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  • Lies About Prostitution: 3) Sex Workers Hate Their Job and Their Clients

    Prostitution is a service work that requires both empathy and strong emotional boundaries Do prostitutes hate their job? The belief that trading sex for money is degrading implies that the prostitute has to feel bad about it. Here the ideologue is trying to invade the prostitute’s mind to implant extraneous feelings into it. He believes that she has to violate some innate instinct to do this kind of work. He negates her agency by implying that she is not able to freely choose to do sex work. However, the testimony of many prostitutes is that they actually enjoy their work. Others have the same kind mix-feelings about their job that most workers have about employment that has nothing to do with sex. There are good parts and bad parts; good days and bad days. Even the most rewarding and prestigious jobs - like scientific research, in my case - involve endless hours of drudgery, fighting red tape, bureaucracy and mindless repetition. In fact, the most rewarding jobs are the ones that involve human contact. And you can’t deny that there is a lot of that in prostitution. Prostitution is a service job Like other service jobs, prostitution mainly involves a lot of human contact, not only physical but also emotional. There is much good in that. Far from it being perceived as a violation, it is rewarding to give something to others that makes them a bit happier. We humans are social animals. We thrive by helping and pleasuring others. Of course, a prostitute has to develop emotional mechanisms to protect herself from the psychological baggage of her clients. But, in that, hers is not different from other professions that expose you to human suffering, like being a medical doctor or a therapist. Here is how an escort describes her experience: “Escorting was a new environment with new social dynamics and incentives, and thus I found a new character emerge. I was there to please, and so my character compartmentalized my own preferences. I didn’t lay there actively hating the experience; I simply became someone who enjoyed it. If the experience was too hard to enjoy, I became someone who didn’t mind enduring it. I didn’t force myself to be authentic, but I actively looked for ways to express authenticity if I could without disrupting the character I was inhabiting. For many clients this was easy - I would often lay there feeling myself love them. Sometimes I cried with them. I let my heart move. To this day I feel like pieces of my soul lie with a few clients I’ve seen, and I’m happy for them to have it.” Escorting Was Good For Me, Aella, escort and blogger. If prostitutes feel bad, it’s not about actually doing their job, but because of the slut-shaming and marginalization that society heaps on them. However, modern sex-positive culture has given them the tools to identify these instruments of oppression and free themselves from them. Consequently, there are more and more sex workers that have come to appreciate their jobs and even speak highly of it. The myth that prostitutes secretly hate their clients Since prostitutes feel degraded and exploited by their work - argue the prohibitionists - they must hate their clients. They see sex is an intimate act that must be done with somebody you love. So, surely, doing it with somebody you have no intimacy with must lead to resentment. Therefore, while externally being all sugar and spice, internally the prostitute hates her clients. The other side of that coin is that the client deludes himself into believing that he has some kind of intimacy or connection with the prostitute, while in fact she despises him. Johns are dupes looking for love in all the wrong places. They are victims of their own desires. But none of this is true. Prostitutes have a whole range of feelings towards their job and their clients. Many have a professional relationship with their clients, similar to the provider-client relationship of other jobs that require intimacy, like psychotherapists or couple counselors. These professionals have to connect with their clients at an emotional level, but they also have to develop defense mechanisms to keep that connection from spilling over to their own emotional lives. Other jobs, like masseuse, physical therapist or sport trainer, require physical contact with the clients, which is often experienced as intimate. In all these professions, some kind of internal psychological barrier has to be developed between the emotions of the client and the emotional life of the professional. We can see that in the quote from Aella above. A psychotherapist cannot avoid interacting with his client as a human being, being empathetic to his emotions. On the other hand, it would not be healthy for him to take on the emotions of the client. He has to develop internal boundaries between his mental life and that of his clients. The same happens with prostitution. The