FOREPLAY (I MEANT FOREWORD!)
As per normal I would like to remind readers that these blog articles represent my interpretation of Ayurvedic concepts reflected through life experience (mostly my own and partially those of others). This article is quite long. I have been writing it for several months in my spare time. More so than my other articles, it requires a few preliminary words, so as to clarify it’s origins and purpose.
Stay tuned for workshops and courses on
Ayurvedic Sexuality in France
via my professional site Ayurveda Source
A little background about the author (skip this if you know me)
I am in my early forties. I am a man. I am in a blissful monogamous relationship that is about 20 years young. I am a Westerner and have few ties to India and its diverse culture. I do not consider myself to be religious, nor atheist nor belonging to any sort of group or sect or school or particular philosophy. Despite this, I have dedicated a large part of the last 15 years to the study, practice and teaching of Ayurveda (ancient India’s traditional holistic medical system). Prior to meeting Ayurveda, I was an avid reader and modest practitioner of the Yoga traditions (Hatha, Mantra, Jnana, Karma to name a few). I am also a passionate musician.
Type-wise, my Ayurvedic profile is Vata-dominant. Kapha follows in second place with Pitta close behind. My mental and physical profiles are more or less in phase. As Vata dominant, my stand-out keywords are creativity, innovation, flexibility, curiosity, detachment, expansion to name a few. Kapha in second place has opposing qualities such as a need for security and stability, connection, home-loving etc. I have a strong need to understand life, which is usually perceived as a Pitta traite. But in my case, this need tends to express through the style of Vata (searching far and wide but not particularly deeply, linking, getting a quick integral overview of stuff). Why I have stuck with Ayurveda for so long is a mystery to me! (I am sure Jyotish – Vedic astrology – has plenty to say about this, but alas, to this day, I have not found reason to believe in it despite efforts to do so !
Training-wise, I studied with Vaidya Atreya Smith (France) and Vamadeva (Dr David Frawley USA). I continue to enjoy reading their works, along with works by other popular “1st generation Western Ayurvedic teachers” including Dr Vasant Lad, Robert Svoboda (my favourite) and Dr. John Douillard among others. I continue to read the classics (Ashtanga Hridayam, Charaka Samhita and sometimes Sushruta Samhita and Bhavaprakash).
Practice wise, I have been teaching and consulting in France (www.gardoussel.com) for since around 2001. In my practice, I am dedicated to:
- Exploring Ayurveda as a roadmap to understanding life, especially health
- Teaching a practical and honest introduction to Ayurveda
- Helping others promote their own well-being through Ayurveda
- Continuing to assess whether Ayurveda stands up to emerging scientific and philosophical developments.
I am mostly interested in how Ayurveda meets contemporary efforts to figure out life. I am mostly interested in prevention and management of mild to moderate health ailments, personal development and spiritual growth. I am less interested in the management of severe physical disease.
Why am I writing about sexuality?
As we will soon see below, Ayurveda places emphasis on optimising (freeing, mastering, accepting, opening to) our approach towards nutrition, sleep and sexuality. I have always taught the importance of these three pillars of health, though it has only been in the last few years that I have taken a closer look at sexuality (note my more recent WordPress blog : Ayurveda Tantra where I share in detail many aspects of this journey).
The article that follows represents the first of several shares on the subject of sexuality from an Ayurvedic point of view. This article provides an understanding on how things work. Later articles will focus on what we can do with this understanding.
While based on Ayurvedic axioms, I have naturally had to interpret my own experiences through these fundamental concepts. This article has not been reviewed by my colleagues nor my teachers (whom I no longer study directly with). So please, take everything I say with an open mind and heart. If it helps you, great, if not, ditch it!
THE ACT (I MEAN THE ARTICLE!)
Ayurveda highlights the role that our sex life plays in overall health and well-being for body and mind. In the preventative health lessons in the classic teachings, “Three Pillars of Health” are defined as :
- Food i.e. balanced reception of energy (many articles for example)
- Sleep i.e. balanced recuperation of energy (see previous article)
- Non-abstinence or sexuality i.e. balanced expression of energy
Even if you are not sexually active, your body-mind has been designed to receive and express energy and emotion. We receive primarily via our five senses (hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell) and we express primarily via five respective means of action (speech, touch, locomotion, urination/sexuality and elimination). The mind (Manas in Sanskrit) is considered a sixth double whammy sense-action organ capable of both gathering and organizing sensations and acting/expressing it’s own thoughts, feelings, impressions.
