Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pleasure vs Altruism

In the book Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman, the authors reveal research that demonstrates that our brain has both a distinct 'pleasure center' and 'altruism center.'

1. "Unlike, say, the parts of our brain that control movement and speech, the pleasure center and the altruism center cannot both function at the same time: either one or the other is in control."

For the record, the 'centers' are named:

pleasure = nucleus accumbens
altruism = posterior superior temporal sulcus

2. "The nucleus accumbens is, evolutionarily speaking, one of the most primitive parts of the brain, one that has traditionally been associated with our 'wild side': it's the area of the brain that experiences the thrill of going out on a hot date, that sparks a sports fan' s exuberance when his team pulls out a last minute victory, and that seeks out the excitement of Las Vegas. Scientists call this region the pleasure center because it is associated with the high that results from drugs, sex, and gambling."

3. "At it's most extreme, the pleasure center drives addiction. A drug like cocaine, for example, triggers the nucleus accumbens to release dopamine, which creates a feeling of contentment and ecstasy. The reason cocaine is so addictive is that the pleasure center goes into overdrive and the threshold for excitement climbs higher and higher."

4. "Now, compare this reaction with our neurological reaction to altruistic behavior.... [where the] posterior superior temporal sulcus lights up. This is the part of the brain responsible for social interactions -- how we perceive others, how we relate, and how we form bonds."

5. "It is as if we have two 'engines' running in our brains that can't operate simultaneously. We can approach a task either altruistically or from a self-interested perspective. The two different engines run on different fuels and also need different amounts of those fuels to fire up. It doesn't take much to fuel the altruism center: all you need is the sense that you're helping someone or making a positive impact."

Yes. Now let me combine this with my own perspective -- how I relate to sex and seduction -- and what I teach.

First of all, I don't feel a compelling need to pursue sex. I love sex, and, I am really good at it. And with minimal attention-getting effort on my part, opportunities come to me. Read my article "Appreciation vs Desire." I appreciate sex immensely, while releasing the need to pursue it. I call the shared-appreciation of pleasure, sensuality and sex "seduction." I call the self-interested pursuit of pleasure, sensuality, and sex "pick-up."

Furthermore, I see the pursuit of anything as inherently needy. While I appreciate pleasure and novelty, I am truly neither a pleasure-seeker nor a novelty-seeker. Perhaps I am just lazy, but I prefer things to come to me. I state this preference, and things do come. Indeed. I do not get off on pursuit. I do not experience a "thrill of the chase." I do not eroticize conquest. I prefer to "order in" rather than "go out and pick-up."

Second, I see sex and seduction as tremendous gifts. With me, sex is the gift of my energy, confidence, esteem, enthusiasm, talent and skill. With me, seduction is the gift of intensifying desire and/or arousal. Absolutely I get a sense that I am "making a positive impact." I have always had the perspective of giving and sharing. I want to show her what's possible. I want to blow her mind. I want to take her higher than she's ever been.

Sex is generally a very neutral act for me. What turns and encounter from good to great is always what I have to give. It is always my own energy, my own intention, my own intensity. This is what I bring to the bedroom. These are my gift and I give selflessly. My intention to give is independent of partner, position, location, technique or tone. For example, I can be quite dominant and in control and still give. I am, in fact, giving the gift of that tone, that intensity. The flavor may be unique -- we all have different tastes -- but the dish always contains generosity. And it is always served hot.

Third, I am fine with being a woman's drug. I attract the pleasure-seekers, and that's fine. Use my body, my brain, and my ability as the tools they are. I will awaken your senses. I will excite your mind and ignite your body. I will create rapture, ecstasy, bliss, and any other dopamine-induced state. My ability to do this has as much to do with my perspective -- that I am altruistically giving a valuable gift -- as it does with erotic intuition or sexual skill.

A huge part of Sexual Excellence is learning the appreciation of sexuality from a place of high self-esteem and apparent abundance. Sexual Excellence is about moving away from the self-centered pursuit of pleasure. This has everything to do with motivation and intention. Your 'pleasure center' will go crazy while in the act; enjoy it. The question is, what is your motivation to get there? And what is the process that you choose?

Jason Savage


Anonymous Anthony said...

Man is an end in himself, not a tool, or means to an end, for others to use at any expense but their own.

January 21, 2011  

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