Episode 21: Suzie Heumann Part 1 of 2
Suzie Heumann, "The Science of Orgasm"
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Beth Crittenden: Hello everyone and welcome to A Taste of Sex: Guest speaker interviews. I’m your host Beth Crittenden representing One Taste urban retreat center in San Francisco. On this edition of A Taste of Sex on Personal Life Media, we’re pleased to present Suzie Heumann. She’s the founder of tantra.com. She’s the co-producer of two films including Ancient Secrets to Sexual Ecstasy and the Multi-Orgasmic Training for Men and Women, which she did with Margo Anond and she’s the author of three books, the Everything Great Sex Book, the Everything Kama Sutra Book, and coming out this fall Rules of Love: 64 Arts of Kama Sutra.
Beth Crittenden: Join us today on A Taste of Sex: Guest speaker interviews. Suzie Heumann tells us the distinction between Kama Sutra and Tantra. We’ll discuss the neuro-biology of sex. How is it that pain and pleasure are so intertwined? You’ll hear physically why that happens. Also, you’ll hear keys to fantastic touch, what every lover needs to know.
Beth Crittenden: Suzie, welcome to the show.
Suzie Heumann: Hi, Beth. Thanks, it’s nice to be here.
Beth Crittenden: Well, we’re really looking forward to hearing more from you today about some general science around orgasm, which you’ve been digging into lately and we’ll have for the listeners information about specific physiology and how does orgasm work and where do Kama Sutra and Tantra fit in, all of this.
Suzie Heumann: Great. The term Kama Sutra, the book Kama Sutra and Tantra get mixed up and used a lot as does the term sacred sexuality. They’re kind of a mush. Kind of like a square is not a rectangle, but a rectangle is a square, the Kama Sutra is a manual that lovers used for thousands of years. It was interpreted by teachers, maybe a nursemaid or an older sister or someone like that to a young woman or a young man and it went into sex techniques, 24 positions, you know, biting, scratching…
Beth Crittenden: Oh, fun.
Suzie Heumann: How to embrace. You know, all these different modalities, but the actual sex part of the book is pretty small. It has a lot to do with social interaction, how there’s chapters and chapters on how a courtesan conducts her life, who she has as a hiree and who she doesn’t, how a man conducts his life if he has multiple wives, how the women in the harem conduct their lives. Remember this is India, the Arab countries, if you were wealthy enough, you could have multiple wives, if you could support them. So it goes into, you know, ‘kama’ means pleasure in general, so it means social activities, it means sexual activities, it means friends and family activities, sports activities, drinking parties, game playing parties, all those kinds of things. It’s all covered by the word ‘kama.’ So, the Kama Sutra goes into all these parts, you know, what it takes to be a well-rounded person, how do you develop yourself to be all you can be.
Tantra on the other hand, is a secret society sort of thing. You had a guru. Not everybody went to the sex part of tantra and you went under the instruction of a guru for many, many years. Often he would give you or she would give you practices of just mantra saying, you know, say this mantra ten or a hundred thousand times and come back, go out on a journey, they would look at the person and say: what’s going to make this person a whole person, where are their edges, where are they stopped, and this is modern language of course, but, and then they would prescribe activities that then allowed that person over time to become a whole person. Only the very best ever went to the sex practices. They were secret, they broke a lot of taboos in the Hindu culture and basically, all of those practices in Tantra led up to enlightenment in one lifetime so that you wouldn’t have to go back or you could shorten the cycle of birth and death and birth and death, that the Hindu Pantheon of gods and goddesses that Hinduism believes in.
So, Tantra was much more of a spiritual practice although the Kama Sutra has parts of that also. Tantra is much more rigorous, much more involved and today in Western society, we do a sort of Tantra-light-light and we look at the sexual parts of it. Although, anyone who’s practiced the sexual activities for any period of time, begins to understand how those practices work. They’re universal. Sex is just a vehicle to a whole person, basically, to creating a wholeness in yourself. The sex part is fraught with danger. There’s all kinds of things in our modern world that are taboo: having sex with other people’s partners, even considering sex as a vehicle to enlightenment is a hard concept for us westerners to take. But there’s so many things in the Tantric practices that you know, consciousness, clear communication, open-eye sex, long sex where you have really developed your sex techniques so that you can sort of set that all aside and just be one with your partner or yourself, you can do solo practices, that cause you to get into a state of universiality, of feeling like you are one with your partner and with the universe. The more you do that in your sexual activity, the more you do it with that tree you’re walking past when you’re walking down the street and you’re recognizing that it’s breathing and you want to commune with that tree for a moment, or the birds in the sky or when nature catches your eye or a child needs empathy. The sex practices can evolve themselves to your 24-7 life and that’s the beauty of it.
