Episode 58: Sex, Relationships & Jealousy
What is sex, and who said so? Is sex procreation? Recreation? Chip August, pod-caster, interviews Chip August, workshop leader, personal growth coach, founder of the Relationship Effectiveness Institute, and world renowned sex educator. Listen in as Chip talks about what sex is and what it could be and what he's learned in the 20 years he's been working in the "relationship" world and in his own life. Then moving to the subject of relationship, Chip articulately lays out a model for relating that is filled with joy, loving-kindness and respect. Finally Chip shares his insights into jealousy and possessiveness. And don’t miss Chip’s transformative exercise for you to try yourself.
Chip August: Welcome to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host Chip August, and today on the show we’re going to be talking about sex and relationship and intimacy and love, and today I’m the guest on the show. I’m going to be talking a little bit about what I’ve learned in my 20 years leading love, intimacy and sexuality workshops, what I’ve learned working with clients, and what I’ve learned in my personal life. So I hope you’re going to enjoy this.
Chip August: I think when you ask many people about their orgasm, the thing they tell you is not really very genitally focused. Think sex is a big, big subject that biologists want to reduce to a piece of skin and a piece of skin, wiggle, wiggle, pop, and I think this is part of the problem that happens with people with our sexuality. We forget all of the other aspects of sexuality. Over time we forget the pleasure of dating, the pleasure of hand-holding.
Chip August: I have a belief that it’s possible to be loving with every single person. I don’t always achieve this I have to admit. I attempt it, but I don’t always achieve it. But I notice that when I can bring my attention to it, I treat everyone as someone to love. What starts to happen for me is my life begins to fill with love. If I’m feeling love for my co-workers, if I’m feeling love for my partner, for my children, for the people who pick up my trash, why then my life begins to be filled with love.
Chip August: In a way I’m in a constant state of courting my partner, and she’s in a constant state of courting me. We do not take for granted that we’re simply available to each other. We can ask each other to be available to each other, invite, we can seduce, we can flirt, but that there’s not a going in assumption that I own you or that you own me, and in that moment when we don’t own each other there’s also a way that we are constantly in courtship. We are constantly in a dance of appreciating finding out what our partner wants and giving it to them, a conversation that requires time, because I think great relationships require time.
Chip August: I want to start with just that question with a pretty fundamental question about what is sex. I notice that we talk about sex a lot and we tell jokes about sex a lot and we seem to be interested in having sex a lot, and at the same time I’m not clear that what we are each saying is the same thing. I know that seems really obvious, but when I say to you, “I want to have sex with you”, what do you hear? My experience is most people, when they hear that phrase, “Do you want to have sex with me? I want to have sex with you. Lets have sex”, what they immediately imagine is a piece of skin and a piece of skin, wiggle, wiggle, pop. You know, we imagine that it’s an activity that has to do with genitals. We imagine that we’re in a bed. We imagine that it has to do with our, with genital pleasuring. And yet I notice that that’s a very, very narrow definition of sex. I think that particular definition of sex really comes from sort of our deep rooted DNA needs to reproduce, you know. I think it, it’s procreation, but I don’t think it really has much to do with what we’re really asking for when we are looking for a sexual experience. I think some of the time we’re trying to make babies, but I don’t think that that’s necessarily the primary function of sex. Now I know that seems pretty radical, you know, what do you mean it’s not the primary function of sex? But I notice that in human beings sex is very, very related to pleasure, to intimate connection, to spirituality…I’m not clear that the only purpose for sex, or even necessarily the primary purpose of sex, is to have my DNA reproduced. I’m clear that’s a key purpose, but not the only purpose. So, if that’s not the only purpose I can’t help but wonder why it is that even though we have a whole variety of sexual experiences in our lives, we behave as if the genitals are it. I mean, this is, I mean it’s almost a joke when you listen to for instance Bill Clinton talk about, “I did not have sex with that woman”, and then try to define that oral sex wasn’t really sex and, you know, the nation was mostly laughing at him and you could mostly hear a guy who had been caught in an extramarital affair trying to make an excuse.
