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Archive for the For Guys Eyes

This one’s for guy’s eyes, but women, you’re welcome to be a fly on the wall. Which is perhaps a good spot to inhabit while taking a fresh look at the confusing, confronting topic of men and their porn habits!

While most of my work as a Relationship Expert and Coach is about the preventative, I’m simultaneously a pragmatist. There are fairly easy ways to prevent the unhealthy (but too often inevitable) issues that plague relationships, like dismal communication, habits hidden from our partners, discomfort with intimacy and lack-luster sex – just like there are fairly easy ways to prevent unhealthy (but too often inevitable) issues that plague our health, like weight-gain, lethargy, crappy food choices and chronic illnesses.

Ever a pragmatist, however, I take just as much stock in the ways things ARE as in the way they SHOULD or COULD be. I take just as much stock in ACTUAL behaviors as the ways we SHOULD or COULD behave.

The pragmatist part of me knows that about eighty percent of men watch porn. And these are well-meaning, emotionally aware, intelligent, all-around-good-guys we are talking about here. For whatever reasons (which I’ll touch on briefly later, compliments of my preventative part), men watch porn. Period.

Read the rest of this post at YourTango.

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When you have the keys to how a man works, he gives you the keys to himself.

I have spent the last month interviewing a series of phenomenal men, asking them things like:

“What do you want most from a woman?”
“What would compel you to commit?”
“What makes you feel like a stud, a rockstar, a MAN?”
“What shuts you down and makes you want to leave?”

If you are anything like me, their answers will shock you in all the best ways, move you to your core, restore your hope in love – and make you piss your pants laughing at times.

Watch your email inbox over the next days and weeks, because I’ll be letting you know when the videos are ready for your viewing pleasure.

In the meantime, check out these choice tidbits … let me know your favorite moments from the video and WHY … and get yourself read for the Man Whispering video interviews!


(Published in, July 16, 2011)

When I heard the news of another prominent figure involved in a sex scandal, did my eyebrows raise? Did they wryly raise further when I connected his last name with the subject matter of his sexting? I don’t mean to be too cynical, but the answer to both counts was nope. I wasn’t exactly surprised. Were you?

This isn’t an article about the scandal Weiner has brought to his post as a government official. It isn’t about the hurt he’s brought to his wife and family. It isn’t a “how could he do this to us?” cry for mending morality. It isn’t even a straight-out plea for the privacy of all humans, regardless of their office.

This is an article exploring some reasons (albeit totally made up and fictional on my part) about why he may have done it. And not the convenient reason so many may have come to – because he must have been a weak-willed, sneaky, narcissistic, cheating excuse for a public servant. While that may or may not be true, the reasons I’m fascinated with lie in an often-unexamined place: the shadowy psyche of the erotic mind.

Would I find texted pix of your willy erotic? Not so much. Bear with me.

And I also ask you to bear with me as I make a bunch of likely inaccurate assumptions about the inner sexual workings of a man I’ve never met, likely never will meet, and whose life I feel shouldn’t be a subject of public scrutiny or mockery in the first place.

We look for cracks in our leaders, the same way we are simultaneously horrified and fascinated by a crime scene. We want them to be inscrutable gods and goddesses, examples of how it should be, flawless examples of human beings in whom we can trust. I mean, would you really want a leader who is fallible and vulnerable having her hand on the nuclear “deploy” button? Would you want him guarding your house and family at night? Making decisions that will impact your bodily and economic well-being? Like it or not, that’s what we’ve got.

Ever had a fantasy that involved experiencing or doing something that in “real” life you’d never want to experience? Ever had a fantasy you’d share with a stranger but you’d be ashamed to share with someone you were intimately connected with? Ever wonder why sexual fantasies are so often kept secret and in the dark? What’s at work here? Why the connection between sex and shame? Are we all twisted beyond any hope of help?