Many layers of meaning can be found in the Three Pillars. In this article, I would like to explore the question of sexuality. Note, because I am a man, I have chosen to focus mainly on the male perspective.
SEXUAL ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY ACCORDING TO AYURVEDA
ANNAMAYAKOSHA – Physical aspect (the body)
The Doshas (psycho-biological intelligence principles)
Our biological intelligence appears in three ways known as Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). The Doshas control all aspects of our physical body i.e. Dhatu: tissue anatomy/structure, Mala: tissue by-products and Srotas: physiology/function of Dhatu and Mala.
Vata controls everything to do with movement, coordination and communication. Pitta controls everything to do with digestion/reduction and heat production. Kapha controls everything to do with structure/synthesis, cohesion and lubrication. Vata governs homeostasis. Pitta enables catabolic processes (ones that reduce tissues and liberate heat and energy). Kapha enables anabolic processes (ones that build tissues and conserve energy).
The Doshas as their underlying energies govern our bodies and how they function. No one organ or system operates in isolation from them. However, most organs have a predominance of one or two Doshas. In the case of the male sexual anatomy and physiology, Vata and Kapha dominate. Vata through the mobile aspect, and Kapha via structure. In the female body, Pitta and Kapha dominate. However, both men and women have all three Doshas acting together to some extent.
Vata Dosha is appearing more through the function of movement. It enables sensory stimulation, arousal, erection, orgasm and movement of sexual fluids prior to and during ejaculation.
Kapha is appearing through the production of structure and substance. It assures the volume and quality of sexual fluids (sperm, semen, pre-ejaculate or pre-cum) as well as the structure of the testicles, prostate, penis and all the connections between them.
Pitta affords a secondary role in that it manages the quality and quantity of the blood. To some extent, Pitta will influence the movement of Vata and the structure of Kapha. In particular, Pitta will influence the fluidity and temperature of our sexual anatomy and physiology.
While the male reproductive system is more Vata and Kapha at a functional level, overall male sexuality is more Pitta or hot and aggressive in nature, as we all know through masculine energy. This is because the reproductive system tends to follow an opposite polarity of the body as a whole, a kind of seeking of the opposite energy of the opposite sex.
Similarly the female reproductive system has a Pitta quality through the menstrual fluid that is connected to the blood. The female bod overall, however, is more Kapha and Vata in nature, which feminine qualities relate.
The Dhatus (organs, tissues, structure)
The male and female reproductive organs are supported mainly via Shukra Dhatu. In men this means the testicles, prostate and the penis. The functional aspect of this equipment is named Shukravahasrotas in Ayurveda.
The quality and quantity of Shukra is governed by Kapha. The different activities of Shukravahasrotas are governed by Vata. As is the case with most organs and systems, multiple secondary Dhatus and their respective Srotas (“channels”) are involved in supporting the primary Dhatu achieve its purpose. In particular, Rasa Dhatu fills and nourishes the penis as does Rakta Dhatu (together they comprise the plasma-blood complex among other things).
What is the role that Shukra is providing? All Dhatus provide some kind of support. Being true to Ayurveda, Dhatu literally means “support” and not “tissue” or “organ”. By defining Dhatu as the word “tissue”, we reduce it to the idea of a material or a mere structure. By defining them with the term “Dhatu” we draw emphasis to the fact that they are supports for life.
Shukra is the ultimate product or fruit of the body, capable of joining with its opposite sex counterpart to create new life. Shukra is therefore a kind of super-refined, super-concentrated essence of all of the other Dhatus. It has a potential to generate life, which no other Dhatu has. Like a tree produces fruits that contain seeds, our Dhatus produce Shukra which produces our seeds (the sperm and ovules). In Ayurveda, these are called our “Bija” (literally seed or grain).
