Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sex is always meaningful

I don't believe that "meaningless sex" exists.

You might reject the connection that sex creates, you might try and minimize it by making the experience anonymous and short. But you cannot escape the simple fact that those endorphins will be released into your blood, changing your mood and possibly creating bonding.

I'm not saying that casual sex is a bad thing, or that one night stands are immoral, or any of that.

Even that short, quick encounter is still an encounter between (I hope!) adult, consenting human beings. It's an act of communication. Communication bears meaning.

Sex is inherently meaningful. It's as simple as that.

That does not mean that it has an inherent glorious, "spiritual", metaphysical meaning. It can just be fun, and that is fine, if it is what you're after.

We should not let the religious right or other conservative groups occupy the idea of meaningful sex. What happens is that people distinguish "meaningful, monogamous, godly sex" from "meaningless, fast, yucky sex out of wedlock", and then move to discriminate against those who practice the wrong kind. I do not accept that distinction.

There is always meaning.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Deepity deepity derp derp!

If enlightenment exists, it is impossible to attain.

If there is a path, it does not lead to enlightenment.

If enlightenment does not exist, then there may be a path that leads to it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Why I abandoned meditation

This is part of my ongoing series of sermons to myself. Feel welcome to listen in, but don't feel obliged to think that anything I say is not ridiculous.

I started meditation back in, I think, 2003 to overcome my major depression. It worked. I got into zen buddhism.

I completely abandoned meditation, I dunno, around 2010. I did some informal practice in between, but only got back to a real, regular practice in 2017. I've become very serious about it since last fall, and I'm rather convinced that things will stay that way. (One does get older and a bit more stable over the years.)

I stand by my choice to have left the practice. It was a necessary step for me, and I think my current practice is probably in a way "better" for it.

So why did I leave?

I felt I was losing some desires and strong motivations which I wanted to keep.

I was steeped in buddhist ideas and metaphysics, my skeptical mind started rejecting all that. It was impossible to keep up the practice while going through that rejection process. That process turned out to have been very important for me.

It was impossible to maintain the practice, while criticising behaviour in others. Back then, I wasn't quite aware of it, but right now, I think that that is one big issue in my practice, and I think there was some intuition about it back then, too.

We do live in a world. I live in a democratic country. I am supposed to have opinions, and I think I should have opinions. Stuff is going on in my family, I am called to take sides, and I cannot easily just abandon them to have my beloved inner peace.

I find it very challenging to reconcile my practice, developing empathy, being with what is, while at the same time being aware that some things are hurtful, destructive, unwise, unskillful.

To me, that is where stoicism comes in. It helps me try and phrase my objections to actions instead of people, and to try and find formulations that are not hurtful. I find that one very simple, non-"spiritual", woo-free, pragmatic question very helpful: What is really under my control? Your actions are not under my control. If you decide to do something that I find immoral, then you sure have your reasons for it. But I can help you decide what actions to take, if you are prepared to listen.

If I encounter a situation where I think I must object, I will not try not to voice my objection. That would violate my ethics. I will not even try to be especially soft or persuasive about it. I will just try to be as logical as possible, laying my arguments out on the table; and I will try to let go of the idea that I can make the other person act or think the way I want.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Meditation and Mindfulness

People often describe mindfulness as "paying attention to whatever is happening in the now".

I think that this is a good example of how describing things from one's own experience, and then encoding them in religion, can lead to unfortunate results. (On the other hand, if you would like to preserve some "knowledge" that you deem worthy at ca 500 BC, man, what'cha gonna do?)

After all, when you're completely absorbed in your "monkey mind", then that's what you experience here and now, isn't it?

Just a few scattered remarks:

1) Mindfulness does feel like "paying attention to the here and now" to me - kinda/sorta.

