Friday, May 20, 2011

Some random thoughts on orgasmic yogic experiences

This post is inspired by Claudia's latest post.

Notice how I have worded the question. If I had asked, "Can yoga give you an orgasm?", the answer would be a straightforward no, at least as far as I'm concerned. To this day, I have never experienced an orgasm during practice, at least not the biological kind (I take it that this is what we mean when we say "orgasm", right?).

But if the question is, "Can yoga give you an orgasmic experience?", then things become more interesting. I'll start by making a couple of random observations:

(1) Towards the end of the Ashtanga, NY documentary (by the way, if you haven't seen this, I highly, highly recommend it), an Ashtangi who was interviewed (I don't know his name) said something along the lines of "On a good day, the practice is better than the best sex you've ever had." I can't tell whether he was speaking in jest, or whether he was serious, or whether he was only half-serious.

(2) Warning: The following information might be TMI. But here we go: I have noticed a significant decrease in my overall sex drive for the last year and a half or so, which is roughly how long I have been doing second series. Maybe this is not a bad thing in and of itself: I suspect that I used to think about sex too much anyway, and having to think about it less as one goes through the day may not necessarily be a bad thing. And of course, it is also possible that this may have absolutely nothing to do with practicing the second series: I may simply be getting old (yikes!).

But I can't help thinking that maybe, just maybe, practicing the second series is doing certain things to my sex drive. Is this cause for concern? Should I go see a doctor about this? Then again, it probably won't be of much use: The doctor will probably say, "If yoga is causing you to have lower sex drive/less interest in sex, and you want to continue to have a healthy sex life, you should stop doing yoga!" But I don't want to stop doing yoga.

But I digress. What do (1) and (2) mean, taken together? Maybe nothing. But if we assume that the Ashtangi in the Ashtanga, NY documentary wasn't just joking, maybe yoga practice on a "good" day really is better than the best sex you've ever had; and maybe this is because the practice directs your sexual energy to some other place; a place that cannot be reached by ordinary sexual activity, a place where you experience the psychic/spiritual equivalent of an orgasm--in short, an orgasmic experience. Hmm... Where could this place be? How does one know if one has been there? But maybe this is a useless question to ask. After all, you don't need me (or anybody else) to tell you when you've experienced an orgasm (the biological kind): You just know what it is when you experience it. So why should I need anybody to tell me when I've had an orgasmic experience? Shouldn't it also be something that I would know and recognize once I've experienced it? Isn't the very fact that I am even asking this question now proof that I have yet to experience it? 


  1. Earlier this year I actually saw a special on the Discovery Health Channel where this woman could induce an experience equivalent to an orgasm through what, if I remember correctly, was some kind of yoga (which kind I'm not entirely sure). They actually did an fMRI scan on her while she induced the orgasm and through analyzing the brain activity they concluded that her experience was neurologically equivalent to a sexual orgasm. She teaches classes in New York on how people can do this for themselves.

    The reason she started doing it was because of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and she wanted to find a way to have the sexual pleasure without the risk of STDs. It was interesting to say the least.

  2. A neurological equivalent of an orgasm... very interesting! Maybe I should go to one of her classes the next time I'm in NYC :-) Of course, I need to first find out who she is...

  3. I found a small clip on YouTube However I don't know if the full episode is online, but there's a taste.