Yoga Articles by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad
Transforming Sexuality: Changing the Context of Conquest (Page 4)
Diana Alstad and Joel Kramer
Diana: There's a seesaw quality to it. Have you ever noticed how often when one is feeling good, the other is feeling bad or one-down, and then it can switch? It's not a coincidence that when one is up, the other is down. It's difficult for both parties to feel adequate at the same time, because in conquest adequacy is linked to power, and when one has it, the other doesn't.
Joel: There's tremendous energy and excitement when two people first connect. The particular quality of that initial sexual flash has an in-built decline, since part of the hit is based on newness. Someone once remarked to me that the second night resembles the hundredth more than than the first night. The first time two people really connect (which may not literally be the first night), there is the quintessence of this extreme sexual energy, which is so powerful that one may remember it for a lifetime.
Diana: This intensity can actually create problems, because there is so much pleasure in it that people link it with the very essence of what sexuality is about and easily mistake its power for love. If you build an image of love with that at the core, naturally when that falls through, you become disillusioned about love. The passion of romance becomes a model to measure relationships with. It lingers in memory, making people feel something is wrong or missing when this particular kind of intensity is not there.
Joel: Sex is good when it's "that," but it is "that" only within the whole context of conquest. Sexuality, like everything else, always occurs within a context. If you are attached to this particular expression of sexuality, it is necessary to keep the context of the relationship the same. This, of course, is not possible, for every relationship changes, either by growing or by becoming more rigid and habitbound. Trying to keep the context the same does not in fact result in keeping it the same, but actually insures that the relationship will move toward greater rigidity. This attempt to hold passion ends by destroying it.
Diana: Conquest sexuality, by its very nature, creates hurt and ambivalence. People want to eliminate the pain and keep the pleasure, not seeing that in order for this to occur, the whole package must change, including the source and nature of the pleasure. The problems are not merely incidental - they are the other side of the coin. Sexual conquest and the quality of energy it generates come together in a total package. Change the context in which it occurs, and the sex also changes in its nature.
Joel: If the source of the relationship is coming from a different place, then the sexuality and what attracts are entirely different, too. The problem is that we, from early ages, are taught to approach sexuality out of storybook and Hollywood romanticism, which offers merely glossy versions of conquest. We hunger for this excitement, and if we find it, the intensity further conditions the way we think about sexuality. Memories create the desire to recapture the same highs.
Diana: How you look at things influences everything you do. Sexuality is not only in the body, but in the mind. So much of being turned on or turned off has to do with the way the mind is looking at the relationship, the partner, the world. The conquest syndrome determines the way men and women think about and act toward each other - their ideals and expectations. Conquest is a headset that reduces what could be a rich and varied fabric of relating - a source of learning for both sexes - to a narrow range of possibilities, with the main focus on sex. Its particular approach to sex further limits the capacity of creative expression and traps men and women in a mold. It also creates a lot of antagonisms, with each sex feeling used, suspicious, and resentful, which makes communication difficult. No wonder it's hard for men and women to open up with each other and break out of patterns.