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#IWasThatGuy

#IWasThatGuy – More times than I care to admit, in my long and tortured path of exploring my own sexuality. And I’m ashamed of it. And I’m terrified of admitting it in public. But nearly all the women I know are taking the courage to share in public their experiences of being on the receiving end of “that guy’s” inexcusable behavior (actually, dozens of “that guy’s” for each woman, reading the harrowing accounts that have been crossing my feed.) So guys, it’s time we develop the balls (or ball, in my case, ‘cuz I’ve only got one), step up and admit to and apologize for being that guy, however scary it is to do so, and whatever comes our way for doing it.

Here’s just one example, of many I could write about.

Recently, in a non-fiction piece I was working on, I wrote the sentence, “I’ve never pushed past a woman’s clearly-stated ‘No.'” I thought that was true when I wrote the sentence. I really did. But then, I thought, I better make really sure that’s true, before I publish it. I went year-by-year in my mind, and reviewed every hook-up, every attempted hook-up, in my past, and I realized I had to delete that sentence. Because it wasn’t true.

I was in my late 20s. A woman I knew from a party scene I was involved with had invited me over to her house for dinner. I was attracted to her. I thought it was mutual. I thought, because she had invited me over, I was sure this was going to go somewhere.

I leaned in for a kiss. She brushed me away and said “No.” We kept eating dinner, drinking, and talking, pleasantly. We danced some salsa. Thirty minutes or so later, I leaned in for a kiss again. She brushed me away and said “No” again. She was laughing. I was laughing. We were flirting. I was *sure* that was flirting on her part (and maybe it was.) We kept dancing.

So, I figured: this is just part of the game. Women play hard-to-get, right? Women are coy and demure, they hide their desires for fear of being seen as “easy.” Women play push-pull, they put up “token resistance.” She invited me over for dinner. Why else would she have done that, if she wasn’t interested? (It takes way too much for us men to realize that a woman actually isn’t interested. We are so terrified of being rejected, we try as hard as we can to convince ourselves otherwise….) I’m sure over the last half-hour of conversation and dancing and drinking, she saw what a great guy I am. I’m sure she changed her mind…

I leaned in again. Another “no,” and a gentle brush away. More laughs, more drinks, more dancing. It all seemed like “part of the process” of a night of seduction. Why would she still be dancing with me, laughing and joking, if this wasn’t going somewhere? (BTW, this is far far from an excuse, but I was heavily into PUA at that time, and all PUA teaching was saying that women played hard to get, hid their desires and their “no”. In fact, there was a term for it, which I now see was a disgusting, shameful term, which any guy who was ever involved in PUA will recognize, and I hope will wince at, as I now do. PUAs talked about a woman’s ASD, or “anti-slut-defense”–the resistance she puts up right before a hook-up, supposedly to prove to herself and you that she’s not a slut. PUA taught all kinds of ways to get past this “ASD,” most of which amount to either playing games and mindfucking her, or to just keep trying more and more seduction moves, and don’t take no for an answer, until she pushes you away hard, that’s the time to stop. Which is why almost all PUA training needs to be ditched, ASAP.)

I made these passes 4 or 5 times, and she brushed them all away and said “Not tonight.” Eventually, we mutually decided the night was over, and I left.

I didn’t think anything of it for a few weeks. My passes hadn’t been particularly aggressive, I thought. I had backed down for a while each time she brushed me away. I thought I was doing the right thing, just by backing down–and then seeing if she was interested a little later. I was just making my interest known, I thought, and probing the waters to see if maybe she had changed her mind.

A few weeks later, I realized, none of this rationalizing mattered. Even if *I* thought this was just me engaging in the usual mating dance of the guy making passes and the woman being demure… even if *I* knew that I wouldn’t have pushed harder if she had told me to fuck off and get the fuck out (which I do think is actually the case)… even if *I* thought I wasn’t dangerous, that I wouldn’t actually rape her or anything…

None of that fucking mattered. What I didn’t think about was how *she* felt about it. She didn’t know me that well. She didn’t actually know I didn’t intend push any harder than those passes. She could have been terrified, and hiding it, and playing nice to mollify me (that is a theme I’ve seen a lot in women’s #MeToo posts.) All of this was occurring in a context (I now see, from all the MeToo posts) where this shit had probably been happening to her since she was a girl.

