To the sources of our vitality
Working as a tantra massage practitioner for many years has allowed me to get to know women, men and couples from all over the world in the context of their sexual behaviour. This meant I could perceive and research a great deal and my own personal development has also increasingly granted me insights into the prerequisites for healthy sexual behaviour or, to put it another way, a healthy way of dealing with our vital energy.
Patriarchy has eroded the core importance of women as well as male-female equality. There are endless examples of how women in our era are suffering but I do not want to go into this topic in more detail here since I want to devote this space to the positive aspects of the opportunities we do have as women. This is also intended to be an appeal for gratitude: every day we can cultivate gratitude for relatively peaceful surroundings we have (or can create for ourselves).
Our topic is: How do we resolve our trauma? How can we de-identify with our past? How can we begin to take responsibility for ourselves?
Life is a process
It is rare that we appreciate what a great body we live in until it stops functioning well and illness has forced us to direct our attention towards it. We do have the possibility to make the most of our body’s full potential, but we are not generally brought up to do this or even know it is worth doing. Otherwise our upbringing would include knowledgeable adults initiating young people entering puberty into the meaning of self-confirming sexuality and how this can be lived out. Instead, we live in a culture where children are subjected to widespread abuse, violence and manipulation. The traumatisation that this triggers remains with us throughout our lives and hinders our psychological maturity, in turn leading to ignorance and alienation in our love lives – towards ourselves and others. Many get stuck in this immature stage and try to use relationships to seek out satisfaction for their infantile needs. A healthy process of becoming adults would include assistance regarding learning, nutrition and physical exercise, so if our childhood did not include this, then it is about time we caught up!
Moshé Feldenkrais writes:
“Life is a process. Humans often expect healing instead of progress. Progress is a gradual improvement without limits. ‘Healing’ is merely the return to a previous state, which may not even have been particularly or sufficiently good. Nonetheless, we were used to it. We rarely question what we are accustomed to. But we carefully test and grade progress. Progress develops from awareness. Only when we have this learned knowledge can we choose freely.”
I am a great fan of the Feldenkrais Method and practice it regularly.
“Whatever variants I have lived out. Whatever forms I observe. Communities with free love, monogamous couples, polyamorous group relationships or anything in between: none of them relinquish us from the necessity of getting to know ourselves. And that is a path we can only tread ourselves. It needs time, and peace and quiet.”
In our modern society, there is less of a ‘division of roles’ between the genders and more of a ‘flattening’ or ‘merging’ of tasks and duties. ‘Androgynous’ has become an established phenomenon. This process has diminished our clarity regarding what is female and what is male. However, one thing is clear: women need feedback from women. Men are not responsible for this, nor are they there to ‘look after’ women and offer a strong shoulder. They cannot do this.
Our society is over-sexualised: there is a very strong fixation on sex. Whether we are currently sexually active or not. Suppressing our sexuality has even gained a certain status, partly because it needs great effort to achieve. Nonetheless, there is also a widespread pressure to perform in the form of reaching orgasm. Many contacts remain superficial and uncommitted, which makes it difficult to enable genuine touch, being touched and satisfaction (including that of the heart).
Touch from woman to woman
As a tantric practitioner it is completely natural for me to touch women and to feel sisterly compassion with them. Who could know a woman better than someone who is also a woman? With women, I gain infallible guidance. Every tiny physical gesture guides me, and the female body speaks directly to me. Very different parts of their body need specific attention.
Sometimes it is the case that a woman comes to me with the expectation that a tantra massage is a substitute for sex and she is completely fixated on orgasm. Then I sense a certain impatience to ‘get down to it’; but, in a way, this is a rejection of the touch taking place and true contact cannot be established. Luckily this does not occur very often, since it is disappointing both for me as the ‘giver’ and for the ‘recipient’. My loving touch does not reach her, and her expectations are not fulfilled.
Deep orgasms only come from surrender, with an interplay between tension and relaxation. This leads to pulsing. And this needs an open body and active breathing. Breath carries energy and lets it flow. With lust flowing and the whole body vibrating, the ‘recipient’ and the ‘giver’ are both swept away by an ecstatic wave – an amazing event and sometimes it is like being born into something new. When this happens I’m overwhelmed by a humbling sense of the wonder our body is.
