Working with Your Sexual Energy – Part II
Sexual Energy, Part II! Of course while preparing this I realized that this could be a 10-part series, but I want to keep it manageable, so I will dive right into the three topics that I think are the highest priority:
1) Working through shame
2) Causes of sexual energy buildup
3) Ways to release, channel or redirect it.
That’s a lot to cover, so this will be a very to-the-point post.
In the first post on sexual energy, we talked about the sacral (second) chakra as the center for women’s sexual energy, and that therefore our sexual energy and expression is linked to the other aspects of this chakra – our emotions, creativity, sensuality, and fluidity. These are what naturally flow through us when our sacral is whole and freely expressed. So what inhibits our expression of the second chakra?
Shame, self-blame and guilt are the most common internal patterns that block us from fully owning and expressing our sacral chakra energy. This might be the result of sexual abuse or trauma, or it might have been implanted in us through parental, cultural, or religious conditioning that told us feminine sexual energy and desire are impure, dangerous, or even the root of evil.
We don’t have to look far for this message. Just consider the story of Adam and Eve, and the way Eve is often portrayed in interpretations of this story as the ‘weak’ one, who listened to the serpent, ate the forbidden fruit, and convinced Adam to try it too. The ramifications of this myth have been felt throughout Judeo-Christian traditions and all related socio-cultural forces. Other religions and cultures have not fared much better, if you consider the daughters of Mara (who in some version of the Buddha’s life story attempt to lure Buddha away from enlightenment), tales of Hindi sirens (sexual temptresses), and even Helen of Troy, blamed for the Trojan war.
Although in today’s culture we are often surrounded by images of feminine sexuality, is it usually used to sell something – anything actually. This just reinforces this message of feminine sexuality as the uncontrollable temptress, driving purchases of beer, cars, etc. We don’t see many images of feminine sexuality as a free expression for its own sake – of women owning their power and using it creatively in the world.
You get the idea. And so the very best thing you can do for yourself in terms of owning your sexual energy – and therefore your personal power, since in women these two are so linked – is to look at the ways you may have internalized shame, blame or guilt. Not just in relation to sexual energy either – perhaps you are comfortable with your sexual expression, but have other internal dialogues that you engage in within which you blame yourself for your shortcomings, or constantly feel shame or guilt for your actions or inactions. Are you always saying “I’m sorry” for situations and incidents that are not really your responsibility? This is a habit many women develop, and although it may not seem related to your sexual energy, if it reflects a internal cringing in guilt or embarrassment, it may reflect inhibiting emotional patterns lodged in your sacral. Working through these will profoundly shift your relationship to your entire energetic self.
Which brings me to my next topic – why sexual energy can buildup in the second chakra. As I mentioned, this is one of the questions I get asked the most frequently by email. And interestingly, feelings of shame and self-blame can actually contribute to a buildup of sexual energy in our energy bodies and our physical bodies. Sometimes shame causes us to disconnect from our sacral energies, but sometimes it causes us to repress it. When left with nowhere to go, it bottles up and can even become uncomfortable. In this case, working through shame will help you to release and redirect this energy.
Interestingly, another common cause of sexual energy buildup is stress. In her excellent book Wild Feminine, pelvic physical therapist Tami Kent discusses the role our pelvic bowl plays in our anatomy. For many of us, stress is held here, as commonly as it is held in our neck or shoulders. From a chakra perspective, when we are stressed, and particularly when we feel under siege, we may hunker down into our navel and/or root, and actually trap our second chakra energy between them, disallowing its release or expression because this feels too vulnerable.
So how do we work with this sexual energy? As I mentioned in the first post, the second chakra themes of emotions, sensuality, sexuality, creativity, and fluidity are all linked. Engaging in activities that bring these forth in us will increase our sense of our feminine sexual selves. They will also help us redirect our sexual energy, so that it is healthily expressed, and not bottled up. Here are other ways to work with sexual energy:
1) Inversions – raising our legs above our pelvic bowl for a period of time can encourage the flow of sacral energy up into our third chakra. For more on the other benefits of inversion, read my interview with yoga teacher Rosie Good on Yoga for Women.
2) Release Through Exercise – Exercise of any type will often help us release sexual energy, especially if it is stress-related. In these cases, exercise that forces us to push ourselves a bit – that forces us to draw upon our third chakra determination – will help draw this energy up for release.
3) Visual Redirection – Meditate on the feeling of desire itself, until you can feel it as an energy in your sacral chakra. Then visualize moving this energy into another part of your body. One use of this is as a healing modality – shifting this energy into your palm chakras, which you might then visualize healing a part of your body that needs repair (remember the sacral chakra is connected to procreation, and therefore regenerative.)
4) Dissolve It – This is part of tantra traditions, although there is a lot more to it. To experiment with this, try sitting with the energy, focusing on your awareness of your desire without playing out any fantasies or other stories related to it. Just meditate on the sexual energy and desire itself. Once it becomes simply an energy to you, imagine it spreading out and dissolving your entire being into light.
5) Create With It – We often say creativity is linked to the sacral chakra, but really it is the passion behind creation that is linked to it – the driving force to bring something new into the world. It is creativity as birthing, that we are talking about when we talk about the energy of the second chakra. So birth something! Do you have an activity in which you can freely create? If so, experiment with drawing on your sexual energy when engaged in this activity.
I’ve left off the most obvious way of working with sexual energy – sexual activity, alone or with a partner – because I figured that’s pretty obvious. But it’s worth noting that in tantric teachings, this energy is the starting point for traveling through the sacral chakra into the primordial roots of creation itself. And physical sex is only one method for this spiritual journey – or transformation really, as it is better understood as a rebirthing of ourselves. We can do this alone through meditation and other techniques. This is different than the sacred sexuality teachings of tantra, which emphasize the connection between partners. In fact, we are in a dance with the universe all the time, and this dance is what tantra really opens us to. Meditation on images such as the yab yum statue shown above are one method for connecting with this co-creative energy within ourselves, and is something you can safely experiment with yourself.
There’s a lot more we could say about sexual energy, but perhaps you can continue the conversation in the comments or with your own posts…I’d love to share them here if so. Namaste-