Surrendering to the Bliss of Sexual Energy as a Path to Healing and Growth
BY DR. JUDITH ORLOFF
sexual energy is a powerful force, that when used consciously, can be a great catalyst for spiritual growth and healing on many levels.
The following article is based on Dr. Orloff’s bestselling book The Power of Surrender.
To manifest your full sexual energy you have to surrender. There’s no way around it. You must completely inhabit your body and be in the moment. If not now, when? Holding back, fixating on performance, or letting your mind drift is the end of passion. Don’t go there. I’ll show you how to get out of your head and into your bliss.
What is true sexual energy? I define it as proudly claiming your erotic self and mindfully channeling sexual energy. You never use it to hurt, manipulate, make conquests, or get addicted to the ego trip of sensual pleasure at the expense of others. This is bad karma. Nor do you allow others to harm or disrespect you. Sexual energy is not just who you are in bed, though that’s an aspect of it. You also make electric linkages to your body, to spirit, to a lover, to the universe. For me, it’s a turn-on when sexual power is blended with spiritual power.
Too many of us in this heady, frantic world lack the rich experience of having a primal connection with someone. Sexual energy can offer us this, a satisfaction you can never get from your intellect alone. As you open to both sex and spirit, whether you’re single or part of a couple, you’ll be a vessel for erotic flow, enjoying pleasure without insecurities or inhibitions.
We’ll discuss many fun approaches for letting go that you can integrate into your lifestyle. Don’t worry if you can’t succeed all of the time. Be happy with every bit of progress. Here are some general tips to keep in mind to improve your sexual energy. The more you can practice them, for short or longer periods, the more sexually alive you’ll be.
Basic Strategies of Surrender
+ Surrender your “to-do” list, making time for sensuality and lovemaking.
+ Surrender your overactive, critical “monkey mind” that kills passion and stops you from being present in your body.
+ Surrender to pleasure as completely as possible.
+ Let yourself melt into the ecstasy of orgasm and become one with your partner.
Sexual energy is something to revere and consciously cultivate. You can’t just leave it to chance. When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is meditate. I want to connect to myself, to every ounce of spiritual energy, heart energy, and erotic energy in me. I do this before any of life’s demands interfere. Meditating in this way fortifies me and lets me be fully present. Being in touch with my sexual self is part of being present, along with being analytical or being kind or listening to the angels sing. Sexual power is not compartmentalized away from the rest of you. It is more present when you’re whole. So, to begin the day, I offer thanks for every aspect of me, then proceed into the great unknown of the hours ahead.
In this article, we’ll explore questions such as: How can you ignite sexuality and have more intense orgasms? What makes a good lover? What are the common killers of passion? Do you fear intimacy or do you fake orgasms? What is the difference between healthy bonding and overly attaching to a partner? Are you a sex addict? Do you lose your center around sexual energy or obsess about lovers? Do you resist pleasure?
I’ll show you how to surrender if you have trouble letting go or are afraid of losing yourself in someone. Surrendering becomes easier when you trust your partner. Then you’ll feel safer about letting down your guard and feeling pleasure without resistance or fear. There are no limits to where ecstasy can take you as your sexual energy allows you to deeply connect to yourself and a partner.
Claim Your Sexual Energy
Sexual energy has different aspects. In the most basic sense, it’s about reproduction and survival. Nature has cleverly wired us to be rewarded with erotic excitement when we perpetuate the species. The bliss of orgasm is the catnip that motivates us to reproduce. Our choice of a partner is strongly influenced by our biological programming. Research has shown that both men and women are attracted to healthy, fertile mates with good genes. What physical signs indicate this? Science has identified several: a mate’s thick hair, smell via hormones called pheromones, voice tone, facial symmetry, a man’s muscular physique, and a woman’s hourglass figure with a waist-to-hip ratio of 7:10 (which Marilyn Monroe had). Interestingly, when women ovulate, they produce copulins, a scent that attracts men causing their testosterone to rise. Our drive to procreate trumps most other human instincts. The power of this primal consciousness commands respect and awe.
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It’s possible to have sexual intimacy without emotional intimacy but you will be using only a fraction of your sexual energy. Still, as I’ve observed with certain patients, many of whom had alcoholic or abusive parents, they may not feel deserving of love. One man told me, “I really wanted love but I settled for sex.” Sometimes, though, sex is all people seek or can tolerate. Whether they’re aware of it or not, they link emotional intimacy with psychic pain or being suffocated which kills their erotic arousal once they really get to know someone. When they get close to a partner they start feeling overwhelmed and turn off. “Women are always asking for more than I can give,” one male commitment-phobe told me. Surrendering to love feels terrifying to him. Such people have never learned that communication can safely bring you closer to someone than even a sexual energy exchange. Thus, so as not to stir up the beast, they must keep a safe distance from true intimacy which casual uncommitted sex allows.
channeling sexual energy can powerfully increase the chemistry between two people and raise consciousness when directed to higher chakra centers.
