Feeling powerless in times of turmoil? Sex can help.
Ways to take your power back and make a real difference through the lens of the erotic.
Sex is not the frivolous pass time we've been led to believe it is. Just because something is playful, pleasurable, and can be lighthearted fun, does not make it meaningless or lacking potent effect.
In a world where we feel powerless against impending doom, our connection to the erotic matters more than ever. It can provide us with the inner resources to take our power back and create a path to a new way of being.
Becoming aware of the psychology behind our turn-ons and forming an allyship with our desires, helps us realize they are a powerful means of:
- Navigating our own internal landscapes
- Forming relationships with our own psychological processes
- Connecting us to a direct current of creative life force
All through pleasure and play.
These are the very tools we need right now to be the antidote to the world's ills. From the perspective of my role as Artemisia de Vine, retired professional dominatrix and sex worker, let me tell you something that I learned from playing with erotic power and why it matters in everything we do.
You see nothing about sex is just about sex.
Sex is, amongst other things, a way we process all that it means to be human through play.
Sex is therefore connected with all areas of our life.
Let's face it, it feels awful to be powerless in the face of destruction. Corrupt powers-that-be, war, recession, pandemic, devastating floods, and fires... Our livelihood, security, safety, and human rights are being eroded at an alarming rate... and the incredible miracle that is life on this planet is all under threat. So much uncertainty. So much grief, anger, and fear. Where has our footing gone? It is all quicksand.
The battle for power is a battle for our minds.
Being aware of our processes and truly making an ally of our desires, means we are not only far less susceptible to misinformation power games, but we can also harness the internal resources to actively create a way to turn this runaway train around.
When we humans feel threatened, we tend to want to find something we can control to give us a sense of taking our power back. When we are unaware of this psychological mechanism and we blindly follow this desire to get our power back, we often lash out at convenient symbolic targets. People of different lifestyles, religions or races cop the pitchforks. We feel the pull to rally around a symbol of something we feel threatened by and rail against it, blaming it for everything wrong with the world. The political left... or the right... they are to blame.
The symbols don't even have to be logical as long as they give us a hit of the feeling we are craving. Power. We unconsciously think we need to wrench it from someone else in order to have it ourselves because that is how we felt we lost it. It was wrenched from us.
This is not just something those folk over there do. This is pretty much a universal human impulse we can all locate inside us if we take a closer look. Though we may find it is expressed in a myriad of ways, it is still the same underlying psychological mechanism.
This strategy to wrench our power from symbolic targets, does work. Sort of. It temporarily appeases our feeling of helplessness and makes us feel more in control. More powerful. A thrilling emotional high. A temporary moment of safety, certainty and solid ground to stand on.
But it does not address the actual root of the problem so we find ourselves needing another hit... and another... and in the process of getting that hit we have harmed another in some way. We have been sucked into an addictive cycle, and in the process, we create even more instances where we feel threatened and powerless. Around and around we go.
The other thing we humans do is become angry at ourselves for ever being weak (read healthily vulnerable) enough to be hurt in the first place. It's the way we turn this blame in on ourselves - but that feels unbearable too, so many of us find a way to push the blame back outwards on an external symbol. This can be expressed by the impulse to punish symbols of vulnerability when we see them.
This can look like feeling disgusted at - or taking out our anger on - external symbols of "girliness" being a "sissy", gay, or trans. Even animals and children. Or just a person we think should be tough, expressing their "weak" feelings.
Generations of boys have been socialized by this impulse within us - having symbols of vulnerability mocked, or beaten out of them. Cut off from their innocence. "Don't cry, be a man". A terrible wound to bear.
But even amongst those who are LGBTI ourselves, this mechanism exists. It might just express differently and take on different symbolic targets, but the impulse is there.
If we keep self-righteously thinking that only those folk are like this, and don't become aware of it within us, we become subtle or overt bullies in a myriad of ways, but in reality, we are always bullying something that symbolizes a part of ourselves we have not forgiven for letting us get hurt. For making us powerless. We are punishing vulnerability itself.
Living this impulse out in our everyday lives leads to the very destruction we were railing against in the first place. Round and round the cycle goes.
But something curious happens when these very same themes appear in our sexual turn-ons, and we engage them on purpose.
Play - amongst our consenting tribe members - flips things. We get a safe place to make friends with these parts of ourselves. It is the theatre in which we take on the symbols of each other's internal processes and when we realize this, can be the playground in which we learn to be in a healthy relationship with previously unconscious aspects of ourselves.
Play is magic that way. We get to simultaneously externalize and embody aspects of our internal processes, and experiment by interacting with them. But in order to do that we need to include these seemingly base themes symbolically in our play.
Have you ever watched puppies or kittens play? They are playing with themes of violence, power, and death but without the intention of actual harm. Watch them pounce each other and bite each other's jugulars without clamping down.
Sure, occasionally there is an accident and one puppy yelps, but that is usually quickly corrected and it's all wagging tails and playful flow state again.
In this explorative game, puppies are working out their relationships to rank, power, and violence. They are learning survival skills. They are learning how to navigate social situations. They are learning who they are.
These same themes could have been harmful and would have taken their power away if enacted for real, (actual predator hunting the puppies) but in play, they were flipped into something fun, pleasurable, and beneficial to them. Something that gave them power and confidence in themselves. This kind of violent play does not destroy but fosters trust and creates intimacy as well.
