Mindfulness and Bisexuality

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)By definition, mindfulness is a meditation technique that involves present-centered awareness without judgment. Mindfulness practices are based on Buddhist meditation techniques that target both thoughts and behaviors. The goal is to change the context of our thoughts. Through mindfulness; we observe what we are observing. If our thoughts are maladaptive, we acknowledge them but change our relationship to them. We do not permit them to lead to negative emotions.

During meditation, or perhaps more accurately, contemplation, we let our mind experience disturbing thoughts and feelings without reacting to them. One important technique is called decentering. We simply enter into a state of meditation. We shut down our mind and focus on our breathing until we enter into a state of relaxation.  Our blood pressure will decrease, our heart rate will slow down, and our brain will gradually cease creating thoughts and emotions. We open our mind to experience the sensations that are happening in the now. Inevitably our mind, without our checks and balance, will begin to bring thoughts based on past failures and other negative emotional experiences. We simply notice, label, and relate to them as just passing events rather than letting them regress to negative emotions about ourselves. By increasing our mindful awareness of our thoughts, impulses, cravings, and emotions, we are less likely to act on them or be ruled by them.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has become an actual therapy practiced by present day psychologists. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed to treat major depressive disorder. Mindfulness training also includes therapies designed to treat substance use disorder and borderline personality disorder. One large, carefully controlled study found that MBCT was as effective as antidepressant medications in preventing relapse after an acute episode of major depressive disorder (Bieling & others, 2012; Segal & others, 2010). However, the actual practice is so simple that it can be practiced by anyone without professional help.

So how does this relate to bisexuality? I can only relate to my own personal experiences. After hiding my gay impulses from my wife and children for thirty-three years, I inevitably crashed and slipped into chronic depression. I sold or gave whatever was left after the divorce, took an early retirement, and fled to a mountain village in Costa Rica. I started to practice meditation each morning as I gazed on the warm forest and cities below. Inevitably all the blame, guilt and self-loathing would barge in on my meditation. With all these negative thoughts and emotion insisting on occupying my mind, I simply could not meditate. It was then that I decided to face my thoughts and feelings honestly and openly. I let them enter my mind, acknowledged them, wrapped them into a gift of love and sent them to the people they involved. I replaced self-loathing with love for them and eventually with love for myself. I realized that I had done the best I could under the circumstances to hold everything together until my last child and completed college. I was then able to move on, come out of my depression, drop all medication, and heal the personality disorder that I had developed by trying to live a double life. I realized that my trials had made me a beautiful person, thanked the universe for my gay impulses, and accepted my bisexuality as a gift and not a curse.

My five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. Practice mindful meditation. It may be difficult at first but push through until you are comfortable living in the moment without anxiety.
  2. Once in a state on mindful meditation, allow your mind to bring whatever thoughts it wishes into the present where you sit relaxed and in control.
  3. Accept the thoughts and feelings that go with them but do not accept the negative emotions; in fact, convert them to positive ones. Thank your mind for presenting its thoughts and then release them. I like to visualize them wrapped like a gift and sent back to the ones I love, thanking them for the wonderful moments we had shared.
  4. Keep practicing this mindful meditation until these thoughts eventually cease to return.
  5. Give yourself a great big soul hug. You are a champ, a conqueror of the most powerful enemy you will ever face – yourself.

 

 

  1. Siegel,Daniel,J. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation: Daniel J … 2010.

 

Bi-gender and Transsexual Procedures

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)In a recent article in Newsweek[1], Borreli noted that sex change increased by 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 in the U.S., with more than 3,000 operations performed in 2017. She also reported that some male to female transsexuals felt they would never be liked or accepted as real women. Borreli also reported that there is a lack of pre and post counselling, and that a significant number of male to female trans wanted to reverse the procedure.

A group of researchers in Sweden[2]discovered that the mental health of transsexuals after surgery was not what we would expect it to be. In a follow-up survey of 324 sex-reassigned persons (191 male-to-females, 133 female-to-males), they discovered that the overall mortality, particularly death from suicide, for sex-reassigned persons was higher during follow-up than for controls of the same birth sex. Sex-reassigned persons also had an increased risk for suicide attempts and psychiatric treatment. They concluded that physically changing the birth sex may not be sufficient for treating transsexualism, and advocated for improved psychiatric care after sex reassignment.

With the increased frequency of sexual reassignment and the data on mental wellbeing after transition, one must take a long serious look at this life-changing procedure. Many of the people involved in sex reassignment have been previously married and in a heterosexual relationship. In my mind this makes them bisexual, or to put it more accurately, bi-gender. Many do not make the transition for sexual reasons with little or no desire to experience sex in their new sexually reversed bodies. Most of the issues are gender related not sexual. As we have seen, gender feelings come from a genetic predisposition and then shaped and molded by life and cultural experiences. Perhaps it is enough to be like the hijra and just take on the clothing and gender roles without the sex change.

More and more of the sexually reassigned are young people, many of them in their teens. This may not be a good time for a sex change. Sexuality seems to be quite fluid at this age with many, especially women, experimenting with bisexuality. They may need to resolve these feelings and explore their gay or lesbian nature before deciding on a sex change. They may also want to experiment with gender role change before starting hormone treatments.

