October 25, 2014
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The Science of Sacred Sexuality Interview

by Suzie Heumann

Suzie Heumann Francesca Gentille:
(See her podcast on www.personallifemedia.com)

Welcome to sex: Tantra and Kama Sutra, I’m your host Francesca Gentille, bringing you the soul of sex. And on today’s show we have Suzie Heumann.

Suzie is the founder of Tantra.com, she’s an author, a film maker, an educator, an author of several amazing books like “The Everything Great Sex” book, “The Everything Kama Sutra” book and “The Rules of Love: The 64 Arts of the Kama Sutra” which is coming out this fall. One of Suzie’s specialties is the science of sacred sexuality and how it actually works in the body. Suzie, welcome.

Suzie Heumann: Hello, Francesca, it’s nice to be here.

Francesca Gentille: I wanted to just jump in right away with a little bit of the science of sacred sexuality. I love it that there can be a science behind it. What is one of your favorite things that you have learned about the science of sacred sexuality?

Suzie Heumann: Well, I feel like I am just in the discovery process. I was trained in college as a biologist and I have followed the works of Dr. Beverly Whipple who wrote the first G-Spot book. She’s still doing research and it’s very productive and primarily on women’s sexuality and neurobiology research. I’m interested in Dr. Candace Pert who is a neurobiologist and the two of them are fueling an interest of mine because of my background in Tantra. My own personal work in Tantra, and what I have watched over the years in workshops and my understanding of it, is there is this sense of this coming together for me of understanding the background of why somatic exercises in the sexual psychosomatic Tantra world work. So I am investigating the background of the new discoveries in neurosciences of what causes those things so I can better understand and build upon my own practices, write more about the practices that work for people and give substance to why this is all working - why it’s worked for thousands of years. So for me, having this cognitive level of understanding, along with the fact that I am a very somatic person…

Francesca Gentille: What does somatic mean? What do we mean by somatic.

Suzie Heumann: Somatic means ‘in your body’, you learn in your body, you’re action orientated, you’re touch oriented, you’re often sexually orientated, you do things a lot with your intuitive body vs. say maybe an intellectual...

Suzie Heumann: Somatic means ‘in your body’, you learn in your body, you’re action orientated, you’re touch oriented, you’re often sexually orientated, you do things a lot with your intuitive body vs. say maybe an intellectual. The easiest analogy is, say, an intellectual vs. somebody that is very somatic; a dancer is very somatic person. There are somatic therapists vs. cognitive therapists, so it’s someone that is in their body, who works from within their body, and frames their world more in that way. So for me that kind of yin/yang, male/female, shiva/shaka balance comes from being in my body but understanding the more male world of gathering knowledge that is, in this sense, very scientific in working with sexuality. This blends and brings more of a fusion and a non-duality into my personal world.

Francesca Gentille: So how is that working for you? What it, there’s the body knowledge, the body wisdom, the feelings, the senses of the body and then there is the logical linear mind that is trying to figure out how something works - how does it literally work. How is that supporting your sacred sexual practice? What are you finding about how things work that supports that in the body.

Suzie Heumann: For instance, I understand that oxytocin is the love chemical, basically. There is a lot of new news coming out on oxytocin. It’s produced when a women gives birth, when she orgasms, when she nurses and it’s produced at orgasm for men also. So women, in particular, have more opportunity to produce the love drug oxytocin, which is the bonding chemical that cause the warm, fuzzy feelings. What’s happening with oxytocin is that it is literally lowering our cortisol, our stress hormones, in our body. So for instance that says to me; oh, well I do love making love, but I want to make love longer in these ways, with my eyes open, exchanging breath, with being really present and present, not only in my body, but in my mind in a way. Knowing I am consciously driving more oxytocin in my body which has the feedback loop of giving me more love and pleasure. So I am using the knowledge of that to witness myself in pleasure. And that’s the feedback loop that I find fascinating.

