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The Transformative Power of Sex And Fashion

An Interview With Mitch Horowitz

Mitch_Horowitz_photo_sex_transformation

Words by Michael Skinner
Photography by  Dana Veraldi

How can your sexual energy be “transmuted” to empower you to create a better, more creative, and more fulfilling life? ORTTU recently caught up with the PEN Award-winning author Mitch Horowitz, to explore the subject of sex and self-development. Mitch is a lecturer-in-residence at the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles and the author of the recent Power of Sex Transmutation: How to Use the Most Radical Idea from Think and Grow Rich as well as One Simple Idea: How the Lessons of Positive Thinking Can Transform Your Life and The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality, among other books.

ORTTU:

In your book The Power of Sex Transmutation, you explore the idea of the transformative power of sexual desire or sexual energy as described by Napoleon Hill in his book Think And Grow Rich. That’s obviously a very misunderstood subject and a much-misunderstood book. In particular, many people assume that it is all about material success. Yet your focus has long been spirituality, ancient and modern. So, what first attracted you to Napoleon Hill's work?

Mitch:

Yes, I honor and believe in aspirational spirituality. I consider human creativity and attainment a vital part of happiness. My path is not one of non-attachment. I always liked the practical focus of Hill's book, which I casually skimmed for many years. Then in fall 0f 2013, when I was facing a crossroads in life, I returned to Think and Grow Rich and vowed to do every exercise as though my life depended on it. Things started happening. My work and day-to-day life flowered in ways that were absent before. I think that book is a fount of under-appreciated and actionable ideas. I encourage anyone, whether an artist, student, activist, or soldier, to read it. It is about concretizing your ideals.

ORTTU:

In his book, Hill suggests that sexual desire can either be a drain on the individual or, equally, that it can be an untapped source of vitality. He believes that, although not recognized by society, the individual can in some way channel his or her sexual desire to make things happen in their life that seems unrelated to sex — to achieve success in business, for example, or to achieve success as an artist, activist, or solider, or for any other aim, presumably. What is he getting at? Is this something akin to Tantra? Or is it more practical than that?

Mitch:

I would say it's more practical, though the two are related. Hill's view is that sexuality is the force of life itself seeking creation--not just in propagation or in physicality but in all areas of existence. Hence, the theory goes that when you experience sexual desire if you can mentally shift your attention away from physical satisfaction and toward whatever project you're working on--whether in art, career, finance, etc.--you place immense creative energy at the back of your efforts.

It's an act of mental alchemy in which you use sexual energies, which are generally channeled toward physical pleasure or propagation, in the direction of any aim that you value. This doesn't require abstinence or a change in one's intimate life. Rather it means that at self-selected moments you can harness this creative energy in a different way. In fact, Hill says that we're using sexual energy all the time but without awareness. I've personally used his method and find it valid.

ORTTU:

So is that why famous creative people — such as artists, writers, designers, and musicians — are often highly sexual? And why we find artists painting their lovers or musicians writing songs about their sexual encounters or heartbreaks?

Mitch:

Well, Hill makes the observation that every charismatic salesperson is using sexual energy, knowingly or not. The same would hold true of the artist, politician, teacher, and so on. We are all harnessing sexual energy, which is the force of creation itself seeking expression. Sexuality appears in every facet of life. It can also appear destructively, or course, when not channeled in creative or consensual ways.

ORTTU:

But, of course, not everyone is charismatic, and not everyone expresses themselves creatively. So, if sexuality is the force of creation and if every charismatic person is using sexual energy, then it seems that some people are more aware of their sexuality — their sexual desires — than others. Is the block psychological? Why are some people more in tune with this creative energy than others?

Mitch:

That’s a wonderful question — and raises a sensitive issue. Hill said that some people are more “highly sexed” by nature than others. While there may be some truth to that, my personal sense is that anyone who experiences sexual desire — which is virtually all of us — can harness it in any direction he or she chooses.

ORTTU:

Sure, and one way we choose to harness or express this creative, sexual energy is through our clothing and self-expression. You’re known for wearing black tee-shirts — usually the tee-shirts of one of the edgier and more creative American bands of the last few decades, like The Ramones or The Cramps. It’s become part of your visual identity. And I think you understand that clothing is a kind of message to others. Can you tell us, what’s the importance of a personal style?

Mitch:

I've come to feel that there's no real difference between what we call the "inner" and "outer"--and that so-called exterior changes can make a huge difference in your psyche. Hence, I really encourage people to dress and comport themselves how they wish, and I practice this myself.

I would say that no single, unilateral step has made me personally happier in life than dressing and adorning myself exactly as I want. Anton LaVey (a very under-appreciated magical intellect), called it part of creating one's "total environment." I think spiritual leaders and therapists inadvertently mislead people, and themselves, by undervaluing aesthetics and personal agency. By modeling how you want to be seen in the world you also heighten your sense of self in myriad ways, including the creative, relational, and sexual.

ORTTU:

Thank you, Mitch. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our stylish, creative readers, especially in regard to spirituality or self-development?

Mitch:

I have come to understand fashion more fully as a spiritual field--by spiritual I mean extra-physical. We're taught to think of beauty as something ephemeral. But I believe it's much more than that. Beauty, design, and curation alter people's lives--they feed every aspect of the human experience. Without such things, life is nothing but labor and survival. I think this is why most people in the fashion world are quite spiritual if not religious. It's why much of our fashion echoes archetypal images, devotional art, and occult symbolism. Fashion is, in its way, a window to the beyond.

Mitch Horowitz’s Power of Sex Transmutation: How to Use the Most Radical Idea from Think and Grow Rich is available from most good booksellers including from Amazon.com, here. And you can check out Mitch’s other books here.