"Ecstasy n. A feeling of elation. From the Latin ex-stasis, standing outside oneself."
Many people search for it; through substances, work, fitness, meditation, and of course sex. What is it to be able to 'stand outside oneself'? Is it the thought of being able to view ourselves more objectively (too 'heady'), or is it simple a hedonistic pursuit of an ultimate feeling of bliss/pleasure? Are we so locked into our sense of self via the Ego that the moments where the ego disappears, or rather quiets down, give us that sense of ecstasy? Busy lives, busy world, busy minds. For many of us a moment of true calm is a rare thing.
Sex can certainly provide us with many opportunities to reach heightened states of bliss, but that said, the shadow side of sexual expression seems to me to be far more prevalent in our modern cultures. In countries where Tantra and Tao first originated, women are as repressed as they are in any other, so it's not simply the roots of a philosophical or spiritual practice that honor it's original meaning, it's the understanding of and practice of it thereafter surely that give it it's potency and true potential.
What's happened to us when it comes to sex? Violent one moment, guilt ridden the next, we seem to have forgotten the easy and natural pleasures of being a fully em-bodied sexual being. New age sexuality cuts the balls off sex, and the media gives us ten overblown botox-injected pairs on the other end of the spectrum, but it's all screwed! Sex education, for what it's worth focuses almost entirely on warning, prevention, protection from disease and pregnancy, or if you're luckier than that, how it should be saved until after you're in a deep and committed relationship (judgment). You see where I'm going? Where are the teachings that our bodies and our sexuality are to be celebrated and enjoyed despite all of the finger pointing moralising? We don't talk about sex in celebratory ways, but far more often in taboo ways, if we even get to talking about it at all. It's like the big global secret that ever remains behind locked bedroom doors. Bad girls enjoy sex and need punishing and boys are 'just being boys' and we should turn a blind eye right?
As children we are rarely taught about what happens to our blossoming bodies and emerging sexuality and resort to awkward shame-laden fumblings beneath dark covers in the deep silence of nightfall. I've often been chastised by lovers for being "too noisy" when I cum! "What will the neighbors think?" Um...that I'm enjoying my sexuality maybe?
Sex is NATURAL! It's FUN! It can be immensely healing. And when it is suppressed, repressed, judged or flung into the arena of a moral high ground, it can be dangerous, destructive and scary. There are so many myths spread about sex, so many deceptions, so many lies (Cosmo hold your publishing hands up please!) We are made to feel that we are generally "getting it wrong" or if we're not, that our lovers therefore must be, as lofty ideals that paint pictures of perfect sex being hot and sweaty with orgasm as the ultimate goal are held ever before us as the Holy Grail of sexual fulfillment. Yet for many men and women, sex is something that causes great anxiety either before, during, after or all of the above! It is rarely seen as an opportunity for a spiritual experience yet to the Tantrics and the Taoists that's exactly what it was. The conscious channeling of sexual energy is seen as an opportunity for the dynamic integration of mind, body and spirit and for prolonging and improving drastically our health, vitality and longevity. So what could be better? So why do we think there is so much resistance o this natural state of bliss? It costs nothing, it improves much and we could become powerful, strong human beings by re-connecting with this very primal energy....and who could possibly be threatened by that right?