Happy Valentine's Day season! The time of year when we evaluate the health of loving relationships or lack thereof. 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 desire, eros, and feeling sexy for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Desire
"Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire." -- Patti Smith
The idea that we must sublimate all desire, longing, and passion in order to live a spiritual life is an outdated model of orthodoxy that serves only to oppress. At the other end of the spectrum is the opposing idea that desire is part of nothing more than an unending sexual hedonistic quest devoid of all spirituality and meaning. True desire is a yearning or longing to know oneself more fully. Through an integrated approach for desire, we combine the senses, consciousness, and all of our humanity, so that we can approach the fulfillment of our own personal quest for freedom and sense of inner peace.
The vehicle in which we must make this exploration is our body. Our body is embedded in our consciousness, so full acceptance of it is crucial for attaining absolute freedom. By igniting our senses, knowing bodily pleasure, and connecting with our hearts and our version of the divine, we begin to set ourselves free of shame, guilt, and the puritanical ideas of our ancestors.
When it comes to being sexually connected to oneself and one's partner, meeting in a place of honor is a good starting point. When in your sexual integrity, desiring fully and freely invites a kind of honesty, a nervous excitement where there's no rush to cover up desire or push it away. You accept that as part of your adult sexuality, and you recognize it as the engine that arouses you and your partner. Don't be shy, speak your love, your carnal desire, and what you are seeing and would like to see or do with your partner, whether it be lovely, lustful, or lascivious. This kind of connection flames your emotional and physical arousal, allowing you to desire fully and love deeply.
Daily healthy sex acts
- What does desire mean to you? What do you long for, and how do you call forth what you are yearning for? Write about these topics and see if you can locate the source of your desire in your body.
- What is your greatest sexual fantasy? Write it out and interpret it as you would a dream. What are the symbols of desire and what do they really mean to you? In other words, what are you truly seeking in sex? Share your findings with a trusted other.
Meditation 2: Eros
"Civilization is a process in the service of Eros, whose purpose is to combine single human individuals, and after that families, then races, peoples and nations, into one great unity, the unity of mankind. Why this has to happen, we do not know; the work of Eros is precisely this." -- Sigmund Freud
Greek literature refers to Eros as the principal love force that binds the universe together. Ἔρως or Eros was the term to designate intimate love and also to personify one of the main Greek gods (known to the Romans as Cupid.) In some versions, Eros was the winged son of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. In others, Eros was a primordial creation god preceding humanity and binding the world together with the power of erotic love. According to Plato, the principle of Eros is our innate drive for wholeness that ranges from personal to universal levels of experience and expression.
In the classic tale from antiquity "Eros & Psyche," the god appears as an invisible lover (a symbolic theme in literature.) Eros would appear only under the cloak of night to make love to his stolen bride, Psyche, on the condition that she never lay eyes on him, and would fly away at the break of day. This drama is symbolic of most people's tendency to relegate the erotic impulse to isolated encounters that seem to "steal" our entire awareness in the moment, only to disengage in daily consciousness. The ultimate union of Eros and Psyche represents the personal union between one's capacity to maintain intimacy with one's "psych-ological" experience in each waking moment. In the tale, this union gives birth to a daughter named Pleasure. Remember, Eros is a god, while Psyche is a mere mortal destined to become a god. Similarly, it is through our deepest desire (Eros) originating from our deepest self that our consciousness (Psyche) is raised to higher levels, resulting in ongoing pleasure or enlightenment.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Imagine the aspects of your own personal Eros, your god of love. With what unique qualities do you perceive or endow the conscious living energy that rules your love life?
- Anteros is the brother of Eros, conceived solely to drive Eros onward (through rivalry) from his cherubic childhood into the fulfillment of erotic adulthood. Anteros is sometimes called the god of slighted love, punishing all that is bitter, resentful, fearful and covetous about human love. Do you tend to let Eros or Anteros rule your love life?
- Invite the ideals of your healthiest love god to illuminate the world.
- Try to see beyond the veil of superficial appearances to glimpse the invisible, uniting spirit of intimate love within.
Meditation 3: Feeling Sexy
"There's the theory that nudity doesn't really make something sexy; the characters and their relationship make it sexy." -- Tim Robbin
At some point in a long-term relationship, desire drops off, and we worry that we're no longer attracted to our mate or that we're no longer attractive. No one tells us that it's our responsibility to figure out what makes us feel sexy. People often cave in to the forces of getting older by letting themselves off the hook with healthy eating habits or exercising regularly. Strangely, we get complacent in our committed relationships, assuming that our partner will settle for our laziness because they love us. Paradoxically, that is one benefit of "growing older" with someone; we're loved no matter what, and we accept that looks and bodies change with time. Holding the opposite end of that paradox though means that we challenge ourselves to do what makes us feel sexy for our own vitality and for attracting our partner. If you've let yourself gain extra pounds, have stopped tending to your skin, hair, body by not exercising, then ask yourself, "Why?"
Sexual energy is a creative force in our lives and contributes to the well-being of all -- meaning that when you're vitally engaged and living a full life, others around you feel it and can be inspired to do the same. Take charge of your sexual feelings and set an example for younger generations to ignite your sexuality by taking an inventory of where you've gotten lazy. Look at the changes you have to make and challenge your partner to join you in finding ways that make them feel sexy too.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Commit to feeling sexy by doing one thing today that relaxes you or that moves you to tend to your body.
- Ask your partner about the things that make them feel sexy and if they're willing to engage in a process of change with you.
- After you try various activities, notice how you feel afterward. Make a list of activities that make you feel sexy and commit to doing them on a regular basis.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.