I Won’t Hide Around Sex Anymore: A Very Personal Note

Michael flashes his best 'merman' smile and pose.

Feeling free in my body — a little silly — and loving life. : )

Hi friends,

On this blog and in my ‘Opti-Mystic Meditations’ newsletter, it gives me joy to bring you the very best resources in spirituality. As a teacher and fellow seeker, I love sharing gems that actually meet us where we live in our daily lives, bringing us into greater communion with God, ourselves, each other, and our world. 

From my deep roots in Christianity to flowering branches in Sapiential (Wisdom) streams from across history and the planet, I’m no stranger to the power of imagination and hypothesis. At the same time, esoteric engagement has to lead me to real results to be enduring — if it isn’t practical, it isn’t spiritual, my house church mentors used to say. 

And as the brilliant, complicated North African bishop Augustine of Hippo (354–430) is summarized as saying, “All truth is God’s truth.” 

Has your search for truth brought you to strange places sometimes?

Places that former — more fearful, constricted, fundamentalist versions of yourself — would condemn as bad, wrong, or dangerous?

And did you move forward regardless? 

Where has seeking after truth (no matter the cost) brought you in life? 

Seeking truth in all her guises has cost me a lot, but the search (and the finding) is an investment I wouldn’t trade for anything. 

When Truth alchemizes in the fires of reality-testing, it transmutes into Wisdom. And Wisdom, personified as a feminine face of the Divine in ancient Scripture, is rightly valued: 

Receive my instruction, and not silver,
And knowledge rather than choice gold;
For wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.

(Proverbs 8:10-11)

Wisdom is priceless. 

And there is indeed a cost. 

For instance, whenever I’ve shared about cultivating an authentic, life-affirming sexuality in these pages (for instance, featuring Tara Teng Anna DuPree, or Michael Hrostoski), my unsubscribes are nearly double what they are if I’m exploring ‘safer’ theological or spiritual territory. Not even when I talk about politics or public witness is the reactivity of some so high. 

And I’ll level with you: Even though I’ve shared a lot of my personal odyssey as a spiritual weirdo with you over the years, this reactivity has me wanting to hide my own journey from you, sometimes. 

For instance, even though we announced it on social media, I’ve not yet shared with you —dear blog readers that my highschool sweetheart and I finalized our divorce several months ago. It was amicable, but as anyone who has been divorced (or through an otherwise-significant breakup) knows, this kind of undoing is unraveling on a core family and identity level, even under the best of circumstances. 

Now, I’ve never been one of those ‘bleed all over social media and the Internet’ types. With all respect to those who choose to narrate their day-by-day play-by-plays online and find value in this, I’m grateful for dear friends, healthy spiritual community, and good therapy that happens offline. With the exception of requesting prayer and blessing for sudden illness or other life urgencies, it matches my vocation and temperament to share what I’ve digested a bit, so it can potentially be food for you. 

Even so, I’ve been keeping some food back, rotting in the storehouse out of fear of what some of you might think of me. 

And I’m coming to see that this is wrong. Jesus, after all, is against hoarding our food while others are in need

And so moving forward, I’m committing to share with you more vulnerably of where my search for Truth and discovery of Wisdom has taken me. Where my journey into the heart of  Trinitarian fellowship — where I discover myself hidden with Christ in God, incarnationally alive as more fully human and divine — is authentically bringing me.

Like Methodist minister Roger Wolsey, whose recent groundbreaking teaching memoir has him ‘coming clean’ about how practices like Circling, Authentic Relating, ecstatic dancing and plant medicine have enhanced his and others lives alongside more stalwart Christian practices like Scripture study and Centering Prayer (seriously, read Discovering Fire if you haven’t already), if you choose to keep reading I owe it to you to offer my unvarnished experience — living my one, precious life in all its animal grit and angelic glory. 

Part of claiming what my friend and colleague Micky ScottBey Jones has popularized as ‘brave space’ means sharing even more — and more personally — about sexuality. Not as the sole focus of of this blog / Opti-Mystic Meditations (don’t worry, I won’t be abandoning the contemplative and nerdy reflections and interviews you’ve come to enjoy spanning history, ecology, sociology, scripture and other areas of praxis!), but as an important missing piece for those of us emerging out of the matrix of harmful beliefs, practices, denials and repressions so many of us have suffered through, known collectively as purity culture

This will be a deliberate, intentional unwinding alongside you over time, not a sudden, titillating info-dump all at once (sorry if that disappoints any of you, especially college roomie David James or personal pastor Tripp, who’ve been pestering me to write my tell-all memoir for years). But don’t worry — I am going to get into something substantial today. 

