I don’t get this ‘Energy Genitals’ thing? Can you explain?
I can explain within my limits, yes! I could tell you about my own energy genitals. I can report what others have shared with me (in my personal life and from genital interviews with clients) and I can write about the thoughts and ideas that come to my mind about it.
Extraphysical Genital Experiences
The overarching term I have decided to use for the experiences below is ‘Extraphysical Genital Experiences’. (Extraphysical means ‘not subject to physical laws’, which I find very apt!).
Here are some examples;
- psychic genitals
- proprioceptive genitals
- phantom genitals (like a phantom limb)
- energy genitals
- genital-detachable connectivity (e.g. feeling your dildo is your penis)
How many bodies do we have?
At school in biology and through western science, we learn that we have a physical, biological body that ends at our skin (apart from the microbial cloud!) The organism that is a human body is made up of component parts, chemicals, cells, fascia, etc. It is all meat, skin and bones that is alive and one day will die.
Our genitals and internal organs associated with sex, pleasure and creating new human life are the same; cleverly put together cells in different configurations. This physical body is an amazing creation in itself. Our FLESH body.
Most of us would agree that we are more than our biological, physical flesh bodies. What else might be there and the vast range of experiences we have in our bodies (erotically and otherwise) can be tricky to describe, and impossible to find irrefutable truth for.
There are many different historical and cultural ideas and traditions around understanding the body and somatic experiences. We might notice and experience feelings, sensations and occurrences in our body that are fascinating, mysterious, even mystical.
What if we had several bodies?
Now, I am not telling you what I believe or what you should believe. I simply want to share the notion — one that exists in many cultures and traditions — that we have more than this one tangible (flesh) body.
This might resonate with you, or not, but the kinds of bodies we might consider or imagine could be the following…
- flesh body
- electrical field body
- pleasure/pain/sensation body
- energy/aura body
- mental/mind body (mental map of body)
- emotion body
- nervous system body
- and others!
What we might notice when we are invited to…
It’s important to note that you are in CHOICE to focus on your body and explore awareness of sensations, and you can do this at your own pace or not at all.
What do people find when interviewing the body, doing a body scan or engaging in another embodied practice? This can be observed by simply taking a pause to breathe and ask ‘what am I noticing in my body?’
Do it now, perhaps. Close your eyes and scan your body. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What shape are you?
- How large does your body feel?
- How do you know you have a body right now?
If you want (be in your consent), can you feel your genitals right now? What do you notice? Is there something that cannot be seen with the eyes or felt with your hands?
It might be that without making any deliberate attempt to feel or experience your genitals, you know that you have certain experiences of pleasure. This could arise from play with a partner, or sensing movement, sensation, colour or other happenings.
What gets in the way?
I have no idea what you experienced if you chose to do this energy genital exercise. It may have been useful and positive. It may have been frustrating or disorientating. It may have been unpleasant because you noticed something such as pain, or an uncomfortable feeling which felt challenging. Even noticing an area of numbness, or ‘nothing’ or ‘I don’t know’ can be interesting and useful to note.
There are lots of very good reasons why we might find it difficult to connect with our body’s inner experience, including collective and individual trauma, non consensual touch, dismissing and invalidating experiences and the discomfort of incongruence and social gender dysphoria.
A word about trauma-informed practice: It’s important that when we do this kind of work, the priority is safety, and the nervous system being in a calm, down-regulated state. This is so we’re able to have agency and choice and not become overwhelmed. This is why all Quintimacy events are held in a trauma-informed way that takes this into account.
Sidenote: What is Gender Dysphoria?
Gender dysphoria is likely a term that you’ve come across before and are familiar with. For those who don’t know, gender dysphoria is experienced by some people who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. This can manifest as feelings of unease and distress regarding the body and particular primary and secondary sex characteristics.
Do you experience Extraphysical Genital Experiences?
You might be someone who is aware that you have ‘different’ experiences of your body and intimate parts than cis-het norms make room for. Or you might engage in the Genital Interview and suddenly realise ‘Wow, yes, there IS something you cannot see with your eyes’.
You may experience this whether you’ve had surgery to change your body, or not. Your extraphysical genitals might ‘match up’ with your physical ones more after surgery. You may experience this as a person with or without trans experience.
Not experiencing or identifying with extraphysical genital experiences is valid!
This is a subjective and phenomenological experience (meaning the ways we experience things and the meanings things have in our first person, conscious experience). These experiences are not universal to everyone, or to every gender diverse person.
If the experiences described here do not resonate with you, what I say is;
‘Thank you. How do YOU experience your genitals, if you want to share?’
Sidenote: What does cis-het mean?
The term cis-het describes a person who is both cisgender and heterosexual. Cisgender people are those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Heterosexual people are romantically and/or sexually attracted to people of the ‘opposite’ gender — a concept that doesn’t embrace genders outside of the binary.
So, what do people mean by Energy Genitals and Extraphysical Genitals?
