One morning while we were making love, I hit upon something I never knew existed…
I bumped up against my pleasure threshold! Whoa! Too intense!
I contracted and backed off, which I’m sure I’ve done before — unconsciously. The difference this time was I could see it. I couldn’t quite verbalize it, but my very intuitive and sensitive partner changed positions to de-escalate for a while.
Then he resumed the position where I had previously hit my pleasure threshold. This time, recognizing it in advance, I was able to breathe through it and let go into an extraordinary new level of intimacy and sexual ecstasy.
Most of us rarely experience our real pain threshold unless we are in a major accident or have a serious disease or disorder, because we are culturally encouraged to avoid experiencing pain, physical or emotional, whenever possible. Television ads for painkillers abound.
When I was researching the procedure for my son to have his wisdom teeth extracted some years ago, I learned that “wake me when it’s over” is a common attitude in the oral surgeon’s office. Localized numbing isn’t enough; people would typically rather go through the recovery (financial and physical) from a general anesthesia than be conscious of what’s going on, even if there is no actual physical pain.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with avoiding pain – but I’m here to forewarn you of the consequences relative to pleasure.
Pain and pleasure are at opposite ends of the same continuum – a continuum of intensity of experience. Pain, or the possibility of it, provides a backdrop against which we can experience pleasure, and vise versa.
Ultimately, it is all just degrees of intensity. When we avoid intensity at one end of the spectrum, we sacrifice our capacity to feel it on the other end.
There is always balance in nature. When we cut ourselves off from physical or emotional pain, with drugs or by going unconscious, we also tend to habitually cut ourselves off from potential pleasure, albeit unconsciously.
So, if you would like to expand your capacity for pleasure…
…when you are experiencing pleasure in any situation, and you feel yourself tensing up or backing off, notice what’s happening.
Don’t try to change it. Just stay present. Breathe. Allow whatever is there to be fully there. Are there physical tensions? Are there feelings of doubt, shame, embarrassment… or impatience? Are old feelings or wounds coming up? Is it simply a new level of intensity?
Breathe… Relax… Let go…
When you bump up against your own pleasure threshold, in the context of feeling safe and loved, it’s possible that old wounds will surface, as if to say, “It’s OK to come out now and heal.”
Paradoxically, if we can allow ourselves to be present and fully experience whatever comes up at the moment (even if it’s physically painful or pleasurable), the energy around it moves. It then often dissipates or transforms into something else. It’s the holding back that keeps the old patterns or pain locked in our physical and emotional bodies.
Of course, sometimes wounds or memories that come up warrant professional assistance to move through them. If this happens to your or your partner, I can help.
Especially during intimate moments with someone you love, you may find you have to go through some sensitive territory before you can accept greater pleasure into your life. Remember:
Breathe… Relax… Let go… It’s worth it!