It's vital for mindful acts of emotional and spiritual intimacy to steadily develop as a daily practice for healthy sex. To that end, Center for Healthy Sex has created daily meditations to help you reach your sexual and relational potential. (You can subscribe for free here.)
Even momentarily concentrating on healthy solutions rewires psychological patterns to receive and share healthy sexual love in the present. Here are three meditations with the themes of fear, disaffection, and validation for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Fear
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light." -- Plato
It's been said that people operate out of fear or out of faith. Operating out of fear of our worst-case scenario as a way to hedge our bets against getting hurt is both illusory and costly. Fear keeps our lives small; anxious thoughts consume the mind and crab our experience. Worry, a kissing cousin of fear, fills even a peaceful present with its self-fulfilled painful imaginings. Where is your attention? Is it on what you can't get, what doesn't "ever" work out for you, or other lack and limitation? If so, the very experiences you're afraid of are likely the experiences you invite into your life and consciousness.
To live in faith means that we can leap into the unknown and risk not knowing exactly what the outcome will be, especially in our relationships. Typically, if we follow our gut instincts, that leap of faith pays off, because we have chosen an attitude of possibility instead of fear. You may notice that your fear system registers threat whenever you take a risk, leaving you more anxious than usual. Learning to tolerate that anxiety so it doesn't paralyze your actions is the first step toward shaking off the rule of fear. See if you can move in counterintuitive ways by feeling the fear and taking a (reasonable) risk anyway.
Next, consider where you limit yourself sexually out of fear. Ask yourself, "What's the worst thing I can imagine about expressing my sexual preferences to my partner?" Is it that you'll be rejected, humiliated, or abandoned? Is that a realistic fear or one you're dragging around with you from your past? Part of being a sexual adult is taking full ownership of who you are sexually, what you like and dislike, and communicating that to a healthy partner who won't shame or leave you. Take a leap of faith today with someone you trust, feel the fear. and do it anyway!
Daily healthy sex acts
- Identify three things that scare you (even though you know they're actually safe). Take a leap of faith and try one of those things this week.
- Identify one thing about your sexual preference or style that you worry about telling your partner. Ask yourself what the likeliest -- the most realistic -- outcome would be if you shared this information.
Meditation 2: Disaffection
"I cannot love as I have loved,
And yet I know not why;
It is the one great woe of life
To feel all feeling die."
-- Philip James Bailey
Apathy might overtake any one of us unexpectedly, but usually someone significant said or did something hurtful. That uncontested fact gets swallowed and, like a parasite, this sense of fault will slowly drain the body and brain unless the originating source of friction is examined, confronted and healed.
The fact that humans lose interest in people, in hobbies, in life may also indicate unhealthy patterns in feeling states and perceptions rather than any single cause. We all know the experience of sitting in bed feeling exhilarated one day and lackluster the very next. The issue is not whether we need to find a more fulfilling bed.
To practice healthy behavior and pursue heartfelt goals, we sometimes have to blind ourselves to momentary hindrances such as boredom, resistance, and disaffection, which can all be forms of self-sabotage. In the same way, when going on vacation and experiencing tedious stretches between destinations, we can't walk down the airport terminal thinking, "Oh, no! If this is what the rest of the trip is like it's going to be terrible." We've seen the brochure, we know we're going to reach that sandy beach.
All relationships hit rough patches, and sometimes problems seem permanent. There's a knack to knowing whether we're still engaged in a healthy process that's going to pay off, or when it's really dried up and we should move on. Tolerating this conundrum ("Is it me or is it her/him?") long enough to answer it is a sign of maturity. If we lead rich lives and take responsibility for feeling whole, fulfilled, and interested, we have less need to seek constant external stimulation, and may instead bask in our self-generated feelings of love and connection.
Daily healthy sex acts
- How do you communicate your inner experience? One extreme might be to cover up any negativity and pretend everything is okay, and the other extreme might be to blame others for all that's disagreeable. Can you acknowledge these two extremes while sticking to your middle ground? Share openly and honestly today. Let others in.
- When have you recently lost interest in something or someone? Using free-flow writing, explore the mental process that triggered you to lose interest. What exactly was unhealthy for you? Did you really give it a chance, or did you ignore warning signs that could have been transformed through healthy deliberation?
Meditation 3: Validation
"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." -- Robert Frost
The self-centered need for validation may be the single greatest motive for sexual and romantic hookups. Having narcissistic caregivers leaves an individual endlessly seeking validation to fill the hole of invisibility, the lack of recognition and empathy. Similarly, when people feel inadequate in areas such as beauty, potency, or worthiness, sex can become a playing field to disprove -- or prove -- these negative core beliefs. For while many seek validation through others' praise or worship, even more unknowingly seek to confirm negative internal messages.
Expecting others to compensate for your perceived inadequacies prevents true relational sex. It's akin to a conversation where you're just waiting for someone to finish talking so it's your turn. These interactions lack adult intimacy, and any validation they convey is never enough. Then there are people who seek validation in theory: "Would you still love me if... ?" By pushing the envelope, they hope to gauge another's feelings. At its worst, this is the partner who is beaten and concludes irrationally that abuse equals caring. Typically s/he can't receive genuine validation, since her or his thought process defensively blocks healthy support with a plethora of reasons for its inauthenticity. So any supposed validation gets ferreted out circuitously: "He/she didn't reject me, ergo I have worth."
Honest -- not compulsive -- validation is a healthy human need. One method to counter our compulsion for validation is to ask safely for honest appraisals and prepare actually to receive new information about ourselves. Others can validate our perspectives and experience without necessarily agreeing with them. True reflection presents things as they are, and if our loved ones share truths about us, we can welcome them as letting us know we are not invisible -- they really do see us.
Daily healthy sex acts
- What do you need validated in your life that perhaps was not validated in the past -- beauty, likeability, intelligence, choices, beliefs? List them, underline them, know them. Get them down on paper to lessen your need for external validation.
- Set an intention to receive validation where you need it. Start with personal affirmations, and when you can accept these, ask others for validation. Who might affirm you where you need it, without bias? A loving sentiment fully received can be restorative.
- Validate others, even if you disagree with them -- especially if you disagree with them. This can be as simple as repeating their statements to let them know you hear them.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.