Masturbation is the Continual Journey of Self Exploration, Self Esteem & Pure Pleasure

“My wife is leaving me. This is really bad,” he said in an urgent message on my voice mail this weekend.

“Why is she leaving?” I asked when I reached him.

“Because she found out I was looking at porn,” he said to me, filled with shame. “This is really bad.” His wife checked his Internet browsing history and was shocked to discover the different porn clips he had been watching over the holiday. And if he was watching porn, she extrapolated, he must have also been masturbating.

His wife immediately took on the frame of a scolding mommy – shaming her naughty-little-boy for looking at nasty images, while playing with that dirty thingy down there – perspective. She expressed that his masturbating was a total violation of the spiritual, sacred intimacy of their relationship. She wanted a divorce.

He accepted this frame and immediately went into – guilt, shame, and humiliation. For him, this experience was the death of the relationship. He had been outed and things could never go back.

Shame, guilt, and humiliation often walk hand in hand with spirituality, religion, and relationship beliefs – triggering strong emotions in the body regarding self-loving-sessions.

From closed minded perspectives, an event like a guy beating off to porn can be seen as a nuclear weapon exploding within the context of a monogamous relationship.

A partner finding out about the hidden porn use means that

The relationship is bad.
The offending partner is not being pleased by the other partner.
Trust has been compromised or even killed.
Neither partner is truly satisfied.

None of these are true, of course. Hiding masturbation activities may be a simple as not having the skills and abilities to communicate our own personal needs and desires openly.

Self pleasure is part of life. My advice to my friend? Show your wife. Share the experience with her. Let her see what your masturbation ritual is like. Her ideas and imaginations about what you are doing are far worse than what’s actually happening. Share the porn that really turns you on.

Immeasurable amounts of pure pleasure can be experienced through sharing our deepest sexual needs and desires.

As Masturbation Month comes to an end, I want to remind you that masturbation is not a destination, rather it is a continual journey of self exploration, self esteem, and pure pleasure.

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The Image of God Has Taken on its Own Identity

Here’s something crazy. A recent scientific study showed that anthropomorphic forms (things that aren’t human but look human) “inhibit the tendency to extend the self.”

This means that the more human something looks, the more we believe that it’s separate and independent from us.

The study revolves around military robots and finds that anthropomorphic looking robots will tend to be perceived, by their operator, as having their own unique identity – independent from the operator – even though the operator consciously knows she is controlling the robot.

Ugly but functional robot contraptions have no such luck. They are seen as an extension of the operator’s self, in the same way a computer, a phone, or a hammer is seen as an extension of the user – not something with a completely unique personality.

This study is important because it gives us a glimpse into the mechanics of why so many of us believe in God.

The study illustrates that the humanoid form is a huge social cue to our brain. If we see a humanoid image, we respond as if it is actually human. Our brain has a difficult time – at an unconscious level – distinguishing a humanoid image from a flesh and blood human.

In Western cultures, God is personified. He is “The Creator”, and man is created in the image of God. This means that God looks human. We see this in hundreds of thousands of paintings throughout the centuries, depicting god in human form.

The image of God has taken on its own identity – and to our brain, it feels like it’s a separate, unique “real” entity. Anthropomorphic robots are perceived to have their own unique identity too.

By anthropomorphizing God, we inhibit our ability to see that god is a projection of our own brain.

A German experiment did MRI scans and found that when people play games with a humanoid robot, or an actual human, remarkably similar neural activity occurs within test subjects.

What this tells us is that the more real and potent an image of God is in our mind’s eye, the more powerfully that symbol will be seen as separate, real and true. It’s for this reason we feel our personal idea of God is the right god, the true god, the just god.

This goes for suicide bombers and abortion doctor killers too. The vengeful voices of God they each hear are perceived as separate. In their minds, God is giving them orders to kill. In reality, the voices are coming from inside their own heads.
The god confusion exists inside the brain.

The bottom line? A humanoid image creates a powerful delusion of being a separate entity – be it a killing robot or wrathful god.

