“Anger management” doesn’t sound like the title of a sexy post, does it? And the first half of this post will be somewhat clinical, but the connection between anger and sex is very real. And, in my most recent experience, I’ll bet it is not what you think – so read on!
Part 1: Raw Anger, Unchecked
I’ve had issues with anger management in my life. My father wasn’t generally an angry man, but when he got angry, he escalated quickly. And while he was never physically abusive to the family, he would get verbally abusive (and only as an adult did I realize this can be its own torture). He’s a large, strong man, so any raised voices came with the implicit threat of violence. He would use his presence against us, towering over us as he screamed. I’m just thankful he never crossed that line.
As a young adult, I took on many of these angry traits. I was a generally quiet, sweet guy… but when triggered, I’d yell and scream and use my posturing to threaten. My first college girlfriend bore the brunt of this as I was coming of age but not entirely sure how to be an adult, yet. And, of course, it’s only natural to emulate one’s parents.
During my freshman year I was dating Audra when I was having trouble with my dorm roommate. Audra lived just off campus in a two family home with her father who was a professor. Her apartment was separate from her father’s, so she had a lot of freedom and I effectively began living there to avoid my roommate. Proximity creates comfort and I began to take her for granted. Little things would make me angry and simple spats quickly became verbal battles.
Lousy little bitch
One evening I was particularly annoyed (probably at something petty) and I was screaming at her. As it escalated, I called her a lousy little bitch and then stormed out of the apartment. (My one saving grace was that I knew I needed to walk away sometimes. Too bad it was always way too late when I did). I took a walk around the neighborhood trying to cool down. When I returned, she was in bed asleep (or more likely acting as if asleep). I got ready for bed, happy to leave the incident behind me when I noticed something on the back of the bedroom door. Audra had painted the words lousy little bitch in tall, black letters on the door.
The words tormented me and I can’t recall for sure, but I doubt I slept that night. And while I was first terribly angry she did this, it didn’t take long for that anger to turn to self-loathing. This was a familiar cycle for me that soon turned to self-pity and then remorse. It’s a terrible cycle and one that needed to be broken (not that I understood this at the time).
She forced those words back on me, but did so gently. Yet that made it all the more powerful.
We never spoke of those three words and after a week she painted over them and they were removed from our everyday life. But they have remained with me over the years and now, 30-odd years later, I still remember these words. I used to be ashamed of that night, but as I matured, I came to respect the need for that night, and the need for the pain that Audra put me through – in response to the pain I inflicted on her.
The tough love of forcing those words back on me, yet doing so in such a gentle way, has had a profound impact on me. I see the back of that door in my mind’s eye any time I feel my anger rising. The gentleness of her action became its power and the visual in my mind has grown stronger and stronger over the years.
Audra didn’t stop my anger, but her actions changed the path of my anger. When later married to Jeannie, we still dealt with my anger in the early years of our relationship, but it never escalated quite as poorly as before. As I got hot, those words appeared and kept me (somewhat) in check. Admittedly, I wasn’t ever taught what to do with the energy build up, so it wasn’t all roses as I’d try to bottle up the anger. But Jeannie was always a strong partner helping me on a journey to re-frame that anger. A journey I’m not sure either of us knew was going somewhere so positive.
Part 2: Anger and Masculine Energy – The Sexual Connection
I recently had the opportunity to do a few private, remote sessions with a sex coach. Before we began I completed a questionnaire on my expectations and focused on what we could accomplish in just a few sessions. Something I was working on with success, but I felt could go further, was tapping into my masculine energy. For much of my adult life I’ve leaned more on my feminine and tried to please everyone and never create conflicts. I was afraid of my masculine likely due to my history of anger and the threat of violence.
The powerful exercise “Fuck Kill”
Among other things the coach took me through was a guided exercise called “Fuck Kill.” (Not to be confused with the social game “Kiss, Marry, Kill” – definitely not the same thing). In this exercise I was told to allow myself to express fully whatever I was feeling as we focused on these two words. I was told to allow my deepest, most savage thoughts to come to the surface. My thoughts, statements, and actions should be fully unchecked. I was seated on a bed with lots of pillows and the various pillows would be the people that I was to Fuck or Kill – so I could act out fully, yet maintain a safety from any harm in reality.
I’m oversimplifying this exercise for narrative purposes and do not suggest anyone try this on their own without proper guidance.
For about 20-minutes I moved between episodes of acting out a scene with a killing and a scene with fucking. Aside from “go deep within yourself and don’t censor your scenes” there were practically no rules. The idea is to allow those deep desires and thoughts to be expressed, even if they aren’t acceptable thoughts. For example, there’s no circumstance in which killing someone is OK, but the exercise creates a space to test what savage, killing thoughts exist within. Three separate scenes were enacted for each Fuck and Kill.
If I described the entirety of my scenes, you’d think I was a depraved individual and might want to lock me up. I’m going to refrain from sharing too many actual details. If you know me and want to hear more, just ask.
Suffice it to say that all the scenes were way more intense than I expected. And I did, in fact, become the killer in my kill scenes. And in my fuck scenes, things started kinky but acceptable; and then I basically raped a woman in my mind.
Did I just imagine tying up a woman and raping her?
I was initially terrified at what I had experienced. “How could I have these thoughts?” But my coach quickly turned this around and told me this was precisely the expected outcome. Society has quieted the savage within us because that’s part of what’s needed for communities to exist peacefully. But, as a result, we’ve pushed these feelings down instead of learning to channel them into something productive.
Those scenes, just like the words lousy little bitch, remain burned into my mind’s eye. And now, with the tools I’ve been given, I can channel that savage energy into something positive – the right kind of masculine energy. I can openly be dominant and controlling of Jeannie when the time and mood is right. I can be the powerful person a man is meant to be, without being manipulative, toxic or threatening. I can help a woman in need, but not by matching her feminine energy, instead providing her the focused, masculine energy she may need for balance.
And, most of all, I can be the powerful, focused, intense sex partner that Jeannie has always wanted. I can take control and “make her do things” because I know how to express this energy and power, but also know there are boundaries. Or, even more exciting, I can safely push those boundaries because she knows there’s a safe word and I know how to stop when needed.
In other words, I can be savage, but also in control.
All of this has made for a better me overall. Sex is improved, but more importantly, so am I. As a lover. As a partner. And as a person.