On-Ramps to Sexual Play

Unless it’s intentionally for procreation, sex is purely a form of play (non-goal oriented activity). Men who are into women usually want to engage in much more of this form of play with women, than they’re currently doing. But they don’t know how to go from just talking, to playing sexually, in a way that women consistently say “Hell Yes!” to.

Recently, my friend Shana James interviewed me on this topic, in a segment she titled “Stepping Into the Sexual Power That Makes Women Melt”.

This is some of what I shared with her: you can’t just go from talking, to sexual play, without something in between (obviously.) So what is that something in between? Many guys think it is a bunch of pick up lines or funny banter. But that rarely works for most men.

What works better? To have what I call an “on-ramp to sexual play.” An on-ramp to sexual play is some form of less-explicit, body-based play that has you both interacting on the animal level, without the pressures, fears, or complications of sexual play.

This way, your bodies can get to know each other’s bodies playfully, before she decides whether she wants to have sex with you. She’s much more likely to be interested in the latter, if she likes the way your body plays with hers in a more relaxed, pressure-free context.

On-ramps that allow you to get into your bodies together could be dance, bodywork/massage, partner yoga, orgasmic meditation, kink/bdsm scenes (if you know what you’re doing)—anything that allows you to get into your animal bodies, and play together as sensual beings, without the pressures or complications of sex.

Think of it as the foreplay before the foreplay. This is the gap that most men are missing; most men on trying to get onto the sexual freeway, without on-ramps! It is much easier to invite a woman to play in your bodies together sensually in one of these ways, particularly if you’ve practiced one and gotten good at it, than it is to invite her to play with you sexually.

When guys pressure a woman for sex, or even kissing, without having played with her with one of these “on-ramps” first, it’s like asking her to play at rock-climbing up a sheer wall, before you’ve even gone on a hike with her.

Once you’re playing together in one of these realms, if you’re good at what you do, she gets much more of a sense of how you relate to your own body, and hers, and she’s much more likely to feel safe playing with you in the sexual realm later. But even if that doesn’t happen, you’ve still had a great time playing together as friends in the embodied realm.

Once you learn one “on-ramp to sexual play,” you don’t need to practice “pickup lines” or “game” anymore (I’m HORRIBLE at so-called “game”.) Instead, you should be practicing one of these playful “on-ramps”, getting really good at at least one body-based discipline you can share with her, and then offer enticing invitations to play with her there. (My main “on-ramps” I’ve gotten really good at are salsa dancing, and consensual sensual spanking.)

With these, I can provide a woman an amazing, sexy, embodied experience that feels safe to her, and that allows her to get to know my animal body and how it interacts with hers, before she has to decide whether she wants to take it further. It feels safe, fun, and sexy to both of us, without any pressure or awkwardness about where it may lead.

This is just one of the many things I talk about with Shana in my interview for her “Man Alive” series, “Stepping Into the Sexual Power That Makes Women Melt.” Check out the full interview here (not an affiliate link)

How to Be a Woman’s Best Sexy Friend

For women who are mostly into men, a woman’s best sexy friend is the sexually experienced man she can explore her sexuality with (or aspects of her sexuality that have been repressed, and that she wants to unleash) without the pressures of a relationship, and without fear of being judged or shamed for her sexuality. Often, this is in service to her finding “the one”–in service to her being totally sexually open, awakened, and alive and ready for her match.

This is different than a “fuck buddy” because I take the word *friend* VERY seriously. When you are woman’s best sexy friend, you are showing up for her first and foremost as a FRIEND–a true friend–in the realm of sexuality, and beyond. There is a code of honor for earning the privilege of being a woman’s best sexy friend–instead of being her BFF, you are her BSF–and I take that code very seriously.

–Code of Honor for Being a Woman’s Best Sexy Friend (BSF)–

1. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: First and foremost, only choose to be BSFs with a woman you ACTUALLY want to a real, lasting friendship with, sex or not. Very likely, she will at some point find “The One” whom she wants a relationship and/or marriage with (in fact, your time together is offered in service of helping her be ready to find The One). And very likely, that relationship will be monogamous. So at some point, it is likely you will transition to purely platonic friends. You must be excited by that prospect—excited to be this amazing woman’s friend for a long time, whether you’re sleeping with her or not in the future. If you’re not down with that then don’t even go down this road with a woman.

2. HONESTY & TRANSPARENCY: You must be completely honest about your lifestyle, your intentions with her, other lovers or relationships you have, sexual practices you engage in, STI testing and status, and anything else she would want to know about before engaging with you. Consent is not consent unless it is informed consent. Which brings us to…

3. CONSENT. To be a woman’s best sexy friend, you must be a consent MASTER. You must become OBSESSED with consent. In a recent article on affirmative consent, I talk about how, in my first few times interacting with a woman, I set up “no means no”—by giving her safewords she can use to stop the erotic connection between us at any time, for any reason—and also “yes means yes,” by asking her explicitly if she is OK with any particular escalation of physical touch.