Sexual reassignment begins with hormone treatment. One person Borreli interviewed felt it was the hormones that made him act impulsively and go for the surgery that he later regretted. Hormone treatments affect the whole body not just the genitals. They also serve as neuromodulators thus affecting the neural circuits of the brain causing a major shift in mental functioning. These dramatic physical and mental changes may lead to massive confusion in the creation and changing of neural pathways. This may lead to depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

 

My five applications for bisexuals:

  1. Look for clarity in our sexuality. We can define ourselves sexually as heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian. We can then seek sexual gratification based on this knowledge.
  2. Look for clarification in our gender roles. Are we masculine, or feminine, or are we bigender with fluid flow from male to female feelings of orientation? If we feel we are a man in a woman’s body, or a woman in a man’s body, or if we alternate from one gender role to another, we can explore and enjoy same sex and opposite sex relationships by changing our gender roles without hormones or sexual reassignment.
  3. If we truly want and need to experience sex, not as gay or lesbian, but truly as our transgender nature, than proceed with the sex change.
  4. If we are in a love relationship or we want to experience a love relationship according to our transgender nature, then have a sex change.
  5. Give it time. Be absolutely sure that this is how you want to live the rest of your life. Seek pre and post transition counselling. Make sure you have a professional and personal support system in place before starting the hormone transition.

 

[1] Borreli,Lizette. Transgender Surgery: Regret Rates Highest in Male to Female Reassignment  Operations. Newsweek. April, 2018.

[2] Dhejne, Cecilia; Boman,Marcus; Joohansson,Anna l.; Langston,Niklas; and Landen, Mikael. Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden. Plos. February 22, 2011.

 

Bisexuality and God

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)Strange title isn’t it? Seems like those two words just don’t go together. That may be because of our concept of God as the Ultimate Patriarch of the Islamic/Christian/Judean faiths. We have been taught to think of God as the judge and prosecutor of the family unit, where the man is the protector and guiding force, and the woman is the keeper of the hearth. There is no room here for the person who is not sure of their gender or is experimenting with same sex relationships.

Because of these foundation beliefs, we are taught to fear God and to attune ourselves with the traditions and beliefs of our parents, and through them, to the community of believers, and to our society at large. The result is either conformity and peace, or shame and anxiety. The tendency for us bisexuals, who just cannot conform to these beliefs no matter how hard we try, is to say “there is no God” and “I will live my life with my heart and my gut as my only judges”. We rule out the possibility of God because we can no longer carry the shame and the pain of being isolated from our biological, social, and spiritual families.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Each morning when I wake up, I light the fire in the hearth and then go out onto my front deck to watch the sun rise over the Salish Sea. I slide into my meditation sanctuary and experience the beauty of the colors melting into the clouds, framed by the silent silhouettes of the giant fir trees, and I listen to the barking of the sea lions and the songs of the twees, robins, and loons, and I somehow feel a part of something grand and powerful.

This is my God, the Presence that is in me and all around me; the Presence that is Life itself.  This Presence is part of me and I am part of it. It is masculine and feminine, male and female. It is the God of bisexuals as well as the God of gays, lesbians, and  heterosexuals. It is the God of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims, yes and even the fundamentalists. If I want to relate to this Presence as my Father, than he is my Father; as the Tao then it is the Tao; as my Mother Earth, then she is my mother earth. It, he, she – is everything. There is no gender; there is no condemnation based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. It is what connects me to you and you to me. It is the source of all that is, of every thought, of every spark of energy, including our powerful drives.  It is even part of my sexuality, my desire and joy in being a bisexual man and a Father, my ability to know and love lovers and friends sexually and/or platonically.

Anyway, that is my own personal belief, and this belief makes life easier and sweeter for me. It gives me a foundation for love. It gives me a reason to get up each morning and love the life that is in me. And yes, it is even there at the basis of my sexual desires. It is what transforms having sex into “making love’.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. We do not have to give up on God; he-she-it, by its very nature, has not given up on  us. Remember our beliefs provide the guidance and the power for our feelings and emotions. We have to believe in something so we may as well reach for the sky and believe in this wonderful power of love and beauty that is the foundation for all that is good in this life. Believing we are part of this presence, and it is part of us, opens the door to unlimited power. We can create miracles.
  2. Even if we cannot believe in a personal god, or even a presence in the universe, we can believe in something. We can believe in love. We can believe that we are beautiful powerful creatures, and yes we can still create miracles. This presence, this energy, can still work for us subconsciously.
  3. We can see the presence in others. This will prevent us from falling into hate with all its negative emotions and consequences. We can see others as powerful and beautiful people who are struggling with their own identity.
  4. We should never be ashamed of our bodies. They are a gift. They are beautiful. They are what binds us to Mother Earth and to the Universal Presence.
  5. We should never be ashamed of our sexual desires. They are a gift of the Universal Presence through our bodies. Through sexual relationships we can connect with others on a deep spiritual as well as physical level. We can know that love is the essence of life.

Bisexuality, Anxiety, and the Cerebellum

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Using national data and the criteria from the DSM 4 to identify people with Anxiety Disorders, a group of researchers[1]  concluded that men who reported lifetime sexual behavior with both male and female partners had the highest rate of every mood and anxiety disorder. This was matched, but by a lesser degree, with women who reported both male and female partners. In some truly significant numbers, 46.5% of bisexual men experienced some mood disorder in their lifetime, compared with 26.8% of men who reported only same-sex sexual partners, 29.3% who reported no sexual partners, and 19.4% who reported exclusively female partners. These numbers are highly significant from two perspectives, first we bisexual men are almost twice as likely as other men to experience clinical anxiety, and secondly, almost half of us have experienced some form of severe anxiety during our lifetime.

So what is happening in our brains? Converging evidence suggests that the culprit may be the cerebellum which was traditionally thought of as the part of the brain responsible for motor control, voluntary movement, and balance. New information based on brain scans suggests that it may be much more than that. One of the surprising areas seems to be associative learning. Remember Pavlov’s dog and conditioned responses? Well it appears our anxiety may be related to conditioning. I read an article once (can’t find the source) that described gay and bisexual lives as death by a thousand cuts. We apparently are subconsciously responding to a lifetime of mini-traumas and now exhibit symptoms of PTSD. It’s like we have been in the trenches waiting for next call to charge the enemy through a mine field. In other words we suffer generalized anxiety because we feel that we are living a life where our sense of security is constantly being threatened.