Chip August: You know, as you listen to this, that you’ve had sexual experiences that sometimes are completely genital focused and sometimes not. Think about the first time you ever held hands with somebody that you really, really adored. The first time that you ever kissed somebody that you had a crush on. Think about the times whey you’ve just held someone or been held by someone. I think sex is a really, really big word, and I think sex has a lot of different meanings. I think for some of us, we can be having sex just by looking in someone’s eyes. I’ve seen in Tantra workshops, I’ve experienced in Tantra workshops, where sex was really breathing, was a rhythm of our breathing and a style of our breathing that took us to an incredible orgasmic place that really didn’t have very much to do with genitals at all. I think when you ask many people about their orgasm, often the thing they tell you is not really very genitally focused. I think sex is a big, big subject that biologists want to reduce to a piece of skin and a piece of skin, wiggle, wiggle, pop, and I think this is part of the problem that happens with people with our sexuality. We get into adult sexuality that includes genital pleasuring, and there’s a way for many of us, we forget all of the other aspects of sexuality. Over time we forget the delight of dressing up in sexy clothing and going out to a great dinner or going out to a show. Over time we forget the pleasure of dating. Over time we forget the pleasure of hand-holding. Over time we become so genitally focused that we actually start to diminish our sexual experience. If you think about when your sexuality first began and you think how much of your sexual experience was related to a flirting, to sexual gains of kind of a flirt and seduction and drawing somebody close and pushing somebody away, and it was whole dance involved with our sexuality. And then somewhere in our adulthood we stopped doing the dance. It takes too much time. It takes too much effort. We never were really sure we were any good at it in the first place, and so we find ourselves wanting to push it away or not really play. One thing leads to another, and suddenly, really sex is, we’ve got a half an hour or an hour, the kids are in bed, we think we can get away with it, we better not make too much noise, and it feels to me like the intimacy, the magic of sexuality has been reduced down to a set of genital functions. And in that moment, in that moment I think something really, really precious is lost. I think something really magical is lost. I want to invite you to get out a piece of paper and start to make a list of all of the things that you would really, all of the benefits, all of the experiences that you would like to include in a really good sexual experience. And I think you’re going to notice that some of those experiences are physical and many, many, many of those experiences are emotional. And I’m not clear that the physical experience automatically leads to the emotional experience. So I ask again, what is sex and who said so? ‘Cause that’s another interesting thing, where did we learn what to expect from sex and what was possible in sex? Who taught us what is sex? I contend that most of us figured it out ourselves and learned it from misinformation from our friends or incomplete information from various teachers and adults in our lives. I wonder sometimes, did the people who had the most influence on teaching me about sex actually know anything about the kind of sexuality that I wanted to experience, did they actually know anything about the kind of sexuality that I’m trying to create in my life today? I think not. I think part of what goes on here is that the people who are leading us are blind, you know, they don’t really see what’s possible, and it gives us a kind of blindness. We inherit a kind of limited view of what’s possible. And so I want to invite you to reevaluate your view.
Chip August: I want to invite you to step back from what you think you know about sex, to try to learn something new and different about sex, something that’s about connection, something that’s about our heart and our genitals, something that’s about bringing in spirit and bringing in sort of a higher power into our sexuality. I think all of these things are possible and they don’t require any particular ritual or any particular special equipment or any particular special training, but I think it begins with having a vision of what your sexuality, what you’d like your sexuality to be. Having a vision of what you would like included in your own sexuality. So again, I say, get a piece of paper and sit down with that piece of paper and just start writing down what are some of the experiences, what are some of the experiences that we would like to have stemming from our sexuality. I want you to really think about this. Do you, is sexuality just about pleasuring your genitals? Is sexuality about emotional connection? Sexuality without love, is that what you really want? Sexuality with love, is that what you want? What is the experience that you’re hoping to have? Is it an experience that’s fundamentally inside you? Is it an experience that’s a connection with some other person? Is it an experience that’s a connection with the universe? I want to contend that there have been moments, and I don’t want to sound to weird about this, but there have been moments when I have been out walking, particularly like in the Redwoods and you’re standing among trees that are thousands of years old, and you’re standing on ground that maybe human beings have been walking on for thousands of years, and it’s still and it’s beautiful and you begin to feel at one with nature. And I want to suggest that there may be an element of that experience that’s a sexual experience. I have had the experience, I’ve been very blessed, I’ve had this experience of wading into the ocean in Australia and having some female dolphins notice that I was there and come swim around me and my partner. And in that moment, the connection between my partner and I, the connection between my partner and I and the ocean and the earth, the connection between my partner and I and the ocean and the earth and the dolphins all, all becomes mixed into an experience which was emotional, which was sexual, which was hot, which was sublime, which felt God given. I want to suggest that sex is all those things. So much bigger, so much broader, so much more amazing than mostly we ever allow it to be. And I want to suggest that the way to have sex like that requires a kind of opening, a possibility. I’m going to take a break, give a chance to support our sponsors and let our sponsors support us. You’re listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host, Chip August. We’re talking about sex, love and intimacy. As you listen to the sponsors I want to remind you that there are all kinds of really good deals that you get just by being a listener of Sex, Love and Intimacy. There are audible books that you can get on audible.com. There are, we have a new client, a new sponsor, Tantra Chair: Zen by Design. This tantra chair is an amazing device that can help you in your sexual pleasuring. There’s all kinds of wonderful deals that you can get. So please do pay attention to the sponsors, and you might want to go take a look at personallifemedia.com to see what kind of deals are available to you. We’ll be right back.
