In the Beautiful Moment

Yesterday afternoon offered me one of those “what could be better?” moments that we’re all luck enough to experience every so often.  Looking across the lovely little river adjacent to my home, I was taken by the dappled slanting evening sunlight filtering through the bright spring-green tree canopy.  Two ducks flew downriver, mere feet above the glassy water, intent upon whatever it is that occupies ducks’ attention.  A trio of eagles drifted by far overhead, lazily drifting on the wind.

In being treated to this moment of beauty and tranquility, I realized the many ways in which beauty steals into our lives— if only we open ourselves to it.  As  sexologist, my mind drifted to my appreciation of the beauty of the human form.  I find few things as moving as the gentle swelling of a woman’s breast, or the titillating dip and turn of a graceful hip.  We humans are “wired” to resonate with this beauty.  I’m sure that the sensitivity to beauty that I experience as a heterosexual male is echoed in women’s and in gay or lesbian individuals’ responses to the beauty of the human form.

All of this is a reminder to me that our sexuality is a deep and direct connection to our overall experience of being alive.  Sex is a good and a beautiful thing; it opens our eyes, quickens our pulse, and thrills us with the sheer joy of being alive.  Given that sex is such a primal force in our life, we need to be sure to be open to its gifts, and we should do what we can to embrace it.  In slowing our frenetic pace enough to become receptive, and in recognizing and rejecting the acquired sex-negative attitudes that might otherwise blunt our appreciation, we can reconnect ourselves with a major wellspring of joy and energy.  Long live sex!

The Healing Power of Touch

I had an especially rough day today— one of those days when you rue having crawled out of a nice warm bed, and into the icy clutches of this sometimes-hard world.  As I lick my wounds at home, nursed by a purring cat and a steaming mug of coffee, I find myself reflecting on the curative powers of touch: sex, yes— but also sensual pleasures, and the warmth of an intimate embrace.

There is something deep in the human psyche that absolutely requires touch.  It’s physical, as well as psychological, as is evidenced by the developmental damage done to under-attended young primates, as well as the “failure to thrive” syndrome suffered by some infants during the last century.  The need for touch cannot be ignored.

As someone who holds a holistic view of sex, I believe that satisfying touch is available through many expressions other than intercourse— wonderful as that can be.  A gentle, caring brush across your partner’s cheek, a tender and attentive massage to relieve cramped and aching shoulders, a kiss that conveys healing acceptance and caring— these are all examples of the breadth of curative touch.

In our American society, touch is often positioned and used as a means to an end: as a prelude to “real” sex (i.e. intercourse), or as a way to disarm someone and win favor.  Too often, we’re led to believe that caring touch is just a ticket to the “main event” of sex.  I think that perspective is especially prevalent among men.  Such a belief can keep us from some of the most enjoyable aspects of connecting with a partner (or with ourselves).

It’s good to take a deep breath, smell the perfume of Spring blossoms on the air, look around and truly register all the beauty that surrounds us— and just be grateful to be alive.  That can make us more appreciative of the special people in our life, and it can make us much more appealing to them.  Once that connection is made, touch each other to show your appreciation and love.  It’s great to be connected!