When losing is winning

Broken-heart-lossOur routines, myths, news, and entertainment give us — sell us — a bunch of events that we are supposed to take as automatic big losses just because they happen.

We get a divorce or break up a relationship and we lose. Our house burns down and we lose. We get laid off or fired and we lose. We get a serious illness and we lose. All those other events that friends and family go “oh, no” can probably be included.

Certain human experiences get listed as losses. But losses can also turn out to be a first step to wins. This usually isn’t part of the narrative. It might be more interesting if it were.

THE STORY OF LOSS

Let’s say that a love relationship ends. It’s customarily treated as a loss if not a complete failure or a downright tragedy. But is it tragic or a failure if a bit later another relationship replaces it, one that is even better for the new you? Or if the end of a relationship prompts an unforeseen change that ultimately results in a major life breakthrough, is that still a loss?

It’s all about perspective!

I have heard of many people who at one time “lost everything” in a disaster, yet years later they were very thankful for the wins that the “awful” experience inspired. The loss put their life on a different path that turned out to breed a previously unimagined success.

Some people learned through the crushing pain of bankruptcy how much they relied on status and materialism for their happiness. When they were humiliated through sudden poverty, through their financial losses, they learned how much they had missed simple pleasures and that the best things in life aren’t things.

Losses still do bring pain and suffering, but they bring gifts, too. That should be part of the narrative.

THE DRAMA OF THE LOSS

Pay attention to someone who has just encountered a big loss. It might even be you. Notice how other people respond to it. What do they say?  How much of the talk intensifies the drama of the loss?

“Oh, you poor thing! How dreadful! That must be terrible! You must feel awful!”

While this may sound like a helpful dollop of sympathy, the polite thing to say, the loving thing to do, it also amps up the intensity of the loss. The more one slathers on the sorrow and the pity, the more likely we are to feel sorry for ourselves. That leads to thinking like a victim and not bouncing back.

I’m not saying to be stingy with compassion for people under siege from a recent event that they deem a big loss. I’m saying not to stay stuck in the soap opera or melodrama. It doesn’t help them.

When it’s your loss, consider tweaking your perception of losing. Allow yourself to feel sad or angry but don’t get caught up in glorifying the loss through constant story-telling where you see yourself a victim. Rather, keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunity. The more you look for the gift in your circumstance, the more likely you’ll find something positive.

At least that’s the message I’m telling myself as I recover from my losses.

Sports and the American Experience

Loser-boyDuring last year’s World Series, I watched some of the San Francisco Giant-Detroit Tigers game with my dad. The Giants were smashing the Tigers, and in the process acing the Tigers out of the world championship.

At one point the camera panned in close-up over some of the stone-faced home team Tigers’ fans sitting behind the plate. Ouch! Each one of them looked as if he or she had been told that the HIV test came back positive.

My prevailing thought as I watched this spectacle was, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

This looked like torture. Voluntary torture. Expensive torture. Why would people voluntarily sign up for this?

FUNDAMENTALS

Sometimes I like to look at things we take for granted, like professional sports, and re-think them. Get back to fundamentals. One fundamental of sports is that there will always be losers. Always.

So if you get involved as a sports fan, all the time and money you invest in supporting your teams of choice will nevertheless result in you feeling disappointed a lot. It’s inevitable. Your team will suck much of the time.

It’s a weird world. My Dad’s neighbor three doors down (whom we have never met, incidentally) is Alex Smith, the former San Francisco 49er quarterback traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. I saw on the Internet where his new 3-year contract is worth around $24 million commencing at $7.5 million this year. According to the public record, he bought his house for $3.2 million. Can you think of many occupations where you can buy a dream house for a half-year’s salary?

I certainly don’t begrudge anyone for financial success, but I do question our social priorities. We glorify with money and fame people who will disappoint us a lot.

I have come to look at sports as big business and entertainment. Much like any other form of entertainment, if the show is not good, I don’t buy tickets.

BASEBALL KARMA

This year the World Champion San Francisco Giants have been playing very poorly. My dad is an ardent fan. He watches every game, usually to the bitter end. Last night he watched the last-place Los Angeles Dodgers complete a three-game sweep of the next-to-last Giants.

Misery.

SO WHAT DID I DO?

