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Sacred Touch for Men Relax your body. Reclaim your pleasure. Find your passion.

Valentine’s Day

Posted by ed on February 13, 2014
Posted in Uncategorized  | Tagged With: , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

IMGP1272-smSo Valentine’s day is Friday.

This holiday is usually associated with romantic love or bloody massacres (or both!) I’m kinda a romantic at heart. I love the support, smooching, touching and physical and emotional intimacy that romantic love can provide. I’m also aware that romantic love is culturally loaded and full of unrealistic expectations. Valentine’s day is also really hard for those of us that choose an alternate path for our intimate fulfillment. Those of us in multiple relationships have a scheduling challenge! But, I’m actually OK with the paradox that is Valentine’s day.

There’s an aspect of Valentine’s day that I’m choosing to celebrate this year – I’m going to celebrate my love for myself on Friday. This exercise can be a radical practice of self care. It can heal our core while flying in the face of cultural expectations. While everyone else is out with romantic dinners and flowers, I’m going to be happily staying home alone!

I believe that it’s impossible to accept love into our life unless we can love ourselves. Once we develop the connection with self we can make room for love from another. If we don’t think we deserve to be loved how can we accept that love from someone else?

My self-love practice is more about acceptance than anything else. I practice accepting myself as I am – not how I think I should be. I see myself as desirable – not from a narcissistic perspective, but from a perspective of acceptance. I’m certainly not better than anyone else, but I’m also no worse than anyone else. I’m quite happy with who I am.

I’m planning to spend the evening with myself and see where I want to go. I don’t have any agenda. I’ll probably start with a short meditation to check in after the day and listen to my body, my mind and my spirit. They’ll inform me of where I need to go and what I feel like doing. I’m sure that there will be some self pleasuring going on, but, again, I’m purposefully avoiding any agenda. I may have an intense edging session or I may just have some slow, subdued with my body.

I’ll probably spend a lot of time connecting with my eyes in a mirror. I find this practice very powerful as a way of affirming myself. I’m going to go out and get a really nice bar of deep dark chocolate and savor that all evening! I may spend some time with a mantra of affirmation. I may take a relaxing bubble bath. I may sit in the candlelight and howl. I really don’t know. What I do know is that this Valentine’s day is about loving someone really important to me – myself!

I’ve run into many guys lately spending a lot of time in various forms of online relationships. I’ve said to almost all of them that I really don’t understand the preoccupation we’re having with online relationships.

Really, how many times can I say hello to someone I don’t know on Grindr or Skruff? I’ve never met anyone from these apps and I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re just for playing around.

There are only 24 hours in a day and I much prefer real physical relationships over virtual, online ones. Sure it’s nice to keep in touch with friends who aren’t in my area, but that is a poor substitute for real connection.

Yet, I think we’ve managed to create a situation where many of our relationships are virtual. Even look at our sex scandals lately, Anthony Weiner didn’t actually have any sex yet he’s in the midst of a sex scandal without having any actual sex! As written in the Huffington Post, “Instead, Weiner, like so many others online, has become accustomed to on-demand sexuality, where relationships with another person are convenient, controllable and entirely on his terms. We’re adopting an Amazon.com or Seamless Web approach to our sex lives, expecting that sexual fulfillment can be ordered up over the Internet like sneakers or pad thai.”

Setting aside the political scandal, I’ve seen this version of sanitized, virtual relationships way too much lately. We’ve created our equivalent of the Star Trek holodeck, where any fantasy can be manufactured. The unfortunate impact is that no real person will ever live up to our fantasy creations.

The challenge in any relationship is how we navigate through the things that don’t quite work for us. These virtual relationships that we create online don’t have any defects so we’ve lost skill and patience navigating though those imperfections when they occur in real life.

I’ll take real flesh and blood over bits any day.

Toxic Masculinity

Posted by ed on July 25, 2013
Posted in masculinity  | Tagged With: , , | 1 Comment

toxic-mascI just wrote about masks several days ago and this morning I read about a Kickstarter campaign for a documentary on how we’re failing our boys. I find this documentary fascinating because I have yet to see a good definition of what masculinity is. Yet, I’ve experienced when I’ve fallen short of that definition throughout my life.

