Ilan Stephani x Simon Transparently Podcast



We Are Scared By The Topic Of Trauma Because We Are Traumatised. To Learn To Orgasm We Must be Ready To Die.

Whatever I feel driven to share, comes from the dark nights, the wounding, the trauma. Ilan Stephani is a Berlin-based bestselling author and researcher about how to shift collective paradigms, un-learn cultural conditioning and gain back our natural orgasmic aliveness. She walks the talk with endless curiosity, humor and ongoing research in the fields of Embodiment | Sexuality | Trauma | Health | Mysticism. Ilan gained nation-wide attention with her bestselling book, Skin and Games – What Sexwork Taught Me About Love. Ilan teaches in both German and English.

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Almost none of us were encouraged during childhood to step into our anger and explore power and meaning.

Quite the opposite – in most families, and in contemporary Western culture at large, love and harmony are defined by the absence of anger, aggression, and rage.

Want to belong?
Want to feel safe and in harmony with the world around you?
Want to know you’re worthy of love and connection?

Welcome, baby, here we are.

Just one thing required:
Suppress. Your. Rage.

Do not be “too much”.
Do not disturb the peace around you.
Love is good, and rage is bad.

These scripts are at the based of our culture, and are reflected in countless love stories, movies, myths and fantasies.

LOVE… a precious and rare portal to heaven, an angelic secret code for happiness, blessing those who deserve it.

RAGE… makes us turn into monsters and turn against our innocent beloveds, RAGE makes us too much, makes us wrong, and guilty and unworthy of connection.

A global paradigm producing billions of people who are afraid of their inner demons and hide their anger when it comes to love, relationships, and intimacy…

Love is good, and rage is bad.


This does not work and never will.

Because our nervous system is not wired for this, and never will be.

As long as we run on the script of love and rage as opposite forces we do not only miss the power of rage, we also miss the power of love.

A human era fetishising love and fighting against rage is a culture being trapped in an inescapable dilemma between self-love and love, and between freedom and bonding.

Unconsciously feeding those dark global places of violence and war where our shadows reclaim their power.

So where are we going from here?

We turn around, stop obeying to cultural themes and listen to our innate somatic wisdom instead.

We start breathing and moving and unwinding – recovering from global confusion and bow deeply to our instincts.

As the design of our nervous system, this animalistic nature within reveals LOVE and RAGE are a dream-team.

In fact: LOVE and RAGE need each other. LOVE and RAGE are no opposite forces but one of those big cosmic love stories.

Let us go for that. Welcome to the wild wild peace inside.


#LoveAndRage is an embodiment training for inner freedom – no matter what!

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Are men doing better in patriarchy than women?

I am a woman. So there are many reasons why living in this culture is pretty complicated…

Among myriads of other factors, the sexual double-standard messages, with which women are bombarded, automatically lead to more question marks and fears around intimacy then to sexual highlights.

Being a woman in a patriarchal culture is a confusing thing…

And how are men doing?

Unfortunately not better.

Already little boys are denied that men have a good sexuality. Men, as our culture is telling and educating, are dangerous beings whose power needs to be tamed and restrained. It’s best not to become a “real” man.

In other words: The sexual cultural trauma of men is to be a chronic perpetrator – a walking biological problem. 

Being a man in a patriarchal culture is a confusing thing…

While men are training to better not feel themselves, they are asked to remain sensitive lovers, to be present – while their entire conditioning is deflection. Independent and strong – while the environment creates dependency.

Men should be confident – while their conditioning denies that there is anything essential in them that they can be really proud about.

Men should be powerful – in a culture that negates that masculine power is trustworthy. 

Such collective distortion is no less brutal or perfidious as that which women are subjugated to. It just works a bit different.

Men are not allowed to feel. And because of that – they are not even allowed to suffer.

“How am I meant to be sexually? What is my sexual design – what really corresponds to how I am? What is my sexual essence in all these confusing conditionings?”

Because we become not enough if any answers to this – we even forget the question.

No wonder that an embodiment of masculine self-love is so rare in this country that it almost does not exist at all.

The tragic about it … all this mess is so completely unnecessary. It grounds on a misunderstanding. It is just a rat tail of a bad mood… that somehow infected this confused and confusing era of mankind.