According to Ayurveda, Shukra also produces a subtle by-product called Ojas. Ojas is our vital essence, the ultimate tissue/fluid concentrate. It is a highly refined form of energy encapsulated in an almost mystical physical substance that provides us with vitality, immunity and glow! Ojas circulates in our bodies and nourishes all of our Dhatus with a special kind of sustenance.
“Individuals having the excellence of Shukra Dhatu are characterized by gentleness, gentle look, having eyes as if filled with milk, cheerfulness, having teeth which are unctuous, round, strong, even and beautiful, clean and unctuous complexion and voice, dazzling appearance and large buttocks. Such individuals are loved by women [men wrote the classics !], they are strong and endowed with happiness, power, health, wealth, honour and children. “ – Charaka Samhita
According to Ayurveda, Shukra should be protected and cultivated for maximum potential to create healthy children as well as to promote optimal health and vitality. Shukra can become depleted through poor nutrition and accumulation of toxins (upstream causes) or by wasting it through depleting forms of sexuality, stress or the use of strong stimulants and recreational drugs (downstream causes).
From a physical standpoint, a “depleting kind of sexuality” is when a man ejaculates excessively, which is more pronounced in Vata types that tend towards dryness. And for men and women, any form of sexuality that focuses on a strong downward release of energy out of the body. Many modern teachers of Tantric sexuality draw attention to this nuance by showing the difference between two styles of orgasm, two approaches to sex. One is lust based and hot, the other is love based and cooler. I have taken the liberty to represent these differences in the form of the following table, drawing from my knowledge of Ayurveda and my recent explorations and research into Tantric sexuality:
Two Styles of Orgasm
|REDUCING / DEPLETING||BUILDING / NOURISHING|
|· Orgasm feels like a quick release of energy.
· Results in a feeling of depletion, separation or emptiness.
· Lustful / genitally based awareness
· Hot in nature
· Typical for a man, usually happens with ejaculation type orgasm. Though woman may find that clitoral orgasm has more of this feeling or when they are more focussed on lust or the need to release tension.
· Genital explosion or release of energy.
· Considerable loss of arousal follows.
|· Orgasm feels like an implosion of energy*.
· Results in a feeling of repletion, oneness or fullness.
· Loving / heart based awareness.
· Cooler in nature
· More typical for women, especially if there is cervical (deep vaginal) orgasm, though men can have this feeling even with ejaculation if their attention is on love rather than lust.
· Whole body implosion or internal circulation or movement of energy.
· Little or no loss of arousal follows.
*Some may not call this an orgasm, owing to its different nature, may see it more like a state of deep connection and happiness. Some regard it as occurring through restraining the orgasmic urge and drawing the energy to a deeper level rather than simply letting it out. It is sometimes regarded for the male as avoiding ejaculation.
With reducing orgasms, one tends to feel a relatively strong feeling of physical calm, emptiness or heaviness afterwards. So apart from the momentary high it gives, many people use it as pleasurable way to de-stress, release tension, relax, calm down, or encourage sleep. If we over-indulge in reducing orgasms, we can produce a relative insufficiency of Shukra Dhatu. Charaka explains:
“Signs of reduced or deficient Shukra Dhatu include weakness, dryness of mouth, pallor, lassitude, exhaustion, impotency and non-ejaculation of semen”. – Charaka Samhita
Nourishing orgasms are rarer for men (especially Vata and Pitta men) though accessible via practice. They tend to result in a milder form of calm and release, along with the paradoxical sense of aliveness, repletion, fullness and vitality. Rather than an intense build up of energy bursting out and away, energy stays in the body, or circulates between bodies.
MANOMAYAKOSHA – Mental / emotional aspect (thoughts and emotions)
Many nuances take form as pure consciousness (Shiva) unfolds through primordial energy (Shakti) dividing into numerous apparently separate forms including our own Mind-Body complexes. The mind is as vast as the physical universe, if not more so (the estimated number of potential connections between the neurons in your brain exceeds the estimated total number of atoms in the known universe!). Thoughts and emotions around sexuality are equally vast. Many cultural styles exist and have to be included in our attempt to understand their Doshic aspects. Remember, the Doshas are in this sense prior to or fundamental in comparison to the cultural rules or forms that our minds often take as final. Each person, with their unique conditionings, will need to tease apart their acquired programming to access the underlying Doshic style of their Prakriti.
