Being in the Moment with Sex

In a number of future posts I'll talk about ways I've found to appreciate myself as a sexual being, treat my body and sexuality as apositive part of the experience of sex and to appreciate and rejoice in the physical act of sex. I want to take a moment to talk about why these are things I value before I discuss how I've accomplished these goals. The last—appreciating and rejoicing in the physical act—probably requires the most exploration.

A number of years ago one of my lovers noted that I tended to focus a lot of the physical details of a sexual experience. When discussing it I might recall how a particular toy was used or what positions were used. She wondered why I focused on this rather than the emotional impact of the experience. I was confused at the time, because these aspects all seemed very related. I didn't understand myself enough to articulate an answer.

As I've studied ritual, I've gained the vocabulary and experience to explain this to myself. A big part of what we do with ritual is use shared, repeated symbols to help us into a particular emotional/spiritual space. Lighting candles alone does much less than lighting candles with the intent of connecting with the elements or the gods. Lighting candles with intent does more when the participants in a ritual share that intent and understanding or when the intent and understanding are shared in a community.

The physical aspects of a ritual aren't why I participate. Typically I value the deeper levels, the connection, the work that is done, the spiritual experience. However, I try to pay attention to the physical level too. It tends to be a set of symbols I share; the physical serves as cues for other levels. I can form associations with the smells of particular incenses or with a sequence. Together these can help guide me to a spiritual space.

Just so with sex. As with ritual, there's skill involved in constructing a sexual experience. As an example I've learned a lot from Christine's classes about anatomy and the interaction between mind and body. Paying attention to the physical details helps me understand how to create sensations in my body and that of my lovers. By paying attention it's easier to teach and be taught how to physically connect with a new body.

However, for me, there's more value in mindful awareness of the sensations and acts of sex than just learning to be a better lover. As with ritual, we attach feelings and spiritual connections to the details we notice. Just as I have formed a sense of anticipation and calm with three breaths I've learned to respond with anticipation and excitement when being touched in certain ways. These associations matter a lot to what space we will find ourselves in. We can influence these associations. Will I be embarrassed by the noises I make worried that the neighbors will know I'm having sex? Alternatively I can embrace the experience and over time my cries will be associated with the joy and wonder of connection and self acceptance both for myself and my lovers. When I smell my excitement do I hope that my lover is unaware, or do I point it out to them, showing them another signal they can use to understand what they are doing to me and showing them the amazing affect they are having on my body? When we share the details we notice we can create a space based on connection and openness where we're not hiding from the wonderful bodies we have but instead using them as tools to create emotions, connection and spiritual experience. I've found pleasure in being open to taste, smell, and sensation, working them into my awareness of the other wonderful levels of the experience. I've found joy in being able to use the physical symbols as part of sharing my experience of sexuality.