This is the 3rd in a series of 3 articles. See: Female Sexual Dysfunction and Female Sexuality and Healing.
5 Elements Tantra Massage
Step 3 – expanding how we touch and play!
So – let us return to the visualisation of our vaginal numbness, as a small child who has frozen with fear.
I am using this example as just one way of understanding how unconsciously held peak orgasm maps, may distance us from how things actually are. But in any case, if we are to step into a full and powerful adult expression, being intimately acquainted with how our inner child is – most importantly does s/he feel safe and held? – is a good place to begin.
In the peak orgasm scenario, we tend to use ever increasing sensation and effort in order to get to the top. Or perhaps we go the other way and drop out altogether, tired of trying and never reaching the top. Either way we are inappropriately dragging that child (the part that has numbed out) up a mountain instead of asking what she needs, or abandoning her altogether. We can use the elements to conceptualise and create a different approach, one that might be more in keeping with what she needs.
Or with however we have found ourselves to be when enquiring deeply into the numbness.
Each element describes a way we ourselves (or a partner) can touch our whole body and genitals in order to connect with the “what is” we discovered in step one. Each element is also a meditation on a different aspect of our being, so that we have chance to hear more of ourselves, than the limited conceptualisations of sex we have accepted as reality.
Water reminds us that we are feeling, intuitive and sensual beings. It invites us to notice where we have frozen, buried, detached from or held back the flow of our emotional states. It invites us open to deeper feeling and sensual flow.
How this might look in a session – I may flow oil over yoni (the vulva), and stroke her one hand flowing endlessly after the other. I may do just this and nothing else. I call it stroking the pussy ? – a title that invites us as the giver (or if giving to ourselves) to let go of an aim. We aren’t doing anything, we have no goal, we are just hanging out comfortably stroking – the cat may purrrrrr, but that is not our aim.
In this touch I will also focus on intending a feeling state to flow from my heart through my hands. This may be comfort, love, safety – whatever it is that I intuit (or the receiver tells me) yoni is calling for. Again coming back to the wounded child, rather than dragging her off to face that peak again, we are just hanging out in a comfortable way, inviting opening and flow back into her being, and listening to how she is feeling.
Once offering this invitation to “emotions flowing” touch in a session, an image arose within me of the recipient feeling really free and happy walking across open moors. I focused all my attention on the feelings generated by this image, and imagined them flowing through my hands into the receiver.
At the end of the session the receiver said “I feel great, really free just like I feel when walking out in nature – only the feeling of freedom is in my sex!” – I hadn’t said anything about the image I had seen, or the feeling tone I had intended through my touch. There was no need to, what we think and feel when we touch – whether consciously or not – will on some level be perceived and felt by the receiver.
Earth reminds us of embodiment and grounding in our physical being. Think structure, muscles and bones . Its a remembering of our flesh and the processes of our body: lungs breathing, heart beating, gut digesting, intestines shitting etc. Its also an invitation to breathe our way back into our bodies, when through trauma or fear we may have vacated them.
When intending to touch with an earth quality in my session, I switch my focus to give deep attention to the structures underlying the skin. I feel the earthiness of my own body and being, as well as of that which I am touching.
In earth we explore a conceptualisation of what’s deep inside beyond the skin, slowly investigating through fingertips and holding in each area, till each area is clearly known and experienced. As we touch and hold, we may find that what we first perceived as numbness becomes heat, or pain, or grief waiting to be released.
Sometimes I might simply hold and gently rock the frame of the body, at the sacrum, pelvic bone, or ribs. You don’t need to be a massage expert to touch in this way. Though study will probably help you feel more confident, the quality of presence, focused attention and intention is far more important.
To return to the image of the wounded child – do we need training to know how to rock and comfort a child who is distressed? No, we just do it. And if we let go of the peak orgasm chase, and listen deeply to how we actually are, we will often find that we know exactly what is needed.
Air reminds us of the soul or breath of life. It reminds us that we are more than this physical form: we are energy bodies with more space than matter in each of our cells. We are vibrations talking to one another, just as multiple violin strings hum in resonance. And we are also our thoughts, conceptualisations, imagination and fantasy.
Air as touch, is feather light. It can be great for re-sensitising our receptivity all over, when we have desensitized through chasing the peak orgasm. A feather light touch across the whole body can be very sensual, in order to be so we will need to deeply listen and breathe into the lightness of sensation.
