Sex and the Eight-Circuit Brain: Polymorphous Sexuality in Circuitland
The following is excerpted from The Eight-Circuit Brain: Navigational Strategies for the Energetic Body (Vertical Pool Publishing).
The eight-circuit grid can be used to track, read, and otherwise discover the great variety of human sexual response. As long as we remember that sex, like Life itself, is messy at best -- and will never conform to any mental construct we impose upon it -- we are free to speculate. As we examine the first four survival-oriented circuits, we'll see how our sexuality has been, and can be, experienced physically, emotionally, conceptually, and socially -- in isolation and in conjunction with each other. When we envision the second four post-survival circuits, we can imagine and maybe experience how sexuality might act as a vehicle for higher consciousness and unfathomable realities beyond our wildest fantasies in and out of our bodies!
The Four Survival Circuits and How They're Integrated
C-1 Physio-Biological Intelligence; the will to survive
How it’s integrated: degree of confidence earned and maintained to assure physical survival
C-2 Emotional-Territorial Intelligence; the will to power
How it’s integrated: degree of emotional confidence earned
and maintained to assure personal worth
C-3 Symbolic-Conceptual Intelligence; the will to reason
How it’s integrated: degree of mental confidence earned
and maintained to assure peace of mind
C-4 Social-Moral Intelligence; the will to socialize
How it’s integrated: degree of social confidence earned
and maintained to assure sense of belonging
The Four Post-Survival Circuits and Their Sources
C-5 Somatic Intelligence of Body Wisdom and Five Senses
Sources: whatever triggers the experience of rapture, communion with nature, tantra (yoga, meditation, ritual), charisma, second wind, falling in love (endorphins) and the expanding presence of being here now. The Shocks of Ecstasy and Bliss (absence of suffering)
C-6 Intuitive-Psychic Intelligence of the Brain, Spine, & CNS
Sources: whatever triggers the experience of the energetic body or aura, the second attention, intuition, clairvoyance and other psychic abilities, ritual magick, reality selection, direct perception of a relative nature of reality. The Shocks of Uncertainty and Freedom (absence of false assumptions, certitudes and dogmas)
C-7 Mytho-Genetic Intelligence of DNA and the Planetary Entity
Sources: whatever triggers the experience of ancestral and past life memories, autonomous archetypes, synchronicity, planetary (Gaia) mind, cosmic consciousness.
The Shocks of Indivisibility and Cosmic Unity (absence of dualistic consciousness)
C-8 Quantum-Nonlocal Intelligence of Subatomic interactions
Sources: whatever triggers the experience of near death, out of body states, the dreambody and dreamtime, lucid dreaming, communion with Void, the mystery of singularity. The Shocks of Death and Impermanence (absence of ego identification).
C-1 Visceral Sex
Picking up the invisible, subtle scent of sex pheromones in others, we can elicit instantaneous reactions of visceral sexual attraction. This can happen so swiftly, literally under our noses, that we have no time to moralize (C-4), think (C-3), or have feelings (C-2) about it. Acting on the scent of pheromones alone, without considering circuits two, three, or four, can drive us into the heat of impulsive, spontaneous visceral sex. As these impulses gain momentum in action they can accelerate and combust into explosive, volatile, and even violent sex. Some male homosexuals may know more about sexual violence than heterosexual men. In researching his book, You Are Going To Prison (Loompanics Press, 1994), Jim Hogshire discovered that twice as many men are raped inside American prisons each year than women are raped on the outside. C-1 sex is hard-wired to our most basic life and death survival instincts -- self-preservation, aggression, "going into heat" and procreation.
The growth hormone testosterone exists in both men and women, yet testosterone levels are twice as high in most men than in women. Researcher June Reinisch of Rutgers University discovered that increased testosterone levels in the body produce immediate aggression. Physiologist Julian Davidson performed a study on males with low sex drives. When given more testosterone, all showed an increase in sexual fantasy and desire leading Davidson to conclude that testosterone is "the biological substrate of desire, at least in men." Consistent overemphasis in C-1 sexuality alone, without incorporating the other circuits, can be dangerous and even fatal.