The cerebellum also forms neural circuits with the thalamus, the hypothalamus and the amygdala. In other words it connects to the limbic and reticular systems which are associated with the two powerful emotions of attraction and fear.  This links whole body involvement with the dopamine pleasure seeking drive and the alert hormones of the sympathetic system.  Therefore, for those of us who have learned to live with generalized anxiety, it is not hard to understand why our whole body seems to be involved in our anxiety and not just our minds or genitals.  I am sure as bisexuals at least half of us have experienced that elephant on the chest, the frequent occurrence of shallow breathing, and mental fatigue that accompanies generalized anxiety.

Generalized anxiety involves the whole body, and therefore the relief has to involve the whole body. In the past the fastest and most effective way to get into my body was through same sex encounters. Unfortunately that was only temporary relief. I would walk away with a hollow feeling akin to depression and a gradual rebuild up of anxiety. The involvement of the cerebellum suggests that these anxieties have passed on beyond mind control and have become a part of my implicit memory and subconscious response systems. In other words I am now stuck with a chemical imbalance that is beyond the scope of psychological therapy. Typically that means medication with all its possible side effects, and that only provides relief for the symptoms and not the cause. It’s like taking a Tylenol for cancer. I have spent the last fifteen years of my life leaning to deal with my anxieties and in the process have found a new way of life that uses my anxiety as nervous energy to accomplish amazing things including this amazing blog.

 

My five suggestions for bisexuals on how to deal with anxiety by controlling our bodies:

  1. We can get in touch and stay in touch with our bodies. It’s simple – meditate. Fifteen minutes a day where we shut down our mind and concentrate of the sensations of our bodies. In the process we will find an inner presence that is interacting with the world around us. It will help us stay grounded.
  2. Practice soothing activities whenever we feel anxious. We simply become aware of our breathing. Deep breath in from the belly, hold, let out slowly and completely.
  3. Practice touch. Touch the area where we are feeling the anxiety and then bring the touch down to the heart and hold it there until the anxiety subsides.
  4. We sooth by talking to ourselves. We acknowledge the fear and its source thus bringing it from the subconscious to the conscious level. It is best done out loud. Then tap your heart and say “There. There, now. It’s all okay. I am here to protect you.”
  5. Whatever our sexual practices, we have a right to experience it without shame and remorse. If you feel that empty feeling, take charge of it and emphatically claim the right to seek pleasure anyway you so choose.
[1] Bostwick, Wendy B.;  Boyd, Carol J.; Hughes, Tonda L, and  McCabe, Sean Esteban. Dimensions of Sexual Orientation and the Prevalence of Mood and Anxiety Disorders in the United States. Am J Public Health, v.100(3); Mar 2010. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820045/?tool)

 

Bisexuality and the Bonobos

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)This blog focuses on bisexuality, and as much as I would like it to be more mental and spiritual, it seems to keep coming back to just plain (or not so plain) sex.  And, if you take the ‘l’ out of ‘plain’, plain can become ‘pain’. It appears that one thing the human mind cannot cope with is boredom. If we do the mathematics, plain sex = boredom = pain. That makes the letter “l” very important. and of course. the “l” stands for “love”. Love includes sexual pleasure but it is much more than that.

Why do we bisexual often seek sex without love? For one answer beyond the pure aspect of pleasure, we can look to our fellow primates. As we go from simple to more complex animals (that means a bigger brain), sexual behavior becomes subject to learning and environmental influences and not just reproduction (Buss, 2007a, 2007b). For example, in one species, the bonobos of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, sexual activity can occur at any time, not just when the female is fertile. Bonobos also engage in oral sex, intense tongue kissing, and homosexual and group sex. Among the bonobos, sexual interaction is used to increase group cohesion, avoid conflict, and decrease tension that might be caused by competition for food (de Waal,1995). Bonobos’ behaviors appear to be instinctive for social and stress relief reasons; these lucky fellows can seek pleasure for the sake of pleasure and the instinctive needs of the group. They are not capable of love as we know it.

Are we like our friends the bonobos? Are we just sex craved bisexuals merely releasing our aggressive tendencies so that we do not wreak havoc on society? I think not. You see, unlike the bonobos, we do have the ability to make complex rational decisions. Because of the evolution of our brains, we can hold two or more concepts or mind states simultaneously and employ our powers of reason to compare or combine them to make decisions for the self’s greater good. We can even take that one step farther and combine all our mind sets to create an emotional whole-brain mindset that we can call love. It then can become our guiding force that can control sexual pleasure by bringing it into the mindset as one whole-brain, whole-body experience that is greater and more powerful that the just sex-for-pleasure feeling.

Like our cousins the bonobos, we bisexuals often are out just for the pleasure of sex and to release our sex-based tensions so we can go back to our heterosexual world.  However, without love, sex can become merely an addictive pleasure seeking activity, and like with any other pleasure centered drug, the mind will seek greater and greater “highs”. Sex for the sake of sex will eventually become repetitive and mundane. If our only goal is pleasure, the obvious path is to find someone else who can start us off on a new high. If that fails, we can try same sex pleasure, and if that does not work, we can try fetishes. If that does not work, do we give up on sex? No. We give up on life.  In other words, our sexual desires have to be based on something more than just plain pleasure if we are to truly enjoy living.

Granted, a lot of us pleasure seeking bisexuals choose to follow our drives and not use our brains; however, we do have a choice.  And somewhere along the way, we may come to realize that pleasure for the sake of pleasure is literally a dead end street. And then we can try to put the “l” back into pain and just relax and enjoy good old plain sex with someone whom we can relate to on a mind and soul basis. We can choose to have sex because we love and want to be loved.

