03/01/2013 11:43 am ET Updated May 01, 2013

Weekly Meditations for Healthy Sex (Mar. 1-7)

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 self-knowledge, sexual climate, and support for you to ponder and practice this week.

Meditation 1: Self-Knowledge

"If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path." -- Joseph Campbell

When we talk about intimacy, the ability "to intimate" the emotional truth of personal experience to another in a reciprocal interaction, this necessitates a functional process for self-knowledge. Like so many of our qualities (e.g., honesty, health, or happiness), self-knowledge is an ongoing practice rather than a destination. We don't expect knowledgeable people to know everything, and similarly the ancient aphorism to "know thyself" doesn't mean there's any cheat sheet or code to crack open the vault of your own being once and for all. Rather, you embrace knowledge as a cherished value as you exercise intellectual muscles to expand and apply knowledge toward actual existence.

"To know" another in the Biblical sense means to have sexual relations with them and, by extension, one might assume self-knowledge refers to some kind of masturbatory act! But, no. Although there are those who decry any introspection as navel-gazing and self-centeredness and, for some, this might be the case. Acquiring self-knowledge without resultant action is like striking a match for heat without lighting a fire -- this fails to fulfill its purpose. Self-knowledge requires awareness, development and implementation. Any time you find yourself in an unwinnable situation where it seems like the world is only made this one way, such as ending up in bed with the wrong partners who don't satisfy you sexually or emotionally, this might point to a lack of self-knowledge. When we know ourselves, only then may we truly know others. Self-knowledge is not a magic wand, just as knowing you have an illness doesn't always give you the power to heal, but certainly it will allow you to make healthier decisions.

Daily healthy sex acts

  • What do you know about yourself today? Make a quick list, write it down. What don't you know? Sometimes knowing what you don't know about yourself can be as important as knowing what you do know. Write down all that you don't know about yourself in this moment.
  • Do you know how you've ended up here at this moment? Do you know where you're headed? What is your process for knowing? Process really is the key; a reliable process may be applied to any situation. Write down your own process for knowing, as if you were to impart this information to your children, biographers, or devotees.
  • What do you know about yourself sexually today? Make this list. Do your actual sexual experiences today mirror your hard-won erotic self-knowledge? Put your ideas into actions, and really live what you really know.

Meditation 2: Sexual Climate

"The raindrops patter on the basho leaf, but these are not tears of grief; this is only the anguish of him who is listening to them." -- Zen saying

In healthy climates, sexuality may thrive. We often don't question the climate in which our sex lives exist. Romantic and erotic attraction seems to arise as an altogether internal urge, but the social and environmental climate where we live has significance. Social climates include neighborhood attitudes, schooled beliefs, media influences, all which certainly influence sexual development. Each of us know from personal experience that certain messages, innocuous or didactic, voiced in certain tones may ring in one's consciousness for years. While your inner orientation might attune you toward chosen messages while tuning out others, there's no doubt that living in a climate of acceptance vs. a climate of repression creates a greater likelihood as to whether healthy or unhealthy dominant messages may become unknowingly assimilated. There are sex acts common enough today such as oral and anal sex, homosexuality, casual sex, that were considered taboo in time's past. To engage in any sex act in a climate of disapproval lends an additional layer of danger that can become intertwined with sexual arousal. Fetishes are often the result of sexual climate, as fetishists are sometimes driven to repeat the unforgettable circumstances of their developing sexuality at crucial stages.

Temperate climates also have an effect. Certain sexual relationships will not survive changes in climate, such as travel or moving to new homes or new cities. We may find marked differences between tropical cultures and colder climes. Less clothing, bountiful vegetation, greater resources for shelter and survival will impact sexuality in easily evidenced ways compared to polar opposite conditions. Of course, sexuality never strictly follows any stereotypes. Still when it comes to any sexual problems or relational conflict, it's healthy to consider the current climate in which they occur through mapping out major external influences, such as diet, exercise, weather, and other contributing factors to relational stress and fatigue.

Daily healthy sex acts

  • 12-Step programs use the term HALT as an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, as a way to check in with one's personal climate. What is your climate today, and how do these factors affect your mentality, emotionality, and sexuality?
  • Today, try to map out the sexual climate of all your significant sexual relationships. Were any of these relationships marked by cramped quarters, stressful jobs, family crisis, health issues, or natural disasters? What might be the impact to current relationships in past conditions, or vice versa?
  • Count your blessings for past successes, and forgive yourself for past failures. We all do the best we can with what we are given. To be present with your current path, can you find your way wherever the road leads? Today map out your own internal process, the way you may stay centered through any storm.

Meditation 3: Support

"Whate'er of us lives in the hearts of others is our truest and profoundest self." -- Johann Gottfried Herder

Raising children on a strong foundation of ethics, principles, and morals are one of the greatest gifts adults can give to their offspring. The act of bracing and preparing a child for a life of ups and downs gives the child a sense of security in a world that is, paradoxically, filled with uncertainty. To feel supported means to have an internalized trusted, adult figure residing inside our hearts and souls. Whether this is a parent, grandparent, or teacher, one such person makes all the difference in a child's life. For without support and effective scaffolding to make it from one phase of childhood to another, human beings wobble and hobble along, unsure of who we are and where we should be going. Thus support is a basic human need, one the organism requires in order to mature and develop properly.

Moving from adolescence to young adulthood can have us picking supportive or problematic people depending on what was modeled to us as youngsters. If we had strong adults to rely on, we learned how to stand on our own two feet by paying attention to what we're feeling, what we need, and what we want. This facility serves to have us choosing a mate wisely and communicating appropriately with our relational partner. Without support from others, we don't flourish; in fact, many people will tend toward isolation, which is one of the cornerstones of addiction. When children learn that the adults around them are unreliable, they quickly look elsewhere for support, often choosing peers who, like them, are using other forms of self-soothing such as drugs, food, alcohol, or sex. Isolation and addiction are dead-end streets leaving the user longing for connection and love. The way out of addiction is inevitably through the support of a community of concern that models and teaches how to trust others. We can never stray far from the fundamental need to be supported; this need is the underpinning of what connects humanity, the truss of recovery, and the road that leads to intimacy.

Daily healthy sex acts

  • Do you have a support system of reliable others or are you isolated? Make a list of those you believe are available to support you.
  • Did you choose your mate from a place of strength or weakness? Do you feel supported by that person? Talk to your partner about what you need in order to feel supported.
  • What kind of support is lacking in your life? Emotional, physical, financial? Who can you ask to support you today?

For more by Alexandra Katehakis, M.F.T., click here.

For more on conscious relationships, click here.