Saturday, October 27, 2012

Want Orgasm? Let the Love in.

I get a lot of emails from men and women wanting the elusive answer to the never-ending question: How can I (or how can I get her to) have an orgasm?

First piece of advice: Stop Trying. No. Really. Take the pressure off of yourself or your partner to ‘make something happen.’ The more we clamp down and ‘effort’ ourselves into an experience that we think we should be having, the more we distance ourselves from the rich world of sensation that exists right here in the present.

Second: Redefine ‘Orgasm.’ Many people have a very limited view of what we consider to be orgasm, thanks to a lack of sound erotic education and the prevalence of porn and soap operas as our dubious teachers on sex and relating. Most of us believe that orgasm is this fleeting, 30-second event where you buildup a lot of energy until you can’t hold it anymore, go over a sharp edge and have some sort of crashing release.

While this experience (which I call ‘climax’) may be a part of orgasm, it is only a tiny hiccup on the spectrum of possibility. To me, orgasm is the pulsing breath of life that births every moment. Orgasm is the chilly tickle on the edge of my skin as my lover draws his tongue from the edge of my ear to the tip of my nipple. It’s the warm flush in my face and genitals when I reveal a taboo desire.  It is the fire of my hunger and the blazing force that opens me to pleasure.

Which takes me to my third piece of advice: Receive. Let the love in. Our ability to experience orgasm is directly proportionate to our ability to receive pleasure. Very often, we have a lot of ideas that sit on top of and stifle our pleasure:

I don’t deserve to feel this good.
If I let this in, what do I have to give up in return?
I don’t want to tell him what I want because it will hurt his feelings.
If I ask for what I want, I will look like a bitch.
Everyone can have this except me.
I can’t do this with someone unless I know we are getting married.
I should just go along with this because I don’t want to look like I’m frigid.
I don’t want him to think I’m a kinky nympho.

However, when you admit the truth about your desire, love yourself enough to ask for it and stay connected to the sensation along the way, a world of orgasmic pleasure opens up to you—and rather than orgasm being this nebulous pinball that sometimes pings in the jackpot every once in a while, it becomes an infinite banquet that fills the hungry void that we often stuff with sugar, shopping or junk-food sex.

So what exactly does ‘let the love in’ mean? Well, first, it means slowing down enough to be present with what is. It also means being humble and gracious enough to honor the miracle of your very existence right now. It means acknowledging your own desire. Perhaps you are having sex with someone with whom you don’t really want to be having sex. Can you love yourself (and the other person) enough to tell the truth? Or perhaps your partner is offering exquisite attention on your navel and your brain is freaking out about how you have to reciprocate? Can you love yourself and your partner enough, to breathe, relax and feel (and maybe even whisper the words ‘Thank You”).

Orgasm has very little to do with technique and LOT to do with state of mind. First of all, orgasm is our own responsibility. No one can ‘do it’ for us or ‘give it to us.’ Yes, other people may facilitate the opening (and we dearly, dearly thank them for it), but our orgasm depends on our own ability to stay relaxed, receptive and present with what is. Also, if a woman doesn’t feel safe in any way, she will not enter a state of orgasm. This is why conscious explorations of erotic pleasure and practices of surrender (like Orgasmic Mediation) are powerful tools on your sexual journey.

For example, the other day I was having sex and while he was inside me, I could hear a cacophony of voices wondering if he was having a good time and if I was ‘doing it right.’ Instead of staying caught in my mind, I chose to breathe, slow down and simply feel the sensation of our sex. I noticed the tiny sparks on the lower walls of my pussy. I noticed the pulsation around my lips. I noticed how deeply he was feeling me and riding our edge. I noticed the variety of strokes he made—from long and languorous to soft and still to powerful and rough.

I surrendered to the pleasure of our experience and allowed the orgasm to overflow.  I thought to myself, “I feel so fully loved right now, by my self, by life, by this man, by my body, that I am going to pour love onto this man through his cock.” And from there, I simply let orgasm take the reins.