(Guys, from years of experience with this, here is biggest single tip on how to use affirmative consent without killing the erotic mood. Instead of asking, for example, “May I kiss you?” which almost no woman would find sexy, look her deeply in the eyes and communicate your desire first. Say, with total presence and passion, “I REALLY want to kiss you right now… May I?” That is SO MUCH hotter than just asking without expressing your raging desire first. It keeps the desire hot, and establishes affirmative consent, in one swoop.)

4. ZERO PRESSURE. As a woman’s best sexy friend, you can and should make suggestions. You can and should make offers. You can and should make invitations. You may gently guide her into being open or curious about trying something new… But you must NEVER pressure her. As soon as she starts feeling pressured by you, you’ll be just like every other guy who has tried to pressure her, and the friendship will end soon. She wants to feel totally safe sexually in your presence, and part of her feeling safe is knowing that she will never be pressured, badgered, cajoled, or shamed by you about where she’s at sexually and what she is and isn’t comfortable with at any given moment, ever.

4. COMMIT TO FEELING, UPHOLDING AND HONORING HER BOUNDARIES EVEN WHEN SHE’S CONFLICTED INSIDE OR GIVING MIXED MESSAGES.

The key here is, NEVER do anything with your best sext friend that you think *even part* of her would regret in the morning. (This is particularly relevant when there are drugs or alcohol involved–see Rule 6.)

One night, I was playing with a woman, and we had agreed that we weren’t going to have intercourse that night. But in our play together (which involved some very kinky scenes), she got so hot and bothered, she looked me in the eyes, and said, “I want you to fuck me, right now.”

I said, “That’s not going to happen. We agreed that we wouldn’t do that tonight.”

She said, “I don’t care. I need you to fuck me right now.”

“If we did that,” I said, “you would regret it in the morning, and you would lose all respect for me,” I said.

Her body language relaxed, from aroused sex tigress into vulnerable friend, she let out a sigh, and she said, “You’re right.” So we didn’t fuck that night. She said she came to trust and respect me on a deeper level that night.

5. COMMIT TO OPENING YOUR HEARTS, WHILE PRACTICING *NOT* PUTTING HOOKS IN EACH OTHER

I call this “untangled love” (I’ve written about untangled love here: http://bit.ly/15sI3As) If you go as deep as I do with my BSFs, very strong emotions will arise within both and her. You must completely honor and respect whatever emotions come up. AND you must have a framework for how to handle these emotions, outside of the normal railroad tracks leading to committed monogamy and/or marriage. Committed relationship is not what is being explored with a best sexy friend; the point of a best sexy friendship is to create a safe space where we can explore our erotic selves *without* all the pressures, expectations, complications, and inevitable projections that happen in committed relationship, many of which complicate or even halt sexual exploration entirely.

Usually, one can have deeper, more heart-connected sex in a committed relationship, no doubt. But when a woman is not in a relationship, or when she’s in one and the sex is not working well (and she has permission to have a lover), that doesn’t mean she should stop having hot, passionate, edgy, expansive sex. Also, it is often easier for her to explore naughtier, darker, edgier aspects of her sexuality with a man who is not going to walk down the aisle with her. (Women have their own version of the madonna/whore complex towards men. Let’s call it the Mr. Right/Mr. Right Now complex)  You as a best sexy friend meet a need within her. It is a different need than that filled by a traditional relationship, but it is still a need, and you should take the role you play in her life very seriously.

This friendship should feel very heart connected, AND you must both commit to nip any “hooks” you start putting in each other in the bud. A hook is basically anytime you start having unexpressed expectations of each other beyond being honest and respectful in your interactions. “Why haven’t I seen you for 2 weeks?” etc. It is anytime one of you starts to feel you have a “claim” on the other. Claim is a powerful experience, but that is not what we’re exploring here; we’re exploring how wide can we open each others hearts, while still being completely free and independent of each other. Caring without claim; caring with total freedom.

This is a chance to be develop trust and vulnerability with each other without that translating into specific expectations of how often you’re going to see each other, talk on the phone, how you’re going to build a life together, etc. It is a trust fall into intimacy. It must be handled very, very delicately. You must take leadership in caring for her heart, and managing her expectations about what she can and can’t count on from you.

Personally, I am so generous in what she can count on me for (to be totally rocked and to have her mind and sexuality expanded each time we see each other, to be totally seen and respected in all her raw emotionality and carnality) that she is OK with the fact that there are other things she can’t count on me for, such as committing to be her one and only forever, talking on the phone for hours, returning every single phone call and voice message and text right away, etc.

6. IF EITHER ONE OF YOU DRINKS OR GETS HIGH, DISCUSS BOUNDARIES *BEFORE* GETTING INTOXICATED.

Friends like to drink together. I like to smoke weed with my friends (oh, that’s another post I need to do–I’m not sober anymore!) But drugs and alcohol change your perceptions of what you do and don’t want to do. Obviously. Which is the main reason people TAKE drugs and alcohol in the first place! To get over hangups, inhibitions, and to have fun.

