Something I see in the spirituality/sacred sexuality community is the Appeal to Nature fallacy, which can be summarised: (1) That which is natural is good, (2) X is natural, (3) therefore, X is good. It can also be the negative sense: (1) That which is natural is good, (2) Y is not natural, (3) therefore, Y is not good. The Appeal to Nature is a logical fallacy because it poorly defines what is considered “natural” and presupposes that everything “natural” is indeed “good.”
I’ve also noticed the Appeal to Nature fallacy in discussions about sex toys. Among certain purveyors, it's believed that vibrations and synthetic materials are not natural and are thus not good and should therefore not be used. Some believe that using a vibrator will lead to “Dead Vagina Syndrome," a significant decrease in vaginal sensitivity.
When people say vibrators are unnatural and shouldn’t be used, my instinct is to retort, “Cars and planes are also unnatural, so does that mean we should never use them, and just stick to walking instead?” This isn’t conducive for civil discussion so here's some research.
While genital desensitization was reported in one study by 16.5% of women who have ever used a vibrator, it was largely described as mild and transitory (Herbenick et al., 2009). In other words, the genital nerves may adapt to high intensity vibratory stimulation and thus be temporarily less responsive to other forms of stimulation or lower intensity stimulation, but this state improves quickly with the introduction of new types of stimulation. Similarly, it is unlikely that, given the continuous restructuring of female genital nerve beds, vibrator use could result in long-term genital desensitization (Prause et al., 2012).
Yes, the pudendal nerve can potentially be temporarily overwhelmed by constant vibration. Nerves like variety. To avoid vibrator fatigue, choose a toy with different intensity settings and patterns to switch things up. It can also help to put up a barrier, like a sheet or underwear, between the vibrator and clitoris. Focussing on the whole genitals, not just exclusively the clitoris, can also help prevent temporary desensitization.
I've spoken before about how I think it is important for us to be mindful of the language we use to describe penises, moving away from words like "rod," "bat" and "gun," which equate the penis with an inanimate, weapon-like object.
It can be valuable to think of the penis as something softer and more tender in order to broaden our perception of penises and the people who have them. This speaks to the use of metaphor, the essence being understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980).
However, it is also important to acknowledge and own the power of the penis. The penis is powerful. And, there a few ways that this power needs to be acknowledged. Firstly, the penis can and has been used as a weapon. For example, Javaid (2018) discusses nuanced findings about men who rape other men as a way in which to exercise power and control. This is the penis as a weapon of power.
But the penis can also be powerful without being weaponized. While it may be difficult to see the penis as something other than subtly representing dominance over others, the penis can be reframed, as it is in some cultures, as representing generative power or a potent source of pleasure.
Black feminist Minna Salami argues that we need to resist the idea that the penis does not embody sensuality, beauty and love, whether erect or soft. She further argues that it is important to shift away from patriarchal ideas of male sexual aggression which present the penis as a symbol of domination.
If you or your partner have a penis, I invite you to lean in and acknowledge the power of the penis. If you have a penis, own that power. All of that power, from the destructive to the generative, from the pain it can inflict to the pleasure it can elicit.
This is just my opinion. As I understand it, Kundalini Tantra practices are about exploring Shakti, the Divine Feminine, the Great Goddess. Shakti is essentially energy; the spiritual power within every existing thing, including human beings.
The universe operates in terms of energy, frequency and vibration. Everything vibrates at a molecular level (Magnasco, 2013). In fact, resonance patterns - or the harmonization of vibrations - have been observed in living and non-living structures of many types (Hunt & Schooler, 2019). Kundalini is sometimes referred to as the Divine Vibration.
So, Kundalini is ever-present. Its an energy that has always and will always exist. It is the energy that our physical and subtle bodies are imbued with. This can be observed in the womb using a fluorescent sensor. Before the development of an embryo or anything physical, there is a spark of light (Duncan et al., 2016).
This light, this energy, this vibration, from which the body is formed, is Kundalini. It is always there, but the physical and energetic blockages that our body develops prevent us from observing or accessing this energy. Like light shining through a window. Kundalini is the light. Our body is the window. And our blockages are like mud on the window which prevents the light from shining through.
Kundalini isn't dormant. It doesn't need to be awakened. It is always there, we just need to remove our blockages, wipe away the mud, and allow the light to shine through us. We can learn practices to release these blockages. This is what a lot of Tantric practices do, including sexual practices.
Sexual energy can be awoken, it can be aroused and drawn up from the genitals, like a serpent rising from the base of the spine. But convulsions and orgasmic waves of energy are not Kundalini. They're experiences of sexual energy, which can be used to clear blockages. That is, sexual energy can be moved through the body to help us wipe away the mud and observe the light of Kundalini. Although sexual energy and Kundalini are linked, there is a distinction between the two.