I called her up a few weeks after the night, apologized, took 100% accountability for what a dick I had been, and how wrong my behavior was. She seemed glad to hear this. She said she had found my behavior seriously annoying, and she said she accepted my apology. She seemed to take it in stride.

But now I see, from all the posts in the last few days, that her seeming to “take it in stride” could also have been because she just didn’t expect any better of men, that she just accepted this kind of shitty inexcusable behavior from men as part of the background noise of being a woman in a patriarchal society.

We moved on. I completely forgot about this incident, until I did my own moral inventory recently, in the wake of all the abuse of other men that is coming into light.

I feel ashamed of this behavior. And there are plenty more skeletons in my closet I feel ashamed about. I did most of my bad behavior during a period after my divorce when I was doing a shit-ton of drugs and I was way out of control, when I was having (seemingly enthusiastic) sex with people when both of us were way too fucked up to be making responsible sexual decisions. I’ve gone back, talked to people, listened a lot, gotten clear on where I went wrong, tried as best I can to clean up my own shit and own it, make amends, made a lot of apologies, educated myself. And I’ve massively upleveled my own standards and practices around consent (as much of our culture is engaged in doing now, thankfully.)

If I’ve ever been “that guy” to you, and you’re willing to share that with me, please contact me. I will listen. I will make amends. I will not be defensive, and I will own my shit with no hedging. Or, if you don’t feel comfortable contacting me directly, please consider contacting me through a mutual friend.

Guys, I know it’s terrifying to look at ourselves in the mirror. I know it’s terrifying to admit this this stuff to ourselves, and to others, even in private. And I know it’s even more terrifying to admit it publicly.

But the outpouring of accounts from the courageous women that have been all over our FB feeds over the past few days, are proving to us all that it’s not just a few “bad apples” who are perpetrating and perpetuating these violations, transgressions, and harms. It’s not just “the other guys”. There are way too many harms and violations being described than could be accounted for by just a few “bad guys.”

It’s all of us men, in one way or another. All of us have skeletons in our closets. I sure as hell do. I hope this post goes some way to encouraging more men to start talking about our past sins, to start taking accountability for all the ways we’ve harmed women, knowingly and unknowingly, directly and indirectly, to listen to the stories of women without defensiveness, to feel our shame fully and be with it rather than trying to hide it from ourselves, to try to forgive ourselves, to apologize to and ask for forgiveness from the women we’ve harmed, to see the part we’ve played in the whole patriarchal system in which these violations and this violence is so prevalent, to commit to doing better–much, much better–starting immediately, and to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

One more thing. It’s so easy for us men to want approval from women for “doing the right thing” now, for “being the good guy” and “manning up” and owning our shit. But I was not the good guy in this story. You were probably not the good guy in some of your own stories from the past.

I can imagine some women reading these posts from men, and seeing all the kudos and the appreciation, and the “you’re so courageous”s, and being really disgusted. I’m not going to tell people how they should respond to this post, or others like it, but I will say I don’t feel proud of how I behaved–in fact, I feel disgusted–and I don’t think I deserve any credit or kudos in this story.

Guys, we should be meeting women’s courage with by tackling fears of our own, about looking ourselves in the mirror, about talking to men and women about our past transgressions, and about owning up to all the stuff women are calling us out on, publicly. Consider posting your own version of #IWasThatGuy or #ItWasMe. Women have taken extraordinary steps in the past few days, steps that just may change our entire culture (thank you all women who have shared your stories, taking the risk and courage to educate us.) Men, they are waiting to hear from us.

6 Annoying Cliches of “Conscious Sexuality” and How to Move Past Them

Here is my second in a series of audio interviews with Michaela Boehm, one of the most subtle, advanced and wise teachers about sexuality, spirituality, and the intersection of the two, currently teaching.

Today’s interview gets controversial- it is entitled “6 Annoying Cliches About ‘Conscious Sexuality,’ and How to Move Past Them”

In this interview, we analyze several ideas about “masculine” and “feminine” that have become dogma within teaching about conscious sexuality.

