YOUR OWN SEXUAL FINGER PRINT
Who are you sexually? Our sexual selves are as colorful and varied as each of our unique personalities or fingerprints. Our sexual preferences are influenced by our past experiences, our relationships, the culture in which we live, and the biochemical reactions in our bodies. No two women share the same experience of desire or even the same orgasmic pattern. Mis- perceptions about the "right" way to have an orgasm and expectations about "normal libido" leave many women feeling inadequate. With this book, I want to assist you in finding your ideal sexual self. No matter who you are and no matter what your experiences have been, your body is whole and fully capable of giving and getting great pleasure just as it is. The purpose of this book is not to fit your body into someone else's experience of pleasure, but to awaken your own natural desire and energy so that you can have a fulfilling sexual life that is truly your own.
Your preferred pattern of pleasure may be to have long hours of intense lovemaking once every 2 weeks or "quickies" twice a day. Or you may practice self-cultivation (as the Taoists refer to masturbation) that is so satisfying that partnered sex is enjoyable but not absolutely necessary. There is no "right" way to be a sexual woman. The sexual personality quiz in this chapter is meant for your perusal alone, to help you explore where you are sexually and identify the sexual self that you would like to manifest.
Taking a quiz on something as subtle and ever changing as sexuality can be difficult. As one of my students pointed out, while our sexuality may be as unique as a fingerprint, it is not nearly as permanent as one! The way in which we experience desire changes throughout our lifetimes and even throughout our weeks. Think of this quiz as simply a snapshot of you at this moment. When you're able to understand who you are in the present, it is possible to take the steps toward who you want to become on your sexual journey. Not all of the responses will fit perfectly for you, so choose the one that seems closest to your truth right now.
Please do your best not to judge yourself about your responses. It is easy to imagine that you are the only person with sexual challenges, but I assure you that this is far from the truth. I spend a good deal of my medical practice talking with my patients about their particular difficulties around sexuality. As we grow and change physically and emotionally, our sexual lives will undoubtedly offer us some challenges, no matter how sexually confident or capable we feel we are. If, for example, you rarely have sex and have never had an orgasm, this is not another opportunity to feel bad about it, but rather, a chance to be proud. You are choosing to read this book and ask for some assistance with your sexuality, something that might not have come easily for you. I hope this chapter and this book will help you to get excited about the sensual world that can unfold within your body.
Take the quiz, circling the answers that most closely approximate your experience. Add the numbers of your answers and put them in the subtotal space at the end of each section. If you wish, you can put your answers on a separate piece of paper. Refer to your subtotal as you read the two discussions that follow each of the five sections. Each discussion is targeted to those who scored within a certain range for that section. I encourage you to read both discussions, however, as many things discussed in the alternate section may apply to you as well.
If you do not wish to take the quiz, please read the discussions anyway. In them, I establish the "ground rules" for lovingly supporting yourself during your sexual exploration. And remember, this quiz is a gauge and not a grade. Approach it with a sense of curiosity and without self-judgment.
Your responses to the quiz will help you identify the roadblocks that prevent you from experiencing your full pleasure. Your answers will also help me guide you to the sections of the book that will be most helpful on your journey. It might be interesting for you to take this quiz again after you have read the book and integrated some of these practices into your life. Where are you starting from now, and where might you go? The possibilities are as endless as the vast landscape of your imagination. As the Taoists say, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." So let's begin.
SEXUAL PERSONALITY QUIZ
1. How frequently do you make love with a partner or masturbate?
1. Almost never.
2. One to two times a month.
3. One to two times a week.
4. Three times a week or more.
2. Compare the frequency of your sexual experiences now (either partnered lovemaking or masturbation) to a period of your life when you felt the most sexual desire. Your sexual frequency now is:
1. Much less frequent than at the height of your desire.
2. Somewhat less frequent than at the height of your desire.
3. Almost as frequent as at the height of your desire.
4. The most frequent that it has ever been.
3. After lovemaking, what percentage of the time do you feel completely satisfied?
1. Less than 25 percent.
2. About 50 percent.
3. About 75 percent.
4. Almost 100 percent.
4. What best describes your orgasmic pattern?
1. I am never or rarely orgasmic.
2. I sometimes orgasm.
3. I usually orgasm but cannot regularly have multiple orgasms.
4. I have multiple orgasms whenever I desire them.
Add the numbers for each of your answers and put the subtotal here.
If your subtotal is less than 10:
Congratulations. This book is a wonderful place to begin discovering or re- discovering your sexual pleasure. There is no perfect number of times that one needs to make love per week to be a fully satisfied sexual being. Our desire for lovemaking will change throughout our lives and depending on our daily experiences. It is possible, however, for everyone to have a vibrant level of sexual energy and desire, which is part of the fullness of our human expression, our passion for life itself. It is our passion that allows us to fully engage in the world, to do good work, and to enjoy ourselves. We can use the tools of Western psychology and health in combination with Taoist principles to find and expand our sexual energy. In order to nurture your passion, I suggest you explore in full the exercises and recommendations in chapter 2 on stoking the fire within. The Taoist exercises that teach you to identify and expand your sexual energy--the Microcosmic Orbit and the Orgasmic Upward Draw in chapter 6 and Ovarian Breathing in chapter 8--are enormously useful in increasing the fullness and presence of desire.
Lack of satisfaction with lovemaking, on the other hand, can often be due to difficulty with your partner (see "Partner Profile" on page 21) or not enough knowledge about what it is that you need for pleasure. In chapters 4 and 5, I'll discuss at length how to get to know your own body and its responses. If it's orgasm that is sometimes difficult, I reveal in chapter 5 specific techniques that have been proven to help women orgasm, either alone or with a partner. Then in chapter 7, I divulge the secrets to multiple orgasms.
