She looked me square in the eye over the top of her chilled glass of white wine, her inner Aries fire blazing, took a sip and said (quite unceremoniously), “You will know within the first fifteen seconds whether or not you want to sleep with him.” Then she stood up and continued practicing her white-wine-induced pirouettes in our dining room.
I blinked, blushed and stared into my own glass of wine, condensation pooling on the outside of it in the sultry summer heat of the evening. I thought back over my intimate encounters — had it really only taken me fifteen seconds to decide such a thing? “It’s a first date,” I reasoned. “I don’t even know if I like him as a person yet.”
She stopped and pointed at me, “Fifteen seconds.”
• • •
I became fascinated with this idea, and the conversation in my house that summer grew between all of us, each of us offering either proof or rebuttal for the Fifteen Second Theory. I found that when I excavated the memories of every gut feeling I’d ever had about someone — and the connections which ultimately led to becoming intimate — it was like going through a rolodex of core memories. But why? Why I could trace myself back to something very deep inside myself that had clearly held a key that my thinking mind did not.
I wanted to know why, when it comes to intimate partnering, there is something inside us that is given two options when presented with the possibility of a new partner: a green button, or a red button. And why you don’t have to understand it (or agree) on an intellectual or emotional level, but the message seems to be there, nonetheless.
Now, we all have different reasons for opening up the flood gates of passion and inviting another human in to play. On some level, the values we were raised with and our cultural inheritance play a roll, as does our relationship with our own physical (naked) bodies, and the concept of sex itself. And when you approach intimacy from the perspective of intention, emotional intimacy and the desired outcome of such a connection plays a huge part in the decision-making process. Some of us are wired to pursue pleasure no matter what, and some of us are more restrained — values, ideals and intentions aside.
And, of course, in some cases we can hardly call it “decision-making” at all, because our chemical response to a person to whom we are attracted and with whom we share a powerful chemistry acts like a narcotic on our brains, and the inhibitory function (as well as the part of our brains that anticipates consequences) virtually shuts down.
But being a student of energy medicine, I wanted more. Sure, we’re primates. But no study on brain chemistry or pleasure principles can account for the long history of sex as a sacred practice, and the ethereal sense of transcendence one experiences on a very deep and true level — beyond the realm of language and chemical reactions — when making love with the right partner. It is not just chemical, it’s spiritual.
When we come across a possible intimate partner, how do we know whether it’s the green button or the red button that is being pushed? And who is doing the pushing?
From the Ground Up
The energetic body informs our physical reality, and the way it relates to sex — and with whom we choose to have sex — starts with our root chakra and moves up from there. What is required for full-body resonance with a partner (and not just in lovemaking) is the opening of all chakras in the energy field.
The root chakra is what we think of as “grounding” us — but that is ambiguous without considering that to be fully grounded, one must be present. Hence, it’s this chakra that, when open, establishes a being as having a potent presence, and the will to be in the physical world as such. We begin drawing energy (and lose it) first from this energy center, around the coccyx (tail bone).
The sacral chakra (home to more than one energy center) is related to the quality of love we are able to feel toward the people to whom we are attracted. That’s right: when it comes to sexual energy, it seems love is inexorably linked to our openness to enjoy sex, and also reach orgasm (no matter what the primate part of our brains are saying). Between the pubic center and sacral center is where these two energy centers meet, and we find the “heart” of this chakra: it is the bridge between the love we feel for our sexual partners and the quantity of sexual energy we possess, and creates the second most powerful urge and purpose (second only to the will to live): the desire for sexual union.
This powerful force breaks through self-imposed barriers between two people and draws them closer to one another. Therefore, each person’s sexuality is linked to their life force — their very vitality. This is energy-speak for “Sex Saves Lives,” because, in fact, the mutual letting go in deep communion with another person is crucial for the release of energetic and physical toxicity. It is one of the only ways humanity has managed to let go of the illusion of “separateness” — in exchange for unity. Seen from this angle, sex has the potential to be a model for communing with the Divine — and also, a potential source for many the disharmonious mental / physical / emotional / spiritual ailment.
The reason is this: as sexual energy travels up the spine from the root and through the sacral center (and the rest of the major chakras), it carries with it the energy of the connection between two people, infusing the entire body (organs, blood, lymph) with the quality of energy of that union.
Are we catching the implications here? The quality of love — respect, admiration and generosity — we feel for our sexual partners infuses our whole being with that energy. What we find when the quality of sexual energy in each individual — and between partners — is damaged or unhealthy, is (unsurprisingly) people who are blocked from a sense of their own vitality, as well as the unpleasant side-effects of an unhealthy relationship with sex, which can manifest as anything from sexual dysfunction to sexual addiction.
When we are disconnected with our sense of personal presence and the desire to commune in sex with integrity for ourselves, our partner and the act itself, we fundamentally block our vitality.
This doesn’t imply that the only way to a satiated vitality is through sex — what this means is that, when surveying and responding to our overall health and well-being, our choices (about sex or anything else) are infused with the quality of energy with which we make those choices. We draw energy from the root up, and that energy colors our whole beings. Therefore: the quality of energy with which we make our choices — in sex and in life — brings about that quality of energy.
This is thought and feeling creating life as we know it. Or, sex as we know it.
So then. Could the Fifteen Second Theory be rooted in something deeper than our primate brains?
Enter: the heart.
And the heart chakra, which (energetically speaking) acts as a bridge between the spiritual and the physical — this is the realm of the astral plane. It is the place of dreams and “gut feelings.” The heart-field extends from the body from one half to several feet (depending on the openness of heart), and a great deal of interaction happens between people on the astral plane. Those finely-tuned to the human energy field (or aura) can see blobs of light colliding in a room full of people. On an energy level, a lot is happening, even from across the room or between people who don’t know each other, as one person’s energy makes contact with another person’s energy, though we may not be consciously aware of it.
Ever just “had a feeling” about someone (for better or worse)? You can feel it, and the mixing of energy fields is why.
Turns out, this happens especially when people fantasize about making love with someone they see or meet that they’re attracted to, say, at a party or in the pasta aisle at the grocery store. It’s not just body language; there is actual energetic exchange happening that can be perceived, as the energetic fields of two people make contact, test the proverbial waters and feel for compatibility.
So, sure. We’re monkeys with high-fi brains. But first, we’re energetic beings, and out in the ether with someone we may be interested in, we are dancing. (Think about that the next time you’re on a first date.)
And further: when we do make love, it may be of use to consider the quality of energy we are infusing our beings with; the state of our hearts, and (perhaps) remember that sex can be good — or it can be divine.
White Hot Hunger starts October 5th.
Or work with me.