Opening Up: Penetration as Psychic Yoga

"Fuck you."

There's, it's said. But why? When sex is used as an expletive, as something derogatory, it's not just any kind of sex. It's specifically penetrative sex, with the penetration as the obscene part. To be penetrated, in the anti-sex mindset, is to be violated, and possibly degraded. It is the basis for the practice of raping captured enemies and their families, and for gangraping out of anger, or to "take someone down". Leaving aside that nonconsensual penetration is very likely to be physically painful and perhaps even injurious, it is assumed that it will also "break" something emotionally in the person to whom it happens... generally because it reduces them to being a woman, if they are male, or to being merely an object if they are female.

Of course, some of this is pure sexism. Women routinely get penetrated as part of ordinary procreative sex, so penetration is seen as a "female" thing, and for a man to be penetrated is to cast an aspersion on his manhood, for those who see femaleness as inherently inferior to maleness. It's also seen as a "gay" thing, because gay men are often far less resistant to exploring penetration with each other, but the basis of that is still sexism -- gay men are "less" because their sexual practices might be more "feminine".

There's another layer, too; a deeper one. To be penetrated, for most people -- especially ones who haven't done it before, or don't do it often, requires a great deal of relaxation and openness, and that requires a certain amount of vulnerability, and a whole lot of trust. To touch, to embrace, to share the same space, is to mingle auras and personal energy. To place some part of your body inside another persons' flesh is far more than that; it is to experience their astral body within yours, different but merging. It is an incredibly deep intimacy. Some people -- especially men -- may go their entire lives without ever experiencing it.

Penetration has not always been seen as a duality of penetrator/violater, penetrated/violated, though. In ancient Tantric Hindu writings, the female is spoken of as "devouring" and the male as "giving forth", trustingly placing his vulnerable organ into the raw mouth of Death and risking never getting it back. While this can also be seen as another form of male fear of women, the two versions are wildly different. In the first version, the penetrator may be seen as gloriously conquering, or brutally raping. In the second, the "penetratee" may be seen as powerfully enveloping, or castrating. There is power on each end, power which can be used in different ways. Being penetrated while in a dominant mode can be used to build up the dominant's sexual energy, but it seems to be done almost in a masturbatory way, by reducing the penetrator to an object to be used as a tool for the dominant.

A cunt can be the classic "vagina dentata", toothed and hungry, clamping down and devouring. One submissive spoke of his partner's vagina in that way; it would clamp down so hard on his hand while he was fistfucking them that it would feel like it was "chewing" him, and he would sometimes cry from the pain of it while doing the fucking. (This, of course, would greatly amuse the sadist on the other end of that vagina.) To penetrate in this space is to experience the energy of Kali, the Devouring Mother, the predator cunt. I've occasionally heard of people who are able to do this with their anus as well; one described picturing his anus as the end of the Great Two-Headed Serpent.

On the other hand, separate from the poles of Violating Rapist Fuck (which can be a good deal of fun when done between two people who both enjoy that scenario) and Devouring Cunt (ditto), there is the sexual yoga of Opening. This discipline can be used as a form of sex magic for such things as divining, prophecy, preparation for magic or shamanic work, spirit-possession, or any energy work where an open channel must be created for something else to flow through you. This kind of sacred penetration requires patience on the part of both individuals, and is generally not done as part of a scene, because that would be distracting. Its "secular" base is less the energy of the SM scene and more the energy of the handballing club.

It's said that it was gay male underground subculture who first discovered the art of fisting. Actually, there is some evidence that women have been doing vaginal fisting with each other, and with men, for some time, but when it comes to anal fisting it was certainly pioneered by gay men in the bathhouse culture of anonymous sex. Fisting in general is a form of sexual yoga that works beautifully as a combination of the Path of Sex Magic and the Ordeal Path, and with ritual penetration in general. If done in the right way, it can create an altered psychic state that can only be described as utterly opened up. (We'll discuss the "right way" to achieve this end in a moment.)

