Pornography has been a present aspect of many people's sexual landscape including my own. In this, Part 3 of Reclaiming Masturbation, I want to share my thoughts, concerns, techniques, and insights into how to create a more mindful masturbation practice around porn watching. Pornography, in my opinion, exists for two main reasons and in two main categories simultaneously: Sex as Art (the adoration of the beauty of sex) and Sex as Science (the actual arousal and stimulation of watching the mechanics of sex). It's the latter, Sex as Science, that I want to spend Part 3 on.
Before we get started let be be clear, I have NO intention of picking sides on whether pornography or watching pornography is right or wrong. There are arguments on both sides. Just do a simple Google search and that will bear out this point. One article will talk about the benefits of spicing up the bedroom while another, the addictive force pornography can inflict on the brain. NO, my intention in Part 3 is to discuss some of the ways that pornography can cripple a mindful masturbation practice (as well as other sexual activities) and discuss some techniques that you can incorporate for a better embodied experience even if pornography is your stimuli du jour.
First Things First!
So let's get the hard stuff out of the way! Again and again, guys all across the country are coming forward with one major issue - without the use of pornography, they are unable to remain erect or have sexual intercourse with their partner. In many respects, pornography has become so habitual for some that is has essentially turned into a drug. A drug that without, the penis is unable to perform efficiently, at least sexually.
Without going into too many details about how men are visual creatures, blah, blah, blah, let's suffice it to say that SEX IS A TRULY CEREBRAL ENGAGEMENT, for both men and women! And what we see, taste, hear, smell, and touch create distinct associative pathways in our brain and when one or several of those senses are accompanied by an habitual action, say, masturbation, coupled with the feeling of pleasure and euphoria, VOILÀ, you run a risk of digging yourself into a trench that can be very difficult to get out of.
In this state, men, without the stimulation of pornography, can find it very difficult to remain hard, even during masturbation.
Your Body as Prison!
With pornography we also run the risk of detaching from our bodies. What I mean is that almost, if not all our attention is on the action on the screen or magazine and less on our own bodies. We get so enthralled and titillated by outside stimuli that we fail to cultivate our own sensate body. Let's call this Sexo-Sensual Atrophy! This is hardly mindful or embodied (unless of course you are aware enough to know what's happening, in which case, creating better habits is closer in reach). Too often during pornographic masturbatory sessions we'll slip into a trance-like state ever consuming more and more images, videos, and scenes. In this state, the body is usually in a locked position, the hand is on autopilot, monotonously stimulating the genitalia, the breath is short, and the energy is seemingly locked in and around the groin until orgasm releases your body from its stiffness, the lungs to breathe deeply, and the mind to move on to other concerns.
Your Body as Muse!
I mentioned earlier that I was not taking any sides on the debate of whether porn watching was good or bad but the potential consequences of habitual porn watching can not be understated. Below are some techniques that you can adopt if you desire to cultivate your own sexual and sensational endurance even if porn has become a staple element of your self-love?
1. Put your body before the porn! - Like any change of habit, you must want it! And you must choose and desire to cultivate more of your own bodily sensations void of reliance upon external stimulation. Because so many of us rely so much on pornography, we are ignorant of the ways we can find pleasure and ecstatic states without it. Yes this can be done! Choose your own body as your muse!
2. Turn the sound off and make your own! - In an attempt to bring more awareness into your own body, let's eliminate one of the senses that porn provides, sound! As I stated in Part 2, sound is such an important element in releasing tension and providing both conscious breath and movement into your body. Also, by replacing the sound with your own, you are engaging your body more mindfully.
3. Turn the porn off! - A great way of exploring your own sensate body divorced of porn is by simply turning the porn and any like stimulation off. This is probably the biggest challenge for many guys. It's often at this moment folks discover how foreign their bodies are to them and how difficult it is to get and retain an erection. It is my belief that when one is unable to maintain a satisfying state of sexual pleasure and connectedness without outside stimuli, more education and exploration of their body is needed. Set a date where it's only you and your body. Give yourself this gift to reacquaint yourself with, well, yourself!
If, by chance, you find it overly difficult to cut porn out completely, I suggest that you watch porn for a little while and then turn it off and see if you can continue or enhance your sexual pleasure on your own. Continue to experiment until you feel like you're becoming more in-tune and mindful of your body's sensate landscape. Explore what turns you on outside of porn. How can you turn yourself on?!
4. Stand up and move your body! - As also stated in Part 2, moving the body releases tension and stress that is derived from a body locked in one position too long. And this is usually the state in which many of us watch porn - either in a chair in front of our computer, or on the bed with some smart device or magazine in hand. I encourage you to get up out of your chair or off your bed and stand. Incorporating some hip movements (thrusting, rotating, etc.) can bring a refreshing amount of movement to joints that have been stuck for long periods of time. Stretching may also bring a much needed release.
5. Close your eyes and breathe! - Another great way of bringing mindfulness into your porn watching is by closing your eyes and breathing. Because images are such powerful elements, closing your eyes may help interrupt the cycle of consumption by eliminating this powerful sensation - that of sight. Also, with your eyes closed, take some moments to deeply breathe into your abdomen for a few rounds, paying attention to move the energy throughout your body. Then, if you want, open your eyes and see where your desire has gone. So often, pornography can cause a feedback loop. The more you watch the more you want, the more you want the more you watch, until your body is tricked into thinking it wants something when it's actually no longer being served by it. Be kind and gentle to yourself!
6. Look at your porn objectively! - Because I'm inviting you to create your own mindful masturbation practice, I'm also inviting you to look objectively at your habits - not only in the sense of whether they serve you anymore, but also in regards to what elements of those habits or indulges arouse and stimulate you. This might be too critical for the common user of porn, but for those seeking a deeper understanding into their own sexual landscape, this could be invaluable. What about particular elements of pornography stimulate you and why? Why do some elements or scenes have more appeal than others? How are these elements exhibited in other aspects of your sexual or personal life? Mindfulness, in short, is about being keen about the elements around you AND within you.
7. Be Active, Not Passive! - I hear an objection that I'm just calling for the end of porn watching, that's not the case. If porn is something you participate in and if your desire is to cultivate a more mindful practice or if you are having difficulty with sex without porn as a stimulus, then I'm inviting you to be more ACTIVE in your practice.
Pornography has a way of lulling our senses into passivity, like mindlessly watching hours of television. And our masturbation practice becomes just that, passive. We forget to make noise, we forget to move, we can even forget to breathe deeply. I'm inviting you to take a more active position in creating a practice that is potentially more gratifying and much more embodied. GET INVOLVED! STAY INVOLVED!
So that concludes Part 3 of the Reclaiming Masturbation series! I want to thank all the readers, subscribers, and "likers" of this series! Please feel free to comment or add any thoughts or insights you've gained in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!
In Part 4 (and probably the final part) I'm going to go deeper - exploring masturbation as a way to connect with the Divine, the truest sex magic! Stay tuned!