Specifically, we examine the cliches that men are supposed to be “present, deep, and on purpose” in order to be masculine, whereas women are supposed to be a “wild storm of emotions, radiant, and surrendered” in order to be feminine.

These concepts have become so ingrained in the west coast workshop and personal development culture that we rarely step back to examine where the concepts might be leading us astray.

We discuss where these ideas came from, how they are misunderstood and misapplied, and ways to think about these concepts that don’t lock people into rigid pre-defined gender roles.

In this interview (linked from the comments section), Michaela teaches us about:

5:00 – The folly of trying to teach men to become “deep and present” by teaching them to copy the body language of deep and present men, or trying to “look spiritual”
8:20 – How men can actually develop authentic, deeply-sourced presence
12:30 – The difference between emotional reactivity vs. emotional responsiveness in women
14:25 – The danger of encouraging women to show men their “kali” (destructive energy) without discernment
17:58 – How encouraging men to “penetrate” women with their “presence” can end up being a spiritualized form of invasiveness – and the danger of assuming that if a woman doesn’t “surrender” to these, that she’s “too much in her masculine”
22:00 – Why gender polarity should primarily be played out in the bedroom, and not in the rest of a relationship
34:20 – “Often the most dressed up and shiny women are not the ones who are most sensually alive”
46:01 – The problem with differentiating between “purpose” and “surrender” – because living your purpose requires surrender
46:45 – “You can only fuck well when you’re being fucked well.”
48:40 – “Beware of those whose purpose is telling you to find yours”
51:13 – The difference between purpose and goal-setting- and the folly of trying to set goals and “be accountable” for achieving your purpose
52:15 – Should we use non-gendered terms to express polarities and erotic tension? “Go vs. flow,” “Dark vs. light,” “Active vs. passive,” “Penetrating and penetrated,” “Dom vs. sub” – beyond “masculine vs. feminine”
54:36 – What is the essence of tantra?
1:01:30 – Surrender, boundaries, control, consent, and the feminine
1:11:58 – The importance of pushing sexual edges only with established partners
1:18:50 – How cultural romance narratives around “ravishing,” “being taken” and “surrender” can lead to people to disconnect from and mis-calibrate the sexual interaction and can lead to consent violations
1:22:48 – How do we reconcile our notions of romantic ravishment and “sweeping her off her feet” we see in the movies, with proper consent conversations which seem like they may take away from the spontaneity and passion?

Enjoy! I hope you find this interview as illuminating and provocative as I did.

What Do Women Want Men to Know in the Age of Trump?

I’ve been given the opportunity to write regularly for a very large audience of men, mostly “guy’s guys” who are involved in self-development. I’ve been invited to introduce these men to new perspectives, particularly regarding sexuality and relationships.

I want to use this platform I’ve been given to help these men into greater empathy for women’s realities in the age of Trump. In talking with my female friends, since the election, I am struck by how much their personal reality has changed almost overnight. Going from a sense that “things are generally getting better” (if not quickly enough) to “things are getting much, much worse, very quickly.” They are feeling personal grief, despair, fear, outrage, a sense of being embattled and disrespected, and lower day-to-day safety–on not just a political level but a very personal level. I want men to get that.

(I’m mostly about women and men on the blue, anti-Trump side. I lack any understanding of the gender politics within the red, pro-Trump side, and that would be a totally different article with different research.)

So, for those women reading this, I would like to invite you to share about any of these (either in the comments, or via PM…)

  • What do you want men to *get* about what you’re feeling and/or experiencing since Trump got in? What are men in blue America still *not* getting?
  • What are some personal experiences you’ve had, in public, private, or online, since the election, that make you feel like things are radically different now?
  • What coping mechanisms are you using?
  • What political action do you most want to see men taking?
  • How can men step up, serve and support, help you feel more safe, heard and seen?
  • What gives you the most hope in these times, if anything?
  • If you date men, has anything changed for you about your dating/sexuality/relationships with men since Trump got in? If so, what do you want (hetero) men to get about these shifts?
  • Anything else you want men to know or get?
  • What do you most want to know about men in these times?