But here’s the thing. If you’re going to intentionally take a substance that lowers your sexual inhibitions, you need to pay attention to what your self, and your partner’s self, will be happy about, when those selves are SOBER the next morning. (See Rule 4.)

The easiest way, most simple, and beginner-proof way to do this is to agree to what the limits/boundaries are before any intoxication occurs. This can be accomplished by setting up specific “off limits” activities beforehand, such as, “Let’s not have intercouse tonight.”

A more advanced, but still totally legitimate way to handle this, we make an agreement that we are both willing to take responsibility for our intoxicated behavior, so long as “no means no” and “yes means yes” is followed impeccably (See Rule 3.)

But the point is, we have a discussion about how our impending inebriation is going to interact with our boundaries that night. Furthermore, we are all adults here. Everyone should pour & take their own drinks/drugs. No one “gets anyone” drunk, and no one “plies” anyone with drugs. That is bullshit, and it doesn’t happen in my presence. I party with responsible drinkers only (even though I don’t drink myself), and responsible tokers only. We’re all adults here, which means, everyone takes responsibility for their own inebriation, and what they do and don’t do while inebriated. The important thing is, it must be a topic of discussion, and not “assumed” that anything goes while drunk or high.

7. COMMIT TO BECOMING A GENUINELY SEXIER MAN

The most important part of “best sexy friends” is “friend”– but “sexy” is very important too. You are more likely to attract, and be an appealing BSF, the sexier you are. Some of this has to do with your fitness level and physical appearance (I’ve written about this here.) But much more of it has to do with how much you embody sexiness.

The word “embody” gets overused. Here is a a really simple way to think about embodiment: dance. Dance is the ultimate embodied art form. To dance well, you need to learn to get out of your head, and let the innate animal intelligence of your body take over. It takes practice… but if you watch amazing dancers on YouTube, you’ll see that they are completely surrendered to the dance; no part of them is thinking about what they are doing at all. Their cognitive, rational, analytical mind is not in operation. This is the same for being a BSF–you must learn to guide yourself, and to guide your sexy friend, into being totally in your bodies together, playing together in innocence and fun as animals play and communicate, than as rational analytical humans interacting.

I know of no better realm for a man, to get in touch with your animalistic sexual side, than learning dance. Salsa has been a godsend for me in this realm, for 22 years now. I think every man should learn some form of dance that allow them to get out of their heads and into their animal bodies and their animal sexuality.

8. LEARN HOW TO EXPAND HER SEXUAL EDGES.

Commit to being a guide for her, into aspects of her own sexuality she didn’t even know existed. To do this, you will need to spend as much time as you can learning about as many sexual practices as you can. This will allow you to introduce her to new things, so you are always going on an adventure together. Learn about bodywork, massage, and how to stroke a pussy. Develop an exquisite touch that awakens her senses and her sexuality. Learn how to be erotically dominant (within a container of consent) and how to take charge. Learn how to surrender to a woman, so that she can explore her dominant side with you.

Practice elaborate role-plays. Some of the most delicious time I spend with my best sexy friends is in extended, elaborate role plays–we often do role-plays within role-plays, where the characters take on characters, and basically we just completely leave ourselves into a world of fantasy, play and fun.

Hire teachers (or find informal teachers) to learn a few kinky disciplines. Master one discipline before you move on to another. I for one have mastered sensual spanking (thanks to playing extensively with a woman I’ll call Mistress Catalina, who must be one of the most advanced spankers on the planet–she taught me everything I know.) I have also mastered collar and leash play, in both the dom and sub aspects. Just learning these two disciplines, combined with role play, has added untold spice and fun to my sex life and has led to countless naughty fun with my best sexy friends.

Learn about tantra and sacred sexuality. Learn about g-spot massage. Learn how to give mind-blowing cunnilingus. Learn, learn, learn, from every teacher you can find.

9. BE HER SENSUAL MATCHMAKER

A woman who is seeking you as a best sexy friend, is usually in a mood to explore her sexuality widely. Rather than “slut shaming” her for her wide-ranging sexual interest, you should be her safe-have where she gets to explore that side of herself without feeling judged or shamed. Turn that safe-haven into a sexual oasis for her, by introducing her to other quality lovers who might be able to unlock or unleash something in her she wants unlocked or unleashed.

For example, I know many many women who are curious about exploring their bi-curious side, but don’t really know how to start or whom to do it with. If a woman is my BSF, and she wants to explore this side of herself, I’m constantly making introductions to her for sexy female playmates she can play with (my other BSFs!), and her sex life gets very very full, and very delicious, very fast.
______________________________

There are probably more Rules in the Code of Honor for Being a Woman’s Best Sexy Friend, but these are the main ones I can think of now. If you practice this Code of Honor impeccably, she will feel totally safe, honored, respected, and seen in your presence, and she will feel totally comfortable and excited to explore her sexuality with you, even the “freaky” and naughty sides that she rarely lets out otherwise. Life gets really exciting, really fast, when this happens.