Take my patient Roxie who came from an abusive home and grew up a hard-boiled Hollywood street punk. Strong and determined, she made a new life for herself and built a successful sexy lingerie company. At thirty-five, Roxie was an engaging mix of street-smart, hip, and funny. She had her own brand of sexual energy which she seemed at ease with. During our first session she shared, “My boyfriend is an incredible lover. We keep it fun and light. Getting heavy ruins things.” With this attitude, it’s understandable that Roxie’s relationships never lasted more than six months. Though Roxie wasn’t worried about being single, she’d come to me because of an intense loneliness despite many romances.
During therapy Roxie began to grasp that when emotions get real, her sexual energy shuts down. Before, she’d simply rationalize, “I’m just not attracted to that guy anymore.” Intimacy was Roxie’s particular blind spot (everybody has one). She didn’t realize that because of her abusive upbringing, intimacy didn’t feel safe. My role isn’t to judge anyone or to push patients to change before they’re ready. If people are happy with their lives, God bless them. But Roxie wasn’t. Still, we had to tread gently. Long ago, I learned to work with where a patient is at, then go from there. Roxie wasn’t yet ready to share her emotions with a lover. It was too threatening.
So, first, to ease her loneliness, I encouraged her to explore other forms of intimacy, such as friendships and getting a puppy—animals are master teachers of unconditional love. Then she could work her way toward intimacy with a lover. Roxie found that adoring her shih tzu came more easily than sharing authentic emotions with humans. But gradually she started confiding in friends and letting down her “nothing bothers me” tough-girl facade to risk being vulnerable. I also helped her see how she’d armored herself as a child so that she wouldn’t feel hurt by her spaced-out crack-addicted parents. Now, a year later, Roxie is testing out her new emotional skills with a caring, slightly uptight college English professor—her complete opposite, which lends the perfect balance. She loosens him up; he centers her. They’ve been together eight months and the sexual energy between those two people is good. I am optimistic. Roxie has started to heal the wounds that stopped her from surrendering to a partner.
discover all the dimensions of your sexual energy, a relationship without emotional intimacy and trust won’t be enough for you. Intimacy involves surrender, a desire to let go of fear. You and your partner will bravely explore the inner space of emotions together. Sharing emotions—not excessively, but as they naturally come up—is part of the flow. Lovemaking is about generosity and giving pleasure to each other. It’s not just about you and your pleasure, important as that is. There’s a playfulness that comes from trusting each other as friends and lovers, not holding back. In all these ways, emotional intimacy only makes sex better and is a balm that sustains couples.
If you desire more intimacy but resist it, I suggest journaling about your fears. Are you afraid of being hurt? Betrayed? Abandoned? Do you have painful memories of failed intimacies with parents, friends, or others as you grew up? Were you neglected, not “seen,” rejected, or mistreated? Often abused children associate love and sex with pain and choose partners who will inflict pain. Identify what’s stopping you from surrendering to intimacy. Our upbringing can shape us. For better or worse, we’re born helpless, totally dependent on others. If your parents weren’t nurturing and dependable, you may always be perpetually on guard against getting hurt in relationships—it’s hard to surrender if you don’t feel relaxed and secure. Nevertheless, being aware of your early conditioning will let you compassionately identify areas where you hold back from trust now. If you have a history of abuse, you can heal past and current relationship patterns with therapeutic help. Sometimes issues are too big to resolve alone. Old wounds must begin to mend before you’re safe enough to let go to love. That’s the beauty of reaching out for smart professional guidance to free you from the bondage of abuse or any other trauma.
When you feel ready, you can use these steps to free yourself. For instance, experiment with pushing your limits with intimacy, not just a sexual energy exchange. Then address any anxiety that arises to prevent you from surrendering. Here’s where a good therapist can be invaluable. Like Roxie, tell yourself it’s okay to go slowly. First start expressing emotions with friends where the stakes aren’t as high as they are with a lover. Or you can get used to sharing love with animals: a dog, a cat, a bird, a hamster, whatever living being you’re not afraid to care about. There’s no rush. Embracing intimacy is a gentle process of desensitizing fear and getting rewarded by loving. As you gain more comfort and confidence, you can go on to a romantic partner.
However, even beyond the biological and emotional facets of intimacy, sexual energy is larger than just your desires. It also involves tapping a higher power. There’s a spiritual instinct that propels all of our body’s primal drives. Nothing about being human is ever just physical despite what our minds or genitals tell us. Sexuality and spirit are intimately related. When you surrender sexually, you enter an open intuitive state, permitting the force of creation to flow through you, similar to how artists are moved. As a result, you may literally create a new infant life or you may be rebirthed yourself.
