24 November 10

Sharing Self Intimacy

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Onyx in Blue Studio. Photo by Eric Francis.

Acknowledging the beauty of fucking and the exquisite feeling of exploring a woman from within herself…and the scent of cunt and her sweetwater so good to drink and her delicious moans of release as I fill her up, craving her to see the expression in my eyes;

Acknowledging how cock filling your core space is the sensation of the divine, and how wrapping your hands and face around the penis and exploring the tension and inviting his release, into your pelvis or your mouth, is so beautiful…

The idea of sharing masturbation is: we dive into the deepest intimacy we can reach within ourselves, while alone, and explore and be all those people and go to all those places. All those places of ambiguity and where gender morphs and where one must find the resources to satiate one’s own wants and needs, right there, on the spot, the most precious of which is acceptance.

Then, to bring that to the space of another. To expose your self-intimacy to another and find yourself in a space of being embraced (by yourself) and having that selflove reflected (by yourself) and then by another. To reveal your secret face to yourself, with a witness. To touch the space of inner love and death where self-surrender is imminent, and to reveal that. To feel and be present for another to go there, your face becoming the symbol of cosmic embrace, of divine approval, seen as a reflection, guided back toward the mirror.

This is the sharing of self-intimacy, the revealing of both pleasure and question, and exposing the deepest submission possible, which is to oneself.

e

5 August 10

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The hottest shade of blue.

I don’t know when sex became masturbation, or rather, when masturbation became sex. It’s not the only sex though it’s a wide open dimension of sex, both solitary and solo and within the space where they meet.

Within that dimension it’s possible to do one thing with total and expansive freedom—desire. Indeed it is a plateau of desire, with many shades of light and dark. Where everything is equal, ‘cus I want it. My desire surrenders to its want.

Exploring alone, or with someone, I myself weave along as though through the DNA strands. and up the helix is woven a self-embracing, self-effacing hybrid of masturbating in a mirror while a couple fucks. On one side, alone. On the other, face to face with a living person. In a third, facing a mirror, surrounded by mutual surrender.

In a space where I am eerily suspended from guilt: it serves no purpose. How could it. And in this space, suspended amidst those who fuck me into existence, before myself, facing myself, admitting the birth of my existence as a cause and consequence of fucking. I was fucked into existence. I love how that feels, and I catch myself, I witness the light in my eyes, and I awaken.

25 July 10

Inquiry into solitary

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Photo of Iris by Eric Francis.

This entry conains two versions of the same post, one as it originally appeared and one with edits requested by the editors of Dodson & Ross, where it was crossposted this week.

Insisting that masturbation be solitary seems like the perfect way to perpetuate all sorts of sexual shame. I’m not saying that we should always masturbate together or ‘should’ do anything. To the contrary, I’m suggesting here that making alone the only option has a toxic effect that can offset even the the deep healing available within that inner space.

Many people have discovered the emancipating pleasure of sharing masturbation. Many who have not actually tried it have thought about quite a lot; some are delightfully obsessed: the idea of others masturbating, and oneself being seen or caught masturbating, are two of the most dependable fantasies out there. So you may have a window into how potent of a balm this is, and how beautifully it opens up the space for other forms of exploration. For now, let’s work from the other direction.

One of the first things that we learn about masturbation is to do it alone. We’re not shoved into a closet; more like a room. Consider how many kids think nothing of masturbating with everyone around. What’s the big deal? Well, nobody thinks about that when they pull the kid aside and say, ‘You’re only supposed to do that alone’. The point is that the adults involved are embarrassed, and instead of considering their own embarrassment, the child and his or her feelings are pushed behind the veil of social respectability. And this is where it all begins: the downward spiral into the dark abyss.

In other articles I’ve described how masturbation is the core of sexual feeling and consciousness. Before most of us have any notion of reproduction or penetrative sex, there is the pleasure of touching and that starts as self-touching. The emotions, sense of discovery and craving for exploration are deeply poignant (imagine this kind of self-communion in a pre-verbal state). Without the least thought, to that whole living breathing experience is grafted the shame of having to be alone, obviously for a reason: something is wrong. To tell the kid, as many seemingly enlightened parents do, that ‘this is okay but you have to do it alone’ is a mixed signal. Why would it be okay if I have to be banished?

So the enforced aloneness becomes associated with the pleasure, the shame and wrongness. They mingle and become one entity. Notably this happens prior to what Freud described as the ‘latency phase’, when children in Western culture appear to stop being sexual for nearly a decade between about 3 or 4 years old and early adolescence. I’m aware that there are exceptions even within our culture, for example, some children (all girls, in my experience of listening to sexual histories) who are sexual and even orgasmic all the way through this latency phase, though for the most part, we shut children down and assume that they have no notion of sex until it emerges with a vengeance at puberty.

As nearly anyone will tell you, the emotions that surround the rediscovery of masturbation are complex and intense. They are, not surprisingly, mingled with various feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment, which can spill into a general discomfort with existence, with being seen and noticed, and with being touched. There are many dimensions to thoughts/concerns of what would others think, and do other people do this? It might not be this way if kids were not kept in the dark about this whole subject area, that is to say, themselves.

One of the next things we are told about masturbation is that it’s not real sex. The only dignified sex is with another person, and not just any other person but one who reflects well on us. I’m aware that there is an enlightenment movement afoot – if you explore the pages of Solotouch.com you will get a window into one dimension of what is normal, though I am sure that this viewpoint – that masturbation is something to celebrate – doesn’t affect more than a few people in a hundred, if that many.

