The hottest days of the year call for a Summer Fling. This week, we're deep-diving into sex, dating, and relationship drama, here.

By Isabelle Kohn
Jul 27, 2018 @ 3:15 pm
Dearest Creative

We all have things we want more of in life — a better job, a more adventurous partner, a really sexy jet ski we can ride into the sunset. Dogged hard work is one way to go about attaining these goals, but did you know it’s also possible to manifest the things you want through masturbation?

At least according to the principles of an ancient practice known today as “sex magick,” which claims that harnessing the energy of sexual pleasure can turn your dreams into realities. While the word “magick” tends to conjure up images of spells, potions, and that one Nicole Kidman movie where she’s a witch, there’s really nothing all that woo-woo about it. As clinical sexologist and sex magick expert Eva Clay explains, manifestation through masturbation is about setting and visualizing positive intentions that gain power through the creative energy of pleasure. Or, in other words: It’s the attitude shift you need to get shit done, or to become more open to the good things heading your way.

“Using your sexual energy will bring you the things you want more quickly because it helps to condition the brain to believe that you are worthy of the things you want,” says Clay. “It turns your ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can.’”

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You can manifest just about anything you want with masturbation, says Clay, but the most successful manifestations tend to be the ones that help people grow and expand in positive ways — new partners, better jobs, deep-pocketed buyers for homes, or relief from stage fright. Best-selling author and Slutist editor Kristin Kourvette even credits sex magick with landing her the book deal that launched her career.

This is something people have been doing for thousands of years, with the earliest and best-known example of people using sexual energy to create things other than toddlers coming from everyone’s favorite beach read: the roughly 2,000-year-old Kama Sutra. However, while conjuring-through-coming is nothing new, the practice has seen a modern resurgence and been embraced by many a millennial interested in using self-pleasure as a form of personal growth. Not everyone’s doing it so mystically, through — for those more interested in moaning than manifesting, sex magick also has a witchy-lite cousin called Mindful Masturbation that’s nearing peak trend.

“Mindful masturbation is a wonderful practice to bring attention, and therefore sensation, to the body,” explains Clay. “It confronts shame and enhances the mind-body connection — plus it feels wonderful and will improve your sex life.” Mindful masturbation is less witchcraft, more meditation — a practice that can increase pleasure through greater self-awareness, but won’t necessarily materialize a boyfriend who shares your singular passion for disc golf in the way sex magick promises to.

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The recent popularity of sex magick has everything to do with mainstream media’s love affair with all things witchy and wellness. With celebrities like Katy Perry, Adele, and Lena Dunham getting hooked on the healing powers of crystals, and Gwyneth Paltrow acquainting jade with every part of her body, it’s no surprise that sex magick’s offer of empowerment and control resonates against a cultural backdrop that feels increasingly unsteady. Sex magick’s second wave may be a way to translate that goal of empowerment — as well as science’s insistence that sex, masturbation, and pleasure are healthy — into a sensual realm where the potent energies of pleasure and orgasm can intensify its effects.

Clay says it also has to do with changing cultural attitudes toward sex. “Our cultural taboos are shifting,” Clay explains. “In the U.S., we are challenging long-held views of sex as being shameful. More and more, the cultural conversation is seeing sexuality as a natural element of human vitality and wellness, and so ancient practices such as Tantra and Taoism that see sex as a tool for vitality are making a comeback.

At the same time, research using brain imaging technology and other advanced metrics tells that a healthy sexual life (alone or with a partner) contributes to longevity, increased immunity to disease and illness, improved mood, and overall mental and physical wellness. The science is undeniable — the more we experience pleasure, orgasm, and physical intimacy, the healthier and happier we are.”

Because of these shifts, says Clay, people are beginning to understand sex more similarly to how ancient cultures did — as a wellness practice similar to yoga or meditation. You don’t have to be an astral-traveling, third-eye-wielding yogic master to do it, though — anyone can pull off mindful masturbation.

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IS THERE SCIENCE TO THIS SORCERY?