Vata is all about movement. Change, novelty, excitement, stimulation, thrill, discovery, exploration, variety, curiosity, changeability, irregularity, spontaneity, superficiality, are keywords. We all have Vata and we all relate to this aspect of sexuality to a greater or lesser extent. In the mental aspect of sexuality, Vata relates to the anticipation of novelty and sexual arousal. Sexual fantasy is first and foremost the domain of Vata. Vata mentality is constantly moving. Nothing will last for a long time. Vata’s mental attitude to sex can be fickle and flighty, and needless to say, quite cerebral.
Pitta is all about digestion and heat production. Psychologically this translates as mental digestion, desire, passion, intensity, purposefulness, goal-seeking, challenge-seeking, proactivity, competition, performance, comparison, judging, understanding, winning, truth. In sexuality, Pitta is behind the horny or hungry energy that may be felt as the urge to ravish, to “take” or “consume” our partner in lust. The Pitta inside us often gets turned on by the chase, or by the challenge of facilitating great sex, to give our partner or ourselves an amazing experience, to reach a higher goal, to go past known limits. Pitta’s mental attitude towards sexuality is often related to the idea of performance. So a strong Pitta mind-set might show as a desire to lead, control or dominate in the act of love-making.
Kapha is all about cohesion and comfort. Keywords for the Kapha side of our sexual mind-sets are: safety, security, tenderness, fullness, fondness, connectedness, stability, commitment, compassion, attachment and love. Romantic thoughts are an expression of the Kapha mind-set. In the eyes of the Romantic, “Love is all” ! Kapha motivates us to use sex as a way of bonding, connecting, filling-up with love and security.
The neurochemicals dopamine and oxytocin are both related to sexuality. Dopamine, the “arousal molecule” relates more to the Vata aspects of our psychology; the thrill, the excitement. Even the even risk aspects of sex. Oxytocin, the “bonding molecule” relates more to the loving connection aspect of sexuality, which is the domain of Kapha. Vata uses dopamine. Kapha uses Oxytocin.
We all have three the Doshas, so we can all relate to the above mental aspects of our sexuality. Probably though, we have some degree of dominance in the area of one, or maybe two Doshas.
Motivations for having sex according to mental Doshas
|For the thrill
For the rush, the “frisson”
To feel tingling
To feel alive
To feel excited
To feel energy moving
|For the passion
For the challenge
To feel ravenous
To feel intensity
To produce pleasure
To release into emptiness
|For the love
For the connection
To feel loving and loved
To feel blissful
To produce stability
To open and be filled
Much can be derived from the above notions. For example, if your mental nature is dominated by Vata followed by Kapha, you would be more likely to first seek novelty (due to Vata) then stability (from Kapha). One way this could manifest would be by seeking to maintain variety within the stability and depth of a long-term monogamous relationship. A Vata mind-set is usually brimming with creativity, offering an abundance of new approaches, contexts, techniques, fantasies. Kapha places more importance on regularity, comfort, deep heart-connection.
Vata seeks frequent superficial connection. Vata wants plenty of movement and stimulation, both mentally and physically. The sexual appetite is quick to come and quick to go and varies in intensity, shape and form. It moves rapidly from one thing to another. Vata wants sex most often, and is happiest with many short sessions.
Pitta seeks intense purposeful connection. Pitta wants focussed movement, heat and passion. The goal of orgasm can be very important for Pitta. The sexual appetite is moderately frequent and intense. Pitta is interested is moderately long sessions. Some degree of challenge can be an important part of their experience, such as the challenge of expanding sexual mastery.
Kapha seeks tender heartfelt connection. Kapha is innately timid, cool and slow. They seek gentle loving movement with much tenderness and heartfelt union. Kapha has much patience and compassion. They are more interested in the feeling of love over the feeling of passion or excitement. Kapha needs time to access these aspects of themselves. So typically, Kapha prefers lovemaking sessions that are slow, steady, loving and potentially quite long. The effects of good sex last the longest for Kapha, as they have a very good cellular and emotional memory.
