How to Have Good Sex:
Mindfulness for Mind-Blowing Sex
by Jessica Graham, author of Good Sex: Getting Off without Checking Out
I know what it’s like to be checked out and anxious during sex. I know what it’s like to need drugs and alcohol be able to relax, have fun, or ask for what you really want during sex. I know what it’s like to be so attached to climax that you miss out on all the other pleasure of sex. I know what it’s like to wonder when you’ll bridge the gap between your spiritual life and your sexual life. I know what it’s like to be judged for your sexual appetite or lack thereof. I know what it’s like to want more.
And there is more. So much more. There is a whole new paradigm of mind-blowing sex available to you, and the entry point is mindfulness.
Mindful sex is the practice of actually being present for sex. Through this practice you can experience more pleasure and more connection. You can also use mindfulness and meditation tools to address blocks and issues in your sex life and sexual expression, including; erectile disfunction, low desire, communication challenges, body insecurities, and so much more. Mindfulness can also be a wonderful compliment to therapy for sexual trauma. I’ve seen mindful sex lead to massive healing and sexual awakening.
I want to mention that having mindful sex doesn’t mean you must be breathing in sync, gazing into your partners left eye, and barely moving your body, while surrounded by rose petals, with the scent of essential oils wafting through the room (although this can be really wonderful!). Mindful sex can also be a hard, fast fuck in your kitchen with a friend with benefits, or even a one-night-stand. If it’s consensual and you are present for it, it can be mindful sex. And by the way, watching porn can be done mindfully, and ethically, too.
What? Mindful and ethical porn? Yep, read more about it here.
Bringing mindfulness into your sex life is also another way to deepen your spiritual path and awaken more fully. Sex gets cut out, sterilized, or compartmentalized in many spiritual traditions. This is a shame because awakening can’t touch many of the places inside of us that we repress or ignore. There are good and noble reasons that monastics, and some meditation practitioners, choose celibacy—but what about the rest of us? If we hope to continue to awaken, we must bridge the gap between our spiritual lives and our sexual lives. Plus, we all deserve good sex.
The process of becoming more awake in the realm of sexuality is full of highs and lows and twists and turns, just like the rest of life. It’s a worthy endeavor, one that I am so grateful for.
I wasn’t always so mindful when it came to sex. In fact, my story began when I was fourteen and decided it was high time to lose my virginity. So I did. It happened in the backseat of a hot rod car—I think it was a green Chevelle—with an 18-year-old dude with a ponytail. I kept my turquoise All-Star high tops on the whole time. I was high and don’t remember much, and that was the beginning of a bunch of years unmindful sex.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I had a lot of really good (even amazing) sexual experiences before I consciously started bringing mindfulness in. I loved sex and had a great time expressing my sexuality, I just wasn’t fully there for the expression. I wasn’t having embodied sex. I was experiencing only a small percentage of how amazing sex can be in its totality. But once I started to learn to really feel the sensations of sex everything changed.
I started my journey to embodied sex with mindful masturbation (MM), and that’s also where I start many of my clients. There are endless versions of what MM can be, because ultimately, it’s just about being present while you masturbate, or engage in other kinds of self-pleasure. MM doesn’t need to replace your tried and true solo-sex activities. It helps you to be more present with whatever tickles your fancy.
By practicing on your own, you can learn what turns you on, and what doesn’t. MM empowers you to map your pleasure, so that you can give clear directions to your partners. These practices are also a way to connect more deeply with your own beautiful body, while enjoying the sexual goodness that it holds.
If you’d like an intro to a basic MM practice, you can find it here.
Freedom from Orgasm Anxiety
For some people, myself included for many years, orgasms can be a source of great anxiety. When it came to getting off with a partner, I used to feel a huge amount of pressure to come and come fast. My mind would race and the more it raced the less connected I would be with the pleasure in my body. I would worry that my partner didn’t really want to be doing what they were doing. I imagined them thinking, “Oh god. When is this going to end?” I felt rushed and judged—not a great combination for getting off or connecting with your partner.
People of all genders can experience orgasm anxiety. Fears of coming too fast, or too many times, or insecurities about your fluids, or how you taste and smell, or the sounds you make, can all lead to anxiety and disconnection during sex.
The wonderful news is that mindfulness is an excellent antidote to anxiety and the practices can easily be brought into sex. By getting present with sensations, without resisting thoughts, you can find yourself free from waves of anxiety and filled with waves of pleasure.
Is the Big O a big problem for you? Read more about relief from orgasm anxiety.
Using the MM practice can help you to learn to stay connected to the physical experience of sexual pleasure, which will take the emphasis off of anxious thoughts. Then, if you like, you can bring the same principles into partnered sex. Just keep coming back to all the pleasurable sensations that your partner’s body is creating in yours.
Want a little support with mindfulness of pleasure? Here’s a guided practice.
Keep in mind that amazing sex, on your own or with a partner doesn’t need to involve climax. Learning to connect to the sensations of pleasure in your body, will show you that climax is just one of the many orgasmic cherries on top of sex.
Want to enjoy all the sweetness that sex has to offer? Then it’s time to talk about sex, baby.
Communication Is Key
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.
