Mindful Sex Series, by Jessica Graham
I didn’t know that an amazing sex life would be a side effect of meditation when I started this journey. Actually I didn’t even know that my sex life was missing something. Now I know that there are no limits to the pleasures that await me. I now consider my sexuality to be as much of my spiritual practice as sitting on the cushion. This is no different from how I view my work, eating, interactions with family, creating art, and life in general. Meditation stops being this special thing we do for thirty minutes a day and begins to be our moment-by-moment experience. Everything is part of it.
In this fun, frank, and insightful series, I (Jessica Graham) share my own journey from shutdown and disconnected sex, to open and deeply connected sex. I offer thoughtful guidance and techniques for improving your sex life, increasing intimacy, and getting off without checking out.
I’ve always been a very sexual person. I’m the one who finds a way to work sex into pretty much any conversation. I like great sex scenes in movies, erotic photography and graphic novels, songs with sexual lyrics, and occasionally a little porn. My sex life has always been very important to me, but for most of my sexually active years I was selling myself (and my partners) short. I was not I touch with my body, therefore, I was experiencing only a small percentage of how amazing sex can be. Once I started to learn to really feel the sensations of sex, however, I discovered a whole new me.
The first thing I recommend for anyone looking to enhance their sex life is to take up a daily mindfulness meditation practice. If you don’t have a meditation practice yet, you can start today! Sit down in a comfortable upright position and set a timer for 10 minutes. Turn off the phone and all other distractions; makes sure you won’t be disturbed. Focus your attention on your body. As sensations arise, pleasant or unpleasant, really feel them. Notice any tingling, expansion, contraction, throbbing, warmth or coldness. If you find yourself pulled into thoughts, gently bring your attention back to your body. Don’t try to stop the thoughts, just keep coming back to the body. Meditating on bodily sensations like this is very good for investigating sexual sensations in particular.
If you are ready to translate this body awareness to sex, try it solo first. Don’t rush into getting off, start slowly and focus on any sensations of pleasure, no matter how small or faint. Really soak into the good feelings in your body, the obvious and the subtle. Stay with the sensations, relax, and breathe. Try it without engaging in your normal techniques or fantasies; that may help you get more present with what it actually feels like to experience sexual pleasure. Let go of the expectation of climax and allow yourself to experience every tingle, throb, and rush of heat. It’s the journey not the destination. Each time the mind starts to pull you away, gently come back to the body and stay focused there. It can be intense to really feel all the pleasure that is available. You may find that you have sensation overload! Take your time and enjoy.
In my case, seeing through the crazy, hot, exciting dose of Love Drugs meant letting go of the part of me that could still get high off of them. It meant coming out of hiding a little bit more and giving up the escape that an intense crush can bring.
This shift changes things. If you are someone who gets a big “fix” from romantic and sexual intrigue, be ready to lose that. It’s not going to be the same once you see through the chemical, emotional, and psychological response. You won’t be able to get high in that way anymore. Prepare yourself to connect on a whole new level and realize that you will have to learn to navigate a whole new paradigm. I’m still discovering what my sexuality looks like without the attachment to the highs and lows of Love Drugs.
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. Communication is a key ingredient for a hot, healthy, and mindful sex life.
Today I like to show up for everything, including my sex life. And let me tell you, fully experiencing a threesome is way better than drunkenly fumbling though one. Mindfulness can expand in all directions of life, including new sexual adventures. The more you bring your practice into every aspect of your day, the more you have the potential to lead an awakened life. I always talk about how the very challenging times are incredibly ripe for spiritual growth, but so are the fun, very sexy times. A new sexual experience, such as a ménage à trois, offers a smorgasbord of sensory and mental activity. If you get mindful about it, a threesome can be a spiritual path of it’s own. Just to be clear, your sex life being a spiritual path does not necessarily have equal some sort of new age explosion of “spirituality.” It can still be dirty, wild, and fun. Everything is a spiritual path and in my experience that path keeps getting more simple and ordinary every day. And sexier too.
There are, however, unique challenges and negotiations involved with bringing a third person into the bedroom. If you are considering inviting someone to join you and your partner, a mindful approach will make all the difference in taking it from fun to really fun.
Just because you meditate doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a rough bdsm scene or a book of erotic photography. Because you meditate, you’ll be able to enjoy porn more, and with less attachment. If porn is triggering for you, I still invite you to read this article. Stay in touch with your thoughts and emotional sensations. No one says you have to watch this kind of content, but having an aversion to it can create unnecessary suffering for yourself. Meditation is the path to freedom from suffering, and can be used with anything and everything.
I think the deeper reason why open-eyed orgasm (and sex) can feel so scary is that you are really seeing and being seen. In this vulnerable, naked state, opening your eyes means opening your heart. This goes for your long term partner, or your one night stand. It’s so very intimate to look into someone’s eyes while you are being penetrated or penetrating. All the facades and games are stripped away in those moments. It’s just the two of you, eye to eye. While this might seem like too much to bear, you can not only bear it, but find deep satisfaction and pleasure from it.
By simply feeling and seeing your partner while you are having sex, you can connect in ways that seem magical. It’s not actually magic; it’s how life is when you show up for it. You can start by just really experiencing a hug. It doesn’t have to be sexual. Feel the other person’s arms around you. Notice the feeling of your breath and theirs. Experience the warmth of another body meeting yours. Try it in a conversation. See their eyes; the color, the shape, the size. Watch the way their mouth moves. Hear the sound of their voice. Give up being solid and separate, and for even just a few seconds connect from the place that goes beyond You and Me.
It seems that time slows, or perhaps doesn’t exist at all. Your breath is your partner’s breath which is the breath of everything. As you inhale, so does the universe. At first you can’t tell your body from her’s. One warm, pulsing, entity of energy. Then there is no body at all. Something can see through your eyes, taste though your mouth, touch through your fingertips, but it is not made of thoughts and emotions. It is not a Me. If you have experienced this, you know just what I’m talking about.
The first time I began to recognize the Everything and Nothing during sex, I was shocked right back into a solid self. This self said “Holy moly! I just had a spiritual awakening! I want more of that!” This is common with early spiritual insights. The Self arises and tries hold on to the experience. Of course the moment that happens, and you become attached to that self, Poof! You are landlocked once again. But over time these insights add up and the gap between rememberings gets smaller. This has been the case for me with both my spiritual and sexual development, though I don’t really see these two as separate anymore. It’s all included.
Stressed out? The sexier side of science has good and bad news for you. The bad news: Your stress is keeping you from having the best sex you can. The good news is you can change that with just a few minutes of meditation every day.
You’ve probably heard that meditation helps you be more present, keep your mind focused and quiet your thoughts. Turns out that’s pretty much the hat trick of preventing mental performance anxiety in the bedroom.
photo by scottmontreal