Sex and the Alexander Technique – Part 1
About 20 years ago, I was somehow persuaded by Jeremy Chance to be the Guest Editor of the Sexuality Issue of Direction Journal.
Why me? I have no idea, but it did seem like an interesting challenge.
The main problem I faced was there was almost nothing about the topic to found anywhere.
Dr. Wilfred Barlow’s book, The Alexander Principle (1973), did have a chapter titled “The Psycho-Mechanics of Sex” which I read through a couple of times with almost total incomprehension. I was unable to fathom the connection he was (I assume) trying to make between the Alexander Technique and sex. (I fully accept that this could reflect my own limitations and would certainly love to hear from anyone who found his chapter useful.)
On the other hand, Judith Stansky, an American teacher of the Alexander Technique, was quite explicit and easy to understand. Her book The Alexander Technique – Joy in the Life of Your Body (1981), contained a section titled “Why Changes for the Better Occur in your Sex Life” in which she provides examples from her students and, most powerfully, from her own life:
My first love relationship was a beautiful and exciting sexual experience. However, I never experienced an orgasm. My lover was very skilled and I often felt close to coming through but it never happened…Then one time it happened. My partner had done nothing different. But I had. I had taken Alexander lessons…
As my pelvis became freed in the Alexander lessons, I moved more freely in sexual activity…My pelvis fell into good alignment, and allowed the stream of sexuality to flow unhindered to completion.
Apart from one fairly obscure paragraph* in Constructive Conscious Control, F. Matthias Alexander made no mention of the benefits of his work with regard to sex in any of his four books.
So that was the situation I faced as Editor in the early 1990s.
Fortunately, things have changed a good deal since then and the new developments (and a recent discovery of mine about F. M. Alexander’s views on the subject) will be the topic of Part 2.
* Here’s the FM quote: The very conception of a separation and class-distinction between “body, mind, and soul ” indicates the presence of a more than usually potent stimulus which could emanate only from a condition of overbalancing in some direction. As far as we can learn, the poor body came into disgrace on account of the ” lusts of the flesh,” themselves a natural result of a mal-co-ordinated condition, and if we may judge by the special laws and customs which were formulated, the chief results of this unbalanced condition would seem to have manifested themselves in the sexual sphere. Else why should this sphere have been particularly selected for condemnation, seeing that the satisfaction of the needs and desires of the reproductive system is as essential as the satisfaction of the needs and desires of the digestive and assimilative systems to the welfare of the individual and of the race, and that the results of satisfying the sensory desires and needs of these three systems are normal and salutary, as long as moderate use and not abuse is the rule? The evil of over-eating is only equalled by that of over-drinking, and surely in the last analysis the abuse of the sexual act is intensified by one or the other, or by both. A man or an animal placed on a low diet does not evince any particular desires in the way of sex-relations. As a matter of fact, the very reverse would prove to be the rule. – Sensory Appreciation and its Relation to Man’s Evolutionary Development, Constructive Conscious Control by F. Matthias Alexander
Image courtesy of digitalart FreeDigitalPhotos.net