Again, let’s speak to the people who get left out. Most of them learn that masturbation is wrong, and that it’s a substitute for ‘real sex’, which is also wrong, at least until you’re married. But ‘real’ sex is at least less embarrassing; you have the approval of another person.

Think about that combination of influences: it’s a vicious double bind. But shameful, childish and conceited as masturbation is considered to be, it’s okay if you do it alone (because we all do, and nobody can stop it), and that mandatory aloneness is, as far as I can see, one of the deep roots of shaming not only masturbation but all of sex and, by easy extension, all of the feelings that go with eroticism. And this, in turn, is existential. Our feelings about sex and masturbation reflect closely our feelings about existence.

So when we approach this subject we are unraveling those feelings, all that doubt, the complicated web of emotions, values and self-image. Deep in those shadows, there is the light of awareness and of free existence. There is the desire to be known, to be understood, and the authentic craving of contact which we give to ourselves first – and learn to receive.

*Revised version as it appeared on Dodson and Ross, intended to be friendlier for readers who are also mothers*.

Many people have discovered the emancipating pleasure of sharing masturbation. Many who have not actually tried it have thought about quite a lot; some are delightfully obsessed: the idea of others masturbating, and oneself being seen or caught masturbating, are two of the most dependable fantasies out there. So you may have a window into how potent of a balm this is, and how beautifully it opens up the space for other forms of exploration. For now, let’s work from the other direction.

One of the first things that we learn about masturbation is to do it alone. We’re not shoved into a closet; more like a room. Consider how many kids think nothing of masturbating with everyone around. This shows us that it’s a natural activity and not inherently experienced as wrong. So we need to consider carefully how we deliver the advice that kids should masturbate by themselves. We don’t want to send a mixed signal that ‘this is okay’ mixed with ‘but you’re being banished’.

Adults also need to notice their own embarrassment. We modify sexual speech and behavior supposedly to protect kids, and often in the process we project our shame onto them. I believe that adults need to own their part in the equation and ask themselves about what they’re feeling, and how they were treated by their caregivers at the same age. It’s not enough to merely push the child and his or her feelings behind the veil of social respectability. Once that starts, it never ends. While we’re busy being sexpositive, we don’t want to send the message that sexual feelings are wrong.

I am not saying that it’s appropriate for children to masturbate with company around; I am saying that we have to be careful how we send the message of what is appropriate. Masturbation is the core of sexual feeling and consciousness; all sexual feeling emerges from there. Before most of us have any notion of reproduction or penetrative sex, there is the pleasure of touching and that starts as self-touching. The emotions, sense of discovery and craving for exploration are deeply poignant (imagine this kind of self-communion in a pre-verbal state). Without the least thought, to that whole living breathing experience is grafted the shame of having to be alone, obviously for a reason: something must be wrong. So if something is not wrong, we have to make that point clearly, in language and with compassionate feelings.

Otherwise, enforced aloneness becomes associated with pleasure, with shame and wrongness. They mingle and become one entity. Notably this happens prior to what Freud described as the ‘latency phase’, when children in Western culture appear to stop being sexual for nearly a decade between about 3 or 4 years old and early adolescence. I’m aware that there are exceptions even within our culture, for example, some children (all girls, in my experience of listening to sexual histories) who are sexual and even orgasmic all the way through this latency phase, though for the most part, we shut children down and assume that they have no notion of sex until it emerges with a vengeance at puberty.

As nearly anyone will tell you, the emotions that surround the rediscovery of masturbation are complex and intense. They are, not surprisingly, mingled with various feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment, which can spill into a general discomfort with existence, with being seen and noticed, and with being touched. There are many dimensions to thoughts/concerns of what would others think, and do other people do this? It might not be this way if kids were not kept in the dark about this whole subject area, that is to say, themselves.

One of the next things we are told about masturbation is that it’s not real sex. The only dignified sex is with another person, and not just any other person but one who reflects well on us. I’m aware that there is an enlightenment movement afoot – if you explore the pages of Solotouch.com, one of the best websites for authentic masturbation stories, you will get a window into one dimension of what is normal, though I am sure that this viewpoint – that masturbation is something to celebrate – doesn’t affect more than a few people in a hundred, if that many.

Again, let’s speak to the people who get left out. Most of them learn that masturbation is wrong, and that it’s a substitute for ‘real sex’, which is also wrong, at least until you’re married. But ‘real’ sex is at least less embarrassing; you have the approval of another person.

Think about that combination of influences: it’s a vicious double bind. But shameful, childish and conceited as masturbation is considered to be, it’s okay if you do it alone (because we all do, and nobody can stop it), and that mandatory aloneness is, as far as I can see, one of the deep roots of shaming not only masturbation but all of sex and, by easy extension, all of the feelings that go with eroticism. And this, in turn, is existential. Our feelings about sex and masturbation reflect closely our feelings about existence.

So when we approach this subject we are unraveling those feelings, all that doubt, the complicated web of emotions, values and self-image. Deep in those shadows, there is the light of awareness and of free existence. There is the desire to be known, to be understood, and the authentic craving of contact which we give to ourselves first – and learn to receive.

21 July 10

Forbidden self

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I watched them make love. Photo by Eric.

Think of the self who doubts, who is afraid, who is ashamed, who regrets, who feels guilt, as a distinct entity within you. This is the ‘self’ whose eyes avoid you in the mirror, or who you avoid. The one who sometimes stalks you and sometimes seduces. But so often leaves you in pain.

You may imagine what it would be like to be free of this entity – and you may have experiences of doing so. One moment you may be familiar with is those moments of unfettered freedom as you get close to orgasm. These are the times when you can allow yourself to feel your pleasure and admit your true needs.