We hide behind a mask of supposed masculinity lest anyone find out about our anxieties. We stay stoic and unemotional lest anyone see our vulnerability. (Then we wonder why others find us unapproachable.)

I can’t define what masculinity is either. Yes, I can offer examples and there are those in my life who I believe are good models for masculinity. The common thread I see in these models is a paradox of masculinity.

The first paradox is to be strong yet vulnerable. There’s much to admire about strength. It took many lessons for me to understand that I can be vulnerable and strong at the same time. We need more models of this.

Another paradox is to be fierce yet compassionate. Fierceness is about staying determined and focused toward my goals. Fierceness doesn’t mean climbing over everyone else in order to get to my goals. We can be both focused and compassionate but there are so few models on how to behave in this way. I’m still learning.

Masculinity is about being stable yet emotional. I know I’ve often thought these these two concepts were mutually exclusive – nothing is further from the truth. Stability and courage go hand in hand with fright and anxiety. I’m learning, sometimes with great challenges, that it’s possible to be both strong and stable for myself and for others while also accepting my own fear and anxiety.

Finally, men are primal yet tender. Yes, we can express ourselves in a raw primal way. At the same time we can be tender, caring and affectionate. Testosterone is a powerful drug. It can, and often does, make us crazy, angry, and very very horny. At the same time, we can learn to balance those primal feelings with tenderness.

I believe that these are some key lessons in masculinity.

Faerie Wisdom

Posted by ed on May 6, 2013
Posted in connectionGay life  | Tagged With: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Beltane-poleI just returned from 10 days with the Radical Faeries celebrating Beltane.

This was my first Beltane celebration and my first extended experience with the Faeries. The entire experience unfolded rather quickly. I wasn’t planning on going until, almost at the last minute, the opportunity presented itself and I was on my way.

I’m still going through all the lessons leaned but there are definitely some highlights. Getting to the location is no easy feat. I flew into a large airport nearby and was told that someone would meet me for the drive out. How would they find me? How would I find them? I realized that I needed to dress the part so that I could be found. My answer: rainbow socks. So here I am wearing shorts, boots and rainbow socks – I could now be found if someone was looking!

The funny thing about the clothes is that I noticed absolutely no attention in San Francisco waiting for my plane to leave. Yet, when I had to change planes later that day I noticed everyone staring at me! I wasn’t that outrageously dressed. Actually, for SF it was fairly tame; yet, the stares were palpable while changing planes.

In any case, I was found at my destination and was soon on my way to whatever adventure awaited me. Lesson one – dress to be seen!

Continuing with the clothes theme, I’m not really into classic drag. Yes, I’ve put on a dress and I look really silly – and not in a good, comedic way! I always avoided drag because I felt that it just wasn’t for me. The Faeries taught me that drag is important and can be anything I want it to be. I found costuming that reflected my masculinity and my creativity. Drag isn’t simply putting on a dress; rather, it’s using wardrobe to reflect my personality. When I’m in drag that fits me my inner energy comes across much easier. Lesson two – clothes reflect who I am so pay much more attention to what I’m wearing.

I like a plan and I like to know what to expect. Yes, I teach the importance of letting go, but actually I like a well-defined sequence. The Faeries taught me to trust myself and trust that what I need will be provided to me. Keep in mind that what I may need in any given moment isn’t the same as what I think I need.

My sexual energy was somewhat off during the event. My senses were overwhelmed and I was aware of a strong disconnect between what my head wanted and what my body wanted. I kept saying to myself ‘everyone’s having sex but me!’ Poor me! I was basking in my pity – ugh!

One evening after a fun day hanging out with a bunch of new friends, I was dipping into an emotional trough. I was getting quiet and wanted some slow-down, cuddle time with someone. Sometimes after intense experiences I know I need touch time. Yet my friends were on a high and wanting more action and movement. I wanted something different.

