Conversation with the Master – Sex

By Paulo Coelho

(continuation of the transcription of notes of my conversations with J., from 1982 to 1990)

– Given that we must change our attitude toward sex, what is the first step?

– As I said: giving oneself up. People think that, before allowing themselves any pleasure, they must first solve all their problems, which is not the case. People can only solve their problems if they allow them to be themselves.

“However, there is a very curious thing: during the sexual act we are extremely generous, and one’s greater concern is for the partner. We think we will not be able to give the pleasure he or she deserves – and because of this, our pleasure also diminishes, or disappears completely.”

– Is that not an act of love, like you said?

– That depends. It is really an act of guilt, to believe one is beneath the expectations of another. In a situation such as this, the word “expectation” must be completely banished. If we are giving our best, there is no reason for concern.

“One must be aware that when two bodies meet, they are together entering an unknown territory. To transform this into an everyday experience is to lose the wonder of adventure.

“If, however, one allows oneself to be led on this journey, we will discover horizons we never imagined existed. ”

– Is there a key?

– The first is: you are not alone. If the other person loves you, he or she is having the same doubts, however secure you may seem.

“The second is: open the secret box of your fantasies, and do not be afraid to accept them. There are no sexual standards, and you must find your own, respecting only one restriction: never do anything without the other person’s consent.

“The third: give that which is sacred a sense of sanctity. For this one must be as innocent as a child, and learn to accept miracles as blessings. Be creative, purify your soul through rituals you invent yourself – such as creating a sacred space, making offerings, learning to laugh together, in order to break down the barriers of inhibition. Understand that what you are doing is a manifestation of God’s energy.

“The fourth: explore your opposite side. If you are a man, seek at times to think and act like a woman – and vice versa.

“The fifth: understand that the physical orgasm is not exactly the only objective of the sexual act, but a consequence, which may or may not occur. Pleasure has nothing to do with the orgasm, but with the encounter.

“The sixth: be like a river, flowing between opposite banks, such as a mountain and sand. On one side, natural tension, on the other, total relaxation.

“The seventh: identify your fears, and share them with your partner.

” And, finally, the eighth: allow yourself to have pleasure. Just as you are anxious to give, the other person wants to do exactly the same. If, when two bodies meet, both want to give and receive, any problems vanish.

“Alexander Lowen said that man’s natural behavior is open to life and to love. However, our culture has led us to believe that this is not so, that we must be closed and mistrustful. We think that by acting in this way, we will not be hurt by life’s surprises – but in fact what happens is, we are not taking advantage of our lives.”

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  1. marie-christine says:

    and… as clear as crystal if you want to hear the bells ringing.;)
    we might be getting somewhere at last !

  2. marie-christine says:

    yep all “ningu pingu” !and transparent.

  3. Kaycee says:

    Im 25 and single.its been over 6 months since iv been intimate with any lost its meaning 4 me wit my ex boyfriend.wen i started my spiritual journey,i chose to stay celibate but im afraid now that i may neva be able to open myself up to it again…

  4. Sandra says:

    All well and good re. not letting the fear of hurt close you off to the possibilities of love, but the orgasm stuff is bogus. Better to have than not to have, and nothing compares with the tremendous sense of well-being one gets with it. It’s like a well-plotted story with good characterization. You put your protagonist (your ego) at risk and with rising action allow a climax, and maybe even another one, and finally resolution. Sometimes there are twists and surprise endings, but one always feels better when in the hands of a good storyteller, maybe even your own; best to start by writing stories just for yourself.

  5. ANLAO says:

    “People think that, before allowing themselves any pleasure, they must first solve all their problems, which is not the case. People can only solve their problems if they allow them to be themselves.”

    The simplest of thoughts, and yet unthought of before. How come I never though of it before? The ripples on every livable aspect of one’s life are infinite. The implications in MY life are peaking clearly behind past events, presents and futures.
    It’s true what they say, the human mind, once stretched by a new idea, can never confine itself to the original shape had before.

    Quite a mental revolution you’re leading, Sir Paulo.
    My respects for the courage.

  6. Mollena says:

    Sex can only be granted to someone I love that is close to my age.

  7. Sibila Maria India says:

    Dear Paulo,

    Thank you for sharing these words with us. They are maybe the most liberating words about sex I´ve come across until now. I really enjoy the simplicity and energetic reality they describe. For me, truth is simple and energy and essential part of life. For me, the meetings and encounters are the most important part of sex. They have given me life changing gifts. Also the lack of meetings in sex have been very painfull for me to be part of, especially because I lost contact with my self as well.

    For me sex is also about intimacy, involving into-me-see with each-other. When love is involved, I believe we are able to transform each-other in sex. Thank you for referring the parts about the sanctity of sex. For me, that makes total sense.It has taken me a lot of years to disentangle judgement and pain from sex. And I´m greatfull for being able to open up to that sex can be natural as well as a holy experience to share

    Sibila Maria India

  8. Agnieszka says:

    Our mind is so tricky, so powerful, so mysterious.
    We think we can control it, but we can’t, it control us somehow.
    Everything starts in our mind, fantasies..imagination…anticipation….
    All of these are much more complex than one could think, tempting, alluring.
    Discovering it out one by one, opens the gates to unexpected feelings.


  9. NOUR says:

    wow that is so enlightening
    it sounds as if the only solution to solve our restless stpid concerns is to look back at nature as it is not as we alter it to fit in our own eyes; which is narrow and completely opposite to our true nature

  10. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo,,,
    sex is the gift of the body to our minds. helping us transcend this physical reality , it puts us in a moment of pure infinite.
    sharing these views with you paulo, has put a glow in my heart,

  11. Tania says:

    Sounds like very sensible steps – Give up ,have no concerns ,enjoy the wonder of being led on the journey ,and its only natural I think to feel nervous if it is a new experience for the person and you should be open to things you have not tried before and it should be a sacred union ..but the 4 one is true but no man is wearing my shoes or borrowing my make up no matter how much he tries to explore his opposite side .yes it is good to try and think this way no 5
    Is true ..people put so much on this that it takes away the meaning and pleasure of discovering someone like a good bottle of wine -its best to just go with the flow much as you can .No 7 is again a natural thing to be fearful what the other person will think of you .And you should give yourself the gift of pleasure even if you feel anxious because it all passes when you relax ,be yourself and dont forget to have a laugh ..people are to uptight and serious these days about sex ..It is also meant to be fun /enjoyed and I dont think people should let it consume a relationship for its not always about the sex ..Thanks for the tips ..very Interesting !
    Blessings Tania

  12. JB says:

    the comment about guilt seems very accurate, and i really identify with the notion of transcending the concept of expectation. it seems to be such a barrier to growth and fulfillment in the modern culture. yet, i am not sure abandonment of expectation is the answer either. because, we have to acknowledge that the world of expectations exists. if only to be free from it.

  13. Agnieszka says:


    Free your heart…your soul…your mind…
    let them…be guided…by your unconscious… unpredictable feelings…

    like nobody can,
    like nobody could,
    like heaven and hell,
    make love..
    with no rules.