Guys, if you want to learn how to be a woman’s Best Sexy Friend, in a way that will have her totally grateful to have you in her life, join my email list below.

And ladies, if you’d like to learn how to find a male Best Sexy Friend that you trust, and can explore with safely, join my email list for women below. I believe all single women should have a BSF, and I have a lot of thoughts to share on how to find one:

I’m going to be writing a lot more on this to these private lists, in the coming months.

Affirmative Consent and Erotic Tension

If I’m connecting with a woman, and it begins to go in a sensual or sexual direction, I pause for a moment and say: “I’m attracted to you, and I want to feel free to express my desire with you. And, I’m committed to you feeling totally safe and comfortable with me. So if anything I do with you tonight makes you feel even slightly uncomfortable, I want you to say ‘Stop’ or ‘Slow down’ immediately and I’ll stop or slow down.”

This almost always puts a woman I’m already connecting with at ease; she usually thanks me for saying that and tells me how much more comfortable she feels with that in place.

I then also combine this with affirmative consent. If at any point I want to escalate the physical touch, I will look her in the eyes and say, “I want to kiss you. May I?” etc.

This means she has affirmatively agreed to any touch between us, and she knows she is totally free to stop what we’re doing at any point: we have set up a space where yes means yes, and no means no, layered on top of each other.

Which means, we are both more free to explore our desires and attractions, knowing everything is totally consensual and we can stop easily at any time. That, it turns out, is a very hot space.

Guys are afraid of asking for affirmative consent (and some women are also leery of the practice) because at first it really does seem to kill erotic tension. However, I’ve found that, with practice, affirmative consent increases erotic tension if there is already erotic tension to begin with.

Those words in bold are the key. For a guy to ask, “May I kiss you?” out of nowhere, with zero erotic tension built up, will seem really creepy, invasive, and inappropriate, and almost certainly the answer will be “No.” Some guys have probably tried this, seen that the question made her feel really uncomfortable, and then concluded, “See, affirmative consent makes her feel even less comfortable, we should just stick with how they do it in the movies—going in for the kiss without asking.” But she would have felt even more uncomfortable had he just gone in for the kiss without asking; the problem was not with affirmative consent itself, it was with the fact that there was no erotic tension present.

If the erotic tension is already in the air, then looking a woman in the eyes, standing completely firm in your desire as a man, and saying, “I really want to kiss you right now. May I?”—and knowing that you’ll be completely fine if she says no—can be intensely erotic; it is a level of confidence that blows many women’s minds.

I am able to ask for affirmative consent, and have that asking be an addition to the erotic space, rather than a detraction, because I have learned how to build up erotic tension in other ways: through dancing, through eye contact, through presence, through listening to her and seeing her deeply, through flirtatious banter, through consensual kinky dirty talk (yes, I can make any woman blush in 10 seconds or less, if she wants me to…) All of this is the verbal and energetic “foreplay” before any discussion about whether and how we’re going to touch each other happens.

The reason many men view affirmative consent as a hurdle, rather than a helper, is that they don’t know how to build up erotic tension verbally and energetically first. Asking a woman if you can do some physical act with her, such as kiss her, without having built up erotic tension first, is the conversational equivalent of the unsolicited dick pic.

But actually, so is going in for the kiss without having built up the tension. Going in for a kiss without asking, or asking for it first, are BOTH jarring to a woman if there’s not already erotic tension in the air.

Many men think that affirmative consent is one more thing that it is going to make it harder for them to get laid; when really, the problem is, they don’t know how to build up erotic tension before touch even happens, verbally and energetically (through banter, flirtation, presence, eye contact, dirty talk, etc.) Once you know how to build up erotic tension without touch, asking for affirmative consent for touch actually *adds* to that tension and potentially makes the interactions even hotter.

Ayelet Shimron Interviews Michael Ellsberg on Untangled Love, Kink, and BDSM

The Art of Writing for Facebook

There is no better platform on the planet to practice your writing, get known for your writing, and revel in the joy of writing, than Facebook.

For 2.5 years, I’ve been writing original prose on Facebook, nearly every day. Some of you have loved it. Some of you have shared it. Some of you have at times been infuriated by it. But likely, if you’re reading these words now, you have at some time or another been touched by my writing on Facebook.

Now I’m creating my ultimate Facebook “share”:

The Art of Writing for Facebook
A 4-Week Course by Michael Ellsberg
(Details & Registration Below)

In this course, I will break down for you exactly what I do, why I do it, how I do it, and all my secrets for getting the results I get.

Would you like to have a larger audience for your ideas, writing and creativity online?

