As I lay on my bed, tears rolling down the sides of my face, one hand on my heart and the other still holding my vibrator, in full post orgasm bliss, I feel more whole than I can ever remember feeling.
I feel calm, I feel sad, I feel connected, I feel full.
If you are family, co-worker or a patient, this post may be weird to read. I’m aware of the personal, sexual and controversial nature of the topic of masturbation. However I feel no shame about it now.
I am also aware that bringing together sprituality, mental health, relationships and masturbation may seem very odd to many, however this merging of themes in my life has recently been of significant importance to me, and so I feel called to share.
I’ve briefly written about sexuality and I’ve mentioned, in passing, that I’ve had some difficult (or traumatic) experiences surrounding sex, especially in my teenage years. Recently, I’ve come to realize that the patterns in my sexual and romantic relationships are both a symptom and a cause of a lot of my distress.
I’ve known for a while that, when I could engage in healthy sexual and romantic relationships, it would be a sign that I had done some major healing. What I really struggled to understand was why this area of my life was so difficult. And even more importantly – how could I begin to address this?
Slowly, through therapy, through journaling and self reflection, through talking with friends, through ongoing challenges in my dating life, and through reading and learning, the pieces have come together.
I recognize that my inability to deeply connect with others stems from my difficulty in letting myself be seen fully. In letting the people I love see me struggle, see me fuck up, see me be imperfect. This is especially true in my romantic life.
My difficulty in letting others see me fully stems from years of messaging that my imperfect self was not desirable. I suspect some of this was from crying as a child, being “too sensitive” and not having felt validated. A lot of this definitely comes from experiences in my teenage years when boys used nice words to gain access to my body, and rejected me when they were done. My brain connecting the dots and somehow blaming my neediness for their leaving.
I’ve been called crazy. I’ve felt like a failure in the eyes of multiple health professionals – convinced they just saw me as a noncompliant patient, as someone who just wasn’t trying hard enough.
So somewhere along the way, I stopped really letting people in.
I felt too ashamed to keep showing up in need, to keep coming up short, to keep disappointing people.
Looking back at my relationship with my ex, I no longer feel such a deep sense of responsibility for its ending. I see now that I simply couldn’t let my walls down and let him in, let him see me, let him see the parts of me that I had learned were ugly, the parts of me that (I believe) had driven other men away in the past. This sense of threat lived deep within my psyche, within my nervous system, entirely out of my conscious awareness.
A few weeks ago, I took my highest dose of psychedelics yet. I had what I would describe as a psychedelic experience.
I had moments where I felt my identity – my ego – disappear, sort of losing connection with the fact that I was a woman, a human, and rather feeling like energy, a part of it all.
I experienced beautiful and fascinating visuals such as moving geometric shapes and patterns, colors, lights.
I had intense realizations, revelations and experiences – one of which is the following.
While masturbating, I tried to watch porn, only to quickly realize how deeply discusting and disturbing the content was. I threw my phone aside, closed my eyes, focusing instead on past (positive) sexual experiences, and my love for people and life in general.
As I reached climax, something very bizarre happened.
My entire body vibrated, my face contorted, I sobbed and I let out a burst of laughter, all in a split second.
I opened my eyes, in complete shock and awe at what I had just experienced, only to notice that everything around me was “connected” by subtle little rays of light.
“Everything is connected”, I thought to myself … or rather, I knew to myself.
There’s this weird thing that happens with psychedelics, where, some times, rather than knowing something cognitively, it feels like it’s a whole other level of knowing. It’s like a deep knowing, feeling like you’ve tapped into a higher level of truth.
And now, a few weeks later, as I lay in bed again, vibrator in hand, I opted to let my imagination and emotions guide me to climax, rather than to use porn.
I found myself thinking about my ex, and how sad I feel that my pain had created a divide between us, hurting him in the process. A few tears welled up in my eyes. Surprisingly, this didn’t take away from my rise to climax, but rather, contributed to it.
Then I thought of how closed off I’ve been to others, unable to let people in. At first I saw this metaphorically, but soon I realized this also manifested literally, in my inability to receive love physically, to willingly and openly let men penetrate me, to receive pleasure, to receive love in the most natural of ways.
Again, I felt sad, yet simultaneously relieved and excited at the thought of it. Realizing that all I wanted, what I craved so deeply, was to embrace my femininity and let life enter me, flow into me, fill me.
As I reached orgasm (entirely sober this time), I again had a deeply profound experience.
It’s like I was making love to life in general, to myself, connecting to the hurt in the world, to our need for love and our need to feel seen, validated and connected.
As the waves of orgasms slowly left my body, I felt a deep, loving sadness rise to my face. I let myself cry, a soft smile forming at my lips.
These tears, this crying, they are different than the hundreds of times I’ve sobbed over the last 15 years of my life.
I think it’s because I’m coming home to my self, I’m finally opening up, loving myself, letting myself be seen, letting myself be imperfect, letting myself depend on connection to others, opening up to love and life, metaphorically and literally.
And it feels damn good.