During sex, ordinary boundaries fall away and your consciousness is altered. You encounter the bliss of the transcendent. You can intuitively sense things about each other. When you surrender, you are a conduit. I’ll show you how to practice inviting spirit in which in turn triggers the body’s biochemical pleasure response. With age, spirituality and subtle energy keep sexual power alive. Passion of the body is kindled by the passion of heaven. Knowing this is the beginning of knowing bliss.
What makes a good lover? There’s an electric chemistry between couples that is unique to them. Smell, voice, touch, and kissing style all figure in. Technical skills and good hygiene are important as well. But beyond these, here are some characteristics to look for.
10 Qualities of a Good Lover
1. You’re a willing learner.
2. You’re playful and passionate.
3. You make your partner feel sexy.
4. You’re confident, not afraid to be vulnerable.
5. You’re adventurous and willing to experiment.
6. You communicate your needs and listen to your partner.
7. You make time and don’t rush.
8. You enjoy giving pleasure as much as you enjoy receiving it.
9. You’re supportive, not judgmental.
10. You’re fully present in the moment with good eye contact and can let go.
What stops us from being good lovers? Frequently it’s time constraints, self-centeredness, inhibitions, and lack of technique. Our minds won’t shut off which keeps us from being in the moment. Further, many of us resist surrendering to how sexy we really are. Why? We haven’t learned to see ourselves as sexy. We’ve been brainwashed by the “skinny ideal.” Also, sex is frequently viewed more as a performance feat than as a holy sexual energy exchange. Growing up, most of us haven’t been given the right kind of education about what true sexiness is. If only we’d been taught that sexuality is a healthy, natural part of us that we must embody in a mindful, loving way—not something “dirty” or something to be ashamed of. Early on we learn that the words “vagina” and “penis” embarrass people. Except between lovers, they are rarely part of our vocabulary. We are a culture that embraces shame, only there is nothing to be ashamed of!
At sixteen, when I was about to make love with my boyfriend of two years for the first time, a life-altering rite of passage, I asked my mother about sex. Looking stricken, as if I’d just torn her heart out, she laid down the law: “Judith, it’s far too soon. Let’s talk about this when you’re twenty-one.” End of story. I guess Mother hoped that by refusing to discuss it she’d deter me. She couldn’t have been more wrong. I felt equal parts guilty, mad, and rebellious, dead set on doing what I’d planned. I didn’t want to hurt Mother, but as I saw it, this wasn’t about her—it was about me. I knew she was concerned for my welfare but not addressing my sexuality wasn’t helpful.
Just as baby chicks imprint on their mothers, we imprint on our parents. You were fortunate if your parents modeled a healthy sexuality and taught you to be proud of your body. My patients who’ve been raised like this are more comfortable in their own skin and with surrendering to their sexuality. Regrettably, for the rest of us, such self-esteem about our bodies is hard-earned. However, using the following strategies, you can let go of negative programming. Seeing yourself as an erotic being and embracing your own allure are the rewards of awakening sexual energy.
Sometimes, though, we resist our own sexiness or having sex at all because it mirrors our insecurities. Common ones include “Is my body attractive? Is my partner judging me? Am I a good lover? Will I disappoint my partner? Will I be rejected? Suffocated?” When these or other fears take over, even subconsciously, you may resist your sexual energy. Resistance can manifest as legitimate excuses such as “I’m not in the mood,” “I’m too tired or run down,” “I’m preoccupied with work,” “It’s too much effort,” “The kids will hear,” or “I’ve got a headache.” Still, if these excuses become habitual and your erotic life is suffering, it’s essential to examine your resistance to sex.
There are practical steps you can take to overcome resistance. You have to want to be sexy and keep passion alive in a relationship. When you’re tired or angry, or if communication with your partner breaks down, passion quickly disappears. Denial and apathy are the enemies of passion. So stay alert to the following deterrents to a good sexual energy exchange. Then you can correct the situation.
Common Killers of Passion
2. Not communicating your needs
3. Losing interest
5. Lack of creativity, boredom
6. Repressed anger and hostilities
Sexual responsiveness is a sensitive barometer. Intimacy requires self-awareness and a willingness to remove obstacles. Taking action can help you achieve a loving, erotic relationship. On a daily basis, train yourself to be more mindful about getting rest and pacing yourself. It’s not sexy to rush around and be constantly stressed out. Especially when you’re busy, it’s important to remember to breathe—a quick way to reconnect with your body. Though family, work, and other demands can intrude on making time for sexual energy, being dedicated to self-care can help you prioritize it in your relationship.