I stepped outside and sat down by myself for a minute or two and someone came by and sat next to me and started chatting. I opened up to him and told him that I needed some cuddle time and some nice touch. We spent the evening touching, caressing and cuddling. It was exactly what I needed! Lesson three – ask for what I want.

As we were cuddling on the front porch I heard someone else walk by lamenting out loud ‘everyone’s having sex but me,’ I couldn’t help but chuckle! Lesson four – let go and trust the universe; it will provide what I need.

The return trip home was the final lesson from the Faeries. I was told to be ready for a ride to the airport at 10:30. After 10 days, time was becoming a somewhat nebulous experience, but I managed to pay attention enough to be ready to go at the designated time. I waited. I waited some more. No one showed up. After what seemed like an eternity, the driver showed up and we were on our way. Then he got lost. Then he got lost again. I was noticing the time and was beginning to wonder if I was going to make my flight. Finally we found our way onto the freeway towards the airport. Talking away in the car he drove right by the airport exit! My flight was to leave in 45 minutes! Oh no – I had bags to check. I told myself that there’s no way I would be on that plane. Breathe! Yes, I’m really breathing now!

Eventually we make it to the airport and I get checked in and my bags seem to be OK to get on the flight. I go to security and the line is extending out into the lobby. The flight is boarding and leaves in 25 minutes! Of course I pick the slowest security line and everyone else seems to be moving much faster than me. (Note the variation on ‘everyone’s having sex but me’ – ‘everyone’s moving but me!’) I finally get through security – no time to put my boots back on or even my belt. I’m running through the airport carrying my boots and belt. I get to the gate, put my boots and belt on and I’m the last one one the plane. Lesson five – let go and breathe; things will unfold as needed.

There were many more lessons during those 10 days. And I gave some lessons to others. I was asked to give a workshop and many guys came up to me and commented on how much they learned what what I talked about. I let go of having to give the perfect workshop and simply shared what was present. I felt confident among a group of people I didn’t know – yea! Lesson six – stay present. I recall some wonderful connections during the week sharing from our hearts. I loved listening and also being heard.

All in all it was a great experience; I’ll definitely be back!

Untitled-1So I get on FaceBook today and I see a sea of red. Yes, today is the day of arguments on the Proposition 8 case.

Everyone should have the right to marry anyone they want regardless of gender. Marriage equality is important to ensure that GLBT couples who wish to have the ability to marry can do so.

But I’m concerned that this preoccupation with marriage equality is distancing us from other, very important, social justice causes. GLBT people are still at higher risk for suicide and other mental and physical health issues. We don’t have the social structures in place to live out our senior years with dignity and pride. While overt job discrimination is rare, less obvious discrimination practices continue. The pink ceiling still exists in many organizations. HIV is still a real issue. The list of important social justice causes is long.

I question if marriage equality is pressuring us to assimilate. If we look like and behave like everyone else then all is good in gaytown. The problem is that we aren’t like everyone else. I grew up differently than my straight peers. They didn’t have to spend decades hiding who they were out of fear. They didn’t have to furtively explore their sexuality out of fear of being caught, outed, or worse. They didn’t have to deal with hate and anger from within their own family.

i have no desire to be assimilated. I am happy with my, by some definition, unusual life. I enjoy and am filled by the many relationships in my life – I can’t imagine being in a place where I can only have one relationship. I love expressing my connection with others and my connection with spirit though kink. I have no desire for only one flavor. I like the many interesting people in my community; I don’t want to live in a world where everyone’s the same. Yea, I like shaking things up and keeping a bit of weirdness in my life.

I welcome the day when marriage is available to all. More importantly, I welcome the day when we’re all free to be exactly who we are.

 

I haven’t been monogamous in decades. I tried it and realized that monogamy doesn’t work for me. I find that sex with multiple people opens my horizons and provides me with more diverse sexual experiences and more opportunities for sexual exploration that I would get by restricting my encounters to only one person.

I’m very experienced at non-monogamy. What I’m learning is that I’m not so experienced with polyamory. Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Polyamory, is “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.”