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The Pursuit of Sexual Liberation Will Eventually Lead Us to Question Our Beliefs

Ok, I admit it. I’m angry.

I have been working all this month to rehabilitate a student of mine who was raised Catholic. She lives in Seattle, which is a progressive city. Yet in spite of her yearning to be open, sensual, and connected to others – the most basic of human needs – she is completely frozen in her mind and body, rendered helpless by her religious views of the world.

Actually, her religious views aren’t hers at all. They belong the church – and represent the Bible’s take on sexuality, women, and the body.

These biblical beliefs can be boiled down to this; women are evil, sex is bad, and the body is naturally dirty.

Like so many of us, she justifies her sexual suppression, depression, and unhappiness by saying, “I’d rather be miserable and right, than happy and wrong.”

The inescapable realization has been coming to me over the years, after leading thousands of hours of groups, meditations, and counseling sessions, is that so many of our sexual, psychological, and spiritual stresses – one way or another – lead back to religious thinking.

And because sex begins in our brain, this means that billions of people are sexually, and emotionally disabled by their religious beliefs.

For example, I was speaking with a man about his being at his wife’s side during the delivery of their daughter. But when his child “got closer to actually coming out – I left”, he said, waving with his hands in front of his eyes, while turning away his head, as if trying to block the memory of his daughter’s head emerging like a bloody “evil eye.” For him, as for us, it is best to turn away.

It occurred to me in that moment; body shame begins at birth. We exit the womb out of “the dirty, place, down there.” It is literally a shame to be born.

In my Catholic friend’s case, she is so religiously disabled that she has no sex life, even though in her mind, she wants one. Her husband shames her when she brings up sex, insinuating that by wanting “just sex”, she’s nothing more than a whore. Her children received very little touch as well. She’s faithfully and unquestioningly passing along the religious doctrine of shame and guilt about the body to her kids – just like it was passed to her from her parents – and so on.

It is inevitable that the pursuit of sexual liberation will eventually lead us to question our beliefs, and I assert that is exactly the reason why religion is obsessed with thwarting our pleasure, and suppressing female sexuality. When we realize that the Bible is wrong about female pleasure, menstruation, and sex, then it could be wrong about a lot of other things as well.

We can summarize the idea like this; In order to be a faithful believer, we must pretend to not see the things that – given the preponderance of evidence – we should see. Instead of being simply deceived by delusional, yet well intending religious leaders, we inflict the final deception upon ourselves.

Perhaps, if we can begin to admit our wrongness about our ideas of a sex-hating, punishing god, then we have a chance to become free. We have a chance to become more and more sex positive, which in turn makes it harder to justify the mental, emotional, and physical abuse that a punishing God heaps upon us for the simple act of feeling good in our tender, beautiful bodies.

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We Demonize Female Sexuality – Even If the Sex is Forced Upon Her & Beyond Her Control

I want to illustrate how deeply the hating of women runs in our cultural psyche, and how subtle and difficult it is to detect – especially because of the evolutionary limitations of our brain’s capacity to distinguish reality, from noises, signals, and feelings being generated inside of our own heads.

I begin today with the story of Elizabeth Smart. Details about Elizabeth Smart’s abduction are coming out because of her three days of testimony on the stand this month.

During her testimony, Ms. Smart told the jury that she was angry with herself because her own fear kept her living in silence. She mourned the loss of her childhood, and had personal doubts about her value at a human being.

Let me say this again. She doubted her value as a human being. Why? Because she was abducted and raped by a religious psychopath. She was raped. Forced sex was done to her. But because of her unconscious religious mythologies, she feels like something is now wrong with her.

Implied here is that sex, in what ever form, is a blight on a woman’s soul. The scourge of sex is something she must carry with her forever. Where would a young girl get such an idea? From religion.

However, lest we think I’m speaking only of Christian, Islamic, or Judaic teachings, most spiritual paths demonize female sexuality – even if the sex is forced upon her, and beyond her control.