My five applications to bisexuality:

  1. Seeking pleasure is a good thing. It’s what keeps the old heart ticking. We can discover what turns us on and go out and find it. All is okay. No self judgement. No shame.
  2. We can use our brain to monitor our sexual drives and notice when the pleasure seems to be slipping. We can add new ideas and positions etc. to enhance the experience. This is also okay, but if we follow this path alone, it may never be enough.
  3. There is nothing wrong with repetition and familiarity. It’s okay to establish sexual patterns – the brain likes predictability. We do not have to work on our technique to increase pleasure, we just have to work on our minds.
  4. We can stop the noise of the mind that equates increased excitement with increased pleasure. We simply shut it down and enter into a sexual experience mindfully, allowing the mind to slowly absorb all the sensations that come from all seven senses.
  5. We can focus on our feelings for our partner and enjoy their increased levels of excitement and anticipation. We can learn to increase our own pleasure by enjoying the pleasure we give to the one we love. [1]

[2]

[1]Buss,DM.. Why Humans Have Sex. NCIB Resources. 2007. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17610060)

[2] De Waal, Frans B.M. Bonobo Sex and Society. Scientific American. 1995. (https://www.scribd.com/document/317081020/de-Waal-1995-Bonobo-Sex-and-Society-abbrev-pd)

Bisexuality and the Variables

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)In an on-line survey involving 243 college students at Northeastern University[1], researchers assessed variables including same- and other-sex attractions, fantasies, and behaviors; and history and sexual attitudes. Bisexual (nonexclusive) women were more liberal in their political and sexual attitudes and had greater sexual experience then their straight peers, whereas bisexual (nonexclusive) men were virtually indistinguishable from other straight men.

So what does this mean? Again, women seem to be leading the way in accepting and acting upon their bisexual preferences. They seem to enjoy their dual sexuality more and are not afraid to let their preferences and opinions be known in public.  This suggests one of two things or perhaps both. On one hand, they seem to be able to put aside personal feelings of shame and uncertainty and just flow with their own desires and inclinations. The second factor is that same sex behavior among women is much more accepted by the general public. Lesbian and bisexual romance among women is considered erotic, whereas, the same behavior among men is often labelled as disgusting.

As bisexual men, we face a more difficult road when we choose to come out and admit our same sex attractions.  It is much easier for gay men who are certain of their orientation and are eventually willing to step out, take their place in society, and declare their orientation to the world by flirting in public or joining political organizations.  Our sexual excursions are usually carried out in private where we are less likely to be observed by our male peers.  We will go to places frequented by our gay friends and acquaintances, but usually we do so with a feeling that we do not belong, and we seldom carry those friendships out into the broader public. We seem to find it more difficult than bisexual women to walk away from relationships. Once they decide they seem to be able to make a clean break while we struggle to hang on. Political will and advocacy is almost non-existent among bisexual males.  We have no need for special recognition of our rights and freedoms because we can hide, if we so choose, with the rest of the general public.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. We can accept who we are and let it be known on a need to know basis with those we care about. This is really a shame issue because we feel we are not attuning to perceived parental and society norms. If the truth is known, they do not care as much as we think they do, and if they care about us, they will accept us just the way we are.
  2. We can begin to feel proud of our orientation – and it is an orientation in spite of what others may believe. We are not heterosexual and we are not gay or lesbian. We are bisexual. Let’s not feel queasy about it and call in “nonexclusive” or “queer” or anything else. There is nothing wrong with the term bisexual; it is a perfect description of who we are. Let’s not forget that sex has two meanings; yes, we enjoy having sex with men or women, but we also have the biological (brain patterns) and psychological qualities of both genders. That makes us special with an amazing range of feelings and thinking patterns.
  3. We can go public. That means pursuing sexual encounters in public. We do not have to meet in bath houses and public parks after dark. We can be like our open female bisexuals who are not afraid to be seen in public with same sex friends and lovers.
  4. We can choose to pursue relationships with men or women and eventually choose to settle down with one or the other. We can be monogamous. If the relationship fails we can eventually choose to be monogamous again with someone of the other sex than our last partner. This does not mean that we switch from heterosexual to gay or gay to heterosexual. We are just following our freedom to be one or the other and to switch back and forth without having to explain what our new orientation is. We are bisexual.
  5. We have to let our lovers know who we are and let them decide if they want to risk a permanent relationship with us. Whether or not we remain in a lasting relationship has nothing to do with our orientation. We are like everybody else. The relationship may last, or not, and if it does not, we are free to seek a new relationship, or not. We may choose to have an open relationship but it is not a necessity. We are quite capable of maintaining a permanent relationship like everyone else. If it is an open relationship this is not a SPECIAL CONSIDERATION BECAUSE WE ARE UNCONTROLLABLY BISEXUAL, it should be open to both parties.

 

 

Bisexuality and the Problem with Statistics

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Are you tired of statistics on bisexuality? I am. Yet another survey has shown that bisexuality is on the rise, especially among women[1]. A whopping 17.4% in the current survey have had some bisexual contact compared with 14.2% in the 2006-2010 survey. Higher numbers of both women and men identified as bisexual, 5.5% of women and 2% of men, compared with 3.9% and 1.2% respectively in the last survey. And you can be sure that number is higher for men as most of us to not want to disclose our bisexual tendencies.

So what? Why do we want to know that there are more and more of us? It reminds me of the Matrix Trilogy where Agent Smith keeps reproducing himself by thrusting his hand into someone’s chest. In the case of us bisexuals, we thrust our hand into someone’s pants and avoid the heart. It is time to step back and realize that we are all more than just programs in a worldwide sex-video game. Quite frankly I have no desire to just be another Agent Smith.