When you answer the questions “What is my desire?” and “Am I staying connected to the sensation?” you invite an honest inquiry into the inner landscape of your sex. You begin to see orgasm as a curious friend, rather than an ephemeral foe. Orgasm becomes a lifelong journey, a state of being and a passage to grace. It’s often a fiery and clunky ride, but if you can remember to let the love in (and to share in your abundance), you’ll find yourself deepening your intimacy, feeling so much more in your body and having a hell of a lot of fun.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Carburetor Man (written March 2009)

Photo from the music video 'Born to Die,' by Lana Del Rey

Mixed tape blastin’ over busted speakers
Me and my carburetor man rumble down the road
He thrusts the pedal hard to the floor
A one-two-three-four pump
Gets my engine revved up
(Fuel injection is for lazy pussies
Addicted to cruise control and automatics)
Take a firm grip
On a sleek stick
And let’s shift gears
Rolling over lush peaks
Or just idling at a drive-in
Squeezed in the backseat
Black vinyl sticking to my thighs
Hershey lips caressing my face
Make me feel like I’m sixteen again
And in the stroke of a finger
We’re back on I-95
Soaring over that sweet ravine

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Nobility of Sex, a.k.a. 7 Non-Sexual Tips (Plus 1 Video!) to Spice Up Your Sex Life

Photo by Lianne Viau

“The erotic has often been misnamed by men and used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, and plasticized sensation. For this reason, we have turned away from the exploration and consideration of the erotic as a source of power and information, confusing it with the pornographic. But pornography is a direct denial of the power of the erotic, for it represents the suppression of true feeling. Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling.” ~ Audre Lorde

Yup. You asked for it (even if you won’t admit it). Another article on everyone’s favorite topic: SEX!

(End of snarky intro)

I’ve noticed a trend on these past few months of authors and readers decrying the popularity of more ‘salacious’ and‘fluffy’ content and ruing the fact that ‘deeper’ and ‘more meaningful’ pieces often get overlooked. I have also seen a number of people complain that all this talkof sex is empty if you don’t also mention love.

The argument goes that all you have to do is put up a picture of a scantily-clad woman, have a title promoting the ‘3 Easy Steps to Being a Mega Sex-Machine’ and bandy about the words cock and pussy and BAM! Instant ele hit.

Now look: as a sexuality writer, I will be the first one to roll my eyes at some of the schlock that gets published. All the tips and tricks to snag a husband, make her come like a volcano or lose weight so you aren’t a flabby troll who can’t even get laid by a blind man can actually be damaging, prey upon our cultural insecurity and push our sex back into the shadowy recesses of shame.

However, when my work (and the work of my very talented ele peers) are linked to these complaints, I have to speak up. To question the journalistic validity of an article simply because there’s a ‘helpful’ list or it focuses on sex or there’s only a video and little writing is not only blatantly arrogant—it’s downright insulting.

I’m truly sorry that every single piece on elephantjournal doesn’t get the kind of attention it deserves. I have read and re-posted some gorgeous pieces that unfortunately got lost in the electronic fray. However, that is the nature of being an artist. We may create many, many pieces, but only one becomes a Guernica or a Mona Lisa.

In my opinion, I don’t think people are tired of hearing or talking about sex. In fact, I think we are actually starving for frank, in-depth conversations about sex. I think what people are tired of is SEX-SATIONALISM—that is to say, the titillating ‘tee hee hee’ that sits on top of our own sexual shame, hunger and insecurity. We get a ‘hit’ when we Youtube search for various ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ and pop-star lesbian makeouts (and no thank you, I do not need to see a busty woman when purchasing an automobile or deodorant). We become sex-crack junkies, opting for the quick fix in the syringe rather than making the more vulnerable choice of asking directly for the sex we want.

Also, many people tired of SEX-SEXSATIONALISM are erroneously suggesting that sex is meaningless unless there is love attached. The assumption is that love is greater than sex and that sex simply for the pleasure of sex is somehow vacant.

Are you kidding me?

First, sex without love simply doesn’t exist. Love is everything. It’s in everything we do. We are love. It is impossible to escape it, whether you are fucking, eating, pooping, walking, crying or writing. Our capacity to allow ourselves to feel it may fluctuate, but the truth of the matter is that love is the ineludible breath of orgasm. Even when we feel dead and disconnected from the world, love is there—we are often too proud to accept it, but it waits gracefully and patiently for us to acknowledge it.

Second, it is my belief that we are confusing romance with love and sex. We have this belief that sex is only OK as long as we do it ‘tantrically’ with someone with whom we are ‘in love’ and to whom we plan on making a lifelong, monogamous commitment. Balderdash. Some of my deepest and most transformative life experiences were one-night stands, bathroom sex and sex with people who were already in committed relationships—all of which were saturated in love. 

