Sophisticated sex can be a portal to bliss
On the nightstand next to her bed, life and sex coach Kim Anami has a rose-quartz dildo adorned with Swarovski crystals and marabou feathers on display. It’s perched on a 24-karat-gold stand, and it’s a $2,500 reminder that sexuality should never be hidden in the back room of some seedy sex shop.
“It’s a beautiful piece of art,” said Anami in a soft voice.
Sitting in a coffee shop on Granville Island, Anami spoke about tantric sex and her fearless approach to all of it. She has been a student of tantra for over 20 years and has spent the last six years teaching individuals and couples to become conscious of who they are sexually.
“If you think of your life as a pie chart, divided into sections like work, recreation, and family, your sex life ought to be a huge part of that,” Anami said.
Tantra is a philosophy that has roots in many Asian countries, including India, Cambodia, and China, and has become synonymous with the notion of a liberated approach to sex. Sex is celebrated beyond the physical; the mental and emotional components are not only embraced but recognized as integral parts of orgasmic bliss.
Tantra’s blend of mind and body has long been familiar to Anami, who has practised martial arts for most of her life.
“I’m fascinated with the awareness, cultivation, and exchange of energy,” she said, “and my martial-arts studies have helped develop that in me.”
Anami prides herself on the clean, healthy life she leads, which includes organic foods, daily meditation, preventive and alternative medicine, and, of course, a good dose of amazing sex.
For Anami, fantastic sex comes down to the ability to surrender to one’s hedonistic and sensual side, and do so without judgment or shame.
“I think sex should be one of the main places where we can be ourselves completely, nakedly, and vulnerably,” she said. “It’s where we allow the parts of ourselves that don’t come out in day-to-day life to finally emerge.”
Her raw and unapologetic approach comes from her fascination with the psychology and philosophy of sex. In particular, Anami is an enthusiast of Jungian psychology.
A pioneer in depth psychology—the psychoanalytical study of the unconscious—Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist whose work included the study of human personality and behaviour in terms of archetypes. Jung outlined five distinct archetypes, one of which he called the “shadow” and described as the areas of the unconscious that are socially unacceptable and often repressed.
“Jung explained that the more these areas and thoughts were suppressed, the larger the shadow would grow,” Anami said. She cited the example of a woman who craves being dominated in the bedroom. Her fantasy could be considered a shadow desire. Surrendering to and experiencing that submissive part of herself gives her the opportunity to occupy a more dominant, take-charge space in her day-to-day life.
This blunt and assertive approach to sexuality is seeing a resurgence, according to John Ince, co-owner of the Art of Loving store, a sex toy store in Vancouver that prides itself on being sex-positive and educational.
“In the 21st century women became really interested in wanting to have a full range of experiences when it came to sex and basically becoming more sexually sophisticated,” the leader of the B.C. Sex Party (a political party that promotes libertarian attitudes towards sex) told the Straight in a phone interview. “The same is true for men.”
Ince compares the sexual movement of today to what happened with wine in the ’50s and ’60s. “The average person couldn’t tell you the difference between a Merlot and a Chardonnay back then,” he said. “Now there are sommelier courses and an entire lifestyle dedicated to the pleasures one can derive from wine.”
Ince points to what he calls the “sexual sophistication” of the culture as an emerging movement in Canada. “This is a visible outcome of a large demographic trend becoming more sex-positive and less and less frightened about sexuality,” he said.
A few days later, in an apartment in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, candles and vanilla incense filled the room, throw pillows and lush rugs were strewn about, and seven women drank wine, ate sushi, and discussed why they should be “fucking with a purpose”.