I’m really paying attention to the word relationship in the phrase intimate relationship. An open relationship is relatively easy. It’s just about sex – there’s no emotional involvement. You get together, have a great time, and then you’re off on your way. As they say “no strings attached.”

I’ve found that I need the strings to be attached. NSA is great and fulfills a physiological desire, but NSA does nothing for the emotional desire.

Polyamory, on the other hand, is a relationship. In fact, it’s several relationships. I”m finding this challenging because I have much to learn about managing relationships with two people: scheduling, balance, communication – it is a lot of work. It’s also very rewarding.

I’ve been learning much – many times by my own mistakes. I read The Ethical Slut – probably the best book on relationships and polyamory around. I’ve been spending time on polyamory.com recently where I found this most wise piece of wisdom:

In my experience, trying to please everyone does not get better results. It gets an exhausted me, and a whole bunch of people who are unsatisfied that I didn’t try hard enough. So rather, in each situation, I pick who I’m going to satisfy. Then I satisfy them to the best of my ability. I satiate the others by telling them that there will be another situation where it will be them who I satisfy. Sure, if possible, I’ll satisfy as many people as possible. But sometimes that’s just impossible. You can’t be in three places at once. So pick one place, and be fully present there.

I can’t take responsibility for pleasing everyone in my relationships at all times. I’ve tried – and failed miserably. I have to come back to practices that are integral to my life: grounding and presence. Most of all – presence; if I’m grounded I can be present. I can’t control many aspects of these relationships nor can I control what the others in my life will feel. I can, however, absolutely be present.

Reset

Posted by ed on December 30, 2011
Posted in Gay life  | Tagged With: , | No Comments yet, please leave one

Mile 1Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. The end of one year and the beginning of another. It’s that time on the calendar when we all get to reset ourselves. We close out one year and look forward to starting another.

I remember as a kid taking road trips with my family. (I still enjoy road trips!) I remember going into a new state as a new adventure – a time to start over.

This theme of resets has been prominent in my life lately. Life has a way of bringing us resets too. It seems to me that things go in a 7 year cycle for me. Seven years ago, I left the comfortably numb corporate world behind and opened a new chapter to live my life the way I wanted to. There have been adventures and lessons throughout this chapter, but the one prominent lesson is to believe and trust in myself. It’s easy to forget this important lesson but it also has a way of reminding me – sonetimes gently and sometime with a sharp slap across the face.

I’m feeling that it’s time to close and open a new chapter now. This time the chapter is around my relationships. I’ve been in a primary relationship for almost 25 years. We’ve had our ups and downs as does any relationship; however, there are also several big things that are preventing me from being truly happy with the relationship.

There are people in this world who see the glass as half full – I think I’m one of those. There are also people who live their entire existence seeing the glass as half empty. My primary partner has been living with a deep depression for decades. I can’t cure it (believe me I’ve tried!) I can tell him of my hopes and dreams for us, but I can’t change the way he sees life. We all live with filters – seeing what we choose to see – no one can change anyone else’s filter. Only we can do that for ourselves.

I’m between taking care of my partner and supporting him through his journey and also taking care of myself and supporting myself through my journey. I’ve spent many years helping and supporting and I’ve finally realized that I can’t live his journey for him. I can’t remove his pain – only he can do that.

This above all, to thine own self be true, And it must follow as the night the day Thou canst not then be false to any man.

- Hamlet

I’ve decided that I need to close the current chapter. We both need to see what’s next. I love my primary partner dearly and hope that the next chapter keeps us somehow involved in each other’s lives. At the same time, I’m also clear that I must grow and I can’t do that while attached to the relationship in this form.

It took beginning the Daddy/boy relationship with Scratch to wake me up to how miserable I have been. Of course, I have dreams; at the same time, I am under no illusions about where things may go with Scratch. I look forward to growing this new relationship but I’m also very aware that only time will tell what awaits us. Regardless of where things go with David, I’ve been awakened to what life is like in a happy, functional relationship. I’ve realized that I deserve that and I am resolved to reclaim my life.

I look forward to life in 2012!

Happy New Year!