Here is the misunderstanding:

Sexual energy is not the problem but the solution. Sexual energy does only turn into something problematic when we mistrust it, critizite it, deflect or repress it.

Can we unlearn this global distrust, confusion and repression? Can we recover our access to our sexual essence amidst these cultural messages and role modeling?

We can move and heal our individual sexual issues as an expression of our collective wounds. Because the Individual and the Collective are not separate. It becomes a felt experience, how dissolving “personal blockages” automatically creates a larger field of freedom that concerns more then “sex”, and gifts our partners as well as ourselves and every part of our life.


#SexAndEssence is a modern somatic path exclusively for men. Dedicated to un-learning sexual conditioning and re-claiming the innate sexual essence, power and freedom.


#SexAndEssence is currently offered in English and German, as an intense retreat or Somatic Online Journey and as a year-long-training about 4×4.5 days, being held nearby Berlin, Germany.

You find the current dates HERE. For further information contact us directly and stay in touch via newsletter (sign up below).

In about Surrender #3, we changed our thinking and images regarding setting boundaries – liberated from conditioning, telling us to be inferior.

So what is still missing?

The changes within our bodies and feelings…

Let’s start with the Body – with our movement, breathing and posture.

These three aspects mirror whether we feel safe within ourselves or not, whether we will defend our boundaries, if necessary, or whether we fear that we might ”abandon ourselves”

When we change our movement, breathing and posture, we will automatically change our self-image regarding setting boundaries.

We can transform body signals which say “hopefully nothing will happen to me“ to being the tigress, roaming calmly through our jungle; are we afraid? Yes, if it gets dangerous. Are we suffering from tension, mistrust, worry and compulsive controlling? No! Certainly not.

How Can We Influence Our Body Language?

By doing exactly the opposite to our conditioning; by moving, and breathing and uplifting ourselves and our posture.

Unfortunately, our cultural heritage regarding intact boundaries is a disaster. . Body-language experienced as “female” is in fact the body-language of an oppressed social class.The acquired patterns of movement, of the voice, clothing etc. create the the message “helpless is feminine” in a similar way to how military training supresses the emotions.

Let’s Get Physical

Our travel route started at “smile and wave” and proceeds to “saying no and setting boundaries”.

Remember – we are doing this, not to instigate war, but to nourish, to calm and to regulate our nervous system, in order to accept the soft invitations to desire and surrender.

This journey is an intense physical empowerment. We are moving so obviously, powerfully, directly and focused, that we can’t even think about it. We use our defense instincts, the “fight-mode”, which happens BEFORE we can reflect on it (re- flect…)!

This is the moment where we abandon psychological, analytical and all other helpful advice. At this point we transform ourselves back into an animal, which lives in its territory, hisses and fights, if necessary, until it remembers itself.

I advise every woman who suffers from any violation of boundaries to catch up on this physical NO and to familiarize herself with coordinated and decisive defense. (By the way, coordination can become highly constricted through trauma.)

Possible Methods Are:

  • *Model Mugging
  • *Kick-boxing
  • *TigerWork
  • *Wen Do
  • *Win Tsun

These methods clearly differentiate from disciplines such as martial arts, where skill and techniques are more important than the encounter with your own reactions to assault, danger and boundaries. And of course we will go far beyond lashing out with pepper spray and handbags.

These methods communicate movements, which can awaken our instincts, hence they can obviously also trigger our fears…

Isn’t it true that we dread physical fighting because we are afraid we might lose? It is exactly this fear which shows us how much we have suffered through our lost battles – how much the past thwarts us, until we are able to experience different outcomes regarding our boundaries.

The feeling of being safe within ones boundaries lies within brain-areas which are older than our personal thinking. These deep brain-areas don’t react to what we believe or would like to believe, they react to what our body is expressing through movement, breathing and posture.

It is necessary to know an effective art of self-defense, to experience your own body in action in order to skim individual or collective trauma structure.

Just do it, the radically simple practice of DOING IT, is the key. A body which has never experienced defending itself will frustrate every positive self-image in case of an emergency.

