By Jessica Graham
Do you talk about sex? Do you tell your partners what turns you on or turns you off? I can’t tell you how many people I have come across who are not enjoying sex, purely because they won’t speak up and ask for what they want. Communication is a key ingredient for a hot, healthy, and mindful sex life.
I understand the anxiety about asking for what you want. I used to have to be drunk to be able to tell a partner what I liked. It was just too scary otherwise. When I stopped drinking I had to start voicing my desires, stone cold sober. At first it felt terrible and I could barely get the words out. I was worried of being judged or rejected, or just sounding silly. Meditation really changed that for me. As I gained more acceptance of my moment to moment experience I was able to move through that discomfort. Meditating on thoughts and emotions is a great tool when learning to talk about sex. It allows you to notice the uncomfortable experience without being swallowed by it. After a while, meditation helped me to get really good at communicating my kinks and desires. And you can too.
Do you want your partner to be more tender, more rough? Do you want to try a new sex toy or make some home movies on your smartphone? Do you want to be kissed with more pressure, or more tongue? Do you want to slow down and just focus on sensations? You deserve to ask for what you want and to express what you don’t want.
You can start using meditation right now to help you become more comfortable talking about sex. Take a moment to bring to mind what you’d like to say to your partner about your sex life. Notice what happens in your body when you think about having that conversation. Gently rest your attention on those sensations. Just feel them without trying to change them. Notice if any images or words arise in your mind. Don’t try to stop them, just notice what comes up. Be accepting and curious about whatever happens in your body and mind. You can practice this way until the experience feels less overwhelming and more manageable.
Writing is also a great way to become more comfortable communicating about sex. Try writing down all your desires and fantasies. Don’t censor yourself at all. Get it all out; then repeat the practice again a few days later. Allow this to be a fun and creative experiment, don’t try to get it right. This type of stream of consciousness writing is another form of meditation and has helped me immensely. You may decide to turn some of this writing into a sexy letter for your partner. That could help ease you into talking about it.
A good next step is talk about sex when you are not having sex. That can take some of the pressure off of you and your partner. Start slow and stay in touch with how your body feels as you talk. It’s okay to tell your partner that it’s difficult for you. Sharing about how you feel when you talk about sex is talking about sex!
As you get more comfortable asking for what you want, you’ll next be able to do it in the moment of having sex. Such open communication will create a much deeper intimacy between you and your partner. Sex will become more fun and more connected.
That’s not to say that you will always get what you want. Sometimes there may be compromise. If you’re thinking golden showers and your partner is thinking no way in hell, you might need to agree to put that fantasy aside. The great thing is that there are endless possibilities. Let your sexuality be creative and flexible.
If your partner shares a desire with you, never judge or criticize them. If what they are asking for is out of your comfort zone, be gentle and offer another option. To be able to hold space for your partner, you’ll need to be able to hold space for yourself. Notice the thoughts and emotions that come up for you and pause before responding. That mindful pause can be the difference between a warm loving exchange and very hurt feelings.
Communication is also very important when it comes to saying what you don’t want. If a certain position doesn’t feel good for you, let your partner know. It’s important to be kind and open when letting someone know that what they are doing isn’t working for you. But by all means, do not continue with a sex activity if you don’t like it. Knowing what you like and don’t like requires mindful communication with yourself too. Meditation can be done “in action,” not just on the cushion. Stay in touch with your emotions while having sex ,and let your body tell you what it wants. Incorporating mindfulness into your sex life will help you to listen to what’s true for you and be to able to honor that.
A note for those who like to be dominated. I’ve often heard from people who want to be tied up, spanked, or just generally ordered around, that asking for it ruins the experience. Telling someone to dominate you doesn’t feel too submissive. This is where talking about it beforehand is helpful. You can ask your partner to surprise you with some rope and a riding crop when you are least expecting it. Plus you’ll want to create a safe word before diving in (If you can’t think of one just use “safe word”). That requires talking about it. Communication is especially important when it comes to experimenting in this way, as anyone practiced in BDSM will tell you.
If you are experiencing a dip in your sex life, a bit of communication can get it right back on track. Start talking about sex every day just a little. Tell your partner how hot they looked today, or reminisce about a sexual adventure you once had together. Get in the habit of sending some sexy texts each day. As you put some focus on sex the sexual energy will start to increase. Foreplay with words can be incredibly hot and can be done almost anywhere.
Don’t keep putting off the sex life you deserve. It may be as simple as a little mindfulness.
Read the full Mindful Sex Series here
Jessica is currently writing a book on Mindful Sex for Parallax Press