The Kundalini yoga lineage has, for example, the myth of the arch-line – an energetic “fingerprint” that a man supposedly leaves on a woman forever – sullying her “pure” energy, through his sex with her. The more lovers she has, the more sullied she is with the sex-fingerprints of her past lovers. The underlying message: sex is dirty and leaves dirty finger prints. Sex sounds downright anti-spiritual in this supposedly benign practice of yoga.

The funny part is that, with even the most basic scrutiny, the impenetrable myths of the major religions and minor spiritual paths fall apart. Eastern myths, for example, put forth the idea that all life is an illusion.

If life is all an illusion at its core, then what difference does it make if illusory skin cells touch other illusory skin cells? Life is an illusion. Why are people so readily punished, shamed and abused by their gods for sex if it’s all an illusion anyway? Am I missing something here? Perhaps two illusions contacting genital skin turns the illusion of life into a punishable realty? Apparently so.

To further illustrate the point, I quote Elizabeth directly. “I felt that because of what he had done to me, I was marked,” Elizabeth told the jury. “I wasn’t the same. My personal value had dropped. I was nothing. Another person could never love me.”

Again, the supposed dirty nature of sex is the key here. She was raped by religious psychotic Brian David Mitchell, but according to religious mythology, she is the one who looses her purity, her virginity, and therefore her value. As if her entire ordeal itself hadn’t done enough damage, it’s ultimately the “sex-act” that has diminished her value as a human being, and made her unlovable.

The touching of these cells (penis skin cells) with those cells (vagina skin cells) constitutes permanent, even eternal sullying and potential damnation. Of course we humans are touching people all the time, but the horrible distinction is in “those skin cells” touching “these skin cells.” That’s where god draws the line, and it angers this ill tempered, invisible-genital-monitor.

Why all the pressure and focus on a woman to be sexually “pure”? Because paternity was not certain in our evolutionary past. This was really not a problem until we invented the idea “pure blood lines” and needed to pass along the right of property ownership. But once we did, we had to ensure that our children were really our children. The heir to the throne must really be my child, and not the child of one of my Royal Guards, for example.

To ensure female fidelity, culture co-opted the feelings, love, and appreciation for God, and attached those to the female genitals. The love of god is available to her, as long as she protects and keeps her genitals pure, and under control. If however, she strays, or even thinks about straying, then the full wrath of god falls upon her – whether it’s directly her fault or not. We all know – somehow, one way or another, she brought this upon herself.

Now, because of this myth, the most important question in the entire universe is “where are my woman’s genitals at any given moment?” The roots of modern religion are based on protecting and controlling the vagina. Once the invisible, all knowing genital monitor has been deeply ingrained in our cultural psyche, which at this point it most certainly has, even the rape victim feels like she’s responsible, directly or indirectly, for the loss of her purity and virginity. She has failed the ideal of keeping the gates of her genitals pure.

And for those of us who believe in the myth of “positive thinking”, what exactly did Elizabeth think to bring this upon herself?

The Secret (the runaway best seller of the early 2000’s) would say that she “thought” this event upon herself, because our “thoughts create our reality.” This is obviously absurd and offensive, but it’s also something that millions and millions of people actually believe.

The American obsession with the ideology of positive thinking is based on erroneous and delusional ideas cultivated in the late 1800’s. They were popularized during the great depression, and have become an integrated part of the American ethos. The problem I have with positive thinking is that it’s so destructive, oppressive, and demoralizing to people who have fallen on hard times or been victimized in some way. It’s the ultimate shame. You, Elizabeth, brought this horror upon yourself because the universe was reading your deepest inner thoughts.

I assert that our religious, optimistic beliefs interfere with our rational perceptions, and our ability to think critically.

For example, when detectives actually had a chance to rescue Elizabeth – an opportunity that came in a Library in Salt Lake City – Mitchel (Ms. Smart’s charismaticly delusional abductor) used the veil of religious belief to stand up to the detective, keeping the detective from looking at Elizabeth’s face directly – an act that would have immediately brought the horror to an end.

“My impression was that he belonged to a religion or a cult that I had never heard of,” the detective said. Religions are cults, detective. There’s no need to make any further distinction.