The belief in physical strength is not just a blind belief in something, it’s an intuitive knowledge which is deeply anchored in a sense of knowing what’s right at the right moment – and also knowing what’s right in the wrong moments.

4th Step: Other Feelings

Now there are only feelings missing…

  • “I feel helpless when I’m angry.”
  • “I feel ashamed as soon as I set a boundary. I feel rude and hysterical.”
  • “My anger doesn’t help anyone; it feels like I put the saddle on the wrong horse…”
  • “I am afraid I might feel lonely if I say no.”

Feelings are a major topic, right? Our feelings make the impression of being a malicious, tangled, hopeless knot, full of contradictions and vicious circles in relation to surrender and boundaries.

Here is the GOOD NEWS: The opposite is true.

Conflicting feelings are just one symptom of many and we don’t need to worry about them. The confusing feelings will disentangle themselves if we let them be and concentrate on our bodies instead!

Which means in plain terms: our feelings follow our physical movements – our feelings derive from our bodies! Without even noticing we create our desperation, shame and feelings of guilt through physical tension. So as soon as we allow our bodies to move in a new, unfamiliar way, we slide out of victimhood.

Instead of trying too hard to feel our feelings, to understand and pacify them, we exit the emotional level and bring our attention to our bodies.

And again: The emotional level follows the physical level.

It doesn’t mean we don’t feel anything if we orientate ourselves in our bodies instead of our emotions, on the contrary: We notice that a real fight-mode in our nervous system will frighten us. We will shake and cry our kicks and blows, but these feelings will be alive and spontaneous – they appear organically throughout the process of our change, and they will mark our healing, not our stagnation.

With these 4 levels, to repair our boundaries…

..We will recover, within our thoughts and images, in our movements and feelings, from being a wounded human to becoming a calm being again. We unexpectedly flow back towards trusting our fellow species through our desire for sexual surrender and erotic contact with our world.

That’s the simple, final chord after stumbling around in the chaotic world of our trauma: longing to embark on our journey of reinforcing our boundaries – and if ‘About surrender’ can be our teacher for life, so be it.


The question is: How can we fix our boundaries?

So far, we have learned to read our yearning for surrender in a new way: as a question of boundaries. Often it is a physical fear for our boundaries which prevents us from opening up sexually, or trusting another human being. If we can’t surrender, we deploy our defence mechanisms and we can find 4 different levels of this deployment. In order to fix our boundaries, we change the following:

  1. Our thinking (mind-set)
  2. Our visualisation – Clichés, Ideas and expectations
  3. Our bodies (breathing, posture, voice and movement)
  4. Our emotions

Although every healing path is different, these 4 levels will be encountered and will have an effect on every path.

1. Our thinking (mind-set)

Radical change of thinking. That’s the main issue in about Surrender #1, and Surrender #2. Wherever the topic of surrender appears, we are redirected to the actual question: Am I safe here? With myself? With you?

A simple yes or no, decided by our bodies within the blink of an eye, has become a highly complicated minefield of doubts and strategies in every day life.

It’s not as if we don’t use the word NO after trauma, in fact whenever I explain the importance of setting boundaries in order to surrender, I often get reactions telling me that saying no can’t be the problem. However, since we are using ‘no’ as a chronic defence against everyone and everything around us, we end up exactly where we didn’t want to: in solitude.

This form of saying NO is not what I am talking about. To chronically shut down other people’s offers is a reaction to violated genuine protection – its compensation, its attempted damage control, this is not healing.

Saying no isn’t necessarily saying ‘no’ specifically, in fact quite the contrary; we compulsively say ‘no’ to everything because deep down we are convinced that we won’t be able to protect or defend our boundaries.

Chronically saying ‘no’ is therefore based on the same trauma as chronically saying ‘yes’. Both originate from the feeling of being expelled from one’s own territory.

After a traumatic incident we adopt a certain edginess in how we react to the wound, but our thinking and behaviour will be scarred by the idea that boundaries isolate us – whilst contact means gradually sacrificing ones boundaries.

If we start to practice saying NO, we do so in order to calm and dissolve the shifted manoeuvre of chronic defence, more specifically of self-abandonment – because it doesn’t comply with the social and open animal being within us.

