May 162007

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.

  9 Responses to “Open To Desire”

  1. As someone who has had, off and on in my life, a spiritual practice (one that brought me to India twice), I completely understand the dilemma of desire.

    It’s one thing to give up worldly possessions, another completely to relinquish intimacy and the desire it yields. That’s a sacrifice I would never be able to make. But then, that’s the difference between me and a true yogi. When I feel bad about this I try to remember I’m the student and always will be. And that’s fine.

    That’s a book I’ll be looking into. Thanks.


  2. As a trained Shaman I can understand quite well. It took me a long time to find the space where I was ok with being a submissive and where it did not feel like it conflicted with my beliefs and practices as a Shaman. I’m glad you have found your peace and the balance will come.

    I need to close my eyes and write from my cock. I can edit with my spirit later.
    I can empathize with that… though change cock to cunt. And I love how you phrased that, it is so true.

  3. I’m musing at the moment about this. It’s alot to think about and ponder. I’ll be back in a bit.

  4. While I can’t claim any strong backgrounds, my philosophical roots come from Christianity, Quaballah (which I can’t spell) and Wicca, I have experience some of it.

    “Do what you will, as long as you harm none” is pretty much one of the tenants of Wicca. Yet, if you have read my stories, you’ll figure out pretty quickly that about half are rather violent, destruction and generally things you don’t do in polite company. This is magnified by the fact that I’m a pacifist and have been pretty much most of my life and I get sick when I even accidentally hurt people.

    But, I still write them. I write about things I am not, mainly because once they are on paper, they aren’t in me anymore. Some of my stories are specifically a method of grounding, to get rid of negative emotions since when I get a story idea, I grab hold and utterly drain the concept, emotion, and thoughts behind it in the process of writing it. If I write about being upset, I simply cannot be upset by the time I finish.

    However, if I write too much “dark stuff” as it were, I started to find my thoughts lean in that direction. There is a fine line, at least in my heart, of when I’m writing my inner demons and when I’m feeding them.

    I can see the paradox too. I attribute my growing distaste for materialism influences of Buddahism (I steal everything). Every year, my wishlist grows shorter and shorter, not because I’m getting things, but because I find that I don’t really need them, I just want. And wants eventually fade away into it would be nice. Eventually, they just seem to go away. I consider it a good thing that I’m losing interest in material things, mainly because it helps me on my own path of life.

    The main desire I still have left is writing, I crave it like a drug and I don’t see that changing anywhere. For me, it isn’t only erotica, though I do love writing it, but any form of writing. So, I still have desire, both for pride of being a famous writer, and for that high of writing.

    I see it kind of like a girlfriend’s discussion of Buddist monks. She and I got into a discussion about degree of commitment verses what you get from it. For example, there is a point where you give up sex. Not everyone has to do it, but it has to be a choice. You have to choose to give it up on the path of Enlightenment. My view is that everyone is a different point on the path, some are ready to surrender completely to the Greater while others still struggle with having one less coin in their pockets. At some point, the miser may realize that one less coin is simple, or they don’t think about it, so they start on two less coins in their pockets. If they choose to give up those coins, the third one gets easier and so on until they find themselves no longer desiring money, just because they gave themselves to something else. It isn’t that one is a “good Buddhist” over another, the decisions you make and the strive to keep on going I think is one of the most important things.

    This is a common theme in my stories, the surrender of divinity. In my novel, The Mummy’s Girl, one of the fundamental aspects of the first culture is that you have to be broken down, before you can surrender. But, with surrender, you become more with the divine power (and in a fantasy novel, that is how priests/clerics get powers).

    So, somewhere in this meandering discussion is: there is nothing wrong with that paradox. Follow it in the rest of your life, and if it is time, you’ll find your desire for sex may follow or it may not. You never know if your life for giving up sex will be in the next one or this, but it is the path you take that is more important than the goal.

  5. Excellent, excellent post . . . very well thought-out and stated.

    My first time here, but I need to come back often.


  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and the book reference. I don’t claim any specific spiritual path, but I do find great insights from writings such as yours. Thank you again.


  7. Not being a buddhist, I can not fully comprehend all this; however my father is deeply entrenched in Self-Reliazation Fellowship and I know bits from that and from living in countries where Buddhism is a primary religion.

    That said – my thoughts on this are: anyone who spends their entire time searching for the perfect mate, moment, thing – is going to be disappointed. IMO life is finding that which works for you and attempting to settle with that. I’m not saying to compromise but rather being happy with that which makes you content.

    I’ve found that contentedness carries you much further in life than desiring/lusting after that which you can not have. **Now having said that, it does not mean I don’t continue to desire/wish for things to change – for without change, comes stagnant waters and lack of growth.

    “There is a beauty in simply wanting beauty that is independent of actually having beauty.”

    I agree wholeheartedly!

  8. being in a state of “want” tells the universe that you want that experience of “want” or “desire” but not attaining it and appreciating it for what it is when it’s there.

    It’s something I’m working on a lot lately. Getting back to enjoying the sheer being of flowing with what I get from the universe instead of wanting so much.

  9. I found the whole exchange(the main text and the comments) and interpretation very unusual to my way of life or thinking. The self honesty is admirable but st some point for greater sense of responsibility, we need to curtail our words to express the same thing like c… or mas………(prudish??)
    Never the less, there is great difference in just having sex and making love, though at the face of it,they are the same acts of bodies reaching the same apparent goal/end.

    We should not forget that it is only in sexual intercourse tht human two bodies make the maximum contact and the transmission of energy from one body to the other is the highest. when two minds think and feel the same and the act is performed,the pleasure derived is much higher. For example the pleasure index of making love to a friend and to a prostitute are different. And when you find the right “ONE” in your life, you will find that pleasure is hightened each time of performing the same act.

    Buddhism speaks of that union of two souls and the pleasure that comes from it, and not having sex like dogs, any where and every where.

    Unless one has that basic spiritual base in ways of dealing with every day life, sex will seem like any other desire like eating or sleeping. One needs to inculcate that base of spiritualism by getting in touch with one’s soul and then approach the desire and it’s many manifestations.

    Hinduism or Buddhism was always aware of human desire and the fact that sexual desire is the highest form of it.Hence these religions did not treat sex as some thing objectionable.They rather treated it with great significance. There is an encient text called “Kamasutra”, dedicated to how to draw maximum pleasure from this partcular act/union with another human being. This book has been much translated in many western languages but sadly it is sold as an erotica with complete lack of the spiritual base, which is the essence of the whole issue.

    More some other day…..

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