prostitute knows how to get intimate with the client during her time with him. But she also knows how to let this intimacy walk out the door with the client when he leaves. “The structure of escorting protected this for me. I had to maintain really clear boundaries - I left on time, I didn’t make any special exceptions even for people I really genuinely liked, I didn’t give discounts. Blurring any boundaries would have triggered that anxiety, suddenly made it personal, and destroyed my ability to enjoy the experience with them.” Escorting Was Good For Me, Aella, escort and blogger. Sex work provides emotional support to the client Good prostitutes do not provide just sex. They listen and provide emotional support and validation. “Because ours, like it or not, is a very personal and tremendously human work. Sex may or may not be part of a service. But what takes place, in a very high percentage of cases, is an intimate and personal conversation. Customers usually want similar things, there are no differences in what human beings need. We are talking about affection, deference, attention, tenderness, respect and consideration.” Paula VIP, sex worker (translated from Spanish). Sometimes, the client does not even want sex. He may want to chat and have physical contact. This is especially true for clients who develop ongoing relationships with prostitutes, sometimes lasting many years. One type of relationship that is becoming more frequent these days is the Sugar Daddy, where the man provides ongoing financial support to the woman in exchange for regular sex and time together. The relationship may, or may not, be exclusive. It is not uncommon for the Sugar Daddy and the woman to fall in love with each other. How is this different from marrying for money? Copyright 2022 Hermes Solenzol.

  • Lies About Prostitution: 2) Prostitution Degrades Women

    The idea that prostitution degrades women is based in the belief that sex is sacred and money is bad Consent and personal autonomy Prostitution is trading sex for money in a consensual way. If it were non-consensual, then it would be sexual slavery, not prostitution. Radical feminists and anti-prostitution politicians secretly hate the word “consent”, because what they want is to impose their morality on other people. Which, of course, is non-consensual. The underlying ethical value here is personal autonomy. My body is mine to do with it what I want. However, this is not an absolute ethical principle. There are some occasions in which the State can impose certain things on me for the protection of the community. Like paying taxes or getting vaccinated. So, in the case of prostitution, is there a reason for the State to prohibit it? What is involved is the personal autonomy of two people: the prostitute and her client, who want to consensually engage in sex in exchange for money. This is a private, indeed intimate, transaction that should not concern the State. Just like any other instance in which two people choose to engage in consensual sex. The best way to fight exploitation In the previous article in this series, I have addressed the argument that the State should prohibit prostitution to avoid human trafficking. I argued that prostitution and human trafficking are entirely different things. Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation could be fought more effectively if prostitution was legal, just like any other instance of labor exploitation. Non-exploited workers would be the first to point out the cases of sexual slavery because it represents a double threat to them: unfair competition and the danger that they could become sex slaves. Unions of prostitutes - like OTRAS in Spain - would be a place where sexually exploited women could seek help. Does prostitution degrade the prostitute? This would be for the prostitute to decide, just like we decide whether any other sex act is degrading. Chances are that, if the prostitute has freely decided this kind of work, that she doesn’t find that it detracts from her self-esteem. For many sex workers, converting sex into a professional activity comes after a personal quest about what sex means for them. Saying that prostitution degrades the prostitute is slut-shaming her. It’s an act of psychological violence not different from shaming gays, trans people or promiscuous women. It’s emotional violence done with the specific purpose of curtailing the sexual freedom of a person. Is prostitution degrading for all women? The reasoning gets more ideological when the degradation supposedly produced by prostitution is extended to all women. Saying this assumes that there is something sacred about sex that gets soiled when sex is not done in a socially approved way. Moreover, this soiling produced by sex somehow gets magically transmitted even to women that do not engage in prostitution. This is basically a purity argument, similar to what has been used by religions like Christianity or Islam (by most religions, indeed) to