Ten years ago, before my transition into the field of relationships, I had a private practice in New York City in which I’d work with clients to their heal bodies and emotional eating issues entirely through self-awareness, lifestyle adjustments and holistic nutrition. Enter Christina, who came to me with uncontrollable cravings for ice cream. She’d polish off a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream each night. Every night. That’s a whole lotta ice cream.

Even the word cravings can conjure up associations with being sinful, bad, lacking in will-power and undisciplined. But I’d learned to respect cravings as the body’s best attempt at a signal for something direly needed. Christina and I started by deconstructing the facets of her ice cream cravings, in order to deconstruct – and dignify – what he body was really asking for.

Ice cream is cold, milky, creamy, sweet and fatty. Additionally, for Christina, it provided an emotional sense of comfort and of treating herself. So I suggested a couple of radical things. First of all, I didn’t tell her to eliminate ice cream. The focus wasn’t to take anything away, just to add in more of what her body might actually asking for, but was settling for through the ice cream.

I prescribed more fresh salads and fresh vegetables to cover the “cold” element. She was to add healthful fats like olive oil and avocados on her salads to cover to the “fatty” element. And she was to add in some sweet root vegetables like squashes or sweet potatoes so her general diet would have more natural sources of the “sweet” element. Often, a craving for milky substances is an attempt to “mother” ourselves. Since there’s no more nursing for most of us adults, we often substitute other comforting – and milky – things. We looked at the places in Christina’s life where she was hurting and needing “comfort,” in essence needing the mothering kindness she was trying to get from the surrogate teat of ice cream.

In the span of the one-month experiment, she lost about 10 pounds, had eaten ice cream less than a handful of times, and was considering for the first time going off of her anti-anxiety medication. Christina’s body responded extraordinarily well to some healthful substitutions that satisfied the spirit of her cravings, if not the letter of them.

In the vein of deconstructing food cravings, let’s take a look at what it is that Weiner (allegedly) did. He texted and/or tweeted his private junk to potentials other than his wife. He did it in secret, ideally with the aim to not be found out. Where for Christina it was ice cream, Weiner’s erotic cravings showed up as exhibitionism and the titillating thrill of (hopefully) getting away with something. What might his erotic cravings be asking for on a deeper level? And might these cravings have some innate dignity to them?

If you have the chance, run out and get yourself of a copy of The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfillment by Jack Morin. After reading his astonishing book several years ago I began to ask if there might just be some fantastic, potentially liberating intelligence to our sexual cravings. Perhaps our erotic shadows have a code language, akin to other types of cravings, that needs some deconstructing and understanding, rather than more shaming or repression. Perhaps there is even a powerful force at work behind sexual scandals that is actually strongly life-affirming and deserved of respect?

Morin suggests that sexual obstacles in one’s youth create lifelong scripts for arousal. Drawing on 351 respondents, straight and gay, who discussed their erotic lives with him, Morin developed an “erotic equation”: attraction plus obstacles leads to excitement. This formula is neither tidy nor predictable. Feelings ranging from exuberance, joy, anxiety, humiliation, naughtiness and anger can intensify arousal and turn out to be aphrodisiacs. Which begins to explain why the best sex – or most potent sexual fantasy – is dynamic and risky rather than static and safe.

Which sexual obstacles showed up in your youth? In what ways did your plans to overcome them get entangled in your sexuality? If you were the geek or nerd who could never get the girls, perhaps (as you’d take your frustrations our on yourself) you’d plan for ways to “get back” at them later by never allowing them to “get” you. If you were of the Catholic school meme, perhaps guilt and the naughty thrill of doing something you were not supposed to do showed up precisely alongside your first sexual awakenings. If you felt unseen, unwanted and invisible when your sexuality started to bud, perhaps you dreamed of a time when you could exposed any part of yourself, inspiring only delight and arousal from others.
Which obstacles – and plans to overcome them – might have been Weiner’s ?