In both classical styles of sex, and in BDSM, erotic play affords us the same opportunity to turn our internal processes into characters and play-act them out in ways that benefit us.
We already do this unconsciously all the time. It becomes a lot more potent when we realize it and start engaging this process on purpose. We encounter a whole bunch less "whoopsies" and a whole bunch more, "oh god yes!"
In fact, I'd argue that other people only become attractive to us when they mimic an aspect of our internal world. That's how the erotic psyche works. Just like how other people became symbols of something we feared we felt powerless, the people we are attracted to are also complex symbols of something inside us too.
We can use the natural inclinations of our erotic psyches to take our power back.
You see there is treasure in vulnerability that cannot be accessed in any other way. Someone who cannot be vulnerable is not a whole person. They only have the appearance of power but are in fact susceptible to all sorts of manipulation and control.
As a professional dominatrix, I would often notice that I was symbolically becoming my submissive's ego for them, in order for them to externalize this aspect of themselves and interact with it.
And ultimately so they could temporarily let go of their ego and become vulnerable enough to enter parts of their own psyches they did not normally have access to. That is, if I took on the role their ego normally played, they no longer needed their own ego and could temporarily enter into a variety of ego dissolution states - like subspace, ecstatic transcendent states, and more.
For this to work, I had to take on the characteristics of their egoic fears as well as play the role their ego normally played to keep them safe. I had to be "full of myself", assuming my self-worth was as big as the sun, while simultaneously ensuring they were safe psychologically and physically so they did not need their own self-protection. I had to be worthy of that level of trust from them.
In this dynamic, the act of being powerless (dominated by me) made them powerful. Not only were they living our their egoic fears on their own terms, but they now had direct access to the creative pleasure core of themselves. A place where they had direct access to their potent creative life force in a way that is not possible if their egos are clinging to the driver's wheel.
As I said, playing inside a container of respect and trust, flips things.
Another, more blatant example, of flipping internal processes, is this. A man may fear he will be rejected for accessing qualities within himself that are deemed "girly" and therefore vulnerable and "weak". His clever turn-ons overcome this egoic fear by making the idea of becoming a submissive sissy slut a super hot source of arousal.
The very things his ego fears become symbolic portals that allow him to experience vulnerability through play.
He may bring this sexual fantasy to life by temporarily taking on all the symbols of vulnerable femininity his everyday ego normally shunned. Through cross-dressing in hyper femme pink frills, changing his voice to soft submissive coos, and his body language to sashaying hips and timid gestures, he brought this internal landscape to life. He embodies the symbols of his fear of being vulnerable, only it is now on his terms. That is, from a place of his own power.
In doing so, he gained psychological access to the core of himself that had been cut off during his socialization to "be a real man". He neutralized his fears, within the buffer of pleasure, and turned them into a portal to the very place inside himself those fears previously blocked him from accessing.
My role as a dominatrix was to both "force" him to face his fear (poison) and provide acceptance of this part of himself (antidote) in the way that his fantasies revealed to me would work for him. (Yes there is a reason sex workers are often called unofficial therapists).
This is just one example of many, and often times it is more subtle. But it's there. Yes in your turn-ons too.
I propose that all characters, in all styles of sexual fantasies, are also aspects of our own psyches turned into characters so we can interact with them.
What is more, this is not just happening in BDSM.
It is happening in all styles of sexual encounters.
It is in the patterns of "types" of people, situations and sex acts we find attractive. Look closer and they all reveal these same internal mechanisms. Follow them and we find our own versions of poisons and antidotes. We find a way to make it safe enough for our egos to let go and find what lies beyond. Yes, even those styles of turn-on that initially seem really simple and straightforward.
The erotic psyche is pretty much a genius and I have learned to have immense respect for our varied sexual turn-ons. They are individualized maps and hold the key to so much internal treasure.
So what does this have to do with a world in crisis?
One of the most important things you can do for the world right now is to connect with your erotic nature through play.
Understanding the symbolism of the language of desire means that desire's messages are now aiming at the right targets. You can follow its guiding compass to your internal source of creative life force - and your own internal solid ground to stand on when the world turns upside down.
When you learn how it works and how to engage it on purpose, you become powerful. You can hear the symbolism of those impulsive desires and recognize what they were actually trying to say. You can then use them as a compass to lead you home to actual power. To wholeness.
A whole person is a complete and balanced person with access to their full array of inner resources.
Someone in tune with their own desire compass is not easily manipulated by media designed to twist our desires or the stories sold to us by corrupt billionaires.
Instead, such a person has the ability to unite with others and make the change we need to solve our global problems. They are tapped into the creative life force that sustains, inspires, and provides the insight, energy, and focus to create solutions and new ways of being.
What is the opposite of destruction? Creation. And at its heart, sex is a creative force. It holds the keys.
How do you learn what your unique erotic wiring is and how to play with it?
This is your invitation to be mentored into directly experiencing these functions of the erotic psyche for yourself.
And the skills needed to create this level of experience for others.
Begin the application process by booking a complimentary 15 min zoom chat with me.
Want to find out more first? Check out Artemisia de Vine's website.
You can learn a surprising amount about the erotic psyche by subscribing to my free newsletter!
I have pretty much abandoned social media so my newsletter is where all the action is.
By signing up you are consenting to receive material of a sexual nature and are legally an adult where you reside.