Evolution in the psychosexual line - Finding allies

Our presentation held at the Integral European Conference 2018 in Siófok /Hungary


1: Purpose of our presentation

This presentation shares our reflections on the psychosexual line. They are based on our practice and empirical study in several groups.
We wish to connect and to work with more researchers and practitioners around the world.
There is so much power and challenge in this psychosexual line for growing up, for waking up, cleaning up and showing. It‘s a power in individuals, women, men, couples, groups, in the society and its culture. It is interrelated to our daily lives and to other lines of development.
It would be great to find allies in the integral community for deepening this important but still tabooed topic.


2: History and mapping of the Erfahrungskreis and ourselves within

Love, sexuality and spirituality is our preferred mix of Integral Live Practice – ILP. We work in around 12 groups or projects. There we practice for around forty days per year plus for some weeks on our journeys to other cultures, such as India, South America and recently in Africa. It‘s not a conventional business we run, as we do not get an income personally for organising and leading that. Our main purpose is to find people who practice with us in depth.
Our first gatherings started more than 20 years ago in a rather postmodern way. And since around five years we have tried to apply the integral philosophy and life practice. With ILP and a mindful practice of sexuality we focus on many fields of our life, mainly on relationship, communication, healing, mediality, terminal and palliative care, awareness, cultural philosophy, self-awareness and creativity. We evolved from classical self awareness groups to competence circles and to a kind of intervision practice groups, since more than half of the members are coaches, trainers or working in a therapeutic context. They deepen their personal and professional experiences with us.
First, those groups were rather private and hidden somehow.
Last year we decided to open up, to write about the experiences some circles made and to show up for people around the world. We got in contact with authors, instructors, professional bodyworkers and academic students. We tried to apply and introduce the integral map in these contacts, which was something new for many of them. We belief that together we will be able to draw a more adequate picture of love, sexuality, relationship and intimacy in various situations of our life and in society.
In this context we realized that there is still a lack of integral informed studies about these topics. It seems that sexuality or psychosexuality is a line of development which is somehow left behind most other lines. We think that it would be relevant for our evolution as humans to focus on this backlog and get this line more integrated both theoretically and practically.
If you are interested in knowing more details about the diverse groups and projects in the Erfahrungskreis, feel free to look them up on our website www.erfahrungskreis.ch


3: The psychosexual line: Our understanding and our intentions

With procreation the sexual energy and thrive emerges from life energy as we manifest as a body mind in the embryo with the immediate urge to survive. The sexual energy leads us to be in contact with people around us, to become an independent personality, to express ourselves and to be creative on different levels in this dual world. It leads us as well to be in exchange or reflection with a partner and in many cases to cultivate a sensuality and sexuality. It depends on our personality structure, on the familiy and culture in which we grow up and on the levels of consciousness we go through, how each aspect of this sexual energy is pronounced. Sexual energy seems to be strongly interwoven with other forces, people, aspects of life, intelligences or lines.
The term "psychosexual" was created by Sigmund Freud to point out, that the experience of sexual thrive is not only based on physical aspects but also on our psyche. In this sence we refer to him and many others such as Wilhelm Reich. In addition the integral map includes this term as a devlopmental line. This doesn’t need to be the only terminology or point of view. We might consider other traditions as well, e.g. those of many yogis and tantrics who use krya, kundalini or sexual energy in their practice. Taoism, mysticism, shamanism and probably some more traditions in the world as well have practices that use bodywork and sexual energy in a more or less mindful way after our understanding of today.

On the other hand, there are traditions or social habits, mostly in the various monotheistic countries, where the sexual energy is occupied with blemish, shame, hide, neglect and suppression. This partially may have had some good reasons in earlier time, because sexuality was often not lived for the benefit of all persons involved, especially women. Some aspects are still like that today. Even in our countries today, where we can see on a superficial level a lot of liberation, sexuality is often hidden and considered as a private matter, perhaps occupied with shame and lived in a quiet little room, never witnessed by others. But we believe that nowadays we have better conditions to look at sexuality more differentiated and to live it more mindful. As we mentioned before, sexuality is the second important force in our lives besides our life energy. It would be a pity if we wouldn't try to live it in a more conscious and embedded way and to grow with it into teal and later stages.