To cure self-doubts, you need to be solution-oriented. For instance, if you wonder, “Is my technique right?” honestly talk with your partner about how you can meet each other’s needs. If you’re bored with the same positions, playfully brainstorm together about exciting ways to experiment. Also, with respect, keep discussing the anger or hurt you may feel toward each other so that your resentments don’t numb passion. For more complex issues such as fear of intimacy, reach out to a therapist or a friend for insight. While exploring your fears, be kind to yourself. Such sweetness allows you to mend wounds and reclaim your sexual power.
Surrender to The Ecstasy of Orgasms: Explore Sacred Play
Orgasm is the crown jewel of surrender. You tap into the primordial flow of life as well as release tension. The more surrendered you are, the more ecstatic the orgasm.
Sex and orgasms are an intrinsic part of being human. For me, these are the great rewards of having a body! The World Health Organization estimates that at least a hundred million acts of intercourse take place each day worldwide. (Imagine if even half of these were motivated by love—what ecstasy would surround the planet!) On average, American couples have sex two times per week. The average male orgasm lasts ten seconds and a female orgasm is twenty seconds or longer. I could hardly believe the national polls revealing that nearly 50 percent of women report having orgasms infrequently or not at all during intercourse. Moreover, numerous studies have found that women fake orgasms up to half the time to protect their partners’ feelings. These statistics highlight a glaring reluctance many of us have to be honest with our partners about our sexual energy exchanges. We’ll discuss how surrender, a basic knowledge of anatomy, and a little dexterity can improve communication and enhance orgasms for both sexes.
What is an orgasm? How could this miracle ever be just one thing? It involves physical, emotional, spiritual, and energetic surrenders. On a physical level, when you’re sexually aroused, your orgasm discharges tension, resulting in rhythmic pelvic contractions and pleasure, even euphoria. In men, orgasm typically occurs from stimulating the penis; in women, from stimulating the clitoris or the sacred G-spot in the vagina. These parts of our body are marvelously sensitive due to a high density of nerve fibers. Caressing them activates pleasure centers in the brain. Your body shifts gears. You breathe harder. Your heart rate increases. Blood rushes to your genitals, making them swell. At climax men, and some women, ejaculate. Endorphins, the natural “feel-good” hormones, flood your system. You experience waves of pleasure, stress evaporates, and a warm glow permeates your body. Oxytocin, the “love hormone,” spikes, bathing couples in the warm and fuzzy “wash of love” feeling as you bond. Your biology wants you to relax into a blissful surrender through the sexual energy between two people.
Emotions play a different role in orgasm for men and women. I am reluctant to stereotype genders, but for women emotional intimacy and trust are often more necessary in order to feel safe enough to let go—though of course physical attraction is essential too. Orgasms are easier when we feel treasured. If we feel criticized, unappreciated, or rushed it can be difficult, if not impossible, to surrender during sex. In contrast, men are more biologically wired to prioritize orgasm over an emotional connection or even trust. Physical attraction may be all that it takes to climax. Thus, over the eons, men have been said to “think with their penises” when they’re turned on, though women can also make terrible decisions based on unruly sexual energy. Expressing feelings isn’t always first on a man’s mind, though the failure to do so may be a deal breaker for a woman. Nevertheless, there are also many loving, sexy men who are emotionally sensitive, responsive, and in no hurry at all.
The Erotic Ecstasy of Foreplay
Foreplay is an opportunity for couples to arouse and nurture each other though women seem to crave it more. It’s a way to build erotic energy rather than simply releasing it. The average man can have an orgasm within a few minutes or less. Women may need up to twenty minutes of foreplay. Ideally, of course, neither partner hears a clock ticking. Many couples I treat are in paradise letting sexual energy tension mount before intercourse without any sense of time. Foreplay lets them feel close, explore, play, prolong the ecstatic pangs of arousal.
I liken foreplay to tuning a musical instrument. You need to intuitively feel it, and the sexual energy between two people, discover just the right touch, the right kiss, and sense how you and your partner’s bodies respond. I smiled when I recently saw a man in a café whose T-shirt read, “I will work for sex.” True, it may take more effort for a woman to orgasm but that’s what being a good lover means: knowing how to please someone without rushing, getting pleasure from each other’s pleasure. Then foreplay never just feels like work. In addition, here’s a critical anatomic fact: nature didn’t put the clitoris (unlike the penis) in the direct line of penetration. During foreplay it needs to be manually or orally stimulated unless the angle of your bodies happens to be just right, which is less likely. Most women can’t have an orgasm with intercourse alone. Couples must know this so they can mutually pleasure each other.
If a man wants to win a woman’s heart, the time and the tenderness he puts into foreplay help her surrender during sex. She can’t be rushed. A common problem I’ve seen with couples in my practice is that if a man is spent, he may want to have intercourse without much foreplay, then just fall asleep since ejaculating makes him tired. I’m not saying a woman can’t enjoy a quickie at times but in general this practice doesn’t support a passionate relationship. I encourage couples to openly discuss the dilemma of balancing all of life’s demands, to agree to try not to lapse into the rut of quickies. Then they can plan erotic interludes to leisurely enjoy each other during a sexual energy exchange and the pleasures their bodies have to offer.