Penetration by someone's genitals is a wonderful thing, and there's nothing like it for fertility rites (where the penis in the hole is a living embodiment of the Green Man's fertility-bringing Maypole) or for procreative magic, or for the live-action version of the Great Rite. However, it has two major drawbacks when it comes to certain forms of ritual sex. First, it can only be utilized by someone with a normally-sized live penis, which leaves out a sizeable percentage of the population. Second, the penis-wielder has to put a great deal of attention and energy into maintaining an erection for as long as possible, without either orgasming too soon or losing focus and subsequently the erection itself. It's not hard at all for the penis to end up taking attention that ought to be paid to the energy-raising, or the partner.

One way around this is a charged strap-on dildo. If the dildo-wielder is experienced, energy-aware, and good at astral shapeshifting, they can extrude an "astral cock" into the dildo, which then performs the all-important role of bringing some part of one person's astral body into another's. However, this method also has its drawbacks. While the phallus certainly doesn't go limp, it's blunter and less discerning than fingers. Also, most men have very little practice in separating their astral cock from their actual flesh one, and many find the idea too uncomfortable to even work with.

On the other hand, those of us who learned to move and sense energy probably did it first through our hands and fingers. The hand is a sensory organ par excellence, both physically and psychically. It's more flexible than any phallus, flesh or otherwise, and can change shape during the fuck, which penises can't do. It can feel resistance and yielding better than any penis, flesh or otherwise, and can work around them. It can pry open in all directions, shrink and narrow down, and is generally the best possible tool for this work. The only contraindications are that the fister must be reasonably experienced, and not have severe carpal tunnel syndrome. If your penetrating partner is inexperienced and you want to use this practice as a magical tool, practice in nonritual space first, frequently, until it goes smoothly.

Another problem with all these methods is that they require another person to be there. There's a reason for this. For some reason -- don't ask me why -- it seems that part of the requirement for this kind of ritual Opening is that one be penetrated with something that has someone else's energy in it. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's a penis, hand, charged dildo, or something else, but it needs to have foreign mojo there or it doesn't seem to trigger things properly. If one is entirely alone and required such penetration, using a dildo that someone else has thoroughly charged can work, but it has to be a very serious charge. One example of this was done when I was away on a trip for several days, doing shamanic work by myself. My boy arrived every day to drop off food and supplies for me. I left him a note saying that I needed him to charge me a phallus for something I was doing that night. In order to charge it, he strapped it on, put his astral penis into it, and ritually "cut it off", allowing it to stay in the phallus. Then he delivered it to me with a note saying what he had done, and that he had every confidence that I would be able to figure out how to "put it back". (I did manage to get it reattached to him again when I came home, although my initial reaction was one of "You did what?!" But the point is that it worked extremely well for the purpose involved.)

Another reason that it's better to do this with a partner is the other requirement of this kind of ritual sex: it has to be at least a little beyond one's comfort zone. In order for this to work, it has to be at least a bit of an ordeal; the penetrating thing must be somewhat larger than one can take easily. You have to be able to relax and allow it to stretch you wider than your comfort zone. For some folk, it may require a struggle to be seriously stretched before it works. This is very difficult to do by yourself, although it is not impossible. It's much easier for the one being Opened to just lay back and concentrate on relaxing and Opening, and let someone else do the actual work.

How much you take seems to be irrelevant as a group statistic. You just need to take more than you would take comfortably for a session of recreational penetration. For those who don't do any recreational penetration at all, something "normal-sized" might be enough. For those who play with penetration regularly, it may require resorting to something extra-large, like a hand or a very large toy or series of toys. This kind of Opening is meant to take a good long time to work in whatever is going in; if it goes right in, it won't do the trick.

An enema is generally routine for anal fisting, although some people don't bother with it. The physical benefits are that it cleans out the colon, removing solid matter that might get in the way, and liquid slurry that makes a very poor (and often abrasive) lubricant. In the rare event of an internal tear (all Gods forbid!), having a clean colon means more time to get to the hospital before peritonitis sets in. Ritually, it is the best purification ritual that you can do before engaging in this particular act of opening. While the best pre-fisting enema is simple warm water, if you want to add something, a weak herbal tea added to the water won't hurt anything, as long as it's made with herbs that you could drink a lot of and have no problems. Check the chapter on Toys and Tools to find a good enema potion.

