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 preoccupation, repression, and authenticity for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Preoccupation
"The tragedy is when you've got sex in the head instead of down where it belongs." -- D.H. Lawrence
Preoccupation is one of the hallmarks of addiction, a means of distracting the mind from painful feelings. It's often remarked that our society is sexually preoccupied, which similarly point to sexual issues or trauma that remain unresolved in our shared history. Of course, certain types of mental concentration are very healthy for uncovering the truth of reality, but there can be a place where this effort slips into preoccupation or obsession.
Where healthy concentration allows room for new ideas, preoccupation holds hostages. Healthy concentration brings focal awareness to a mental object as a means of suspending the self-conscious mind enough to invite content from the subconscious mind to emerge in an integrative process. Conversely, the person involved in preoccupation becomes overpowered by subconscious content. Whatever self-awareness they possess gets projected onto the mental object of their attention. This becomes like a "fetish" -- an object that takes on subjective properties as a container for them. When there's excess pain or trauma and it's no longer safe to be feeling one's subjective feelings, when there are no tools to be able to process and regulate difficult feelings, then they get cast out on something, they can get objectified, dissociated. This is the root of preoccupation.
Preoccupation always gives the idea that good can come of it -- just like good can come of concentration, it will resolve itself, it will lead to something, but a preoccupied state only perpetuates a negative cycle. One way to bring healing to such a situation is to leave the preoccupied state, either in the short-term through some kind of disruption or by developing present awareness over time.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Observe your thoughts today. What thoughts are productive, and what thoughts are the echoes of stress, anxiety or escapism? What physical sensations accompany such thoughts?
- Breathe into your dissociated thinking. Send oxygen to your brain. Feel your body.
- Choose one or more areas of your life that could benefit from concentration -- such as a specific issue in your love life, your sex life, or another area. The next time you find your mind drifting into random sexual, romantic or relational preoccupation, harness this energy to focus on these chosen issues instead as a means of inviting greater meaning into your life. Actively engage in brain play.
Meditation 2: Repression
"Sexuality poorly repressed unsettles some families; well repressed, it unsettles the whole world." -- Karl Kraus
Despite the constant barrage of sexualization, objectification, and exploitation in any given society, its populace is very likely sexually repressed. If people have grown up in a sexually-repressive environment, then part of that necessary healing isn't going to be solved by taking one's top off and dancing on tabletops. Were sexuality merely a body part or consensual transaction, then perhaps exposing the body part or engaging in the sex act would be a valid way of releasing any associated repression. Sex is more than a thing to be had! Many of the actions that people take to get out of the grips of repression -- to become sexually liberated -- only serve to bury and reinforce the original repression without shedding the needed light for healing to occur. Repression results in repression of the capacity for intimacy.
A common complaint is that one's partner is repressed and needs to be more sexually open. It always raises a flag. Is there coercion, unhealthy boundaries, or is the partner actually repressed? Why is this couple not in a state of intimacy enough to find understanding? The process for determining mutual sexual needs is where real repression shows itself. It's not so much about sex acts as the ability to safely share one's emotional, relational and/or sexual truth with one's world and to receive another's truth without judgment. If any of this seems daunting to you, then that's the degree of repression that still informs your actions.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Choose to liberate yourself from the shackles of repression. The process, as always, begins within. How do you really feel about your capacity for sex and intimacy?
- How has repression shown up in your life? In the lives of your parents? What is one action you can take toward healthy expression to shed light on sexual repression? You do not need to know how to heal; trust the light that you bring to this area of your life to also reveal your next step.
Meditation 3: Authenticity
"Love is much more fundamental than any kind of thinking or believing. It is the root and basis of who you are, at the most fundamental level. This means that anything other than love as an expression of your being is artificial and unnatural and is a result of not knowing who you are." -- Bill Harris
Living in authenticity is one of the great challenges of being human, and living an authentic life is an aspiration; prepare to blunder along the path. Risking telling the truth at all times requires courage and finesse because truth-telling can be hurtful to others, especially those who are fragile and unable to hear the truth. One sure way of measuring whether or not you're in your truth is to track the sensations in your body. Trust your gut over your thoughts and pay attention to what answers arise for you. Also notice what happens to you when someone asks you a question that puts you on the spot, do you answer authentically, or do you veil your answer in order to accommodate their feelings? If you choose the later, what does that do to your feelings about yourself? It's possible to stand in your authenticity by making it a practice to take a beat to see if there's a more "politic" way to speak your truth without hurting others.
Many comedians make fun of the typical scenario of a woman putting on a new outfit and asking her husband if it makes her look fat. The joke is that the woman shouldn't ask or that the man has to lie. These jokes make both men and women look like simpletons who spend their relationship time manipulating and lying to each other. How would you answer a question similar to that from your partner? Can you handle hearing an authentic answer and are you able to give kind, authentic answers?
Daily healthy sex acts
- Spend a day noticing when you bend your truth in order to accommodate people around you -- especially your partner.
- Practice speaking your truth, in kind, authentic ways.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.