It seems that everyone wants to get in on the act. International popular TV series have taken up the torch. Bisexuality needs to be understood, and by god, they are going to show us what it is really like. However, this is not some glamorous Hollywood show where networks are competing with each other to see who can get the most views by depicting yet another example of bisexuality where marriages are broken and people are murdered because of unnatural passion. And quite frankly, I no longer want to compete with other bloggers to see who can get the most views on bisexuality. I do not want my life and my mind and my soul reduced to a statistic or another episode, book, or blog.

Did you know that only one of forty-six chromosomes is dedicated to male or female sexuality, and they cannot even find a half a chromosome, or for that matter, even one of twenty-five thousand genes, that can be nailed down for same seek attraction?  And yet sex, especially bisexual sex, seems to be a preoccupation of our western world, and it seems everyone is now encouraged to experiment with same sex attraction.

Women seem to be more attracted to same sex experimentation. When women engage in sex, their brains lights up like a Christmas tree as the pleasure center, the Nucleus Accumbens, is immediately activated, connecting with the sensory processing lobes, particularly the somatic processor which is associated with touch. Women are lucky, they immediately experience the pleasure. They take a little longer to get wound up which allows for more pleasure and more time for intimacy or attunement with their sex partner. This also allows for a second level of appraisal, and therefore,they are more likely to say “no” even after arousal.  Why do almost one in five women give up on sex with  men as their main source of sexual pleasure? Could it be that they are looking for more than sharing the “rush” provide by men? Could they be looking for something “deeper” (pardon the puns)? Could they be looking for the kind of intimate attunement that is much easier to get with another woman?

For us bisexual men, the pleasure sensation is delayed as the sexual rush is connected with the dopamine drive and the powerful emotions from the Limbic System. We get our pleasure by reaching our goal through orgasm, and only then does the Nucleus Accumbens suddenly connect with all the sensory processors to create a powerful pleasure surge similar to a hit of heroine. There is very little desire for intimacy as it merely delays the rush we so desire, but we do play along with our female partners hoping for the additional rush of mutual orgasm. When we are with men, it is all about the drive. And quite frankly, once another man touches our penis, we are literally driven to seek that hit.  We have our own built in addiction center. Sex is so simple with men. There are no mind games. There is no desire to delay orgasm because our pleasure is not in the play but in the outcome. We can just close our eyes and enjoy the anticipation of the oncoming rush with no thoughts of anyone else. There is no waiting for a partner. No guilt if the partner does not orgasm. It is so reassuring to know that once the game is on  our male sex partners have no intention of saying “wait” or  ”no”.

For many of us bisexual men, especially if we are married or in a relationship with a woman, gay sex becomes guilt and is compounded by addiction withdrawal. Our addiction demands that we do it again. However, our tortured minds are trying desperately to control our drives. The only thing that can stop our addiction is the prefrontal cortex, particularly the orbitofrontal cortex, but quite frankly, once the drive is on, it is very ineffective.  But it is our source of second evaluation, or as Freud would say, our super ego or our conscious. It attempts to employ checks and balances to prevent same-sex arousal, halt addiction, and regain control over our sexual impulses. It employs cultural and religious beliefs that come in the form of layer upon layer of mind sets shaped by past negative experiences that involve shame and guilt. In order to gain control, it has to compartmentalize; it has to put sex back into its Pandora’s Box.  As bisexuals, we have to willingly choose to place our sexual drives in a nice safe compartment that we can access when appropriate so that we are not raping and pillaging or spending all our waking hours in bathhouses.

If we choose to fight the addiction, we may eventually arrive at the conclusion that we are much more than the oxytocin and hormonal impulses coming from our genitals. This realization has the power to bring us to our higher self, our soul, to a deeper level of living. Our spiritual desire and spiritual energy can then be put in control of our impulses so we can generate ideas and thoughts and beliefs to make this world a better place, something a bit more than a worldwide video game where the winner is the one who can screw the most people during a life span.

Sorry for the rant. But for us bisexuals who were born with our bisexual impulses, this is not a game or something to experiment with. This a very powerful part of our mental and physical anatomy. We really do need to control it or it will destroy us. Personally it has literally screwed up my life. I wanted to be a good husband and a good father and, in fact, I was a great husband and a great father for 33 years before everyone I cared about suddenly knew I enjoyed having sex with other men. I lost my marriage and respect from my children which, quite frankly, were more important to me than another same sex orgasm. So let’s not glamorize this thing. Let’s not encourage more and more young people to experiment with bisexuality. If they are bisexual, they will know it because it is so powerful that it will eventually come out into the open. For us, sex is not just another source of pleasure that we can experiment with. So there is no rejoicing here to learn that other men and women are experimenting with bisexuality. Getting involved with bisexual men and women is like playing with fire. We have to take the box of matches away from the juveniles.

Here are my five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. For those of you who are thinking about experimenting with bisexuality – you don’t have to experiment. If you are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, you will know it without experimenting. Even if you are seriously considering it, it probably means you are bisexual. You still have a choice. The question is do you really want to start a bisexual lifestyle with all the issues it will bring into your life? Think it through. Done the right way, it can be a very powerful and satisfying life choice.; done poorly can lead to a great deal of pain.
  2. For those of us who are truly bisexual my advice is TO BE CAREFUL, and that does not just mean having safe sex.
  3. Care for yourself and have the courage to make the right decisions that will lead to a more conscious and more joyful way of life.
  4. Beware of the addictive powers of casual sex. Avoid porn, sex shops and other places that you can get a quick fix.
  5. Listen to the voice of your higher self. Seek relationship. It can be a man or a woman or both, but it has to involve relationship. Look for love.