Additionally in air, we might explore enjoyment of sexual energy that is aroused through just our breath as in the Firebreath practice (see below for resources). Where we have become stuck in fixed patterns in our physical form, it might be easiest first to contact our pleasure in the unlimited forms of our energy body. In energy orgasm practice for instance, we may experience waves of orgasm fully clothed as someone moves the energy through our aura or light body (see links at the end if you are not sure what this is).
In the world of neotantra – thoughts or “mind” are often seen as the enemy. In my shamanic teachings though, the mind has a place just like everything else, on the wheel. In the element of air we address the unseen beyond the physical, so might also explore what conceptualisations or images of eroticism limit us, and which expand us.
Take porn for example, there are a cluster of ethical porn makers out there now exploring new conceptualisations of our sex – Gala Vanting for instance and her Slow Porn Revolution >>
Fire reminds us that we are passionate sexy beings, alive with purpose. Awakening heat, turning up the temperature, finding our creative sparks, our vitality – allowing ourselves to be outrageously sexy… Also allowing ourselves also to be really clear, focused and definite, burning through that which limits us to forge something new.
In terms of touch, fire tends to be more vigorous and deliberately arousing. In tantra, we let go of an arguably patriarchal peak orgasm model, to explore a model of opening that tends to get ascribed to the feminine (though anyone of any gender can experience it). This opening is more slow and organic – it has a naturally opening quality like the petals of a flower opening to the sun.
Because this worked so well for overcoming my own vaginal numbness, there was a time I took this model as a Gospel that EVERYone with a vagina should experience. However if we look at Quodoushka teachings, they describe another map of 9 different types of vagina. One of these types – the Wolf woman – opens to her sexual energy in a firey way, preferring strong clitoral stimulation, hard and fast penetration. So if you fiddle around attempting to subtly open her petals – well you probably won’t be meeting her where s/he is at :-)[i]
So in fire we might celebrate fucking. Or perhaps we play with turning up the sensation with a flogger, dripping hot wax, exploring our erotic fantasies. Coming back to types of massage, vigorously rubbing flat palms of the hands to create heat – on the sacrum is a good place – is another altogether different way to explore fire if the other forms suggested don’t float your boat. Or you can turn up the sensation through wringing, slapping, biting… you might explore holding your hands as claws, and with a purr or a growl draw your nails slowly slowly over the body, this can be delicious – yum!
If we imagine the elements sitting in a circle, what we might call spirit, or presence lies at the centre of them all. This place of stillness, witnessing presence, emptiness or void, of God. Or perhaps it is a stillness that arises in you when contemplating the universe, a mathematical formulae, a piano piece, forest or a flower.
More important than anything you DO in a sensual experience or massage (whether with yourself or another) is your capacity simply to be. This is particularly so in intimate yoni massage. And when receiving healing yoni massage, having a meditation practice supporting your capacity to become the witnessing presence, can support you to remain anchored and in the moment through whatever arises.
The storms of our tears, laughter, rage, and orgasmic joy – will only flow so long as we are prepared and ready to welcome and witness ALL that arises, without judging or censoring, according to how we believe things should be.
In summary – and further study:
There are a myriad of ways to play with each element. This is just a map drawing together many things I have experienced in different teachings, as a way of seeing how they sit together. If you want to know more – come and see me for a yoni massage session in London, and other related Tantra and conscious sexuality teachings ?
Or (because I really want everyone to know about this stuff whether they see me or someone or no-one!) here are links to just a few of the teachings and teachers that inspired each element:
Water: For a demonstration of flowing watery sensual touch, you might explore Taoist sensual massage, here is a DVD by Dirk Leisenfeld >>
Earth: If you don’t feel confident in touch that explores the structures and forms of the body, have a look at deep tissue massage techniques – there are plenty of videos available for free on You tube.
Air: To learn about orgasms just through breath, watch this video by Barbara Carelles >> and here is a handout saying how! How to have a breath and energy orgasm >> I learned about pure energy orgasms with Andrew Barns.
Fire: For getting conscious with Kink check out this video archive online Kinkacademy>>
Most of all, have fun exploring, finding what is true for YOU, and beginning from there!