Mitchell said it violated their religious beliefs for anyone but the young woman’s husband to see her face. The calm demeanor of Elizabeth’s abductor left the detective an optimistic “feeling” that it couldn’t be Ms. Smart behind the veil.

Psychopathic people, like Mitchel, can be very charismatic, and often times are deeply religious too. And when they mix charisma, religious symbolism, mythology, and forced optimism, it’s a brutal mix of obfuscation and confusing, hypnotic, Jedi mind tricks.

Religion itself is a kind of a magic act. In order to believe, we have to play pretend. We have to pretend that a special person can have a direct connection to the “divine,” just as at a magic show we have to pretend that the magician has some other worldly, unexplainable, special, magic powers. Neither magician nor spiritual leader do. The magician knows it. The religious zealot or spiritual leader is either delusional or just pretending.

The pretender, the con artist, and the magician understand how easy people’s perceptions of reality are to fool.

Furthermore, when it comes to religion, we have also to accept the idea that our God sanctions abusive practices towards children. It says so in the bible. In fact, the bible even tells us when it’s appropriate to stone our entire family to death.

One woman, noticing the treatment Elizabeth was receiving, said to herself, “boy, this teenager has really done something to make her parents angry with her, and they’re just staying right on top of her.” As religion says, spare the rod, spoil the child, and no doubt that “teenage girl” did something really bad to deserve her parents “staying right on top of her,” and it probably had something to do with sex – which in our culture certainly justifies abuse practices in the treatment of children.

The woman went on to described the family as “just not a happy group.” Subtext: if only they had happy thoughts, things would be better. This amounts to a simple, dismissive way to rationalize abuse. You know, God says that we need to do this kind of thing to children, in order to keep them in line, so it must be OK.

Speaking of what God says, Brian David Mitchell told the police that “The Lord God delivered her to me,” referring to Ms. Smart. God delivered Ms. Smart to him. God also apparently is pretty good at breaking and entering, kidnapping, and transporting a minor across state lines for sex – which are the charges against Brian David Mitchell, aka the Prophet Immanuel.

He could face life in prison if he’s convicted, so his lawyers are raising an insanity defense to explain his bad behavior. This just goes to show, you can be a bigoted, xenophobic, religious zealot, and be considered perfectly normal, and get away with a lot of “insane” stuff – as long as you don’t get caught sexually molesting children.

Making women walk around with sacks covering their entire bodies in the name of our religious beliefs is perfectly sane however. We all “intuitively understand” the evils of female body-shapes, and the adverse affect they can have men’s behavior and moral judgements. Good women with bad vaginas cause “good men” to do bad things, and when men do, we just blame the women.

Even in our modern culture we had to enact rape shield laws to protect women’s sexual history (read slut) from being introduced in court as evidence as to why she was “asking to be raped.”

The insanity defence for Brian David Mitchell will be interesting, because if lawyers do manage to pull it off, then it may open the doorway for child abusers everywhere to plead insanity as a defence. Why not? It sure beats getting killed in the federal penitentiary system.

The moral of the Elizabeth Smart debacle is this: as long as god is telling us to do sweet things – like protect democracy, or start and fight a war overseas and have a jolly attitude about it, or he is warning us of the end of times (as has been wrongly predicted every 20 years or so for the last 2000 years) well, then clearly we are sane.

If however, god tells us to take a child as our bride, well that’s clearly insane. Uh, OK. I get it. If child-sex is involved, then it’s clearly crazy. If it’s just sending an entire country to war, spending trillions of dollars, wreaking havoc upon millions of people’s lives because we believe that’s what scripture predicts, or that’s what the voice of god tells us to do, well that’s clearly sane. It all makes perfect sense to me.

“I’m just obedient to what God told me to do,” Mitchell responds to an investigator questioning him about what actually happened. Mitchel’s lawyers won’t dispute what happened to Ms. Smart (they know that would be very bad press), but they do assert Mitchell’s insanity, which therefore makes him not criminally responsible for his actions.

To me, our global belief in a chatty, female genitally focused, ill tempered, invisible man, or even the ever-vocal Jesus, talking to millions of people around the world everyday about what exactly he would do in such and such a situation, is grounds enough to demonstrate that we have a very high cultural tolerence for delusional thinking.