Are you looking like to become a writer for real, yet wary of needing to get past “gatekeepers” of the publishing industry such as literary agents, book publishing editors, and magazine editors, etc? Would you like an *immediate* channel to start getting results, feedback, and an audience now without having to get past the gatekeepers?

Are you ready to tap in to a billion+ potential audience, who are all completely f*cking bored out of their minds of yet ONE MORE F*CKING CAT PICTURE or one more recounting of last night’s restaurant meal, and who are…

… Waiting!!!

… Praying!!!

… Begging!!!

… for SOMETHING F*CKING ORIGINAL

to PLEASE DEAR GOD

cross their

F*CKING FACEBOOK FEED?!!

If this describes you, then there is a massive audience for your taking, if you’re just willing to learn to write more originally and creatively on Facebook.

You’ve probably heard all kinds of “gurus” telling you the “secret” to gaining a “massive” Facebook audience. They come at you with all kinds of tips, tricks, and schemes.

Well, I have only one simple trick for you. It will take some cojones to implement, and a bit of practice, but if you’re willing to listen to what I teach and try it for yourself, you’ll be ahead of 99.99% of other Facebook users, and you’ll grow a steady and loyal audience on Facebook.

You see, most people use Facebook exactly the way the corporate buy-ocracy wants us to–by “sharing” banal updates about how much we looooove whatever latest gadget we’ve just stood in line for hours to purchase, or how delicious the exotic beverage we just drank was.

Because nearly everyone under-uses the potential of Facebook (compared to their own creative potential) that means that there is a

HUGE OPPORTUNITY

if you are willing to step out of the mold and post something original on Facebook.

Something edgy.

Something daring.

Something vulnerable.

(And no, I don’t mean faux-vulnerability–”oh I’m so scared of my own greatness,” etc. etc. —the 2010′s version of the #humblebrag. I mean real vulnerability—the kind that has you scared shitless to press “post”—which is usually the sign you’re about to post something great.)

Something creative.

If you can do that—as I’ll be supporting and guiding you to do in this course—then the world of Facebook is your oyster.

Your readers will begin following you, waiting for the next dose of your creativity to save them from the endless trite pictographs and uplifting truisms set to sunsets and puppies. Your audience will begin:

–> Liking and sharing your posts more. This has the effect of your posts being seen by more people, expanding your audience.

–> Commenting on your posts more. This creates a community of people who invest their time reading, discussing, analyzing, debating, and bonding over your work. Often times the comments spark fascinating discussion which refines your own work and expands your intellectual horizons powerfully.

–> The additional shares, Likes, and comments from your originality have the effect of making your posts showing up in more people’s feeds, further exposing your work to more potential fans, in an ever-expanding upward spiral of influence.

Developing your voice as an original writer on Facebook has several benefits, beyond simply growing your audience on the platform itself:

–> I have consistently found that my Facebook audience is where most of my buyers and paid students and clients come from. Most of my creations are free, but when I create something I want to charge money for, Facebook is what pays the bills.  (Thank you Facebook readers!)

–> In The Education of Millionaires, I write that “Your brand is what people think of when they hear your name.” I have consistently found that my Facebook writing is the bedrock of my brand in that sense—even more than two books published by major publishers, and a blog on Forbes.

I have lost count of the number of times someone unknown to me has come up to me at a party and said, “Man, I LOVE your Facebook posts!” and started commenting in detail about their thoughts on one of my most recent posts, always leading to lively discussion.

My first book manuscript was entitled Rock Star Envy. To the extent I ever have the “rock star” experiences (something I’ve always wanted,) of having reached, touched and been appreciated by strangers for my original creations, these experiences have largely been catalyzed through my writing on Facebook.

BUILDING OFFLINE TRIBE 

When you start writing original content for Facebook, a community of people you don’t know personally (i.e., “fans”) forms around your work. This is different than when you’re committed to sharing cat photos, etc., because for the most part the only people who hang around to read/see/comment on those cat photos are people who already know you offline, most of whom already know each other.

But when you write original content, you develop a readership for your writing that extends beyond your already-existing friend network. Which means, you become a hub for lots and lots of people meeting each other, connecting with each other online and offline, and viewing you as the person responsible for the cool new people they’ve met. This creates massive good-will for you, and once again, your readers will go to bat for you when you need them to.

CREATIVE EXPRESSION

There is simply no medium on the planet that gives you the instant feedback on your creative work that Facebook does. If you learn the insights of writing I will share in this course, you can have an idea, bang out a few paragraphs, share it on Facebook, and BOOM… you will instantly have readers commenting on it, Liking it, sharing it, telling you what they love about it, and what think is wrong with it. (Yes, learning to listen to and handle feedback productively while keeping your center and your sanity is one of the key skills of writing on Facebook.) In all the mediums I’ve explored as a writer, I’ve never found one which sparks my creativity as Facebook does–which is why I keep coming back to it again and again.