Chip August: Welcome back. You’re listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host, Chip August, and today you’re listening to me, and I’m talking about sex and relationship and love and intimacy. In the first part we were talking about sex. I want to move our conversation a little bit over to relationship, ‘cause what is a relationship anyway. You know, this is a really pretty interesting question. Most of us, what we think of as a relationship, I don’t know, to me it seems more like a relation rowboat or a relation canoe, you know. When I think of a ship, I think of something that’s big and broad and sails the ocean. I think of something that can withstand heavy weather. What I notice was most people’s relationships, you know, the first big wave and it gets washed overboard, we get sunk, we get swamped. I see some relationships that look more like garbage scows and some that look like battleships. I don’t know, I, that word ‘relationship’, when I think of a relationship I want to think of something like The Love Boat. I don’t want to think of something where we’re throwing salvos at each other, where we’re attacking each other, and yet I notice so much of what relationship is these days seems to be this negotiation, this battle for attention, this battle for time and for focus. So, I want to offer a different picture of relationship. I want to offer a picture of relationship bigger than this. I have a belief that I can, not so much fall in love, but rise in love with every human being that I meet. I have a belief that it’s possible, that it’s possible to be loving with every single person. Now I don’t always achieve this, I have to admit. I attempt it, but I don’t always achieve it. I notice that sometimes I get distracted from it. I notice that sometimes I’m irritated or frustrated. But I notice that when I can bring my attention to it, when I can bring my attention to it and treat everyone as someone to love, what starts to happen for me is my life begins to fill with love. If I’m feeling love for every person I see in the street, if I’m feeling love for my co-workers, if I’m feeling love for my partner, for my children, for the people who pick up my trash, why then my life begins to be filled with love. And people say to me, “Well, you can’t really love everyone”, and I wonder where that thought comes from. I kind of wonder where that thought, why can’t I? Who says you can’t? And the people who say you can’t, are they telling you something more about their own failure or their own fear than they are about what’s actually possible for human beings? I’m certainly clear that in the great wisdom traditions, I’m clear that Jesus, that Buddha, that the great wisdom teachers taught love, that they still teach this, that they teach the possibility and the beauty of love. And so I wonder, if this is a teaching that human beings pursue, if this is a thing that we believe in, why isn’t it that we include this all in our relationship? So, what does that look like? Well I want to say, I don’t actually, I’m not clear that I want to be sexual partners with every person that I meet, although I have say, even that, I think there’s a value in having sexual, on having flirtation and a little bit of sexual energy in as much of our life as we possible can. So I do flirt a lot, and I do look to create sexual energy between and other people, but I don’t flirt with everybody. I don’t really think it’s appropriate for me to flirt with everybody. I don’t think I, I don’t want to flirt with children. I don’t want to flirt with, there are people in my life who are performing services for me, there are people in my life who, where flirting would actually get in the way of the relationship that we’ve actually established. I flirt a lot, but I don’t flirt with everyone. But I want to love everyone. I want to love, I want to bring my heart to every connection.
