Redirect your hyperactive libido towards creating a more successful and fulfilling life.
If you’ve ever regretfully cheated on your partner, or if you’ve been accused of inappropriate behaviour, or worse, sexual harassment at work, or if you waste more time than you’d like surfing porn, then your sex drive could be doing you more harm than good. Your need for kicks feels out of control. You’ve attended Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings. You’ve tried reigning in your lustiness, but to no avail. If you deny yourself erotic rewards, you become angry, irritable, and discontent. You turn into a werewolf and you feel like you might explode. You’ve become aware of this, and have come to terms with the fact that your concupiscence is part of who you are. But what will you do with all that pent up frustration and restlessness? The good news is that your bane can also be your blessing. Being highly-sexed usually also means that you have a stronger than average drive to achieve greatness is whatever you do.
High Achievers Are Hornier
If you can identify with the above, I’m going to bet that most people who know you describe you as a Type A: a confident, go-getter with a strong, dynamic personality. Highly motivated people tend to have more testosterone than average, which also accounts for their high levels of motivation. Scientific research links high sex drive to ambitiousness, and dozens of studies, including one by psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa from the University of Canterbury found that men who are more successful in their careers have more sex, and more sexual partners. In a De Spiegel interview, Dutch sociobiologist Johan van der Dennen said that compared to “normal men”, powerful men have “an overactive libido”, and that “powerful women also have larger-than-average sexual appetites”. Call it Eros, qi, life force, mojo, or plain horniness, your rapacious desire for more, better, or newer sex is probably the very thing driving you to become a champion at what you do. Unfortunately, to the detriment of loving relationships, careers, and reputations, many people with really high sex drives often get tripped up by the very “force” needed to help them achieve what’s truly important to them.
What Is Sex Transmutation?
In the 1937 self-help classic “Think and Grow Rich”, author Napoleon Hill coined the term “sex transmutation” to explain how the sexual drive can be mastered by “the switching of the mind from thoughts of physical expression, to thoughts of some other nature”. According to Hill, “when driven by [sex] desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, willpower, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times.” He adds, “When harnessed and redirected along other lines, this motivating force maintains all of its attributes of keenness of imagination, courage, etc., which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or any other professional calling, including, the accumulation of riches.” In his book “The Self-Actualization Manifesto”, author Scott Jeffrey defines sex transmutation as “the process of converting sexual energy into some other drive, motivation, or energy of a higher order.”
Like Hill and Jeffrey, Taoist practitioners have long understood the benefits of redirecting lustful mental energy away from the physical to the metaphysical plane. The Taoists compare sexual energy to fire, which is both a creative force and potentially destructive force. They believe that sexual drive is psychic energy that’s most potent in latency, when it exists as “passion” within the mind, and hasn’t yet been spent in orgasm. According to Taoist master Mantak Chia, sex energy, when controlled and properly used, becomes an aid in the spiritual pursuit of enlightenment. Chia even went as far as to encourage men to have sex without ejaculating to intensify the experience without expending precious qi or life force. In the Taoist text “The Sexual Teachings of the White Tigress”, author Hsi Lai teaches women to take a more restrained approach to sexual intercourse to maintain their health and youth.
So, if your sexual obsessions are bringing you more grief that good, perhaps rechanelling your lust can help you live a calmer, more peaceful and purposeful life. Here’s how to redirect the “keenness of imagination, courage, willpower, persistence, and creative ability” that Hill speaks of from your sexual life to your professional and creative life.
Keenness of Imagination
An embarrassed but amused male friend once showed me an inappropriate text message he received from an older female colleague after they attended a work lunch together. “I was picturing what you look like naked,” said the text with a “smiling face with heart-shaped eye” and “face savoring delicious food” emoji. This colleague of his — and anyone who’s been in the grips of lustful fixation– knows exactly what Hill means when he writes about “keenness of imagination”. The smitten spend hours “picturing” thrilling scenarios and fantasy encounters with the person or object of their desire. What’s behind the smutty visualizations however, is a powerful, lively, and imaginative mind — a goldmine for anyone hoping to do innovative, meaningful work. The hungry, excitable, fantasizing mind is the wellspring of much of humanity’s great achievements. In the movie “Dead Poet’s Society”, Robin William’s teacher character John Keating tells his students, “Language was invented for one reason, boys — to woo women.” He goes to say, “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.”
This passion needs to be released one way or another if we are to maintain our psychological equanimity. To free yourself from the tyranny of your sexual urges, find a project you feel passionately about — this can be a work initiative, an avocation, a big adventure, a sport you’ve always wanted to try, a skill you’ve always wanted learn, or even volunteering — and redirect your very healthy imagination towards seeing how these projects will take shape to bring greater satisfaction to your life.
Watch the male praying mantis braving death in the arms of a female after sex, or the wasp spider, whose gets castrated then eaten by his mate after the deed is done, and you’ll understand why Hill says that the pursuit of sex takes courage. “Those of us who have a robust striatum (the part that deals with goal-related behaviors such as sexual gratification and achievement), plentiful dopamine, and a reasonable level of testosterone learn early on what William Butler Yeats called ‘the fascination of what’s difficult.’ The striatum is most active when, say, your boss stands in your door and offers you an opportunity that sounds vaguely like a threat,” writes Laurence Gonzales and Vincent Dixon in a Men’s Health article. In regular folks who experience sexual frustration now and then, sex brings relief, but for those with hyperactive striatums, the neurological rewards that come from sexual conquests can be addictive because they bring on an adrenaline rush, so high achievers feel lit-up and excited whenever they’re turned on.