And guess what, on FB you don’t need to spend much time polishing or editing your writing—Facebook is the one platform that rewards raw expression rather than worked-over PR-approved prose. One of the key skills we’ll be learning is how to “improv” your writing on FB and share your immediate creations. This is a totally different approach to writing than you’ve ever experienced in school, and is part of what makes FB such a powerful tool for writers.

WORLD-CLASS NETWORKING

Facebook is, after all, a social NETWORKING site, right? So what is the best way to actually NETWORK on that site? Is it people simply telling their friends how they are #SoBlessed to be on vacation right now? Is it people sharing how cute their puppy/kitten/new gadget is?

I have found that the best way to meet new people on Facebook, is to share your own creativity and originality. And what better way to do that than through your original writing? Nothing else gives people more of a flavor of who you really are.

DATING & MATING

And guess what? If you’re single, you just might meet your special someone through your writing on Facebook. I recently met my new sweetie, from the UK, on Facebook—a story I’ll be sharing soon. How did she first find me? By reading my writing. If you’re looking for love, learning to become a better writer on Facebook may be the best investment you ever make.

In this class, you will learn and gain:

–> My #1 secret for coming up with original, provocative, discussion-worthy writing ideas for Facebook. This one secret alone has been responsible for 80% of my content on Facebook.

–> How to overcome fear of being judged or seen as weird. This is the #1 reason people don’t post more original ideas on Facebook. I will help you blast through these fears in this course.

–> How to develop your own writing “voice” on Facebook.

–> How to make sure your writing is edgy and provocative, yet consistent with your career, family life, and “brand.”

–> The types of posts that, in my experience, get the most commenting, Liking, sharing, discussion (these are not the type of posts that you *think* would be successful.)

–> How to “test” writing ideas out, and get tons of input from your audience, without “giving away the farm” or “spilling the beans” on your writing projects before they’re ready.

–> How to engage with commenters in a way that encourages high-level, hard-hitting, yet respectful and enlightening dialogue around your ideas. (This is one of the aspects that people will most appreciate about your writing on FB—the intelligent dialogue that ensues.)

–> Weekly assignments and “writing seeds” to get you started on your path to being a prominent, successful, recognized Facebook writer with a growing and vibrant audience.

–> A community of fellow students (probably 100+), tied together as a private FB group dedicated to the course. These new friends will serve as your initial audience, reading and commenting on your work, and giving you feedback. You are guaranteed to meet new friends and creative collaborators in this private group.

The Art of Writing for Facebook
A 4-Week Course by Michael Ellsberg
4 Mondays in December:
12/1, 12/8, 12/15 and 12/29
8-10PM Eastern / 5-7PM Pacific, via live teleseminar (live webcast for international students)
(All classes will be recorded and distributed, and the course is set up so you can participate fully, with Q+A, even if you can’t make the live class times)



Develop and Deepen Your Talent on FB Before New Year’s. 

When you buy the course, I will also send you Recent Status: The Facebook Writing of Michael Ellsberg. This ebook collects and curates my best, most provocative posts posts over 2.5 years—the ones that generated the most discussion, Likes, and controversy, complete with links to the original posts. It will also serve as the “guidebook” for the course, so that you can see all the different types of posts, the evolution and learning curve I’ve gone through over this long period of near-daily posting. (This ebook will be delivered by 12/1, before the start of the course.)

Facebook gets a bad rap these days. You are probably bored of your friends’ feeds (admit it!) sharing the same things in the same way. But you will never catch me bashing Facebook, because I think it is the most massively under-utilized tool on the planet.

The specific way it is underutilized is that people are not taking enough risks sharing their original creations, and particularly their original writing, directly on Facebook. Until now. In this course you will unleash all the secrets to becoming the writer you’ve always wanted to be, with the audience you’ve always dreamed of.

Are you bored of how you and most everyone else is using Facebook? Are you ready to more ready to fully utilize the vast potential of Facebook, for yourself, your creativity, your writing, your business and career?

There has never been a course like this. Because there have been few people as consistently devoted to original writing on Facebook as I have for the last 2.5 years.

This course is going to teach you my mindset and skills around Facebook writing. It will completely change the way you relate to this medium, transforming all the time you spend on this site into a creative and productive investment of your time, rather than draining and frittering your time away. You will develop tens of thousands of new, creative words of original prose, and more important, oodles of new readers who appreciate you and your work.

Take this course, and by New Years, you will have an entirely new relationship to Facebook, a growing Facebook audience, and new friends and connections through your writing. Just in time to make 2015 your most amazing Facebook year ever.

Ready to start? See you on the Monday after Thanksgiving!



(Once you’ve registered via the button, click “Return to Michael Ellsberg” to be taken to the Welcome page for the course.)

Untangled Love

[Scroll to the bottom for an audio I recorded about untangled love several months earlier--it expands and elaborates on much of what I share below.]

