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Rocks, moss and lake, Harrison, Maine. Photo by Eric Francis.

You might ask how this is possible. Sometimes I wonder, but at the time it’s obvious; it’s an experience of embracing reality; and an experience of love. Compersion is not about sex or sexual pleasure, or at least that is not what makes it possible; it’s about love that embraces every feeling, and every aspect of relationship.

For me this experience would not have been what it was, were I not deeply in love with her, as deep as in any monogamous relationship. I am adventurous and flirtatious and there are many people I love and share erotic energy with on some level. Yet the part of me that loves, what I call the devotional ray, loves completely. I was going to correct that to ‘aspires to love’ but the experience I have is of the feeling moving through me rather than me doing something.

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Longing prayer of the full moon

from Victoria's Sex Blog

i want to be with you
feel your warm hands on my body
your hot mouth on my nipples
your gentle eyes on my vulnerability

i want to wrap myself around you
take you in my arms
cradle your pain
and illuminate your nights with pleasure
i want to give to you my truth;
the reality of a loving body
that returns your passion
that responds to your desires
that smooths away your fears
and melts away your doubts
that can open up for you
the feminine that sleeps down below

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When Love is in the Room

from Victoria's Sex Blog

Over my lifetime, I have had a few sexual encounters with men that I wasn’t really in love with or didn’t know all that well, but never really what you’d call a “one-night-stand”. Except maybe just that once… hmm… wait… does during the day count?

While there was something liberating about having the freedom to make that choice or act on a whim, and to break those deeply ingrained rules about being totally committed and married before even admitting to a man that I had nipples, every experience had its pros and cons. Alot of what led to letting things happen in those moments was a really intense desire to be touched, so intense that it clouded any other decision-making faculty. I remember as a teenager that previously unfathomable aching, longing to be touched, kissed and penetrated, often exacerbated by popular music and its lyrics of romantic desire. Do women feel a physical longing as intensely as men do, or it is more in our minds? Male or female, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or metrosexual, there really aren’t any “norms” and it doesn’t matter. Each of us is wired differently and acts and reacts according to an unique system of communication and response, of fears and desires.

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Verbal Images of Intimacy

from Victoria's Sex Blog

Tonight I give you the image of a man, not a baby, joyfully sucking on a woman’s breast. This is a drawing from the early series I did with Francesca from pornographic images. I would go through hundreds of porn photos, in magazines or on the Internet, trying to find those with a little bit of tenderness, then I’d draw them… tenderly… as if I was pencilling in the love that I felt was missing in the original image. After awhile I got more comfortable, courageous, even brazen, and was able to draw sexual positions or situations that disgusted the prude in me, and discovered that love, injected into anything, transforms it. It’s like looking at an act through different glasses, in this case a sexual act, but without applying shame or judgement, it loses it’s negative aspect and can show its simplicity and beauty because it’s being seen from a completely different perspective.

I have been thinking too much about how to express intimacy through imagery, and the thinking led me to think that it’s not worth doing. Right. No more thinking. What I decided to do instead, is the doing… by drawing, writing, expressing a perspective on intimacy. First I looked up some quotes, and found some VERY entertaining ones I’d like to share:

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On the brink of faith

There were many spaces that opened up in the course of our threshold conversation. It was an unusual experience for her and she seemed to go through what many people unaccustomed to ritual experience when they enter that space: linear time and narrative don’t quite hold up. She has asked me to tell the story chronologically as best I can, and I said I would try, though for now I am going to work from theme to theme.

One last subject is asking for a voice. I remember mentioning how it seemed like our journey and our conversation focused on her experience with him, how she is processing it and in making sure that we have a clear understanding that this is an experience in her life that we are experimenting holding space for.

