We live in a society that is constantly in motion. Our to-do lists are long, and we spend our time rushing from one item on that list to the next, with barely any time to actually be fully present in any given moment.
And oftentimes, we treat our sex lives in the same way. It might be another item on the to-do list, or worse, an item that doesn't even make it onto the list at all! When sex is tossed aside as an unimportant bullet point, chances are we're as present for it as we are for the other items on our list: that is, not at all!
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This is where mindfulness comes in. I define mindfulness as being fully present and aware in any given moment. So, for example, if you were washing dishes in a mindful way you would notice how the soap and water feel on your hands. You might notice the contrasting texture of the bowl you were washing versus the sponge you were washing it with.
Your awareness would be fully on what you were doing, and on what emotions popped up in each moment. Maybe the smell of the soap reminded you of your grandmother's house, and that made you feel happy and safe. In this instance you would be present, rather than thinking of the next thing on your list, pondering what happened at the office, thinking about what you'll make for dinner or wondering about what the kids are getting into.
When we bring this kind of consciousness into the bedroom, it can increase intimacy with our partner and make sex more enjoyable — and less of a to-do item. Ways to do achieve awareness in bed can include focusing your attention on the way your partner's skin feels under your hands, or the way their hands feel as they caress your body. You might focus your awareness on the pressure of their lips as you kiss. You can also be mindful of your most active and engaged parts during different expressions of sex. Try really enjoying the act and how it feels, rather than simply going through the motions.
It might be easiest to begin the foray into mindful sex with smaller gestures. You could do this by starting to pay closer attention to the way your hands feel when you hold them against your partner's hands.
Try being fully present in your body when sitting next to each other and watching television, noticing how your arms or legs pressed up against each other. From here you might move on to kissing mindfully, having your awareness focused on the way they smell, taste and feel.
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From these beginning steps, mindfulness can be brought from your daily life into the bedroom during full expressions of sexual activity, some of which I mentioned above. There are many other ways that you can be present in the bedroom for different ways of loving. How many can you think of that you might like to try? You might be surprised at what ignites between you and your partner.
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