I actually think romance and other ‘rule-based’ excuses for sex are poisoning our ability to fully open. They sit on top of our pleasure, like an angry schoolmarm, punishing us for enjoying anything that deviates from a prescribed code of social respectability. To connect to our sexual authenticity, we need to strip sex down to its barest essentials: you, your partner and the sensation at the point of connection. That’s it. I am not tossing off sex with a committed partner. I give thanks every day for the gift of my Beloved. But I had to peel off the layers of what I thought my sex and love should look like in order to recognize and receive him.

Third, having sex simply because it feels good is not only OK—it’s the most noble reason of all. We have somehow adopted the myth that pleasure equals "lack of self-control" and that denial equals "being a good person." Perhaps this is a throwback to the "martyrdom makes you a saint" dogma espoused by many popular religions. However, in my mind, nothing is more noble, innocent and pure than surrendering to the pleasure of our bodies. The pleasure we feel of a soft cat's fur under our fingertips. The pleasure we feel of a ripe fig bursting between our teeth. The pleasure we feel of warm sun against cool skin.

And yes, the pleasure of sex. The sparks of electricity that ripple across the small of my back when my lover licks my ear. The glow in my heart when I connect intimately with another person. The curious bliss of deepening relationship. The playful thrill of adventure. The stirring of the soul in creating new life.

I neither trust nor enjoy sex if I or my partners have other agendas—romantic or otherwise. If you are having sex to impress someone, make your ego feel good, negotiate a transaction (i.e. I will eat you out if you suck my cock), disassociate from life, snag a relationship or anything other than surrendering to the pleasure found in our exquisite and miraculous bodies, then it’s not an act of love, but manipulation.

Now, I cannot help but notice that a great majority of our sex writers at elephantjournal are female and that most (if not all) of those who are ‘sick of sex’ and wanting more ‘spiritually enlightening articles’ are male. This, to me, is an indicator of the taboo surrounding female sexuality and the continuous sexism that blankets the more feminine spiritual paths.

 Audre Lorde says:

“The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling. In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed that can provide energy for change. For women, this has meant a suppression of the erotic as a considered source of power and information within our lives.”

The world of sex is feminine: dark, uncertain, combustible, frightening. It is a spiritual path that pulls us down into the mud of humanity before we can push off the ground into the more celestial (and masculine) realms of consciousness. So when I see my fellow sister-authors (and brothers as well) gather the courage to share their erotic opening with the world (yes, that includes E.L. James, regardless of your opinion of 50 Shades), I want to scream from the rooftops “Write on! Your expression is my inspiration! Your voice is my healing!”

We each have our niche—that thing that calls forth from us our greatest power. Yours may be vipassana. Someone else’s may be crocheting. Mine is sex and orgasm. Perhaps if I wrote about cookie baking or child rearing, you might be able to categorize me in a socially acceptable binder full of women.

I genuinely pay tribute to the vibrant community elephantjournal fosters and the myriad of voices that come out to play. Questioning and challenging are important and encouraged—it spurs personal and social creativity. But writing off other people’s work as cheap or ‘simply trying to make a name for themselves’ is simply disrespectful.

So. For those of you who are tired of reading about sex (but not really) and need a list and a video to satiate your ele appetite, I humbly offer you 7 Non-Sexual Tips (Plus 1 Video!) to Spice Up Your Sex Life:

1. Chew your food slowly. Savor the experience. Use all five senses and allow the flavor to slide over your body.
      2. Express gratitude. When you come from fullness and approval, it expands your capacity to receive.
      3. Do something loving for yourself every day. If you know how to love yourself, you will take nothing less from anyone else. 
      4. Practice service. When you recognize your abundance and allow it to spill over, your joy transforms you into the most attractive person in the room. 
      5. Break the rules. Violate the ‘No’s’ and ‘Can’ts’ in your life and you will be bold enough to do it in the bedroom. 
      6. Surround yourself with beauty. When you know what gives you pleasure, you can recognize it and ask for it.  
      7. Laugh. It takes the pressure off to perform and connects you to the crooked perfection of life.