Evolution has left our neural circuitry with a nearly impossible task; to attempt to perceive internal, self-created signals (such as god’s voice, and feelings and intuitions about things) as exactly what they are – brain noise.

We believe in God because god “feels” real to us. In other words, an internally generated feeling must be true because we “feel” it’s true. It’s a closed loop system. God is perceived as coming from “inside but outside at the same time,” in the form of sounds and feelings simultaneously – that prove the rightness of the voice.

God is real, because he feels real to us. This is because we use the same brain tissues to evaluate similar things, whether they come from inside our heads or from the outside world.

Whether we hear a familiar voice from a friend, or the voice of “god”, it’s processed with the same brain circuits and tissues – so they both “feel” the same to us, and we evaluate them similarly.

Putting it another way, our brains have mapped the external world with internal brain-tissue, which gets used by the endless noises and signals passing through the neural networks inside our brain. Stuff generated from inside our head feels exactly like it’s actually coming from the outside world.

Our evolutionarily pre-existing brain areas – which were instrumental in our survival over millions of years – haven’t yet evolved a way to distinguish the differences between reality and imagination. This is something that didn’t matter much in the simpler days of hunting and gathering on the African plains – but matters a bunch in times of nuclear arsenals, globalization, and massive armies under the control of delusional leaders.

And the fact of the matter is, our brains may never overcome this limitation directly. We may have to muscle our way through with our rational cortex – developing the near impossible task of thinking critically.

To make the sweeping change that I am speaking of, we will have to critically think our way into reality. Technological feedback can help us do this. As brain research moves out of the lab and into the streets, we will continue discovering the inner workings of the brain – and how it determines what we believe, our sense of morals, and how we interpret the voices in our heads.

According to statistics, 1 in 4 people have some kind of undiagnosed mental illness. When we include the belief in religious mythology – the numbers are much higher than that.

Though my intention here is to give us some understanding of how the brain is working in producing our feelings about truth, rightness, conversations with god, sexual shame, and sexual guilt, I assert that we must examine and question more deeply before we let somebody like Brian David Mitchell off the hook for the consequences of his actions – even if his moral superiority comes from “the feeling” that God is telling him – personally and directly – what is right and what is wrong in a given situation.

Jesus was a master of this kind of self-delusion. Yes, our global hero Jesus listened only to “the father in heaven” some 2000 years ago. But I assert to you, in this day and age, he’d either be locked up or end up wandering the streets – that is as long as he wasn’t molesting children.

The reality is, if there was a Jesus, he was probably mentally ill.

I’m sorry to say that nobody is god’s special-elect. Nobody. A leader who claims they do not err because of their direct conversations with God (Billy Graham) and deep connection to the divine, is no different than a religious leader who cannot be accused, and prosecuted for their delusional beliefs – like the pope.

Essentially, religious belief is an old-brain malfunction, from an out dated evolutionary mutation.

The whole idea of a super-human being giving us specific instructions should be a sure sign of our own delusional state, and should wake us up to the fact that we have lost touch with reality, and therefore, our ability to think critically.

The harsh reality is, we are simply not that important in the universe.

To think that the “most important being in the entire universe”, God, is taking time out of “his” busy day in eternity, to give us personal assistance about which outfit to wear, what direction to go, what job to take, or worse yet, is watching our thoughts to make sure they are “good” so as to either empower us, or beat us down to the point of being kidnapped and raped – is truly pretty nutty.

It seems to me, technology will eventually lead to the end of belief in the ill tempered, genitally focused, invisible man. However, one way or another, to get on as a global society, we will eventually be forced to recon with the realities of reality.