As integralists we may even acknowledge sexuality as a catalyst for the development of consciousness. ILP marks sexuality or the psychosexual line for good reason as a gold star practice. It is emphasized more than some talent based lines, such as Howard Gardner's intelligences. Perhaps we will grow up today or within a short time, to embody sexual energy with more attention and responsibility for ourselves and for everybody who is involved. Sexual energy and its expression is linked to many more spheres of life e.g. to partnership, love, communication, creativity, art, healing work, spirituality, transformation, death, birth and probably also to our Being in general and to the eros of the cosmos itself. We think that it could liberate or redesign some of our deep-rooted concepts about the world, society, our understanding of relationship and our personal lives. Therefore, in our opinion, it should not be left out too unreflected, bypassed and kept as a secret.

Fortunately there are already several people and groups around the world, who have largely good experiences with sexuality and who are constantly improving it. For them sex has become much more than procreation, lust and satisfaction of the sexual thrive. It is linked to many more spheres of life as mentioned before.

If we did it similar to other branches, like Frédéric Laloux did it on a business level and published best practices of organiszations in books and groups, we could have a better impact on our way how to live and to grow with relationship, love and sexuality. We want to be part of with our groups and projects in the Erfahrungskreis, preferably not alone, but together with people, professionals and researchers around the world. Preferably with both a regular practice and a common reflection about it. Preferably with many people who are integrally informed.

Imagine, what will arise in our lives and in the world, if we all focus more on the psycosexual line of development!
We try to bring in a few examples based on our practice and our reflections.


4: Examples of our practice and benefits

These examples of development in the psychosexual line are presented within the structure of the four quadrants:

Upper left quadrant:
E.g. Self-understanding, intentions and behaviour of a person in the application of sexuality, love and spirituality.

  • People who practice a kind of self reflection, of shadow work and ILP become able to try out new forms of living, of communion, of sexuality and of much more. They try out different expression in a more flexible way.
    For example: One of the important questions in our adolescence was, whether I am normal and whether I fit in with my environment. Such a questioning may get flexible and sometimes even dissolved.
  • People get aware of personal fixed patterns e.g. with flirting, dating, falling in love, couple rules, falling in love, serial or parallel partnerships, wearing a sexy dress to feel attractive, etc.
    This self reflection and ILP gives space for a free and flexible self-expression.
    Much more than just one right or one wrong option or just white and black start to become possible. They discover many shades of grey and even many colours in between.
  • There is a greater diversity, flexibility and a healthy balance regarding different concepts and behaviors . E.g. as member of a specific culture, family or social group,
    as a physical man/woman, as a cultural male/female expression, as an other type etc.
  • The person becomes more willing to tell about himself or herself even in a circle of friends, more than just with the best friend (if any). They start to speak about sexuality, intimate partnership, personal fears and hopes, etc.
  • They share insights of personal and group shadow work.
  • They get inspired by books, workshops, coachings and trainings.
    They start to practice both experience and intelligence.

In some of our groups they went deeper into intimacy and authenticity, e.g. they are able to speak about...

  • Sexual needs, desires and fantasies
  • Their personal purpose of relationship, sexuality, love and spirituality
  • their personal practice and questions with those topics
  • Pornography: what we use, why we use, how we use it and what of it we would like to try out and what not.
  • Experiences with prostitution and its many aspects
  • Any experience which seem to be essential and want to be lived more in depth
  • exchange about current limits or restrictions
    and about our responsabilities

Lower left quadrant:

e.g. We-space, common rules and behaviour,

  • People practice a new culture of communication.
    This occasionally also contains rules to create a safe container for the themes, the process running and the we-space.
  • Groups create a we-space for intimacy: we were allowed to gain insight into how people and couples live sexuality and partnership. More than that: This gives us insight in individual characteristics, phases and stages of development.
  • Values, rules and new paradigms get shared, created or re-created, e.g. how we understand mindfulness, relatedness, we-space, to be a couple, to be divine, to be cosmos, …
    The rules for a couple and their sexuality have become more transparent and flexible.
  • Verification of classical concepts and interpretations take place and leads to more flexibility. People discovered more possibilities to express various shades or interspace of sexual polarities, without having to reduce to such classical assignments.E.g. between:
    - typical man - typical woman
    - somebody who is attractive and somebody who is not
    - Heterosexuality and homosexuality
    - Monogamy and polygamy
    - normal and perverse sexuality