Francesca Gentille: What do you mean by ‘witness yourself in pleasure’?

Suzie Heumann: Well you know there is this thing about getting out of your head to have pleasure - you know - get into your body, get out of your head. But the getting out of head is more about not thinking about the bills that need to be paid or the report you didn’t turn in at work or whatever the long list of very stressful, very everyday things we have in our lives and then they’re stuck in our brain. So, on one hand, we say get out of your brain, go into the bedroom, get into your body, be present, be in the moment. But there is a non-dualistic way of bringing witness on ourselves - which is really a meditation practice. It’s a compassionate practice, it’s a meditation practice where we are bearing witness when we jump back into our mind and then we go back into our meditation practice. So, it’s this constant witnessing of ourselves and it’s kind of a soft focus witness. So, I can observe my self sometimes in a pleasure state, yet still be present to say something quick to myself, like “OH! Feel those chemicals coursing through your body?” And then I’ll come right back to the present and be in the experience.

It’s this cultivation of the witness process. So, really the point of it is sexual Tantric practices are only one of a multitude of vehicles that we can use to come to the real point, which is being one with everything. Being one with my computer, being one with my partner, being one with my children, my boss, my car, the road I’m driving on, the universe, Mother Earth, all of those things are really only one thing and it is me and it is you and it is all of us. And so, the more times I can create non-duality in my life, therefore, a non-duality between my body, my somatic experiences and my mind and my scientific inquiry, I can bring those more in alignment with sameness and that’s the kind of process that I really love. That fuels me.

Francesca Gentille: And let me just check in for the sake of our listening audience with some of these concepts that when we say that we’re being the witness it’s the compassionate witness and that it is a very specific witness, saying that I’m noticing my breath or that I’m noticing the oxytocin flowing through my body. Not the critical witness.

Suzie Heumann: That’s right.

Francesca Gentille: It’s not saying “I must look fat in this position”.

Suzie Heumann: No. No, not that at all. It is simply a personal inquiry but not a negative judgment. Not at all. It’s simply watching the blending of the mind and the body. Because, judgment has no place, in the experiences of Tantric practices. They all sum up to bring us to a melding with ourselves, melding with our partner if we have one and we are practicing in that way, and ultimately melding with the universe.

Francesca Gentille: I love it that you spoke about the sense of non-judgment, and the non-dualistic attitude. When you say that, what you’re saying is that kind of releasing the either it’s the body or it’s the mind or it’s the spirit because really it’s the unified state of all those parts. What you’re really saying is that it’s a sense of unification. Right?

Suzie Heumann: Right. But it’s not, you know, my moments thought isn’t a separating thought. It’s a unifying thought. So, it’s not taking me outside of the moment. It’s having me have an “a-ha” in the moment based on something I understand with my body and something my cognitive mind understands - but it’s not separating. And I think, Francesca, for me, it’s an avenue I’m going down personally. It’s a little bit, maybe, intellectual. Our listeners know it’s good to be practicing being in witness. That kind of thing comes through meditation, it comes through Yoga practices, which is an active kind of meditation, it comes through trance-dance practices - all kinds of ways. And we can practice that in our sexuality, also. So, it’s, you know, it’s a learned skill.

Francesca Gentille: When we come back from our break, I would love to talk a little bit more about a practice that you use now, maybe, take us into your bedroom and guide us through a moment of how you use this and what are the thoughts going through your mind. How can our listening audience, how can we, practice this at home later today.

Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to “Sex: Tanta & Kama Sutra” bringing you the soul of sex with our wonderful guest, Suzie Heumann, founder of Tantra.com, author of The Everything Great Sex Book. Suzie, I was just inviting you to give us a little window into your bedroom and how, this, these practices of non-duality and the sacred witness are working for you right now.

