Mindfulness has become a trendy topic in the land of wellness. And rightly so—it is pretty powerful stuff! It is, in essence, presence. We hear about mindfulness to help with stress and anxiety. We learn it can aid our health and optimize eating patterns.
But what about our sex lives? What if mindfulness could be the key to experiencing real pleasure? Sign me up!
Mindfulness in our bodies.
Being present is 100% necessary to feel sensual. It’s how you notice what turns you on, whether it’s a lover’s touch as they brush by you on the way to do the laundry, or the feeling of a warm breeze on your face, or a crazy thought that pops into your head. Your senses can wake up and pay attention to things you might not have noticed, and a beautiful thing happens—you further awaken to your body, and your heart can follow.
A 2011 study conducted at Brown University measured what happened when women practiced mindfulness meditation for 12 weeks: The practice improved their sexual response time (i.e., how quickly they got turned on), magnified that arousal, and also effectively addressed “psychological barriers to healthy sexual functioning.” The women also saw improved scores on attention, self-judgment, and symptoms of anxiety—all things that we know are key to enjoying a sexual encounter in the moment.
Being present in our bodies lets us tune in to what we are experiencing. And attention is a big part of sexual satisfaction. Most of us can think of experiences where we were so fully engaged in the sexual or sensual interaction we were having that all or almost all of our attention was focused there on that moment. Sometimes that ingredient of presence can be the key to allowing us to let go into the sensations in our bodies.
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Mindfulness in our relationships.
In the dance of intimacy, the concept of bringing mindfulness into relationships is a valuable one to consider. When you engage in sexual activity with someone, your vital life force gets mixed with theirs. When it is right, this is a natural, positive energy exchange. However, either you have to know someone pretty well to know that their field is healthy and that you want to bond in this way, or your intuition has to be very sure and strong that it is healthy and enhancing to your well-being to explore intimacy with this person.
Bringing mindfulness into your relationships simply means cultivating greater awareness of who we’re becoming intimate with and what we’re seeking to share with them, and then making decisions that align with those desires. Be aware that endorphins make us want more endorphins, which translates into wanting more intimate touching and sex. They are part of nature’s ploy to get us to propagate the species. These chemicals can become a resource for pleasure; they simply need to be managed with awareness.
Remember, you are sacred, and people you are with should view you, and themselves, as such. As an aware, conscious person, you date with authority. You own your life and your space. You are empowered and allow the chemicals of attraction to be your allies. This happens because you are aware of how they affect you.
By being mindful and aware of your energetic well-being, you can cultivate feelings of emotional safety. You can learn to trust yourself and, through making mindful and conscious choices, improve the quality of your sex life.
So, how can you feel truly, mindfully present?
This question is asked by people from all walks of life, of every age, in all kinds of ways like “How can I feel more alive?” “How do I get my mojo back?” (If you’re Austin Powers.)
Start simple. Try this simple, two-minute mindfulness exercise meant to bring your awareness back to your body. Over time, it can help you develop not just physical mindfulness but also emotional mindfulness.
- With the palms of your hands, start at the soles of your feet and rub briskly, moving up your legs and body, and repeat aloud or in your mind, “I am here now. I am present.” And just feel what it is like to be fully in your body. Really bring your awareness to that experience.
- Now try to bring your mindful awareness to your feet. Really inhabit them.
- Then do this with your feet and legs.
- Then feel present in your feet up through your torso, bringing your awareness all the way to the tips of your fingers.
- Next, from your feet all the way to the top of your head—your entire body.
- Can you feel your entire body simultaneously? You might feel this awareness like a pulsing or a tingling.
What if you got into that deeply mindful, present place and then explored the sensual, whether solo or with a loving partner in the same state of awareness? Would everything be richer and more intense? Would you experience sensations and pleasure in a new way? Would your soul feel fed to know you are seeing your sacredness, and if a partner is involved, they’re seeing their own sacredness too?
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