Mental Dosha Clashes
Here are some ways in which the mental aspect of the Doshas can cause problems as they meet their opposites in bed:
Vata might get bored with Kapha and find Pitta too serious.
Pitta could find Vata too distracting and Kapha too sensitive.
Kapha might feel Vata is too superficial and Pitta too intense.
The superficial and nonsensical aspect of Vata can be frustrating for the passionate fires of Pitta and the deep running waters of Kapha who both find it a little easier to be rooted in the physical, the here and now. Even though sex can serve to ground Vata in the body, the Vata mind-style tends to drift off into the world of thought (sexual or otherwise). Conversely, a Vata mentality might become bored or distracted when making love with the calm waters of Kapha. Vata can also become disconnected when faced with the serious and intense nature of Pitta’s sexuality. In fact, “disconnection” is something that Vata is innately prone towards in all aspects of life. It comes from their Spacey Airy nature.
Pitta loves heat, and a kind of love-making that is very intent, focussed, hot, and passionate. In this space, the superficiality of Vata (who might be floating off into mental realms) or the tenderness seeking side of Kapha might be experienced as a frustration for Pitta.
Sexuality can seem complex, especially if we identify as a separate personality, an individualised mind-body-complex. Devoid of recognising our common ground (beingness, oneness) we feel as if we are separate. A separate mental-emotional-body-boom-box that often gets tangled and hurt when the powerful sexual energy is given an opportunity to play. Ultimately, the definitive route to sexual harmony is to bring blissful awareness of oneness into the act of lovemaking. In other-words, we open-up to the meditative dimensions of sexuality, whether alone or in company. Many modern schools of Tantra aim to do this. This “spiritual” dimension of Ayurveda can be invoked in any aspect of day to day life. Whether it be nutrition, sleep or sexuality. Look! Become aware of your original nature as timeless undivided beingness, oneness, unbounded love, bliss, aliveness. Notice that right now, right here, you can sense this foundation. Notice that everything that is appearing is appearing in you! You are pure awareness. Whether or not this sense of your personal reality is felt momentarily or otherwise, it is hard to dispute its existence. So Ayurveda, most profoundly, invites you to exist fully, aware of this common Self that we share. And notice that WITHIN this undivided Self of pure awareness, pure love, notice that forms appear. Other appears! The personality of Alex is an appearance along with any other object
Ayurveda offers a simple way of identifying seemingly unrelated facets of our sexuality into the simple but essential triad of the Doshas. Cultural conditioning, sexual orientation, sexual perversions and fetishes, lovemaking styles, sexual neurosis including mental-emotional dysfunctions; these can all be interpreted in terms of Vata (wind and aliveness), Pitta (fire and passion) and Kapha (water and love).
Given that our sexual energy is one of the most potent forms of life energy, we often find that it is involved in other aspects of our lives (physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy). Especially, our creativity is intimately bound up with our sexuality.
PRANAMAYAKOSHA – Energy aspect
Prana means energy or life-force. It also means intelligence. Context is everything with Sanskrit! According to Yogic anatomy and physiology, the body-mind-soul can be divided into five layers or sheaths. I think of them as five vibrations of universal energy. The five sheaths (Pancha Maya Kosha) are defined as:
- Anna Maya Kosha (food sheath i.e. body & world)
- Prana Maya Kosha (energy sheath i.e. feelings & sensation)
- Mano Maya Kosha (emotional sheath i.e. desire & aversion)
- Vijnana Maya Kosha (intellectual sheath i.e. thought & intellect)
- Ananda Maya Kosha (bliss sheath i.e. innermost self & sense of oneness)
The subtler dimension of sensation opens into the realm of Prana Maya Kosha, connecting the body to the mind. Experiences that relate to the notion of energy include many sensations that we are familiar with already including: tingling, shivers, feelings of heat or coolness as well as feelings like gravity etc. As our energy moves through the Prana Maya Kosha towards the body, it operates through the Prana Vaha Srotas (channels of energy relating to the physical functions of the physical body) breathing life into all our other physical channels (physiological systems: circulation, digestive, etc). In this sense, our energy sheath is governing our physical body.