PLUS! Obligatory humorous sex video!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Last Time: An Erotic Lesson in Love

Photo by Jocelyn Marquis

Written October 2011

He starts by softly touching my pussy—whole hand, the hood still covering my clit. It’s more like a massage. A gentle pressing in. One hand on the left nipple, the other on the clit. He has me hike my left knee up high. It exposes me. Light caresses on my coarse hairs along the edge with the backs of his fingers.
He stops. Tells me to turn onto my belly. I obey. He puts his fingers into my shoulders and squeezes. Tender. Giving permission to all those pockets of unexpressed joy, anger, grief.
He has me turn on my side. I am facing him now. My left leg over his head, my right pressed tightly against him. He slides his fingers inside me. Gentle pulses in my body. A simultaneous relaxing and priming. His thumb occasionally grazes my clit. Red hot velcro. Each stroke he makes, his body is there to brace me. Hold me. Warm. Open. Slick walls.
Then he has me lie on my back. His fingers deep inside, he draws me forth. I am contracting in deep rhythm to my heartbeat, and yet there is still a small sweetness within the pulse. He strokes up. I feel a fast rush of heat over my left foot and calf—it’s almost too hot to bear. I want to cry. So I breathe. And surrender another layer. I want to feel all of this.
And the burning escapes out my feet and we float back down into a grey, clear pool. Hovering. His fingers inside me press upward, while his other hand continues to stroke my clit. I keep relaxing and chanting the mantra, “There is nothing to fear.”
I sink back into my body, feeling something deep within wanting to emerge. A round, bulbous heat—a burning pleasure—snowballs as it moves from my belly to my clit. I keep relaxing. I envision the bulb moving out, but without force. The heat has now opened into a canyon of potential.
“What if you just say yes,” I think to myself, “and trust that you are held.”
“Yes,” I whisper.
I feel the fog-tide rolling over my feet. Creeping in over my surrendered-ness. The cool mist-water makes its way up my feet, thighs, pussy, belly, arms, chest, head. My whole body is now bathed in orgasm. There is no thrashing around; just a quiet sparkle. I exhale and more mist-water rolls over us. Suspended in timelessness.
And then the tide recedes back to the reservoir at my feet. I have forgotten myself. The connection between us is viscerally human—and expands beyond cosmic comprehension.
It’s at this moment that I realize how very lonely I have been. I miss God. I miss having the constant companion of fullness and depth inhabiting my body.
I begin to shake and cry. “Oh God,” I cry out, “I miss God.”
A wave of gratitude grips my throat and I keen an ancient sound—a sound that is twisted with both agony and wonder. We touched love. Not ephemeral romance, that crunches and pounces and cramps. But love. Pure. Rich. Golden. Love.
I cry. And cry. His fingers inside me push up and forward. Releasing. He then pulls them out and presses his palm firmly on my pussy. Solid. Ground. I am held throughout the never-ending melting.
A bit embarrassed by my emotional nakedness, I murmur once more, “I miss God.” I cry a bit more. And then a bubble rises in my throat and I realize what really needs to be said. The hardest words of all. But the desire is so powerful that to hold it back would be like a slow, rotting death.
“I love you. I love you so much.”
Something sweet melts in his eyes. I cry some more.
I can’t help noticing the peachy-salmon tones of his shirt. “Peach and purple look good on him,” I think. 
“I like that color on you,” I finally gasp out. We laugh.
The peak slips away and we simply hold on to one another. A raw, humble warmth of orgasm hums between us. I am deeply immersed. Present. There is nothing else to do but feel. Just me…and the man who taught me how to love.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I'm featured in Origin Magazine's "Leaders Who Inspire" Series!

Just a quick thank you to conscious lifestyle publication, Origin Magazine, for featuring me in their 'Leaders Who Inspire' Series. It's pretty awesome to be included in such badass company as's Bob Weisenberg and Femvolution leader and incredible DJ, Melissa Hall, a.k.a Alia.

You can still pick up your copy at Whole Foods, Barnes and Noble, Sprouts and other fine health stores.

Here's what I had to say (since the writing is a little small):

I'm inspired by courage in the face of fear; foundry-pushing artistic expression; women with appetite; men who are brave enough to cry; the power of prayer; and my fiancé.

I work with people in the arenas of sexuality, desire and orgasm. I am also an actress, writer and recovering anorexic.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Trading Dildos for Dilettos: Sex Toys for Yoga Girls

Read this article on

I have a confession to make: dildos and vibrators just aren’t my thing.