justify sexual repression. Defenders of the specialness of sex may argue that sex is only legitimate when done between people who love each other. In other words, sex is only ethically admissible when done to fulfill the higher goals of fulfilling the obligations or marriage or establishing emotional intimacy. However, as I argued in a my previous article Is Sex Sacred?, this would make masturbation and casual sex unethical. However, most people in the Western world are past that repressive stage. Or, at least, past the stage in which they accept that the State dictates what happens in our bedroom. Another argument is that it is money, when traded for sex, what sullies the woman. This is a favorite of anti-capitalist radical feminists, who like to view prostitution as another sin of capitalism. However, money is good when we get it as pay for our labor, or when we sell things, or when we inherit it. Why is it suddenly bad when one gets it in exchange for sex? Sex is not bad, even when it’s casual. Money is not bad. There is no logical reason why trading sex for money should be bad. What makes it so it’s just the remains of religious dogmas that were widely used to repress women and keep them disempowered and poor. Does prostitution maintain the patriarchy? This is an argument often used by radical feminists. It goes like this: women have been sexually exploited by men through the centuries, so any sexual act between men and women has to be examined for signs of this exploitation. The examiners should not be the people having sex, but the radical feminists themselves, or the State acting in their name. But, by doing so, the radical feminists or the State breach the consent, the right to intimacy, and the personal autonomy of the people having sex. This is an injustice similar to prohibiting sodomy, gay sex or any other consensual sex act. Why should exchanging sex for money be an act of exploitation? How is this different from any other transaction of service for money? The only argument to justify this would have to resort to sex being special or sacred. Sex cannot be exchanged for money, they argue. Why? Because there is something about sex that makes it different from other human activity. Unlike anything else we do, it cannot be done to earn a wage. So we are back to the “sex is sacred” argument. The patriarchal system in which women are always the providers of sex and, therefore, the sex workers, is starting to break down. As women become empowered, men are increasingly performing sex work as strippers, as porn models and even as gigolos or male prostitutes. In fact, the idea that sex can soil women, but not men, is at the core of the patriarchy. In a sex-positive culture in which sex is divested of its magical qualities as guarantor of personal purity, sex work is just one more manifestation of our increased personal freedom. Prohibiting any consensual sex act should be seen as an intrusion of the State in our intimate lives. Copyright 2022 Hermes Solenzol.

  • The Traps of the Ego

    Thinking that we deserve the best, and chasing happiness and virtue, feed the ego. What is the ego? The ego is not who you are. The ego is not your self. It is not ‘the thinker of thoughts’, that illusory being that we believe does things around inside our mind. Who we really are is the totality of your being, conscious and unconscious. The ego is not that, either. Of course, there are many opinions about what is the ego. Here I am going to explain what I think it is, which I found particularly useful to understand myself and to help me live a happier life. Please bear with me. You may find it useful, too. This conception of the ego is the one used in the Way of the Warrior, a philosophy of life that I have embraced lately. It is similar to the concept of the super-ego in psychoanalysis. Shame and pride are two powerful social emotions that direct human behavior. They seem to have evolved to facilitate cooperation and discourage cheating in the tribes in which we used to live during most of the history of our species. Since early in our childhood, they provide a latch to allow our parents and teachers to educate us. Pride rewards us when we are successful and shame punishes us when we fail or when we engage in antisocial behavior. These emotions likely interact with the dopamine neural pathway linking the ventral tegmental area (VTA) with the nucleus accumbens, an ancient system that motivates our behavior. We soon internalize the instructions of our parents and teachers, so that shame and pride are driven by an inner judge instead of them. That inner judge is the ego. Fear is another emotion that takes part in the building of the ego. When something threatens our physical or emotional integrity, the ego sounds an alarm. The ego is not bad. It is there to ensure that we are safe and that we play fair with others. It provides the motivation that drives us to succeed and to avoid failure. Self-driven people have strong egos. Even