Sexuality ties in with our expression of energy in life. So much energy is required to build healthy Shukra Dhatu. It is the last Dhatu in the chain to receive nutrition in part from the other Dhatus. According to Ayurveda, today’s Shukra is in part nourished from the food we ate a month or so ago. Certain components of that meal had to be successively metabolised by all the preceding Dhatus in order to hand a very special gift to Shukra.
As we have seen from the discussion on Shukra Dhatu, Ojas is produced by Shukra. Ojas is the essence of all of our seven Dhatus, produced by Shukra. Ojas is like a positive essence of Kapha Dosha. Like nectar, it contains a lot of energy. Ojas circulates in our body and helps protect us by providing a kind of vitality essence to our more refined life systems (immunity, neurological stability etc).
In order to have access to adequate energy, in order to feel alive and motivated in life, we need Ojas. Ojas comes from Shukra, so we need to have optimal levels and optimal quality of Shukra. Low levels of energy and enthusiasm can be coming from poor nutrition or lack of sleep. But a third cause is depleted Shukra Dhatu or deficient or disturbed flow in the channels of Shukra. Sexual frustration (not being able to assure our sexual urges) can lead to imbalances in our overall energy and therefore creativity and expression of life are affected, among other things.
Personally, I have noticed feeling less sexually frustrated when I have been overtly creative (such as when teaching, or making music). I have also noticed that by practicing male cultivation (non-ejaculation and beyond), I can bring about increased capacity for other creative uses of energy. It is my observation that a harmonious sexual energy goes hand in hand with harmonious creative energy.
Our energy-nature correlates to our Ayurvedic Prakriti (our body-mind type)
Vata body types tend to have unstable energy and erratic libido that is often difficult to control. It is very quick, light, sensitive, mobile, changeable, unpredictable and cold. Typically, under normal conditions, and in the absence of pathological states, Vata Prakriti has a “windy” libido: quick to reach variable heights of arousal followed by a variably intense release (orgasm) of fairly short duration. The advantage for Vata Prakriti is that arousal is usually quite easy (quick) and recovery rate is quite fast as well.
Vata Prakriti has a low capacity for Prana because they naturally produce less Shukra and Ojas (Vata produces less of all body tissues and substances and Ojas is necessary to hold Prana at a deeper level). As a result, Vata’s have relatively poor sexual endurance. They get excited very quickly, then reach a peak quickly. At this point, their energy circuits overload and they can’t easily contain the level of tension so they release into a fairly localised normal orgasm that for men results in ejaculation. Vata is rapid and cycles frequently. Many Vata men and women seek to prolong sex or amplify the sensations, especially as their overall levels of Prana begin to become irregular or depleted. Luckily, many solutions exist to allow us to do this.
Pitta body types have hot, light, penetrating energy. It is mobile, though less unstable than Vata. Their “fiery” libido is intense and passionate. Arousal builds moderately quickly towards an intense peak of moderate duration. Pitta, when stimulated, can more quickly and with great passion. Typically, under normal conditions, Pitta’s have good control over their sexuality, providing they can learn to cool down as they approach higher levels of stimulation. Once a Pitta body type reaches a certain level of arousal, they will not want to give it up until they reach their goal (usually an orgasm). This may be all the more true for Pitta types who for some reason or another experience some variability in the functioning of their physical arousal. For example, in the case of duel Vata-Pitta body types.
Kapha body types have slow, steady, soft, grounded, cool energy. Arousal builds slowly and steadily towards a powerful but drawn-out peak with less intensity than that of Pitta. Compared to the relatively quick arousal of Vata and Pitta, Kapha’s sexual energy takes longer to build. However, they posses the best endurance or ability to prolong arousal and delay orgasm should they wish to do so.
FIVE SENSES / FIVE SENSUALITIES
If you have studied Ayurvedic anatomy and physiology, you will have learned that each of the three Doshas governs five states of matter, each or which correlates to one of our five primary senses (receptive faculties) and five respective styles of action (expressive faculties).