The most important tool of all is lubricant. There is no such thing as too much lube when it comes to fisting any orifice. If the person being fisted thinks that maybe they need a little more, then they need more, now. Lubricant coats the folds of flesh for slipperiness, and it also softens them for more give. Since with this sort of penetration you will be using a great deal of lube, it's best to create a large amount of single-use ritual lube made of a base ingredient (and whatever additives, such as oils, that you like) that will not irritate you in any way. Poor lube choices can create distractions and ruin the process. Likewise, if you use barrier gloves, make sure that they aren't the "craft gloves" with the bumpy finger surfaces for gripping small things, and that they are made of a material that does not irritate the penetratee's tissues. Also, oil-based lubricants will tend to eat away at latex gloves, which can cause irritation as well as breakage.

Some people who enjoy anal penetration have worried out loud as to whether continual stretching of the anal sphincter could get to the point of permanent damage, where they could no longer hold their defecation. While this situation is the source of a good deal of humiliation pornography, in real life I've never actually seen or heard of it happening. The anal sphincter is designed to open and close. It does loosen up after regular assplay over the course of months or years, but not very much. Leaving it alone for any significant length of time will cause it to go back to its original state. The reports of people who do serious anal stretching on a regular basis assure us that there is no functional change in one's ability to defecate. Even the folks who manage, over a period of hours, to get their ass open to extreme widths of several inches report that after three or four hours it's all back to what it was.

While most of the above is specific to anal penetration, this technique can be used with vaginal penetration as well. From discussing this method with women who use it, it seems that it works best with women who do not do vaginal penetration too regularly, or at least not every time that they have sex. The anecdotal information seems to suggest that getting vaginally fucked every time you have sex -- especially if you're having sex daily or at least a few times a week - somehow "toughens up" the energy of the astral vagina in a way that prevents Opening. That doesn't mean that women shouldn't be having daily vaginal sex -- hey, if it makes you happy, go for it and bless you! -- but if a woman wants to use this form of Opening with her cunt, it might be useful to abstain from penetration and utilize alternative sexual practices for a couple of weeks first, in order to "resensitize" the orifice. Or, alternatively (like many women who use this practice), she can keep her vagina for recreational sex and practice Opening with her anus, which works just as well with women as with men.

So far we have no equivalent warnings on regular recreational anal sex; this may be because the anus is not designed by evolution for regular penetration the way that the vagina is. However, we have some anecdotes suggesting that repeated recreational anal sex that is disrespectful to one's body -- in other words, that it is done too roughly and carelessly, deliberately ignoring the body's messages of pain and damage -- can create a condition where the astral anus/root chakra refuses to Open. It should go without saying that while the act of Opening can involve some discomfort -- even repeated discomfort over a long period of time -- that actual pain should not be involved here. If you are having serious pain with anal use, you are injuring yourself. The asshole is a diva and must be seduced, not forced, or you'll be sorry later.

At any rate, here is the way that ritual Opening should ideally go: First, sacred space is created, with no distractions. The receiver (which is the word I will now use for the one-about-to-be-penetrated) should calm and ground and center themselves by whatever means they find most effective. Some find it useful to have a quiet call-and-response vebal ritual with their helping partner. An enema is administered (if this is anal penetration) and the receiver visualizes it as purifying and cleansing, and may literally repeat it until they feel cleansed psychically as well as physically (although, again, listen to the body and don't overdo it). The receiver lays down and concentrates on relaxing while the helper begins to lube them up and start the physical Opening.

At this point, I find that I feel the Opening beginning at the back of my head. It's as if a doorway -- or to be more blatantly specific, a sphincter -- is slowly opening there, and I always think that I can see stars through it. Stars or no, I get the strong feeling that on the other side of that orifice is the Cosmos, the web of all things, and when it gets wide enough I can just reach through and grab what information I want, or at least let it pour into me. From the helper's perspective, the Opening should go slowly, rhythmically, with them testing the resistance, pushing a little, retreating, and repeating. The job of the receiver is to relax, concentrate, and feel that hole in the back of your head expand with your lower hole. It should be both pleasurable and challenging, a combination which many people are not used to dealing with.

