This post was written by Community Partner, Pleasure Coach & Sex Educator Andrea Bertoli
What does sexuality mean to you, as a man? What aspects of your sexuality are joyful, and which are challenging for you? In this article, men’s sexuality coach Andrea Bertoli will share her wisdom about the potency of sexual energy, how to cultivate it, and how men can get more in touch with their bodies.
Some Thoughts on Men’s Sexuality
When I tell men I’m a sex coach, sometimes they have a strong reaction—”OH! I don’t need this type of help; I’m already amazing in bed.”
OK, sure. This might be true. And yet… I see so much defensiveness and posturing in that type of response, and I understand why this is necessary. Men are socialized to have such limited access to emotional expression, and being vulnerable or asking questions about sex just doesn’t fit into this limited definition of what’s ‘manly.’ Men are expected to be amazing in bed, and yet are not given the education or tools about what that actually looks like.
When men do open up about sex, there is so much tenderness. So many of the men that I speak to tell me of body shame, physical harm, emotional abuse, and insecurity about their sexuality. So many of them are ‘nice guys’ who have worked really hard to be #notallmen. For many, this means hiding away their needs and desires, and squashing their authentic sexual expression. Most people don’t know how to ask for what they want, how to connect with their own bodies, and are at a loss for how to be better partners and lovers. When we dive in and start to explore the origins of some of their vulnerability around sex, the work can be incredibly healing for the individuals, for their partners, and for the collective. It is a blessing to hold space for this exploration.
What is Sexual Energy?
Sexual energy resides in us all, and yet, sometimes it’s hard to access because we’ve not been taught to pay attention to this most potent of energies. We feel it and say we’re ‘horny’ but what if this energy could be so much more? I work with a lot of men to tap into their sexual energy in new ways, explore their pleasure capacity, and find their path to deeper sex and connection.
Most men tell me about their self-pleasure practices: super fast, super tight grip, breath held, and often really quiet. If we grew up pleasuring ourselves at all, we probably knew it was considered naughty and therefore needed to be hidden, quiet, and secretive. But most of us don’t change our habits as we get older, and then when we take that type of practice into the bedroom, it might lead to challenges. This might look like erectile unpredictability, arousal challenges, or something else in your body, and it’s all very common.
One way to repattern our pleasure pathways is to tune into our arousal process. This starts with slowing down, changing our touching habits, and really practicing feeling the sexual energy as it expands within our bodies. We can feel this energy and quickly expel it via orgasm, or we can learn to cultivate it, nurture it, and hold this vibrant life-force energy within our entire body. Sexual energy is creative energy, get-shit-done-energy, parenting energy, work energy, and so much more! We learn to create and hold more of this with embodiment practices.
My Top 3 Erotic Embodiment Practices for Men
Embodiment is the practice of getting into the body, and there are many pathways to drop in. I invite you to notice: How am I breathing? Where am I feeling tension? How can I enjoy this sensation more? How is my energy? When we learn to tune into these sensations, hold awareness, then we can begin to experience sexual energy in a new way.
The first thing to tune into is your breath. When you are aroused, what is your breath doing? Can you slow it down, can you move it throughout the body? Can you use the breath to guide your arousal? What if you take the breath down into the pelvis, move it into the heart, and all the way down to your toes?
Secondly, we tune into sensation. What am I feeling, and where? Rather than trying to distract yourself to last longer, the solution is really to pay more attention. The more you can tune into the sensation and pleasure that’s in your body, the more pleasure you can hold. The more you can hold, the more expansive your pleasure can be and the more pleasure you can give as a lover. This is a practice and it takes time to master it.
I guide men to use a 1-10 tracking system to help visualize their arousal and learn to hold their arousal. This gives them a deeper understanding of pleasure, and (a common goal) much more control over when they orgasm. Number 1 is baseline (no arousal) and 10 is going over—what we sex educators would call orgasmic inevitability. This is easier to practice during solo play before bringing into partnered play. There’s no right or wrong answer, so just try to practice with the scales. Arouse yourself to a 5 or 6, then back off. Arouse yourself to a 7 or 8, then back off. Playing this way is called edging and can really help you learn more about your body and help you experience more pleasure.
Finally, we focus on presence. Learning to be attentive to your own pleasure will help you know your own body and it can help you better understand your partner, too. Learning to be a better lover starts with a focused attention and presence on what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and doing so with intention. I offer guided touch practices for self and other to help tune into more subtle sensations, learn how to slow down, and really practice giving in new ways. Learning how to touch with curiosity and playfulness can be super healing for all bodies, and it can help us feel more open and safe in our playtime.
These practices, along with so many others, help men feel better in their bodies and feel more open to their unique and beautiful sexual expression. It is so incredible to watch someone find a new sensation, learn how to open themselves up, and practice being vulnerable. These are the skills that bring us closer to our most authentic selves, and help us be better partners and excellent lovers.
One Final Thought about Men’s Sexuality
In case you’re wondering, what does a woman know about working with men’s sexuality? It’s a valid question, and sharing my thoughts on it can be trust-building with my new clients.
Firstly, unlike a lot of men’s coaches, I’ve dated men nearly my whole life. I’ve lived with, loved, been harmed by, and had sex with lots of men over my decades, so I have a unique perspective that (most) men don’t share. Living in this world as a feminine person gives me a deep understanding about how the patriarchy harms all bodies and gender expressions—including men. And as a feminine person working with men, I can provide a beautiful safe space for discovering the deeper parts of yourself. Being a strong feminine and holding space for the masculine is surprisingly and beautifully healing for many of the men I work with. These corrective emotional experiences can heal decades of harm and shame. For the more formal sex nerds here, I also have a wide-ranging education and multiple certifications, as well as a Master’s Degree in gender studies!
Andrea Devon Bertoli
is a Pleasure Coach and Sex Educator based in Honolulu, Hawaii. In workshops, classes, and coaching, Andrea works with people to help them improve intimate communication, deeply explore their desires, and practice sensual connection. Her approach uses tools from Tantra, mindfulness, and yoga to help people find new ways of relating to their own body and others, and helps people rethink sex and pleasure. She is certified as a practitioner of Urban Tantra, a certified Sex Educator, a student of Somatic Sex Education, and has a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is also a yogi, a surfer, and a plant-based chef.