Opening to Erotic Life

Written by Elfi Shaw and Gary Dillon

What does “opening to” something mean?

  1. Opening to something means to have a disposition to receive and accept the phenomenon on its own terms.
  2. Opening to something means being prepared to bless or praise the phenomenon as worthy, even if it has a shadow side.
  3. Opening to something means making room for it in space and time, making it a priority, if not at the top then close to the top.
  4. Opening to something means opening to it in the body, by consciously breathing into it and grounding or anchoring the energy its presence arouses.
  5. Opening to something means opening to a sense of trust in oneself as a decision maker, therefore to have clarity about self-responsibility and awareness of personal boundaries.

What is an erotic life?

  1. An erotic life is one in which sexual energy and arousal is welcomed and understood (as essentially innocent).
  2. An erotic life is one in which bodily pleasure–all pleasures–have a positive value.
  3. An erotic life is one where the loving, bonding, “attachment” quality of erotic power is included and respected; it is relational.
  4. An erotic life is one which is open to nature and sensitive to beauty–and not only the beauty of the eye, but also the beauty of the other senses–beauty of the ear, beauty of touch, beauty of taste, beauty of smell.
  5. An erotic life is one in which “intercourse sex” is only one of a great diversity of erotically interesting activities.
  6. An erotic life is one where there is ample space for play and humor.
  7. An erotic life is one in which passionate expressions of work and play and art are supported and made a priority.
  8. An erotic life is one in which bodily life–the senses, movement and dance, feeling and emotion, are embraced and included. Deep embodiment entails attention to sensation, pulsation, rhythm and movement, grounding, centering, and especially breathing.
  9. An erotic life is one in which a connection between sexuality and spirituality, including spiritual practices like meditation, prayer, visualization, etc. can be freely considered and developed or creatively evolved.
  10. An erotic life is one where erotic choices/decisions are considered with openness to the intrinsic values of erotic embodiment rather than extrinsic values being first. Intrinsic values are those which emerge from the erotic world itself (pleasure, gratitude, joy, forgiveness, compassion, mercy). Extrinsic values are moral or cultural categories which are intended to override or cancel out the impulses and contributions of nature.

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