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 abandon, delusion, and satisfaction for you to ponder and practice this week.
Meditation 1: Sexual Abandon
"When I have sex with someone I forget who I am. For a minute I even forget I'm human. It's the same thing when I'm behind a camera. I forget I exist." -- Robert Mapplethorpe
Sexual abandon -- the idea of surrendering to carnal desire popularized by movies, books, music videos, and myth -- is a romantic notion. When people feel sterile and aimless in their lives, sexual abandon seems to promise entry into a divine state. In Greek mythology, Dionysus rules irrational, chaotic passion while rational, orderly reason is ruled by Apollo. All civilizations have their Dionysian side, many of which openly celebrate it with orgiastic rites and festivals. We each experience some chaotic passion -- orgasm is a moment of sexual abandon. But our culture's current thirst for sexual abandon usually means anonymous promiscuity, risk-taking, going past one's own limits. That sort of sexual abandon does not result from a sober decision reached by consulting with experts and ironing out details: "planned sexual abandon" is a contradiction in terms! Pursuing sexual abandon as an ultimate goal requires relinquishing mental control over our lives while rushing headfirst into sensual gratification.
Any cautious contemplation of sexual abandon in our culture might be dismissed as sex-negative and puritanical. Certainly, past generations would have interpreted much of what we take for granted today -- sleeveless shirts, group dancing, explicit sex talk -- as shameless abandon. So we can't ignore the repressive threat of sex-negativity. Still, it's valuable to look at exactly what's being abandoned during a sexual binge. If it's a committed relationship, or protecting our sexual health, or responsibilities like work and family, then the flipside of sexual abandon may be that it's really a form of avoidance. Understood that way, sexual abandon, ironically, perpetuates the greatest of inhibitions because it's being used to block real experience and to numb our highest functions. So sexual abandon, while touted as the very symbol of emotional and sensual growth, can in fact paralyze our spiritual being and our sexual potential.
Daily healthy sex acts
- What allure do you find in the romantic notion of sexual abandon? Think of clear examples of sexual abandon in your life, in the lives of others, or in movies and books. Then consider the surrounding circumstances. What underlying issues were being abandoned?
- There are structured ways to invite abandon -- certainly, artists and performers can experience creative abandon without destroying themselves or their productions. How can we invite divine sexual ecstatic experiences into our lives without completely disrupting our living?
Meditation 2: Delusion
"Oh, tell me whence Love cometh!
Love comes uncall'd, unsent.
Oh, tell me where Love goeth!
That was not Love that went." -- J. W. Ebsworth
If you've ever held onto a thought that contradicted what everyone else agreed was reality, you may have been engaged in your own personal delusion. Such idiosyncratic belief is especially common in cases of unrequited love, when one person feels it and the other does not. The lover lives in the delusion that the beloved returns the sentiments, or fantasizes that the other will surely do so eventually. This delusional thinking, taken to its limits, can devolve into stalking behaviors. While serious delusions evidence serious mental disorder, plenty of us entertain minor false imaginings that preserve and perpetuate stories we've created to shield us from the realities of our lives.
"Delusions of grandeur," a phase we've all heard, means a false impression of one's own importance. This type of self-aggrandizement is born out of profound insecurity and a sense of inadequacy. But being right-sized in your own estimation brings self-confidence, contentment, and accurate perception. It lets you choose well when dating and seeking the right mate. So it's useful to examine your delusions and fantasies consciously, since they reveal your desires, your search for meaning, your questions about your identity and sexuality. For while sex and love can bring joy and pleasure, you must stay in reality about you, about what you're really looking for and whether the person you're with can actually meet your needs. There's nothing wrong with dreaming the dream or longing for the perfect mate. The challenge is to look at your own truth first, and then to look at the truth of who stands before you, beyond the obvious, into his or her essence, to see whether he or she is, indeed, gazing back.
Daily healthy sex acts
- Remember the stories you made up as a child about your prince or princess coming into your life. What was the basic theme of each story? Were you being rescued, introduced, or finding one another in some magical way?
- If you've held on to delusional threads of that story, let them go. Write about your past fantasies, then look inside yourself for the truth of what you were hoping for.
- Are you in reality about your love choices? If not, share with a trusted friend and think about what you need to do to find your way to truth.
Meditation 3: Satisfaction
"By engaging in a delusive quest for happiness, we bring only suffering upon ourselves. In our frantic search for something to quench our thirst, we overlook the water all around us and drive ourselves into exile from our own lives." -- Sharon Salzberg
There's no feeling like having our wishes fulfilled exactly the way we want. The satisfaction of a great vacation, celebration, or sexual experience rewards all the effort we put in and gives us a sense of completion and wholeness -- of a life well lived. But all too often, fulfilling moments seem to arrive at random, emerging by chance and denying us the feeling that we earned them, that we control the outcome of our labors. Yet if we can accept the outcome of our efforts without judging it against our fantasies, "going with the flow" can bring great satisfaction. Seen this way, life has its own perfection, and if we can be pleased with what we have instead of being stuck on what we want, our thirst for gratification is quenched.
Dissatisfaction, then, is discontent with present reality. Look around you and notice what has you dissatisfied. Are you living the life you want, surrounded with people who love and support you? If you are tolerating anything that is less than satisfactory, you have to explore whether you're settling or whether you're belittling what you have.
To know whether your dissatisfaction with your mate, home, pet, or car is valid or vapid, first decide if you've got a problem of survival or a problem of abundance. The luxury of being able to sit and read these meditations, instead of using every ounce of strength to find food, wouldn't be available without the affluence that lets us live like kings and queens compared to most human beings. Yet we create suffering for ourselves when we ignore the riches we already have. Look around you, and if you don't like what you see, make a change -- it's your life. But if you realize it just might be good enough, go to gratitude and see if your satisfaction level rises.
Daily healthy sex acts
- How satisfied are you with your sex life? Have you talked to your partner about what you need? Is the problem with you or with your partner?
- What do your living conditions look like? Do you long for something different? If so, what would make you more content? Are you seeking something from without or can you find satisfaction from within?
For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.
For more on conscious relationships, click here.