Upper right quadrant:

  • For example: Methods for touching, feeling, being present, for communication, scientific studies, …
  • Learning diverse methods and trainings such as Tantra, SexoCorporel, sexological bodywork, sex education, sexual grounding aso. They offer much more than just massage or sex. Some of them include interrelated methods such as communication, dance, creative expression, meditation, shadow work, therapeutic work aso
  • We practice them in groups, try out variations, combine two or more different methods and create new methods sometimes. E.g. sexual practice and spiritual practice together
  • Learn together the basics of the integral map and philosophy and its application in our main topics

Lower right quadrant:
eg. the systems and rules in our society. The individuals and circles as part of a new society

Several participants in our groups are members of other groups as well. Some of them work as coaches, therapists, trainers aso. There exist already a field which covers the psychosexual line in an integral way.
But we are not many. It would be advisable to practice together. The topics of the psychosexual line are large and somehow left behind.
We think, in this quadrant relays the biggest challenge.   

How can the spirit and practice of love, sex and spirituality in an integral way expand more and more into the whole society with all its aspects of life?

Is it true that the behaviour of a person, of a couple and of a small group has an impact to society and its future? For example

what our ancestors did
what a couple is living in their intimacy today
how a man behave towards a woman and vice versa
what a group is practicing
which purpose a professional has and what she/he offers
how we meet in this conference


5: How we would like to connect and cooperate with Allies - an attempt for an outlook and vision

If, as before, we use the quadrants as an orientation, we can see, that our previous activities cover predominantly the left side. And we mentioned before that the topics of love, sexuality, spirituality, relationship, communication and partnership are interwoven with many other themes of being human on a personal level and in society. Therefore we need knowledge from more than just empiric studies, philosophy and experience like our circles of awareness before. We need science based insights, intelligence and ILP as well. This combination makes our bodywork or therapy (UR) and different fields in society and culture (LR) more subtle and evolved. This may happen in work, law, cooperation, education, culture, politics and many more fields.

Our sphere of action is mainly with healthy adults with a center of gravity more or less in the later stages of development and with a good background in tantra, bodywork, meditation or similar practice.

But in future psychosexual education and support is needed also for people in earlier stages, for children, teenagers and adults in therapy. From our point of view, as mentioned previously, this would be the task for professional research in institutes, schools and even public authority. We would like to work with people who cover these other areas. We would appreciate if they help us to deepen our work.
All these aspects of creating new paradigms and value making around love, sexuality and partnership could lead us to live our full potential in a creative way.

That could mean:

  • Teachers and graduates of specialized trainings in massage, sexual healing, couples therapist, communication and more are able to serve their clients according to their stages of consciousness, rather than just use standard applications for everyone.
  • For education: sexuality, partnership and communication is considered as an important sphere of knowledge and practice. Therefore it contains significantly more than just concrete and functional descriptions, e.g. mindfulness rules, psychological backgrounds, communication exercises in general, all about sex and how we learn to speak about it, to know different needs, practice of intimacy and distance, practice of dynamics and silence, ...
  • For family and bigger communities: learning what it means to live more naturalness, sensuality according to transparent rules
  • For health: Therapy of physical, mental and spiritual problems that often affect sexuality shows up more flexible, transparent and with a clear relationship between client and therapist
  • Art and philosophy learn to deal more subtle with sexuality and its effects in our society and can take responsibility for further growth
  • Suitable and up-to-date legislation and laws for the areas of bodywork, sexuality, partnership
  • For business such as in the red light milieu, (erotic-tantric) massage institutes, porn industry, advertisement in general we get appropriate protection against abuse
  • Sexuality gets back its meaning in religion and spirituality as a catalyst for altered state experiences in every stage of development