In yoga communities you may hear a saying attributed to different teachers depending on who you talk to, a reminder to us performance-oriented types. It is : “We don’t use our body to get into the pose, we use the pose to get into our body”. This is an invitation back from striving or pushing to get our nose to our knee. There is no right way, no finish line to cross in the pose, even if your neighbor over there looks like that yoga calendar person. Instead the goal or intention of this practice is to focus on what we feel in our body as we do this and to learn about who we are in this moment at this point in our life. Learning to use the poses, these external structures, to go internal and get curious about our self.
Imagine if we approached sex in this same way. If instead of hitting a minimum of 3 different sex positions, bringing our partner to screaming orgasm, and looking good while we did it, we focused on something more real. What if instead of using our body for sex, we used sex to get into our body? Then “doing it right” would mean you were focused on sensation, aware and conscious of your own responses and emotions, riding each moment as it shifts and changes. You might need to slow down and breathe, like I do in yoga, to not get overwhelmed by intense sensation or comparisons or self doubt, but to surrender into what is happening. You might start to see efforting, worrying, and performing as signs that you are sliding away what is real and gently bring yourself back to how it feels to let your breath gush out, to press against your partner’s skin, to recognize the fluttering heat in your pelvic muscles, to arch your back, to make eye contact, to go faster or nearly stop.
Sex is an opportunity for us to be fully aware. It can show us things about our self if we utilize it in this way. While there is a lot of exciting external stuff going on, our internal experience is pretty amazing too. If doing it a certain way brings you out of yourself and into thinking and planning and trying to excel, you may be missing the gift. There is so much happening in one minute of a sexual encounter, so much detail and wonder and complexity, it is easy to miss it. But how great it can be to let all that richness and information in, to really stay curious and aware. Setting this as a sexual intention doesn’t dictate what kind of sex you have. Like yoga poses, there are many ways to get into your body. As you get better at staying aware, you can experiment endlessly. What in your goal when being sexual with a partner? Is it to feel pleasure, to achieve a release, to connect or show love, to express something about who you are? Any of these will be better achieved if you stay attuned with yourself and move from there.
I know from experience, if I go to yoga wanting to impress someone or prove something to myself, it is probably going to be bad class for me. I may even go home hurting. But if my goal is to listen to myself and be honest about where my mind, body and heart are able to take me that night, I will have the best class possible. The best sex possible for you is the sex that is happening in real-time in your body, mind, and heart. It is worth shifting your perspective so that you can be there for it.
A Special Gift List from Conscious Sexual Self:
I hope you get...
A conversation about sexual fantasies that turn you on
A day in which you don’t have to leave the bedroom
A lube that you like the taste of
To experience 20 different ways of touching a nipple
A chance to do something out of character for you
The relief of not having to be a sexual rockstar all the time, or at all
An elder who will talk to you honestly about their sexual life lessons
A completely satisfying sexual experience that doesn’t involve your genitals
A completely satisfying sexual experience involving your genitals
A moment of transcendence
A sexual partner you can laugh uncontrollably with
Time to be outside and feel the air on your bare skin
A definition of sexy that goes beyond body parts and sizes
The ability to surprise yourself –and not be freaked out by that
Peace with the parts of you that jiggle, droop, disobey, wrinkle, or in general are not under your control
Freedom from the shame, fear, doubt that you have been encouraged to feel
Excitement from seeing your own hands on your body
Conscious, fully alive sexuality
A common confession/concern that people share with me at public talks, usually talking in a hushed voice, is this, “I had the most amazing lover but for various reasons we broke up. How do I enjoy sex now after being with someone so good? I feel like the best sex of my life is behind me”. I have a lot of compassion for the yearning and nostalgia in this question. Sexual memories can be incredibly precious and they also make us want more – more of that passion, pleasure, closeness, riskiness, whatever felt magical in that moment.
The sad thing is that we have been taught to think about sex this way, as something that someone does to us or for us. We have been given the idea of the “great lover” who can play our bodies like an instrument and single-handedly (although most likely utilizing both hands, I would guess) creating an amazing sex experience. Now I agree, there are people that have sexual presence, sexual intelligence and, yes, sexual skills. And it can be really fun to share a sexual experience with these people. However, a good sexual experience between two or more people is co-created. We have to give ourselves credit – “wow, I had this amazing sexual relationship and learned new things about my body and pleasure. Now I am sexually on fire and know what I want and desire”.
So how do you enjoy sex now, after the best sex ever? Not by recreating it or giving all the credit to your past lover. You enjoy sex now by owning your part in the pleasure you have. You introduce new partners to your body, saying what you like and what feels good. You let fantasies feed you and you also let yourself be open to new surprises. But most of all, you look to yourself – who were you when you were with that past partner? How did you interact – were you more free, more naughty, more trusting? Did you express yourself in a new way? Did you move differently? Did you stop critiquing and give yourself over to the experience since you believed they would make it good? Do those things now, with new lovers. Practice by yourself by remembering what it was like and focusing on you. Bring that side of you to sex in the future. It may take time to open up to new partners; it may even feel awkward at first. But the best sex you ever had was when you became the person having mindblowing sex. That person is still there. It was your creation, not a past lover’s.