without external stimuli, they are able to gather a great amount of energy to keep going at work for long periods of time. It is difficult to have a good professional career without that an ego. However, we pay a price for it in unhappiness. When the ego takes over our lives, we forget how to be joyful and loving. We cannot make ourselves vulnerable because the ego doesn’t tolerate anything that threatens its self-image. We even start believing that we are our ego. Then, we perceive emotions that hurt the ego, like shame and guilt, as existential threats. We feel that, if the ego were to disappear, we would die. But this is not true because we are not our ego. We are the entirety of our mind. Is it possible to get rid of the ego? We do not want to get rid of our ego. It fulfills an important function. It keeps us safe, doing good deeds and avoiding bad behavior. It provides the energy to keep working hard in our careers. However, we need to put the ego in its place, so we don’t become its slaves. Inner freedom means to learn to control our ego, instead of it controlling us. There is also a way to act that is not based on the automatisms of the ego. This egoless action is what leads to the state of flow, in which we are creative without apparent effort. But the effortless of flow is an illusion because we need to do a lot of training before we can achieve it. The key is to realize that the ego is made of emotions: pride, shame, guilt and fear. We cannot control our emotions directly, because emotions direct the flow of our consciousness. But this happens in passive states of consciousness. There are active states of consciousness in which we direct and focus our attention, like we do during meditation, mindfulness, sports and creative work. This ability to direct our attention allows us to control our emotions indirectly: by selecting our ideas and mental images. For example, we can gradually turn off our anger by directing our attention away from the ideas and images that feed it. When we keep having the same emotion over and over again, it creates an emotional habit. It carves a groove that our mind tends to follow. Therefore, a spiritual practice consists of cultivating healthy emotional habits while gradually undoing the unhealthy ones. The ego can be conceived as a set of emotional habits based on pride, shame and fear. By practicing egoless actions, we can unlearn those emotional habits and built a healthier ego, one that does not control us. The traps of the ego The problem is that most of our present action is driven by the ego so, even when we decide to follow a spiritual practice, it is our ego directing us to do so. At every step, the ego would feed on what we are doing, interpreting it through its glasses of pride and shame. The ‘patting on the back’ that we give ourselves when we experience a good meditative state comes from that. It is pride. And that ‘patting on the back’ destroys the good meditative state by taking our focus away. And yet, we know that egoless states are possible. Flow is one of them. One possible path is to practice sports like rock climbing or martial arts that make easier to achieve flow, because the attention is directed to physical acts and, when we lose focus, we get immediate feedback. Another path is art or writing. Right now, as I type these words, I try to maintain a state of flow. I try to avoid the prideful ‘patting on the back’ that would take me back to my ego. Or the self-doubts that paralyze my writing. Today I want to write about the traps of the ego. These are beliefs inculcated in us by society that feed our bad emotional habits. By avoiding them, we can develop healthier and happier mental state. “You deserve the best” When I was a teenager, my family became wealthier. My father a university professor, was named president of the University of Santiago de Compostela. Then he was called by the government to be the founding president of a larger university. We moved to Madrid, and my father enrolled me and my brothers in a posh school for rich kids. Under their influence, we developed an attitude that we were special. We were smarter than anybody. Common rules did not apply to us. That was the privileged attitude of the upper class in the last years of the Franco dictatorship. Fortunately, I only spent one year in that private High School for wealthy kids. Then I went to college, read extensively, and became friends with people with progressive ideas. Still, that idea of being somebody special was implanted in me. I am not alone in feeling this way, I guess. Although, for some, it may be the opposite: they feel permanently undeserving. Either way, it’s all ego. The message that we deserve the best is constantly conveyed by our consumerist culture. That’s what advertisement is about, isn’t it? “Buy our product. It’s the best, and you deserve the best.” Do you see the ego in that message? Behind that feeling of being special, there is pride. We compare ourselves to others and