The Most Powerful Aphrodisiac Is Something Totally Unexpected

How to stay in the present to enjoy intimacy more.

Last updated on Jun 13, 2024

Radical acceptance and living in the present moment, powerful aphrodisiacs Dean Drobot | Canva

What do radical acceptance and living in the present have in common? Put together, they turn into a powerful aphrodisiac that everyone can access. Think about it. It’s date night. The lights are low. The music is slow and sensual. You're ready to get busy with your partner. And then, your mind shifts to what they did that didn’t work for you last time. Why won’t they (or can’t) do this thing that you've been asking for that you enjoy? Don’t they care about your pleasure? And just like that, you've lost the mood. You're dissatisfied with the interaction before it even begins.


Presence and acceptance are powerful aphrodisiacs. They exist within you and can help you to get back in the mood. It might take a little practice — but practice can be fun! How do you begin? With the body, of course. As soon as you start thinking about what happened last time — or what didn’t happen — you've moved out of the present and out of your body. How can you experience pleasure when you're stuck in your thoughts? Come back to the present and back to your body. What's happening right now? Is your partner touching you somewhere? Bring your attention to that place. What do you notice? Feel? Experience? This is not a thinking exercise. It's a feeling and experiencing exercise.


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Breathe your breath into that place. Soften around that space. Keep your attention right there. The more you can luxuriate in what's happening at that moment, the more enjoyable it can be. Ask for what you want. From this place, you can also ask for what you want — do you want it a bit slower, faster, harder, softer, to the left, to the right? And, of course, you can also ask to stop. Unless you're in pain or triggered, you need to fully experience what's happening before asking for a change. Experience without judgment and without being in your head.

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Next is radical acceptance. What does acceptance mean when we're talking about being intimate? It means letting go of expectations and being present and accepting of what is real and true right now — still always allowing for a stop if there is pain or trigger. It also means potentially treating intimacy as an exploratory endeavor, rather than a goal-directed, linear race. Culture has taught you certain expectations about what intimacy is supposed to look like, how often it is supposed to happen, and more.

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What if you allowed it to be how it is and were present with it, with your body, with your partner? This practice can guide you moment by moment into what feels sensational for you. Acceptance also plays a part in how you think about intimacy when you aren’t engaged in it. Assess your expectations. Do you have thoughts about how it "should" be? Shift that into what you want it to be, and also what it is. When we attend to the present moment with acceptance and without judgment, we allow for a richer and more alive experience. Our reality shifts and changes daily. What you liked last year, five years ago, or yesterday may not be what you like right now. When we allow ourselves to be present, to see what is here and to experience it, to accept that there are no "shoulds" around our love lives and how we express it, the sensual world opens up. Happy exploration!

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Emy Tafelski, MA, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 10 years of experience, and the founder of ME-Therapy, a therapy practice helping people rediscover their authenticity, brilliance, and wholeness after the world knocks them around.