The 4-D Wheel of Sexual Experience

4D Network Logowww.4-DNetwork.com
Gina Ogden developed the 4-D Wheel to illustrate how our sexual experience is much more than physical—it is multidimensional: body, mind, heart, and spirit. The 4-D Wheel includes four aspects of experience that are always present in our lives: spiritual, mental, physical, emotional. What I call the connection occurs when all of these meet and merge in the center, which is wide open to the other aspects. This is where sexual experience enters the uncharted territory of ecstasy and mystical revelation.

I sometimes ask clients if they would like to use the Wheel to elicit the core reason for a dilemma or better understand their issue or concern. When integrating the Wheel into our work together, I’ve found that people often have a paradigm shift in understanding and navigating their truth.

A Guide to the Quadrants

The point of diagramming the 4-D Wheel is to help you see all of the paths, regardless of whether they seem to be part of your sexual experience right now. You can use this 4-D Wheel to map your own sexual responses. You can start anywhere. It begins with your willingness to move beyond the idea that sex is all about performance.

The 4-D paths don’t always follow the rigid boundaries shown in the diagram.. As you experience sexual relationship in the complexities of your own life, they’re likely to twist and turn and wend, or detour or bump or even come to dead ends. Sometimes following them can feel like slogging through a wilderness—because sexual experience is not always positive, and even positive experiences may restimulate past pain instead of pleasure. It’s complicated—but exciting once you get it. My books and workshops explore how you can move from negative responses to positive ones. They also explore how you may get a straight shot to bliss—and how to enjoy it when you get there.

The physical path

The path of sensation: A full range of sensory experience-smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing. Movement and stillness. Comfort and safety. Arousal, orgasm, and other physical pleasures. The physical ISIS experience is characterized by heightened senses-brighter colors; increased sensitivity to touch, taste, smell and hearing; exquisite 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, including the dysfunctions that are listed in the DSM, 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 4-D 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, and 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 4-D 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: A deep sense of connection with one’s self, one’s partner, 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 4-D experience is characterized by ecstasy, 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, or a problematic need to dominate, or be subservient, or keep one’s self or one’s relationship tightly controlled. These may range from religious and cultural messages to aspects of abuse and trauma that wounds our spirits as well as our bodies, minds, and emotions.

The center

The place of integration and transformation: As you near the very center of the 4-D Wheel you enter a kind of high-definition Oz where everything seems vibrantly colored. It may feel like a place of mystery and paradox where opposites merge in an uncanny way. 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, shape shifting, and timelessness. You may experience extraordinary light and lightness of being. You may find yourself communing profoundly with your partner and with yourself. Each journey to the Center can encompass your whole life. There’s no past and no future here, only a greatly expanded now. It’s a place of clarity and vision, of vastness, of unconditional love.

…and the shadow side, when sex falls apart: When physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual experience meet they can blow our circuits, especially if there is unresolved density and negativity. This is the shadow side of the Center—the experience of pain and repression of pain, the feared and the unexplored. This is the agony of despair, the terror of sexual violence and abuse, the burden of shame, guilt, loneliness, isolation—and dysfunction. This shadow place can be a place of dissociation, as well as of association. One client calls it “the valley of the shadow of death.” How we can move from this place to a sense of vibrant sexuality is the subject of my training's and my books.
—Read more in Expanding the Practice of Sex Therapy, by Gina Ogden, PhD