I have a fantasy that may make it into a SciFi novel some day about a database that records everyone’s thoughts and fantasies in the last 10 seconds before they let go. That’s when we find out what we’re really made of. For some it’s a little more than 10 seconds and with some practice you can go into that room and explore freely for hours. It’s in that space where all resistance goes away and the rich desires come out. They may involve being seen. They may involve same sex experiences. They may involve people you would not normally think of. These are your honest, unfiltered desires.

So what’s this entity that blocks them for us, and tortures us with doubt and regret? We don’t have to give it a name yet. Let’s get familiar with it and see if we can distinguish it from who we really are. Part of how this critter works is to convince us that it is us rather than something that is running loose within us, supposedly with a life of its own. How that convincing process happens is, well, let’s put it this way. It’s easy, if we don’t know the alternative, and the way that alternative, core self, real self, got hidden from our view, is by being shamed and experiencing pleasure being taken away.

Make no mistake: to the extent that psychological damage is possible, this is real damage. And for most people, most of the time, this shame-based entity is what runs the show. When we look closely at its constituents we find many different emotions that I’ve mentioned, and we find the presence of authority. This is the authority that we’ve internalized, though often we project that guilt outward onto the spouse, the parents, the boss, the police, the priest, the pope, or God. It can show up as body shame or body images, disgust or distaste. Many men project shame onto their semen, and it tends to rush into awareness in the moments after ejaculation.

When you get in front of the mirror and seek to pull away the veil, this is the authority you’re confronting. It is not years of conditioning but rather generations of conditioning that you’re working to see through and unravel. These feelings, usually cast off and thrown away, or suppressed from awareness, is what we need to consciously integrate back into ourselves.

While that may seem painful, the ‘negative’ emotions contained in this shadow self burn hot. We all know the experience of indulging that which is forbidden. Here, we are walking into a forbidden self and entering into relationship – an inner relationship – with it.

This relationship starts privately and often silently. Yet in the spirit and pleasure of truthseeking, at some point we share: for our own benefit, and for the nourishment of the other.

20 July 10

Diving into the mirror

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Lucille, at Burning Man 2009. Photo by Eric.

Gradually teach yourself that the mirror is your sanctuary. This can be a slow process, to isolate yourself from judgment in the place you might often judge yourself. Or you can dive in, which means into you, into your eyes.

Obviously there might be some self-consciousness you will want or need to get over. Until you do, the question of why you might want or need to connect with yourself could remain a mystery. Self-consciousness is really a misnomer. It’s more like self-discomfort. That discomfort does not just exist when you’re there, seeing your face; it’s there all the time and it comes out perhaps when you look at your face, or when you refuse to: that moment of hesitation.

If and when you feel that, you can be sure you’re looking right at the veil of embarrassment. If you can pull back that veil, you will have an opportunity to explore the pleasure of self-witnessing. What you do here will shape your personality all the time. You will be able to release your psychic tension and explore the discomfort that the tension – the veil – is intended to cover.

If you thrive on this tension, you may not want to do this. That might be if you thrive on conflict. If you are harshly judgmental of yourself, or depending on the depth of your shame, you can call back the projection of your hostility and address it at the source.

I suggest you ask what it means to be carrying that around all the time. It may seem like it turns up only in the mirror, but how is that possible? Rather, I suggest that the mirror where things surface, is a place that the obvious comes out front where you can see it; where you can see yourself, what you hold, who you think you are.

The idea is to explore the mirror as a place of love, and as a way of resolving inner conflict. There may be an effect to watch for, which has a few names: such as the brighter the light, the darker the shadow; or the discomfort becomes so intense that it must be projected outward, which is a common source of conflict; which is to say that if we reconcile with ourselves we may be less inclined to do that.

Initially the mirror may not be a place of love. If you are someone born under happy stars, it just may; the love will be intuitive and you have something you can teach your peers.

You can be sure that when you find that place of love, you will begin the journey of allowing it to soak from the outer layers into the regions of your psyche where you can heal some of the alienation and pain you’ve accumulated along the way.

Often, authority – mainly religious – inflicting wounding on masturbation is one of the ways that people in power create that alienation within a person, dividing us from ourselves. You probably don’t remember when it happened, or it happened so many times, in such small ways, that it doesn’t register as one event. Cultivating the space of fully conscious mirror masturbation is one of the most direct ways to self-reconciliation. It becomes the place where we no longer seek the love of another person to make up for the love we did not receive from others, or that we don’t know how to give and receive from ourselves.

Here is a thought to consider. That tension may point to the need to forgive ourselves. But I would ask you, for what?

16 July 10

A beautiful confrontation

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Catalina w/ Mirror. Photo by Eric.

Exploring beyond veil of shame is not a flirtation, and it’s not about sex. It’s a confrontation, and it’s about claiming your right to exist. You may not have ever thought of it that way. The veil can seem so dense that there is no penetrating. Sometimes it’s helpful to take an indirect route; though in my experience the way through is direct.

You may need to give yourself permission from moment to moment, year after year. Give yourself permission to want what you want, and who you want, and to desire yourself. Try saying it out loud. Try speaking into a mirror and see if you can make eye contact. It’s daring! And I always find this amazing—that it’s daring, it’s just me, there is nobody there, is there some other entity in my mind who is the watched or the watcher who resists?

Is this the ego? When I love through this, sometimes I feel like I am softening and dissolving my ego, kneading out the tension. When I go into this space, one by one I can forgive myself anything I’ve ever condemned myself for, that day or any day. I melt into the truth that I love and grow.

