HOW TO HAVE MORE AUTHENTIC SEX
We live in an unprecedented era of distractions, which interfere with our ability to be present and connect with our body and our sexual partners. We also grew up in a sex negative society that conditioned us to have fears and tensions around sex. These contexts combined have made sex a source of anxiety and stress for many of us. If you struggle to feel sexy or get into the mood for sex, you are absolutely not alone. It’s been programmed into our psychology and physiology, but there are ways to systemically deconstruct the blockages we have so that we can have more unleashed and shameless sex. Continue reading for nuggets of knowledge about how to relax into natural sexual energy that is unhurried, innocent, and playful. Equipped with this information, my new years wish for all of you is to have more authentic and mind-blowing sex!
Let’s unpack a few concepts that are useful to understand when working towards more epic and authentic sex.
What is spectatoring?
Spectatoring is when a person is worried or obsessing over their sexual performance instead of being able to enjoy it. A person who is spectatoring during sex is evaluating themselves from a third person perspective instead of fully experiencing the pleasurable things happening to them. Attention is directed toward the public aspects of oneself (how others view you) instead of private aspects of oneself (emotions and bodily sensations). This could be paying attention to how the folds of your belly look, considering the view of you from the position of your partner or the faces you’re making. Spectatoring behaviour can result in performance anxiety - being stuck in your head spinning with thoughts like: What do I smell like? What do I look like? Am I taking too long? Is my partner bored? These anxious thoughts disrupt the processing of erotic cues necessary for arousal. In these instances, the experience of sex is one of enduring rather than enjoying.
What is performative sex?
Performantive sex is when you feel like you have to act out predefined sex acts or roles to benefit a partner. It’s deferring to specific or stereotypical sexual scripts because you’re afraid of tuning into your own desires and/or asking for what you want. Engaging in performative sex is often a means of seeking validation and approval, but in actuality it exacerbates low self-esteem. The pressure to perform and keep others happy is stressful and disembodying. While performative sex habits are not limited to any particular gender, they tend to be common among women because dominant media representations of sex often prioritize male pleasure.
What is authentic sex?
When we quiet the noise in our head and connect deeply to our bodies, we show up in sex as our most authentic selves and are able to experience more expansive pleasure. In such a physical and mental state, we are open to interpreting eroticism more broadly and receiving all kinds of stimulation. In the next two releases of the newsletter, will highlight strategies for getting to this state.
Physiological effects of inhibition
When we feel inhibited, shy or nervous during sex, it dirsupts our normal physiology. Being tense especially affects two symbiotic places in the body – the voice and the pelvis where our genitals are located. When you relax your throat and jaw, your pelvic floor can relax more easily, which is essential for pleasurable intercourse. This is why it’s important to feel free to vocalize during sex! Making low, deep vibratory sounds (ooh ahh) is especially effective. There are different ways that you can practice making tonal sounds outside of the bedroom so that you feel liberated to make them during sex. For example, the next time you yawn or sneeze, allow yourself to do it loudly and extendedly instead of constricting it. Another great way to practice making sounds is while working out. Grunt through the pain and let out deep sighs of relief.
Communication as lubrication for more authentic sex
One of the best ways to help your partner with relaxing into sexual energy is by communicating. You can do this as either the receiver or giver of pleasure. If you’re the giver, you can do this by describing and emphasizing what is appealing to your sense. This will allow the receiver to get out of their head and into their body more instead of worrying about whether you are enjoying yourself. If you are receiving pleasure, tell the giver what you want and give affirmations that it feels good. This relieves the giver from having to do guesswork and gets them out of their head to more fully enjoy giving. In all cases, show that you’re loving the communication from your partner so that they don’t feel like they need to dampen their pleasure because it’s “too much.”
A quick note about disinhibition and booze/drugs…
What we often feel as sexual excitement is disinhibition at work. When we stop hyper analyzing situations, we feel sexier. Some people use booze and/or drugs as a means to lower their disinhibition. While these can make you feel less tense and more brave, it’s a dangerous slippery slope in sexual contexts. It’s not to say that people can’t use booze and/or drugs safely when engaging in sex, but it’s best to develop a life where you feel sexy and brave even when you’re sober. Establish within yourself a strong foundation of internal security and you will not need to rely on intoxication to lower inhibition.
There are various tools available for training to have more authentic sexual experiences. Here are some practices that you can explore:
Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices help you focus on what you’re feeling in the moment without interpretation or judgement. With them, you can take control of your brain and redirect focus when needed. When you feel that your mind is drifting during sex, these practices can help you refocus on your body sensations. You can practice mindfulness with everyday activities before applying it to sex. For example, while you’re washing the dishes in the kitchen, pay attention to how the soap and water feels on your skin. When your mind wanders to other thoughts, smile at them, acknowledge them, and let them go. Return attention to the bodily sensations you’re experiencing.
Embodiment practices: In our modern world, we are accustomed to ignoring, suppressing or controlling the needs of our bodies in the name of productivity. Embodiment practices allow us to become more conscious of the wisdom of our bodies. It’s intentionally looking to your body for information when things are uncertain. There are many basic ways to integrate this work into our lives. For example, daily movement experiences (e.g., walking, stretching, sweating) connect us to the pleasure of living as a physical being. Even just planting your feet while sitting is a way to become more embodied, to literally feel more grounded. When you’re more connected to your body, you will be more confident in steering your partners in the right direction to give you optimal physical pleasure.
Mirror practice: Mirror practice is the physical act of looking at yourself in a mirror - your body, your beauty and imperfections through your own eyes. This self-care practice that can help people confront their insecurities and imperfections, both real and imagined, to reclaim a healthy sense of self-worth. An easy way to start is by setting a timer and looking in the mirror for 3 minutes. Pay attention to the things you normally avoid or perceive as defects. You can choose to stay still or to shake your limbs or wiggle your fingers or toes to feel present and alive in the moment. Make this a regular routine - either doing it after waking up or before bed. Once you grow familiar with the parts that you normally dismiss, add positive verbal affirmations to this exercise. Using “I” statements will help mitigate feelings of dissociation. Speak out loud to your body with kindness and love, and caress certain parts as you speak about them. This kind of positive self-talk helps individuals become more accepting of their body and can rewrite the narrative they have about their body.