The Four Dimensional Wheel (4D Approach)
One of my greatest gifts has been being taught and mentored by Gina Ogden.
Gina has pioneered and been a champion for female sexuality for several decades and while exploring how women experienced sex and sexuality, the Four Dimensional Wheel was created.
The Four Dimensional Wheel is used as a template for higher awareness, growth and healing
The approach is based on the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition where the person’s journey is viewed through the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual quadrants.
The Four Dimensional Wheel is an invitation to walk the wheel: moving and speaking from the different quadrants helps one step-into new ways to explore, identify, and express an issue, a desire, and possible solutions.
When a couple is involved, movement around the wheel helps the partners locate themselves when the other is speaking.
The Physical/Body path
The path of sensation
A full range of sensory experiences – smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing.
Movement and stillness. Comfort and safety. Arousal, orgasm, and other physical pleasures.
Awareness of how all parts of the body connect to all the senses.
…and the path of sexual dysfunction
The physical quadrant also includes issues such as pain, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), disease, disability, distorted body image, and sexual dysfunction such as anorgasmia, vaginismus, erectile dysfunction, and premature, delayed, and retrograde ejaculation.
The Emotional Path
The path of passion and compassion:
A full range of feelings – love, passion, longing, anger, and fear. Whatever touches the heart.
Empathy — the ability to feel what others feel.
Compassion — the Dalai Lama describes this as the ability to love yourself and others no matter how conflicted your feelings may be.
Trust—the ability to let go of control. The emotional ISIS experience is characterized by open-heartedness and heightened feelings.
…and the path of fear and anger
The emotional quadrant is also the container of so-called dark feelings — anger, fear, angst, disgust — any emotions that are the fallout from sexual experiences that were disappointing, controlling, scary, painful, violent, abusive, or just plain boring.
The Mental Path
The path of discernment and choice
Beliefs and messages about both sexuality and spirituality, including religious messages.
Imagination, intuition, memory, and dreams. Waking dreams and fantasies. Wishes, intentions, anticipations, and expectations.
The mental 4D experience is characterized by an open mind, increased understanding, expanded beliefs, and letting go of judgments about what sex should be like.
…and the path of judgment, guilt, and shame
The mental quadrant is also the container of guilt and shame—those constructs instilled in us by a society, a religious practice, or a community moral code that fears sex and its consequences.
Sometimes sex is absolutely to be feared—given the incidence of rape, incest, and other monstrous sexual aggressions over the course of human history, but most often the monster is the violence and not the sex.
The Spiritual Path
The path of connection and meaning
The area of connection.
A deep sense of connection with one’s self, one’s partner, one’s tribe and family, and/or a “higher power.”
This can include inner visions, communication with divine forces, experiencing one’s self as part of all that is sacred. The spiritual 4D experience is characterized by increased energy, lasting satisfaction, and transcendence.
…and the path of disconnection and over control
The spiritual quadrant is the container for a variety of “irrational facts” about sexual responses and relationships, including disconnection, isolation, depression, and dissociation.
As well as a problematic need to dominate or be subservient, or to keep oneself or one’s relationship tightly controlled.
These may range from religious and cultural messages to aspects of abuse and trauma that have wounded our spirits as well as our bodies, minds, and emotions.
The place of integration and transformation
As you near the very center of the Wheel, it may begin to feel a place of mystery and paradox where positive and negative merge and create new stories.
The experience of the Center differs from person to person and time to time. It is totally subjective, and yours to define for yourself. You may experience opposites, oneness, and integration.
You may experience extraordinary light and lightness of being. You may find yourself communing profoundly with your partner and with yourself.
It’s a place of clarity and vision, of vastness, and the possibility of unconditional love.
…and the shadow side, when sex falls apart
Where the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual experience meet.
Shadow side of the Center — the experience of pain and repression of pain, the feared, and the unexplored.
The agony of despair, the terror of sexual violence and abuse, the burden of shame, guilt, loneliness, isolation, and dysfunction.
This quadrant is the place of dissociation, as well as of association.
“The truth is, our sexual energy is always with us,
whether or not we choose to act on it in a genital way.
It’s not just about intercourse and orgasm.
It’s about receptiveness and movement.
It’s about our most profound emotions
and how we reach out to touch others.
It’s about how we think and feel and love.
It affects every aspect of our lives and it’s potentially there
until we cease to inhabit this planet.
As a woman wisely said,
“Sex isn’t everything, but it’s part of everything.’ ”
Gina Ogden, PhD
The Heart and Soul of Sex
Gina Ogden & Jacqueline Mendez