Chip August: Now I have to say, this can be really challenging, you know, when you’re driving in traffic and somebody cuts you off, that first reaction is not love, that first reaction is you want to flip them the bird, you want to get angry, you want to honk your horn, you want to, and I’ve amused myself sometimes when I’m running a little late to get to a workshop, and I’m driving really, really aggressively, you know, and somebody’ll be in my way and I’ll find myself wanting to just scream at them, “Will you get out of my way. I’m trying to get to a love workshop”, and I have to laugh at myself, wow, isn’t this amazing? I want to teach people to love, I want to open up the possibilities of people loving, and here I am not being very, very loving, and I find it all kind of funny, and I have to laugh at myself. I just have to laugh at myself about how we are about loving. People say to me, “Well, but if you’re really loving to everybody, then aren’t you cheapening love?” Aren’t you just sort of turning it into, you know, sort of at the supermarket when everybody says, ‘Have a nice day’, and they don’t really, they don’t really mean anything, it’s just another way of just saying, I don’t know, some greeting that doesn’t really have words. Or when people ask you, “How are you?”, you know, and if you stop to tell them, they’re shocked, you know. Are we going to turn love into that? I don’t, I think we have to make a distinction here. I’m clear that I’m in charge of my thoughts, my feelings, my body. I’m clear that I can become mindless about loving. I can act loving but not really experience love. I’m clear that I can get numb. I learned how to get numb very young. I was, I’m the child of an alcoholic and numbing out was a really good strategy for surviving really difficult situations as a child. I have choice about that. I get to notice when I’m in fact making, saying love, but really just sort of, it’s just words. So the first thing here is I have to stay away or I have to stay awake. Well, that’s a lifetime practice right there, you know. Any one of us who’s trying to be mindful in life will tell you, this is lifetime work to stay awake, to stay loving. Then the next thing that happens is people say, “Well, what about jealousy, you know, like doesn’t your wife get jealous? You’re falling in love with all these other people. Aren’t some of these people young attractive women? Aren’t these, don’t, aren’t there sexual feelings that come in? You say you flirt with everybody, isn’t there jealousy?” So, I want to talk about jealousy for a minute, because I’m not clear that jealousy’s a hundred percent bad. I’m not, I’m just not clear that jealousy’s a hundred percent bad. I know that’a radical thought. I know that there are a lot of things that are done in the name of jealousy that are really awful, and so I want to make some destinctions here. I want to suggest that, that there is some quality of possessiveness in love that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Now it can get really twisted and can get really bad, but I just, there’s a moment, you know, when I’m, when my wife is flirting with some other guy or I’m flirting with some woman, and we start to feel jealous about what’s going on there that’s really in some ways a tribute to how powerful we feel about each other. There is a value in that I look over at my partner and I just want to embrace them until I possess them totally. There is a value in that. It’s a value that has some limited application. We want to be careful here. I don’t possess my partner and she doesn’t possess me. But I know that part of love has some of that feeling about it. The beloved becomes all important to us, and I cherish that. I want to know that I have that kind of importance to my partner. I want to know that my partner has that kind of importance to me. I cherish that quality. And what I notice is that kind of possessiveness exists in most mammals. If you’ve ever owned two cats or two dogs or two horses, you’ve watched them get jealous of each other. You pet one and the other one nudges you out of the way. So I’m not clear that jealousy in and of itself is a bad thing. What I notice is, if I have low self esteem, if I think, “Oh my god, she’s going to leave me because that other guy has a bigger penis. That other guy makes more money. That other guy drives a better car, lives in a bigger house, is more handsome than I am”, all of those things, that’s my self esteem that’s lacking, and the work I need to do is the work on my self esteem. It doesn’t serve to try to control my partner or try to control my partner’s activities to make my self esteem feel better. Also I notice that anytime things are out of my control that I wish were in my control, I often get angry. And so, our partners are pretty much out of our control, you know, and there are moments when we want them to be in our control and in that moment we get angry. Again, if I try to control my partner so I don’t feel my anger, I don’t think that, I think that just creates a prism. I have to recognize, oh yeah, this is one of those moments when I wish this was in my control. I also think every human being has some fear of abandonment, some fear of rejection. I actually think it has to do with the way we’re born. We live in the womb, we don’t experience need. And then in the cataclysmic moment of birth suddenly the only way our needs get met is to feel the pain of need, to express the pain of need and then have a parent come and meet those needs. And pretty early on, probably before we’re verbal, we start to get that that’s a tenuous relationship, that sometime our need does not get met in a timely basis. And so, a little seed of a fear of abandonment is sewn, and I think every human being carries this. We carry sort