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 sexual politics, mortality, and empathy for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Sexual Politics
"There are politics in sexual relationships because they occur in the context of a society that assigns power based on gender and other systems of inequality and privilege." -- Susan Shaw
We all have a potential for two kinds of politics. People are said to be "playing politics" when they try to manipulate and use others for their own ends. The politic that seeks any kind of power over others is always based in fear. All of us grew up saturated by family politics, where we first realized that certain people address situations through certain behaviors. To avoid repeats of punishment or mistreatment, we found ways to work within progressively-diverse situations, often by maneuvering around obstacles to get what we want. The survival instinct demands that we continually reorient ourselves within group dynamics; this results in internalized political drives that inform every other form of politics in the public arena, including sexual politics with a loved one. Humility, openness, and willingness are healthy traits to cultivate for shifting the win-lose power paradigm of personal politics.
Politics also have a nobler meaning -- the act of searching within ourselves to find healthy values of acceptance and forgiveness and embodying those values in daily thought and action. We may practice loving-kindness, regardless of circumstances, starting with our most beloved, so even our lovemaking becomes a political act to break the pattern of manipulation and objectification. Even right at this moment, a personal politic happens within you. That can be exploitative and scheming, stereotyping and minimizing. It can divide and conquer, or always possible is to be present with unconditional love for all life through the emphatic practice of a uniting politic.
Daily healthy sex acts
- At Center for Healthy Sex, we believe everyone has the right to experience healthy sex and love free from trauma, abuse, violence, crime, lies, secrets, judgment, shame, guilt and regrets. This is our shared philosophy and politic. What would you underline, add or subtract from this list, and why?
- How do you define healthy sex and love, and what political statements are you making through your relationships, communications, actions and appearance to practice this philosophy in your life?
Meditation 2: Mortality
"Drink and dance and laugh and lie,
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.)"
-- Dorothy Parker
If the world were to end, there's the fantastical cliché of throwing caution to the wind, kissing strangers and having sex in the streets. How does your apocalyptic scenario play out? Social obligation and expectation hold many in check. Stripped of all pretension, if your current behavior is only a ruse to ensure safety and reputation within your community, consider what happens when these structures no longer matter. Ideally, we will always seek to behave in a way that reflects our dearest values even during the darkest of circumstances -- especially during the darkest of circumstances.
Technically, we come into this world alone, and we leave it alone. We want to hold a place for death -- of ourselves and our loved ones. Starting today, we can each secure emotional insurance for that fact. We know that death separates, so why get involved if it's all going to end someday? Because we do live on. We all live on in the people whose lives we touch, an unbreakable chain. Think of all the mentors and teachers who have touched your life and all the people who hold some part of the wisdom you've shared with them. Relationships are as vital as the hearts growing, even after one party has passed on. Every moment alive we have the opportunity to expand our capacity for intimacy and relationship to all. If this is the truest lesson of a life, we may carry this with us into any kind of death and through our darkest nights.
Daily healthy sex acts
- What vital experiences would you want to have if the world were to end, and why? If you are not already experiencing such vital moments today, find a way to be true to the spirit of your vision while you're still living.
- Reach out to those who have touched your life in a healthy and healing way. Recharge both your batteries and let them know what they mean to you.
Meditation 3: Empathy
"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand." -- Henri J.M. Nouwen
Many times, people mistake empathy for sympathy, remedy, or indulgence. Through empathy, we may perceive the emotional reality of another and share in that living moment. To bear such witness means releasing the desire to change another's emotional dynamic, because a lot of times wanting to fix a discomforting situation means furtively attempting just to cover it up. Typical defense mechanisms we all use that automatically displace empathy include minimizing, maximizing, or distracting.
People who weren't shown empathy in childhood will be hard-pressed to practice empathy as adults. Typical responses to childhood distress might have included "Stop crying," or "Tsk, you're okay," or even "Here, have a lollipop." Lack of empathy stunts the important reparative process that leads to secure attachment, and instead lends itself to a psychological pattern that loops between emotional stasis, disruption, and dissociative lapse, over and over. It's not just painful feelings that are difficult to handle and that don't go away without the healing balm of empathy. Success also rarely receives empathy -- approval, but not empathy.
One of the major and most crucial tools in any relationship is self-empathy, especially as a parent or spouse. We all need to be able to empathize with ourselves and what we're going through at any moment. If we block self-empathy, especially during our bleakest moments, we're certainly going to be limited in our ability to empathize with others. While empathy is a way of seeing into others, self-empathy is a way to step out of being invisible. This can just simply be checking in privately with yourself during any conversation or situation to mentally voice, "This is difficult for me right now," or "I am triggered," or even "I feel joyful" in whatever tone speaks to you.
Daily healthy sex acts
- An elementary step toward empathy is reflection, but we're often too caught by our thoughts to take this step. Ask a willing participant to relay an emotional event from their day, and simply try to connect with their experience by repeating key phrases. If they say, "I felt uncomfortable," then simply repeat "You felt uncomfortable" in a similar tone, and observe your capacity for bearing witness without trying to fix or distract.
- How do you practice empathy during the vulnerability of sexual and romantic feelings? Seeing and being seen by your lover may create powerful sensations aligning bodily pleasure with emotional connection. Sexually experiment by bringing empathy to your bedroom.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.