So, how does it work? Can you really jerk your jet-skiing dreams into existence?

Sadly, nothing relating to jet skis is that simple, but Clay offers up a few findings — like, real science findings — that help explain why sex magick can be an effective way to create what you desire.

“Manifestation is made possible through the accessing of a person’s subconscious mind,” says Clay. “And while people have used things like dancing, drumming, whirling, or chanting to get there since the dawn of time, few things are better at reaching the subconscious than orgasm.”

Truth be told, one study from Janniko Georgiadis at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands found that orgasm can produce a brief yet neurologically distinct altered state of consciousness during which the conscious mind takes a back seat and people feel as if they can “let go.” This, he theorized, is because orgasm temporarily shuts down the brain’s lateral orbitofrontal cortex, a key player in processing conscious input that can produce anxiety, fear, and distraction. In its more relaxed, orgasmic state, the brain has a much easier time focusing on and visualizing an intention, two things that have been shown to increase the power of manifestation, or the ability to bring something forth in your life by changing how you think, feel, or behave.

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Yes — when it comes to visualization, seeing is more than believing; it’s creating. One 2004 study published in Neuropsychologia found that mental workouts are almost as effective at increasing muscle strength as actual physical workouts, and that doing both is more impactful than doing either alone. In fact, study participants who simply visualized doing exercise gained muscle strength at about half the rate as people who put in time pumping iron did. This same idea could be applied below the belt.

The fleeting yet powerful subconscious state of orgasm is also key when it comes to making new neural connections that change behavior, attitude, and mood. During orgasm, our brains become particularly neuroplastic and are capable of making more neural connections than they are while they’re distracted by the bustle of conscious life. If we want to make a change in our life, rewiring our brains to make that change — or to be more open to it — is a good place to start, and riding the neuroplastic wave of orgasm is a particularly strategic time to do it.

Pleasure also primes us for manifestation by putting us in a more physically energetic, balanced state, Clay says. It’s like doing yoga before a big presentation to calm down and center yourself, only the method you’re using to get there tends to feel a lot better than your standard-issue downward dog. “When you masturbate, you’re the only thing you have to focus on. You’re touching yourself the way you like to be touched without the distraction of a partner’s needs, often in a way that’s more pleasurable to you.”

Partnered sex can have the same effect, but word on the street is it’s most effective if your partner is on the same page and is either practicing sex magick of their own or using their energy to fuel yours. Trying to find that partner isn’t impossible, but, as they say, if you want the job done right...

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NOW YOUR TURN

Want to try for yourself?

First, says Clay, decide exactly what your intention or desire is before you begin, taking care to be as specific as possible. If it’s money you’re after, visualize a precise dollar amount. If it’s love, visualize the exact human and relationship. “Focus in on what you really want, and stay connected to that desire,” she says. “Really try to feel as though you already have it.”

Then, she continues, hold that vision in your mind while you allow yourself to feel sexually aroused and stoke your sensual energy. “If you can, delay climax,” she advises. “Languishing in that feeling of pleasure while you hold your intention in your mind enhances the strength of the practice.” When you do reach orgasm, use that energy to see and feel your desire coming true.

Theoretically, through the neural processes mentioned earlier, this should make your brain more receptive to a big change, like getting a new job, or more perceptive of signs and opportunities you could take advantage of in order to get there.

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However, sex magick has a convenient disclaimer built into it: Clay cautions that while you may want a particular thing — say, a person or a job — masturbation manifestation will only really work if that thing is right for you.

“Sometimes the universe has another plan,” she says. “However, this practice can help you stay open to receiving something you may not have even known you needed.”

Results of this practice are rarely instantaneous, she adds. It’s not like just because you visualize a Hemsworth’s face while you vibe, he’ll show up dripping wet on your doorstep — you have to work at it. The more you practice, the stronger the effect.

Then, he’ll show up dripping wet on your doorstep.

And if he doesn’t, well, the worst that can happen is you give yourself an orgasm.