Suzie Heumann: Well interesting enough I have one that is very present for me because it actually happened this morning. I got up early and got my books out, refreshing my mind for this interview, just, you know, engrossed in a couple of new books that I’m reading and making notes and laying in the sunshine in my bed. And, my husband comes in, he comes up to the bed and he says; “Do you want to make love?” Oh, oh, but I’m having such a bliss state right now, you know reading and putting all these cognitive things together in my head. And I stopped and he kind of stood there waiting for my real answer and I started breathing deeply into my belly, closing my eyes for a moment in the sun, got centered, decided to put a big smile on my face and decided to say yes to him. Because in that moment I realized that I could practice and experience what I was reading about in the moment of making love to him.

So, we did it! And, it was phenomenal and I got extremely present, it embodied everything I was reading about and we had a fantastic time and I don’t think we spent more than ten minutes at it, I had several orgasms, he did to, I ejaculated and it was outrageous. So, I got my cake and I was eating it too, in a sense, and so that kind of simple shift in my brain, to move into a somatic experience vs. the cognitive experience and employ all the tools that I know to immediately shift and be there. It was, it was exquisite.

Francesca Gentille: You know Suzie, I want to kind of tease out, as it were, some of the key Tantra principles that you talked about just now and one of them was first I heard the senses, is that you were laying in the sun and you allowed yourself to be in the sensory environment with connections to your body. Feeling the sun warming and caressing your body and then you took a deep breath, into the belly. The breath, which is so important in Tantric practices to just relax and deepen our breathing and bring energy into the genitals and I love that you said you decided to say yes and decided to have a smile on your face that it wasn’t like at that moment you were in an orgasmic state yet, but that you made a choice. Can you speak a little more about choosing eroticism and choosing passion rather than in the old paradigm in our country - if you haven’t already aroused me, if somehow you haven’t walked into the room and given me that special look and worn that special outfit that I like and said the key words to unlock.

Suzie Heumann: And it’s all constructed perfectly and it’s just always the way you always like it.

Francesca Gentille: Right, and if you haven’t done all that and I am not already feeling arousal, then I’m going to say no. There’s no choice. Either you’ve done the combination lock correctly and now I’m aroused and I’ll say yes or you haven’t and I’ll say no. Tell me more about that choosing and what happens when you chose consciously?

Suzie Heumann: Well our body is our sub-conscience mind. Our mind - our brain is all over our body. Neuroscientist know that, flat out. The neuro-connections - the chemicals we pump – well, we’re just a big bowl of chemicals. What that means is we’re at choice at any single moment to change our own chemicals and that’s part of what I am talking about. It’s the knowledge of the neuro-biological knowledge that I am loving - because the moment I really get that - the moment I understand that fact, both cognitively and somatically, I can choose to change.

When you meditate, and with some of the breath practices, like the ‘fire breath’, you slightly turn your lips up to simulate a soft attitude and smile. But when we turn our lips up, think about it, when you laugh, someone tells a joke, you watch John Stewart on TV - when you’re laughing you’re pumping a flood of dopamine and norapenephrine; the neurotransmitters that cause us to drop our cortisol levels. Laughing is really good for us - we all know that. So, by simply turning my lips up into a smile, I can change the chemical composition of my body and my mind. And, so I just trusted the process.

The other thing is that this is what happens when you deep belly breathe. When you take a long low deep belly breath, you are literally cascading through your body the dopamine rather than, you know, the cortisol and the stress hormones that are about fight or flight. We are a society that are tight chest breathers, we wear tight belts, suck in our bellies, we’re taught to do that, we’ve got skinny magazines, skinny girls, you know we’re supposed to be skinny, we’re supposed to not have a belly. But what that does to us energetically is that it causes us to tight chest breath, which is a flight or fight panic response. That normally happened, in ancient times, when we were living more on the edge and we live that way today and we continue to breathe that way. So what that means is we have a very low capacity in our lungs, we don’t fill our whole body cavity with oxygen. We’re not oxygenating our blood and blood is not getting down to our genitals because it is kind of a far away spot down there, so, we generally keep our health kind of nipped. You know, we are not full-bodied when we are breathing high in our chest and we are pumping the cortisol, which is associated with flight or fight. So, merely the act of smiling and taking three deep, long breaths into my belly changes the chemicals that are coursing through my body.

