Friday, July 18, 2014

Shared Sexual Energy in Mid-Life and Elderhood: A Guest Post by Ken Stofft

Why is the shared experience of erotic, sexual energy an important resource for queer men in their passages through mid-life and into elderhood?

Because unless we tap into that reservoir, we miss out on some of life's vast riches.  If we don't experience our full sexual energy, which is more than the sex act, we become limited in our relationship to ourselves and to others and don't enter as fully as we can into the profound mystery of life itself. 

Entering my 40's,  I was in my mid-life crisis. I felt isolated and driven by fear. I read William Bridge's Transitions, which I found greatly helpful.  That book started me off onto the right path of self-awareness. Although I was still drinking like a fish,  a major self-assessment told me that something had to change. The start was full of tears, anxiety, confusion, anger, disorientation. It took me another decade to take my first step, which was to get sober.  Then the 'work'  had just begun.  I entered unchartered territory and needed empathetic ears to hear my story, and to receive witnessing from someone outside of myself as I stumbled and worked my way up from what seemed like a bottomless pit.  I felt revitalized and on my way to new beginnings.   

In my early 60s, I entered into elderhood.  I went through another major transition and am still working my way through this time, which I consider the apex of my life.  I am clearly facing my mortality and have entered into this new dialogue with curiosity and a sense of playfulness. 

Both periods of time demanded my attention, and I knew then, as I know now, that self-awareness comes gradually and is a never-ending adventure.  So, I live today with a great deal of curiosity about myself and others, and with that overwhelming mystery we call life.   

Since those early days of mid-life, I've discovered the importance of my sexual energy--my life force. It is what flows or is inhibited in me, my source of creativity and vitality. It includes sex but is far more than simply enjoying sex. It is almost impossible for me to define what it is, but I know it is what I share with all others who are nurtured and sustained by the earth. It is the way of nature.  Birth, death, re-birth, death, the endless cycle.  It is the way of nature.  Birth, death, re-birth, death, the endless cycle.  My sexual energy is the source of my creativity and my power to simply be me. 
I've also discovered that I need other kindred embodied spirits to join me, and me to join them, in this journey of deeper, clearer self-awareness.  I discovered my need for a 'community', people that I want to surround myself with and  want to bond with.  It is this energy that feeds and nourishes its members when such a community exists.  And when there is a sense of safety, a freedom from judgment, shame, and guilt, I can let down my guard and reveal who I am.  It has taken me decades to feel comfortable and safe in my body, and it is due  not only to my own courage to be me, sexually alive, but to the people I've met on the way, and who surround me today. 

Since mid-life, and now as an elder, I have found certain elements  need to be nurtured.  I breathe into my belly.  I sit in meditation.  I reach out to others and listen to them when I am in need.  I touch and am touched physically by myself and with/by others.  I dance, and I have playful sex. I have found that breathing into my feelings is far, far more helpful than suppressing them; living in my body with excitement and joy is paramount.  The importance of shared sexual energy in these major transitions in life is primarily about “letting go” of the armor I have accrued over a life time, giving  myself permission to be seen, heard, touched, and to witness the same with others, becoming ever more deeply self-aware, and having the courage not only to own who I am, but to revel in who I am. More often than not, it is not a matter of having a one explosion of insight, but transitions are mini-events that accumulate, sometimes subtly, sometimes surprisingly, but always opportunities to be re-born.

I've learned that sharing my sexual energy, not only in sex, but in the way I live my life with passion and as much authenticity as I can muster, sharing my emotions, sharing my touch, sharing my beliefs, sharing my emotional vulnerabiltiy, is the only way for me to live.   

I have delved deeply into my sexual energy to create my own form of yin/yang, male/female, my own masculine identity that I believe is the most authentic for me.  I lived my life in fantasy and vicariously through books. Now I live it in my body passionately.   

I believe it's my sexual energy that also afforded me the ability to create my own spirituality rather than living in a traditional religious context, which I had found suffocating and unhealthy in its denial of  bodily pleasures its negativity about sex.  When I became sober and began to open to the fact that I was indeed a sexual creature, I faced a multitude of options that could have taken me in a different direction.  If I had allowed fear to rule my life, I never would have learned more about who I am and what I need in my life to simply be me.  I'm very grateful for having discovered a liberating, self-loving path for myself. 

What do I recommend?  Each man's path is his own.  What I have found most helpful I have listed above: breathing into the belly, sitting in self-assessment, moving/dancing, bonding physically and emotionally with others, finding others who are empathic, and always bringing curiosity as a gift of wonderment.

In what ways do you express your sexual energy? What do your sexual fantasies tell you about yourself?  When you are aroused, is ejaculation important and necessary?  How are you a passionate and sexually alive man when you're not having sex?   Is there a spirituality that nourishes and feeds your sexuality? If so, what is it?  What does your sexual energy say about the kind of man you are, and want to become, as you move through mid-life and into the status of elder?
Ken Stofft coaches men in exploring issues related to their sexuality:

No comments:

Post a Comment