Here is the link to the guided meditation. I encourage you to first read through the description and the meditation transcript below prior to your practice.
Pre-Meditation Description and Preparation:
Please read through the following description and the meditation transcript below prior to your practice.
If you do not feel ready to connect with yourself through this meditation, please honor that.
Please respect your present capacity to engage in opening your body, heart, and mind. Our capacity for openness, receptivity, and mindfulness is cyclical and ever-changing, just like every other experience and energy in our lives.
If, in this moment, you do not feel resourced, prepared, or ready, please respect this and wait for a more auspicious time to engage in mindful awareness.
This is a basic grounding meditation to help you bring a calm, centered self to your sexual practices. And as you do so, strengthen your sexual wellbeing and increase your positive sexual experiences.
Anxiety is one of the main reasons people suffer from sexual dissatisfaction, including low desire, difficulty getting or maintaining arousal, sexual pain, difficulty orgasming.
The research shows that mindfulness helps us to manage our anxiety (and other emotions) effectively.
Mindfulness improves our ability to notice what we are thinking and feeling without judgment and to be focused in the present moment.
During sexual activity, mindfulness helps us to shift from anxiety about how things are going, or how we are “performing”, to being compassionate, mindful, and present.
When we are compassionate, mindful, and present, we are more aware of our sensations, our body, and our experiences in the moment and less distracted by thoughts or negativity. All of this leads to more satisfying sexual experiences and greater positive well-being. (taken from Better Sex Through Mindfulness, by Lori Brotto).
For the purposes of this meditation practice, we will focus on anxiety resulting from:
1. Our over-loaded sense of responsibility, never-ending to-do lists, and the overwhelm that comes from multitasking.
2. Being focused on our “performance” during sexual activity, as well as the negative ways we think about our body or the ways we feel inadequate around our sexuality. This also includes not being able to “get out of your head” during sex, worrying about your partner’s perceptions and experience, worrying if your sexual desires and/or fantasies are “weird”, “not normal” or “too much”.
Let’s first discuss multitasking and its impact on our sexuality.
Multitasking is the process of quickly shifting back and forth between many things at one time. While it may help us to get more done or to be productive, it often results in not being able to fully enjoy any given single activity or task or be fully present.
Juggling many responsibilities, thoughts, and tasks all at once can be helpful in some situations, like parenting and work.
However, multitasking is harmful when it is time to turn our brains off and relax into sexual activity and play.
In order to experience pleasurable, satisfying, and vibrant sex, we must learn how to be fully in the present moment. We must learn how to manage our distractions or our busy mind.
We must learn to connect to our body and truly feel its sensations, responses, and desires.
The more we are distracted and focused on either past conversations, interactions, or events, or on future planning, worries, and concerns, the less likely we are fully engaged with the present moment.
According to Lori Brotto, author of Better Sex Through Mindfulness, “Brain imaging studies show that distraction and inattention impair our ability to attend to and process sexual cues.”
Now more than ever, a practice of mindful meditation and compassionate awareness can help us have more satisfying, rewarding, lives. This includes our sexual experiences.
The second component contributing to dissatisfying sexual experiences is “performance anxiety”.
Performance anxiety includes all the ways in which we feel inadequate around our sexuality:
- monitoring and judging ourselves during sex with a critical eye or voice
- the negative way we think about our bodies
- focusing on technique or being goal-oriented during sex (i.e “This has to end in an orgasm in order for it to be a ‘good’ sexual experience”).
- anxiety around getting and/or maintaining an erection
- anxiety around the timing of ejaculation or orgasm
Performance anxiety takes us out of the present moment and creates disconnection. Disconnection from self and one’s body and disconnection from a partner, if we are having partnered sex.
Performance anxiety leads to a constant stream of judgment and self-criticism: “I am not good enough, experienced enough, sexy enough, thin enough, young enough, white enough, able-bodied enough, rich enough, successful enough, fun enough, “normal” enough, attractive enough… (whatever all of that means!) and on and on and on.
Performance anxiety leads us to compare ourselves to others: “Everyone else is having lots of sex (define “lots”?), with multiple orgasms, spontaneous desire, erect penises on demand, the ability to orgasm at the same time as their partner, quick orgasm with vaginal penetration, natural lubrication without the need for supplemental products, arousal on “demand” and on and on and on.