of an unspoken, maybe even wordless fear that we’ll be abandoned and we’ll die, and when we love that can get really heightened. You know, with my beloved, oh my god, if she left I think I would die, you know. And in that thought I can try to control her so I don’t have to face that fear. Again, I’m not clear that controlling my partner makes the fear go away, and so, again, I notice that it’s kind of a twist. I want to celebrate the part of jealousy that is passion and is an expression of “I adore you, I’m crazy about you”. And I want to invite us when we notice that we’re loving everyone and we notice that we’re flirting, to notice that that’s going to bring up jealousy. But I also want to invite us to do our own work about self esteem, to do our own work about anger and to do our own work about our fear of abandonment. We need to pause and take another break. As we go to break, I just want to thank all the listeners for doing such a great job of promoting the show for me. I’ve gotten more downloads this month than I’ve had in ever, and I really appreciate it. If you’re liking the show, I want to invite you, please would you send a link to people that you also think would like the show. I think we can get bigger and bigger and bigger. I really appreciate your support. Also if anything I’m saying today, you notice you wish you had it in writing, why if you just go to the personallifemedia.com website you can find a transcript for this show and you can cut and paste and, you know, send pithy comments to your friends and to people that you really care about, and it’s just one more way to spread the word, so please, keep helping me grow the show, keep helping me grow the audience, and please stay tuned. We’ll be right back.
Chip August: Welcome back to Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m your host, Chip August. On this show we’ve been talking about sex and about relationship. At this moment I want to talk a little bit about possession and possessiveness and owning each other, because I’ve noticed that a significant part of people’s relationship is sort of this idea that if I’m in relationship with you, you own my sexuality. You are the source. You are, if I want to be sexual I have to be sexual with you, and if you want to be sexual, you have to be sexual with me, so we become gatekeepers of each others sexuality, and a thing I see happening in long term relationships is after a while, because I don’t own my own sexuality one of two things often happens, and sometimes both happen: I begin to resent the gatekeeper. I get angry because in a way you own my sexuality and it doesn’t feel good, and it brings up anger and resentment. Also, I often begin to lose interest. Why do I want to have sex with this person who owns my sexuality? There’s something lost in that moment when I’m not owning my body, when I’m not owning my own sex. And so I want to suggest that there’s another plan here. I want to suggest that you own your sexuality, you own your body, you own your sovereign over your thoughts, your body, your feelings, your sex. Your partner, they own their sexuality, they own their body, they are sovereign over their thoughts, their feelings, their behavior, and that really relationship is based not on that you make a promise to me that I can control your behavior, relationship is based on recognizing that I am a free agent, I choose you.
Chip August: In a way I’m in a constant state of courting my partner and she’s in a constant state of courting me. In a way we do not take for granted that we’re simply available to each other. We have an assumption that we can ask each other to be available to each other. We can invite, we can seduce, we can flirt, but that there’s not a going in assumption that I own you or that you own me, and in that moment when we don’t own each other there’s a way that there’s that level of insecurity, but there’s also a way that we are constantly in courtship, that we are constantly in a dance of appreciating, we are constantly practicing surrender to each other, finding out what our partner wants and giving it to them. We are in a conversation that requires time, because I think great relationships require time. We’re in a conversation that sometimes isn’t about words, it’s sometimes about loving intimate touch. It’s about connection. And I notice that instead of arguing, recognizing this is a free agent, this is a person who’s freely bringing herself to me. I don’t want to argue with her, I don’t want to chase her away, I don’t want to make her wrong. I notice I want to listen and learn from my partner, and I see my partner as like my greatest teacher, I see my partner as my path to enlightenment, as my path to growth. Now I have to say, I forget this all the time. You know, I, this is how I live, and then I forget, and then I have to remind myself again. And the nice thing about choosing love is you can choose love again and again and again. My friend Stan Dale used to say, “Every second you get a second chance.” I love that thought; every second you get a second chance. I want to invite you into relationships, into relationships, where each person is a free agent, where each person owns their body, their emotions, their thought, and in their ownership of themselves, they have an opportunity to freely give, to freely share, and you have an opportunity to freely give and freely share, and jealousy will come up and you’ll have an opportunity to play with that jealousy, to be present with that jealousy, and there’ll be moments when sexuality lives in sort of the passion of that jealousy and in that passion of two free agents bringing themselves to each other, and I want to suggest that this is a better picture for relationship than what most of us, than what most of us experience.