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Kitty Qadishtu

From a guest contributor: Inara de Luna

I saw her sitting off to the side, watching the various scenes going on in the dungeon at Frolicon. She was in her wheelchair, but sitting alone. I was playing a cat persona, and while my Master had me on a leash, he was allowing me to explore. When I saw her, I had an overwhelming urge to go and love on her as a cat. I padded up to her on all fours, looked up at her face and meowed softly. A slow smile suffused her face and she reached for me. I took her up on her invitation and moved in to strop her legs, which ended just above her knees. She cuddled me and stroked my hair, while I lavished kitty-love on her. I was particularly drawn to rub lovingly against the part of her that I sensed others tend to avoid. After several minutes, I moved away, but I looked back to see her smiling widely, and I could feel that her energy had shifted. She was back to looking on at the others’ scenes, but now it felt less like she was a curious outsider, and more like a cherished part of the play. She was the only one who fully welcomed and attuned to my cat persona without having to take a moment to realize that’s what I was.

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What IS Kundalini?

I was leading a workshop called The NEW Relationship Roadmap in Sedona, Arizona this weekend. One of the questions that came up during the workshop relates to something called “awakened kundalini” energy.

So what is kundalini? If you have never heard of kundalini before, consider this to be a rational primer.

Kundalini is a Sanskrit word that literally means “coiled.” It refers to the idea that, in the base of the spine, there is a potential energy – instinctual, libidinal, unconscious – that awaits awakening and transformation. It is often envisioned as a goddess or a serpent that, through meditation, yoga, and other esoteric exercises, uncoils and rises up the spine in order to be transformed from animal into godly perfection.

Of course this is all metaphor. There is no real snake or goddess. There is no actual godly perfection. Kundalini is an ancient people’s way of trying to understand and control the power of instinctual sexual impulses. When these instinctual impulses freely move in the body, up the spine, and into the brain, the kundalini is said to be awakened – and the sexual energy is said to be purified.

Some traditionally accepted signs of an “awakened” kundalini include:

Involuntary jerks, tremors, shaking – especially when becoming sexually aroused.
Energy rushes or feelings of electricity circulating the body.
Intense heat (sweating) or cold.
A state of constant orgasm.
Pressure inside the skull and headache
Bliss, feelings of infinite love and universal connectedness, transcendent awareness

For me, kundalini is best understood as a deep trance state, where unconscious impulses can move freely without the conscious mind controlling those impulses. The more we allow these experiences, the more the brain’s capacity to deal with these powerful impulses expands.

The impulse release can cause a disconcerting firestorm for many people if they don’t understand what’s happening. I knew one woman who lived with involuntary jerks (not men) for 3 years before she came to me and I was able to help her.

I see more and more clearly – everyday – how sexually repressed we all really are. When sexual impulses are free to flow through the body, something beautiful happens inside of our psyche. Ecstatic feelings, endorphins flow, life feels pulsating and delicious. Fear and terror may arise as well in resistance to pleasure.

For me, this free flow of sexual energy is a profound experience – but one that I have full control over. By going into a deep trance, I give these very sexual and sensual parts of myself complete room to express. I allow them to have sound, energy, movement, freedom in my body. My body shakes, waves, rocks and rolls, and feel like I have had one of the best workouts in the world.

We all want to be accepted for who we are. We want to feel normal in our sexual impulses. We want to feel good about our bodies. This is natural for us mammals. We want sexual freedom without social consequence. Kundalini – as a trance state – can allow us some experience of this.

When I let my body flow freely – it can be anywhere from minutes to hours – I can completely loose my sense of self. Bring the “kundalini” into your lovemaking and incredible trance states can occur with your partner. Through these kinds of experiences, ideas of sacred sexuality appear in our culture. Sex is transformed, but I don’t agree that that is the highest form of sex. There are so many flavors, it seems a shame to limit our sexual self expression in the name of spiritual ideals.

Most spiritual paths have some kind of ecstatic dance or ritual – from speaking in toungues to the Sundance. The problem is that spiritual and religious paths concretize the metaphor. They lead us to believe that the energy is coming from the spiritual path, the guru, the technique or the religion.

Really, it’s coming from impulses deep inside our own bodies that we give ourselves permission to release. Though this hasn’t been extensively studied by science yet, at some point it will be and we will see the neuro-storm that happens when our sexual impulses are freed without self judgement and restriction – and the “kundalini (trance state) awakens”.

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