If you’re a high achiever, rather than succumb to temptation, seek out other ways to get your adrenal buzz by assigning yourself tasks that are so challenging they frighten you. Be brave and get out of your comfort zones in your professional life. The courage (and we’re not talking Dutch courage here) that’s needed to chat up that hot girl or guy at the bar is the same courage that can spur aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own business, nudge investors to take a chance on a dark horse with unicorn potential, or guide artists and writers to boldly pursue their callings against the odds.
Defined as “the strength of will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes or plans”, willpower in the context of sex means doing whatever it takes to procure whatever gets you off, no matter what the cost. Squids, too eager to get down to business, pierce holes into their mates before inserting sperm into their cuts. Elephant seals have been known to crush hordes of seal pups in a mating frenzy. And it’s hard to keep count of the number of politicians, wealthy businessmen and celebrities, who, adamant on eating their forbidden fruits, have fallen from grace, or been charged with sexual crimes. Another definition of willpower is “firmness of will; the ability to control oneself and determine one’s actions”. Once transmuted, the sex instinct transforms willfulness into focused and purposeful intention — the most powerful tool for setting goals and seeing them through.
I knew a struggling writer name Jed (not his real name), who was a real lothario once. In his early twenties, Jed made list of all his sexual conquests, where he included the names, ages, star signs, nationalities, hair and eye color or all the girls he had had sex with, as well as how well each of them rated in the sack. Tired of these meaningless encounters, Jed gave up chasing women, and became a successful scriptwriter and entrepreneur. These days, he still makes lists, but these new lists are very different from his old one. He now keeps a list of story ideas, a list of potential or existing clients who he is to contact or stay in touch with, and a list of potential avenues for business development. When Jed completes and checks off an item on one of these lists, he feels great. The amount of time Jed once spent pursuing and romancing new paramours, he now spends completing television or advertisement scripts.
Our sex instinct is such a powerful one because sex is about extending and expanding our identity. Sex enables us to gain more territory — in the form of access to a body or bodies that we previously did not have access to. It allows us to increase our influence — when we mate, we have the opportunity to “sow our wild oats” and populate the world with mini versions of ourselves. So by shifting the force of this instinct from the physical to the psychic plane, our consciousness, hopes and dreams can travel further out into the universe, and make a bigger impact in the world, and on those around us.
Successful courting and mating requires persistence. To determine whether or not his lady is ready for action, the male giraffe rubs his head against her backside till she pees, then drinks her urine to find out whether or not she is in heat. The bird of paradise wows females with spectacular dance moves he’s diligently practiced for years before he even became an adult. Watch male lobsters boxing over who gets the girl, or a bowerbird slogging away to build a complex, tunnel-like nest to impress and entice females, and it becomes clear that sexual desire inspires almost trance-like persistence. Human beings however, are different from animals, because once a mate is secured, we then need to continue working hard to “keep things fresh” if we want to maintain our their sexual interest. To hold on to our sexual conquests, we need to entertain and intrigue them, and most importantly innovate and deliver value-adds now and then to keep them from getting bored.
In our careers, we should also entertain, intrigue and add value if we want to progress and deliver better goods or services. Rather than going through hoops to bag the next hottie, view your clients and audience as potential “conquests”. Aim to keep them interested, and always do your best to surprise them with new and useful information, products, skills or services that will make working with you a rewarding experience for them. When rerouted from carnal pursuits towards professional, intellectual or creative endeavors, persistence leads to ever-increasing professional growth and long-lasting career benefits. Persistence means not giving up when others do, but sticking to your chosen path and constantly bettering your skills so you can become the best in your field.
Raymond Blanc, one of the world’s most respected chefs and restaurateurs believes that a high libido is a good indicator of creative potential. “The sex drive is linked to ambition and creativity — the more creative you are, the more sex you want,” he says. The lustful individual expends much mental energy dreaming up schemes for how to win sex from their desired mate. They plan what to wear, what to say, how to do their hair, even what type of knowledge to acquire and what music to listen to in order to make the best impression. They forward plan to create situations that will allow them to be alone with their “target”. If they’re doing something they ought not to, they schedule secret rendezvous, and need to come up with a slew of excuses to keep suspicious parties off their back. Such wily game-planning requires immense creative thinking, which is a skill that translates beautifully to career development, and personal growth.
Instead of plotting your next sexual hit, head to the drawing board, or open a blank page in your journal, and think about how you can take the next step to progress in your career, how you can create that dream role at the company you work for which doesn’t yet exist, or how you can tackle your next big creative project.
Beyond the Physical
In many cultures and religions, birth is one of the main purposes of sex. This is because sexual thoughts contain seeds of pure creativity. In the physical expression of sex, creative power exits one’s body before it’s extinguished, or transferred into an embryonic vessel. However, if sexual energy is withheld rather than too-frivolously and frequently physically expelled, then your passions enliven but adapt, and are compelled to find different means of expression in the form of art, music, storytelling, acting, the inception of a new businesses, or the the expansion of empires. So rather than flounder with your troublesome sexual desires, bring your powerful libido to submission to unleash the full potential of your creative and intellectual abilities.
Michele is the author of “Without: Stories of lack and longing”, and blogger at confoundingconditions.com and thefinickywanderer.com