decide that we are better than them. Therefore, we deserve the best. That’s the foundation of greed. My point is not that greed is unethical. Instead, look at what that greedy attitude does to your mind. It makes you constantly anxious to make sure you get the absolute best. Even in the simplest things: the best parking space, the best dish in the menu, the best vacation, the best job. This craving attitude can totally ruin your life. I’m not saying that you should not enjoy the good things in life. If you find a good parking spot, by all means, grab it. But you are not going to enjoy anything if you are focused on getting the next best thing. Perhaps a good practice would be giving up things on purpose. Let somebody take that good parking spot. And feel good about it. “You should be happy” Since antiquity, many sages have reflected on the paradox of happiness: the more you chase it, the less happy you are. The desire to be happy makes you unhappy. Their response has been to reject happiness altogether. Epicureans, Stoics, Buddhist, Christians and other philosophies and religions tell you that you should give up trying to be happy. You should strive to reach ataraxia, instead: a calm, peaceful state where there is no more striving. Or wait to be happy until you go to Heaven. Or until you achieve Nirvana. “The best that you can hope for is to avoid suffering,” say the Buddhists. “Not even,” say the Stoics. “Suffering is unavoidable. The best you can hope for is to deal with suffering gracefully.” I beg to disagree. I think it is possible to be happy. The problem is not with happiness, but with craving happiness. When happiness is a goal, instead of something that happens right now, it’s not happiness anymore. On the other hand, consumerist culture constantly sends us the message that we should be happy. We live in a wonderful civilization where all our basic needs are met. Where we can access wonderful pleasures: food, drinks, music, movies, books, travel… There are so many things to enjoy that what we lack is the time to sample them all. If we are not happy with all of that, surely something is wrong with us. We should see a therapist who will fix our unhappiness. Or take medication that will ‘restore the chemical imbalance in our brain’. The quest for happiness become a trap of the ego when happiness is seen as something that we can possess. The ego wants it because it can feel proud when it determines that we are happy. However, happiness is not something that you can possess. Happy is something that you are. Therefore, a quest to possess happiness makes you unhappy because, while you chase happiness, you are not happy. We also fall prey to confusing happiness with joy, love and other positive emotions. It is impossible to always feel joyful or loving, because living means feeling a bunch of different things. Emotions guide our thoughts, behavior and motivation. We need them all. We can be happy while feeling sad, angry, disgusted or scared. Negative emotions are okay, as long as they don’t become destructive. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t gently guide your emotions by cultivating healthy emotional habits. After all, freeing ourselves from our ego is just that: escaping from the stranglehold that pride and shame have on us. What this means is that being happy should not become another obligation. Letting go of the craving for happiness in order to be happy is paradoxical and hard to understand. “Be virtuous!” The same thing happens with the imperative to be good. It can be another trap of the ego. The Epicureans, the Stoics, and other Greco-Roman philosophers taught that the pursuit of virtue was the highest goal in life. Again, I beg to disagree. I think that virtue should be a means, but not a goal. A means to what? A means to live a meaningful life. Here is the problem. The ego is the program we carry inside since childhood that makes us feel proud of ourselves when we do something good, and ashamed of ourselves when we do something bad. When we pursue virtue, we are falling into the same game. The more virtuous we are, the more we inflate our ego. In our striving to be virtuous, our ego becomes the little dictator inside ready to sacrifice our needs in its endless race to feel pride. More so if we believe in a religion or a philosophy that tells us that happiness is something we shouldn’t have. That we will pay a price in suffering for every time we feel happy. That’s how asceticism is born. We are so good, so much better than anybody else, that we are willing to deprive ourselves of the pleasures of life in this blind pursuit of the invisible medals of virtue. Our ego constantly judges ourselves in the race for virtue, punishing us with shame when we fail to act up to par. Once the fall into the habit of judging, we extended it to others. They are certainly not measuring up to our standards. And this pleases our ego, because it means that we are better than them. And if we manage to get them