So here I am in this semi-snarky, sports-is-biz mind set feeling oh, so snooty superior watching “worthwhile” American Experience shows online. These are great PBS shows about American history, right?

While my dad was watching the Dodgers cream the Giants one more time, I was watching a long documentary about 19th Century Chicago. I saw more than my week’s quota of corruption and man’s inhumanity to man, not to mention cruelty to animals.

This was definitely not feel-good material. I have seen enough American Experience shows to consider renaming it American Assholes. Really. So many episodes reveal bunches of shameful, disgusting acts throughout history. The show usually does not make me feel proud to be an American.

I GOT THE JOKE

I had to chuckle at myself. I probably finished off the night in worse mental shape than my dad. I was disillusioned to be an American, and he saw his team peter out one more time.

But that’s entertainment.

Yet from now on I will give my dad a break.

Embracing loneliness

Lonely-robinLoneliness. Yuck.

In much of my world, it’s not cool to admit to feeling lonely. It’s a different kind of scarlet letter. People perceive that admitting to being lonely is admitting to being a failure. Being lonely translates to being unwanted, and the obvious question becomes what’s wrong with you? Why are you lonely? You must be flawed.

For Law of Attraction followers, it’s a definite no-no to lament feeling lonely. They believe that feeling sorry for oneself sets the universal wheels in motion to attract more of the same. More loneliness. More yuck.

Yet to my way of thinking, to deny feelings of loneliness and the pain they bring is hiding. I feel lonely. I should admit it. So I tell myself.

EMBRACE THE YUCK

The way I look at it, we’re here in Earth School to learn about life and love. That means helpings of both the good and the bad. To me it seems healthy to say, “This sucks.” The first step for improving a situation, it seems to me, is to admit that there is a problem. That motivates finding a solution.

I also feel that by embracing the loneliness, I am gaining valuable insight into the human condition. I can be more sensitive to others who feel it. I can empathize with people feeling useless, unwanted, and a prisoner of decisions made that led to it. I can also empathize with the anger that erupts for the lonely — it is challenging in this competitive, materialistic society to find relief through meaningful connection.

Loneliness, I have discovered, covers a lot of territory. It can mean having no one to love romantically. It can mean having no one to talk to about stuff that really matters. It can mean feeling like an outsider, like trash, the wrong this or that. It can mean being the minority race or religion or personality type or age or physicality. It can mean feeling like a victim.

CONSCIOUS LONELINESS

I am going through a patch of fairly intense loneliness right now. I have been looking for various healthy media to fill my mind with positive, uplifting, solution-oriented material. I am astonished at how challenging this is.

I went to the PBS site and started watching some American Experience shows that are available for online viewing. I always thought of these as worthwhile programs about American history. But the more I watched, the more disgusted and then depressed I got. I found less and less to be proud of, as in proud to be an American, especially a white American. The show turned out to be more of a cavalcade of greed, corruption, violence, adversity, racial hatred, and war than of ingenuity, cooperation, redemption, and social evolution.

Don’t get me wrong. I still think it’s a great series! It’s just discouraging. For example, I watched an American Experience program featuring 19th Century corporate monopolies, and then went to Facebook and saw people posting about how that dastardly Monsanto, with US government collusion, is poisoning us with genetically modified yummies. Oh, and Hostess Cupcakes and Twinkies are coming back (did you seriously think they would disappear?)

Documentaries in general seem to focus much more on what is bleak about humanity. It’s as if they still want to shock us into social action by showing us how rotten people or big corporations or corrupt governments are. I end up getting outraged at the injustices and then feel lonelier than ever living in an increasingly more hostile environment. Monsanto is out to poison us, health care and big pharma are out to increase our suffering to add to their profits, big oil is out to destroy the environment for their own gain, and you get the idea. The definition of a documentary should be “an exposé about all the crap that shitty people do.”

Put another way, these programs show a lot of victims, and so often, these victims are lonely people. They’re lonely because they are somehow disenfranchised. They don’t belong. They’re ostracized. They’re oppressed. Often they’re conquered and displaced. When I watch a show on the Caucasian invasion of America or slave trading, for example, I’m sickened at what I see, and it makes me feel lonelier living in a world where such brutality occurs.

