08/16/2013 12:10 pm ET Updated Oct 16, 2013

Weekly Meditations for Healthy Sex (Aug. 16-22)

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 delayed gratification, sobriety, and emotional maturity for you to ponder and practice this week.

Meditation 1: Delayed Gratification

"You say to me-wards your affection's strong;
Pray love me little, so you love me long." -- Robert Herrick

Like so many powerful acts, delaying gratification holds a paradox. Anticipation can have the delicious energy of tension-building, fueling us with the virility of passion and excitement. At the same time, especially if we're used to dictating outcomes, it can create discomfort and agitation. But if we can tolerate the tension that occurs when slowing things down or deferring an event, we give ourselves time to think about what we really want and we give life time to present it to us.

If you've ever jumped into a relationship and regretted it later, you may consider the power of slowing down the action to gain time. Like the spider that weaves and waits in her web --an intricate structure that captures whatever comes to her -- the Zen master lets life come towards him. Patience and delaying gratification are useful actions that buy us time to think about decisions and to savor them. Yet such time-garnering actions that postpone and sharpen pleasure are anathema in a world of fast food and instantaneous experiences. We are pressured daily to grab immediate gratification or be left behind and miss the supposed event of a lifetime.

When it comes to sex and orgasm, the highest level of pleasure is often the anticipation won by delay. The lingering look, long embrace, and deliberate kiss create innumerable possibilities when you slow your rhythms and connect through deep sensuality. Immediate gratification in sex is the mantra of the neophyte. The masterful lover slows to the pace of the unknown and trusts the magic of eroticism to unfold.

Daily healthy sex acts

  • Do you accept every invitation you receive or do you take a beat and think about what you really want?
  • The next time you have an impulse to eat something or buy something you probably shouldn't -- just stop. Walk away from the food or the purchase and let yourself think about what you really want or need.
  • When you make love, notice any anxiety you may have about racing to the finish. Slow your pace to your breath and make contact with you lover. Alter your rhythm to an exploratory one instead of a result-oriented one.

Meditation 2: Sobriety

"I wish I could drink like a lady
I can take one or two at the most
Three and I'm under the table
Four and I'm under the host." -- Dorothy Parker

If we want a lover's touch to reach our deepest self, we have to remove barriers to intimacy. The fact is that certain substances, depending on how and why we turn to them, can prevent true, deep connection with others. Paradoxically, an oft-cited objective for imbibing alcohol in particular is to loosen inhibitions as a social lubricant. Indeed, alcohol and drugs seem to calm nerves and soothe social anxiety, so logically their use should make it easier to connect. But the real hangover from them is that distances still remain and inhibitions creep back in. Self-medicating with psychoactive substances cannot permanently cure patterns of reserve. Relying on any external substance to self-soothe creates dependency, a type of materialism that makes the drug -- alcohol, gambling, cocaine, food, or sex -- into one's Higher Power.

But what constitutes sobriety is different for everyone -- there's no one-size-fits-all sobriety. That's why it's healthy to practice sober-fasting: abstaining from addictive behaviors or substances to see if they're being used to numb feelings and if they hobble one's mind and interactions. We should also check emotional sobriety, the ability to regulate feelings and expression, since some people self-medicate with defense mechanisms just as others do with substances. We've all seen people who did not act sober, who behaved foolishly and irresponsibly, and we've all probably experienced both admiration and annoyance for the fun and the mess they create. To sober up seems to many like making life "so serious," as if seriousness precluded joy, warmth, spontaneity and fun. But there can be a delusional, blind quality to non-sober festivities. To have our eyes open soberly with all our senses and memory intact allows some of the most rewarding, soul-nourishing, and long-lasting pleasures possible.

Daily healthy sex acts

  • We all need to cultivate warmth and joy from within -- to be carefree but not careless. Can you tap into those feelings, or do you place the power of your amusement outside of yourself into substances or habits?
  • Can you pinpoint people or subjects that have a sobering effect on you? Specifying what sobers you helps you identify what persons or thoughts you may be escaping through addictive behaviors.
  • Is sex an area where you want to sober up? Can you maintain a heartfelt connection to your beloved even when apart, or are sex and love like drugs -- do you go into withdrawal if you don't get your fix?

Meditation 3: Emotional Maturity

"I lose my respect for the man who can make the mystery of sex the subject of a coarse jest, yet when you speak earnestly and seriously on the subject, is silent." -- Henry David Thoreau

Our sexual identity matures over time, as do our political, cultural, and aesthetic selves. In all these areas, maturation demands attention and learning from mistakes. The deep consciousness and refined technique attained in any field can develop tools applicable to sexuality. But unfortunately, the credits don't always transfer. So we see many brilliant artists, athletes and politicians utterly undone by sex and relationships. And many young adults who aspire to sexual maturity before their time dress to impress, assume the postures of popular culture, and mistake the playbook for the event. Further, while age and experience are key elements of maturation, there certainly are oldsters as immature as any teen. So at no social stage can the attainment of erotic intelligence be faked.

Sexual repression or unprocessed trauma keep many persons paralyzed in an intimacy-impaired juvenile state. Nothing stunts growth like compensating for, rather than confronting, one's sense of sexual or psychological inadequacy. Compensation often goes hand-in-hand with squashing awareness through denial, drama or addictions. Erotic maturity, in contrast, embraces one's vulnerability to shine light on one's sexual self. Having questioned one's sexual inclinations, prejudices, potential and limitations, some sexually mature persons conform with social mores while others may define personal sexuality against the social current. For example, polyamory or open relationships may be a valid lifestyle choice resulting from hard-won self-knowledge. But for those emotionally incapable of tolerating monogamy or intimacy, choosing it may be guided more by stunted sexuality than mature self-awareness.

Erotic maturity arrives through the honest search for intimacy, openness to new ideas, and the integration of individual experience -- all marks of being sexual in the world. Every person's journey there is unique and no one needs to be a sex expert. Maturity needs only to create personal comfort and a relational proficiency that imbues all our connections.

Daily healthy sex acts

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your sexuality. Shine the light on any immature attitudes such as bravado, ignorance or inhibition. Where might personal growth bring you more comfort?
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your sexuality. Shine the light on any immature attitudes such as bravado, ignorance or inhibition. Where might personal growth bring you more comfort?
  • Sexual expression invites healthy development. Can you articulate your sexual progress with your partner? Are you aware enough to embrace your partner's erotic path in life? Share your most private sexual truth with someone you love and trust today. Break free of emotional and sexual repression in order to grow up.

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

For more on conscious relationships, click here.