[1]. Copen, Casey E Chandra; Anjani; and Febo-Vazquez, Isaedmarie. Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Orientation Among Adults Aged 18–44 in the United States: Data From the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth Division of Vital Statistics. National Health Statistics Reports Number 88, January 7, 2016

 

 

Energy and the Brain

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)It’s time to take a closer look at physical and spiritual energy. We are energy beings. Right down to the atoms and molecules that make up our cells, we are in constant motion. We are constantly changing. If we are to truly understand our self as a physical and spiritual being, and use this knowledge to grow and expand, we have to understand the nature of the energy by which we breathe, think, and have our being.  There is no better place to start than with the human brain.

The brain uses more energy than any other human organ accounting for up to 20 percent of the body’s total energy requirements. The source of energy that powers the human brain is mainly sugar, more specifically – glucose. Glucose is a hydrocarbon that is broken down with the help of additional oxygen (which we get through breathing) to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is responsible for energy transfer in the human brain.

After reading the complex scientific information on ATP, it appears to act like an enzyme which is responsible for the binding of metals, predominantly magnesium, which then act as catalysts for the creation of protein strands and the breaking down of glucose. In the process, it creates an abundance of hydrogen ions which provides the energy for flow of information between neurons.  ATP supplies the energy required for these ions to traverse cell membranes thereby initiating many biological processes that keep our neurons firing.[1] When the accumulation of hydrogen ions increases the voltage in a neuron, the neurotransmitters are released firing an electrochemical impulse across the synapse to the dendrites of the neighboring neuron. The ATP then goes to work resetting the neurons to negative, through transfer of Sodium ions (which we get from salt) back across the membrane, making it more positive, and resulting in the uptake of the neurotransmitter back into the sending neuron. The neighboring dendrites where neurotransmitters are released do the same to the next neuron.

These chemical processes take a great deal of energy. During active mind activity, two thirds of the energy is used to fuel electrical impulses that neurons employ to communicate with one another. The remaining third is used for “housekeeping,” or cell-health maintenance.  When the brain is inactive, during sleep or relaxation (meditation), the process changes to about 50% for maintenance, thus resupplying the neurons with ATP and ions for future brain activity. This information indicates that we need to provide sufficient rest through relaxation periods throughout the day, especially if we are involved in high neocortex activity which includes most of us working in today’s information occupations in our western culture.

This is all fine in a healthy mind in a healthy environment where stages of brain activity are followed by brain maintenance; however, what happens when this does not occur. One study using brain scans showed the inferior parietal cortex (IPC), an area that helps us control the amount of energy we use, becomes deactivated when people felt they were being observed. In other words, if we feel comfortable with the people around us, the system continues to perform well, but if we’re concerned about how others are feeling about us, our performance deteriorates. This suggests that prolonged stress caused by unhealthy social relationships can affect our ability to employ and restore our brain energy systems. The brain will continue to employ its problem solving structures to restore balance, but if it is unable to do so, the mind will be unable to relax and restore the ATP and ions needed for thought and action.  Over an extended period of time this can lead to chemical breakdown and possible depression.

In another study, Cambridge[2] researchers found that when we are involved in intensive thought processes, the brain will place its own energy needs above the energy requirements of the rest of the body.  Again, over a prolonged period of time, this can create problems with the heart, which also requires a great deal of energy, and our immune system, which is responsible for healing and regeneration of other organs. This can lead to disease and the growth of cancerous tissue. In addition, the continued employment of the sympathetic nervous system creates high levels of salt in the blood stream which can lead to interference with ion transfer in the brain, and increased blood pressure in the body which is dangerous for heart failure and strokes.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals (and everyone else for that matter):

  1. First of all, we have to take good care of our minds with frequent periods of relaxation and mind rest. We can do this simply by learning to read the anxiety levels of our mind when the brain is overloaded. Once we become conscious of our mind states we can learn to provide it with sufficient rest.
  2. When we feel high levels of anxiety, we stop what we are doing and relax. Sometimes this will be a brief meditation where we concentrate on our breathing until the negative feelings dissolve.
  3. If the anxiety has transferred to the body through the sympathetic system, we may have to release this negative flow of body energy by physical exercise. A half hour brisk walk, where we concentrate on our surroundings and squelch our minds problem solving desires, usually does the trick.
  4. If this anxiety occurs whenever we engage in the same stressful activity or relationship, we may have to do an inventory and decide if this is the job or relationship that we really want to engage in. We must be prepared to make life changes to protect the energy system of our minds. If we are unable to make those decisions on our own, we may need to have someone help us through the process. We should take a leave of absence and find a good therapist.
  5. We need to pay special attention to our sex life as it can be a source of great pleasure and stress release or a cause of great anxiety. We have to be sure that our sexual behavior leads to and ends in the pleasure reward system without accompanying shame and anxiety. We may need to change our behavior or the way we think about it, or we may need to change our sex partners. Again, if we cannot seem to do this on our own, we may need professional help.

 

  1. Where Does The Human Brain Get Its Energy? Forbes – Whoa Science (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/03/06where-does-the-human-brain-)
  2. Nikhil Swaminathan, Why Does the Brain Need So Much Power? Scientific America (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-the-brain-need-s/)

 

Sex and the Mind

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)I think we would all agree that any problem with sex originates in the mind. Our bodies are just answering nature’s call, and the higher self is only concerned with relationships. When we look at the functioning of the brain, the genetic based sexual impulses seem to work at the autonomic level. It is only when the impulses go to the prefrontal cortex for second appraisal do we begin to second guess what our bodies and old brains are telling us. To understand how this works, we can view sexuality as two separate functions: arousal and desire. Adams et al. in their thorough review of brain and hormone activity defined sexual desire as “the behavioral drive that motivates individuals to fantasize about or seek out sexual activity.” In contrast, sexual arousal is defined as “the autonomic physiological processes that prepare the body for sexual activity.” [1] For the purpose of this blog we will be mainly looking at desire.