TURNING THIS AROUND

For years I have considered loneliness to be a major unaddressed social crisis of our time. I believe that it is a root cause of so many other social problems that plague us. People suffering from loneliness in its various forms are more likely to rebel in violent or self-destructive ways. I believe that much addictive behavior is caused by a response to feeling lonely, unloved, unwanted, and unwelcome. Would we be a society filled with such addictions if we had more of a supportive tribal consciousness — if we made it our life purpose to look out for each other?

When I am consciously lonely, I see so many forces in life that work to keep us stuck in various forms of loneliness. Why is that so? Just as more war creates great business opportunities for defense contractors, suffering is great for the economy. Is there a better way to create a happy marketplace for providers than to keep a populace lonely, addicted, mad, and sick? When people are desperate, they buy stuff. Cha-ching.

Of course, loneliness is a hugely complex social problem with a multitude of causes and issues, but when I am consciously lonely, I don’t see society stepping up to the plate with many easy solutions. I find this odd. Profit-making industries cater to lonely people and their addictions, but I find it ironic that our supposedly advanced society isn’t addressing loneliness with hope-and-change zeal.

With website technology, it should not be so hard to provide humanity with a library of self-help tools that would help fight discouragement and depression with positive, solution-based programming. Or there could be an organization like a Salvation Army set up to deal with loneliness and foster cooperation, harmony, and appreciation for diversity.

When I am lonely, I look for my own solutions. It’s not a mental lake I enjoy swimming in. I don’t deny that I am there, temporarily stuck, but I lament that solutions are much more difficult to come by than stuff that is bad for my physical and mental health.

Fun and phenomenal

Write-YourselfHere is a most interesting personal growth exercise (or flat-out just-for-thrills game) that you can adapt to your particular situation. Maybe you are single and without a love interest. Maybe you are in hot pursuit of love yet find yourself mired in obstacles to its fruition. Maybe you are in a relationship or marriage, which can either be spot-on wonderful or veered-off-the-path into the doldrums.

Do you ever fantasize about what you crave someone would say to you? Maybe you would love for that handsome and beautiful stranger to strike up the conversation from heaven (as opposed to the conversation from hell.)

Or maybe you want to work through a conflict with someone you love and are waiting for that person to say something you long to hear that would instantly make you happy.

I decided that much of my life has been about waiting, waiting, waiting for people to say something precious to me — to express to me as if out of the blue my sacred inner yearnings or beliefs. Unconsciously, I would wait for people to make magic in my life when it was actually me who holds all the secrets about what exactly that magic is.

If you think about it, you may find it true for you, too. You may be waiting for someone to really see you, acknowledge you, understand you. It may be a general hunger or it may be in response to an issue you’re currently dealing with.

Here is a great way to explore that situation. I offer deep thanks for whatever lovely spirit popped the following exercise into my brain! Use it for the delicious fun of it or for serious personal growth work when trying to solve a problem.

THE EXERCISE

Decide on the context of the communication. Will it be for fun or for problem solving?  Will it be about your love life, career issue, spiritual quest, whatever else? What’s eating you or what delicious topic would you like to explore?

In your mind, pick out someone to interact with. It depends on the situation. You might choose a complete fantasy stranger. If you’re working on a problem with a specific individual, you might want to choose that person.

Write a letter from that person to you expressing in that person’s words exactly what you would most like to hear. Write the letter you would most like to receive covering the content you most want to hear about.

Write a best case scenario. Don’t worry about reality as you perceive it now or over-think why this could not happen. Savor the experience of this person telling you exactly what you would like to hear.

You are the gatekeeper here. This is your virtual reality and you make up all the rules.

WHY DO THIS?

Because it’s fun. This exercise gives you an opportunity to feel what it’s like to get exactly what you want. Yes, it is fantasy, and no, it does not mean it will automatically come true. However, writing letters like these will fill your mind with delicious thoughts. To me it is a very arousing, inspiring form of entertainment (and it’s free!)

Because it’s enlightening. One of the joys of this process is that you discover things about yourself, specifically your wants and needs, that you may not be aware of or had forgotten. It’s a wonderful way to bring into consciousness what you are hungry for or how you would like a problem to be resolved for best outcomes.