To enhance foreplay, try the next exercise to awaken your senses and let go to pleasure.
Exercise: Surrender to Your Senses
Set aside uninterrupted time to playfully experiment. Begin to relax by breathing deep and slow. We habitually breathe shallowly to temper sexual and other feelings. I want you to sense, not think, to be fully in your body.
Awaken touch. Take a fresh flower or a feather and gently stroke each other’s bodies. (For me, it’s a rose in full bloom with petals about to fall.) Start with the face, neck, chest, breasts, and the heart area, gradually making your way down to the genitals. Repeat delicate, circular motions over these areas. They respond to a light touch. It’ll feel lovely and exciting. Let go. Revel in the sensations.
Awaken taste. Select a few foods, herbs, or spices that have zing. Arrange them on a plate. My favorites are papaya, peppermint, and honey. I have a patient, an engineer with a nonstop mind, who perks up her sexual energy by savoring a succulent piece of watermelon. To heighten your sense of taste, I suggest wearing an eye mask or a loose blindfold, perhaps made from a silk scarf. Then, with eyes covered, have your partner offer you each selection one by one. The tongue is a sensual miracle of sensations. Let the pleasure of taste spread throughout your body. Allow it to arouse every pore.
Awaken smell. Now, explore smell. It is an intimate and important part of sexual energy, one that can turn you off or on. Let a blindfold accentuate your exploration of this sense. One patient, a full-time mom, gets a sensual lift from a few whiffs of lavender or gardenia oil during the day, and she keeps them handy in her desk and car. Test out various scents. See how your body responds to the aromas of different herbs, oils, or perfumes. Use them as a sensual refresher.
Play with movement and rocking. Experiment with moving your bodies together to build sexual energy. Rocking your bodies while holding each other can be extremely sensual. Also, when you first see each other after being apart, a long, silent embrace or hug combined with rocking is arousing. Dancing or spontaneous free-form movements are beautiful too.
Tune in to nature. Draw on nature’s passion to heighten your sexual energy. Thunderstorms, mist, rainbows, wind in the woods—enjoy whatever moods of nature excite you. Let them arouse your body. Be aware of colors, textures, sounds. Absorb them all. For instance, I’ll twirl on my balcony to the sensual tone of a distant foghorn, becoming one with it and the ocean nearby. Sensuality can be transmitted from nature to you, a spontaneous osmosis if you allow it to happen.
This exercise intensifies your own sexual energy and the erotic relationship between you and your partner. Exploring each other is never just a one-time event. Keep discovering the nuances of each other’s sensitivity and aesthetics. Experiment with what gives you both goose bumps, tingles, or surges of warmth. Notice how your body feels, all of it. This lets you experience more pleasure and intimacy.
There Is No Such Thing as Casual Sex
From an intuitive perspective, your orgasm is never just your own during lovemaking. Sexual energy gets transmitted to your partner, affecting his or her well-being. Your energy fields overlap, conveying both joy and despair (even during brief hookups). From that perspective, there is no such thing as casual sex. In fact, my sensitive patient Pete prefers not to make love with his wife if she’s angry about work. Reasonably enough! He’s happy to listen to her vent when she comes home but if she’s still clinging to the anger when they have sex, it gets transmitted even without speaking it. This doesn’t feel good to Pete and drains him. Such energy transfer between couples frequently happens, though most aren’t aware of it. I want you to be. During orgasm ordinary boundaries blur. You’re vulnerable. Your heart opens. In the best of situations, orgasm is an exchange of energy that blesses both partners. The French call it le petit mort or “the little death,” a total surrender that catapults you and your lover into the ecstatic arms of the divine.
Tantra is a potent Hindu system that teaches the art of erotic love by combining sex and spirit. Westerners often see sex as linear, the goal being orgasm, but tantra views sexual love as a sacrament and an energy exchange between two people. According to tantra, orgasm isn’t simply a physical release. Using specific positions, you move erotic energy upward from the genitals to nourish and purify your whole being.
It’s fun to be aware of sexual energy during lovemaking. Energy is emitted through the eyes: the sensual way you look at someone can arouse him or her. Eye contact is a way to stay connected to your partner. Also during orgasm, when energy rises, you may liberate uncomfortable emotions. I’ve had numerous (mostly male) patients say, “My partner sometimes cries when we make love. Have I done something wrong?” I explain, “In both men and women, crying and laughing are emotional releases, signs of passion, not anything that needs fixing.” Tantric educator Barbara Carrellas calls spontaneous laughing during sex “giggleasms.” Check out these reactions with your partner. Unless he or she says differently, there’s nothing you need to do except rejoice in how free your partner feels to emotionally surrender with you.