Waking up to our thoughts and emotions related to sex is the first step. I call this process “Focus on Self,” and you can find a full class and guided practice on that here. When you can witness your thoughts and emotions about sex from a mindful (and kind) perspective, it becomes easier to know what you actually want, you are also way more capable of communicating your desires to someone else. This is paramount for good sex. The better you can give voice to what you want, the better chance you’ll get what you want and more. Keep in mind that, sometimes the best time for a sex talk is when you’re not having sex. This is especially true when it comes to safer sex and consent.
There’s no mindful sex, no good sex, no sex at all as far as I’m concerned, without consent. Consent comes first in my safer sex regimen. But the kind of consent that I’m talking about isn’t the antiquated “No Means No” model. I’m talking a clear-of-mind, sober, full body, “Hell Yes!” kind of consent. Radical and embodied consent is the only way to go.
Being in mindful dialogue with your body and pleasure, connects you to your “yes” and your “no,” and also helps you to be more aware of what’s happening with your partner. Working through anxiety that can arise when talking about sex, will allow you to stay present, even during awkward intimate moments. Learning to observe your thoughts and emotions about sex, helps you to speak, and listen, skillfully. The tools of mindfulness can help you to have 100 percent consensual sex every time. And if you are inclined towards the kinky, giving and getting clear consent is a required skill. When you feel safe with your partners you can start to explore new and wild territory.
The first time I read about open-eyed orgasms in Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch, I slammed the book shut. I was not ready for that level of intimacy, and I was pretty sure that any chance of climax would be shot if eye contact was made. At that point I hadn’t yet learned that my meditation practice would make the impossible possible.
How do you get over the fears, insecurities, and aversions to open-eyed sex? This is where your meditation practice comes in handy. Your aversion is made up of thoughts and emotions, so if you can learn to navigate and detach from those, you will be getting off with eyes wide open sooner than you think.
Open-eyed sex can be sweet and tender, but it can also be raw, rough, and wild. Play around with what new experiences and sensations are available when you open up. And you don’t need to be in a deep eye gazing session every time you get down, but it’s really nice to have the option. Mindful sex can open up all kinds of options and new adventures in sexuality.
My first threesome (well, to be honest, it was actually a foursome) involved a lot of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum, and a mattress on the floor. It was fun, sloppy, and we all had a good time. But group sex can go terribly wrong, and I’ve been there too.
It’s easy to have thunderstorms of jealousy, fractured relationships, and hurt feelings when it comes to engaging with more than one partner at a time. What I’ve found is that mindfulness can make a huge difference in this department. Being fully present before, during and after a threesome leads to more pleasure, more fun, and after-glow instead of after-shock.
Whether you identify as polyamorous, ethically non-monogamous, or just want to open your relationship for flirting only, utilizing your meditation practice will support you, and your partners, in exploring in a fun, hot, and safe way. And if you find that all the fun leads to feeling a bit attached and strung-out, mindfulness can help with that too.
The excruciating pleasure and pain of the first flush of love is like nothing else—well, some studies have shown that it’s remarkably similar to cocaine addiction, so there’s that. A new crush, or the beginning of a relationship can send us into quite a state and can go a bit off the deep end. Those love drugs are no joke.
You know how it goes. You are on the freeway madly texting the object of your desire, actually risking your life and lives of others to send just one more witty response. You are missing work because you haven’t been able to practice basic self-care and you’ve come down with a Love Flu. You are checking your phone fifteen times an hour, looking back over the old texts if a new one hasn’t come in yet. You think you see them everywhere, and each time your heart starts speeding and your skin gets hot. They don’t text back and it feels like someone has pulled your plug and emptied you out. Your lover is all you can think about, your thoughts looping endlessly. You even dream about them.
While this can feel really good, it can also feel really bad, and it can be incredibly disruptive to life. It’s a time when many people throw their mindfulness practice right out a big heart-shaped window. But, if you can stay present and awake for it, there is a huge amount of spiritual juice and opportunity for growth when you are being overwhelmed by love drugs.
I personally have had some major insight and emotional healing through bringing my meditation practice into the highs and lows of lust and romantic infatuation. Mindfulness of love drugs can dramatically change how you relate to this aspect of your humanity, bring ease and freedom into your relationships, and ultimately, lead to a deepening of spiritual awakening.
Sex As a Spiritual Path
When I started my journey into mindful sex, I wasn’t anticipating how it would effect my spiritual life. I wanted to have more pleasure and connection, along with mind-blowing orgasms and wild sexual adventures. Bringing my meditation practice into the bedroom – and kitchen countertops – gave me all that and more, but I also found out that sex is a direct path to spiritual insight and awakening.
Sex is a fundamental aspect of being human. It’s what allows us to continue to exist. When we bring our spiritual practice into sex, sexuality, and romantic relationship we open up the possibility of deeper, and more integrated awakening.
I believe that everything we experience can be a vehicle for awakening, and that includes your sexual pleasure, desire,and expression. The next time you are making love, fucking, or having a solo sex session, open yourself to the vast mystery of Everything and Nothing revealing itself in each wave of pleasure. Dive in the water is Divine.
Define Slut: Joseph Cultice
Woman in bed: https://www.stocksy.com/guillefaingold
Men in bed: https://www.stocksy.com/attator
Two women in bed: https://unsplash.com/@canweallgo
Couple in nature: https://www.stocksy.com/evgenijyulkin
Man in car: https://www.stocksy.com/IgorMadjinca