Singing and sex are two intimately connected human functions – perhaps even two of our favorites. And, over the years, as both a voice teacher and Feldenkrais® Practitioner, having noticed and subtly worked with these connections with many individuals, I have found that these functions are like two sides of the same coin – one affects the other/the other affects the one.
Aside from the obvious connections between singing and sex:
- Both require genuine presence to be authentic
- Both require whole self-expression to be connected with self and other
- Both involve primitive sounds, the pelvic floor and freedom in the hip joints
- Both require vulnerability
Somatic approach that connect singing with sex
Both are what I would call “whole self functions” that require a similar kind of physical/self organization for all of the above to even be possible.
At first, these connections became obvious to me when students (usually cisgender gay men and cisgender straight women) would complain about certain physical aspects of their sex lives – discomfort, fear, pain and even inability and shut-down around certain parts of their sex life. For gay men, it was usually around an inability to comfortably and pleasurably engage in anal sex.
What I started to see, when asking more questions and endeavoring to understand what was going on (or not going on as the case may have been) was that, from a somatic POV, their physical/self organization “between the sheets” that related to their sexual difficulties was the same exact physical/self organization that was underlying their vocal difficulties. And, since I knew already, at least in principle, that “everything is connected with everything” it seemed possible that we could “feed two birds with one piece of bread” in our voice lessons by exploring this organization in general.
Your voice affects your singing, and your singing affects your voice
We never worked with anything directly sexual in voice lessons – ethics and professional boundaries and all – but, if the student felt safe talking about it and allowing their sex life to be a part of the vocal conversation, we were able to work with their body/voice organization/optimization in such a way that included – even if just by association – their organization for sexual activity. After all, you ARE your voice – so every part of your life affects your voice/singing and vice versa.
And, wouldn’t you know it… after some lessons with the idea of this connection floating in the background of mainly my awareness, exploring voice, movement and in particular a more optimal organization of the entire torso, these sex-shy and/or sex-pained students would report greater ease, pleasure and spontaneity in their sex life. Go figure!
Also, as a cis gay white male with a penis and anus of my very own, I began to explore my personal vocal/sexual organization with my long-term partner. This, in combination with my somatic training, some research, some conversations with friends with vaginas and a little creativity, led me to understand some principles that I have been working with that apply equally to both sexes regardless of gender and sexual orientation.
Can we get a little graphic for a moment?
Listen… I have anal sex. I bottom. And, trust me… even with all of my training and body-awareness it’s not always easy. Plus, being a somanaut, I’m always looking to improve any physical activity I may engage in as part of my whole self development.
Relating body and breath coordination to sex for singers
Once, during the act, many years ago, I started to experiment with how I organized my breathing, throat and voice while being penetrated. And, I found that it was totally possible to open, widen and broaden my pharynx/throat (using particular sounds and movements) in order to open, widen and broaden my rectum/anal canal. This was a revelation that led to more and more revelations…
It became obvious (to me and my partner) that if I narrowed in my throat I automatically narrowed in my pelvic floor and vice versa. There was a direct connection. So, of course I did more research and experimentation and found new and better ways to enjoy having anal sex by way of my mouth/throat/voice.
The sex for singers workshop is on!
This has led to a general interest and fascination between the functional/somatic sex/voice connection over the years. I’ve secretly devised workshops about this – usually for gay men since that’s my personal experience – that have never actually happened. Either I’ve been too embarrassed or people were too embarrassed to attend such a workshop.
Well, not any more!
I’m doing it. It’s happening.
Next month, in fact.
And, it will be on zoom, so you can explore all of this in the comfort and safety of your own home. Also we’ll have the sound off and videos can be on or off… so that each person can regulate their own involvement as needed.
If you are interested – whether you are gay or straight, male or female, binary or non-binary, I’ll be leading a 4-class Series called SENSE AND SENSUALITY that explores this voice/sex connection in more detail. Check it out here: thesingingself.com/events