Both multi-tasking, as well as performance anxiety, leave us feeling disconnected and dissatisfied in our sexual experiences.
Is it any wonder our desire is low and we often dread our next sexual encounter?
This meditation practiced consistently will help you cultivate a clear, centered, calm mind. It will increase your capacity to cultivate a compassionate response in the moment when you feel anxiety or are distracted by judgments, thoughts, and other emotions during sex.
It will help you return to your breath, your body, or your sensations as an anchor when you are pulled out of the present moment.
The more you can practice mindful awareness and compassionate acceptance, the more likely you will be to create sexual experiences of joy, pleasure, satisfaction, connection, and authentic well-being.
> LINK to the Calming and Grounding Meditation
The Meditation Practice:
Come into a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. And gently close your eyes.
Begin to focus on your breathing. Take a deep full inhale slowly to the count of 5. Fill your belly.
Take a deep full breath, exhale slowly to the count of 5. Emptying your belly.
Do this a couple more times. Inhale to the count of 5. Exhale to the count of 5.
Let the inhale expand into your belly like a balloon. As you exhale, slowly release all the air and feel your belly fully emptying.
Gently, come back to your regular breathing. And begin to focus on your body and its physical sensations. What is present for you?
Do not judge; just notice. Name and locate the sensation, if you can. Is it pain? Tingling? Numbness? Tightness? Relaxation? Desire? What is residing in your body at this time?
Notice and breathe into the sensation. Imagine as you do that your inhale brings a compassionate, soothing energy to the sensation.
Imagine the sensation being released fully as you exhale.
Continue to do this with any additional sensations you feel. Breathing in calming, compassionate, soothing energy. Breathing out and releasing the sensation fully.
Each time you notice a sensation that distracts you come back to your breath. Your breath anchors you to the present. Your breath anchors you to the life that is right here. Your breath anchors you to just BE in this present moment.
Now notice your emotional state. How are you feeling? Do not judge this, just notice it. If you can, name the emotion. Is it Fear? Anxiety? Anger? Joy? Peace?
Just notice the emotion and like a wave, allow the breath to bring the emotion into your awareness and then carry it away.
Emotions coming and going like waves.
Sometimes they feel strong and intense, sometimes subtle and gentle. No matter their intensity, they come and go like waves. All we have to do is acknowledge them without judgment. Name them with a compassionate mind. They continually pass through us and flow in and out.
You don’t have to be distracted by your sensations or your emotions, once you name them simply come back to your breath. Back to the present moment. You are sitting in this meditation practice. This is now. This is all you have to do. Be present in this moment.
Now take a moment and notice any thoughts you are having. Are you thinking of something from the past?
Are you thinking of something in the future? Are you planning?
Are you focused on the to-do list for the day or your week?
Are you re-living a conversation or an interaction? Are you worrying or ruminating?
Whatever is coming up, just notice it and name it without judgment. Send your thoughts compassion. And return to your breath.
Thoughts also come and go. It is the way of the mind. You do not have to focus on them. Just allow them to flow through, one after the other. With compassion, return to your breath.
Take a moment to breathe in peace, calm, equanimity. Take a moment to consciously breathe out any distractions.
Just allow your breath to bring you back to what is right here, right now.
Breathing into the present moment. Breathing out any sensations, emotions or thoughts that pull you away.
Slowly begin your transition to return to the room you are in. Take your time, there is no rush. Go out at your own pace.
When you are ready, rub your hands together, wiggle your toes, stretch.
Slowly blink open your eyes.
Return to your day, knowing that the more you practice this meditation, the more you will be able to calm, center, and ground yourself in the present moment. The more this will lead to improved sexual well-being.
If it feels good and relevant to you, please journal after this meditation. Write about what this meditation experience felt like. If you would like, you can briefly journal after each meditation and track the changes you experience.
You can also journal after your sexual experiences in which you practiced mindful awareness and using your breath to anchor you into the present moment. Write about how you are cultivating a non-attachment to any anxiety, thoughts or emotions that may surface.
Making sure as you journal you do so with compassion and non-judgment.