[1] Adams, Kristian; Favaloro; Dundas, Brendan; Dillon, Aaron; Nixon, Daniel. The Neuroscience of Sexual Desire. (http://neurosciencefundamentals.unsw.wikispaces.net/Sex+and+the+Brain.+What+parts+are+involved%3F)

But first, let’s take a brief look at the nature of arousal. Arousal is an old brain/body function. The activities of the tests and ovaries are regulated by a complex chain of events known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Sexual arousal is controlled by the autonomic nervous system which interacts with the sex organs creating an increase in steroids, body heat, and heart rate.  Male arousal is largely controlled directly by emotion through the limbic system, particularly the amygdala, with limited interaction with the rest of the brain.  Males on average have a 16% larger cortico-medial which is the area responsible for steroid uptake which, among other effects,  regulates flow of blood to the genitals. The activity of the limbic system precedes and triggers penile erection, sexual feelings, sensations of extreme pleasure, and memories of sexual intercourse. This creates a dopamine rush similar to a shot of heroin.

Female arousal appears to be more of a whole brain activity. A woman’s brain literally lights up when viewed in brain scans during stimulation of the brain via the vagus nerve.  Increased activity was noted in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) (sympathetic nervous system – increasing  the dopamine rush –  and regulating blood flow), midbrain central gray (GABA and increased sexual reception), amygdala (emotion), hippocampus (memory), anterior cingulate (blood pressure, heart rate and reward anticipation), frontal parietal (body sensations), temporal and insular cortices (sensory processing and memory), anterior basal ganglia (psychomotor behavior), and cerebellum (motor movement). This results in a complex interaction between the brain and body. It also results in increased lubrication and enhanced touch sensation.

Through the technology of improved use of brain scans, we see that desire on the other hand increases brain activity in both males and females . The center for sexual desire appears to come from the amygdala; however, it does not function in isolation. The amygdalofugal pathway connects the amygdala with the thalamus, median hypothalamus, brain stem and nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens is a large cluster of dopamine generating neurons which produces extreme feelings of pleasure as well as motivation to pursue sexual behavior. The anterior commisure is also activated connecting the left and right amygdala combining left brain (thought) and right brain (visual imagery) stimulation. One theory states that the anterior commisure may be responsible for gender orientation with gay men having am anterior commisure more similar to a woman’s (left brain dominant); however, this has not yet been established by neuroscience. Oxytocin seems to be a major player in sexual desire serving both as a stimulus to arousal and a neuromodulator to the flow of information through the neurotransmitters in the brain. All this happens in a blink of an eye where arousal and desire seem to interact simultaneously. This creates a yo-yo effect with our sexual drive system with constant interplay between thought, emotion, and hormonal arousal.

A review of the literature on neuro-sexual activity by Carl Zimmer[1] leads to some interesting additional information. One study observed that the medial orbito frontal cortex (OFC) was active in desire-impaired  but quiet in the normal men.  The OFC’s connection with the hippocampus  produces emotional memories which create states of mind. Through the interaction of states on mind, the OFC mediates reward and punishment, creates personal assessment, and manages expectations. It is also responsible for  understanding the thoughts, emotions and intentions of other people. It weighs action and consequences thereby influencing sexual desire. The OFC also connects to the neocortex particularly in the lobes involved in sensory integration including all somatosensory (body sensations) modalities.  The OFC also connects to the anterior insula, which is what we use to reflect on the state of our own body sensations. This interplay between the OFC, the anterior insula, and the neocortex may produce the good or bad feelings we associate with sexual arousal. Another set of studies noted that information not only travels from the visual cortex and the emotional centers to the higher regions of the brain, but also goes from the top down. Therefore, the higher regions may be instructing the eyes on what looks sexually desirable. The brain regions that handle self-awareness and understanding others may also be telling the emotional centers what to feel.

The two main disorders relating to sexual desire are hyposexual desire disorder (HSDD) and hypersexuality. The causes of sexual desire disorders vary, but some may include a decrease in the production of oestrogen in woman or testosterone in both men and women. HSDD is characterized by low levels of sexual desire and fantasy. This may be due to genetic predisposition or brain damage to the medial orbitofrontal cortex or the limbic structures of the amygdala, hypothalamus, or the temporal lobes. Hypersexuality can be considered as increased desire for sex that makes it difficult to meet social commitments and/or personal development. Evidence has been found that hypersexuality occurs‍ more often in the right hemisphere of the brain with far more cases in males. Studies also indicate that genetic predictors of homosexuality are associated with increased “risk taking” behavior (hypersexuality) due to irregularities of the serotonin production gene and over stimulus of the dopamine drive system.