That’s how we internalise another essential way of thinking about surrender.

2. Visualisation and Images

Images dictate our senses, our experiences and our bodies more than we would like.

At this point I am not talking about conscious, positive images which we can use for our sexual fantasies, but about the unconscious, negative images which we inhale from Hollywood, which flow towards us in pornographic rivers and which arise from clichés of femininity and beauty.

Multi-billion dollar markets underlie our individual sexuality with the collective allegation: Women can’t defend their territory against men.

This allegation is wrong. It’s made up. Not a single fibre of our instinct agrees with this, but beneath the storm of images our bodies have become silent.

The crux of the matter is, we don’t even need to have experienced “something really bad” sexually, to let the collective allegation restrict our sexual surrender and desire.

It’s almost as if every penetration is afflicted with a latent, unconscious, whispering fear that it might as well be happening against our will and is therefore untrustworthy.

It’s tragic, especially since it restricts, frustrates and humiliates endless possibilities in our sexual encounters.

For the purpose of our project of repairing boundaries, we need other imagery in our heads rather than the one of helpless, vulnerable woman who can be raped (unless her hero comes in at the last second to save her).

So far, the best examples I have found are living pictures – videos which can demonstrate to our eyes, our nervous system and our instincts what has been in us all along. We can watch images that remind us of our own body-knowledge.

The following videos are suggestions for you – YouTube- clips of the Krav Maga or Model Mugging method (which comes pretty close to my beloved TigerWork).


Realistic assaults against women will be simulated in these films and methods. If you know that those images trigger you, please skip the following links. Alternatively if you type in YouTube: “Self-defence women”, you will find lots of documentaries which treat the subject much more gently and less directly.

If you want to watch the videos, you should do so in a free moment where you can take your time and focus to “physically watch” – whilst taking deep breaths, relaxing your eyes, sensing the ground beneath you, in order to let this new – old message sink into your skin.

Slowly these images will root themselves in your experience and strengthen your boundaries instead of underlying them.

  • Model Mugging Action
  • Model Mugging Action #2
  • A documentary about model mugging with a few fight scenes (Trigger warning: Simulated rape attempt until 00:59 min.)
  • Krav Maga Clip (assaults starting 0:40)

Ask yourself: what are you experiencing throughout these images? What do you sense in your body? Is there a split between the opinion you have about the images and your physical resonance?

Does your own self-image appear during this experience? Maybe it’s saying “I can do that!” or “I would never dare to do that!” or something else.

You may start to understand these perceptions, thoughts and feelings as a indicators of your own inner map – in what way the preconception of feminine inferiority is stored in your system and how you have acted on it until now.

Oh and please move your body and take a couple of breaths, so you won’t freeze up.

(Isn’t it strange, that we can watch a woman more relaxed and at ease when she is submissive then when she is fighting – and winning?)

It is so important to know these images. That’s how we can “internally defreeze”
 – we untie our nervous system from a secret and unnoticed resignation… and we can see that the power and certainty of these women within themselves is not a result of hard training, but an answer coming from instincts deep within ourselves.

This stunning awakening from our cultural bondage and confusion is also the main point in our conversation regarding our seminars TigerWork. It’s an essential process to remember the natural feminine territory – that defence is a background image for our entire life.

A culture which encourages smart and calm vigilance of our bodies – which sees and strengthens the physical power of girls and women, lays the best foundation for successful sexual encounters, surrender and relationships without fear.

But “Submission can be sexy too.”

At this point I want to say something about the argument which states that we would lose sexual attraction and stimulation, if we let go of our physical inferiority.

“Submission can be sexy too.” – It’s true. Being submissive is one of the strongest turn-ons for women (not only for women). This doesn’t contradict the liberation from our social brainwashing that women don’t have a choice.

In fact we can live out sexual roles such as dominance and submission more and in a more wholesome way the more our bodies can embed themselves within our boundaries. The difference lies in the sequence within our nervous system,

  • Step 1: Safety ( Protection of my boundaries)
  • Step 2: Approach (sizzles… and contact…)
  • Step 3: Touch/Contact (including. indulging sex)
  • Step 4: Bonding

Defending ones territory concerns step 1 – we are still far away from sex.

