpretation about it.

Interpretation: “This feels bad.”

Never in this training will I require you to do anything you don’t want to do. You always have choice, and I recommend you get your needs met every single moment. And as you progress through the levels, your research will be getting more provocative and edgy. “Bad” is an interpretation of sensation, in the same way that “good” is. We are geared to avoid “bad” things, both for our health and survival, and also based on our personal preferences.

However, our interpretations of what is “bad” are not accurate when it comes to sex. Sometimes “bad” means taboo, naughty, or disapproved of by our parents. Sometimes, “bad” means we felt more sensation that we are used to.

There is really no “bad” when it comes to sex. You may discover experiences you don’t want to repeat. This is great information for you to have, and you need never repeat them.

However, when we make assumptions about what’s bad and what we don’t like, we relegate ourselves to a small corner of pleasure. For the longest time, I was DISGUSTED by holding hands. Flat out “don’t you dare try to own me or don’t touch me in public” kind of way. I bought my disgust at face value for years. “I just don’t like holding hands.” Then one day, I decided to question this.

What’s true is that holding hands produces A LOT of sensation in my body: burning, quivering, shaking, rattling. I feel scared and nervous when I hold hands. That’s what was actually true.

I had labelled those as “bad.” But that was an interpretation. When I chose to practice hand holding and simply feel the sensations without interpreting them, I began to enjoy holding hands. In fact, after a few weeks of practice, it thrilled me!

Now, I LOVE holding hand. I never would have discovered the sweet intimacy of walking down the street arm and arm with my partner if I hadn’t questioned my interpretations.

Assumptions: “I wouldn’t like ________.” “My partner would never ___________.”

Assumptions are so… yesterday!

This is the ever changing tapestry of the Feminine Operating System. Do you expect consistency??

Most the time our assumptions are designed to AVOID feeling sensation. Have you ever tried it? How do you know you don’t like it?

It’s always OK to have a boundary, and to say no. And as a sexual researcher, I want to offer you the perspective that anything and everything can be researched. Research makes things were previously off limits accessible. It allows us to safely explore the unknown and discover new things about yourself and each other.

What makes research safe is to focus on the sensations of what we experienced—what did you feel?—rather than on the interpretation: did this go well?

When given the safe context of exploration, you might be surprised at how much you and your partner are willing to try.  

I’ll try almost anything for 5 minutes. Why not? If I hate it, I’ll never do it again. The worse case scenario is I had a difficult 5 minutes. The best case is that I had a blast trying something I’d never dared before.

Analyze the data before we’re done collecting it: “This is never going to work!”

All great research is a foray into the unknown and collecting data as we explore and discovery.

This is true in scientific research and baking alike. I love to bake, and enjoy not using recipes. I like to wing it. Rarely do I give up on a batch of cookies midway through. Even when the dough looks like hell, I keep going. Add a little more flour. Thin it with some water or more butter (when is more butter not a good idea??).

When we analyze an experience before we’re finished with it, we limit the possibilities.

Save analysis for afterwards. Stay present in the moment and focus on sensation. Keep exploring and improvising. You might be surprised at what you create!

Wanting it to be different than it is: “This isn’t what should be happening!!”

This is one of the most insidious avoidance tactics around, and it’s one almost all of us use at some time.

“I should be feeling more pleasure. This should be feeling good. She should be happy by now. I should be thinner.”

Ultimately, sex is what it is. Arguing with reality is one of the most frustrating and ineffective practices I know of.

The truth is, what’s happening is what’s happening. There’s no way around that except by entering our minds and starting our opening arguments with the Universe.

Surrender is the act of accepting reality exactly the way it is. When we surrender to what is happening in sex and otherwise, we don’t give up. Instead, we accept what is currently occurring and become part of the experience. As part of the experience, we can influence the unfolding of what’s next.

Even when we surrender to painful circumstances that we would never actively choose or want to experience, we experience power, peace, and freedom. We relax into what is happening and feel more comfortable improvising, because we’re not fighting with life.

The quickest way to surrender is to simply feel the sensations that are occurring inside of us, without making them wrong or right. Just being with it as it’s happening, adding nothing, is the path of surrender—and surrender leads to more intimate, fulfilling, creative sex.  

“Someone is going to get hurt.”

One of the ultimate reasons we avoid feeling sensation and encouraging our partners to feel sensation is we fear that we’re going to get hurt. We will either hurt ourselves or our partners if we fully open up to the power of our bodies. We will feel pain and terror.

This one is really quite simple.

My teacher Kathlyn Hendricks said this to me: “The choice is always to feel or not to feel.”

When we agree to feel, yes we will feel pain. If we want to avoid pain at all costs, then we can choose not to feel. THe problem is, feeling doesn’t occur selectively. We can’t numb pain and feel pleasure. When we numb pain, everything else numbs as well.

Do you choose to feel, or not to feel?