Sexuality can encompass many varieties of experience. In our private lives as well as in representations of sex in society and through the media overall, there is all too often an over-emphasis on ‘peak’ sexual experiences. Peak arousal can be understood as those huffing, puffing, hip-thrusting, sweaty, screamy mega-gasms that make great visual material for porn or a short and effective representation of sex in conventional TV or films. This represents the YANG or ACTIVE side of sex.
Along with being physically active through movement, there will often be a lot of tension held in the body as you reach a peak orgasm. Try to notice next time you are heading to a ‘little death’ what is happening within your body. Are you relaxed in the pelvis, hip and thigh area? How about the jaw, neck and shoulders? Are you holding a lot of tension there? What is happening with your breath? Short and sharp inhalations, panting? Or perhaps you are holding your breath completely? These are all typical signs of peak climax and worth checking for to recognise your sexual patterning – what your body has learned to be the ‘go-to’ conditions in order to reach climax.
In Tantra, the aim is to find the middle. To ride both extremes and find your freedom outside of being attached to either. It is for this reason that tantra massage tries to mix both these peak arousals with the other extreme of sexuality – the YIN or PASSIVE arousal. We can compare the peak orgasm to a mountain that must be climbed, and the work that has to go into that to achieve the orgasm. The Yin, on the other hand, can be compared to the feeling of allowing yourself to fly off the mountain and let gravity take over the work for you as you glide through sensual pleasures.
YIN sexuality involves a deep level of relaxation within the muscles surrounding the pelvis, legs and stomach while also being intensely aroused. By relaxing the tissues, the energy built-up through stimulation can dissipate around the body rather than being localized or ‘locked in’ by tensed muscles. In this way, it will take longer for your whole body to become fully charged with sexual excitement as opposed to charging only the genital area – and it will feel a much more subtle build-up to get to full excitement over an extended time. This is a path often unknown – and one certainly worth experimenting with!
We can look at these two types of experience as complimentary and interchangeable – many people only know one side, or know one side much better than the other. Which is your preference? Could you enjoy both styles of arousal? Consider your most memorable sexual experiences – would you describe them in terms of peak or valley sexuality?
In a tantra massage you have the opportunity to experiment with both of these types of arousal. Use the session to explore yourself – what you know already as a preferred sexual response, and what you might have never tried before. By having your giver take charge of the active role in the session, there is a wonderful opportunity to lay back and try relaxing into pleasure.