Nonetheless, a calm, quiet journey can be just as spine-tingling when a long-suppressed sensation is felt once again. It is an “Aha!”-moment: “Aha – that is me?! I can have that feeling.”
Trust in our body
Generally, the issue is bringing together our heart and our yoni. If the yoni cannot feel, it cannot listen to our heart, and anxiety arises if it is touched too quickly or too early. The trust which has been lost has not yet been re-established. This is true if the yoni is devoid of feeling and also in the opposite case, where the yoni is ‘over-sexualised’ because our heart is devoid of feeling. Slow, careful touch can bring sensation back. Our body heals itself if it receives the correct impulses and information without being overwhelmed. So care is needed instead of confrontation. It is not necessary to expose old wounds. It is sufficient to know that I am wounded and to accept that fact. Detailed recollection of trauma – if they actually show themselves – is not the solution and can even lead to our situation becoming worse.
In the 80s and 90s, confrontation was still very much in fashion with approaches such as primal therapy and encounter.
“I went through all of that, too. It did help me to express myself and to experience where I freeze, hide behind a mask or resort to a displacement activity in order to avoid feeling. It helped me out of denial. And bioenergetic breathing brought movement back into my pelvis. However, trauma are not resolved with this approach.”
Extremely anxious people could not cope with this approach – it was much too much for them. In the meantime, new methods have been developed such as “Somatic Experiencing”, developed by Peter A. Levine and described in his book “In an Unspoken Voice”. He provides extensive information on how our brain works and how trauma are stored in a very old region of the brain called the reptile brain, which we cannot access consciously. To free up frozen feelings we need our body. However, body therapy should not overwhelm the client. Peter Levin says we should start sensing drop by drop.
A tantra massage serves to activate our self-contact and our bodily sensation. It is slow, so our body can relax slowly into touch. It proceeds moment by moment so it is not possible to predict in advance where the journey will lead.
It is so important for us as women to unfold our female power once again and to accept this, developing trust in our bodies. If we are soaked in shame, guilt and fear, taking everything personally and always looking for things we have done wrong, then our access to vitality will remain hidden.
“In the meantime I accept myself the way I am. A woman with curiosity, a drive to explore more, and an ability to relax. I make mistakes because I increasingly dare to explore new realms. I do not punish myself for my mistakes, instead seeking a creative way of dealing with them. Sometimes this makes me unpopular. But trying to please everybody all the time is absurd.”
Under patriarchy, the immense life force of women is being sabotaged more and more. We women have our personal issues but we also have collective issues: we are affected, influenced and manipulated by global issues. Depending how we see through this intellectually, we can also start to tread our individual path of healing, recognising and accepting the tasks along the way.
Discovering our inner space: “What do I feel? What do I think? Which emotions are arising? What reasons do I have for my reactions?” This is the most valuable thing we can do for ourselves: it is the path to self-empowerment and becoming aware. It is simply the path of healing. I am not inescapably a victim of my past; instead, I can become creative and spontaneous.
What does this mean for our female sexuality?
I consider sexuality to be our core energy; in other words, it is our vital or life energy.
If a woman has full authority over her life energy, she is wild and free. She is aware of how to make use of this energy in a self-determined way. Sexuality can be expressed in many different ways. Sometimes with a partner, but also in nature, silently or ecstatically. It can be expressed while cooking or in any other creative process.
During my work as yoni massage practitioner, I am continually exploring this further. While giving but also, very importantly, while receiving. Depending on maturity and the state of body, spirit and mind, the flow of energy during a yoni massage can be very sophisticated. A yoni massage can also provide a ‘stocktaking’ of how I currently feel in my body. The more sensitive my body is, the more integrated this massage will impact on the whole body. A yoni massage can arouse lust; it can also trigger deep relaxation.
Depending on the ability to sense feelings and let physical sensations flow through the body, an orgasm can be like an earthquake, volcanic eruption, a gentle stream or a scanty twitch. If the physical yoni is healthy, which is usually the case here, then the blockages are ‘in our head’. So it is not about straining to achieve an orgasm but rather about developing a positive, self-confirmed relationship to ourselves.
Attentive, loving and skilled touch can be extremely helpful in activating a strong affirmation of our vitality. Whatever each of our new steps to our femininity – to our inner world – look like, let us take them together. Together in spirit or in real encounters.