Sacred Self Pleasure & Sensuality
In my previous entry for this series I spoke about how sexuality and sexual orientation are sacred. Here I will talk
about how self-love, self pleasure, and sensuality are sacred. For you cannot truly and fully love another until you love yourself.
Obviously I am going to talk about sex in this article. Rather frankly, too. But there is so much more to self-love, self-pleasure, and understanding your sensual being than just the mechanics of masturbation and bringing yourself the pleasure of orgasm.
As humans (and other beings who appear to be human) we naturally desire to explore our own bodies. Even babies and toddlers will experience these desires and feelings. (Let me be clear here, I am not talking about sexualizing children. I am talking about how children explore their bodies and experience a sense of pleasure during that exploration.) We seek out what makes us feel good, physically: the stroke of our own fingers over a sensitive part of our bodies, the sensation of a cool breeze against bare skin, the warmth of the bath water. Many things will bring us pleasure – sometimes of a sensual and sexual nature.
I have spent most of my life in pain (I’ve lived with osteoarthritis since I was a teenager). Finding pleasure is something very important to me. I find pleasure in many things, most of them intellectual or emotional pleasure, but there are some that are of a physical and sometimes sexual or sensual nature. Reading a good book, watching a comedy film, listening to good music – these all can bring me intellectual and/or emotional pleasure. Biting into a fine piece of chocolate, sipping a cup of mead, or sinking into the tall grasses of a meadow – these all can bring me a physical pleasure. Cuddling with a partner, being brought to orgasm – either by the hand and body of a lover or by my own hand – are clearly sensual and sexual pleasures.
Can you deny the sensuality of the sensation of a hand stroking gently from your hip to your under arm? I may be totally wrong here, but I’d imagine that even an asexual would acknowledge the sensuality of touch.
I’m homo-sexual, but consider myself to be bi-sensual. I can and have been in sensual and romantic relationships with both men and women. While I was exploring my sexuality as a teenager I developed relationships with a small number of women. We were dating, a couple, for some time. One of those women is still a good friend of mine, though our romance has long since fizzled out. Oddly enough, her brother was my first real boyfriend.
When I was involved with these women we would spend hours and hours on the phone or chatting online – this was the early days of computing, before the internet. When we got together we’d sit and watch movies, cuddle, and enjoy each other’s company. Sex was never part of our time together. One of these women was disappointed with that and sought solace elsewhere – turns out the main thing she wanted was a child.
That is neither here nor there.
There are many women in my life that I can and have had sensual relationships with. These relationships go beyond the close friendship that one might have with a person of the “opposite sex”. We can sleep together, without sex. We hug and kiss, we cuddle, we exchange massages. We have a deeper relationship than one might have with someone who is “merely” a friend.
I can and have had relationships with men that are similar. The sexual tension is a bit more obvious in these situations, but they are not a sexual relationship. We’ve slept together, again without sex. We’ve cuddled, hugged and kissed. We’ve been intimate without the sexual overtones that one would expect in a relationship that goes beyond friendship.
In both these situations I am reminded of a line that my HPS uses, “closer than lovers, deeper than friends…it is a bond that NEVER ends.” These words are part of a poem that she wrote. They have a very deep meaning, one that can vary from reader to reader. How you interpret them is what is important to you.
Being sensual is more than being physically close to another. It is more than the touch of another on your skin, their sweet breath in your ear, or the electricity that can pass between two (or more) people.
You can be sensual with yourself as well. Sensuality is much more than the eros of touch.
I enjoy taking long hot showers and soaking bubble baths. I find them to be much more than just relaxing. I find them to be sensual. The feel of the water flowing down my body, the soap suds being rinsed from skin. Even the patter of the water on my bald head. I enjoy the calm and relaxing feel of a bubble bath. Add a glass of wine or a good beer and the experience is that much more. Like a date with myself. During the winter I enjoy stretching out in front of the fireplace, letting the warmth of the flames dry my skin.
One of the most sensual things I can do for myself is wrap up in a soft blanket and spend time with myself. This can lead to an even more stimulating experience. Self-pleasure. No, I am not going to detail how I go about pleasuring myself. That is not the purpose of this article. Though some of what you will read here may not be safe for work.
