I want to be more vulnerable...
There seems to be a shared desire amongst men now, at least with many of the clients that I’ve been working with over the last few months. That desire is expressed in different ways: “I’m always in control, in every aspect of my life. In my sex life, I’d like things to be a little different”. “I’m always expected to be the giver. Why can’t I be better at receiving?” “I’d really like to learn how to be more present in sex, to be in the moment”. I think these are all ways of just wanting to be more vulnerable.
I expressed many of these same thoughts to a psychiatrist with whom I worked for a while. I vividly remember saying something like, “At work, I’m the boss. At home, I’m the one in charge. I’m the expert in my field of study and practice. In bed, I’d really like to allow someone else to take charge, to take care of me. I want to be more open, more vulnerable”. Comments like mine and those above really ring a big bell with me. Gay, straight or bi, we men are victims of a toxic masculinity that’s been pushed on us since our birth. Be the best! Be the strongest! Be the fastest! Get the goal! Be the winner! Be the boss! Don’t cry! Don’t show weakness! Stand up to that bully! Learn to fight! Be a man! (I’m breaking into a cold sweat just typing these words! I heard them all from an emotionally distant father who probably heard the same things from his father, and his father before him.)
Those aphorisms are in our cells and a certain amount of trauma came with them when we first became aware of them in childhood. Those old “tapes” still play in our deep sub-conscious and it takes a lot of effort to release ourselves from them. Somatic work can help us discard those now self-imposed expectations. We don’t need to carry them with us anymore. And we especially need to exorcise them from our sex lives. I’m not talking about “topping or bottoming”. I’m not saying that men with a desire to be vulnerable are suddenly interested in becoming bottoms, receivers of anal penetration. No matter what your sexual preferences are, you can learn to be truly open, truly vulnerable to your partner. Bodywork, breathwork, being open to and experiencing real sexual pleasure can all help you become more vulnerable, more open.
Being vulnerable sexually means being open to the emotional, physical or spiritual touch that is offered to you by another. It also means being open to what you can offer to yourself in your self-pleasure practice. Before masturbating, have you ever asked yourself the question, “How do I want to be touched today?” Try it. You may be surprised by what your body tells you. Being vulnerable sexually means going slow, asking questions, exploring, being mindful, present to your own touch and to the touch of another. Men need to understand the concept of personal and sexual vulnerability today, especially in this time when we’re becoming more aware of the sense of privilege that we’ve been given simply by virtue of the fact that we have penises.
Somatic sex education is a way in to a better understanding of vulnerability because we teach being mindful with regard to sex so that we can receive sexual pleasure and give it more profoundly.