2) Meditation is not the same as mindfulness. When we define mindfulness as above, then meditation might be the training ground. We practice a very specific (and deceptively simple) type of focus. This leads you away from identifying with your thoughts all the time, from being driven by that hodgepodge of melodramatic and emotional self-talk that (yes! from my experience, definitely yes!) we all engage in all the time. It makes sense to think that this leads you to a calmer mind (many people attest to that), which in turn might enable you to see things more like they really are (many people think that this is the case)... but is that necessarily true? Ugh. I don't know.

3) It is certainly true that whatever I experience now, including every thought, is precisely the "here and now", so why go look for it elsewhere? (There are people who think that liberation lies in realizing precisely this... look up "advaita vedanta" and nondualism.) But there is also the strange fact that we can look at our own thoughts from the outside, which is, in a way, what we do in meditation. So, maybe, we just build up an alternative way to look at ourselves, which might be practical or not, but probably can't hurt as long as you don't obsess over it.

4) Obsessing over it, ascribing way too much to it is one big mistake that is made all to often in "spiritual" flowery-powery newey-agey circles. And in buddhist circles, I guess. Some people do think that there is super-power in enlightenment.

5) Many people get into meditation by way of religion, often buddhist or hindu. Even without it, there are often "spiritual" overtones. So people go into it with certain expectations, and what they get out, unsurprisingly, tends to coincide with those. (Rare is the buddhist who got converted to Islam by her daily meditations. Not that they don't exist, I'm sure there are a few...)

6) "Seeing things for what they really are" can have a very specific meaning in buddhism which does not necessarily have a lot to do with "being in the here and now".

7) I do know that I am way less anxious, way more focused if I meditate regularly. I think I'm friendlier, and I definitely engage in fewer online fights. It is easier to eat good healthy food now, and I do my daily workout with joy instead of resistance. So, yeeey. (Could be shared cause instead of direct causation, of course.) I cannot deny that I sometimes think about "enlightenment", I do sooo like to dabble in half-buddhist thought, and sure would like to attain "it" - but I'm reasonably certain that that is bullshit, the brain does not allow for it, and one should give up on nirvana or anything of that kind.

8) I reject reincarnation, karma, and all that junk.

9) My favourite expression for my own goal wrt meditation is: I want to stop falling for my own bullshit. I have the impression that it does actually work.

10) If you want to try it, try it. If you don't, don't. If you try it, and it works, keep it. If you try it, and it doesn't work, then stop trying it and look for something else.

11) Enlightenment is shit on a stick.

Friday, January 5, 2018

A breakdown of multiple orgasms for men

This is the best, most systematic writeup of the topic I have seen so far, totally void of woo or religious wordgames.


Here are the key points:
  • There are four types of orgasm:
    • Ejaculatory orgasm (EO)
    • Non-ejaculatory orgasm (NEO)
    • Prolongued non-ejaculatory orgasm (PNEO)
    • Prostate orgasm (PO)
  • Step one: Ejaculatory control
    • You should be comfortable masturbating for 10+ minutes with constant stimulation (not having to stop and start a ton of times).
  • Step two: Kegel exercises
    • In order to stop yourself from ejaculating, you need to develop a strong PC muscle.
  • Step three: Daily practice
    • Set aside 20+ minutes each night to masturbate and work on it.
    • Don't use porn.
  • Step four: Separate orgasm from ejaculation
    • Orgasm is not caused by ejaculating, rather it normally happens in sync with and actually slightly before ejaculating.
    • Separate them for just a second by squeezing the penis.
  • Step five: Your first NEO
    • Work yourself up to a peak, and bring yourself down. Up and down.
  • Step six: Intensify your NEOs
    • Unlike a regular EO (ejaculatory orgasm), an NEO isn’t immediately extremely pleasurable, it’s something you have to build up to through practice.
  • Step seven: The  prolongued NEO (PNEO)
    • "Chain" your orgasms together for very long orgasms.
You can find all the details, plus a lot more information on the website I linked above, so be sure to visit it!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Accepting your sex fantasies can tame them

I am a guy in his 40s.  I have vague memories of a time when I was obsessed with sexual fantasies. I was young, immature, insecure, and I fapped off twice a day. I fantasised about bdsm-y things long before the internet, back in 1987 or so, and I was scared shitless.

