Being a Buddhist erotica writer has always been a paradox to me. Buddhism as I understood it was a philosophy that felt that the source of unhappiness was desire. The more you want, the more you become dependent on the things that make you happy, which will ultimately lead to unhappiness. I understood that but man, I really like sex. I like sex so much that I read about it, talk about and create nice long stories about how desire drives people to have all sorts of great times. I don’t have any shame about my erotica when it comes to society values or morality, but I did have a small itch of doubt that maybe I could never be a good Buddhist unless I stopped writing about Desire and all it’s fun variations.
In the past few months though, this has weighed heavily on me. The more I become involved in the BDSM community, the more I have seen the results of endlessly pursuing desire. I look at couples who share a bond and I think they are almost in a state of grace they are so happy, but then I look at the people who come to every meeting, attend every seminar and socialize so hard it looks like they are campaigning; and I just see this hungry unhappy look in their eyes. I talk to them and they talk about how they just waiting for the one person, the one night of special play or the one new way of being kinky that will just make them satisfied. These questing souls play with one another while keeping one eye open for the One who will come and make their desires come true. While this is not true of all the people I see and know, it’s true of enough of them that it makes me sad.
Lately I have been lucky to have my own play partners. None of them are the One but for some reason, that didn’t bother me. The fact that it didn’t bother me perplexed me. I don’t have a submissive, I don’t have a chained up pirate queen and I don’t have an attentive librarian beauty but somehow that doesn’t matter. I have a few friends who like to play with me and that is so much more satisfying than I thought possible. I don’t keep an eye out for my next romance and it’s amazing how relaxing that is. I want to fuck the hell out of my play partners and that isn’t happening, but somehow that doesn’t bother me. Weirdly enough, I’m even enjoying the craving I am feeling.
Let me try to explain how it feels. You know how at the beach you’ll stand in the sand and the waves will move bast your feet, but then the undercurrent kicks in. It drags sand across your toes making you feel like you are in motion even though you are stock still. That’s what desire has felt for me at late. I can pull Ashley’s hair and whisper naughty things till I am as hard as stone, but I am perfectly fine with letting her hair go and walking away. I can grip Beth’s throat till she whimpers but I don’t need to make her suck me to have a big weekend long smile. Desire moves over me like gritty sand through my toes and it makes me feel so alive.
Then I read Mark Epstein’s book, ‘Open to Desire‘. The book deals with combining Buddhist theory with Western psychoanalytical methods. It also talks about sex and desire as something Buddhists need to accept and use as opposed to the practice of denial that seems to be more prevalent here in the West. It’s not Desire that is the enemy, it is the clinging we do to Desire. This book suggests that we stop being unhappy in our clinging and incorporate Desire as a chance to get to know ourselves. It made me look at my desires and appreciate them for what they are, as well as letting me come to peace with the idea that my desires will never be satisfied. There is a beauty in simply wanting beauty that is independent of actually having beauty.
I am really grateful to Mark Epstein for this amazing book. It mirrors a personal journey I have been on lately but it las it out in terms and concepts I can relate to. It was an affirmation to the progress I had been making as well as a guidebook for how I can keep doing what I am doing.
If there have been any side effects it has been that I know a little too much about desire. I am a little hyper-aware of my desires right now to the point that all I want to write about it is simple fucking. I listen to songs and realize how much drama comes from the suffering of clinging. I can’t even masturbate without asking myself if I am masturbating to so-and-so because of who she is or because who I want her to be. Like any good book, I have been changed and it’s taking me a little while to get my bearings. I need to close my eyes and write from my cock. I can edit with my spirit later.