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 virility, pace, and courtship for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Virility
"Sex ran in him like the sea."
-- John Masefield
We're awestruck by the virility of nature unimpeded, as in the ocean or a raging river. If we understood virility as that living, natural power, we would all love to feel so forceful, hearty, and virile! When you think of virile people, even fictional characters, you probably see this quality as inherent in them, independent of external factors. Since true virility doesn't depend on an outside source, sexual potency doesn't get depleted.
But many sexual dysfunctions and often, sexual addiction, spring from a wounded virility. Some upbringing can be sexually minimizing, even castrating or sterilizing. Body dysmorphic disorder -- the exaggerated sense of our physical imperfection -- is common, as is pubescent anxiety over sexual aptitude. Later overcompensation for such wounds can themselves inhibit virility, as we see in the person who bluffs and blunders through endless sexual situations to hide emotional blocks. If someone uses sex to stimulate -- or to simulate -- a sense of virility, s/he will lose their sense of power at the moment of orgasm and have to build it up again.
Without strong role models or encouragement by caregivers, peers, or society itself, our free-flowing, natural virility becomes stunted. Our culture recognizes virility only in the limited, stereotypical domain of "strong and silent" heterosexual men. But in nature, virility flowers free of such bias. With acceptance and support, men and women of all orientations, genetic make-ups, and physiological handicaps may enjoy their natural, wholesome virility.
You can encourage your partner's virility as a healthy act of sex. The first step is just knowing that each of us is truly virile. That's our native state. By inviting the flow of your respective energies, holding space for your intention, and containing the raw intensity in a secure and sober way, we tap into the restorative power of virility.
Daily healthy sex acts
- How do you judge sexual virility in others, and how does this match your current perception of your own erotic self?
- Experience your virility right now. Take deep, strong breaths and feel the force of your livingness. Run your hands along your body, like a flowing river feeding all it touches. Invest this -- your real, untamed current of energy -- in everything you do today.
- Affirm your virility and that of your beloved. Drop the verbal and mental accusations of weakness in yourself and others. Know that there is bountiful vitality behind all you perceive. Choose to know life.
Meditation 2: Pace
"Remember, if you smoke after sex you're doing it too fast."
-- Woody Allen
Ponder the quality of your sexual experiences and what pace feels good for you. Are you turned on by a sense of caring when it's slow, or athleticism when it's fast? Your interpretation of rhythm and speed might be very different from your partner's. Verbal communication about how the pace of sex actually feels can be a sexy addition to your lovemaking. Typically, men travel more quickly from arousal to orgasm than do women, but this rate fluctuates depending on energy, mood, and other influences. A slower pace may calm anxiety and allow for deeper sensual and emotional connection. Slowing down during sex keeps the entire body stimulated, rather than fostering the excited frenzy that aims for the dopamine surge in the brain. Watch yourself when you have thoughts that it's taking too long or going too fast. When people are nervous they tend to speak and move faster, so it can be a sign of confidence and mastery to take one's time.
So often sex is treated as a solitary act, compartmentalized in time, that starts the minute we get naked and ends at the moment of orgasm. But sexual energy builds with the flow of everyday life, just as affection is built during the week. We may pace ourselves in our relationships, too. So much of our habitual consciousness becomes wrapped up figuring out sex, love and relating, that we don't invite enough of not knowing, of mystery. What emotions do we experience after we walk away from a moment with a lover? How does it feel to hold and sleep on any relational concern, and what are our thoughts when we wake? Great relationships and great sex aren't always created by facing everything front-on. Sometimes it's the sideways glances that build a healthy relationship. Sometimes it's the nourishing afterglow we remember later that defines hot sex.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Check in with your partner about the pace of your lovemaking. Ask intimate questions and share your responses regarding the way you both love to have sex. Let your communication be sexy, and demonstrate while discussing through sexual play.
- We may choose to connect not just for personal pleasure but to have a vibrational consequence, a reverberating effect on our capacity for sexual love. What kind of pace are we moving at if we are sharing in one of the best sexual and emotional experiences of our lives?
Meditation 3: Courtship
"Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk--real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious."
-- Jack Kerouac
Whether we're ready or not, nature brings adolescence--prime time for learning love's "rules of engagement." Sadly, many of us weren't taught how to win a person's favor appropriately through flirting or how to read sexual cues about when it's time to hold hands, touch, or kiss. Our culture offers no courses teaching young people how to send interest signals to a crush or what to do afterwards. Courtship know-how is stunted for many, leaving them frozen in time and repeating the same dead-end patterns, unable to become truly intimate or connected. They're stuck in immature patterns and clueless about which traits and personalities in others complement their own. Being attracted isn't enough, especially if you have a faulty, shame-based love map that distorts your natural attraction to someone who's right for you, causing you to make poor love choices. But healthy attraction is essential to the success of a long-term relationship, so healing the past is necessary in order to choose wisely.
Blossoming romance sets up the possibility of sexual contact: Risks are taken through deeper conversations and sharing vulnerabilities, and you start to get a sense of whether the other person is a good match for you or not. Making a good choice may mean saying, "Good-bye." But if your courtship progresses, you'll find yourself moving towards non-genital touch, and will likely start feeling more connected or attached. To create real relational intimacy, you need to pay attention, at every stage of the courtship, to the question of whether the person you're courting, and who's courting you, is really right for you. Finally, movement towards foreplay and intercourse suggests you've moved the relationship into deeper commitment. Choosing well comes from taking each stage of the courtship slowly and deliberately and heeding the cues along the way.
Daily healthy sex acts
- What stages of courtship did you experience during adolescence? Did you skip a stage? If you feel stunted, briefly write about what steps you need to take to be more vulnerable with your partner or date.
- Have you repeated patterns, such as being stuck in the flirting stage? Were you always the "best friend?" If so, what did you do differently to become a girlfriend or boyfriend?
- Do you need to put effort into courting your current partner? Take time to flirt with your partner; become curious about who they are today. Plan a special evening or romantic dinner.
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.