I sought out the sauna at my local gym wanting to get warm after three solid weeks of hard Austin winter. After saying ‘hi’ to a woman on the lower bench we started talking about her philosophy class. She said the men in her philosophy class didn’t want to ‘hear‘ her feminine perspective. I told her the men who come to see me as a sex and intimacy coach–really want to hear my perspective.
I shared how men often look me in the eye and say without a doubt they are clueless when it comes to pleasing a woman in bed. Men offer me more vulnerability and honesty in a few minutes of talk than they’ve probably shared with their partners in decades of marriage. My new sauna friend was intrigued, she’d never heard of an intimacy coach. “Sex is always so hush, hush,” she said, “We grope in the dark guessing and hoping we’ll get it right.”
Two men chimed in to our discussion in the dimly lit warmth, one young and one middle aged. They reflected on how growing up male, with narrow and traditional views, didn’t fit them. They struggled to discarded the ‘stiff upper lip’ of their father’s generation to find new models of masculinity. We talked with ease and interest about the ways men learn about being a man, including male sexually, like pop culture, movies and porn.
I mentioned my woman friend who produces artistic, erotic films that are winning awards at feminist film festivals and beyond. In her hot films, women often set the pace and tone of the sensual encounter, and guide the man’s movement subtly and seamlessly. Her men look into the woman’s eyes, support her taking the lead, receive graciously, and give her space ‘to be’ her without taking over.
The sauna was getting too hot for all of us. But we didn’t want to leave–a group of four strangers totally engulfed in the magic of genuine, from-the-heart conversation on meaningful topics.
I reflected how going into the sauna that evening I was feeling sorry for myself. I felt lonely and apart, lamenting the cold, dark winter, and thinking how I’d not had sex for a long time. Then I remembered the original definition of ‘intercourse’–verbal exchange. Gee, I felt I just had intercourse with another women and two men in the YMCA sauna! I bet, had I asked, my partners would agree we had experienced as strangers more intimacy, truth, and transparency in that public place with our clothes on than most couples will experience that night in bed.
I left to go shower feeling full, satiated…just having had the best intercourse of my day–my week, and longer! Our simple gift to each other was full attention, respect and truth telling without trying to convince anyone our way was better. It felt so natural and nourishing to be with people this way. We are such social beings. Communities are created and disperse in a continuous and unexpected flow. Although the coming-together of community may be brief, its effects can stay with you forever.
Thank you, Jennifer Lyon Bell, for your sexy films available at www.blueartichokefilms.com