Pets, sex, reading about tantra

During a mission to get a couple of books for holiday gifts (look out family, I have eliminated my filter on gifts related to self-help and patriarchy), I picked up a copy of Urban Tantra for myself. The author, Barbara Carrellas, seems like a fab and interesting person in the realm of Annie Sprinkle, Betty Dodson, Kate Bornstein, etc., so I decided to risk offending my atheist sensibilities.

So far, as long as I interpret all talk of Kundalini snakes and chakra colours metaphorically and keep an eye out for my personal standards of cultural appropriation, the ideas and practices in the book are useful and fun and kind of adorable. I laugh with delight at least twice per chapter. It helps that besides being “urban,” the book is super queer, feminist, safety-aware, BDSM-friendly and supportive of sex workers.

My top delighted giggle so far is this suggestion from the chapter called “How to Touch.” She’s talking about something she calls “the Resilient Edge of Resistance,” a balance between pressure and support, touch that isn’t too hard or too light but just at the edge where you can gradually go further. She suggests some exercises to practice finding this edge, including this one:

Practice by petting a cat or a dog. Pets give great feedback. If they stick around and beg for more, you’ve found their Resilient Edge of Resistance.

I don’t usually think of that as feedback, but of course it is! I’m happy to see somebody giving pets credit for being in touch with their bodies and uninhibited about communicating feedback. That seems genuinely body-positive, to not just acknowledge our animal natures but admire other animals’ skills.