Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Der Tantrische Selbstjihad

This cartoon which has been circulating on the Internet suggests that a woman possesses many erogenous zones while a man has essentially only one. This is certainly a popular stereotype and if true puts the male at a decided disadvantage in the quest by both sexes to experience the widest possible range of sensual pleasure. But what does Science say about male and female erogenous zones?. Recently, an organization called Fleshmap attempted to create a cartography of tactile yearnings by asking 281 men and women where they desired to be touched and mapping the results.
The outcome of this Fleshmap survey seems to show that the bodies of both men and women possess a very restricted distribution of erogenous zones. And, at first glance, there seems to be not much difference between the distribution of sensual hot spots in the male and in the female--breasts and genitals and little more.

But there are several reasons to mistrust the results of this research. Why don't the lips--a primary erogenous zone by anyone's standard--light up on this map? And what about the fingers and toes? Surely most people that I know like to hold hands with those they love. And the feet are certainly a very sensitive area for sensual stimulation: but not on this map.

I suspect that the fault lies in the method itself which involved just asking people where they'd like to be touched. A more direct "hands on" survey (How does it feel when I touch you here?) might reveal a more realistic distribution of erogenous zones than would a questionnaire. One must also consider the blurring effect that results from averaging over many subjects. One woman who likes having her feet rubbed would be cancelled out by another women who dislikes having her feet touched. Similarly, any man or woman who possesses a larger than average number of erogenous zones would most likely not show up on this chart--their superior patterns of response being swamped by the greater number of mediocre sensualists.

Whatever the faults of the Fleshmap survey, one conclusion is inescapable: we humans are, on the whole, not very sensual animals. Large areas of our bodies are virtual "dead zones" as far as being sources of intense erotic excitement. But where some would see defect, Doctor Jabir sees opportunity. If the goal of tantric jihad is to eroticize the world, then what better place to start than to complete the eroticization of your own body?  Some Sufis say that the primary jihad is the conquest of self. Hence the goal of "der tantrische Selbstjihad" (the tantric self-jihad) is simply this--to make every square centimeter of the human body as erotic as the genitals. 

Good friends, good lovers and good body workers can help us a lot in undeadening our body parts and placing more tactile territory under the banner of sensual delight. Drugs can also play an essential part in this campaign. But the primary ally in developing new erogenous zones is your own imagination. Pick a body part that's usually neglected and simply make love to it in any way that pleases you and the part you've focussed on. (This morning, for instance, I made love to the pulse points of both wrists.) In a few weeks a determined tantric warrior should be able to turn his or her personal Fleshmap into a light source bright enough to read by. And the few remaining dead spots (that you might not be able to reach) could easily be eroticized by a sympathetic friend. Be sure to return the favor.

The goal of tantrische Selbstjihad is to make the entire surface of the human body into one gigantic erogenous zone. But that's only the beginning: the ultimate goal of tantric jihad is to eroticize the entire Universe. May the Universe become fully eroticized. And let it begin with me. 

The grand mosques at Jerusalem, Istanbul, Fallujah,
The precincts of Medina and Mecca, the Kaaba: the sacred Black Stone.
My sacred sites are Her eyes
Her nipples, the whorls on Her fingertips--
Are the origins and insertions of Her muscles
Are the places where her bones meet
Are the follicles of Her hair
Are the pads of Her feet, Her buttocks, the slots
Between Her toes.


Anonymous said...

Hmm... I don't think it's all that correct. It really would all depend on the people/persons involved. I notice the hands are not highlighted..... well, finger sucking can be erogenous, You don't even have to "touch" anywhere on the body to cause an erogenous experience, running your hands over the body anywhere from an inch to 1/2 inch can cause an erogenous effect out of sheer anticipation. Face it, just the thought of oral sex, will cause most men to leap into their own little erogenous adventure, and add some ice into that picture.... and it's all over.

They must have used nuns and monks for the flesh map.


Anonymous said...

My problem with the whole idea of erogenous zones overlaps with Linda’s observations. What Nick described, and what the experts submitted in the form of a body map, is misleading at best. In other words, there is much more to the subject than either philosophy dreams off, as Hamlet no doubt would say. :-)

I will argue that unless you include the brain that reacts to what will become the object of your erotic desires, the whole idea of erogenous zones becomes meaningless. Our brain is what makes us fall in love with someone we perceive as beautiful or repels us from someone we consider repulsive. What I have been reading so far implies that erogenous zones exist in a vacuum. The truth of the matter is that without the brain cherry picking a partner that meets its criteria for desirability, there are no erogenous zones.

A young male on a date with the girl of his dreams will find touching her elbows or her shoulder a sexual turn-on. On the other extreme, there are no doubt females that couldn’t get that same male an erection with oral sex. Based on such verifiable scenarios, the elbow and shoulder turn out to be erogenous zones while the penis is not.

Our predicament is that connecting with our dream girl/woman or dream boy/man is seldom the case and we usually settle for much less than we had hoped for….not me, of course. ;)

The closer lightning strikes to finding your dream partner, the more erogenous zones you will discover without the help of any experts. If you really have to compromise, big time, in finding a partner, you will end up with little or no erogenous zones to be found. The good news is that most of us wind up somewhere in the middle as to the ideal or the worst partner possible. That is the time to consult the experts on erogenous zones. Sometimes they can help you trick Mother Nature out of a few good feelings that your partner did not generate based on what he/she represented to your brain. Keep in mind that each brain has its own criteria built in of what constitutes a turn-on, although some experiences will no doubt have a majority of aficionados on their side.

All the techniques of the so-called experts on how to achieve and heighten sexual pleasure will produce nothing if you’re with a truly wrong person. But if you got lucky, Mother Nature all by herself will be sufficient to guide you toward sexual ecstasy. After all, it’s happening in your brain and your brain has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to know what feels good to you.

Needless to say, the subject is considerably more complex, but it’s a starting point for a discussion. Maybe the experts Nick consulted will weigh in to show me the errors of my thinking.:-)


PS: I love Linda’s observation “they must have used nuns and monks for the flesh map.”.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Reno, each person has his/her erogenous zones which is unique to the individual preference and sensation...the brain being the most involved for concentration and focus along with sensual stimulation...the chemistry with the partner also has alot to do with an either works or it doesn't as far as the fantasy goes....lets face it, some people can turn us on, some do not, and being a female we are a little more into fantasy than reality whereas men are very visual creatures in some aspects....just the thought for some females can bring on an orgasim in our least for me...when one may not have a partner.

nick said...

Thanks Linda, Reno and Elaine for the comments. We seem to agree that this problem--if it is a problem--is more complicated then a mere "flesh map" can picture.

Somehow this reminds me of the comment by Victor Hugo that a woman in the hands of a man is like a violin in the hands of a gorilla.

Perhaps the whole notion of an erogenous zone is mistaken. Does a violin possess musicogenous zones?

Certainly the project of expanding your body's repertoire of sensitivities is important, like learning what all the keys do on a saxophone. But the real point is not how well you know your instrument but what sort of music you can make together--you and your sensitive and responsive instrument.