Our summer issue is out now. Our regular contributor Dawn Cartwright wrote an illuminating piece on using the breath to awaken the senses
The Capacity For Wonder
Using breath to awaken the arousal centre
by Dawn Cartwright
“Wonder and pleasure are now synonymous, expanding infinitely, alive with grace.
In the summer of 1984, human sexuality research took a quantum leap when Barry Singer, Ph.D., published his thesis, Conceptualising Sexual Arousal and Attraction, introducing a new model for the stages of sexual response. Previous models such as Masters and Johnson’s Human Sexual Response Cycle and Kaplan’s Triphasic Concept, explained the arc of sexual arousal but not the interrelatedness between lovers. Singer’s model, based on the emotions we feel and the closeness that occurs when we feel attraction, revolutionised the perspective on the trajectory of sexual arousal.
Singer’s Model of Human Sexual Arousal
Step 1– Aesthetic Response: The aesthetic response relates to the emotions that arise when we notice a face or figure we find attractive. This emotional reaction heightens our attention and focuses our gaze (covertly, or directly) towards the attractive person.
Step 2– Approach Response: The approach response takes a little courage and it’s just as it sounds. Once we’ve noticed someone we’re attracted to, we move toward them.
Step 3– Genital Response: Our body responds to the physical sensations and emotions we feel, and the closeness we’ve created. Genital tumescence appears.
The Capacity for Total Wonder
To be attracted is to be in wonder. Time stands still. Senses are awake. Minds are quiet. We are suspended in mid-air and securely tethered to the earth all at once. According to Singer’s model, our visual, physical and psychological information is relayed to the nervous system, triggering several positive feedback loops designed to steadily increase sexual arousal and interest in intimate connection. The attraction we feel and turn towards, heightens our senses, intensifying the cascade of emotional excitement and physical sensation in our bodies.
We are swept away by the intensity we feel for the person we’re attracted to and the beauty of our own body and its response. At this stage, our capacity for wonder expands as our capacity for connection grows. The sympathetic nervous system shifts into gear – muscles tighten, heart rate increases and breathing deepens. This leads to increased excitation, making us more and more sensitive until arousal takes over our focus. At this moment, the mind becomes quieter and we begin to discover new sensations and internal landscapes that were hidden before.
Our experience of ourselves and our surroundings becomes more expansive and the boundaries between our bodies and the space around us begin to blur. We feel suspended and tethered, simultaneously. The parasympathetic nervous system triggers release of vasodilation agents that relax smooth muscle cells in the penis, clitoris, vagina and labia. Supportive muscles in the pelvic floor engage, adding to the strength and sensitivity of the erection in both women and men. Subtle contractions in the muscles in and around the pelvic floor and genitals, add to the sensations of pleasure, increasing arousal, reinforcing already active feedback loops with ever increasing intensity. Wonder and pleasure are now synonymous, expanding infinitely, alive with grace.
Kripa ????, divine grace. A moment that changes the course of our lives forever. Immersed in the stillness that exists at the centre of arousal – when arousal is experienced fully. Attraction, filled with wonder, infused with the transformational quality of grace. Singer’s model leads us here, to the mystical experiences that arise in sexual attraction and arousal. The place where control dissolves and grace appears. The fires of transformation have never felt as sweet.
Pause for a moment, now, just where you are. Relax your body, melt into your centre. Breathe slowly and expansively. Gently pulse your pelvic floor. Then, soften the pelvic floor muscles. Pulse the pelvic floor, then soften. Expand your breathing to fill all of your body. And pulse. Then soften. Breathe only into your eyes, create a comfortable feeling of fullness there. Begin to make the breaths longer, softer, until the breathing creates a warm glow in and around the eyes. Breathe only into your heart, creating a feeling of fullness. After some time, breathe longer, softer, until the breathing creates a warm glow in and around the heart. Breathe only into your sex centre, creating a feeling of fullness.
Breathe slowly, softly, as though you are filling the sex centre with a warm glow. Expand your senses so that you feel the subtle feelings of arousal that are always present in your body. Activating the aesthetic response within. Tilt your pelvis forward and back, very slowly. Moving your pelvis closer to your arousal. Activating the approach response within.
Gently pulse your pelvic floor muscles again, then release. Activating the genital response within. Sink into the vibrant stillness at the centre of your arousal. “Grace transforms your physical body completely. Every gesture becomes beautiful. Your eyes radiate a totally new silence. They open to such depths that they become almost unfathomable.”
The capacity for total wonder is the very substance of awakening. Daniel Odier, “Desire the Tantric Path to Awakening”
Osho Dawn Cartwright is a NeoTantra visionary, sacred writer, world traveler and innovator in authentic lovemaking and NeoTantra fusion. Find out more about Dawn and her incredible work dawncartwright.com