I’ve currently chosen to live my life without someone else in it, someone who is a friend, a partner, and a sexual mate. There is much that goes in my life that would not be conducive to my being a committed relationship right now. I work 40-60 a week at the bills-paying-job, I have multiple radio and podcast shows to host and produce, I spend much of my free time reading and writing for quasi-academic reasons. But I still spend time on myself. Self-care and pleasure in my life are important, even if they do not seem to be to others. I’ve been “alone” for a number of years, eight or so. I’ve had dalliances here and there, one night stands if you will. I do miss the physical companionship of another person in my life, but for now I have been relatively happy being alone with myself.
Reading that again I can see where some might think that I am deluding myself. How can a person be happy with no one else in their lives? With no one to seek pleasure with? How can a person be happy “alone”?
I am happy. For the most part. Yes, I would be happy in a relationship that works. I would be happy to be able to come home from a long day at work and find my partner waiting for me, with a hot meal on the table and a glass of wine. I would be happy to be able to crawl into bed with a partner who is open and embracing of a physical relationship that goes beyond the purely physical and takes us to a realm of pleasure and bliss. But I do not need that to be happy. I come home from a long day at work and spend time with my cats. I can cook a delicious meal for myself and enjoy a glass or two of wine without someone else being there. I do miss the companionship of other people, sometimes. I miss the face-to-face interaction of having someone in the room with me, someone that can hold my hand or take me into their arms when I need to vent about something that went wrong at work. But I am a “modern” man. I can pick up my cell phone and make a call to a friend, I can log onto Facebook and have a conversation with someone who is important in my life. I can also stop at a friend’s after work and talk with them about anything – work or life or politics – and satisfy those needs.
None of that really addresses the physical needs that some people have. The need to release their sexual tension and to share their bodies with others. There is plenty of things that a person can do alone to satisfy much of that. Masturbation is the obvious release that a person can attain by themselves. But masturbation for the sake of physical release is basically meaningless.
Wait. Did I just say that bringing yourself to orgasm is meaningless? Yes. And no. It has enough of a meaning in that it releases the physical tension, both from stress and from arousal. It has the meaning, and purpose, of sexual satisfaction. Just the physical act of masturbation is rather meaningless on a spiritual level, on a sacred level. The Charge of the Goddess, in all forms that I have read, contains the line “all acts of love and pleasure are her rituals.” Masturbation should be pleasurable. (I acknowledge that for some masturbation, even orgasm, can be painful or lacking in pleasure.) It can be very spiritual, and thus sacred, as well.
I’ve used masturbation in ritual and spell work. I’ve focused the energies raised in self-pleasure in magickal workings for financial prosperity. (And here is where it gets NSFW.) Let me describe such a working for you.
I set my altar for prosperity. Placing candles of gold and green in the quarters of the table. Lighting them and the candles for the God and the Goddess. In the center of the altar sits a small cauldron with a layer of seas salt and a pool of alcohol.
I sit before the altar on an oversized pillow of chenille, completely naked. The lights are out in the room. The only source of illumination comes from the candles on the altar. I take a thin taper from the side of the altar and light it from the candles arrayed there. Going from East around to North. After the taper has taken the elemental energies of each candle I ignite the alcohol resting on the salt in the cauldron. The flames swirl and rise from the bowl of the vessel. The heat of the flame wafts up and around my body.
As the warmth engulfs my body and the space around the altar my body becomes aroused. I do what feels natural, what feels right. I stroke my body and my sexual organs. I bring myself to higher and higher state of arousal. As the flames of the cauldron reach their zenith my orgasm peaks. I release both the physical essence of the rite and the magickal energies that have been raised with the intent that as they go out from my body and spirit they will go out into the universe to attract the prosperity that I desire in my life.
There, that wasn’t so bad. Was it? Magicians, witches, sorcerers and other magickal practitioners have used the energies of sex and pleasure for millennia to obtain their goals. Numerous books and articles of the modern era have been written about sex magick. Several of them do actually address the sacredness of sex and pleasure as something more than the magick. Perhaps that will be a topic for another article.
All acts of love and pleasure are rituals. They are sacred rites that we practice for ourselves, our partner(s) if we are involved, and for the Divine in whatever form we believe.