Morin claims that understanding our peak sexual experiences and fantasies – and the obstacles that came with them – offer the greatest opportunity for self-discovery and, thus, revitalized sexual experiences. In essence, he says that deconstructing erotic and sexual elements can bring them out of the shadows. Rather than exposing himself to text recipients other than the woman he vowed to be faithful to, the question becomes how could Weiner honestly and openly incorporate the element of exhibitionism into his erotic world? Rather than deceiving his wife and his constituents, how could he bring the elements of “almost getting caught” or “being naughty” into his sex life?

Additionally, how could he explore the line between secrecy (doing something you wouldn’t want anyone to find out about) and privacy (having an inner world that is yours and yours alone, hurting no one) and hence open up some much-needed lines of communication with his spouse? In personal relationships, while secrecy can be a killer, privacy can often actually help preserve the relationship.

Should Weiner have been afforded a blanket of privacy? Should any public figure or leader? While I wouldn’t count myself as qualified to make that call, we should consider for ourselves what the line is between privacy and secrecy. It’s a line our very own government is in the process of blurring the boundaries of as I write.

I am in no way dignifying the fact that Anthony Weiner was doing stuff he didn’t want anyone to know about. There’s no dignity in deceit. I do believe that if you’re holding a public office or commanding the public eye, part of your preparation and job description should include getting a handle on your kinks so they don’t run away with you and your career. But that’s another article.

The threats of shame, disapproval or massive loss are seemingly not enough to prevent sexual scandal. Our deeper sexual cravings almost always trump our ideals for morality. That’s some powerful ju-ju that’s driving us, despite our loftier intentions. Perhaps a sincere and vulnerable look into the secret heart of our arousal could create some balance and healing. Maybe confronting the unresolved feelings that produce “troublesome turn-ons” in our fantasy world might allow us to act more congruently in the “real” world. Perhaps deconstructing our erotic cravings, and acknowledging the desire to give and receive love that is at the core of them all, might just restore some much-needed dignity to our sexual selves.

“Most of your sexual desires, no matter how weird or kinky they may seem, are rooted in your need to give and receive love or your need to experience a specific part in the spectrum of [sexual] energy. These needs are natural, although if denied or hidden they can grow into ‘pathological’ forms that require healing. If you don’t embrace these desires in yourself with compassion, you can create an inner division that results in an energetic kink.”

~David Deida

My husband sent this blog post by Arjuna Ardagh to me, quite a gift to receive from a man, to a woman. Enjoy!

* * *

A few days ago, after a particularly exquisite evening with my wife Chameli, I put this post up on Facebook before going to bed:

“I have had many, many great teachers in my life. A super abundance. No one and nothing comes close to the woman who is now asleep in the bedroom. My marriage has become the guru, the salvation, the muse, the crack through which the divine shines through.”

When I woke up the next morning, there were the usual offerings of people who liked the post as well as comments. One man had the vulnerability and courage to post this on facebook:

“Thank you Arjuna for this sharing, I feel like [I’m] in front of a choice which is between feeling envious of what you have and I don’t, or instead to decide that ‘I want that too,’ and, as you show, it is possible…”

I was touched.

Over the next days, I got several more messages like this from men: vulnerable men, honest men, rare and courageous men. They came in as private messages on Facebook or through our website, and they all said basically the same thing:

“I read your Facebook post. I want what you have. Show me how to get it.”

So, friends, here it is. The short guide on how to worship a woman, and why it’s the wisest thing that a man can do. First of all, lets pop a few very understandable doubts that you might have. I’m familiar with all of them.

1.    “I’m wounded and damaged in my relationships to the feminine.”
So am I, dear brother, so am I. My parents divorced in a messy way when I was four. I grew up alone with my mother. She did her very best to provide for me, but she was unhappy and insecure. By the time I started to have relationships with women myself in my early teens, I discovered that I had a mountain of resentments, fears, and separation in my relation to the feminine.  The conscious practice of worship can become a part of healing the wounds.