Beth Crittenden: That’s great. And for you, studying kind of the ancient work and the more spiritual aspects of it, how did you make the jump to getting o excited about the science of orgasm?
Suzie Heumann: I think it’s evolution. I’ve been studying Tantra for almost twenty years and I’ve had some incredible breakthroughs myself. I’ve had two Kundalini experiences over the years, but what I think has really done it for me is that there have been a couple of times in my life where I was mentored somatically. So I literally watched someone do a certain practice involving sex that where they opened up their mouth, they opened up their toning. And I tried it later when I was making love with my husband and almost immediately when I mimicked those things, their somatic practices, I went into spontaneous orgasm, couldn’t stop, and started ejaculating and I just stayed in this bliss state and could be conscious in that bliss state. So it’s those kinds of personal things that have caused me plus my background in biology in my younger years that have caused me to want to investigate the researchers that are working in the neurological area with orgasm, the researchers that are working in the emotional/chemical, chemicals that we pump in our daily life: the endorphins, the opiates, the serotonins and dopamine and how those interact and help us. How can we use that knowledge and use that with certain practices: breathwork, touch, to enhance those experiences and expand them, keep expanding, keep expanding. So it’s been a combination of both.
Beth Crittenden: What is a Kundalini experience? How can that happen? I’ve never experienced it, but I’ve heard amazing things about it.
Suzie Heumann: It’s pretty phenomenal and when you read stories, you talk to different people, it can happen in many different ways. There’s not one way that a Kundalini experience happens. Some of them, especially during sexual practices, can be kind of frightening and there are people who, if you’re not ready for it and not prepared with some sort of stabilizing tools like breathing and balancing yourself and centering yourself, you can cause harm to your body, basically. There’s many stories of that. But…
Beth Crittenden: Is it frightening because of the intensity of it?
Suzie Heumann: Yes and if you don’t know what’s happening to you.
Beth Crittenden: Gotcha.
Suzie Heumann: You can, I know people who have broken their spines and that have. There’s talk of people really hurting themselves. More common is psychological problems for many, many years because people can’t… I love the words, the combination of a spiritual emergence and spiritual emergency. They are literally the same words, but you can see the different framing of ‘emergence’ and ‘emergency.’ So, Kundalini embodies that quite a bit. My most spectacular, I’ve had two, but my most spectacular one was during a ceremony. It was a birthday party for Margo Anond in Maui and my husband and I had been in a ritual sex ceremony we created for ourself for three and a half hours before that and we were a little bit late to step into this ceremony.
Beth Crittenden: What a great excuse.
Suzie Heumann: I know. And there were about fifty people and they were already sitting and just beginning the service, so we slipped in separately. He went across the circle and I slipped in next to somebody I knew and I sat in the lotus position and we had a hand-on-heart, hand on the next person’s heart, and I got into the breathing and I hadn’t been there three minutes. We were passing energy to the left, our receiving side and passing it on with our right, which is the giving side, and I became paralyzed and this energy literally moved from the base of my spine, my butt, I was sitting, just started rising up my body. I couldn’t move my body and luckily I was being grounded by these two, and the woman sitting next to me was a very accomplished yogini and she looked at me because she knew something was happening. I rolled my eyes and she went “okay.” She held my hand and she was breathing with me and at maybe fifteen minutes passed, this energy, this warmth just filled my body and a white crystal is all I can hold it as, a monolith, came out of the top of my head and was streaming white light out of the top of my head and all I could do was sit there and observe myself and breathe and breathe. So if I had tried to make a move because my body was frozen, something could have happened, but I knew better, so I just sat there and I just let this energy stream and stream and finally it subsided. It was maybe fifteen minutes or so and of course the Pices too in me didn’t want to disturb, this was Margo’s birthday, but I knew something major was happening to me, but I wasn’t going to make a fuss, you know, and I couldn’t move and I couldn’t… so anyway I let it subside and I sat there in the ceremony for another half hour or so and then I became agitated because I started thinking about what happened. So I left the room and I went by myself and I meditated and I calmed down, but for years, it took a lot of struggle to understand what was happening and investigation. That was one of them, so they all happen differently, but they tend to have warmth and they tend to have rising up your spine, up your spine, and shooting out the top of your head tends to be two of the phenomena that go on.