Because it’s revealing. If you are dealing with a conflict, writing as the other person may give you an interesting breakthrough in perception. Subtle as it may be, projecting your mind into someone else’s personality for a little while can give you insights into how to move forward. You may develop more empathy for the other person as you work to get what you want. Solutions you had not thought of may pop into your mind as you write.

THEN WHAT?

Sometimes just the act of writing will be enough. In some cases the work will be entirely imaginary, such as writing a letter from a person you do not know yet. In that case you may likely learn things about yourself and your cravings that you can apply to other aspects of your life.

In some cases you may want to share what you wrote with the person whom you impersonated during the writing. Understand that this is risky! You’re putting your most precious thoughts and cravings out there, and it could conceivably be shocking to that person, especially if they have not been paying close attention to the real you. You risk that your honesty will be too much for that person to handle and they’ll beat a hasty retreat or turn into an attack dog and snarl all over you.

On the other hand, being this honest with someone could bring into your life exactly what you want — or think you want. Your bold statements could inspire that person to offer you exactly what you crave. It’s like providing them with a map of your mental and emotional interior. They might be delighted to follow the map to please you because doing that is so pleasing to them.

The issue comes down to clear communication. How much of it do you want? How deep are you willing to go?

TRANSPARENCY

My personal belief: to get the relationships or results I want, it is important to share my truth. If that means losing a few fragile friendships or hearing no a few times, so be it. What’s left are the people who resonate the most with the real me and those who say yes. In the case of conflict resolution, the waters might even be riskier if you share your process so openly. It’s a gamble; sometimes you lose yet sometimes you win.

A good compromise would be to learn from your letter-writing. Discover what your cravings are. Then find a more subtle, less threatening way to communicate them to the appropriate person. If you continually get the green light for sharing, go for it. If you get red lights or flashing ambers, stop and go accordingly.

Start with enjoying the exercise, perhaps on a lower-risk topic. See how it goes. Notice how you feel. Let that be your guide and your inspiration.

Literary lovemaking

cybersexI’ve noticed over the arc of my life that one of my all-time favorite activities often reaps a huge ewww factor among women. Many women have an instant mental creep-out reflex to the mention of cybersex. It’s as if someone just dropped a full bowl of spaghetti atop their bed. And that’s being kind in the metaphor department.

In my own universe, literary lovemaking has created experiences of blissful beauty and pulse-pounding excitement. It’s been a life highlight getting to know special people in this delicious way.

Unfortunately, right now the term cybersex appears to produce visions of a pervert convention where horndogs write or talk play-by-play that at times is so mundane it could not even earn the descriptor erotic. Cybersex often gets wedded to assembly-line porn consciousness where only crude predictability prevails. Porn is not known for its ability to honor humanity at its finest. It doesn’t even honor the joy of sex. Joy? Really?

For me, virtual relationships offer the potential for deep-end-of-the-pool communication. For me it’s reminiscent of the quality of communication that Henry Miller would share with Anais Nin.

I’ve confined my cybersex exploration to emails and texting. Other flavors of it have arrived on the scene, such as using web cams, Skyping, Facetiming, sending videos/photos, and so on. These diversions were not available for most of my cybersex lifetime, but I still prefer the written word. The writing process helps me organize my complex thoughts, and I enjoy a treasure hunt for beauty and meaning with awesome minds.

“WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?”

I remember way back to my high school days in the 1960s when I would be in the midst of young love, and my predominant question to meet a girl’s long silences would be, “What are you thinking?”

My question was mostly about my anxiety then; I was nervous about how she felt about me. But as time marched on and maturity set in (some still wonder if that actually happened) I became fascinated with the idea that much sexual joy is about sharing consciousness while mutually pleasuring the body. The most exciting aspect of it for me was savoring my lover’s mind.

Sadly, many of us were (and many still are) taught to keep secrets. Don’t reveal intimate thoughts and feelings. Don’t admit those erotic desires. Don’t become vulnerable. Discovering what a girl/woman really thought in those days was like drilling for oil. It took great amounts of patient exploration before the eureka moment of freeing a gusher. Finding a woman who spoke her erotic truth was the best ambrosia!