This is an email to a friend, written this evening, a continuation of a prior letter in which she said she could barely bring herself to use the word masturbation – she wrote it as ‘going solo’. I replied, and then I added a PS. I will share this with you.

PS, a little closer.

There is a lot of power in the word masturbation. It’s been so wrought with embarrassment disgust, which has evaporated into deeply concentrated pleasure.

In my solo practice I’ve made a yoga out of the word and the concept. I witness what I am doing and say to myself, this is your masturbation. Make love to yourself. Masturbate.

If you say the word enough times, you will probably be treated to watching yourself cum tumultuously.

As you may have read, one of the experiences I explore is conscious masturbation in community with women who fuck. This makes the contrast of what I am doing vivid, and I love it. I’ll look into a mirror, my mirror, and say, “You’re a masturbator now. This is your sex. Go ahead, make love to yourself. You can have it any time you want. I’ll give it to you. Let’s masturbate.”

Last night I played with a friend, who feels deep delicious healing when I tell her how hot I get that she fucks, and that she fucks while I masturbate. We agree that I choose to do this, and that I love the cloying submission when I let go into the simple truth of the experience. There are times, and they come more frequently, when I feel the serenity and the gift of being my own lover, as a commitment and truth and bursting free into existence.

I have drawn to me a few female friends who are in tune with my yoga path, and who expose me to their fucking and their love for other men as a conscious gift, and I expose my masturbation to them because I feel so good when I do. These are some of the deepest orgasms I have.

Lately I’ve walked into the dark garden of my relationship to rejection and abandonment and how I’ve given myself a candle through that darkness. I’ve accepted the invitation in. I reach into the shame of not being chosen as the one, and I take my last resort – myself. Then I surrender into the space that this is what I choose. That my the moment of freedom.

To one friend last night, I said, I love that you fuck. I masturbate while you fuck. You fucking makes me thirsty for myself, and I drink myself, and I love that you know. Please tell him.

Then I got to hear her share her experience with me, how she embraces my choice and how good it feels for her to want to fuck and to acknowledge the depth of my empathy for her

as I let go

14 July 10

Setting yourself free

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Photo from Daily Mirror (red series) by Eric Francis.

In doing masturbation celibacy, one of the spaces I visited and revisited was death. Not the probable; the inevitable. There was the metaphoric death of sex as I had known it. This took with it a vast rendition of my ego, so rooted there, cracking and falling into an abyss as I emerged vulnerable and unformed.

At times, swimming down into myself, I embraced the hint of physical mortality, its psychic trajectory. Its solitary quality: the sensation that I would die with myself.

I think now: that I will in the end give myself death, with my last thought.

Strolling out of the Garden of Eden calls for this, and DNA is the spiral of sex and death, existence. In shedding shame I relax into the simplicity of this. I weave the third way.

If we go past any notion of authority, we can face ourselves, going past authority I face myself. That’s what it is. Yes I often swim against a dark tide of the embarrassment that I masturbate and don’t fuck. I have taken over the journey of giving myself that particular thing. I embody she who would do it.

11 July 10

Genesis of shame

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Photo by Beth Bagner and Eric Francis.

Our society is based on the Bible, which contains a creation story adopted by Judeo-Christian culture. The creation story begins with the shaming of nudity, sex and the blaming of women in the chapters immediately after the creation of the universe. I propose that we underestimate the extent of the damage done by this thought form.

The way the story goes, first there was nothing, then God made the cosmos and the world, then God made critters, then God made Adam, then God made Eve and then – as if it were actually logical – came shame. And stayed. That was it. Humanity was shamed, from the getgo. That is, according to the Jews, from whose Bible this story comes. This was then adopted by the Christians and here we are.

I don’t know if you’ve ever written anything, such as a book or an article, but generally you make sure you get your first paragraph or first chapter right because that sets your intention and contains the seed crystal of what you’re going to elaborate on for the rest of the work. In the beginning of the supposedly only holy book in existence, we are taught that humanity is inherently wrong for what it feels and does. The existence of humanity, it is inferred directly, violates nature. When we express curiosity, we do what is wrong.

The sensation of shame, and its first cousin guilt, are so closely associated with sexuality that for most purposes (until we move on from this madness) they are one and the same.

This infuses our sexual experience to the degree that most of what we do along our sexual journey is cope with emotional toxicity. If you believe the Bible, the shame from which these toxic emotions emanate was a factor from the first two human beings and passed directly to us; and the only thing that can save us is absolution; by the church which proffers the Bible. These guys deserve an award for the cleverest marketing campaign in history.

They don’t stop with physical reality; religion, if allowed, takes over all of metaphysics. Since the protohumans were created ‘in God’s image’, then we have an image of a shameful creator of the universe – in addition to His being a notoriously jealous one, who does little other than send mixed signals. Who the fuck is this guy? Who or what were those writers characterizing? Their own overstuffed egos? And why do we pay attention?

Rarely do we stop to consider that this is all a psychological device used to get one over on us. If we don’t consider that possibility, then we cannot consider the alternatives, such has how to feel better about existence, love, sex, food, water, air and the rest of our environment – this mythical Garden of Eden where, well, let’s just say so much seems to be happening that we don’t understand.

9 July 10

The Veil

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Iris, the Celibacy Goddess. Photo for Blue / Brussels / efrancis.

Think of embarrassment as a veil.

Gossamer illuminated from behind, puffed in by the wind, reaching to you. Embarrassment is an invitation, with a gift. We tend to pull the veil over that which we desire the most.

Masturbation has the dimension of a slow dance with embarrassment, and it can be so beautiful. Past ‘wrongness’ and taste the light behind the veil. Admit the thing you want for half a moment, that sensation of affirming. It’s what we know in those 30 seconds before orgasm, that space of unusual honesty and its distinct pleasure.

