Surrendering to Sadness can Expand Pleasure

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“Remember, when we first started going out, and you warned me ‘I don’t cum very often or easily?” an ex-boyfriend, now a good friend, reminded me as we were reminiscing.

That was six years ago. During that and subsequent relationships, I have discovered my multi-orgasmic capabilities. I cum hard and often. What happened? What changed for me so that orgasms were not so nebulous?

It wasn’t that I got more comfortable with my body. It wasn’t that I shed some sexual shame. It wasn’t that I learned to touch my own vagina. It wasn’t that I learned more about anatomy and physiology. These are often listed as reasons why a woman may not cum. What was it then? What led to more abundant and vigorous orgasms?

Grief. I have learned how to grieve since then. I didn’t realize, until the death of my brother six years ago, that I had never learned the importance of grief. The pain and sadness that was opened by his death created a portal for years, perhaps lifetimes, of pain. I had been unknowingly carrying all this stuff without any recognition or understanding of the need for release. Now I am a “grief-aholic.” I cry often– sometimes shatteringly hard, falling on my knees keening—or sometimes I shed a few quiet tears in the bathroom stall at work.

We all have so many reasons to grieve. In our Western culture, we have a difficult time accepting and releasing grief. There are many “rules” about grief: when we are “allowed” to grieve, for how long, how it should look, what the prescribed stages are.

The connection between grief and orgasm but not seem very apparent. Both grief and orgasm ask us to open ourselves, to stay authentic with our feelings, and to travel to the core of our being. Francis Weller, psychologist, and therapist, explains the power of grief:

“Grief undermines the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially about the ordained and sanctioned behaviors of our culture.”

Now, if we replace the word “grief” with the word “sexuality” in the above paragraph, is still makes profound sense, no?  Both grief and sexuality nurture and support our wild, untamed nature.  They ask us to live beyond any culture’s prescription of what it means to be “civilized.”

Grief is our birthright; we all need to grieve. Even if you have had the most perfect life ever, however unlikely that may be, collectively we have lost so much–our connection to each other, to Mother Nature, to communal ways of being–that no one is immune to the sadness of loss. And most of us have had profound losses that demand grief: childhood trauma, loss of dreams, divorce, illness, financial troubles, unmet expectations. Without permission and guidance on how to express the sadness of loss, we might become depressed, anxious, numb or cynical.

In the mainstream concept of sexuality, sexy usually means light, fun, and reckless. But to me, sexy connotes a deep organic darkness, like moss or rich soil; the kind of dark which nourishes the essence of being. Even if it seems counterintuitive, struggles with sexual issues, including orgasm, may ask us, not to “lighten up,” but the opposite–to go deeper into the well of feeling. Orgasm is one of the most intense sensual experiences, and it is difficult to feel it if we can’t feel deeply at all.

healing-through-the-dark-emotions-the-wisdom-of-grief-fear-and-despair_2693918Grief brings unimaginable gifts.  As Miriam Greenspan explains in her groundbreaking book Healing Through the Dark Emotions:

“We don’t choose grief, it chooses us…It is an inner intention that says: I will let this grief mold me to its purpose, rather than trying to rein it in, stay in charge of it. And this inner intention, this choice is what begins the process that I call “expansion”—the development of an enlarged sense of self through the grieving process.”

During an orgasm, I often feel the lines of my embodied self begin to blur, and I can feel my self expand beyond linear conceptions. On a spiritual and emotional level, pleasure can help us to expand our concepts of self. Our limited ideas of who we are and what we can do are shattered in the vibration of orgasm.

The same is true of grief. Often, when another has met with a difficult or tragic experience, we may respond with “I don’t think I could survive that.” But we can and do survive so much more than we expect. We are warriors, but what softens the struggle, what can catalyze potential violence to love, is the process of grief.

To be sure, grief is painful. We avoid it, not only because of social conditioning but because our bodies do not welcome pain. Sometimes orgasm hurts too. But unlike pathological pain, the pain of surrender, the pain of releasing to grief or to pleasure allows us to let go of what we can no longer carry and open up to the gift of Life.

I’d love to hear from you. Contact me at with comments or questions or if you’d like to learn more about how working with me can help you to experience emotional release.

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Adina Lakser is a Winnipeg-based sex coach, writer and mother. Visit her at or her Aquarian column Pillow Talk


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