2.    “Arjuna, you’re lucky. You’ve got an incredible partner. I’m together with a woman who’s not like Chameli.”
I really don’t have the ultimate answer to that doubt or question. It certainly could seem to be the case that I’ve been lucky in finding a great woman, but here’s how it happened for me. I’ve had a lot of less lucky connections in my life. I’ve experienced my share of the manipulative side of the feminine: the victim, the rageful, the revengeful. And I have seen the ugly side of the masculine psyche in myself.  A few weeks prior to meeting Chameli, my wife, something deep and profound shifted in me, which I believe can shift for anyone in the same way.

3.    “I don’t have a partner at all, and I sometimes doubt if I’ll ever meet anybody.”
Being with a partner where worship is not flowing, or not being with a partner at all, are basically two aspects of the same situation: you’ve had an intuition or a glimpse of the possibilities of a deeper love, and you want more of it. The solutions are the same.

4.    “I feel my heart is closed down. I live in my head a lot, and I wouldn’t even know what worship was if it broke into my house at 2 o’clock in the morning and held me at gunpoint.”
That’s where the whole thing starts for all of us, when we realize that we don’t yet know how to love. And that’s that the big question that you have to consider: “Is that okay with me?” Never mind how much money you make, or how many friends you have on Facebook, no matter how nice a house you live in, or no matter how big a car you drive, no matter how impressive your partner’s bust size, or how much you meditate and become spiritual… have you loved for real, in a total and undefended way? If not, and here’s where you have to be honest with yourself, is that OK with you? Is it OK to die one day without the heart’s gift having been fully given?

Eight or nine years ago, I came to that question in myself, exactly that, and I discovered that the answer was, if I was was raw and vulnerable and uncomplicated, that it was actually not OK. If I died one day without having fully loved, it would not have truly been a life well lived.

Many many years ago, I went to Bali for a vacation, on my own. I met up with some other young travelers there and we hired a Jeep to take us on a tour of the island. We drove up right to the highest point of the island, where Tourists don’t usually go. Our guide took us to one of the most sacred temples. It was surrounded by a big brick wall with an ornate entrance. After removing our shoes and wrapping scarves around our heads, we stepped together through this entrance. Inside, there was a short courtyard and then another brick wall with another entrance. After more preparations of lighting incense and giving offerings, we stepped through the second entrance. We were allowed to go through the opening in one more wall, but that was it. All together there were ten walls around the deity in the middle. Hindus could go beyond the fourth wall. Devotees of that particular deity could go beyond the fifth wall, and so it went on. The only people allowed to approach the deity directly were those who had given their lives completely and totally to its worship. Everyone else could come a little closer, a little closer, to the innermost beauty, but not all the way to the center.

I’m not a big believer of the worship of statues, but there’s a beautiful symbolism to what I saw there, because a woman’s heart is just like that. At the essence of every woman’s heart is the divine feminine. It contains everything that has ever been beautiful, or lovely, or inspiring, in any woman, anywhere, at any time. The very essence of every woman’s heart is the peak of wisdom, the peak of inspiration, the peak of sexual desirability, the peak of soothing, healing love. The peak of everything. But it’s protected, for good reason, by a series of concentric walls. To move inwardly from one wall to the next requires that you intensify your capacity to devotion, and as you do so, you are rewarded with Grace. This is not something you can negotiate verbally with a woman. She doesn’t even know consciously how to open those gates herself. They are opened magically and invisibly by the keys of worship.

If you stand on the outside of the outermost wall, all you have available to you, like many other unfortunate men, is pornography. For $1.99 a minute, you can see her breasts, maybe her vagina, and you can stimulate yourself in a sad longing for deeper love.

Step though another gate, and she will show you her outer gift-wrapping. She’ll look at you with a certain twinkle of her eye. She’ll answer your questions coyly. She’ll give you just the faintest hint that there is more available.