Being up for submissive sex concerns step 3 – varieties of contact – by then we (hopefully) have set the foundation of intact boundaries.

So it’s superficially “true”, if a culture tells us female submission is sexy – but at the same time it is slipping us a life threatening possibility of mixing the two levels up.

Not being ABLE to defend ones territory is a state of alert in our nervous system- the survival mode.

WANTING to be overpowered, if we have found our way out of the survival mode back into our boundaries, is where we are able to live and encounter, instead of being afraid.

The fact that we are culturally too confused and vulnerable to differentiate between made up imbalances and the truth shows us how sexual violation of boundaries has become a collective minefield.

If in response to something invented, we are able to consciously offer reality in the form of determined, brave and vigorous women’s bodies, then inhaling and remembering these images will slowly and surely fix our inner images regarding surrender.

In what kind of situations would you feel or act differently, if the discussed images would return to being seen as normal by you?

And what about the body and our feelings?

Read more on About surrender #4

In the first article About Surrender#1, we explored that surrendering doesn’t help indulgence, but setting boundaries does.

Modern Studies, exploring the “design” of our nervous system verbalize the formula of the sequence of natural surrender as following:

  1. Step: Safety (protection of my boundaries)
  2. Step: Aapproach (sizzles… and contact…)
  3. Step: Touch/ Contact (incl. indulging sex)
  4. Step: Bond (common territory/ground – maybe nest-building and babies)

Summarizing, our culture uses the sequence which is opposite to the natural impulses of our nervous system.

We don’t trust our bodies; instead we listen to the modern fairy tales of our time: Perfect erotic indulging leads to trust and connection, feeling safe and protected by the other.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t help me, if my hero is willing to take a bullet for me after sex, because my somatic nervous system is still reacting in alarmed mode. Later on, I will shrug it off with a simple “He just wasn’t the one…”

We learn the opposite to what would be easy. So it’s no surprise that it’s hard for us.

I believe that we can find the origins of our compulsive controlling relationships in the anti-instinctive sequence of finding and being in relationships, as well as we can understand why “You don’t even see me!” has become a classic accusation in our relationship conflicts. Everything we avoided, suppressed, dreaded and denied in the years BEFORE the nest-building will catch up with us eventually.

The result of this is that we don’t feel safe with the one person in our lives with whom we spend the most time and space.

“A generation incapable of relationships”? It’s not our inability to relate, it’s the incapability to confine.

In my opinion, the easiest way to explain this mass phenomenon is with the help of a collective trauma structure. In her book Schluss mit second-hand sex, Marlise Santiago, a sexual therapist, analyses our sexual behavior and describes a common detachment of the somatic body – our alienation from ourselves, as unnoticed and completely normalized by society.

We sense that the whole question of surrender is not as simple as we may wish. Instead of searching the battlefield where we have lost, we must look for the key to wholeness in the light cone of our awareness.

We now know that our inability to sense what we want and don’t want – and when we want it, comes from an alienation of our instincts and this alienation is a strategy learned through trauma.

The fact that the obvious is disregarded – the first and most basic impulses (closeness, distance, anger, touch, sex, movement etc.) are missed, weakened, suppressed and adjusted as soon as we’re not alone; the fact that we find the easy complicated and the complicated normal – all of the above are characteristic of traumatic influence.

Trauma is composed of uncompleted, suppressed movement in our nervous system. Trauma is the gradual estrangement from our instincts, which we have observed above.

Interestingly enough, the word “trauma” may trigger strong resistance, especially mentioned in a sexual context. Yet it’s interesting that this dynamic pin-points exactly how and why we act in a certain way and why we can’t change that even if we become painfully aware that our strategies for contact with others are not working and why we keep getting carried away in the closeness with others.

Trauma is not a disease, an exception or a flaw

Trauma is far more than an individual thing. Trauma doesn’t need a “predator” – we know trauma can enter our lives on various levels, we know we can inherit trauma, deform, dissolve or codify it through generations.

Trauma is one of the things the world was made of; it’s a force which transcends and interweaves with everything; it’s always the same substance with millions and millions of different faces, forms, movements, effects, curses and gifts.

