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Mindful : June 2013
Sometimes we get too caught up in getting what we want out of sex. It’s our sur vival instinct taken to extremes. And while it’s good to know what you want, letting that tip over into self-absorption can trigger what you don’t want: irritation with other people (whether you’re having sex with them or not). To puncture this, a little gratitude practice can help. Star t with 10 or 15 minutes of simple mindfulness practice, then switch into contemplating all the ways people have helped you: your parents, your friends, your coworkers, the people who pick up your garbage and maintain the roads you drive on. Eventually in this humble thanksgiving celebration, you’ll get around to those closest to you and to your par tner. Pleasing feelings of warmth often arise when you do this. To conclude, sit in basic mind- fulness practice for another five minutes. Then get up and take those warm feelings out into the world with you. You may find that the next time your par tner needs you to open up to how he’s feeling or what she needs, you’re already there. Comfor t with your own body is fundamental to sexual plea- sure. This is one of the areas where mindfulness meditation will help the most. It star ts with paying attention to your breath. Count each one. Notice the air coming in through your nostrils, passing over your lips, traveling down into your lungs—and notice ever y thing in between. But breath is only the beginning. Now consider each par t of your body, one at a time, from your head to your toes. And since we’re talking about sex, don’t skip the erogenous zones. This is especially true if your sensitive areas and sexual organs make you uncomfort- able. Tune in to those for- bidden places and become aware of the sensations they produce. Focusing in this way will get you off autopilot and encourage you to explore new sensations, which could help later when you’re enjoying your par tner, too. This meditation is a staple of mindfulness practice. It’s a wonder fully positive way to enhance relations with a sexual par tner, especially if you two are in a period of conflict. There are many ways to do this kind of meditation, but the general idea is simple. Notice your breath, relax, and wish yourself well: May I be healthy and strong. May I be happy. May I be filled with ease. Then visualize your par tner and say his name to yourself. When he is present in your mind, turn these loving phrases toward him: May you be happy, healthy, safe, peaceful. And since we’re talking about a sexual par tner, why not add: May you have pleasure. At the end, direct the loving, kind thoughts to ever y- one: May all people everywhere be happy, peaceful, and experi- ence pleasure. Mindfulness makes sex even better, says the evidence. And that makes sense, since the best way to tune in to your partner is to tune into yourself first. Here are three ways to get started. Get Your Head in the Game Gratitude Kindness Body Scan 3 1 2 June 2013 mindful 59