If your subtotal is 10 or more:
Your sexual journey is unfolding, and I can help you enhance and embolden your sexual pleasure. If you have been capable of great desire but are currently lacking your full desire, chapter 2 is devoted to discovering what may be blocking the flow of your passion. I will teach you how to nurture your passion and keep it full throughout your life. If your desire is raring and ready to go, begin learning the Taoist practices that will help you refine your sexual energy for more ecstatic lovemaking. The Healing Sounds in chapter 3 prepare you for learning the Taoist sexual practices in chapter 6. If you have difficulty with orgasm, chapter 4 discusses some of the physiologic and energetic gifts of orgasm and common roadblocks that prevent women from being regularly orgasmic. If you are already orgasmic, go to chapter 5, which teaches you how to discover your own hot spots (some of which you may not yet have found) and to orgasm easily. In chapter 6, I show you, step by step, how to use your sexual energy to expand your orgasms and to feel their tingling pleasure from your nose to your toes (and a few places in between). Chapter 7 teaches the secrets to multiple orgasms, how to have pleasure that expands beyond orgasm, and, for those of you who are interested, the "how-tos" of female ejaculation.
5. How comfortable are you being naked with a lover?
1. I prefer to be partially dressed or have the lights out when naked.
2. I am somewhat comfortable being naked with a lover.
3. I am usually comfortable being naked with a lover.
4. I almost always enjoy sharing my body with a lover.
6. How do you relate to your body?
1. I hate my body and/or regularly consider extreme means (surgical or other) by which to make my body acceptable to me.
2. I sometimes feel good in my body but often criticize myself for how I look.
3. I usually feel good in my body but sometimes criticize myself for how I look.
4. I love being in my body and appreciate all it can feel and do.
7. How comfortable do you feel touching your genitals?
1. I touch myself only when it is absolutely necessary.
2. I am somewhat comfortable touching my genitals but have rarely touched myself for pleasure.
3. I occasionally self-pleasure or masturbate.
4. I frequently self-pleasure and enjoy touching myself alone and when with my partner.
Add the numbers for each of your answers and put the subtotal here.
Bodily Comfort: ______
If your subtotal is less than 8:
If you live in the United States or Europe (and increasingly, the rest of the world), the cultural ideal of what is beautiful is so far from the average female that most of us feel inadequate by comparison. It can be a tremendous challenge as a woman to feel good about and enjoy one's body. In addition, the cultural and religious traditions from which many of us come teach that the body and its pleasures are dangerous and that masturbation is sinful. In truth, your body is the most precious treasure you have, no matter what you look like. Every body is capable of giving and receiving pleasure. Taoism teaches us that the body is sacred and that sexual pleasure is a necessary part of our aliveness and our wholeness. The first step in reclaiming the enjoyment of your body is to love yourself as you are.
You will explore your body in detail in chapter 5, so that you can get to know your own pleasure spots. And although you do not have to masturbate (or self-cultivate, as the Taoists prefer to call it) in order to have a fulfilling sexual life, it certainly helps. It allows you to pleasure yourself or to teach a lover how best to pleasure you. You will practice loving regard and loving touch toward yourself in chapter 5.
If your subtotal is 8 or more:
Loving your body and being willing to share your pleasure are the cornerstones to ecstatic lovemaking. Even those of us who enjoy our bodies immensely sometimes criticize how we look or how our bodies function. How would it affect your sexual pleasure if you felt at all times that you were an incredibly beautiful, luscious woman? How would it affect your sexual pleasure if you trusted that your body knew exactly what it was doing and that you could relax and fully surrender to your pleasure during lovemaking? Our bodies are precious gifts, no matter what they look like or what challenges they may have.
In my clinic, I care for women of every age, every shape, and every color, and I can tell you that the degree to which a woman is in possession of her sexual desire and confidence has nothing to do with her body type. Many of the most desirous (and desirable, according to their partners) women that I know are overweight, so-called "flat-chested," or over 55. A recent study explored the sexual satisfaction of women who were more than 50 to 100 £ds overweight. The study showed that women were sexually satisfied, regardless of their weight, as long as their body image was positive and they had good communication with their partners, just like everyone else. Being significantly overweight did not impair their sexual enjoyment; feeling bad about their bodies or having difficulty with their partners did. Women are desirable when they experience and feel entitled to their own pleasure. Sex appeal is not all about body type; it is about how you move, how you speak, and how you express yourself when you feel desirable.
I suggest that during your reading of this book you take a break from body criticism. Do not speak critical thoughts about your body out loud, to yourself, or to anyone else. Undoubtedly, you will still have critical thoughts, but when they arise, try to express your appreciation for whatever it is that you're criticizing. For example, you might look in the mirror and think, "I have such a fat ass." Instead, try to find a way to appreciate it: "What a lovely, soft rump for my lover to sink his (or her) hands into!" When we replace negative thoughts with positive ones (even when we are stretching ourselves to be positive), new associations begin to form. So the next time that you are with your lover and he or she is gazing at your arse, you just might think, he or she "can't wait to get their hands on my gorgeous ass." Positive regard about your body feeds your desire rather than extinguishing it, because it helps you feel desirable and, therefore, rightfully entitled to feeling your sexual desire. In short, your ability to feel desirable directly influences your ability to feel desire. And a woman who feels her own desire is inherently more desirable. She shines from within with the power of her passion.
Copyright © 2006 by Mantak Chia and Rachel Carlton Abrams, M.D.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.