Now it was easier this morning because I was really getting off on my reading. You know sometimes the challenge is a little harder, stepping up to the plate, in a loving, compassionate, wonderful way, to simply go “OK, let’s have sex right now, I’m ready.”. You know we can but there are all kinds of circumstances where that might be a little more difficult. But regardless, processing that and practicing it a lot will have you become a major magician at being able to step into that moment, at the drop of a pin, at the snap of a finger. And it’s a great practice!

Francesca Gentille: We all want to change. This is so cool - this is such amazing information. Because for our society, most people don’t have any choice, they experience that they don’t have any choice, but it’s not true. They experience they don’t have any choice about who they fall in love with or who arouses them or how much they get aroused. What you’re saying is we don’t have to be at the effect of that primal nature, that brain stem, that reptilian brain that you know is not very discerning. and often gets us in trouble. That we don’t have to be at the effect of that is empowering. We have information that allows us to have a choice about who to love, how much, when to be turned on, aroused and when not to be.

Suzie Heumann: Yes and we have more tools in our wonderful tool basket by which to interact with our world in that way because really, for me, sex is just a metaphor for 24/7 for the rest of our lives. And so are all the other things we’re doing, in our relationships, on so many levels. So, very often when you find your self in a stress situation, you know instead of descending downward, you can take 3 deep breaths and wait a minute. You can say: “I’m going to volunteer something here, I’m going to get vulnerable, you know it’s up to me and only me to shift this situation.” And that’s a very empowering thing, without ego involvement.

We each have the ability to shift anything, any world-view we’ve got at that moment and change our world. And the thing about that is we then become the masters of our world and we infect other people with that mastery, in a sense, and this stuff isn’t difficult Francesca. In fact, I would say that it is the source of wisdom, it is the source of ecstasy - knowing we have the supreme ability to do this and courting that ability in ourselves is what life is all about.

Ultimately, most of us, as we age, stop to think; “Oh, what is my real work in this world. What is my service to the world?” It is natural for Hindu’s to have a three-step process throughout life; when you’re a child, a student, you learn, you gain knowledge. Then you become a householder, you marry, you, have love relationships, you have children, you grow a business. Then you retire, that’s the third stage. You become a little bit more of a sanyasan, you look to how you can serve your village, your community, your family, whatever, and then the fourth stage is really kind of retiring from life, being restive and again, still serving but in a quieter way. So, there are these four stages of life, whether we like it or not. We do not have to be a Hindu to get that those roughly occur with us in our lives. These are natural stages. And so, we are all moving through these stages and understanding how to better get value out of the place we’re in, at any one moment, and let this augment us and build upon our future life.

Francesca Gentille: It all makes really good sense to me, it makes delicious sense to me and I want to get a little bit more about some, maybe resources as well. Talk more about some of this and tell us some of your favorite resources. I want to know what books you’re reading and Lets talk more about that after this break and a word from our sponsors.

Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to “Sex: Tanta & Kama Sutra” bringing you the soul of sex with our fabulous interviewee today, Suzie Heumann, founder of Tantra.com and also film maker of “The Ancient Secrets of Sexual Ecstasy“, which I have to say is one of my favorite films. It really was one of the inspirations for me on my pathway to start studying and I just wanted to thank you Suzie for being a part of that amazing film.

Suzie Heumann: You’re very welcome. My husband Michael Heumann was really responsible for that film. I think one of the things, one of the important things of this film, is what it does, what it shows. Our culture doesn’t do a good job at sex education, although maybe it thinks it does with pornography, which is not a good source. We don’t mentor each other in sexuality and when you can see someone else in orgasm, in multiple orgasms or you can see someone else demonstrate breathing or when you can see someone else move into female ejaculation or a man having an obvious orgasm without ejaculating it is like magic. It is the mentoring that is, you know, worth more than a thousand words, as the old saying might go. So watching films like this are a very important resource for accessing our own possibilities, both knowing we can do it in our mind and being mentored and copying what we see on the film and then moving into those kinds of relationships ourselves.