C-2 Emotional Sex
In those sexual encounters where we are left feeling attached to the lover, C-2 has been engaged. Emotions express a powerful animistic force not always subject to the comprehension of C-3 intellect or the approval of C-4 morality. When emotions are stirred, they mobilize and travel into the lover's astral body, just like spirits. If this sounds like voodoo love that's because emo-sex can be like that. It puts you on pins and needles. Emo-sex always comes with emotional investment whether we want it or not. Emotional sex can satisfy unmet needs for status, security, power, and loyalty. Emotions dwell in our body until they're aroused by another body showing profound receptivity to ours. If you're physically absent from somebody that you are emotionally attached to you may find yourself pining -- irrationally longing for them -- when, in fact, it may be the spirits of your own displaced emotions you're missing. Emotions have a life of their own and don't usually bend to the dictates of C-3 reasoning or C-4 ethical considerations.
Emotional sex can also serve the purpose of establishing an attachment to someone, regardless of romantic ideals or images regarding the "perfect partner" or "dream lover", if only to feel needed. Emo-sex can hide a desperate attempt to establish meaningful connection with someone as a coping mechanism for enduring an otherwise meaningless life -- you may not want the attachment but you may need it. C-2 sex can also fuel a mutual dynamic of sadomasochism and bondage resulting in creative or destructive outcomes, depending on how consciously the master/slave roles are played out, and how much care and attention is paid to each other's limitations and needs. Being tied up and physically immobilized can produce a profound sense of internal security to those whose early infantile needs were never met, given that these power rituals are performed in a climate of total mutual trust. In this way, conscious C-2 Power Sex can also enable greater emotional honesty and intimacy.
Heavy emotional involvement can produce an assumed familiarity with the lover, as if we've known him/her for a long time, though we may have only recently met. For some, this assumed familiarity can feel invasive or annoying, leading to boundary problems. Emo-sex can also excite the taboo-laden incestual lust of sibling love, a kind of familial romance with someone who feels like our big brother, or little sister, or the nurturing mother, or the good father. Incestual love, not to be confused with literal incest, can also trigger the negative emotions of animosity, sibling rivalry, and other C-2 territorial power struggles. These kinds of infantile passions can make lunatics of us all if personal boundaries are overlooked and traded down for the loss of oneself in the other. Losing self-respect can corrode even the most strident confessions of love. Significant emotional bonds also develop without warning between lovers shouldering traumas together -- miscarriage or abortion, extramarital affairs, domestic violence, divorce, death of parents, etc. -- and between soldiers at war or with police officers bonding amidst criminal adversity and danger.
C-3 Mental Sex
Sexual experiences that leave you chatty, by either talking to yourself or chewing the ears off lovers who'll listen, have activated C-3 conceptual intelligence. Watch for a lot of phone. A propensity towards mental sex suggests that you may need more communication before you are sexually turned on. C-3 dualistic intellect can be attracted to sexual ambiguities, a quality some may interpret as bisexuality. Ambiguity, however, is not a bisexual condition but a human condition regardless of sexual orientation. If you're aroused by ambiguity or androgyny, the promise of confounding complexity may arouse you. Those who find ambiguity erotic may naturally shy away from commitment in lieu of staying open to the options of their fickle fancy.
C-3 mental sex can also mean that thinking, talking, and fantasizing about sex can be more scintillating than the actual experience. The tease and the chase may prove a greater turn-on than actually getting caught and nailed. Sometimes talking about sex can also act as a protective measure to inhibit the lovers from engaging in "dead sex" when their relations have gone underground and become temporarily stagnant. Without sexual heat, it may be wiser to read in bed together or take in a movie. Talking about sexual fantasies, writing erotic stories, and engaging in phone sex are all obvious examples of C-3 mental sex.
C-3 sex represents the sexual polarity of exhibitionism and voyeurism: the thrill of physical distance, strong visual stimulus, and being seen or seeing another engaged in a sexual act. If you are turned on by the reality or the fantasy of watching someone else enjoying sex with him/herself or with another, you are aroused by voyeuristic passions. If you are turned on by the reality or the fantasy of others watching you having sex with yourself or with another, you are feeling exhibitionistic passions. Both sides of this C-3 mental sex polarity - being seen and seeing -- act on the body in erotic ways. When the sense of sight plays such a clearly dominant role, the C-3 mind drives the sexual drama.
C-4 Sexual Tribes and Customs
The most commonly used terms for sexuality -- heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, pansexual, asexual, transsexual -- act as sociopolitical labels to categorize and organize personal and tribal needs for security, status, sociopolitical identity, and a sense of belonging. Each of these sociopolitical labels represents a different sexual tribe claiming its own distinct customs, rituals, fetishes, icons, codes, and overall force of culture, subculture, and micro culture. As most people are openly heterosexual, they form the dominator sexual culture around which all other sexual tribes compete and struggle for autonomy and equality for legal rights taken for granted by heterosexuals, i.e. marriage, welfare, child rearing, etc.