I am single, and divorced, and for the first time in my adult life I am allowing myself to *not* be seeking (or in) a relationship in which my life is deeply intertwined with another person’s life. For much of my twenties, I was seeking that, and for the last six years I was in a beautiful and intense relationship with Jena. For now, I am wanting to develop my relationship with myself.

And yet, I am also not wanting to be alone all the time; I am wanting to connect, to share my heart, my soul and my body with others–without necessarily wrapping my life up in another’s life.

Society gives men and women in my position several options, none of which quite “fit” for where I am right now:

1. Casual hook-ups. I had plenty of that in my 20s. I’m no longer interested in sharing my body without also sharing my heart and soul.

2. Dating. But the premise of dating is that it is potentially leading to a relationship. So to tell a woman I’m “dating” would be a lie, because I’m wary of intertwining my life with another’s life right now.

3. Polyamory. This is probably closest to the right “home” for where I’m at. While I respect that practice, and the people who practice it (of which I have been one), for a variety of reasons, I don’t particularly like that term. Part of it is that I’m a writer and I simply don’t like the way the word sounds; as a word it is not sexy to me, and I want the term describing my sexuality to feel sexy to me. A more substantive not-liking comes from seeing that many people involved with polyamory seem to being going for *multiple* deeply intertwined relationships–which is the opposite of what I want! I want (for now) *zero* intertwined relationships. (A committed poly person could say what I want is “poly with secondary lovers but no primary,” or “solo poly,” which may be accurate, but those just aren’t descriptions I’m likely to use about myself.)

What I have come to instead is the concept, and practice, of what I call “untangled love.” It could be thought of as a form of poly, but I prefer to simply call it untangled love.

The basic idea is this: we have come to see romantic/sexual love as inextricably linked to a whole bunch of other things such as: (a) Are we in a committed relationship? (b) Are we eventually going to live together? (c) Are we eventually going to get engaged, married, have babies? (d) Are we going to pay each other’s bills, take on each others’ debt, buy real estate together, who is going to support whom financially? etc., etc.

I call these extra considerations “tangles”. They are ways our lives get tangled with another. I do not mean this word pejoratively. Tangles can be both delicious and agonizing, and give us some of the deepest, most meaningful experiences we can have as humans, tangling our lives and hearts with another; for six years my life was deliciously tangled with Jena’s, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

But what if you want to love, without the tangles?

Untangled love is the practice of opening your heart as widely as possible to another person, while both committing to remaining untangled in other areas of your life. It *is* a form of commitment, in a sense: it is a commitment to opening your heart, *without* getting tangled in any external considerations other than the love you feel in each others’ presence. Not for the faint of heart.

A cynic might try to slut-shame me (yes, slut-shaming of men is absolutely a reality), and say that this just sounds like a dressed-up way to be promiscuous, a convenient way for a man to explain wanting to sow his wild seeds without commitment.

Contrary to this cynical view, however, I have found that when I tell women I talk with about this concept, many of them tell me they are looking for exactly same thing in their lives.

It is a cultural myth and stereotype that all women are looking to get shacked up with a man, and that women only want erotic intimacy in the context of a committed relationship. Many women are, like me, coming out of a relationship and needing space. Or they are, like me, free spirits and modern nomads, not sure where (or when) they will settle down again, if ever. Many women are (gasp!) excited by the idea of erotic and romantic variety.

They may have high standards for whom they would settle down with, and are not currently finding men who meet their standards for settling down… but they still want to *get* down. But casual hook-ups feel too emotionally disconnected to them.

Perhaps they are, like me, divorced, and are questioning the wisdom of professing again to another person life-long marriage, after seeing just how quickly both parties can change in a way in which that commitment no longer makes sense to either person. (Perhaps one of the best ways to respect the institution of marriage, is to know not to re-enter it if one has doubts about one’s ability to maintain it.)

Whatever it is, I have found that this concept of untangled love feels like a breath of fresh air to many women who encounter it. And it is a breath of fresh air to me.

Thank you to the women who have been dancing with me untangledly. I love our freedom together. We sexy mis-fits are co-creating a new option, for those for whom the currently-existing options don’t fit.

(Note: There are a lot of comments on this topic in my original post of this content on Facebook here.)

Loving the Unlovable Within – Introduction

A few days ago, I released a new audio program, ”Loving the Unlovable Within.” The same day, I received a letter from a listener that moved me to tears. After reading the letter, I have decided to release this program to everyone, for free. (I returned the money of those who already paid me.)

Why? Because after receiving this woman’s letter, I decided that I wanted everyone in the world who needs the information in the program, to have it immediately, without the material being stuck behind a paywall. Which means YOU get it now too.

I have posted the audio program, in its entirety, at the bottom of this post.

Here is the letter that moved me so deeply, from listener Sarah (who gave me permission to reprint it here):

“Michael, I just wanted to send a short note to express my gratitude for your ‘Loving the Unlovable’ audio. You said that you hoped this 90 minutes would be life-transforming and I can honestly say that it has TRULY been just that for me. I’m nearly speechless at how deeply it landed and has impacted me. I was drawn to buy it from the get-go, but had no idea how strongly your perspective would resonate with exactly what my soul has been hungering to hear and integrate!

