Mindfulness & Intimacy
Mindfulness is the nonjudgmental observation of one’s Self. Mindfulness meditation teaches us to notice and accept our thoughts and feelings. Rather than analyzing these thoughts and feelings, we freely let them flow.
The judgmental observation of one’s Self during sexual experiences, has been termed “spectatoring” by legendary sex researchers Master and Johnson, and is a major contributor to sexual dysfunction.
We can define sexual dysfunction as any way that a person is impaired from enjoying the pleasure of sex. For example, anxieties about body image are common spectatoring thoughts. These thoughts then distract us from fully experiencing the pleasure sensations of the moment.
Many of our spectatoring thoughts come from stories that we have created about sexual pleasure. We create stories with expectations of how we think sexual pleasure ‘should’ be—that a woman should orgasm a certain number of times, or that a man should hold an erection for a certain amount of times, or that we should be moaning in a certain type of way. These stories tend to be based on outside influences.
When we hold high expectations that are not met by our experiences, we tend to judge ourselves as being inadequate. When we hold low expectations that are met by our experiences, we limit ourselves and the growth of our sexual expression.
We also create stories about our own sexual Self, which could include the belief that ‘I only orgasm from clitoral stimulation’ or ‘I can’t have multiple orgasms’. These stories tend to be pathological in nature. Just because something has or has not happened in the past, does not mean that it will continue to be that way forever. When we end up believing these stories, we limit our ability to expand our experience of sexual pleasure.
I invite you to reflect on the thoughts that occur to you during sex. Are they spectatoring thoughts? Are these thoughts being influenced by expectations that you have of intimacy? Are these thoughts being influenced by expectations that you have of yourself? Remember that thoughts and stories are never inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’; our intention is to simply notice which thoughts and stories run through our head during sex and intimacy.
Similar to observing our physical sensations aloud, mindfulness meditation is a practice that helps us to detach from these stories, by fully embodying the present moment.
Mindfulness meditation asks us to observe and relax our entire body. When we are immersed in the current feeling of our body, we are immersed in the present moment. When we let go of the tension that fills our entire body, we allow our sex energy flow, so that we can let in even more sexual pleasure.