Thank you for your support on this article.

No matter what you write, I won’t quote you for the article without asking you first–and at that time you can also let me know if you’d rather be identified by your full name, your first name, or use a pseudonym.

Marijuanerotica by Dionisio Diamond

 

Marijuanerotica by Dionisio Diamond

Almost 4 years ago, in January 2013, I made this short post on Facebook (in quotations below):

I’m thinking of starting to write some fiction. And not only fiction, but under a pen name. (I won’t hide that it’s my pen name–but it will be a pen name.)

The reason is, there are topics I’d like to explore in writing that are more risqué than I care to ‘own’ as necessarily being my own opinion, for perhaps they are not my opinion–I wish to explore them, not state them as necessarily true. I wish to give a voice to them, without ‘defending’ them as ‘positions’ I hold, as one is frequently asked to do as a non-fiction writer.

I’d like to have *characters* voicing certain things, rather than Michael Ellsberg….

Anyone up for reading some risqué (sexually, philosophically, spiritually, pharmacologically) fiction from me?

The response from you, my readers, was overwhelmingly positive. (I’ve posted the link to the original post in the comments here, if you’re curious to read back.)

It’s been a rollercoaster in my life since that post, with many ups and downs. If you’ve been following my Facebook over the past several years, you already know that. During this time, however, I have not shared that there has been a fictional alter-ego brewing inside of me. It took him a while to finally find his voice, but today, he speaks for the first time publicly, with:

Marijuanerotica: Love Letters to the Green Goddess
by Dionisio Diamond

Dionisio is a witch, and he prays to the Green Goddess–the spirit of the marijuana plant—through love letters her writes to her, and to the various muses she sends to him as her earthly emissaries.

On this day of the witches, Halloween 2016, I summon my fictional alter-ego, the witch Dionisio Diamond, into the world, through his first letter, “You Were Sent to Me By the Green Goddess.” This letter is addressed to his fictionalized girlfriend, Cassy, whom he worships as a witchy embodiment of the Green Goddess herself.

This is a first foray into the adventures of Dionisio–stay tuned, and see what is brewing!

How to Spend a Mind: Collected Short Writing by Michael Ellsberg

After three books published by major publishers, I’m ready for a new model. Even though I’ve received six-figure advances for both of my last two books, and I’m grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me, the old publishing model just isn’t working for me anymore.

I’ve become tired of holing myself up for 2-3 years working on long books, without interaction with my you, my readers, and then appearing out of a cave when the book comes out, trying to hawk that book to the same people I’d just been ignoring for years!

I want to write my books in dialogue with you. I want you to help shape what I write, in real-time. I want you to know what I’m working on, as I work on it, not years later when it comes out in a hardcover book. I want you invested in the project as it develops and unfolds. I want your input.

And so, I’m experimenting with this new model: writing and publishing shorter books, with greater frequency, directly to my readers via Kindle, and funding my work through “pre-sales” of the Kindle books through the crowdfunding site Patreon, which I love.

For my first Kindle book via this model, I will be publishing an anthology called “How to Spend a Mind: Collected Short Writing.” This will gather all my best articles, posts and interviews from the past six years, which have appeared on my blog, my Facebook, on other people’s blogs, and on Forbes, the New York Times, and other mainstream outlets.

If you love my writing, this is going to be a strong dose of it, all in one place for your reading enjoyment.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not just putting out old material via this new Patreon/Kindle model. Stay tuned for announcements about several new, edgy books I have in the works, which will contain all the saucy, steamy, controversial, hard-hitting writing you’ve come to expect from me. But with 10x the intensity, now that I’ve decided to free myself from any corporate intermediation in my art, and to write directly for you, my audience, the people who matter most in my career.

I’ll be funding this work not by seeking out publishing contracts or advances any longer, but through support directly from you, my readers, via my Patreon profile.

By “pre-ordering” my Kindle books here, and otherwise becoming my patron of the arts via this platform, you become an important part of my writing and creative process. You will get let in to the “back stage” of my work, and you allow me to focus on writing more content, that educates, entertains, and inspires you.