to admit this, even better. We get full of pride about how good we are, and this feeds our ego, making it bigger, more powerful. And, therefore, more able to oppress us. That’s the process that creates gurus and cult leaders. People who are supposedly saints but, in fact, are just narcissists with hypertrophied egos. Beware of their false modesty! They know well how to hide behind fake humbleness so that their game is not exposed. So, what is the solution? Following the Way of Warrior is like walking a knife edge. The ego uses anything we do to feed itself. Every little victory can be tallied for his pride. Even calling ourselves a warrior is nothing more than ego-building. We need to start by accepting that this will happen. The ego will be there and will feed on our deeds. There will be pride when we succeed, and shame when we fail. We shouldn’t make much of that. Just follow our way, unperturbed. We should laugh at our ego. Humor deflates it, decreasing our self-importance. We should engage in activities that bring a state of flow, where we leave the ego aside by focusing completely on what we are doing. When we recognize the inner dialog of the ego, made of self-praise and self-doubt, we can label for what it really is: a distraction and an energy leak. Then we can gradually learn to replace it with an inner dialogue focused on acting with impeccability: performing at the top of our ability, focusing all our energy on doing and learning. Instead of chasing virtue, we should have a moral code consisting of not harming others, working for the common good, and following a path with a heart. Not harming should be based on compassion: an acute awareness of the ubiquitous presence of suffering and a commitment to decrease it however we can. We suffer, and therefore, we feel the suffering of others. Working for the common good should be based on our personal power. We generate so much energy that giving becomes natural, because we have energy to spare. We take pleasure in giving because we thrive on the happiness of others. Just like their suffering is our own suffering, their happiness is our own happiness. Following a path with a heart means finding meaning in life. Doing things that bring us joy, fulfillment and deep understanding. Creating art, science, knowledge, and social work. Mushotoku is a Zen word that means acting without attaching ourselves to the consequences of our actions. In the context of the ego, it means detaching ourselves from the pride and shame that may result from our action. There is a surprising shamelessness in true wise people that is different from the shamelessness of the sociopath. The wise is full of mirth and compassion, whereas the sociopath is creepy and selfish. When we follow a path with a heart, happiness just happens. No need to chase it. We may meet joy and sorrow, but they are still meaningful when there is a heart beneath them. It’s the deep happiness that comes from living a life full of meaning.

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  • Games of Love and Kink | Sex,Science&Spirit

    Where to buy it Buy it for only $2.99 at Gumroad using discount code m6y48ui . EPUB and MOBI formats. ​ To buy it from other eBook distributors ($4.99 ), follow this Universal Book Link ​ Also available as paperback in Amazon ($19.99 ) Please, upvote in Reedsy Discovery . Playlist You can hear the songs that are mentioned in the novel in this Spotify playlist . Games of Love and Kink Book 1 of the trilogy The Liberation of Cecilia Description Cecilia and Julio fall in love while skiing in the Alps, but their love is doomed. She is conservative and religious. He is progressive and an atheist. On their way back to Spain, the other students stop the bus in France to watch erotic movies. And so they discover that they share a secret longing for kink that binds them even closer. ​ We are in Spain in 1976, just after the death of dictator Franco. Cecilia is guarded by her father, a government censor, and her brother Luis, a fascist militant. She is being indoctrinated by the fundamentalist organization Opus Dei . Back in Madrid, Cecilia tries to forget Julio, but the changes inside her are as irrevocable as the ones that Spain is undergoing. ​ Defying her family, Cecilia discovers love under the guidance of Julio. But her father makes good on his threats of locking her up. Separated from Julio, Cecilia risks losing him to his classmate Laura, a stunning, wealthy blonde. ​ Torn between Cecilia and Laura, Julio proposes an open relationship. Cecilia initially hates it, but then discovers that it brings new dimensions to her freedom. But if she goes too far, she risks breaking her heart. Novel excerpts Read some excerpts from this novel in the blog. Click on the links below. Cecilia's First Spanking Kinky Games in the Park of Montsouris The Erotic Revolution Groucho's Punchline The Birthday Present No posts published in this language yet Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.