Trauma is a dynamic which affects us collectively even more than individually

And with regard to our common sexual helplessness and inexperience, collective trauma is a very apt description.

If we subsequently want to reinforce our boundaries, it is good to see the dimensions this challenge presents.As soon as we consider the dimension of trauma in our project, many problems will be clearer and easier to approach, both for us and our partners.

On the track of the causes…

Trauma emerges in a violation of boundaries , which inevitably affects the humanimal.

Of course this happens in the animal kingdom as well – every day prey have to run for their lives.

An animal would immediately mend its violated borders before looking for a new partner and before eating. An animal would secure its old territory, or would find a new one; it would mark the borders of its space and would protect them. Of course an animal has experiences which we would find “traumatic”, but it would not suffer from “trauma” in the sense – it wouldn’t suffer from an ongoing chronic wound to its intuition and courage, to its awareness of boundaries and in its ability to protect them, and to finding them worth protecting.

“Trauma” as we experience it is the non-dissolution of the boundary violation AFTER the boundary violation, it’s to remain in the experience and feeling of violated boundaries which are now beyond repair, open and fragile for ever.

Trauma doesn’t reside in the actual experience itself, it emerges from our behaviour afterwards, what we do or don’t do. Only if we don’t give ourselves and our nervous system the space, understanding and the permission to do what we want to, better said have to – namely to protect and repair our boundaries – then and only then is our nervous system harmed.

Protecting your boundaries plus surrender?

“That’s silly – we don’t want to harm each other. We love each other, we have been a couple for 4 years – and we just want to enjoy sex together!” That’s what we would like to add at this point.

Of course we don’t want to harm each other. Obviously. We just want to make love, but that’s not the point, it’s the collective dead angle, the same gap in our nervous system. We are all – despite our good intentions – children of a confused culture. Waiting for “the one”?

“The one” with whom we can practice surrender (to set boundaries) is more replaceable then we would like to believe. And I have never, ever met someone who simply and comfortably lived within his boundaries without having consciously worked at it.

Inherited violations

That’s how slowly, secretly and silently whole areas of our lives are brought to a halt, we paralyse our talents, forget about our ecstasies, dive into work, our deepest and most important muscles collapse, we contract the fasciae of our bodies and arrest in our organs – in order to prevent the most powerful and instinctive forces of our bodies to rise within us. That’s why Peter Levine says: Trauma is what we hold on to.

Trauma yanks at the poles of intact boundaries and surrender through contact, which for an animal are the same thing, and turns them into antagonisms. This collective deep rupture in our nervous system is mirrored in countless questions in our culture: “freedom or commitment”, “saying yes or no“, “aggression or love”, etc.

What does it mean?

It means: violated, vague and foggy boundaries feel “right” and when we experience clear and healthy boundaries in another human being, we start to doubt, criticise, interfere, and judge. To take care of one’s own boundaries makes us restless instead of peaceful.

When we live in trauma, we live upside down. Wrong feels right, and right feels wrong. The animal within us, which has been straying through the wilderness for years, becomes wound up, exhausted, leery and confused.

We see that the common and seemingly mundane topics of surrender and control lead us to the concept of cultural trauma and our individual potential to reveal and release whole fields of inherited trauma.

That means that in order to celebrate sexual surrender, we have to eventually go through the process of repairing our boundaries.

In order to rediscover deep surrender we have to find the courage to sense our own boundaries and allow ourselves to protect them, because there is no other way, because our nervous system doesn’t want it any other way.

Any healing demands repairing boundaries; there is no way around this act of love for yourself…

How to repair your boundaries?

Find out in
About Surrender #3

About Surrender…

It could all be so simple.
As we take off our clothes, we also strip off our thoughts about work and our daily routine; we leave it all behind as we throw ourselves onto the bed. We kiss, we can sense each other, feel each other and…we stop thinking.

We let go of control, we dive into the blissful sea of connection and trust. We dissolve our barriers and shells, we let down our guard, and we open up our physical bodies and become a soft wave of breathing and feeling each other, becoming pulsing bodies in space.

We let go until we find ourselves.
It could all be so simple.
Why is it so hard then?