I think we can conclude that sexual desire is the culmination of several different neural mechanisms, neural pathways, and states of mind, each of which is controlled in different areas of the brain and is activated at different stages of the sexual experience. In other words, arousal cannot be separated from desire. It is part of the bottom up process but almost simultaneously meets and meshes with the top town approach from the prefrontal cortex. Emotions, impulses and hormonal activity seem to pinball among various areas of the brain once arousal takes place.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. Since sex is a whole brain activity, we can learn to control our mind and then use our mind to control our sexual impulses. We can do this through meditation and dealing with the pain stimuli coming from the ego (OFC). We can restructure our neural circuits through the wisdom of our higher self, affirm our desires as natural sources of pleasure, and rewire our mind with positive feelings of self-acceptance.
  2. Our sexual impulses are, by their nature, healthy. If we are attracted to men or women or both, it is merely part of our arousal system. We are free to indulge. However, before we can truly enjoy our sexuality, we must also heal the feelings coming from the prefrontal cortex (ego). We can do this by repeating step one whenever we experienced negative thoughts about our sexuality.
  3. I do not believe that hypersexuality is a legitimate problem except in rare cases. I do not believe it is due to a damaged limbic system. A strong sexual desire system is a sign of a healthy human body. The so-called addiction problems are a result of   developed mind sets that involve implicit and explicit memories connected to negative emotions. We simply have to change the circuits and remove the unhealthy inhibitions which are usually based on shame induced structures from family and religion.
  4. Hyposexuality is a problem, but it is not usually centered in the physical brain  structures. It is more likely an inhibitor from the orbito frontal cortex. We have to remove those inhibitors in order to enjoy our sexuality so that we can have fuller and more passionate relationships.
  5. Gay and bisexual men often have amazingly powerful sex drives. This is natural. We have to learn to enjoy it without shame or blame. When our sexual behavior involves a significant other, we have to be sure that he/she understands our drive, and we have to work out a general understanding that involves both of our needs and desires. We have to open up the doors of communication to take away the potential shame and blame.

[1] Zimmer, Carl. Discover, 2009. (http://discovermagazine.com/tags/?tag=carl+zimmer)

 

 

The Mind and Relationships

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)As humans, we have a great need for intimate connections with other human beings. Somewhere around fifty thousand years ago, mankind saw the need to belong to a larger social group for the purpose of hunting and survival. Those who had the genetic and mental skills to adapt to social settings became alphas in the group and passed their genes on to the next generation. Those who did not were separated from the group and died out. Through natural selection, the human brain has developed a process where one mind can directly interface with another through the transfer of energy and information and thus create a super system between two or more individuals.

So how does this social ability work? At conception, we receive a genetic code that fashions a region in the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. At the center of this is the orbitofrontal cortex which is believed to be responsible for emotional and social processing. The right side of this region seems to be able to create an emotional state and then  send signals that  directly shape the emotional mindset of the receiver. This is perceived subconsciously through facial expression, voice tone, and other types of body language. This activates the emotion system of the receiver through the amygdala and the anterior cingulate thereby orienting attention and creating arousal. Through verbal response, the sender and receiver  begin to share information from one mind to another creating similar representational processes, appraising meaning, and influencing individual or group behavior.

This process begins during infancy. The function of the developing brain is shaped by the parent’s more mature brain. There is an alignment of states of mind between parent and child. When this attunement is conducted in a warm supportive manner, the child understands and feels what is perceived to be right or wrong. This process eventually leads to the child self-regulating its own behavioral impulses. Shame is the emotion evoked when the child’s arousal state is not confirmed or attuned to by the parent. When this attunement is accompanied by a parent’s anger or some other form of disconnection, the parent fails to soothe the child’s sense of shame thus resulting in a deeper negative sensation that we can refer to as humiliation. The way to cope with humiliation is for the child to experience self-loathing or to strike back in anger to protect the self.

I did not receive good parenting. I was neglected as a child because my single parent mother with nine children was unable to meet my need for loving and supportive attunement.  As a result, I  developed a personality disorder which made it very difficult to relate to others, particularly members of the opposite sex. On the outside, I was a handsome, athletic, and intelligent guy who attracted a lot of female attention, but I was not sexually aggressive or assertive. I was able to maintain heterosexual relationships and eventually married and had four children, but sexually, I found it much easier to relate to men.

In my case, the processes begun during childhood continued into adulthood. Because the emotions constitute the fundamental value system of the brain, I not only subjected myself to the positive or negative energy of others, but I also opened myself up to absorbing their value systems. This led to self-loathing because I could not control my gay impulses which were in direct conflict with my heterosexual and religious family relationships. I  lacked awareness of internal pain or dissatisfaction with my relationships which otherwise might have served to motivate change. I  became very skilled in providing what I thought others wanted, but I did not take care of my own wants and needs. This eventually led to a mental breakdown and divorce.

The good news is the orbitofrontal cortex remains plastic throughout our life time. We cannot change what we have received in the way of parenting, but we can change the way our brain works. The most important relationship we can develop is with our higher self. This creates an internal attunement with our own positive spiritual guide which will always be gentle and will never seek to shame or humiliate. Through the higher self, we can overcome early damage by being aware of our thinking patterns. We ask our higher self to verbally respond to the child within. This allows us to make left hemisphere sense out of right hemisphere emotional feelings and create a sense of order out of our own chaotic  processes. By focusing in on our pain and the cause of our pain, we can bring in the vibrations of our higher self to soothe and rewire those circuits.

By analyzing our relationships, we can then begin to function consciously instead of just reacting subconsciously. We avoid negative relationships and nurture positive ones. Because we are subject to an intense sense of vulnerability and loss, we learn to recognize these feeling and reconnect them to the higher self for soothing. Because we tend to over compensate and recreate ourselves to please others – the chameleon effect – we learn to recognize our own needs, and love, respect and defend ourselves. Because we may have a profound fear of annihilation or abandonment, we recognize our strengths instead of our weaknesses and take time to just be alone with ourselves.

I have learned to attune to my higher self.  Above all I have learned to parent the ego or child within. In the process, I have established the following guidelines that I would like to pass on to you.

My five applications for bisexuals:

1. We look in the mirror each morning and establish loving eye contact.

2. We use our tender voice for self-talk, never condemning or being disappointed in ourselves.

3. We only allow good touches from others.

4. We practice focused attention with ourselves by choosing some activity each day just for us. We create our own sense of purpose and set aside time and space to do the things we really want to do.

5. Above all, we shape our own present and future by developing prospective memory which allows us to imagine, create, and remember a set of future feelings and goals and then set our will or sense of purpose to creating the life we would love to live.