Going Beyond the Orgasm 7 ways to reach a psychasm, a deeper and more meaningful sexual connection with your spouse on the inside. BY DENISE J CHARLES
It's important to embrace the journey of your sexual encounter rather that focus exclusively on the end.
“ Great sex is about connecting with our partner at the level of body, mind and soul.”
As an expert on sex and an author on the subject, I think I’m fairly well poised to understand our preoccupation with the orgasm. As it turns out, the sexual climax: its quality, intensity, longevity, ability to be experienced multiple times is pretty much standard fare in magazines, blogs and books that discuss sexuality. And perhaps it should be. Who wants to go on a journey without the hope of reaching the end? Who wants to watch an exciting movie or read a thrilling novel without enjoying its earth-shattering highpoint? It’s just how we humans are wired; the end seems even more important than the journey.
Having said that, if we transfer this understanding to our intimate sexual relationships, can we honestly say that an orgasm always brings with it a feeling of completion or fulfillment? What exactly is up when some of us are left wanting and craving more, even after our orgasm has subsided? And should we really focus so much on "the end" or should we revisit the entire journey?
While I could never trivialize the orgasm and maintain a straight face, I think that the big "O" may not always be all it’s cracked up to be. In other words, it is not a guaranteed solution to every relationship challenge or problem, nor does it automatically signify that all is right in our sexual world. As I am at pains to maintain in my book, great mind-blowing sex is perhaps about a lot more than the physical logistics of the penis, vagina and our other erogenous zones. In the context of marriage, we are actually attempting to make love to more than our spouse’s genitals.
Great sex is about connecting with our partner at the level of body, mind and soul. The term 'psychasm' coined by the author of "Super Marital Sex," Paul Pearsall, Ph. D., actually defines this concept of a deeper sexual connection quite well.
Accordingly, the psychasm supersedes and goes beyond just the physical orgasm. It speaks of absolute vulnerability and openness derived from lowering barriers and pretences for complete self-exposure; conditions which foster true intimacy. By extension, I would assume that it requires complete honesty with one’s self and one’s spouse. Such honesty is not a means to expose, embarrass or tear down, instead, however tempered, is a way to build and affirm. Phychasm literally removes the word "organ" from orgasm and focuses instead on the psychology of sexual release.
Having the psychasm as a sexual resolution is an admirable goal. But I agree that it may seem somewhat airy-fairy and difficult to grasp. What exactly is it and why should we want one? Perhaps it may help to think of it as more than just a 10-second sexual event, but as an extended state of being which is capable of redefining the sexual encounter over the long-term. As Professor Pearsall puts it, we should have as our goal the sexualization of the entire marriage, so that intimacy and honesty become states of being which define the marriage and enhance the sexual experience. In this way, sex is holistic and not compartmentalized or limited to the 10-minute romp we have in the bedroom or on the counter-top.
The following suggestions are practical ways of maximizing our sexual experience by going beyond the mere physical thrill of the orgasm into the more integrated experience of the psychasm.
Clear the air of emotional and sexual baggage: Release unresolved hurts from childhood or from previous relationships that have the power to intrude on true sexual intimacy with your spouse. Make an effort to expose past hurts by sharing with your partner or by seeking professional help where required. This creates a psychological space for ongoing honesty with your mate and enhances intimacy on all counts.
Deliberately preserve emotional exclusivity with your spouse: While we may all have old and treasured friends from our "past lives" or may meet new people with whom we connect, it is important to define our marriage with a sense of exclusivity. Having "couple secrets" or a quality to our relationship which sets it apart from all others is critical to preserving its sense of uniqueness.
Revisit your lovemaking language and concepts: While we may never escape the concept of "coming" during the sex act, perhaps focusing on "being" may help us somewhat to move beyond the limitations of orgasm. Enjoying all aspects of the sexual journey is critical if we want to rework where we focus all of our energy. Yes, the sense of completion a climax can bring is important, but the pleasuring of the entire experience and our active presence "in the moments," should perhaps be more our goal.
Practice active forgiveness: Holding a grudge against your spouse can be entirely counter-productive to the pursuit of sexual intimacy. It is imperative that couples not allow lapses to occur after fights, arguments or serious rifts. Honest dialogue should be pursued so that mutual forgiveness can be exercised. This frees us up for deeper sexual connection.
Sexualize everyday moments: See your sexual relationship as your ongoing relationship and vice-versa. This means that your method of relating throughout the day is governed by thoughtfulness and the expression of desire. Desiring your husband or wife is not limited to wanting to literally "get it on," but it means that you have a tangible connection which sensitizes you to each others’ needs. This keeps you constantly aware of each other even when apart. Sexualizing moments also includes utilizing the mind to think sexual thoughts about your spouse throughout the day, as well as being physically affectionate through touch.
De-genitalize the sexual encounter: Deliberately forget today’s focus on things like penis size and "designer vaginas;" a more holistic view of sex allows us to understand the importance of the entire body. Delaying genital touch for as long as possible could therefore be fairly exciting. Making an effort to dwell on other areas like toes, noses, eyes, finger tips, palms, ears, the head and the massaging of limbs, can function to bring the entire body into the sexual encounter while still enhancing the sensations that will undoubtedly come to the genitals.
Open your eyes: There is something to be said for the eyes being the windows to the soul. Sharing deep glances during your lovemaking, when every fiber of your being is inviting you to close them, can provide very telling moments. While we close our eyes because of the intensity of pleasure, we also do so out of fear, embarrassment and a need to hide. By opening them, you are risking exposing your pleasure and your vulnerability and you are entrusting this to the one you have vowed to share your life with. This can be incredible for maximizing the sense of freedom, which comes to the sexual release and can truly move it from mere orgasm to psychasm.