**UNDER CONSTRUCTION**  Thank you for your patience!

    Mindfulness & Conscious Sexuality

 

Take a few minutes to remember and think about the most positive, pleasurable sexual experience you’ve ever had.  Close your eyes and allow your mind to relive that experience.  After you’ve allowed yourself to indulge in that memory, open your eyes and keep reading.  (Don’t rush yourself, I’ll wait… Take your time). 


Imagine that experience and try to remember every detail possible.  Were you alone or with a partner?  Where did it take place?  Let your mind go deeper and deeper, imagining all of the details of that time and place.  Immerse yourself in the feelings, sensations and emotions you experienced during that delightful encounter.  Breathe deeply and notice all of the muscles in your body relax as you allow yourself to luxuriate in every detail.  With your body now relaxed, allow yourself to re-experience all of those pleasurable sensations—every pleasurable touch.  Notice how it felt inside of your body during that experience, both physically and emotionally.  If it was with a partner, picture them in your mind’s eye…imagine their face, their eyes, their mouth, their body, and their touch.  How did their body feel against yours?  Picture this experience in as vivid detail as possible.  In this moment, allow yourself to relive everything about that experience that brought such feelings of positivity and pleasure for you.  When you feel ready, bring yourself back into the here and now; wherever you are currently sitting or standing while reading this.


What made that sexual experience more positive or pleasurable for you than others?  What were the circumstances around it which may have contributed to making it such an amazing experience?  What was different?  Chances are, this particular experience stood out in your mind because at the time in which it occurred, you were fully in the moment.  There were no distracting thoughts; no worries; no fears or resentments to stop you from fully enjoying that encounter.  All of your attention was focused on what you were feeling and experiencing—and nothing else.


Mindfulness

You may not have realized it at the time, but you were practicing mindfulness.  Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the here and now; focusing on the present moment without distraction.  Mindfulness is defined as, “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”  In a mindfulness meditation, one would begin by slowing down and bringing their attention to their breath.  As they focus on their breath, they practice breathing deeply, slowly connecting their mind with their body.  If a particular thought or feeling arises, they notice it without judgement and then release it as they continue to focus on bodily sensations.


Conscious Sexuality

When we focus all of our attention to the here and now, to the present moment without any disruption or distraction, the area of our brain called the anterior insular cortex (AIC) is more active. The AIC is “the part of the brain which is necessary for emotional awareness—defined as the conscious experience of emotions” (Gu, et.al., 2013).  As noted by Rachel Weinstein, “this part of the brain is like a huge communication channel between the brain’s different parts and the body.  When this part is activated we perceive our physical sensations in a deeper, more intense way.  We can also be more emotionally present and in-tune with our partners” (meetmindful.com).  Moreover, studies have shown that with increased frequency of use, particularly with mindfulness meditation, it increases the volume of the insula.  This not only has the potential to lead to being more emotionally present in general, but also experiencing physical sensations with our partner during sexual activities with more depth and intensity.  With a little practice, anyone can learn how to have more emotional connection and more intense pleasure and sensations during their sexual experiences.


It’s recommended that you practice daily, for 20 minutes per day; however, as you’re just learning to incorporate this into your daily routine, you may find it’s easier to start with less time and work your way up to 20 minutes.  The more you practice this as a regular, day to day part of your routine, the easier it will be to achieve a learned state of mindfulness during sexual activities with yourself or with a partner.


I hope this enlightens and inspires you to learn more about mindfulness meditation and how to use it as a powerful tool in having more emotionally connected, physically intense, and conscious sexual experiences!  To learn more about these practices, see the recommended resources below. 


Resources:

Originally published in LivingWell.Magazine March 2018


Copyright © 2018  Dianna Palimere, PhD, LCSW

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