Vata governs space (expansion) and wind (movement) which in turn relate to the senses of hearing and touch. As a result, a Vata dominant energy profile will find that they are particularly attuned to the dimensions of sound and touch in their sexuality. They will be most excited by the sounds of sex and the touch-sensations that come with it, including the feeling of energy rising, moving, circulating, shooting, rushing through their bodies. They might be inclined to close their eyes and get lost in pleasurable feelings (tingling, shivers etc).
Pitta governs fire (light/heat) and hot-fluidity which in turn relates to the senses of sight and heat sensation. So Pitta dominant energy profiles tend to be fascinated by the visual and heat aspects of sex. They will be more turned on by the sights of sex than its sounds. Eyes open or closed, they tend to focus on the “hot” aspects of their partner’s bodies (passionate eyes, full hot lips, engorged genitals…). In terms of sensation, they like to feel increased heat transfer (which is a different kind of touch to that of Vata).
Kapha governs water (cool-liquidity) and earth (solidity) which in turn relates to the senses of taste (flavour) and smell (aroma). So Kapha dominant energy profiles will orient more towards the sensory realms of taste and smell. On a subtle level, the Kapha concept represents nourishment, so the feeling of drinking in love and devotion from the sweet taste of a kiss and the sweet aroma of your lover makes for a deep, profound connection. Note also that the sense of smell is highly correlated with memory and the concept of stability (earth element). A long-term bond is established via the processes that Kapha governs.
Of course, all of us can identify with the realms of all five senses and no doubt all of us seek a wide spectrum of experience through them in the sexual field of experience. But again, it can be useful to increase awareness around your particular uniqueness in this respect, as with the other aspects of the Doshas. At the end of the day, the more clearly we perceive our own nature, the more freely and completely we can express ourselves through our sexuality. And perhaps most importantly, the more deeply we and fully we can make peace with ourselves and our partners, despite our differences.
AFTERGLOW (I MEAN CONCLUSION!)
“Ayurveda on Sex – Part 1” is incomplete. Like any ongoing relationship, there is always more to learn and more to share. As a first date, I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone. I’m not sure when exactly we will meet again, but hopefully not too soon. Many people in my life are becoming more vocal and more comfortable discussing sexuality. Great! It’s about time we brought our sexualities out into the open and treated them with the same care and attention that we are doing with nutrition, yoga, mediation and general wellbeing.
I wish to acknowledge the people who have inspired or assisted me with respect to sexuality over the last few years.
First, the one known to me as OTL. You da best! A big thanks also to the coaching I have received from Al Link (Relationship Happiness), Jacques Drouin (Tantric Arts of Love). Both these guys have given me guidance on how to explore cultivation, non-ejaculation and expansion of sexual pleasure and awareness.
Second, to David Deida, who’s work (all of it) I highly recommend. If it wasn’t for his teachings I am not sure where I would be now!
Third place goes to: Diana & Michael Richardson (All their books – no goals meditative approach to sex), Barbera Carrellas (Urban Tantra – open hearted and up-to-date tantra inspired sexuality), Keepitup Johnson (Love Satisfies – keeping it simple for men, going beyond ejaculation), John Gottman (All his books – science on marriages and what a woman needs), Esther Perel (Mating In Captivity – eros and keeping flames burning), Marnia Robinson (Cupids Poisoned Arrow – sex without orgasms), Kerry Riley (Tantric Sex For Men – another tantra voice for men), Alex Vartman (The New Tantra School – his videos were useful and amusing).
Fourth place goes to the classic books by Mantak Chia who’s works are seminal but a little too technical for my Vata-Kapha mind style.
Fifth place goes to Atreya Smith who’s early book Practical Ayurveda offered a personal view of the Ayurvedic sexuality discussion.
Sixth place goes to myself (the part of me that wanted more), without whom, I would never have put all of this wisdom to practice.
Note to reader: there is a lack of Ayurvedic Sexuality references in this list. My observation is that Ayurveda as presented in the West has yet to embrace this third and important pillar of health with the same degree of openness and transparency that is afforded to the first two pillars. If you have come across any great references on the subject, please do share.
Final note to reader. More so that any other article, this one invites you to share. Please share your thoughts and especially your experiences. Doing so will help me embellish part two of this series of articles.