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 impotence, ulterior motives, and gratitude for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Impotence
"The fear of appearances is the first symptom of impotence." -- Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Anxiety about looking good is the enemy of psychic freedom. In fact, the moment we step outside of our selves into self-consciousness, we become impotent. Whether we're talking about sexual performance or public speaking, impotence ensues when we lose our center or solid sense of self. How much time do you spend agonizing over what you project onto your lover or what other people are thinking about you? Some Shamanic cultures believe that when we compare ourselves to others, we steal a piece of their soul and abandon our own. Comparison has you abandoning your soul and stealing another's like a thief who can't see that he already has what he needs.
And so it goes in sex. We're still conditioned to think we're responsible for our partner's orgasm, thus leaving ourselves anxious about our performance and worried about whether we're doing it right for our partner. Your pleasure, your erection, your orgasm, and your sexual experiences are ultimately your responsibility. When we think of impotence, we usually think of men losing their erections during a sexual experience. Has that ever happened to you? If so, were you willing to stop and take care of what you needed? Did you notice what was happening in your body, where your attention was, and whether or not you were anxious? Did you talk to your partner about it or did you shrink into shame, hoping that he/she didn't notice?
If you live in fear that you'll be impotent, then you'll create a vicious cycle. Stop. Notice what you're feeling and talk about what you need. The act of calming yourself down and connecting with your partner will help to restore your personal potency. Bodily-based pleasure is one of the most luscious experiences we can have. Don't ruin your physical pleasure by putting pressure on yourself to perform.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Spend one day noticing how you compare yourself to others or how you worry about what others are thinking about you. How much energy are you wasting, and how much of your life is passing you by? Minutes, hours, days...
- Next time you have sex, surrender to receiving pleasure. Notice any preoccupation or judgments you have about being "selfish" or about getting it "right."
- Pay attention to performance anxiety and how that impacts your capacity for potency.
Meditation 2: Ulterior Motives
"Sex is hardly ever just about sex." -- Shirley MacLaine
Sex can be used secretly as a means to achieve some other ambition and, likewise, other ambitions can be a means of getting sex. Spy films are often built on this pretense, and perhaps on some level they exist as modern-day cautionary tales of interpersonal intrigue run amuck. What are some of the common motives that secretly influence sex? Validation, power, security, social climbing, obligation, peer pressure, stress relief, eroticized rage, rebellion -- sex can be motivated by so many underlying issues rather than the honest desire to connect with another for mutual care and pleasure.
To actively engage in sexual subterfuge is to support objectification, which cannot be practiced on others without ultimately objectifying one's inner self. Like the cheater who becomes paranoid and thinks everyone is cheating on them, when we contribute to these types of thinking, it only reinforces manipulation to echo in our lives, corrupting healthy perspective. Generally, people who feel like they're being played, in some part of their lives, are playing others.
Exploiting any situation as merely a means to an end prevents being in the moment and experiencing life directly. It creates one of the most basic forms of unavailability and dissatisfaction, and even when it's seemingly on purpose, it's always the result of traumatized programming. No one would choose disconnection as a supposed method to become better connected in the future, yet disconnection is exactly what happens to practice this kind of opportunism. Cut out the middle man and let transparency guide your true goals and desires.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Make a list of some of your past ulterior motives for sexual and romantic contact. How has this worked out for you in the past. For instance, did you gain security or power, and at what cost? What might be healthier ways for you to meet your goals?
- Bring awareness to your actions today and how often they represent the means to an end. It's especially easy to seek intimacy from others through other means. Let yourself be vulnerable today by expressing your desire for intimacy to those you trust.
Meditation 3: Gratitude
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." -- Melody Beattie
Gratitude is so much more than a thank you card, birthday gift or the clinking of wine glasses. Has anyone ever called you ungrateful? We're all instructed as toddlers to parrot the words "thank you" as a means to convey gratitude, but social niceties and etiquette are far different from the deep feelings of true gratitude. By affirming the light, we act like the light, and we shine. We feel blessed for our lives, and in that moment we bless our lives. Such grateful feelings surge from the core of one's being whenever we fulfill our potential in small ways and grand. To be away from gratitude is to be out of touch with one's purpose. It's too easy to view gratitude as a wholly elective and superfluous expression that conveys whether the ego is pleased. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Again, to be away from gratitude is to be out of touch with your true purpose. Gratitude is an essential indication that your current actions reflect your real values.
Gratitude is a sign and a remedy. In the worst of times, be it material, relational, emotional or spiritual depression, summoning gratitude is a sure way to get your life back on track. Open your eyes to affirm gratitude, where you find it will grow the garden of your inner abundance, just as standing close to a fire will eventually warm a heart. Where much of life demands more and still more, gratitude lets us know we're enough. The physiology of gratitude induces a regulated state similar to meditation or prayer. Gratitude actually builds a better brain.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Write out a gratitude list every morning and night for the next two weeks. Simply list five things for which you're grateful off the top of your head in that moment with as few words as possible.
- Send a simple gratitude list to your lover or loved one through a text, Post-it or social media message every day for the next two weeks and ask them to reciprocate if possible.
- Practice an attitude of gratitude as you move through the world today. Mentally note what you love about each moment. How long can you stay in this state before your mind wanders. The second you become distracted, try to notice the situation. Are you in fantasy or anxiety, or did life suddenly show itself -- and are you moving toward life?
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.