"Love is the answer; but while you're waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions." -- Woody Allen
Excellent, off-the-charts sex and actual LOVE are very different things, though when combined in one experience, they create the coolest "soul mate" situations in the world. Love is something a bit beyond pure quantification for today’s conversation. Sex, however, is something we can chat about with candor. We know when its good and when its bad.
Most of my single feng shui clients tell me they are looking for love. Occasionally, though, I get a request purely for feng shui to create better sex. (This is Los Angeles, are you terribly surprised?!) Where feng shui is concerned, is it just two nightstands or a lack of clutter under a bed that will increase the libido? Will lighting candles be enough to "set a fire" in the bedroom? Is it enough to say that pink sheets = romance? Nope. None of these "tips" really strike at the core of sex and the physical connection that it implies; they are all supportive of the cause, but they are incomplete and more passive than active.
As I set off to poke around in the history of sex and society, I found myself staring at an 1883 translation of the human sexuality classic from India, the Kama Sutra. One of the opening chapters -- Chapter 4 to be exact -- is devoted to setting a home for "receiving women" (aka: "sex" in ancient lingo). After properly setting up the home with lutes in position, garlands of flowers strategically positioned, a pillow on each side of the bed (hmm?!)… after taking the afternoon nap, teaching parrots to talk (I am not making this up!), anointing the body with oils and, at times, bathing… we are finally ready to get down to action.
The Kama Sutra, which is quoted endlessly by modern sex bibles, films, and Cosmopolitan magazine, emphasized the importance of ritual in setting the stage in preparation for a higher passion quotient. While variety is amazing in the bedroom, a practiced set of rituals, performed much like daily exercise, can affect how you flow with sex in your life.
While there are plenty of feng shui bedroom basics to heighten romance and relationship energy in your life that will come in future articles on sex and your space, underpinning all of these feng shui basics are your basic attitudes and behaviors that are reflected in your present environment and are either making you strong (like exercise) or weakening your energy or "chi" (like excess TV, internet or video games can). While I can suggest you simply clear clutter (and in the future I will for certain), without habits to keep your place clean, it will go right back to a mess in seconds. The same goes for your sex life. While we can set up a bedroom with the basics, before we start changing sheets, its time to change habits that will ensure great feng shui stays and grows in your life. Ritual is the way of the Kama Sutra; let it be your way.
What new rituals can you install in your life at home to give your sex life a boost? Oysters? Chocolate? Lingerie? Sure. Yet beyond the basics, how can you find the rituals that can open your life up to a greater flow of sex? Cultivating great habits of self-love keep you always in the ready. Self-indulgences -- even the smallest of indulgences -- go a long way in stoking the flames.
Without further ado, here are five fun rituals to make the ancient sex gods proud that you can adapt to your life to create the most synergy and power in your sex life, setting you up for some powerful bedroom feng shui:
1. Yoga. Apparently, yoga radically improves many people’s sex lives, especially, it seems, women. From Harvard Medical School e-newsletters to Psychology Today, the evidence is stacked in favor of practicing yoga for better sex. Flexibility is wood energy. Wood energy feeds fire. Fire = sex. Also, the flexibility, mentally and physically, of yoga creates a more open-minded, free-flowing approach to being sexually creative. Who couldn’t stand to be a bit more creative?!
2. Ylang-Ylang Oil. One single drop of ylang-ylang oil on a piece of unfinished pottery on a nightstand beside your bed every night is a major sex-drive enhancement. Rose oil is another great one to try, but the ylang-ylang is a powerful libido enhancement. Also, ladies, clove oil is thought to powerfully attract men. Though truly not my cup of tea, it's pretty fascinating.
3. Learn from the ancients and Angelina Jolie. Do as the ancients did and indulge in oils and lotions (but make sure they are easily absorbed, so that you don’t ruin your awesome sheets!). Angelina Jolie was once quoted as saying, "I love to put on lotion. Sometimes I’ll watch TV and go into a lotion trance for an hour. I try to find brands that don’t taste bad in case anyone wants to taste me." You need to get yourself a similar routine. A note on this lotion & oil routine: avoid lots of fake fragrances and scents that are too sweet/cloying. You don’t want to smell like a doughnut. (At least, most of you don’t, ideally.) The scent of a produce stand is also not sexy. While I am a nut for all things organic in beauty, opt for more neutral lotions rather than kelp, tomato, carrot or other salad staples. Neutral, spicy or earthy fragrances like roses, musk, sandalwood or jasmine are way more on target for most people. For example, if I put a bit of Khiels Original Musk on me, I literally can get lost in how good I smell for hours. While non-productive, it is my absolute Holy Grail of scent discovery which took lots of experimentation. Also, patch test oils and read all of their contra-indications. Essential oils do wonders because they literally work like a supplement or vitamin would, so be alert to allergies and sensitivities.
4. Mirror-Mirror-On-The-Wall. Am I talking about that mirror that doubles everything that it sees? Yes, that’s the one. That is where you can privately find a ritual that you can do with yourself, by yourself (think John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever) that affirms your sexy. Of course, this is a private ritual, one that you will need to imagine and play with, but it can be very powerful. In Saturday Night Fever, Travolta emulated Al Pacino in the mirror before going out dancing all night. You can have your own "I’m so hot and irresistible" moment every day. Oh, and since I mentioned them, I should give you a few side notes on mirrors: keep your mirrors absolutely spotless, and if a mirror directly faces a bed, block it with a shoji screen, canopy or other curtain the best you can while you sleep. However, while you "do other things in bed," the “doubling” effect of a mirror with a full view of the scenery can double the power of the bedroom action.
5. Get more sleep!!! In 2005, a study by the National Sleep Foundation found that close to 25% of couples in the United States have lost interest in sex because they are always so tired. Chapter 4 of the Kama Sutra explicitly includes an afternoon nap in the list of vital activities in every man’s day to prepare to "receive women." I fully understand that this is not realistic for many of you, but weekend naps often are doable. Do them! Take the time to refill your "sleep bank" so you don’t suffer mentally, emotionally and hormonally.
Have fun whipping up your personalized version of sensual rituals, and practice them with joie de vivre. Your radiance, confidence and magnetism will likely turn heads. Once you have your sexy in order, you can start implementing more feng shui basics in the bedroom to take things to the next level. The fun is just beginning!
second image: Tracy Emin, Sleeping With You 2005 (Brooklyn Museum)