Call me a prude. Call me vanilla. But given the choice between a nervous, inexperienced lover and the Ultra-Deluxe Jackhammer Rabbit 5000 (with matching remote control and free iPhone app), I’ll opt for Mr. Fumblefingers any day.

What can I say? I prefer the acrid bite of unwashed skin than the chemical tang of plastic. I prefer the crackling surprise of connection than the sterile companionship of habit.  I prefer the slippery slither of thumb than the gelatinous graze of colloid. And I absolutely prefer the untethered rhythm of Orgasm than the monophonic beat of battery-operated clit banging.

This isn’t to say that these toys don’t have their place. I am well aware that many women (and men) feel safer using these devices by themselves and have difficulty experiencing a climax through any other means. They often make a great (and disease/pregnancy-free) entrée into the sexual realm. Even I, as a curious pre-teen, spent many hours exploring myself with the hand massager and washing machine (did I just admit that publicly?). But using them as a crutch to bypass intimacy may truncate the evolution of one’s sexual maturity and ability to connect with another person.

Though I’ve experimented with them, and on occasion found them to be a delicious accent to sensual play, I usually find myself coming (pun intended) back to my own skin: my own fingers, my lovers hands, mouth, genitals. My turn-on lies not just in how much I am feeling, but also in how much I am being felt. And, from my perspective, phallic toys have very little to give in the mutually interactive department.

Plus, if I’m being totally honest, I prefer a little refinement with my smut. Chalk it up to my Double Virgo nature, but using a vibrator is kinda like pouring ketchup on top of filet mignon: why smother the flavor when the pure connection I am feeling to my body and my partner’s is such a gourmet feast? I am not above bending over and taking it like a good girl, but the heat of the moment loses its steam when I can see the words ‘Made in China’ raised in relief upon an instrument that is repeatedly entering my body.

However, I could be persuaded otherwise.

I recently stumbled upon the Luminous Love Toy Company (founded by wife-and-husband team, Valerie Reiss and Brad Carmody), which describes itself as “a sensual lifestyle company dedicated to helping people find deep, connected bliss.” Their main product, the Luminous Love Wand, is a rose quartz ‘diletto’ (which means ‘beloved’ in Italian) that measure 6.5 inches long, 1 inch in diameter and has a 1.25 inch bulb at the end to stimulate the ‘G’ spot.

What first appealed to me about it was how beautiful it looked. The smooth curves, the sleekness, the radiance of the crystals—you can tell that each one is a lovingly crafted work of art.

Secondly, I loved that it is completely free of toxic BPAs and phthalates, which are known to play a factor in disrupting the endocrine system and may play a part in cancer and infertility. For those of us who are new age health nuts (like me) who don’t use microwaves, eat organic foods and brush with fluoride-free toothpaste, the eco-consciousness of the Love Wand is enough to make any yogini wet her Lululemons. As Reiss and Carmody like to say, “If you care about what goes in your mouth, care about what goes down south.”

Thirdly, and this may sound a little woo-woo, but I appreciate the energetic quality of the materials used. Since it is a living crystal (as opposed to a manufactured substance), rose quartz possesses a quality of connectedness to the earth and to all life. Known as the love stone, rose quartz is thought to be healing and imbue those who hold it with greater self-love and compassion for others. Having worked with a jade egg, I have seen what bringing that level of consciousness and intention can do for your sex. We let go of the scripts we have of what sex should look like and are much freer to trust our own pleasure-based instincts.

Intention doesn’t have to mean the hippie-dippy, sage-smudging, eye-gazing stuff (unless you are into that—and, admittedly, I am). It can be as simple as slowing down, connecting to your desire and whispering to your partner, “I’d like to invite the spirit of feral play in our sex today,” or, “I want to practice verbal communication. Will you please lightly caress my nipple with the tip of your tongue?”

Finally, the Love Wand is easy to clean—just a little soap and water—unlike other toys I’ve tried, which can get fuzz caught in them or bacteria built up in the folds. For those of us prone to yeast infections, this is a happy thing.

Admittedly, I have yet to try it out. But my personal desire is for my partner to gently press the bulb as deep inside me as possible while barely grazing my clit with his finger.  Preferably with Music for Deep Meditation’s Tibetan Singing Bowls: Journeys to the Seven Chakras resonating through the air, followed by some Portishead, Marvin Gaye and Massive Attack.

To get yours, visit the LuminousLove Toys Indiegogo campaign site, and make a minimum contribution of $75 (which is a discount, since the wand retails for $100).