Eventually I became a part-time sex writer. It wasn’t that I was so fascinated with flesh and body parts; rather I was fascinated with sexual psychology — what it did to us as a force of nature. I got a freelance writer gig with Penthouse Forum in 1979. Before email and the Web, I began receiving fan mail and nurturing conversations with strangers all over the country about their private sex lives. Some of those turned into literary lovemaking.

With the advent of personal computers, I ventured online. I found more women eager and willing to share their stories, thoughts, and opinions. Some of them joined me in journeys of virtual lovemaking.

A RICH, LAYERED DESSERT

People who think of cybersex as “just porn” have probably never met someone who can take them on a poetic thrill ride. It is so much more than non-stop dirty talk. When it blooms fully, it is a garden of immense proportion where literary lovers explore a seemingly endless cornucopia of discovery. There’s sharing personal histories, exploring aspirations, healing from past emotional wounds, playing with likes and dislikes, exchanging and developing fantasies, outing one’s deepest (and often most frustrated) hungers — and the multitude of feelings this honest disclosure stirs up.

Some of us hunger to be truly known by someone else. It’s like a soul purpose it’s that strong. I feel I hit the jackpot when I meet a woman who enjoy both personal growth writing and erotica. Over my life I have met a few precious individuals for whom this form of communication was utterly captivating. Inviting someone inside the vortex where thoughts flow without censoring, editing, and sanitizing is — beyond being a huge risk — ineffably profound and exhilarating.

For it to be deep play at its finest, it needs to be a two-way street. Both lovers need to share openly. Call it true confessions. Call it transparency. Trust is also a big factor.

I thrive when I meet a woman who shows a fanciful way with words. Some people elevate dirty talk into an art form, masterfully inventing fun new word combinations that arouse and delight. Toss in some humor with that spice and it’s bliss time. It puts new emphasis on human in the term human sexuality.

One might mistakenly assume that people into erotic correspondence are spiritually vacant. To the contrary, my most successful virtual relationships have been with women who ooze spiritual awareness. They treasure the spiritual significance of their sexuality. The last virtual lover was studying to be a minister in her metaphysical church. She adored the eff word as if it were a semantic crystal.

Meanwhile, some presume that people into cybersex lack imagination and rely on dirty clichés, making them questionable in intelligence. Au contraire! It is their brilliance that makes them captivating. Sharing the intricacies of sex opens up a safe space for sharing a wide range of topics including the most sensitive. Baring the erotic soul leads to other highly personal revelations, and for me, that’s ever so juicy.

EACH TO HER OWN

Like sex itself, literary lovemaking is very personalized. Each coupling brings forth a unique creative chemistry. Physicality is a metaphor for the mental, emotional, and spiritual. To make love in words one needs to be sensitive to their lover’s hot buttons and cold buttons. Some like it hard. Some like it hot. Some like a slow burn.

These days, one can find bloggers who show the traits of a being a great literary lover. They express themselves wonderfully and artistically. They bring more meaning to sex and what it means to be a lover. It makes them more interesting as people, too.

(If you blog interesting things about sex and love, please let us know in the comments!)

Sexless marriages and relationships

LonelyThanks to the Internet and blogging, I became more aware of the plight of people stuck in the quicksand of sexless marriages and relationships. I followed one blogger’s trail of breadcrumbs to several blogs on the topic and read some riveting accounts of this particular kind of loneliness.

It’s tempting to take first impressions and believe that this is just about, well, sex — or lack of it. For many it’s about much more. Sex can be complex, much more than erotic activity. It reaches deeply into our mental, emotional, and spiritual worlds as well. The end of sex often brings about the withdrawal of affection, cuddling, flirting, playing, even communicating. The Ice Age cometh.

Right now I am neither in a marriage nor in a relationship. I am just sexless period. I am also 64, an age where many have already put their sex drive out to pasture.

LOOKING IN THE MIRROR

Whether it is psychologically healthy or not, most of us are conditioned to look to others for a mirror image reflection on how we are doing in life. We are taught early on to seek approval. How people treat us becomes a navigational device we depend on. When people are excited to be with us, especially in the context of love, those bright eyes and promises send out signals to us that we’re doing just fine, thank you. New love relationships can be so intoxicating because we get fresh reflections on our desirability. Someone thinks we’re fabulous!