I got into the bdsm scene around 2000. I lived out a bit of my fantasies, but the reality was rather frustrating: There was little action, my relationships were semi-functional, my fantasies were still rather obsessive.

Then I got into meditation, and, making a very long story (that involved many fights and struggles) very short, I learned two things:

1) You can let your fantasies glide through you, accepting that they come and go, not holding on to what you can't keep anyway.

2) You can enjoy your fantasies for what they are, instead of trying to make them come true; another way to look at this is that they are true, just not in physical reality, but inside your head.

I am now in a committed, "vanilla", monogamous, and very happy relationship. I have been for five years, so it's decidedly not just "new relationship enthusiasm". I never cheated, and I don't think I ever will. I sometimes fantasize about dick, but in all likelihood, I will never go through with that. And that is completely fine.  I don't think I prioritize the relationship. I don't give up one thing for another.

I often put my fantasies into sex stories. That's the only obsessive aspect that's left -- I have a hard time writing non-perverted material. I always end up incorporating some form of bdsm. But I have the impression that this is slowly gravitating towards a healthy form of integration, in which bdsm and non-consensual perverted sex are just parts of the story along with character development and compelling plots.

I think that many people have a dogma that sexual fantasies have to be lived out, or else they become obsessive or destructive. I think that this is wrong. They become obsessive when you desire them to be what they are not -- reality -- and you can't have that for whatever reason. So there are two things you can change, in order to become happier: You can make your fantasies real, or you can change that desire.

To be sure, if there is a good way to go for it, and nobody gets hurt, then that is wonderful, and I'm the last person to discourage you. Nobody should ever try to forcefully keep you from living out your fantasies! Sometimes, it's simply a good idea. Other times, it's not.

Of course, a lot of what I'm saying is probably down to getting older, and the hormone change that implies. There is a strong bias (I forget its name) to overestimate the influence of one's actions, and disregard pure circumstance. And I never performed any scientific studies to back up my claim, so take this with a huge grain of salt and check it against your own experiences!

TL;DR: Accepting is not the same thing as living out a fantasy. Accepting it is way more important. Often, when you do either thing, the other stops being an issue. So the question to solve is, which one is easier.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

"You're perfect, the world is perfect as it is, and be proud of who you are!"

No, no and no.

"You're perfect"

No, you're not perfect. Neither are you imperfect. There just is no standard of perfection for a human being.

You might have a crooked nose. That's not perfect. Is the classic "greek nose" perfect? No. Just as your crooked nose, it simply is the way it is, that's all. If you want, you can tell yourself that it's ugly, or that it's beautiful. That won't change a thing about the nose itself (though it will drastically change the way you relate to it). It is what it is.

"The world is perfect"

There are numerous wars going on right now. We're almost done destroying our own habitat. Almost all of the universe is uninhabitable, and if there are intelligent alien beings out there, they're so far away that we'll probably never meet.

Again, who sets the standard of perfection for the universe? Do you think you know how a universe is supposed to be? How many universes have you seen, so you can compare them to each other?

The world is the way it is. You can take yourself out of the equation, strive to lose ego, and I very much recommend that path, but that doesn't mean that the world is perfect or imperfect, it just means that you stop judging it.

"Be proud of who you are"

I'm not proud of being heterosexual. I'm not proud that my girlfriend is bi. I'm not proud of my country, my ancestry, my race. Should the 19th century British Earl of Hamletshire on the Brook be proud of his wealth and "nobility"? He didn't do a bloody lot to get it.

I know where the LGBTQAs are going with their pride movement, and I support their cause on a political level, but if you take it at face value, "pride" of being homosexual makes no sense.

Be proud of the good job you do, the good service you provide. Be proud of fighting for more equality. Be proud of the love you give to your partner (and the loving, for sure!), regardless of homo/hetero/nonbinary. Be proud of your actions, not of the way you were born.