  • Cecilia Unleashed | Sex,Science&Spirit

    Where to buy it Spanish translation only. ​ Universal Book Link ​ Cecilia Unleashed ​ Book 2 of the trilogy Cecilia's Liberation ​ Description Cecilia's heart is broken. Julio, her first love, has left her. And she is willing to do whatever it takes to get him back. Laura, whom she had always considered her rival, promises to help her. ​ But Julio has more immediate problems. He has been drafted to Galicia, far away from Madrid. At the beginning of 1978, the Spanish army is a cave of fascists. A progressive young man like him is not going to have a very good time in the army. ​ Cecilia and Laura go to visit Julio in Santiago de Compostela. However, things don't go as expected. Perhaps Laura's intentions were not as disinterested as they first seemed. ​ Feeling betrayed, Cecilia decides to go back to her lover Johnny, a Wall Street financier who shares her perversions. Chino, a mysterious barman expert in Zen and martial arts, becomes his mentor. But perhaps her advice is not leading her in the right direction. ​ Wanting to continue her erotic revolution, Cecilia enters dark environments that separate her more and more from Julio. When her father throws her out of the house, she takes refuge in the house of Lorenzo, a communist mechanic who was Julio's climbing partner. With Lorenzo lives Malena, a Chilean exile. A tense relationship full of desires and anxiety grows between the three of them. ​ When Chino and Malena tell her their stories, Cecilia discovers the aftermath of war and rape. The past full of desolation, violence and oppression of her own family also comes to light. ​ Luis, Cecilia's brother, is determined to bring her back to the right path. Helped by his gang of fascists, he chases her all over Madrid. Cecilia's adventures seem destined for a tragic end. Novel excerpts No posts published in this language yet Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.

  • Home | Sex,Science&Spirit

    Solidarity with Ukraine! Sex, Science & Spirit by Hermes Solenzol Welcome to my website! This website is unusual in that it does not cater to a particular niche. Instead, as its name indicates, it covers a wide range of topics ranging from alternative sexualities, to science, to philosophy and spirituality. Common wisdom in blogging states that one should stick to one particular niche in order to attract a dedicated group of followers and to rank high with search engines. An additional problem is that some of my colleagues interested in science and philosophy were put off by my articles about sex, and even more by my erotic stories. I could have created three different blogs, each dedicated to one of the topics in the title. However, what I want to write about is about the interaction of each of these things: ​ How science can provide a view of the Universe full of meaning. A scientific exploration of altered states of consciousness and spirituality. A view of what it means to be human based on science. A rational way of life that welcomes joy and pleasure. The ethics and politics of sex. Scientific studies on sex and BDSM. As you can see, exploring these topics can only be done in a website that encompasses science, philosophy, spirituality and sex. Venturing occasionally into history and politics. ​ Writing, for me, is letting out a bunch of ideas inside my mind that clamor to be set free. These ideas cluster around several of my deepest values and ideas: ​ The Universe described by science is full of meaning, countering scientific nihilism. Human beings are unique because our minds make us different from both animals and machines - a new humanism. Happiness can be found by balancing the pursuit of virtue and the common good (eudaimonia) and pleasure (hedonism). Exploring our erotic fantasies can be a key part of finding who we really are. Yes, but… erotica? Some things can only be understood by telling stories about them. We need to understand the world and ourselves emotionally, not just rationally. And the best way to access our emotions is through stories. For me, it was deeply transformative to write novels showing the interrelationship between sex, kink, love, personal growth and the sociopolitical reality in which we live. Thus were born my five novels in the Liberation of Cecilia series, first written in Spanish and now being translated to English. Who am I? I am a neuroscientist expert in pain physiology. I was born in Italy, raised in Spain, and resident of the United States for many years. That’s why this blog is bilingual. To change the language, click on the box in the upper left corner. The content is not the same in both languages. I write in whatever language I see fit, and I am often lazy to translate things between languages. ​ If you want to know me better, please check my biography in the ‘Bio ’ tab. There I have also posted a list of all my scientific papers . ​ For any problems with this site, to ask me questions, or any other thing, please email me at

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