Do you have a Luminous Love Wand and want to share your experience? Or do you have a question for me about sex, relating, orgasm or anything else that strikes your fancy? Visit The Orgasmic Life on Facebook and send me a message!

Surrender: The Hardest Thing You'll Never Do

Of all fires love is the only inexhaustible one.” ~ Pablo Neruda

I feel like I am at a crossroads. I’ve been here for some time now and I’m getting a little impatient. As the shadows of my former life fade, a vast uncertainty lies before me:
Do I move full-time to Los Angeles this year? Next year? Ever?Do I travel to Peru, Thailand, India or somewhere else?Do I continue acting?Do I continue coaching?Do I lead workshops?Do I take more classes?Do I keep writing articles? A book?Do I give in to necessity and find that secure 9-5 with health benefits?Do I have children now? In five years? Ever?
The more I get caught in the questions, the more trapped/confused/angry/scared I feel. Survival mode kicks in and I start making plans, solving problems and fixing my circumstances. I busy myself with menial tasks that are suddenly of great importance. I fixate on anything that seems to move my life ahead, just like a responsible 32-year-old woman should.
I am a woman in control—pearls on, belt cinched, lipstick unsmudged.
Then a hefty kick in the ass arrives (or sometimes just good sex, though the two often go hand-in-hand these days) and I remember that I have chosen an Orgasmic Life—a life of magic, play, spontaneity, curiosity, adventure, growth and above all, a moment-by-moment willingness to surrender to desire.
And the moment I begin to do anything, I have moved from faith to mistrust. From authenticity to masquerading. From being to performing.
Control forces us to do. Surrender requires that we are done.
In the realm of Orgasm, life does its work through you—but you don’t do a damn thing. In fact, the moment you start to do, you actually get in the way of the greater intelligence unfolding from within.
Unfortunately, our achievement-minded society doesn’t think highly of surrender. In fact, those who choose to live on the edge of uncertainty are often labeled as “cowards”, “irresponsible”, “weak” or “pussies.” We overvalue being on top and ignore, scoff at, condemn or even abuse anything that is seemingly “beneath us.”
We all want to fuck life hard and fast…but no one wants to admit their desire to be fucked.
Yet here’s the sad part—for as much as we walk around brandishing our overdeveloped cocks and boasting about our latest conquests, we are actually starving to be well-fucked and thoroughly conquered. Really. Man, woman, gender neutral, hermaphrodite—it doesn’t matter. The art of receiving a good fuck from life is a human experience and is the gift of our inherent femininity.
Surrender requires a hefty amount of vulnerability. We must be willing to let our guard down. We must be willing to explore what we want. We must be willing to unapologetically ask for it. We must be willing to sit in the fire as we watch the tricks, defenses and games we use to hide, burn away, so we can create the space to receive that which we most desire.
And yet, as my friend Pamela Madsen says, this soft, wet, messy, fucked-open vulnerability is “the place from where sexy flows.” It’s the void where unlimited Orgasm resides and where only the brave and truly powerful can unleash Her onto the world. It is unconditional love.
We think we are starving for love and we troll dating sites and bars searching for that person or experience that we think is going to feed us. We think, perhaps if we fuck it open, it will give us the spiritual nutrition we seek.
We are not starving for love.
We are bloated with love. In fact, we have years of backed up love rotting in our systems. We are just stingy, prideful and frightened motherfuckers who think that we are “giving something up” if we reveal our hands first. We hide behind seduction, perfectionism and poker faces, all while silently choking with shame on our tears of gratitude and awe (that have turned bitter with resentment over the years of blame and victimhood).
No, we are not starving for love, but for the nourishment that comes from being fucked open and sharing our own abundance. When you meet someone and fall in love, that person isn’t giving you their love; they are giving you permission to finally, finally express what’s been locked up inside you. And that expression demands nothing less than the fullest surrender of your pride, anger, shame, fear, envy, hatred and any other stagnant energy sitting on top of your orgasm.
These emotions aren’t wrong. Pride, anger, etc. are all part of the journey and when they are acknowledged and fully felt, can be alchemized as fuel for desire and can deepen intimacy with yourself and the people in your life.
Surrender is a practice, just like anything else in life.
There’s a reason why savasana is considered a master pose and why those who hide behind their busyness pop right up out of it at the end of yoga class (myself included). There’s a reason why many try Orgasmic Meditation once, only to run as far from it as possible afterwards. We seek to do the next thing that takes us out of that place of no-thingness…that uncertain void…the ultimate death of all we thought we were.
And yet, on the other side is the sweetest grace you’ve ever known: absolute communion with your soul. The work is to release the conditions that say, “I will only surrender if…(fill in the blank with whatever is it to which you are attaching your happiness).”
So I’ve given up bargaining with Her, released trying to discover the next right move and allowed her to penetrate my innermost being so that pure, unadulterated Orgasm can flow from me in gratitude and grace. And it’s within the healing balm of grace that love is a choice, freedom is inevitable and surrender is the holiest of prayers.
PS: Stay tuned for the upcoming article in my new column, Orgasmic Living, entitled “Ashes on the Playa: An Uncensored Narrative of Love and Surrender.”
PPS: To learn more about Pamela Madsen’s work, including an upcoming retreat focused on healing yourself through vulnerability and surrender, visit
BONUS VIDEO: From the vaults of my surrendered heart
How long will I last?
Can I turn up the heat?
What star am I circling?
What’s circling me?
Now my ebb and my flow
My lack of control
Turning on, turning off
Saying yes, but playing no

