There's More to Sex than Sex
All the times you're disinterested in sex or just too tired, consider this: Sex doesn't have to be about orgasm. Wrote Thoreau, "We need pray for no higher heaven than the pure senses can furnish, a purely sensuous life." (The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, 1906). Yes, through lovemaking, as in meditation, you can experience spiritual heights, healing, and self-esteem. If you don't have time to meditate, have sex instead. It's about sensation, whether you want ecstatic meditation or more pleasurable sex.
Sex as meditation isn't new. It was a path to the divine in the Indian Tantric tradition. The goal was to unify masculine and feminine energies. You needn't be an adept to boost your bliss, perk up your relationship, and lift your self-esteem. These time-proven methods are longer lasting and healing than orgasm. Intercourse and orgasm are secondary, because you're stimulating the brain - the source of St. Teresa's spiritual raptures. Intimacy with your lover can engender similar results.
PREPARE: Between work and caring for children, by day's end, it's hard to make time or have energy for sex, but Tantra energizes you. Plan a special date, so you bathe and relax in preparation for love. Center yourself and calm your mind. Think loving thoughts, and clear the air of any conflicts in advance, so there are no hidden agendas or resentments.
FOCUS: As in meditation, it's best "to try" not to achieve anything or think about anything. Instead, become absorbed in the present moment. This quiets your mind. Notice where skin touches skin. Feel every sensation, both internal and external. Breathe into your experience. Meld mind into sensation and become one with feeling.
Fantasizing or focusing on orgasm, technique, or "doing" keeps you in your head, creating tension and separation between experiencing and doing and between you and your lover. The result is you're distracted from the immediacy of sensation and pleasure.
Masters & Johnson developed the sensate-focus method to alleviate performance anxiety and the urge to make something happen. (Human Sexual Inadequacy, 1970) The idea was to learn to "feel sensuously" without any pressure to pleasure your partner or rush to "return the favor." (pp. 73-74). To begin, each person takes turns giving and receiving pleasure, but, like in Tantra, the genitals are off-limits. The idea is to heighten awareness of contour, texture, temperature, and the sensation of being touched. Paradoxically, by eliminating goals, awareness of feelings and sensations is heightened creating greater arousal, spontaneity, and relaxation. The entire body is an erogenous zone. So go for it.
This is a sensual prescription for abandoning self-consciousness and dissolving thought into the experience each present moment, not dwelling on the past, nor anticipating future. As in meditation, your whole being merges into the timeless "now."
OPENNESS: Sex is an exchange of energy. It can uplift or drain you. It's vital that you feel safe enough to be vulnerable. Energy flows through the eyes. Gaze into each other's eyes as much as possible, enhancing intimacy and the flow of energy.
Openness and honesty will enhance this flow. That doesn't mean bringing up things on your mind outside of what's happening in the moment, like the children or vacation plans, but communicating your intimate sensations and feelings. If emotion arises, allow it as part of the intimate mystery you're sharing.
COMMUNICATE: Don't expect your partner to know what pleases you, but guide each other and communicate what's pleasurable and, diplomatically, what's not. Instead of, "Don't squeeze me nipples," try, "When you suck my nipples, I get so hot - much more than squeezing them." Everyone is unique. Avoid judging yourself or your lover. Show appreciation with words of love and encouragement, like, "It drives me wild when you kiss my thighs until I you to come inside me."
With practice, you'll become comfortable talking about your body and preferences, and after awhile, you'll know each other perfectly. Learning what pleases you and your lover and communicating that are more important than technique.
BREATHE: Be patient, and slow down your breathing.
SURRENDER: In lovemaking and meditating, the will gets in the way. But by giving up of control, neither trying nor willing, and opening your mind, heart, and body to the moment, energy from both souls is unleashed, boundaries dissolve, and masculine and feminine energies merge in a union of love that is both expansive, restorative, and healing. You enter a timeless oneness, full of joy and ecstasy, whether communing with God or your lover.
It takes practice to develop this vulnerability and openness, a skill much more powerful than sexual prowess.
1. Exercise and good nutrition strengthen the body and clear the mind. Yoga and martial arts can augment meditation and sex.
2. Tidy the room and appeal to the senses with music, candles, incense, and/or flowers.
3. Elements sex and meditation share: presence, timelessness, pleasure, openness, surrender.
4. Try these positions:
- In spoon position, put one of your lover's hands on your forehead and one your heart. Place your hands over his. Synchronize your breathing. Change places.
- Sit in your lover's lap, with your legs wrapped around him. Each put your right hand on the other's heart, and your left hand on top of your partner's. Gaze in each other's eyes and breathe in unison. Imagine your bodily fluids and energies joining, traveling up your spine, and exchanging through your eyes, heart, solar plexus, and genitals. Try this imagery during intercourse. Be sure to relax rather than tighten during orgasm.
Muir, Charles and Caroline, Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving
Anand, Margot, The Art of Sexual Ecstasy
Feuerstein, Georg, Tantra: Path of Ecstasy
Levy, Howard S., et al., The Tao of Sex