For some, having an orgasm as part of this process is a distraction; for others it's a necessity. I'm in the latter category. I find that a good strong orgasm will temporarily "fix open" the hole in my head, so that it takes a longer time to start closing down. Otherwise, it will begin to close down immediately. Of course, this means that orgasm should be delayed until the Opening is wide enough, which requires some self-control.

I've found that this is an excellent preparation for serious divining, of the sort that requires clear answers from Gods or spirits, or going straight into someone's Akashic records. It creates the kind of headspace where one can simply deal the cards or runes or whatever, and just hold one's hand over them, and channel out whatever comes. It is very good for prophecy, or being an oracle in general. It is useful in preparation for channeling spirits or ritual god-possession, and excellent in preparation for a group ritual where you will be the focus of several people's projected energy, and your job is to bring it all together and send it out to a specific goal. It can be used as preparation for journeying, pathwalking, or anything that requires sending out part of your astral body; you just go out through that nice door that's Opened up in your head.

The effects of Opening last a few hours, but little more; the effect is strongest during the first hour and then slowly dissipates as you close down astrally to your normal state. If you must eat something during this time, simple cold raw food is best (I am hypoglycemic and I eat raw dairy for the protein), as hot and/or cooked and/or complex foods tend to ground you and shut you down quickly. They should be saved for when you're done and need to ground completely; that's when you eat the big hot meal. Doing something absolutely mundane afterwards is a great help with grounding -- for me, watching DVDs and eating Chinese food while curled up with a partner is a good way to create "mundane space".

Sex during an Opened state is an intensely empathic experience, but at the same time it is somewhat distant; you feel their feelings, but you care about it less. Being touched by people can be good or bad depending on how comfortable you are with their energy; by definition you are psychically unshielded in this state. It goes without saying that you need to be very careful about where you are and who you're around while Open.

Above all, what this process needs is patience, on the part of both people. It may take months of attempting before one actually gets it right. Sometimes it may be too great a temptation to quit before the Opening is achieved, because the discomfort is too difficult. (This may be the body telling you "Not today, dude." Always listen to your body when it comes to these things.) Sometimes it may simply degenerate into recreational fucking (which I take as a sign from the Universe that the time is not cosmically right for this sort of thing). Sometimes it may take months of hit-or-miss before this can be used on demand as a reliable tool. Patience is essential There's also the fact that not everyone responds to this form of shamanic sex yoga; some people may not be "wired" for it, as it were. If it just doesn't ever seem to work, try one of the other gazillion ways of getting into an altered state.

One of the things that I personally think is wonderful about this method (besides the obvious perks; I'd far rather have ritual sex than take drugs that give you nausea and vomiting, or drum for six hours, or dance until I drop) is that doing Opening via anal fisting or charged phalluses is entirely gender-neutral. It can be done by any combination of people with any combination of genitals. Especially in the case of anal fisting, it's so far away from any kind of "normal" and therefore role-bound sexual activity that it can push people out of their ordinary gender roles, and this is a side effect that has an excellent effect on Opening. In fact, it seems that the more bound up a sexual activity is with one's gender roles, the less useful it is for this kind of thing. That's because being forced out of your gender role is a requirement for regular Walking Between Worlds, and it's why third gender people were traditionally seen as having an automatic advantage when it came to shamanic work. It's because it's true.

That's one reason why penetration seeming like a "feminine" thing isn't such a bad idea for men who are using penetration magically... as long as they can get over the idea that "feminine" equals "degrading" or "lessening". In reverse, some women see anal penetration as a "male" thing because gay men do it -- the idea being that a "real" woman would always use her vagina, because she has one -- and that has helped them to move out of their gender role during ritually mind-altering sex. (Some women, however, find it impossible to use penetration at all in this way, as it's too bound up with their ordinary female sex life, and have to use other forms of sex to achieve this state.) In general, if the Opening is going properly, you move entirely beyond gender roles and even a gendered body while it's happening. It's the magic of Walking Between Worlds, using only the amazing and multipurpose tool of your own sexual body.