10 Lessons from the Playa: Acheivement Brain vs. Orgasmic Brain


This moment…is forgotten when you start thinking in terms of achievement. When the achieving mind arises, you lose contact with the paradise you are in…guilt sits on your chest like a rock, it crushes you; it does not allow you to dance. How can you dance? How can guilt dance? How can guilt sing? How can guilt love? How can guilt live? So the one who thinks he is doing something wrong is guilty, burdened, dead before death, has already entered the grave. ~ Osho
It’s that time of year again: dust off your sparkle pants, grab your goggles and hop on your bikes, cuz we’re going to Burning Man!
Okay, okay I know. Many of you reading this may be thinking “Dear God, she’s one of those crazy, drugged-out hippie people.” Perhaps you’ve gotten jaded by the popularization of it all (yes, I too have noticed the recent surge of fanny pack-wearin’, picture-takin’, bucket list-completin’ tourists). Or it’s possible you see it as an irresponsible way to use time and resources (I get it; I also want to punch the faces of college-raver kids who leave their beer cans and glow necklaces in the port-o-potties).
Or it’s possible you think it’s a really cool experience you’d like to explore. Maybe you’ve been and it changed your life. Or perhaps you’ve never even heard of it.
There is a gift within these seemingly various perspectives and it’s reflected in the first principle of Burning Man:
1. Radical Inclusion: Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
That means that the jaded guy, the college-raver, the tourist, the explorer, the believer and the novice all have a place within the system and provide value with their voices.
This may seem at odds with how we normally interact with life. Typically, we choose a perspective and work tirelessly to gather evidence that supports our perspective while rejecting anything that is in conflict with it.
This is an example of how the “Achievement Brain” works. It’s a pattern of reasoning that’s a product of social breeding. It’s based on a system of reward and punishment. As children, our parents offered us ice cream if we sat quietly in the corner. In kindergarten, we got gold stars if we kept our hands to ourselves. In school, we were graded on a scale from A-F, which determined our intellectual merit. And now as adults, we use any mix of money, trophy spouses, cars, food, houses, jobs and spiritual development as “proof” of our worthiness.
When we are living in the Achievement Brain’s world, nothing is ever enough. We have to constantly seek new, bigger, better things to fill the holes in our lives. Each new achievement may provide temporary solace from the fear monster; but it’s only a matter of time before we have to scramble to keep our pedestals super-glued, cemented and duct-taped together.
The antidote to “Achievement Brain” is “Orgasmic Brain.”
In the realm of orgasm, everything that arises is fuel for transformation. Our sense of well-being comes from within. We move only when we are inwardly moved (as opposed to moving in blind reaction to something outside of ourselves). In the orgasmic world, the present moment is alive and the spirit of play, connection and improvisation guide the way.
Burning Man is the ultimate orgasmic world and Camp Contact, a camp at Burning Man, is one representation of that. Originally founded as a Contact Improvisation Dance camp, they are now taking their dance philosophy into workshops that focus on relating, intimacy and the never-ending tango between femininity and masculinity.
Their list of workshops includes: “Tune-Up From a Loving Bitch,” “Shame, Pride & Play” and “Embracing Awkwardness.” What separates Camp Contact’s workshops from many others is that the workshops are created based on the conversations, inspirations and in-the-moment surprises that arise during the festival week. There’s no set structure for any of these classes and nothing is pre-planned. All that exists is the course description, a question and a box of tools; anything that happens within that container is solely based on the connection generated between the facilitators and the participants.