Sexual orientation holds no prerequisite for tribal identity. We can know ourselves as sexual creatures without joining a tribe of others who share the same sexual orientation. The C-4 need for belonging can be satisfied in ways that defy assimilation into, and by, any sexual tribal mind or identity. Those who do not make an issue of their sexual orientation, or the orientations of others, can more easily link up with those of differing sexual realities.
Sexuality expresses a highly personal reality rooted in specific internal and external conditions and cues, fetishes, and settings that arouse us and keep us aroused. Our lovers know who we truly are by the way we make love. The conditions for personal arousal are as diversified and complex as the greater variety of human sexual response. C-4 sexual coupling, regardless of sexual orientation, revolves around the neurochemical dance leading to orgasm and its release of neuromuscular tension through intense physical pleasure. Sex also serves as a vehicle for emotional and social bonding, and procreation for hetero breeders and for artificially inseminated, domesticating lesbians.
Sex with friends. C-4 social sex also includes friends with favors. These interactions have far less emotional investment and more autonomy granted between partners, who come and go without the constant "checking in" that more emotional investment seems to demand. Sex with friends can also serve as an important interval between our more emotionally invested sexual relations where the social value of intimacy can be restored and maintained. All too often the bonds of sexual intimacy break down from a lack of true friendship between lovers. Without the social context of shared friendship, the primordial sexual instinct can easily become unfriendly, even hostile.
Sex with enemies. When we become sexually involved with lovers whose values and morals -- or lack thereof -- are eventually revealed to be at war with our own principles, the relations become a testing ground for our own ethics. This can happen whenever our own ethical code has become obsolete and requires updating or, when we need to define our ethics more specifically. Sometimes we discover the true nature of our ethics by confronting what they're not. Without this step of self-examination of our own ethical code, sex with enemies can easily degenerate into the unsavory blame games of mutual scapegoating, sadism and self-torment.
C-5 Tantric Sex
Beyond C-4 sexual realities the playing field opens up considerably. C-5 sexual tantra bypasses C-4 orgasm-as-a-goal orientation in lieu of exploring sexuality as a vehicle for extended durations of rapture and bliss, and the charismatic balancing of masculine and feminine energies within the body. As C-5 dakinis and yogis become more liberated from C-2 possessiveness and C-4 consensus moral restraints, polyamorous "open relationships" can develop between agreeing parties. New models of intimacy are born and sustained by shared post-survival values such as pleasure, leisure and ecstatic play. As with the other upper circuits, advancement through the somatic fifth circuit can also bring its own unique set of problems to be faced and dealt with.
When the levels of ecstasy exceed the threshold of what either lover can tolerate, the ego can automatically slow things down by acting out old habit patterns such as C-4 moralizing, C-3 over-thinking, C-2 possessiveness and C-1 distrust and fear. In this way, the ego acts as an emergency brake to minimize pleasure and happiness too intense to contain. How much rapture and joy can a person take?
When our capacity for ecstasy is overwhelmed, we may find it necessary to fixate on something as familiar, banal and mundane as our personal problems or even project them onto our lover. This buzz-kill may seem wrong but it's sobering effects cannot be ignored. Sometimes resistance to intense pleasure and joy can be a relevant warning signal for rechecking our limits, recalibrating our capacities, and restabilizing (grounding) our energies.
C-6 Sex Magick
When lovers are initiated into C-6 electric sex, they can benefit from the many esoteric traditions of sex magick or, create their own. C-6 sex engages the more subtle medium of our Central Nervous System (CNS), igniting the energetic body of the aura and chakras. Occult lodges such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the O.T.O., Thelema and their numerous offshoots practice various ritual technologies of sex magick incorporating symbols towards achieving premeditated ends (C-3/C-6). With some sex magickians the long-term effect of these rituals can be so remarkable that when compared with the energetic bodies of most humans, theirs stand out like alien space beings. There's probably good reason why these rituals remain esoteric and I suspect it's because sex magick isn't for everybody.