When a partner withdraws sexually, however, it sends a signal for many of us that we are not wonderful human beings anymore. We’re damaged goods, last month’s news. When we are systematically avoided sexually, it’s hard not to feel rejection. Social conditioning frequently tells us that when things are going well in a relationship, happy sex follows.

I’ve been involved in several relationships where sex halted. Each time I was assured that it was not about me; it was about them. They cited a dramatic curtailing of sex drive and lack of interest in things erotic. While I could accept this information as their truth, I still felt that their withdrawal had something to do with me.

Rationalizations flew fast and furiously: 1) Maybe they were just too nice to say what really bothered them; 2) Maybe my enthusiasm for sex was just natively way beyond theirs; 3) Maybe they were hiding  deep-seated hostilities from their past (child abuse, spousal abuse, sex history abuse); 4) Maybe I had turned disgusting and all those “dirty old man” clichés were true after all; 5) Maybe I had blundered again in my relationship choices by choosing someone not into the joy of sex, emphasis on joy.

The blogs I saw were, ironically, all written by women. They appeared to be in their high thirties and forties. Most appeared to be mothers. I felt great compassion to note how lack of sexual interest from their husbands ate into their self-esteem. In their writing they shared various strategies they used to put the adventure back into their relationships — new lingerie, mood enhancement, porn, confrontation. Seduction strategies went nowhere and were often rebuffed with insults.

MAKING UP FOR THE LOSS

In many cases, sexless relationships exist because there are nonsexual reasons to stay coupled. One of the most common is “for the sake of the children.” A break-up would hurt the kids. Economics play another huge role in keeping couples together. One or both could not afford to go it alone, so they hang on. Sometimes health issues have intervened turning an otherwise healthy relationship into a sensual desert, especially for the one left behind. It’s only the lack of sex that is extremely hurtful. Sometimes a supportive friendship or business partnership are the glue, even though the romance has gone.

The problem comes in trying to fill the emptiness created by a sexually disinterested partner. People invent all sorts of polyamorous (honest) or stealth-filled (dishonest) solutions to try. Unfortunately, most solutions turn out to be Band-Aids. Finding a lover (or for some, a fuck buddy) often ends up creating a fractured, compartmentalized lifestyle.

A new love relationship may sizzle out of the gate. It may seem like the perfect solution for a month or two or three. Eventually, however, if sex is great with the new partner, the hunger for more is born. More togetherness, more intimacy, more consistency. This is largely because sex is more than just sexual activity. It’s a seed that grows a love bond. When a new love bond flourishes, the old one usually weakens.

But even that scenario presumes that someone is lucky enough to have found a suitable lover. People ensconced in sexless relationships have the unenviable task of trying to find someone who desires to experience the joy of sex without commitment. NSA (no strings attached) relationships may work for some, but others (like myself for instance) crave emotional content with their sexual expression. Emotional sharing is arguably what makes sexual passion fulfilling. The bottom line, especially later in life, is that far fewer people are satisfied with or are even willing to try alternatives to monogamy. They want all or nothing.

I have noticed in myself a whole ego string of beat-myself-up ideas that flow through me from involuntary celibacy. I walk with less of a spring in my step. I feel incomplete. I feel uninvited to the party others take for granted. I burn up creative energy overcoming these negative feelings using the consciousness-raising, love-yourself tools I know. It’s not that I have a bad time by myself; it’s that I have a better time when I am in love.

THROUGH THE EYES OF OTHERS

I’ve witnessed great sadness and frustration embedded in the lives of others of both genders as they attempt to deal with their deeply unsatisfying sex lives. I have friends stuck in sexless relationships they say they would like to leave if it only weren’t for whatever they’re holding up as their rationale. Sometimes I think that this is a problem not given much sympathy or importance in society because it sounds so trivial — that is until it happens up close and personal.

Please share your thoughts and experiences!

The orgasm pill

Orgasm pillThere have been a few times in my life when I’ve experienced the sensation of having a full-blown orgasm, and I wasn’t doing anything remotely sexual at the time. I experienced the core physical feeling of orgasm without the ejaculation part or even the erection part.

The first few times this happened I did not even know what an orgasm was, at least from the viewpoint of how one felt. They happened right around puberty. One morning I was in PE class and was instructed to climb a rope, and when I did, yowsers-wowsers! I got this incredible feeling. I would later discover that this was the same feeling that accompanied standard issue orgasm.