Chip August: Now if you want to learn a little bit more about some of my ideas about relationship, you can visit my website, chipaugust.com, chipaugust.com, where I have a whole bunch of different things I’ve written on how to communicate, on how to deal with upset, on how to open our hearts, on how to create intimacy. I mean, if you’re a person who learns more by reading those kinds of things, why please visit my website, chipaugust.com. If you’d like to see me live, there’s a number of ways you can do that. I’m about to be a guest at a wonderful workshop and conference called The Lotus Workshop and Conference, October 17th, 18th and 19th 2008. So if you’re listening to this before that date you might want to go to www.lotusworkshop.com and find out more about it. It’s a weekend about sexuality and spirituality, and I’ll be doing a couple of different presentations. I also regularly lead workshops for the Human Awareness Institute, that’s www.hai.org, where I lead workshops in love, intimacy and sexuality. And also I put on my own workshops in healing anger and I also put on a workshop in, called The Extraordinary Sex Workshop with my partner Kat. So you’d be welcome, and you can find out dates on all that simply by going to my website, chipaugust.com and looking at the upcoming workshops page. We’re coming to the end of this time. I want to remind you that if you would like text and transcripts of this interview, of this conversation, of this episode, all you need to do is go to personallifemedia.com, that’s all one word, personallifemedia.com, and every show has a full transcript. If there’s something I’ve said this time that you notice you want to send to friends, why you can cut and paste bits of that transcript and send it to other people, and I do hope you do keep the word out about this show. I, we’re growing, I had the biggest number of downloads last month that I’ve ever had, and I would like to continue that trend, so please do tell your friends and send links to this show and, you know, I’d like to just keep growing and growing and growing and growing. If you have suggested guests or comments about the show, you can send them to me at email@example.com, I’m always happy to hear from you. And if you’d prefer to do it by phone, you can leave a voicemail message for me at 206-350-5333.
Chip August: I always like to leave my listeners with a, an exercise, something that they can do at home, and I have a couple of different ideas. There’s many things that I have benefited from in my life, and one of the most powerful things that has changed my life has to do with where our beliefs come from. I notice that a lot of my beliefs are the result of what I’ve been told over and over and over again and what I tell myself over and over and over again, and that if I will take the time to actively tell myself a different thing over and over and over again, I come to believe that different thing. Most of you who have done affirmations know this, that you say your affirmation again and again and again and your affirmation comes to be real. So about love, about intimacy, about sexuality, it has been very, very, very, very valuable to me to affirm a few things, and one of the things that I’ve done is that everyday in the morning in a mirror I say to myself, “I really love you Chip. You deserve happiness and joy and pleasure. I really love you Chip. You deserve happiness and joy and pleasure.” And I just noticed that when I tell myself everyday over and over again out loud that I deserve happiness and joy and pleasure, my life increasingly becomes about happiness, joy and pleasure. I also noticed that one of the reasons that I withhold happiness and joy and pleasure from me is because I think I’m not doing enough or I’m not good enough or I don’t deserve it, so another thing that I say to me in the mirror is, “I am enough. I have enough. I give enough. And I do enough.” So I want to invite you to see what happens for you if every single day, every day, day in and day out, you out loud say to yourself, “I really love you”, and your name, and you make an affirmation for you about your happiness, about your joy, and then say it every single day, day after day after day. I promise you, within a month you are going to notice significant change. Well this brings us to the end of another episode of Sex, Love and Intimacy. I’m glad you listened. I really appreciate your support and I hope you’ll listen in again.