Talking about Sex (continuation)

By Paulo Coelho
For The Bali Times

The following notes were written during a conversation with J. in 1986.

Since we need to change our attitude towards sex, what is the first step?”

“I’ve already told you: surrender oneself. People think that before they allow themselves any pleasure, they must resolve all their problems, and that’s not the way it’s done. Often we resolve our problems when we are happy, and we accept pleasure as a blessing.”

“There is something interesting in the sexual act: we are extremely generous, and our main concern is precisely with our partner. We think that we are not going to manage to give the pleasure that he or she deserves – and then our pleasure also diminishes, or disappears completely.”

“Isn’t that a demonstration of love?”

“Depends. The truth is that it is an act of guilt, always falling short of what others expect of us. In a situation like this, the word “expectation” needs to be scrapped. If we are giving the best of ourselves, there is nothing to worry about. One has to be aware that when two bodies meet, they are both entering unknown territory. Transforming that into a daily experience means losing the wonder of the adventure. But if we let ourselves be guided in this journey, then we will end up discovering horizons that we could never have imagined existed.”

“Is there any key?”

“The first is to know that you are not alone. If another person loves you, he or she is feeling the very same doubts, however secure they may appear to be. The second thing is to open the secret box of your fantasies, and not be afraid to accept them. There is no sexual standard. You have to find your own, respecting just one prohibition: never do anything without the other’s consent.

“The third thing is to give to what is sacred the sense of the sacred. To do so, you must have the innocence of a child and learn to accept miracles as a blessing. Be creative. Purify your soul through rituals that you yourself invent – like creating a sacred space; offering gifts to the gods you worship; learning to laugh together with your partner – in order to break down the barriers of inhibition. Understand that what you are doing is a manifestation of God’s energy.

“The fourth thing is to explore your opposite side. If you are a man, try sometimes to think and act like a woman – and vice-versa.

“Key number five is to understand that the physical orgasm is not exactly the sole objective of a sexual relation, but rather a consequence, which may or not occur. Pleasure has nothing to do with orgasm, but with encounter.

“The sixth thing is for you to identify your fears and share them with your partner.

“And finally, number seven: allow yourself to have pleasure. Just as you are anxious to give, the other person also wants to do the same. If, when two bodies come together, both want to give and receive, the problems disappear.”

© Translated by James Mulholland

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Paulo Coelho

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