One time later I was in my mid-teens. As I sat in a dentists chair being fed nitrous oxide for an impending wisdom tooth extraction, I was drifting with the background music and without any genital stimulation or erection, I experienced a full-blown orgasm. (My current dentist has never heard of that happening with nitrous oxide, but it sure thrilled me.)

My take-away from these episodes was to conclude that orgasm is something that happens in the brain even though it usually occurs from genital stimulation. Even though habit and feeling tells me that it’s a penis thing, the real action must happen up inside the command center of the brain.

An offshoot of that experience has me wondering if orgasm could be artificially and predictably created via drugs or some other brain stimulation device.

OUTCOMES OF AN iCUM

Let’s just say that someone invented an orgasm pill or a device (call it an iCum) that produced orgasms via the brain without conventional sexuality, genital stimulation, or ejaculation. And for the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that this was medically safe. What are some of the considerations that would occur?

The first likely outcome would be a rush to monetize it. Look at the Viagra et al industry. Could you imagine the fortune this could generate?

An orgasm pill or orgasm-triggering iCum device would be unique in that it would not necessarily be created to solve a problem like erectile dysfunction. It could just be for pure pleasure, enjoyment, and convenience.

While conventional orgasm is a rather fleeting experience—a few seconds of woo-hoo–discovering how to trip this switch in the brain might produce orgasm that lasts longer than normal muscle spasm. Or more like the tantric experience of energy orgasms, the pill or device could stimulate a multiple orgasm response like a steady flow of ocean waves?

The problem here is that much of society is anti-pleasure. Governments have learned that it’s hard to recruit an army for the dirty work of conquering other countries if the core pool of potential soldiers is happily zoned out on love, sex, dope, whatever. If people became accustomed to being able to enjoy an hour’s worth of orgasms a day, they would not be so eager to trade all that bliss in for combat duty.

A likely outcome would be that governments would criminalize the goods. Societies have not been especially friendly to just-for-pleasure drugs. Currently, we favor tobacco and alcohol and yet mostly criminalize marijuana, which is arguably safer and healthier than the latter two. It is likely that certain lobbyists and pressure groups representing big tobacco and big alcohol would consort to fight against the safe orgasm pill–unless the lobbyists for big pharma joined the fray.

SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS

Another interesting track to follow would be a potential shift in the social order if orgasmic feelings could be produced with a pill or woo-hoo device (like some sort of electro-magnetic thingie that pulsed the right part of the brain.) How would that invention impact intimate relationships? Already one of the huge arguments against porn is that people become more aroused through audio-visual fantasy stimulation than through interaction with a real person. If people could easily have orgasms without sex, would they want sex?

The positive side of me thinks that people might increase intimate interaction if the pressure to produce orgasms was dramatically reduced. In other words, they might enjoy each other’s company more if they did not worry so much about physical manipulations of body parts. They might be inclined to be more sensual and comforting. Imagine being able to have orgasms while enjoying the simplicity of cuddling and daydreaming.

If an orgasm pill or woo-hoo device produced non-ejaculatory orgasms, it means that a man would still be able to ejaculate the old fashion way. He could have brain-induced orgasms and save his ejaculations in reserve for procreation or erotic scenes with partners who fancied the wet stuff. Older guys might find this technological breakthrough particularly awesome.

The negative side of me thinks that at the rate people flee from true intimacy, many would flock to this sexual substitute. If taking a pill or using a woo-hoo device provided a much easier way to experience orgasmic felings than dealing with a partner’s difficult personality, it would become a popular escape route. We pop enough pills as it is and this would just add to the consumption.

Of course we normally associate orgasm with sexuality, and therefore any thought of having orgasm is usually sexual-centric. But what if brain-induced orgasmic feelings were conceived more like an ecstatic experience, a rapture, an energy blast? It might not need a sexual context at all. It could be more along the lines of a personal religious ecstasy experience. Another name for it besides orgasm might be invented to differentiate the two.

NO HURRY

We probably won’t have to deal with these questions any time soon. I don’t think this kind of breakthrough is on the invention horizon. My experiences with this phenomenon were decades ago, yet having had orgasmic feelings without any type of sex or erection teases me with ideas of the possibilities.