I recently took a client on an intensive to Harbin Hot Springs, one of my favorite places on the planet. Immediately upon arrival, I found myself soaking in the warmth of the Heart Pool and couldn’t help but overhear a conversation happening next to me about conscious relationships and sexuality. I introduced myself and within moments found out that one of the men is an author and expert on mindfulness. Next thing I knew I had his book in my hands (The Art of Mindful Living, by Tobin Giblin) and planned to attend his class the following day. During the class I found myself, and my client, swimming in the deliciousness of our desires, mindful of everything that brought us pleasure.
When I arrived home I read Tobin’s book on mindful living. While the content was nothing I hadn’t studied before, it was a wonderful reminder of a number of mindfulness practices. As a result, I noticed myself harnessing my thoughts in more powerful ways and feeling more peaceful.
What does it mean to practice the art of Mindful Sex? Here are three principals to begin practicing:
Principal 1: Attention to Pleasure
I’m always saying that if I had one thing to teach you about becoming a better lover, to yourself and others, it would be Attention. The important thing to ask yourself is,”What are you placing your attention on? Can you bring all your attention, all your awareness into the pleasure happening in the present moment?” Take your awareness out of your mind and into your body. Where attention goes pleasure flows. When your attention wanders away, bring it back to your body, to sensation, to your partner’s expressions of pleasure.
Principal 2: Be Kinder to Yourself
Do you have that little voice in your head that says you don’t have the right kind of body type to be sexy, that you don’t deserve pleasure, that you aren’t very good in bed? We all have that voice. The critic inside our heads that never lets us be perfect just the way we are. Even if we are awesome, this voice says “Don’t be too awesome, you might make someone else feel badly.” Instead of letting this voice run the show, before and during intimate encounters you must give it a better job. The critic most likely was created by your psyche to protect you in some way. It would never speak to a child that way, or anyone else for that matter. So you must convince it that you are as precious as a child, and in order to protect you it is time for it to get a new job of elevating this precious part of you.
Principal 3: Openness and Willingness
I see so many people who are so rigid about sex. They are not willing to ride the peaks of pleasure. They are closed in their minds and hearts. They are afraid to open; afraid that if they do they will be hurt. Perhaps you can relate. In practicing mindful sex you need to be willing to be with the pain, to be with the fear. In my early days as a Tantra teacher I learned how to witness my emotions, whether they be joy or sadness, anger or ecstasy. By allowing and opening to all emotions, we unfreeze parts of ourselves and invite in more aliveness and pleasure. By saying yes to it all, we celebrate all that life brings us. Sex is part of life. Being open to and willing to explore our sexuality, as scary as that may be, brings us more aliveness, more health, and more happiness. The scary stuff isn’t going to go away, so why not be willing to be with those emotions instead of trying to hide from them? As Tobin Giblin says, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf!”
Sex is full of powerful waves. Some lap at you lovingly and could wash over you with bliss, and some are strong tidal waves that crash into you with transformational force. The key is to be mindful. Watch your thoughts like passing clouds. Bring your attention back to your body with breath, sound and movement. Treat yourself as you would treat those you love most, and be willing to look and stay open in the face of the shadows.