Beth Crittenden: Okay. Thanks for sharing that. You said earlier that you like studying the intersection of biology, neurology and metaphysics. That sounds like the perfect…
Suzie Heumann: Well, what I’ve been interested in recently, I’ve been interested in for a long time, but two great books have come out recently that has, that I’m currently studying, that’s caused me to be even more interested in what are the processes during orgasm. Obviously the ancients created Tantra, created the Daoists created expansion of orgasm, that bindu point, that tiny blip that we have, they recognize it as a cosmic force, as a cosmic place we go out of our mind from and we go into bliss state. How could you expand that? What could you do to expand that? So that’s where these studies begin to evolve. So, my interest comes from what’s going on in our neurology, what’s going on in our biology that has all those reportedly eight thousand nerve endings in the end of our clit go off at the same time. The ions are lining up, the chemicals, the endorphins, the oxytocin, they’re all lining up, they’re causing the swelling, the oxygen’s increasing the nitric oxide. All these things are coming to bear. What’s the relationship between our mind learning to run those optimum kind of potential? How can we use our mind in understanding what’s happening during orgasm? How can I expand it, how can I grow it and how do I use my mind to do that and understanding the body more? So that’s kind of where my intersection is right now and Beverly Whipple has written a new book with two other people called the Science of Orgasm. It’s been our for about four months. It’s fascinating. They’re helping the lay person read it, but it is definitely scientific studies, but they’ve done a good job in integrating both of those. So I’m currently in my second pass-through in that book and I’ve highlighted and underlined and made comments in the margins.
Beth Crittenden: As a good student.
Suzie Heumann: And the other thing that I’m studying is Candace Pert, who discovered the opiate receptor sites and has studied the chemical compositions of endorphins, the opiates and how they’re all affecting what she originally thought was mind, but what she’s come around to is our body is our mind. There’s no separation. We have many brains all over our body. Our second largest brain is in our gut and with the amount of neurons that are in our body is in our gut, but basically we are many brains all over our body. The charka system lines up perfectly to most of those: our lower bowel and gut area in our first charka, our second charka in our sexual center, our third charka which is our power center and gut center, which is that second largest conglomeration of neurons, our heart charka, our heart and our throat, which is our glands and our thyroid and then the third eye which is our penal gland and on up. So, you know, it turns out that these esoteric systems that the ancients could only look at cause and effect but it devised acupuncture, acupressure, ayurvedic medicine, all those things to enhance and work with, turns out we as scientists, it just in the last ten years even less, are looking at the true chemical causes of that and they’re going “yeah, it’s all right here.”
Beth Crittenden: Cool. We’re going to talk more about this after the short break we’re going to take to support our sponsors here on Personal Life Media. Suzie, before we do that, and also I’m going to put your thinking cap on. Think about what’s an exercise that our listeners could do at home and we’ll talk about that after the break too. Something to get them in their body and they don’t have to have a Kundalini experience, but they could get started with feeling orgasm and feeling their senses.
Suzie Heumann: Great.
Beth Crittenden: While you’re thinking about that, how can people contact you if they want to find out more information?
Suzie Heumann: Well, got a large website, tantra.com, that’s t-a-n-t-r-a.com. There’s just a huge amount of information there. There’s a bunch of different things. We have a catalog online, we have many, many articles, audio to listen to. We’re redesigning the side right now. We’ll have a brand new unveiling probably at the end of July.
Beth Crittenden: Exciting.
Suzie Heumann: We’re going to have more video that’s in the free area and we also have a premium content area where we’re streaming over a hundred video segments, all educational, all pretty much advanced sexuality, with a lot focused on Tantra and orgasm, g-spot, female ejaculation, things like that and multiple orgasm for men e-courses, books back in there. We have a very, very reasonable premium content area also and we’re looking to build that and expand that because we feel like the days of shipping DVDs all over the world may be coming to an end and delivering content, being able to interact with other people around it is what the future holds.
Beth Crittenden: Fantastic. I didn’t mention this before but Suzie Heumann is here at One Taste in San Francisco as part of our Tuesday night lecture series that we have as our educational network. Our website if you’d like to check it out is onetastesf.com. We’ll tell you more at the end of the show but until then stay tuned here on Personal Life Media for a Taste of Sex: Guest speaker interviews. I’m your host Beth Crittenden here with Suzie Heumann of tantra.com.
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