Tease yourself pulling back the feeling of the veil within you. Admit what embarrasses you. Write it in your notebook or say it into mirror, your book of silver. The morph of physical touch, emotional release and verbal articulation is a lovely spiral.

That conscienceless space of freedom. Anyone, any way.

You, any how: given or taken.

You know the truth and you can let that feel good. The more embarrassing the thought, the lovelier will be your sweat and pleasure. So tell yourself what you want. Draw forth your lush joy and float there as you say the words. I want, and I want, and I want

i give give give give forth

I give myself

yearn for the gratification of all sentient beings

i submit myself to the truth of existence, glorious, alive

6 July 10

What you want

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Iris in Brussels light. Photo by Eric Francis.

One thing about masturbation is that you get to decide what you want, entirely. Not only is there no one else to please; not only is there nobody to ask permission of; you get to give yourself that consent, and pleasing yourself is a gesture that can seem mystical in its directness. Your masturbation is a time to be free. It’s a time to want who and what you want, to need who and what you need, and to give yourself as much as you can.

And to receive as much as you can receive. Alone, with nobody to judge you but yourself, you’re free to venture into ‘forbidden’ territory, to experiment with your ideas and your emotional response to them, to focus on who you want, and to be extremely specific about it. Consider what a different world this is than what we are accustomed to: transgressing all the rules, the social requirements, the fear of being found out, or of sending the ‘wrong message’. The differential between the two sexual environments, inner and outer, leaves you lots of room to explore.

Masturbation is a form of sex without consequences.

It’s a place to explore the purely erotic aspect of sex, without the need to project into marriage or the next date or acceptance/rejection or details of working out a relationship. There is immediacy, and you can allow yourself to dive right into the space where you know you’re going to get the sexual gratification you need. You have control and not only that you can explore that sense of control.

The phantasies we have during masturbation are the closest thing we usually come to absolutely unfettered sex, at least on any kind of regular basis, free of the fear of consequences or the consequences themselves.

The difference, in theory, is that ‘nobody knows what you’re feeling’, and this may be true. It may actually be that the ego presents a barrier against anyone else knowing your fantasies and desires. At least you can placate yourself with the idea that your private exploration is indeed private. You can work on that assumption and grant yourself enormous room to explore what you want and what you need, and to feel how you feel getting it (usually that feeling would draw you right into one or more deep, satisfying orgasms for which you have nobody to thank but yourself).

Then there are times you get to explore your desires in a dynamic of some kind with the other person involved: when your masturbation becomes something that someone else is aware of, that they understand, that they encourage.

Let’s see how that feels. I enjoy exploring honesty with myself such as about how this picture above fills me up with desire like a cup of fire. Iris became my muse the moment I encountered her, when I was reading cards at a massage place in Belgium. She knew she turned me on, and I knew she loved it. I let her have her power and she used it consciously.

Seeing her makes me want to smell and lick out her ass. That’s the first thing that I wanted when the photo appeared on the screen. This desire is mingled visually with the curve of her hips, which you cannot quite see in this picture tho which I’ve seen many times. I would love to make love to her for an hour or two, delicious, intentional fucking, and then drink my ejaculation mixed with hers as she orgasms in deep cunnilingus.

I’ve never done any of that and I doubt I ever will, and I’m surely not doing so tonight: but I am taking all those feelings as an invitation to make love to me.

She knows she invited me here. In our photo sessions she was so provocative and loving, and played me as I spoke out loud my sense of witnessing her openly. In other words, I expressed how gorgeous I thought she was in words, which felt amazing for me and was like feeding her human milk that she drank in freely.

When she left, she knew she was leaving me in a state: and it happened the same way three times. We finished the session. She sat at my kitchen table wearing only satiny little knickers and rolled a joint and hung out for a while.

She offered me some and I accepted: really good Netherlands kind of herb (we were just a few miles from Holland). Dreamweed sent my desire to the level of cosmic devotion. We were in the same space, we could make eye contact, she knew where I was at. I knew how horny she was, how the elegant truth of how beautiful she felt glowed off of her face delightfully. I imagined that her boyfriend or next lover would be sharing in the benefits, but it now occurs to me that she might have gone diving into herself alone as well, to work out and explore and bring to fruition the past two hours of high energy tease that we had been sharing.

She would dress, and slip out of my apartment with her high heels clicking down the marble steps, echoing in the tiled European corridor of my building and get what she needed knowing perfectly that I would give myself what I would needed. Why wouldn’t I? The feeling of affirmation, acknowledgment and consent were liberating and empowering. Then she would come back for another session, even more provocative than before.

She has fucked and desired and opened herself up as a world of pleasure to many men since I have heard her fresh, sarcastic voice describe her life and her world in Belgian French. I imagine her lips drinking semen and kissing vulva. When I release her to freedom I release myself and I love this freedom, and I offer its truth to the glowing sphere of creative light that surrounds me.

Now it’s simple. When I see her face, relaxing into deeply honest masturbation becomes so easy. She gave me this. She gives me this.

5 July 10

No Excuses

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Photo by Eric Francis.

“Our society can be a friendly, helpful, and community-minded place, but in the area of sex especially it can hardly be called compassionate. Quickly we judge celebrities whose private sexual difficulties become public. We dispose of politicians and military personnel who miss the mark of our anxiously protected norms. Because sex is so full of life, it isn’t easy for anyone to deal with it, and it is rarely neatly arranged. In general, if we want to live a soulful life we have to allow some latitude for the unexpected in ourselves and others, but this is especially true of sex. It is the nature of sex, maybe its purpose, to blast some holes in our thinking, our planning, and our moralisms – sex is life in all its boldness; it’s not a hothouse of efficient repression.”