Yet I did not miss that in this conversation, we tend to leave out the possibility of me having the kind of depth and contact that I need, and the sense of a safe container to have it in. I get the feeling that every time the theme of what I need from a relationship comes up directly, she feels guilty that she can’t offer it to me. That would indeed preclude taking the conversation further; at least as a topic to which we give that name. I think it’s essential to give it a name, and to recognize that so much of the fulfillment we get in relationships is from what we have to offer; from feeling like an essential part of someone’s life.

(NSFW Image after break)

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Sex in the middle of the night

from Victoria's Sex Blog

It’s funny, at least I think it is… that I write regularly about sexuality yet talking about it can still be so awkward. I went to an artist’s seminar last week and just couldn’t bring myself to explain to the others what exactly I do… I just told them I “draw nudes” and left it at that. But at the art store, where I’ve started working part-time again, people seem to get it. When I describe what I do and why, they seem to recognize the need for it, and they want to know more. Last night my adult children, who are only a year or two into adulthood, were joking around about “the parents” (of which I am one of many if you count their boyfriend and girlfriends’ divorced and reconnected parents too) - and the comment that struck me as I was walking away towards the kitchen – was that the very thought of us “older people” having sex was gross.

I wish I could tell them how much better sex gets as you grow older and get to know yourself better and allow yourself to explore different avenues, which may include new partners, positions, conditions and even “props”. But particularly how much the contact with a lover deepens when you’ve practiced something so special for a long time together. I can’t tell them, and I won’t even try; they will figure that out themselves as they age and mature, each in their own special way.

Something that popped into my mind about this evolution was my vastly different experiences of sex in the middle of the night. First there were those teenage years, waiting for the parents to go out or fall asleep so my first boyfriend and I could desperately grope each other on the couch. And although I was much older, even early on in my relationship with Darren, we stayed up so late making love, sometimes night after night, that I remember dragging myself around like a limp noodle at work, yawning like crazy, and swearing I had to cut back but of course not really planning to… ever! 

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May Touch Redeem Us

This poem is from a beautiful little book about loving sexuality by Bill Noble called May Touch Redeem Us; Poems of Love and Eros and is printed with the author’s most

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Our Bodies are as Sacred as Life and Death

by Colette Coughlin - from Victoria's Sex Blog

I feel very much alive these days; but I have known periods of depression where I almost wished for death. Having been there, I now try to practice regularly those things that for me, nurture life; one of which is drawing the body, nude, whether it be enlaced in intimate lovemaking or simply being.

I was very close to one of my aunts who passed away two years ago, not too long after being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord which eventually leads to death. I will never forget how courageously she shared her feelings when she received the devastating diagnosis; after the initial shock, she turned within to an incredibly deep source of strength and decided to live her death as fully as she had lived her life up until then. I was one of the very fortunate family members to be able to share this period with her up close.

She was a very “private person” and it is not without a twinge of discomfort towards other family members’ reactions that I post images of her. But at the same time, I do so with a deeper confidence, knowing that she not only asked to participate in my work through a nude photo session, she also gave me permission to share the artwork produced from them, and fortunately, I was able to show her a few of my drawings before she passed away. Drawing this one just recently brought me back to the beautiful moments spent together during the last months of her life.

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From Guilt to Compersion

Abandoned industrial building on Washington Ave. in Kingston, NY. I don’t think it was the scene of a fire, unless someone installed a new telephone in the building after it burned down.

Any definition of compersion that you read will tell you that it’s the opposite of jealousy. That is useful, but it doesn’t tell you how to get there. I have another idea, which is that it’s the opposite of guilt. Of course it’s a little crude to define something by its supposedly opposing force, but this adjustment may help orient the concept in a way that makes it more accessible.

I’ll start with an example. Let’s say I am with a lover and our agreement includes her having the freedom to explore sexually and emotionally with whomever she chooses. I will handle that two ways. The first by having the confidence that she wants me in her life; that what I have to offer, she cannot find anywhere else. In part, compersion is based on trust, and it’s based on having a strong relationship to someone. To a meaningful degree, compersion is based on self-confidence.

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