Step through another gate with your commitment, with your attention, with the small seedlings of devotion, and she’ll open her heart to you more. She’ll share with you her insecurities, the way that she’s been hurt, her deepest longings. Some men will back away at this point. They realize that the price they must pay to go deeper is more than they are willing to give. They start to feel a responsibility.  But for those few who step though another gate, they come to discover her loyalty, her willingness to stick with you no matter what, her willingness to raise your children, stick up for you in conversation, and, if you are lucky, even pick up your dirty socks now and then. And so it goes on. You’ve got the gist by now.

Somewhere around the second wall from the center, she casts the veils of her personality aside, and shows you that she is both a human being and also a portal into something much greater than that. She shows you a wrath that is not hers, but all womens’.   She shows you a patience that is also universal. She shows you her wisdom. At this point you start to experience the archetypes of women, who have been portrayed as goddesses and mythological figures in every tradition.

Then, at the very center, in the innermost temple itself, all the layers of your devotion are flooded with reward all at once. You discover the very essence of the feminine, and in a strange way that is not exactly romantic, but profoundly sacred all the same, you realize that you could have got here with any woman if you had just been willing to pass through all the layers of initiation. Any woman is every woman, and every woman is any woman at the same time. When you love a woman completely, at the very essence of her being, this is the one divine feminine flame. It is what has made every woman in history beautiful. It’s the flame behind the Mona Lisa, and Dante’s Beatrice, and yes, also Penelope Cruz and Heidi Klum. You discover the magic ingredient which has lead every man to fall in love with a woman.

When you learn how to pay attention to the essence of the feminine in this way, you fall to the floor in full body prostration, tears soaking your cheeks and clothes, and you wonder how you could have ever taken Her, in all of Her forms, for granted even for a second.

This one’s for guy’s eyes, but women, you’re welcome to be a fly on the wall.

I liken porn to junk food. Pop-corn, pop-porn, you get the metaphor. But lust because I am using “porn” and “junk food” in the same sentence doesn’t mean I am saying you shouldn’t have any.

Life is no fun without a little junk food, right? It’s fun, it’s tasty, it’s a rush, it is an indulgence, it reminds us of our adolescence and it can be comforting.

But you have to watch out for too much, because then you get sluggish, low-energy, overweight, depressed, and other serious diseases. A good rule for food is 90% of the time eat healthy, whole, nutritious food that makes you healthy, happy, energized and ready for life. 10% of the time is for whatever junk food does it for you.

The same goes for porn.

Porn is like junk food. A little here and there is fun, tasty, a rush, an indulgence, reminds you of your adolescence and it can be comforting.

Porn can be hot. Porn can be fun, I am not suggesting you should have NO PORN.

I just want to draw some attention to some side-effects from over-saturation of porn.

Too much porn is numbing, de-sensitizing, it limits the depth of sensuality that is possible to have with another human being, and quite honestly, narrows your capacity as a great lover.

I suggest that you consider porn to be junk food, not your mainstay of sensual and sexual sustenance and nourishment.

Not easy. Porn is hurled at you from every corner. Most men I have asked said they first learned about or encountered sex from pornography. Porn is where you so often get your schooling around sex and sensuality. It is what you were weaned on, and that is the steady diet incessantly tossed your way for your whole lifetime.

(Yes, there is porn made for and by women, but in general, porn is consumed by and created for men.)

So, porn is where too many men get their  information on what is sexy, what is sensual, what a sexy body should look like, what gets a person off.

Which is all often far from a real life encounter with a real live partner.

Eating junk food all the time can’t create a healthy, vital being. Likewise, a steady diet of porn also cannot create a healthy, vital, integrated sensual, aware human being.

So, this week:

1. You don’t have to give porn up, just consider whittling it down to 10%, as a delicious indulgence. And consider devoting some of your energy to sex and sensuality in the real world.

It’s time to get healthy, guys, time to expand your sexual nutrition horizons. What are your off-screen turn-ons? What makes real life women hot? What have you been missing that would make you a phenomenal lover? What do you have yet to learn to be fully on your game?

Enjoy, LiYana