—Thomas Moore, The Temple of The Body: Sex in an Anti-Erotic Age

One thing that’s true about masturbation is that it’s a form of sex shorn of any pretense of romance, commitment, reproduction or political identity.

Without these trappings, there are no excuses and no opportunities for getting a moral pass. Masturbation is about pleasure and self-awareness.

Common though it is (one of the few things that nearly all humans have in common, and have in common with other species) masturbation is rarely depicted in literature, film or on television; it’s impossible to find on the radio. You would think it was extremely dangerous – and it may be, to those ideologies that pack sex with moral and political baggage.

The only place you can dependably find masturbation talked about or depicted is pornography (masturbation also being the purpose of pornography and female masturbation being one of its most popular subjects). Though they exist, websites that treat the subject with honesty and compassion, or artfully (or that even present practical information) are few in number.

So when we go into this territory consciously we are doing a few things. We’re entering a kind of unknown or at least familiar region. We are going beyond what is polite to put on the cover of a women’s magazine at the supermarket checkout.

We’re going beyond the permitted purposes of sex: reproduction, commitment, political struggle and, notably, prostitution. We are extending to ourselves the freedom to dare, to experiment and to explore. There are no excuses necessary in this space, and as a result there are not the ordinary points of orientation that trap us in a kind of cage or maze.

You would be amazed what you can discover when you drop all those excuses and explore sex for your own sake, because you want to, because you feel good doing so.

5 July 10

The Taboo

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Photo 0001, Canon 5Dii and Zeiss 19mm.

“How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god?”

—Alan Watts, from The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

I’ve been contemplating the masturbation taboo for years and in truth it makes very little sense. That may be in the nature of the taboo, though let’s start by admitting that one exists.

Here’s what I have noticed. There is enormous shame, guilt and abandonment wrapped up in masturbation, though most people tolerate this because sexual pleasure is so inherent to our nature. The problem is that most people try to coexist with both the pleasure and the misgivings, which tends to create a damaging psychic split. That is the nature of a “guilty pleasure.”

Fear of our parents knowing about how we feel and what we do influences all of these factors – and often goes unquestioned. It’s not like they can see all the way to our apartment, but enough people have said they worry about what their parents will think that I know it is pretty common.

But what exactly aren’t they supposed to know? That you can express that much compassion for yourself, no matter what you believe about them, or what they believe about you? Clearly there is a sense of shame, repulsion and fascination that can go both ways where parents and kids are concerned: we don’t usually want to know about their sexuality (which is weird, since it created us) and we don’t want them to know about ours. Not usually, anyway. We’ve drifted a long way from when sex was an experience of which the whole tribe was aware: there weren’t walls. And until recently, parents and children slept in close quarters, in houses with thin walls.

Then there’s phantasy. That’s the holographically vivid form of mental play that verges into the astral: that is, it feels real. As you get close to orgasm the ego lets go of its strangle hold on the mind and you can admit to yourself what you really want.

It’s somewhere we allow ourselves to go beyond the proscribed, permissible forms of sexual feeling, thought and expression. In your thought recess, you’re free.

Phantasy potentially evokes jealousy, so that’s another veil. We think we have to protect everyone from their own jealousy, such as if they know who we’re thinking about. The fear of abandonment slips in as well: if someone gets jealous they might leave us, or if they indulge in their desires we might feel like we need to leave them.

Masturbation is primal sex: it’s the sex that kids have, and that’s a potential source of shame. It doesn’t help that in our culture we count it as “sex for losers,” since if you could get a lover you wouldn’t need to do that.

And it may be all the obsessive hiding that itself leads to a feeling of shame; the notion that we have to conceal something creates the sensation of wrongness.

Deep beneath the lake of complex, ambiguous or toxic feelings, though, is the taboo on knowing who you are. That’s what all the veils are cast over, and an emotional gauntlet is thrown down to get to the heart of this thing known as Self. If you cut someone off from their masturbation, you can damage their whole journey toward self-awareness, and this is useful for the people and institutions that propagate it.

When you know who you are, you love yourself. You don’t need to be insecure; you don’t need to be in a relationship (though you are free to) and you don’t need a million products to make you feel like a whole person for a second, till it wears off. In this way, our self-judgments can fester and for many, they never seem to heal.

Most of those self-judgments go back to our relationships with our early caregivers. They’re the ones who taught us how to feel, and how to feel about ourselves. Guilt is resentment directed inward. Letting go of that is a gesture of forgiveness, but I have a thought about that: not forgiving them. Forgiving you.

4 July 10

What would mother think?

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Heather Fae for Book of Blue. Photo by Beth Bagner.

In consciously exploring masturbation, sharing masturbation and witnessing others, we are entering transgressive territory. Transgressive means crossing a boundary. The boundary is denial.

When we dare to do that, sometimes there is a thought guarding the boarder, such as, ‘What would my mother think if she saw me doing this?’ In other words, you may notice a form of embarrassment, or fear the lack of approval, or experience some mixture of shame and guilt. One of the ways these emotions work is that they are projected onto another person. It helps to know how this happens, and to notice when it’s happening.

In the process, the sensations I’ve described— embarrassment, needing approval, shame and guilt—are like shadows, and as we take this journey we’re going to spend some time there and see what they’re made of.