C-6 sex magick can often start with C-5 somatic sex but it can also occur without actual physical contact. When the energetic bodies of lovers are turned on, sensuality can transmute into the supersensual neuro-orgasms of brain pleasure. Imagine the warm, glowing rushes of electromagnetic energy circulating within, around, and between them. Electricity travels at the speed of light -- in or out of the body -- and sex magick practitioners learn to act as conduits for its absorption, integration and transmission. Actual physical orgasm may be completely unnecessary or, in the case of nervous system over-amping, orgasm can become important for releasing and grounding the excess charge (the C-1 Salt Bath ritual can also help to neutralize excess electromagnetic energy in the physical body and can be useful in cases of insomnia). Of course, it helps tremendously if sex magick lovers are also emotionally mature enough to support each other's autonomy and freedom of self-expression -- the anchoring action of C-2 to C-6.
C-7 Planetary, or Archetypal, Sex
Certain sexual experiences of an archetypal nature can be so powerful and overwhelming that none of the previous six circuit orientations can contain or define their transformative energies. These sexual encounters defy the romance of hot sex, emo-sex, falling in love, getting married, having babies, plus any other known categories of casual sex, tantra, polyamory, or sex magick. The lovers involved in these mysteries may feel an encompassing pull of fate towards each other, as if they were meeting again from some previous incarnation or past life (not as a concept but as a fully-embodied experience). There can be a kind of meltdown of their present-life personas that leave the lovers in a terribly vulnerable, essence-to-essence fusion experience, helpless to stop it, or to do anything about it. As the heat and light of bio-psychic energies accelerates between them, a stream of images flood their consciousness as their minds grapple with labels and behaviors in an attempt to manage the confounding reality. No image fits; many explode into thin air. Nobody knows just how to act and no previous categories are found.
On realizing all of this, the lovers either run far away from each other or hold their ground and surrender to the experience together. If they surrender, new information emerges about how to serve these transformative energies, seeing how they obviously cannot be controlled. In a state of continual surrender, the lovers may dawn on the solemn revelation that the Earth itself may be arranging their meeting and that these energies are not personal but planetary forces using them as conduits for feeding the planetary entity. The lovers may still engage in rapturous somatic and electric sex, but now they become aware of a larger cosmic ceremony involving a third partner in the planet Earth itself; a planetary menage-a-trois. How this ritual unfolds may differ with each dyad depending on their personalities, culturally conditioned programs and intuitive sensibilities. This event, and its ritual, formed the basis of my book, The Akashic Record Player (Falcon Press, 1988) wherein a couple engages the Earth as a third conduit of a trinary circuit for circulating their combined currents to feed the planet (also see "A Neurolological Autobiography" in How I Got This Way).
Impossible Love: The Anima and the Animus
Love affairs that begin and attempt to maintain themselves in the subterranean romance of psychic projection, or what Carl Jung calls "anima/animus transference", can lead to very brief and very intense episodes of archetypal, catastrophic sex (also see Circuit Seven, "Numen of Archetypes" and "Anima-Animus"). The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. In these episodes, the ego is easily overwhelmed in the face of these unconscious projections of "the dream lover" and all its inflated expectations of living up to impossible ideals.
Enter the melodrama of unattainable, impossible love. As the lovers' egos fail to deliver on the inflated promise of big archetypal love, the romance backfires and devolves into humiliation, resentment, and animosity between lovers. The once exalted presence of "ideal love" and "the dream lover" suddenly downshifts into a nonstop catastrophic romance of C-2 emo-sex, territorial pissing, and control trips. If it cannot be stopped or if neither lover has enough sense to leave, the animosity can degenerate into psychic, emotional and physical violence and damage. Self-healing can come through enforced solitude (isolation deflates the ego) and any soul-retrieval rituals that support disidentification and differentiation from the archetypes themselves (see Circuit Seven "The Anima/Animus Shrine").
C-8 Dreambody Sex
C-8 dreambody (or disembodied) sex occurs in our dreams and in the more extreme waking out-of body experiences where two or more energy fields, independent of their physical bodies, unite for reasons of their own. In the midst of out-of-body experiences and other types of astral projections, the playing field opens up to infinite possibilities. Whether we experience dreambody sex in the erotic escapades of our night dreams or in our more disembodied daytime sexual fantasies, C-8 sex always occurs out of body, or in a disembodied state.
The dreambody can also use the physical sex act as a kind of launching pad for astral projection, as with those post-orgasm experiences where consciousness drifts out of body, passes through hypnogogic corridors and takes flight over limitless, nonlocal terrains. We wake up feeling as if we have traveled somewhere and, we have! Dreambody sex may also be linked to the mysteries of near-death experiences, anesthetic out of body events in surgery rooms, and onto the more extremely disembodied extraterrestrial, interdimensional sex reported after alien abductions.
©2009 Antero Alli
Image by Beau CaughlanTweet