4-D Network Philosophy of Inclusion

4-D Network builds community around the 4-D Wheel by elevating the stories of people and others who are often unheard or unseen. This mission cannot be accomplished without a full understanding of and unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Inclusion brings out the strongest sense of well-being in people – no matter who they are. Inclusion is also associated with a host of personal and organizational benefits, including customer satisfaction and better performance, across sectors and industries. When people are excluded, the impacts can be profound. Exclusion can jeopardize feelings of safety as well as personal performance. At 4-D Network, we are committed to creating programs, events, activities and an organization in which different people are welcomed, different perspectives are valued and everyone can feel like they belong. At 4-D Network, diversity includes all of those attributes, backgrounds, cultures, identities, ideas and experiences that people bring with them to any situation. We also recognize that not all differences affect us equally. Some differences have greater impacts on our opportunities and experiences. To achieve equity, that state of true fairness, we devote resources, attention and action where differences most affect us. Inclusion requires us to behave in ways that welcome, engage with and value people for who they are and what they bring. Inclusivity specifically requires our intention and accountability to connect and share leadership with people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. We know that sincerely valuing and respecting all constituents – audience members and community members; filmmakers and sponsors; volunteers, team members, staff and board – is the best way to ensure our success. 1. We begin with an awareness of how systemic inequities, privilege and oppression have affected our society and our personal behavior. This enables us to examine our blind spots and helps avoid faulty decisions and flawed strategies. 2. We work to continually ensure diversity in our own board, staff and internal team member composition. Related to our own organizational history and the context in which we operate, we give particular to attention to race, ethnicity and age. 3. We take intentional action to educate ourselves and to grow a culture of inclusivity and accountability for action. 4. We treat one another and our constituents with dignity, respect and appreciation – at all times and across all boundaries. 5. We continue to ensure that our programming reflects this philosophy of inclusion as well as the interests of diverse audiences.

WHAT WE DO TO ENSURE EQUITY AND INCLUSION AT 4-D Network
6. We continually work to bring programming to diverse communities, to partner with organizations that reflect our commitment to inclusion and to consciously market to diverse communities in culturally responsive ways. 7. We measure what we are doing and build mechanisms for continual improvement. While acknowledging that it can be difficult to have conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion, we recognize that continual improvement and increasing our competence with critical conversations is essential to organizational excellence and to our vision of authentic community.

Together we will identify the problems, their causes, and their solutions.

Please call me at 719-684-3638 or to get started click on the "schedule now" button below to make an appointment.

If you don't get a response in 24-48 hours please call me or email me at kamara_mcandrews@yahoo.com.

I look forward to hearing from you.

4-D Network Philosophy of Inclusion

4-D Network builds community around the 4-D Wheel by elevating the stories of people and others who are often unheard or unseen. This mission cannot be accomplished without a full understanding of and unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Inclusion brings out the strongest sense of well-being in people – no matter who they are. Inclusion is also associated with a host of personal and organizational benefits, including customer satisfaction and better performance, across sectors and industries. When people are excluded, the impacts can be profound. Exclusion can jeopardize feelings of safety as well as personal performance. At 4-D Network, we are committed to creating programs, events, activities and an organization in which different people are welcomed, different perspectives are valued and everyone can feel like they belong. At 4-D Network, diversity includes all of those attributes, backgrounds, cultures, identities, ideas and experiences that people bring with them to any situation. We also recognize that not all differences affect us equally. Some differences have greater impacts on our opportunities and experiences. To achieve equity, that state of true fairness, we devote resources, attention and action where differences most affect us. Inclusion requires us to behave in ways that welcome, engage with and value people for who they are and what they bring. Inclusivity specifically requires our intention and accountability to connect and share leadership with people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. We know that sincerely valuing and respecting all constituents – audience members and community members; filmmakers and sponsors; volunteers, team members, staff and board – is the best way to ensure our success. 1. We begin with an awareness of how systemic inequities, privilege and oppression have affected our society and our personal behavior. This enables us to examine our blind spots and helps avoid faulty decisions and flawed strategies. 2. We work to continually ensure diversity in our own board, staff and internal team member composition. Related to our own organizational history and the context in which we operate, we give particular to attention to race, ethnicity and age. 3. We take intentional action to educate ourselves and to grow a culture of inclusivity and accountability for action. 4. We treat one another and our constituents with dignity, respect and appreciation – at all times and across all boundaries. 5. We continue to ensure that our programming reflects this philosophy of inclusion as well as the interests of diverse audiences.

WHAT WE DO TO ENSURE EQUITY AND INCLUSION AT 4-D Network
6. We continually work to bring programming to diverse communities, to partner with organizations that reflect our commitment to inclusion and to consciously market to diverse communities in culturally responsive ways. 7. We measure what we are doing and build mechanisms for continual improvement. While acknowledging that it can be difficult to have conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion, we recognize that continual improvement and increasing our competence with critical conversations is essential to organizational excellence and to our vision of authentic community.

Please click on the "schedule now" button to make an appointment to fit your schedule, or email me with any questions you might have. 

Scroll to top