This is rich territory, and being comfortable in the shadows opens the space for many dimensions of pleasure, both psychic and physical. William Pennell Rock once wrote, “Only truth is erotic,” and this is an example. Sharing selflove is to indulge the truth of your erotic nature. At first we go there on our own. Then sharing with a witness can help us go deeper into ourselves.

You know yourself better than anyone, so the deepest intimacy is with yourself. You’re creating a space to go deeper into you. With a witness, or the fantasy of a witness, you are heightening your self awareness. It’s as if you’re saying to yourself, “This is what I want. This is what I’m doing.”

The simple truth of that blazes in the eyes of judgment, and you get to discover everything about yourself and how you feel that the fear of judgment concealed. That’s where you find yourself, beyond the notion of what anyone else might think. You can finally drop that burden, that armor, that veil.

What you reveal is not just your masturbation, but also the many dimensions of how you feel about yourself.

3 July 10

Create a space

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Space altar, Blue Studio.

I suggest you create a space for yourself devoted to this journey. A space where, no matter what, you devote yourself to honesty with yourself.

This will be a space where you are free to explore, to witness yourself, to speak and to listen. A kind of portal from you to you.

A place where you let yourself off the hook.

A place to ease back into existence.

To love.

To forgive.

To fear openly.

To admit, to give yourself,

receive

28 June 10

Love Light

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The edge of the altar, Blue Studio. This is a sheet of mirror placed on another mirror; the lower piece, making the base of the altar, was taken from a nightclub that once existed below my studio. Photo from 2010 by Eric Francis.

It’s time to turn the page of Book of Blue. I’m kind of amazed – which kind, I’m not sure – that I was able to write 42 chapters about having a hydrocele, which took me through this strange old story about a murder in Villisca, Iowa back in 1912 – when I was a kid (on the way to being a minister) living in Chicago.

A few weeks ago I had an idea for a digital book about sharing masturbation. To some people this is a totally intuitive thing to explore. For others, the notion is ridiculous, because sex is about sucking and fucking.

The premise that I want to explore is that masturbation can be a social experience that cultivates intimacy, and a fulfilling sexual experience that avoids many of the pitfalls of hooking up.

My original lead for the book was something like, “What if you could experience deeply pleasurable, rewarding, communicative sex, avoiding most of the risks?” By risks, I mean STIs, unplanned pregnancy and lower chakra power struggles. By rewarding, I mean experiences that cultivate intimacy, bonding and are sexually beautiful. Kind of like Love Light: all the pleasure, half the karma.

Really. What would you do? Would you try it out? This is my basic concept for what sharing masturbation is. Many people have discovered this – I can’t say who, for sure; maybe you have. My plan is to describe, idea by idea, what the options are, how to get them going, and what the spiritual or growth piece is about.

Now, I just wrote that I had this idea a few weeks ago. That is not strictly true. The other day I was going through a file cabinet and pulled out a file marked SUNY Buffalo. In there I found a handwritten, apparently unsent letter to my old assistant and now great friend Allan Rousselle, dated August 1987, describing a proposal for just this book. I was 22 years old. In fact, I had just turned 22 and had just graduated college and this was my first goal out of school.

I have written a lot since then, and many articles about masturbation and sex – but not a friendly, basic guide to sharing masturbation. In the past month, I’ve got some of my friends involved, and we’ve done some photo sessions and the project is starting to come to life. The entries I do over the next few weeks will serve as a prototype. I’ve always viewed Book of Blue as an experimental art studio, so this is right in keeping with the purpose of the space.

Everyone pretty much knows how to masturbate, but we don’t all know how to make love to ourselves. Not everyone is brave enough to explore this in the presence of someone else, but it’s seductive and if you take the first step, you’ll be drawn into some warm (and deep) waters that may change your whole perspective on sex and sexuality. So while I will be presenting photos and some basic methods, most of what I want to offer is a psychic map of being fully present and authentic in the presence of another, which is what we say our relationships are about, or supposed to be.

I’m interested in your experiences and your ideas about this. I’m interested in those whose couple relationships have a strong component of masturbation, and those who only masturbate – whether with others, or by yourself. You may write to me any time at blue@bookofblue.com. Please put a super obvious subject header that I won’t miss, and let me know how and if you want to be quoted. Let’s see where this goes.

My vision is for an easy to use, photo-based guide to the territory. One of the ideas I am going to explore is how sharing masturbation helps us cultivate compersion – that is, erotic empathy for ourselves and for one another. This is the stuff that really would make the world go round.

27 June 10

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Photo by Eric Francis.

Porno is a basic form of compersion – of empathy with what the people on the screen are experiencing, or what you imagine they are experiencing.

This young lady above: I imagine she gets fucked the way she wants, by who she wants. I can relax into that.

26 June 10

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Photo for Liz.

This is a story of betrayal – where a woman gave me exactly what I wanted, and I turned on her. What she gave me is: the privilege of a close friend, I’m empathic to her, she describes a recent experience of a man fucking her. She gives me details and the nuances of her thought body. She tastes again the feeling of embrace and allowing and expresses this in words to my listening. I masturbate as she gradually draws me into my spiral and I moan in beauty.

I learned where her legs were when he ejaculated and she looked at his face as he released himself into her.

A week later on the phone while we were talking I became jealous of her prerogative to fuck: because she’s so beautiful and alert there is never a lack of men who want her. She said once that she would never want for sex. I knew this about her and envied her.

When I surrendered to the feeling of her fucking the mix of my emotions was submission to her and desire for her and raw jealousy. During the phone call a week later, she said that I could have sex if I chose to, and I was outraged because I believed that I was adapting to circumstances, that I am not wanted, but I’m free to want myself. She was saying, in effect, it’s your choice if you don’t fuck and you can if you want to.