“Over the last year I’ve been inching my way towards being in a more accepting, open relationship with my ‘dark parts,’ but this audio felt like a beautiful coming-home and culmination (for now!) on this journey. I’ve also done numerous re-parenting exercises over the years and have NEVER been able to fully relax into those exercises. However, I found myself undergoing a very natural, organic and deep opening/relating on a cellular level in nearly each exercise you offered. I’m not sure how you did it, but that is a pretty miraculous feat Anyway, I so look forward to returning to this audio many times over and implementing this profound yet grounded practice in my life.

“THANK YOU, THANK YOU for sharing this work with the world! It has already impacted me more than you know.”
–Sarah, listener

I believe that the topic of this audio is the most basic aspect of personal development we can explore. When you get this piece in place–loving the unlovable within–all other personal development becomes much easier. Without this piece in place, all other personal development becomes much more difficult, and can even ground to a halt.

I hope you will give this audio a listen! Set aside 90 minutes for it. It is the material I’m MOST proud of that I’ve ever developed. I believe this audio has a very good chance at changing your life, as it did for Sarah.

I’ve also created a main page for all the follow-up classes I’ll be teaching on this topic. New classes will be posted there as I develop them. There is a Facebook group there if you would like to discuss and ask questions about the practice.

Try the audio out, and tell me what you think in the comments below!

And if you find this recording valuable, please share it with friends whom you think would benefit from it, and on social media. Thank you!

Love,
Michael

Here is the class. The audio is available for streaming below. To download it, CTRL-click on the “Download” link below and select “Save Link As” (on a Mac) or right-click on a PC.

Discovering Your Hidden Emotions

This is Class 3 of Immersive Awareness meditation. What I found consistently in my practice of this form of meditation is that, at a certain point in the meditation, I would get stuck—and I discovered that what was “sticking” me was some emotion that was present, but that I wasn’t acknowledging. Perhaps shame, fear, self-judgment, or even sometimes the hidden emotion was joy that I wasn’t allowing myself to feel! It was still there, and operating in my mind and body, but just below the surface of awareness.

I call this a “hidden emotion”—and what I discovered is that hidden emotions, unacknowledged, run the show. We run away from these emotions (or dissociate from them) because they’re scary, but they are actually causing much more pain (and repercussions) in our lives unacknowledged than if we learn to dive into them, accept them, and integrate them.

If you think you might have some hidden emotion that is running your show, just below the surface, this recording and meditation will help you dive in, discover it, and love it up so it doesn’t need to hide in the shadows so much. Give yourself 35min of quality uninterrupted time to listen to this recording and do the practice.

The audio is available for streaming below. To download it, CTRL-click on the “Download” link below and select “Save Link As” (on a Mac) or right-click on a PC.

Drop Out of The System, Drop Into Success – The Dartmouth Lecture

[Below is an edited transcript. There is also an audio version available for streaming and download at the bottom.]

I’m going to open with a statement that I guarantee that every one of you in the audience is going to find shocking.

I think every one of you students in the room here should consider dropping out tomorrow.

Obviously I don’t mean that in the literal sense. If I did the people here at Dartmouth who brought me in to speak would get fired tomorrow, and I don’t want that. So what the heck do I mean?

I’ve spent the day here on this lovely campus, and one of the messages I’ve heard from various people—both students and faculty—is that there’s a kind of track going on here. It’s not unique to Dartmouth, but maybe it’s more pronounced here. That is a track of doing well in school, then coming here and doing well at Dartmouth, then going on to a “respectable” profession. The professions I’ve heard are really popular here are management consulting, investment banking, and law. So the picture I’ve gotten is of a place where young people are brought on a track from a young age and then are put into a “tracked” career.

I’m not trying to single out Dartmouth here. I went to Brown, where it’s pretty much the same thing. We have a slightly different relationship to conventionality there, but most of the people are still being groomed for, and going into, these kind of “traditional” careers.

When I say you should consider dropping out, I don’t mean that you should consider dropping out of this institution. Please don’t do that! However, I do think you should consider dropping out of that “track” I mentioned. What I hope to accomplish by the end of this talk is to instill in some of you a broader perspective on the range of careers that are possible for you after you leave this institution—which will still allow you to lead a happy, comfortable, and successful life.Read More

Ramit Sethi Interviews Michael Ellsberg

I had a blast being interviewed by one of my favorite authors, Ramit Sethi.

Here are some topics we covered:

  • The right way to ask for feedback, and the wrong way
  • The crucial difference between people who act on feedback and people who don’t
  • The delicate dance between confidence and feedback – and how to make *improve* your confidence rather than detract
  • How to know when you should ignore someone’s advice, vs. listen to it

Enjoy!