To experience how knowing about sexual energy can improve your sex life, try the following exercise alone or with a partner. It takes orgasm beyond the short version of “it feels so good and it’s over” to a level of extended meditative bliss.
Overcoming Your Fear of Letting Go
If you want to let go during sex but something is holding you back, it’s essential to examine and heal fears that can undercut your pleasure. See if the following fears are stopping you.
Common Fears of Letting Go
1. Fear of losing control.
2. Fear of not performing.
3. Fear of taking too long to have an orgasm.
4. Fear of speaking your needs.
5. Fear of pain, abandonment, or emotional harm.
6. Fear of losing yourself in a lover.
7. Fear of getting obsessed or overly attached to a lover.
To surrender these fears, envision a new paradigm of sexual energy success. Dispense with old ideas and embrace truer ones. The first switch is to permanently retire the notion that good sex is equated only with performance. The belief that “I’m not a real man or woman if I don’t perform on command with an erection or an orgasm” is obsolete and spiritually ignorant. It’s grim when sex is reduced to a contest to keep proving yourself by how you perform—motivations that also apply, sad to say, to succeeding in corporate America. This leads to performance anxiety, which only prevents good sex and orgasms.
Just as trying to fall asleep doesn’t work, trying to perform is doomed. Do you think basketball pro LeBron James is worrying about his performance when he’s going for a slam dunk? Or Aretha Franklin when she’s belting out a song? Or Steve Jobs when he was inventing the iPad? I kinda doubt it. The same goes for sex. Attention should be focused on giving and receiving pleasure, not on expectations of erections and orgasms. I urge couples to be more candid, more innovative, more willing to question and blast apart notions that are anti-passion and anti-love.
Emotional wounds can also stop you from letting go. Lovemaking may trigger old hurts, fear of abandonment, or trauma. When this happens to my patients, their first instinct is often to shut down. In psychoanalyst Alice Miller’s eye-opening book The Body Never Lies, she describes the long-term consequences of child abuse in the body such as chronic pain, numbness, and impotence. Trauma lodges in our muscles and tissues until it’s allowed to be released. One of my patients who struggled with low self-esteem spent a decade in an abusive marriage. She told me, “My husband was into having sex during commercial breaks when we watched TV. He’d be finished by the time Monday Night Football came back on. I didn’t want to make him mad, so I faked orgasms.” On those occasions, my patient hated her husband, herself, and the sex. No wonder she suffered from chronic pelvic pain. She loved her husband, but he was hurting her with his abusive treatment and definitely not treasuring her the way she deserved to be treasured. My beaten-down patient had reached that point of surrender. Finally she was ready to let go. During our therapy, she gained the courage to leave the marriage and eventually her pelvic pain disappeared.
Techniques that benefited my patient and will help others heal trauma include psychotherapy, bodywork—such as energy healing and massage—and spiritual work focusing on self-compassion and the complicated subject of forgiveness. If you have a history of trauma that prevents you from letting go, I recommend reaching out to a therapist or guide to help you release it. As healing occurs—and it will—letting go during lovemaking will feel safer and the sexual energy will become more pleasurable.
Perhaps you hold back from surrendering during sex because you’re afraid of losing yourself in a partner or sacrificing your power. Like some patients I’ve worked with, you may find it difficult to stay centered around sexual energy. You may resist the merging that happens during orgasm because it makes you feel invisible or consumed. Paradoxically, you must be confident in who you are in order to enjoy such profound letting go. Otherwise the ecstatic dissolution of the ego during lovemaking may seem threatening. One college student told me about her conflicted emotions: “It feels like I give my power away when I let go. My boyfriend makes me feel so amazing, I’m afraid he’ll possess a part of me that I’ll never get back. But I’d do anything to keep him.” This speaks to how easy it is to get seduced by bliss, what people are tempted to give up for it. Since Adam and Eve, erotic pleasure has made even the most sensible people forsake their priorities.
A related aspect is when one member of a couple too greatly subordinates his or her identity while caring for a spouse or children. What’s been useful for my patients in this predicament is to create a daily life with more individual meaning and also to set clearer boundaries. Maybe that means returning to school, doing charity work, or insisting on private time to meditate and pursue spirituality. If this sounds familiar to you, as you minister to your own needs you’ll feel more centered. Then it will be safer to enjoy the freedom of surrendering, both during sexual energy exchanges and in your relationship
Exercise: Orgasmic Meditation
Relax and unwind. Set aside some time to be sensual. Turn off the phone. Put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door. It’s important not to be rushed. To unwind, take a few deep breaths. Feel your belly rise with each in-breath, become softer with each out-breath. Focus on the sensuality of your body.