I knew I was revolting against her for the experience of fulfillng my lust for tasting her fucking another man, hearing her story, her sensations and her thoughts, and my friend had promised that if the occasion ever arose she would invite me to witness her make love.

Not only was this a woman willing to describe her journey and hold space for me to love myself, she had the intention of inviting me to directly witness, if she could find a man willing. A true friend. And when she said, you can fuck if you want to, the simple truth, I burned with anger and burned her.

At the time I thought: I’m going too deep too fast. I want this woman and I could not balance the pleasure of opening up to her fucking and the jealousy that it was not me; and that I could not be her. I was walking a laser-like division between needing sex with her and wanting to be placed in a situation where I must submit to myself entirely. I have chosen to willingly explore the space of not-having, which is perilous and which yields rich gifts.

This is one of many things about me calling for my self-forgiveness, before I can apologize. It’s not about her, it’s about me. I could see what was happening but I felt helpless to stop it. I have lived for so long believing that sex is something out of my control that it revealed a deep contradiction I was concealing.

Self-forgiveness is such a loving and beautiful experience that maybe it’s a good thing we keep having these things come up to make peace with.

I noticed it as part of a pattern: getting angry when I get what I want. Not every time, but I’ve seen it on a few choice occasions and last night it occurred to me that in some subtle way it might be a factor in every relationship I have.

Here’s how this can unravel. In the first instance, she’s granted my request to describe how it felt to fuck a beautiful man, the coloring and size cock like she wants him. I feel with her the initial surge of pleasure of accepting her love while accepting not being chosen as the one for sex. I feel that other male presence not intrude but be embraced by her. My visceral feeling is, he’s going to leave his scent in her cunt.

I know she gets naked and swallows semen. I love how she feels when she chooses.

My next step is: open up to this fully. I am allowing myself, initially, to feel the intensity of being less than her, of being the child in the presence of the parents.

My friend is elegant and well spoken, a womanly and potent human creature. Equality with that might happen when she wants to fuck me. Some would say when she chooses me exclusively and I know this is in the mix. So if she chooses someone else I need some way to consider this and in the makeup of my personality, inferior is how I feel, and as I feel that, I feel a subtle craving for this, and I follow this into myself, and I am exploring this space of shame and abandonment that is accented by the mirror. That’s where I look for love, brushing away every question and it’s simply about the moment of the expression changing in my eyes, the observable instant of accepting myself.

By the way what my friend really said yes to was not the opportunity to witness her fucking, where I would have been free to face a mirror. And honestly this was so beautiful it terrified me. She saw and knew and also knows and holds this for me.

She is saying yes to me, with this offer. Total affirmation of my existence.

26 June 10

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Sariel Cinella photographed for Book of Blue by Eric Francis.

My flight arrived in Albany on schedule at about 11:30 pm Friday night. My baggage appeared on the carousel, I organized myself and hiked out to my car. I dug out my keys, paid for my parking and slipped onto 87 South and was headed home. It’s 45 minutes down the Northway to the Thruway to Kingston. My plan was to go straight to Blue Studio. I’ve come home here from long trips many times the past years, but nothing could match walking up the inside steps to my studio door smelling that odd scent of an old commercial building.

I turned the key and entered, with the space in night mode: Sarah’s desk neatly ready for her next work session Monday, emanating her presence. Windows shut, AC silent, my computer back on my desk after a repair.

My mirror altar silent and waiting, to the left, the Moon in Capricorn, walking toward an eclipse. There are the women who guard this space: Christine, Pamela, Laura, and the celibacy goddess Iris. The big standing cock dildo on my altar caught my eye and I glanced away quickly. Mostly I stretch out naked and go down on this one, tasting the feeling of a full mouth.

I would crawl on my hands and knees up to her vulva, sniff her for an hour, suck her all weekend; I would take a cock into my mouth and hold it there till the man who gave rise to it relaxes his emotions and lets go to the pulse of my swallowing..

..she does this, and she receives his thrusts into her hips, alone in the morning she tucks her fingers into herself and jills urgently.

They all do. You all do; u do. I know that I display you to assuage my shame, I open that drip pan melted by the heat of her forgiven vanity or her delicate selfcompasison,

I drain the pool of my misgivings. If I know that you go there too I am more likely to go with a fearless heart, abandoning doubt, knowing that she does is enough. In any moment you could be making love. That relaxes me.

I stripped and made love in every mirror.

25 June 10

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deep in the hottest moment is where i reveal to me I’m doing this out of choice, that this is what I want. To come out from victim of not getting what i want to giver and celebrant and witness.

and from here behold the fucking of all women and all men

25 June 10

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My Witness, One Who I Have Witnessed.

New York, goddess be free.

I was sitting at my altar and remembered one of my admissions to Neisha. She, with whom I have dived into myself. I said that I was releasing my het identity to the mirror and that if I let go I could dive in and cumout queer. The certain pungent shame to that.

Then there was: masturbation celibacy meant the potential for never having sex again. That silly thought, if I die, I’ll have never had sex again, and there is a tug of submission to this. I have also explored die into orgasm scenarios.

I honored, with Neisha, her lovemaking with others. With every cell in my body I felt the pleasure of her desire and her fulfillment, and I drank me in her eyes, loving that you fuck, honoring your fucking, Neisha, loving your freedom to feel. Facing a mirror.

M compersion

The masses have witnessed the magnificence of your spread vulva

You spill out light

In the space where I am that I let go, I am sane because you see me

that I can say these words to you clear.

so yes i was at my altar and the thought that got me to rise to my feet and type is: the scenario of celibacy till death.

tat is some surrender

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