Check out all the rewards available to you for supporting me. You can get:

  • access to private patron-only writings
  • a secret FB group to interact with me and other patrons about the topics I write on
  • private Google+ Hangouts with me
  • access to fresh unpublished chapters of new books as I write them
  • access to otherwise-unavailable recordings of private classes and courses I’ve taught
  • 1-on-1 time with me, on the phone, or in person, to get personalized consulting on any topic I write about, tailored just to your needs and circumstances.

Thank you so much for supporting my writing via this new model. I am so excited to go on this journey of co-creation TOGETHER.

Love,
Michael

Happy 85th Birthday Daniel!

Dear Dad,

Here are some messages from people around the world expressing their appreciation for the impact you’ve had in the world, and on their lives. We are wishing you a very HAPPY 85th BIRTHDAY today! *Love, Michael

[Note to everyone: Please share here your appreciation for the impact Daniel has had on on you, and the world. Please write more than just “Happy Birthday!” Think about what his life and work have meant to you over the years, and let him know. This is a surprise, and will be unveiled to him tonight. Thank you! *Michael Ellsberg]

Dominance for Nice Guys – With Nina Hartley and Michael Ellsberg

Around 100 million women bought 50 Shades of Grey–which means if you’re a guy, there are probably women standing around you at this very moment curious about exploring sexual submission to a man. It’s one of the biggest “open secrets” of hetero female sexuality.

If you’re an average “nice guy”—the kind that cares about women and respects them—you might think that this is not for you, that you have to be an emotionally damaged billionaire (or at least some kind of cocky alpha male asshole) to make a good Dom.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Because the reality is, average “nice guys” have what it takes to make the best Doms.

What??!! Huh??!! Continue Reading

How to Have a Personality in Marketing

I just spent a few hours doing something I hope you never put yourself through—scrolling through a bunch of emails from marketing lists I had somehow gotten myself on.

These all offered some version of the same thing: overnight success with little work, dramatic results by applying tiny “tactics” and “tricks,” and secrets to simplifying the difficult areas of money, business, marketing, and also romance, love, and sex, as if these were just video games with hidden hacks.

As I read through these emails, I kept asking myself: would I invite the author of this email to a party I hosted, to become part of my social circle?

After all, if I wouldn’t want to socialize with this person, why would I want to do business with them? That’s my philosophy.

And the answer kept coming back: hell no. Continue Reading

Why I Support Amnesty International’s Call to Decriminalize Sex Workers

Tomorrow, Amnesty International starts deciding whether to formally adopt its draft call to end the criminalization of consenting, adult sex workers. I just added my voice to a petition supporting Amnesty’s sensible proposal, which strongly distinguishes between sex work among consenting adults, and trafficking and children in sex work, which are already illegal.

The petition was organized by the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, whose membership is made of “237 sex worker-led organisations in 71 countries across the globe.” This petition calls for the full support of Amnesty’s proposal, and defends it against the list of famous actors attacking Amnesty publicly. Continue Reading

Sexy Psychodrama of the Absurd: Psychedelics and Sexual Healing in Lovership

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be giving this talk at the Breaking Convention international psychedelics conference at the University of Greenwich, London, on Saturday, July 11th.

This is already an “edgy” conference (psychedelics being studied at an academic institution). And I’m proud that I’m the guy who is delivering the really really edgy talk at the edgy conference :) The talk is called”

“Sexy Psychodrama of the Absurd: Psychedelics and Sexual Healing in Lovership”

It is no secret that sex and psychedelics can go together quite well, but what is less discussed is that psychedelics can be powerful tools for sexual healing, when used with this intention. Archetypes such as Mother, Father, Daughter, Son, Sister, Brother, which may have been the source of one’s deepest sexual repression or victimization in childhood or adolescence, can be re-accessed, re-embodied, and re-worked in psychedelic space, with a loving partner. As can any manner of other powerful, light-bearing or demimonde archetypes. When the other partner is also embodying reciprocal archetypes, lovers can enter into a space I call “sexy psychodrama of the absurd,” where old scripts and dramas from the past can be re-written with a more empowering emotional tone and resolution. Continue Reading