Here are some examples;
- A felt sense that a flesh part or orifice is present, when it does not exist in physical, flesh form.
- A melancholic sense that a body part or internal space SHOULD be there, that in turn creates longings, sensations and a sense of something missing.
- The experience of completeness, rightness or gender euphoria when the ‘outie’ flesh genitals are tucked away or when an addition like a packer is used and can be felt or seen.
- A feeling of presence or ‘aura’ of something sensation, shapes, movement that are experienced beyond the flesh body, or within it. They can possibly be related to breathing and breathwork practices, or orgasms without physical touch (energy orgasm).
- A strong erotic orientation towards owning external, prominent organs (flesh or imagined/a sense of) and with a sexual expression including thrusting or penetrating.
- A strong sense of internal, ‘receptive’ orifices/organs, and orientation towards desiring something inside them. This can include the desire for the experience of ‘muffing’; using inguinal canals to probe and penetrate (in trans fem people and trans women).
- The experience of using detachables (such as dildos) and prosthetics which become an inseparable aspect of a person’s sexual and erotic identity, with a distinct sense of connection to the detachable item.
- The experience of absence of interest, connection or acknowledgment of internal orifices and parts, so that they are minimised or erased from awareness, or from somatic or ‘energetic’ existence.
- An intimate orifice being experienced like a different internal body part (e.g an anus experienced as a vagina).
- Any other way a person describes their own experience of their genitals ‘beyond the flesh’, whether they frame their experience as positive, negative or a combination.
How long have I been aware of energy genitals ‘beyond the flesh’?
I first heard of the term ‘psychic dick’ from Patrick Califia’s work back in the 1990’s. It was the first time I heard this phenomenon recognised and given a name. It resonated with me and my partners and friends at the time. It added weight and meaning to the use of so-called ‘toys’ which these days I prefer calling detachables, or simply ‘cocks’!
Patrick — who was born in 1954 — is a trans man who has been part of the kink community since the mid-1970s. He is a writer and a retired therapist.
I was feeling nostalgic, so I reached out to Patrick. He kindly explained the term as it reflects his own experience as a trans man. You can read his words below. They were, after all, written especially for us!
I have a lot more to say about this topic, about where these experiences might arise from, who has them, where the spiritual and sacred comes into this, the existence of ‘Energy Orgasms’ and whether it is possible for us to create and cultivate our queer ‘Extra’ genitals?! Maybe there will be a future blog.
Patrick Califia’s words…
I am a trans man who is unable and unwilling to have my genitals surgically modified. But I like penetrating my partners, if that is something they also enjoy. So I use my hands, my tongue, and a variety of prosthetics to give us both that feeling of intimacy.
I like using a strap-on because it allows me to hold my partner, use my hands to stimulate all of their body, and fulfil my own need for a more gender-congruent body. I like being able to watch what I am doing and hear my partner enjoy being filled and stretched. I have sometimes been asked why I do this. The implication is that strap-on sex is not ‘real’.
Our culture is very dismissive of any type of penetration that is not performed by a ‘real’ cock. What I have to say to this is that my cock is very real because I have a psychic connection to it.
If the sex is good, I can ease into a state of validation for my maleness. I begin to be able to feel the head of my cock, the length of it, the angle of my erection, where I am inside my partner, how I can make it better. Their pleasure becomes a phallic experience for me. If we are really in sync, I can gradually build up sensations within my own body that are also phallic. It feels really good to me. It can sometimes make me cum.
I believe that the experience of psychic genitalia is very important to trans people. Many of us don’t want surgeons messing about with parts of our body that have already been a source of incongruity for us. I don’t want to lose sensation or go through years of painful healing.
I don’t dislike cunts in general, and I am grateful for the pleasure that my “real” genitals can experience. But I also need to feel that my body is male, that the outside of my body matches the inside or my spirit. I have frequently met trans women who have a parallel process. And of course, there are people of all genders who sometimes like to act out a fantasy of occupying a different body.
So much of sex is mental anyway. So much of pleasure is a spiritual experience. We all have enormous curiosity about other bodies, other ways of being in the world or in bed. We long for knowledge of The Other and for me, this is more than a fantasy. It is an experience of my body as I feel it should be. And my “psychic connection to my dick” does not go away when I take off my harness, get rid of the condom, and wash my prosthetic so I can put it back in the drawer.
I always have a cock, whether I am sitting around in bed, naked and watching TV, or getting dressed to go out. People have frequently commented that I always look like I have a big dick. That’s because I do. It is part of the closely held, psychic map of my body, the call I felt when I was only five years old to be a boy and grow up to be a man. The first question I was asked when I said this out loud was, “If you are a boy, where is your penis?”
And I can answer that now. It’s right here in my fist. Come get it if you want some.
Patrick Califia, Feb 2022.
Sidenote: Patrick thinks the reference to psychic cock appeared in the book (pictured above) called Speaking Sex to Power; The Politics of Queer Sex, 2001.