Have an orgasm. Stroke yourself. Indulge in a sexy thought. Arouse each other with foreplay if you’re with a partner. In whatever way you like, whether you’re self-pleasuring or making love, bring yourself to orgasm. Feel the orgasm rise, then peak, then explode. Let yourself melt into it. Surrender to the pleasure.
Meditate. A wonderful way to feel sexual energy move is to meditate immediately after an orgasm. A minute or so following climax, sit in an upright position. It’s much easier to meditate when you’re relaxed. Close your eyes: this intensifies any experience. Inhale and exhale slowly. Focus lightly on the lingering bliss of orgasm. Let it spread throughout your body. Don’t force anything. Sexual energy moves through you naturally. Surrender to the sensations as they heighten. Savor the warmth, tingles, or rush. Eyes still closed, you may slip into a state of intuitive awareness. You may see colors, vibrate from head to toe, or even feel God. Spontaneous intuitions about people, work, or health may flash through. Later, be sure to write these down and act on them. There is no time limit for this meditation. Continue as long as you like. Let the orgasmic energy transport you to higher states of consciousness, visions, and pleasure.
The Difference Between Bonding and Overly Attaching to a Partner: Liberate Your Love
Bonding with a partner is a natural part of getting to know someone and of falling in love. But getting overly attached goes beyond healthy sexual energy exchanges and bonding and is disempowering. When you truly love someone, you’re not interested in possessing the person or keeping him or her in your clutches because you’re afraid of losing the relationship. Instead, you respect your partner’s autonomy and spirit. You’re not too entangled; rather you’re standing together side by side. True intimacy is always a balance between bonding and letting go so the relationship can breathe.
Take the following quiz to determine your bonding patterns.
Quiz: Are You Overly Attached to a Partner?
1. Do you cling to your partner?
2. Do you want to possess him or her?
3. Are you often afraid of being abandoned or betrayed?
4. Do you get anxious when you don’t hear from him or her every day if you’re dating?
5. Do you constantly think about the person?
6. Do you start obsessing about a partner after you have sex?
7. Does your partner feel you are trying to control or suffocate him or her?
8. Do you feel you can’t live without the person?
If you answered yes to six to eight questions, you are extremely overly attached. Three to five yeses indicate that you are moderately overly attached. One to three yeses indicate that you have a tendency to overly attach. A score of zero indicates that you have healthy bonding with your partner.
An aspect of myself that I’ve made progress in healing is my tendency to get overly attached to men. During sex I bond quickly and fuse with a man, but I can’t unfuse with him later. I start yearning for him and thinking about him constantly. Some of this is organic and beautiful but becoming overly attached crosses a line. I can become obsessed and intensely hungry for contact, particularly if I’ve been single for a while. I am a sexual being so if I haven’t had sex for a while, I can become needy. Being in this position makes me (and many women) vulnerable to getting overly attached. For instance, if I don’t hear from the man for a few days, I can get anxious and afraid of losing him or of being abandoned. It’s not good for me, and moreover, most men don’t appreciate this kind of response. So in my tantric sexual energy sessions and in therapy, I discovered how to enjoy passion from a more grounded place. Here’s how:
1. I learned that over-merging with a sexual partner can decrease sexual energy charge. It actually can be more erotic to go in and out of intense connection with a partner rather than sustaining it. This gives both lovers their space and more breathing room.
2. I don’t “root” in a man. I root primarily in myself and the earth. One way I do this before and after lovemaking is to visualize my body developing roots into the soil like a tree. I’m still surrendered to and immersed in pleasure, but I also keep a fuller sense of myself intact. I’m able to separate from him and more comfortably see us as separate beings.
3. After lovemaking, I find it useful to meditate with my partner and then say to each other, “I adore you. I honor you. I release you.” This is a healthy way to bond and produces a beautiful equilibrium of loving.
The solution to becoming overly attached is to focus on strengthening your self-esteem while addressing and releasing fears, including the fear of abandonment, which can cause the need to cling. Working with a skilled relationship therapist or coach can be productive. These will help you develop autonomy and grounding. Being willing to surrender the tendency to get overly attached in favor of a healthier bond will allow you to have more joyous and pleasurable relationships and sexual energy exchanges without the pain of obsession.
Surrender to Bliss
The goal of sexual energy surrender is to keep letting go in healthy, positive ways, at your own pace, in your own time. Lovemaking is an ongoing surrender to bliss. What is bliss? The dictionary defines it as extreme happiness, ecstasy, and the joy of heaven. As I see it, it’s also the bliss of connecting to the body, to a partner, and to God. For me, this is the place where great rivers converge, the intersection of human life and heaven. Bliss isn’t as distant as you might think. It’s always right in front of us, in this moment, when we can open to it.