This dance between each of us and the magic that is created is at the heart of orgasmic living. It’s not to say that any one way of thinking is better than the other. However, in my opinion, we have lived in a default muggle world for far too long. The principles of fun, spontaneity and the unknown have given way to certainty, safety and a “nose-to-the-grindstone” mentality that is out of balance and therefore draining us of our vitality.
I’m not saying that schedules and plans and hard work don’t have their place. Without them, we’d be floating around on dingys at the mercy of whatever storms life tosses our way. But without orgasm as our compass, we are unkindly over-taxing our systems trying to doggy-paddle “where the reward is,” when we could be effortlessly flowing where desire guides us.
And maybe your desire takes you to Burning Man. Or church. Or creating a business. Or travelling to Peru. It doesn’t matter how the exploration of your Orgasmic Brain expresses itself; what matters is that you took the journey in the first place.
So, in the spirit of the 10 Principles of Burning Man, I offer you 10 Lessons from the Playa: Achievement Brain vs. Orgasmic Brain.
1. Achievement Brain resorts to force. Orgasmic Brain thrives on surrender.
We are constantly doing and working harder and faster to feel like we are making progress in our lives. The Orgasmic Brain takes us out of the role of “doer” so that life can effortlessly flow through us.
2. Achievement Brain is transactional. Orgasmic Brain is self-generating.
The Achievement Brain is constantly asking “What do I lose or gain if I do this thing? What is my reward or punishment?” The Orgasmic Brain simply acts out of its own pleasure, without the fear of loss or gain, because it has a self-generating source of energy.
3. Achievement Brain divides the world into Good & Bad. Orgasmic Brain includes everything as an opportunity for play.
The Achievement Brain categorizes things as Good/Bad, Right/Wrong, Winner/Loser, which can be fertile breeding ground for shame. Anything that is good is to be clung to and anything bad is to be avoided. The Orgasmic Brain has objective neutrality that allows space for everything that arises. Note that this neutrality is not a sort of dissociative passivity, but is a full-body engagement and allowance for what is.
4. Achievement Brain seeks to fill the void. Orgasmic Brain expresses from the void.
Rather than stuffing ourselves with more things to numb our hungers, the Orgasmic Brain wants us all to grow big enough (and brave enough) to unleash our desires onto the world.
5. Achievement Brain focuses on lack. Orgasmic Brain focuses on sufficiency.
Again, the Achievement Brain uses objects to temporary relieve the quiet the places where it feels like it is not “enough.” The Orgasmic Brain knows that it is enough, expresses its gratitude for all that it has and acts accordingly.
6. Achievement Brain obsesses on the past and future. Orgasmic Brain is rooted in the present.
The Achievement Brain is obsessed with processing “where we went wrong” and securing ourselves against impending doom. The Orgasmic Brain rests in the wisdom found in the present.
7. Achievement Brain craves an answer. Orgasmic Brain lives for the question.
The Achievement Brain goes insane without a problem to solve and an answer to seek. The Orgasmic Brain flourishes in continuous curiosity within the unknown.
8. Achievement Brain clings to the goal. Orgasmic Brain enjoys the journey.
The Achievement Brain has a very tiny lens with little space for spontaneity and mistake-making. The Orgasmic Brain knows that if there is fluidity in the journey, one can make a “wrong turn” and end up in a space far richer than previously imagined.
9. Achievement Brain lives by “shoulds.” Orgasmic Brain lives by desire.
The Achievement Brain wants a “How-To” Book on life—and unfortunately for many of us, that comes with social dogma on how we “should” be living. The Orgasmic Brain works within our own personal code of integrity.
10. Achievement Brain seeks absolution. Orgasmic Brain knows it is free.
Guilt, guilt, guilt. The Achievement Brain soooooo wants to be punished so that it can feel better about all the bad things it’s done in the past. The Orgasmic Brain rests in the knowledge that it deserves to feel good, wholesome and healthy, without having to pay the toll for a pleasure-filled existence. It’s this level of acceptance that allows the Orgasmic Brain to nourish itself and be of service to humanity.