Those of you who know my passion for conscious men’s work and (especially cis, straight) men taking responsibility for our actions in light of the harassment and assault of women and genderqueer folx will hopefully see the lines of congruence to wanting to discern a sexual ethic and way of being in our refining understandings of what it means to live in sexual integrity. 

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the landscape of masculinity, eroticism, and healthy sexuality is undergoing a profound transformation. 

If you’re a man navigating this new terrain (and I’m going to speak from my experience here as a straight, cisgendered man primarily to those of you who are in the same boat as me, though everyone is welcome to listen in and glean whatever’s valuable here), you’ve likely felt the pressure to adapt and evolve — not just in your professional and personal life, but in your most intimate relationships as well.

Here’s what I’ve been learning: investing in my sexual development is no longer a taboo topic or something to be hidden anymore.

In fact, it’s becoming a rite of passage for men who take their lives, their partners, and their own growth seriously.

From top podcasts openly discussing sex and relationships to friends casually mentioning their latest intimacy workshop, our culture is embracing sexual growth like never before.

And with high-quality partners increasingly viewing emotional intelligence and sexual mastery as non-negotiable traits in those they wish to relate to, the writing is on the wall:

If we want to thrive in this new era of masculinity and cultivate the deeply satisfying, passionate, and sex lives we desire, we can no longer afford to leave our sexual development to chance.

But here’s what I’ve discovered…

I don’t have to navigate this journey alone (and neither do you).

Last summer — when I knew my marriage was ending, when I was grappling with what it meant to be partnered, and what it felt like to be alone — my dear friend and brother Michael Hrostoski wrote this Facebook post. It was so real, so vulnerable, that I knew I had to give the cohort he was offering a try. 

And so I did, joining the inaugural Men of Substance cohort. 

I’m so glad I did. The facilitators (Michael H and Rob Kancler) brought an integrative, embodied perspective on sexual discovery and mastery I hadn’t encountered in this way before, in spite of years of reading and immersions in the field. 

I got back in touch with my body, my emotions, and my relational history.

I was offered a potent, exciting, and even magical vision of what a fully-expressed sexual and relational life could look like. 

And I was given the practical tools + a loving, adventurous community of fellow seekers after truth to bring these disclosures and possibilities back home in my nervous system, body, and my life. 

This work has changed so much for me. 

I’m not going to go into all of it now, but if you’re interested to hear more I might devote another upcoming post to sharing some of its impacts (write back and let me know what you’d like to hear). 

But for now, I want to let you know that Men of Substance is back, for the first time in awhile. Expanded from the ‘beta test’ I first participated in last summer, Michael and Rob have been substantially refining this offering. It’ll be a nine-week a 9-week online intensive for any man who’s interested in letting go of sexual frustration, fear, shame, and setback — and really, any man who wants to make even a good sex life a great one.

One more thing I’ll say here: I’ve discovered that addressing the sexual-energetic dimension of my life actually reverberates into every dimension of my life: my parenting, my work-life, my sense of vocation and calling, my energy levels, physical strength, and overall sense of peace and wellbeing. Even (dare I say) in my relationship with God.

If you’d like to hear Men of Substance co-founder Michael Hrostoski share about his own journey out of religious fundamentalism into his best sexual and spiritual life, check out this video:

And if you’d like to simply see the full Men of Substance offering, just go here.

Thank you for hearing me, and this dimension of my truth. 

I’ll keep sharing some things that have been very valuable for me. Practices, insights, and community forms that are having overwhelming positive effects on my happiness, vitality and creativity.

If you feel like you need our digital journey to part ways here, I understand. 

But if you decide to stick around (and maybe even invite friends!), welcome. 

I won’t count your continued reading as uniformity and 100% agreement with my journeys, discoveries, and life choices. I don’t expect that of any of my friends…that would be boring. : )  

My only ask is that you keep an open heart and mind, if you’re so willing. And I promise to do the same.

In gratitude,


PS: Who is Men of Substance for?

When I’m facilitating, participating, or recommending groups or transformational work, it’s important to me to be clear on the focus and strengths of a given container, what “lane” they primarily stay in. Thus I think it’s important to note that Men of Substance is tailored to the experiences and aspirations of men in heterosexual relationships, centering discussions around enhancing the pleasure and connection within these dynamics. While the material, discussion prompts, and exercises offered primarily address interactions between men and women, Michael and Rob want to emphasize that all men (cis and transgender) are welcome to participate, regardless of sexual orientation. Recognizing the diversity of participants, Men of Substance encourages open-mindedness and a shared commitment to personal growth and connection. So if this sounds interesting to you, check it out!

PSS – What’s your journey of embracing your authentic sexual nature been like? I’d love to hear your story.

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