Philosopher Alan Watts wrote, “When you are in love with someone, you do indeed see them as a divine being.” This “aha” moment can raise lovemaking from the physical to the transcendent. Remember: that divine being you are making love with is the same person who forgot to pay the rent last month and who sometimes doesn’t do the dishes. Seeing the divinity in your partner while making love, and always, is acknowledging the miraculous in the ordinary. That’s the secret to bliss.
If you’ve never had the experience of bringing the divine into lovemaking, you have a lot to look forward to. Below is an exercise to practice.
Exercise: Blending Sex and Spirit
Create a sacred space. To set the mood, create an environment that’s sensually and spiritually uplifting: a vase of tulips, some sandalwood incense, candles, perhaps oils to rub on each other. Turn your phones off so there are no disturbances or reasons to hurry.
Hold each other; make eye contact. Spend as long as you like in each other’s arms before you go further. Gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes, a way of non-sexually exchanging energy between two people. For a few minutes, breathe together, synchronizing in-breath and out-breath, becoming intuitively attuned. Feel your energy and warmth blending. Soak up the joy of intimacy.
Allow spirit to flow through you. When you’re ready, go on to intercourse. Inwardly ask, “May the divine flow through me.” Then stay open. Once you invite spirit in, bliss will come through. Bliss is a way of the divine saying, “I’m here. I love you. Let go.” Trust the gift. Let your genitals reach for bliss. Let your heart surrender too. Feel bliss as sexual energy glides up your spine and out the top of your head and back to the heavens.
Relax together. Linger in the moment. Don’t rush out of bed. If it feels right to be silent, fine. If you want to talk with each other, do. Cherish this sacred union.
Igniting your sexual energy lets you surrender more completely to bliss, no holding back, no resisting. From the caress of sunlight on your shoulders to a lover’s sensual touch, take in the bliss, nice and slow. Don’t go on to the next thing too fast. I want to convey how mysterious and sanctified bliss can be, how it’s always been within you to summon. Immerse yourself in the bliss of everyday life and of sexual passion: they are wedded to each other, not separate. Realizing this changes everything.
Across many spiritual traditions, erotic poetry celebrates the sacred wedding of body and spirit. Mystics see all love songs as about God. The body, a form of the Formless, is a manifestation of divine love. In Judaism, the Song of Songs, an epic love poem, exalts sensual pleasure and God. Similarly, the Christian mystics Teresa of Avila and Hildegard of Bingen, both virgins of course, wrote rapturous, erotic love poetry to God and used imagery from the Song of Songs. In Hinduism, the world is believed to have been created through a sexual energy act. Thus, the Indian poet Mirabai praises the erotic through sex and creation. The great Sufi mystic poets Hafez and Rumi revere the union with God through a surrender to erotic love, divine love, and the love of friendship. I get chills from the depth of the surrender that Rumi writes about: “I merged so completely with love / and was so fused, that I became love / And love became me.” I suggest reading such erotic poetry with your partner to honor the sensual sacrament of your relationship.
One winter I had the privilege of visiting Konya, Turkey, the place of Rumi’s death. The day he died, December 17, is affectionately called his “wedding day,” Rumi’s reunion with the divine. Each year, thousands of people make the pilgrimage to Konya on this date to honor the poet of love. That evening I saw a performance of the whirling dervishes, an ecstatic surrender to spontaneous movement, to passion, to grief, and the divine. Their dance isn’t just for entertainment. The dervishes, dressed in simple white robes, spun in reverence to the unseen, in trance. Watching their radiant faces and the effortless fluidity of their spinning, I was transported into bliss too. I left feeling happy and in love with everything again.
When gazing into the eyes of your beloved, you are always looking into the eyes of God. Keep surrendering to the ecstasy of lovemaking. View it as practice for making love with the entire universe. Sexual energy and passion connects you to the joy of heaven, earth, and realms beyond. You’ll be illuminated. Trust the many incarnations of bliss. Once you get just a glimpse of them, there is no turning back.
Surrender Affirmation for Sexual Energy
I am a vibrant sexual being. I will use this power with respect and care. I will allow myself to fully let go to pleasure. I will delight in the bliss of my sensuality. I will surrender to giving and receiving love.
This article on sexual energy healing is excerpted with permission from The Power of Surrender: Let Go and Energize Your Relationships, Success, and Well-Being by Dr. Judith Orloff.
About The Author
Judith Orloff, M.D., is an Assistant Clinical Professor of psychiatry at UCLA and an empath who has helped patients find emotional freedom for over 20 years. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with the cutting-edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality to achieve physical and emotional healing. Dr. Orloff passionately asserts that we have the power to transform negative emotions and achieve inner peace. Her bestselling books, The Power of Surrender, Emotional Freedom, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing offer readers practical strategies to overcome frustration, stress, and worry. Visit her website drjudithorloff.com