Currently, what’s fueling me are two books; one called The Science of Orgasm - it’s a brand new book out by three authors, but one of the main ones, the one that I follow is Beverly Whipple and she instructed on the G-Spot studies and wrote the original G-Spot book back in the ‘70’s. She has continued to do work on sexual neurology. She’s a neurologist at Rutgers University and is working primarily with women and orgasm and studies on what the pathways are to orgasm between the brain and the genitals. So it is fascinating stuff. And the other one is Candace Pert. She is a neurobiologist also and she was in the ‘What the Bleep’ film and wrote the Molecules Of Emotion. Her current book, I am reading, is Everything you need to know to feel Go(o)D and it’s a fascinating book. These two tie together very, very well from a little bit different perspective, although they are both research scientists. So that’s the kind of thing that is really invigorating for me and it’s really fascinating to me, because it ties in from all the backgrounds I know from Tantra and some of my own most profound experiences that have happened through mentoring.

I began profusely going into multiple orgasms and ejaculating, for the first time in my life, after Michael and I were filming Charles and Caroline Muir years ago. I came back, we were making love, having a fantastic time and I stopped and I looked at Michael and I said Caroline was making really weird noises, I am going to copy her noises and no sooner did I open my mouth and make a deep, full body kind of moan, like an Uhhhhhhh, than I started to ejaculate. And I didn’t stop - I didn’t stop orgasming. I went on orgasming for about 20 minutes and ejaculating. I just kept making that sound with a long slow breath out of me then taking another full belly breath. Making the sounds again in this long, slow exhalation and I could not believe it. So, that was just one of the things that was mentored for me.

I think watching films is great - we have a great selection of DVDS and books on the Tantra.com website – and it’s a great resource for finding teachers in the United States and all over the world. There are many articles, we are in a redesign right now. We are going to be unveiling probably right around the end of June. It’s a major redesign. People are going to have access to a lot more materials and we’re hoping we are going to get many more articles and even audio and video from the teachers that list with us. So, we’re educators, I’m an educator first and foremost. You know, whatever is happening financially with the site, it is always sort of up and down and all over the place, but it continues because I want there to be a hub for this. It’s so valuable to people. I can’t tell you how many times in the past 12 years people email or call and say you have changed my life. You know you have changed our lives. So that is why I’m here.

Francesca Gentille: And Suzie I want to say, even though I didn’t know you until recently, knowing your DVD The Ancient Secrets of Sexual Ecstasy is one of the things that changed my life. So, I am also one of those people that get to say you changed my life. And your site – it’s so easy to use. I love that you can click on the map of the country and the world and find teachers that are in everyone’s area, my area, your area and anyone who is listening, in their area. And no one needs to be alone. I always hear from people all over the country and they wonder how to connect - from Iowa, Missouri, from anywhere that they live. Thank you - thank you for the offering.

Suzie Heumann: Well, thank you so much Francesca for saying all that. I want to say I’m actually thrilled to have made our connection recently. You’re one of the only people I know that has come from the Tantra background and moved into the more scientific arena, because you and I are now members of AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Councilors and Therapists) and we’re going to the meetings and we’re falling right into place, and I love that because very few people have come from where we have and moved in that direction. There are a lot of therapists and scientists moving in our direction but there are very few going the other way and I love that about you. I’m really looking forward to witnessing that in both of us more and interacting in that way.

Francesca Gentille: I want to have you back to talk more about some of the other amazing things that you know like the Kama Sutra; 64 Arts of Love and I just want to thank you for being with us today Suzie, thank you so much.

Suzie Heumann: Thank you so much, it has been a lot of fun and I have lots more to say!

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