When I was asked to write a text entitled “Talk about sex with your partner” I did not hesitate and instantly linked the theme to the practice of Mindfulness. I am a Psychologist and since I started working in the area I hear about Mindfulness as if it was the discovery of the century. Mindfulness is part of many intervention programs on anxiety, depression, and even sexology, and it is often recommended to mental health workers. I admit I ignored the recommendations until I started working on a corporation which mission is precisely to promote the well-being of corporate workers around the world.
So, I was pushed into Mindfulness without mercy or pity – it is my job to motivate its practice and promote the same in myself. And this did not happen without resistance… When I was informed that I would have to meditate half an hour a day to finish an 8-week program I could only foresee a monumental failure: I never had an interest in meditation or motivation for any zen practice; besides that, I usually run away from spirituality as the devil runs away from the cross (curiously enough). I am also an excellent procrastinator. All the ingredients were gathered for me to fall asleep at first attempt. It did not happen (although it did on the third attempt).
Jon, my meditation guide, instructed me to focus on different parts of the body, one by one. Feeling one toe at a time, then all toes together, stopping at the ankles, sliding the focus through the calves, knees, thighs and all of their dimensions, anterior and posterior zones, glutes, the groin and the pelvis. Pelvis. Do you know what can happen when you try to give up of your thoughts and chew on the sensations around your genitals? Yep. I do not know if this is what the monks had in mind, nor Jon, who I hope forgives me for this indiscretion. I continued: belly, breasts, neck, ears; open my eyes and be ready for the storm in the callcenter. One more day. My company expects me to use Mindfulness as a self-regulating strategy for stress, but I’ve put on spin on it and also use it to regulated sex – muaha-ha-ha-ha.
Sex: From tuning in to talking about it or the role of Mindfulness
The primary goal of Mindfulness is to be present, to be attentive to the outer and inner world. It implies that we renounce all expectations and that we are curious, especially about what happens in the body itself. This is to say that focus shifts from interpretation to sensation. We do not rationalize or judge touch, temperature or words as good or bad stimuli, pleasant or not. We wait and see what happens. We are not in pursuit of excitement or climax, we simply disregard control.
It seems paradoxical, but from what I know of sexual enjoyment, I can say that when we give up control we wake up for pleasure as it is, without attaching it to “right” or “wrong” labels. From there on we are only left with acceptance of our own pleasure. An addendum: if my speech made you feel that adopting a mindful attitude in life and in sex is an easy thing, you have been misled. It is not. For some it is perfectly intuitive but for others it is not, it is not easy at all.
My biggest difficulty, for example, is communication. Weird is it not? I would say that I have no social impediment or discursive incapacity. I would even say that I am an empowered woman and a natural communicator (it’s a Gemini thing, I’ve heard around). It is possibly a bombastic combination of personality traits and internalization of the female role – which will always influence women to subdue their needs in lieu of the needs of others and to fear expressing their own preferences.
The greatest contribution of Mindfulness here will be the “non-judgment”. Adopting a non-judgmental attitude toward what we prefer in sex and having the same kind of readiness to realize it in our partner is a good principle. Another one is to abandon the delusion of mind reading (note to self). If on the one hand it would be interesting if our most secret desires were intelligible to our partner, on the other hand it would also be scary, plus it would quickly annihilate any surprise or curiosity.
The solution is to share our wills. Only if our wills are in sight can they be satisfied. If they turn out to be uninteresting or even unpleasant – that’s fine. Acceptance means knowing. Yet, knowing, in sex, does not necessarily mean practicing. What is practiced is the contact with our own emotions and sources of pleasure and that is what is known, plus those of the other – which does not include doing something that we do not want to do. It involves, perhaps, recognizing this in us and reassuring ourselves. What it seems to me is that if we are willing to pay attention to our own bodies and feelings, to speak for them, and if we practice the same openness when facing the information provided by the other, we will be able to get more pleasure and indulge on a trip that ends in itself and not in anything else.
It is interesting to note how this call for Mindfulness has such a big impact on my writing, usually marked by such a different rhythm. I’ll try to outline what I got so far.
Sex: From tuning in to talking about it – A summary
Focus on our body and sensations;
Be present, renounce any expectations and cultivate curiosity;
Abandon interpretation and judgment, accept and allow (pleasure);
Share preferences, wants and the lack of them with each other;
Listen to the preferences, wants and the lack of them of the other, without an agenda;
Enjoy what is good and be at peace with what is not;
Wait but do not expect anything.
Head over to MW’s Cleanse page to check other New Year improvements suggestions and click here to download the calendar illustrated by Elsa Poderosa. No worries if you are late – no one is controlling you, we are here for support. Just start on day one at any day of the year. Feel free to leave any questions and let us know how you are doing with your cleanse in the comments section. And share your progress on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #mwcleanse. Happy New Year!