I was never the type of woman to speak about my sex life.
I liked to keep my private business to myself, especially in that particularly intimate realm. In my 20’s, I was in a long-term relationship with a partner, and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to bring up the subject of sex. And yet, I wish I could have—because sex was not that enjoyable for me. It was good on some levels, but on other levels, it was totally unsatisfying.
I decided to look for some advice: I read sex tips in magazines. I read a couple of books. I did my best to discuss things with my partner, and I even got him to read one book with me—but I still wasn’t able to fully open up and talk to him about this crucial part of our relationship in a mature, conducive manner.
To make things worse, the tips and advice that I came across didn’t really deliver the outcome I was looking for.
I was still not enjoying sex all that much, and I was totally clueless regarding the real issues that were blocking me.
At this stage I started wondering if something was wrong with me: why was I still struggling so much after implementing all these “experts'” advice?
When I hit my 30s, I finally came across the approach that would revolutionize my relationship with sex forever.
I finally came to understand why sex was not working for me, and I was able to take the right steps that would transform me into a person who enjoys sex, in a most fulfilling way.
Here is the approach to sex I had initially:
My mainstream approach to sex.
Mainstream sex is a reflection of our goal-oriented society. Our society is focused on getting results, and getting them as fast as possible. Sex is approached in exactly the same way: it is an activity undertaken for the purpose of pleasure, and the pleasure is measured in terms of achieving a goal—an orgasm. Once the goal has been achieved, the mission has been accomplished, and that’s the end of the story until we decide to have sex again.
In this approach, sex is geared towards the goal, and everything we do is designed in order to achieve this goal, and we want to be good in bed for our partner so they can achieve it, too. The entire activity needs to be super-charged, super-exciting, super-stimulating, and if the goal hasn’t been achieved, for some reason or another (for ourselves or for our partner), we feel disappointed or even deprived.
When this disappointment is recurring, we judge ourselves as not being good enough, or think we have a problem. In general terms, women are more often than not the ones who have difficulties achieving the orgasmic goal, and slowly they begin to lose their intrinsic interest in sex with their partner.
By contrast, men usually feel some sort of performance anxiety if they can’t get their woman to orgasm—which, in the long term, can also contribute to the lack of interest in having sex with their partner.
The revolutionary approach to sex, which finally made the difference in my sex life, is dramatically different from conventional goal-oriented sex.
My mindful approach to sex.
The mindful approach to sex is an entirely different attitude to the mainstream approach. The focus is not on the destination or goal of an orgasm, but on what actually happens to us as sexual beings during intimacy—an exploration of the feelings, emotions, and sensations that we experience during sex.
We notice arousal when it arises and when it leaves us. We notice how our bodies reacts when we are being touched in different ways. We notice how emotions can flare up during sex. We notice sex for what it is at the very moment we are experiencing it—not as we think it should be.
In this approach, sometimes things will be hot, steamy, and raunchy, but mostly, in order to facilitate a mindful awareness, things will be relaxed, slow, quiet, and anxiety-free.
When sex is practiced with mindfulness, everything is allowed, and everything is examined—brought to the light of awareness.
And, like everything else that arises from the depth of the dark taboo areas of our lives into the light of awareness, it stops having such a strong hold on us.
When sex is approached with mindfulness it is satisfying. Because there is no goal we need to achieve, it is fulfilling regardless of the presence of any type of orgasm. It is fulfilling regardless of the presence of erection. It is fulfilling regardless of some feelings of boredom, or tiredness, or anything else that might surface during the activity. Emotions and sensations will arise and fade.
The true satisfaction, however, stems from the deep connection that this type of activity fosters between you and your partner. Together, you are accepting of whatever happens.
Here are a some ways to practice mindful sex:
1. First and foremost, you need to create a calm atmosphere. An atmosphere of stillness and observation.
2. As confronting as it may seem, it’s best to be completely sober and alert for your Mindful Sex session.
3. Take things slowly. Really slowly. Slow, sensual touches. Slow breaths. Slow, lengthy foreplay. Slow movements alternating with complete stillness.
4. In the stillness, try to observe all the tiny, subtle sensations you are experiencing, plus all the emotions and feelings that are beginning to emerge. You might want to quietly share with your partner, some of these sensations, emotions, and feelings. Notice if your mind drifts off, and you can endeavor to bring it back to the here and now—whether through observing your breath or through paying attention to any sensation in your body.
5. Leave the lights on. Soft, warm lights. Enough light to be able to look into your partner’s eyes with a loving gaze—the type of look that emanates beauty, and communicates appreciation.
6. Communicate with your partner. Let him or her know what you are thinking, feeling, and experiencing. Allow any sensations, any emotions, and any reactions, including the urge to move into a more conventional type of sex, if that’s what comes up for you.
7. Deliberately avoid movements that overstimulate and excite: specifically, no thrusting (for men) and no rocking of the hips (for women).
8. Women: notice how your vagina muscles tend to contract as soon as something penetrates, and do your best to keep them relaxed for as long as you can.
9. Men: Do not fear going soft. The session can continue and be ultra-beautiful (slow, sensual, and magnificent) even when a penis is not fully erect for the entire duration of the session.
10. The most important thing is to remember, there is no “end goal.” You are not pushing for a climax, you are merely playing, observing, and experimenting with sensual pleasure.
When I started bringing this approach into my sex life, I wasn’t so willing to give up my orgasm-oriented goal whenever I had sex. Many times, I still felt disappointed when an orgasm was not part of my experience.
So, I simply observed that, too. After a little while of practicing mindful sex, the deep satisfaction that accompanied my overhauled sex life has eroded the craving for having an orgasm. And funnily enough, orgasms have started to appear during sex without me chasing them.
My sex life has become more satisfying, more conscious, and more beautiful. Freed from the pressure to force myself to enjoy intimacy, my libido has increased tremendously, and the strong connection that is fostered by this new approach to sex is unequivocal.
More than having a satisfying sex life, I find that the shift that has occurred in me is freeing me to talk more openly about sex. And I want you, conscious people, to join me.
I want my daughter to grow up in a society in which sex is being talked about openly, holistically, and lovingly.
I want to live in a society where sex is about lovemaking, not about porn; I want to live in a society where sex is not pushed down into the unconscious realms of our body-mind, where it has a tendency to merge with all the darkest sides of our soul.
I envision a society where sex is not taboo, but instead, it’s a natural activity that is celebrated and cherished by all.
Author: Maya Melamed
Image: Flickr/Aimanness Photography
Editor: Taia Butler