Why do we tense and hold on instead of letting go and surrendering to ourselves?
How did we allow even a single nervous thought to enter our bedrooms?
How is it possible that we missed out on the most heavenly ecstasy because of a to-do list or worries and other distractions?

It is now a well known syndrome that holding on instead of letting go is the modern sexual epidemic.

“Breathe deeply – just concentrate on the moment!”

That’s what the magazines are telling us.

“Men find it extremely attractive if a woman knows what she wants and doesn’t shy away from lust. So don’t worry – just give him your unrestrained and freed self.”

That’s what the sexperts say.

However, a spiritual guide might rather say:

“Control is an illusion; and be aware that there is nothing you can control anyway”.

I don’t think either of these suggestions quite get to the heart of the matter. If it were that simple would we really still have the problem?

Whether or not control exists, whether we actually have control or are just chronically trying to gain control, either way we have lost ourselves in the most natural human condition – THE SIMPLE FORM OF BEING.


  • Because we are afraid.
  • Why are we afraid?
  • Because we missed out the steps BEFORE Surrender.

Which means that surrender is not an isolated action; it is rather a sequence in our somatic nervous systemwhich occurs as we go through different stages of contact with one another.

It is these different stages which we usually ignore or miss out and which later prevent us from actually letting go when we want to have sex. We just can’t relax. We are trapped in a sad dilemma between the restless mind and our body, holding on to the thought of surrender instead of actually surrendering.

Surrender doesn’t listen to our mind or to our overcomplicated practice; it appears independently.

We don’t have to call it, indeed we can’t call for it. What we should do so that we can surrender is to take our mind by the hand and step out of the way.

If we overthink and try to control too much during sex more than actually enjoy having it, we are probably subconsciously getting in the way of our own indulgence.

We are missing out on its gifts and presents because we are hindering surrender in coming our way.

How can we step aside to allow Surrender to enter our bedrooms?

Let’s observe healthy and free mammals for a moment, focusing on how they treat each other; (and by the way let’s not pretend that we invented sex :). At least they don’t stumble over each other all the time as we do.

What do mammals do differently?

They have the smarter foreplay. They are alert and ready to defend their territory. They are sure of their boundaries before and while opening up.
As a footnote: animal sex often looks different to humans’, which is due to our filtered perceptions and not the act of the animals. For example there is no such thing as rape in the animal kingdom (brilliantly described by Susan Brownmillers “Against our Will”). If we would only have “animal like” sex, the world would be an ecstatic place. End of footnote.

For animals it’s not surrender that comes first, its safety within their own territory because this is a primary necessity for their somatic nervous system, i.e. for their survival.

This primal sequence of needs is also active in us.

So if we want to take the phases before surrender seriously, if we want to actually feel and experience them – if we want to learn from the mammals who are doing absolutely fine sexually, then we shouldn’t practice opening up, or letting go, we have to practice protecting ourselves.

Feeling safe when our boundaries are intact and our territory is unthreatened is the essential foundation for everything to be calm, pleasurable and regenerative for our nervous system. Personal boundaries come first before gorging, before sleeping – and before sex.

No sex without respecting each others boundaries.

The first question asked when two animals meet isn’t “Do you want to have sex?”, it’s: “Am I safe with you? Will you respect my territory or not?”

This question has been asked by animals and humanimals for millions of years, and it’s still being asked as precisely as we can read the answer on our fur, our eyes and paws.

As a first step it’s not interesting whether we find each other gorgeous or not; what happens at first contact with the blink of an eye is whether we respect each others boundaries and feel safe with each other. Although it is invisible for our mind, it is the first question and answer, the first interaction between two bodies.

In modern trauma studies, in which wild animals have become the new superstars, the instinctive formula for our nervous system is verbalized as followed:

  1. Step: Safety (protection of my boundaries)
  2. Step: Approach (sizzles… and contact…)
  3. Step: Touch/Contact (incl. indulging sex)
  4. Step: Bond (common territory/ground – maybe nest-building and babies)

A simple and logical sequence, each phase (“Yes, you are safe with me – and I feel safe with you etc…”) offers the possibility for our nervous system to enter into the next phase.

That’s what I meant, with the phases BEFORE Surrender.


And what do we humans do?

Find out in
About Surrender #2