Put that phone down and march back into the bedroom. Laura S. Scott has 10 simple steps to invite intimacy into your relationship once again.
“My smartphone killed my sex life.” I overheard this in a busy restaurant in Tampa, Florida. This was the kind of place where young professionals hang out and unwind with a craft beer or a specialty cocktail. This comment, from a young woman in her thirties, prompted a round of laughter from her friends, but you could tell this wasn’t a joke.
I could empathize. When I was working 60+ hours a week building my business, there were times where I chose work, sleep or a book over sex. Then there were those nights when my mind traffic kept me up, tossing and turning, and stressing over my to-do list or early wake-up calls; nights when I was jolted awake by the blaring infomercials that came on at midnight, after we’d fallen asleep during our favorite sitcom.
During a particularly stressful time in my life, I was unable to sleep more than a few hours a night. I was forgetful, unfocused, and I could barely string a sentence together. I even asked my doctor for a CT Scan, thinking I had a brain tumor. Sex was planned but not executed. I recall at least a few occasions when my partner or I fell asleep during sex.
Then there was what I call distracted sex. You know what I am talking about. Sex while you are planning a dinner menu, watching TV, listening for alarms or little intruders, or worrying about your performance or that spot you forgot to wax or shave.
Think back to the best intimate moments you’ve ever had with a partner. What proceeded that moment and how did you stay in the moment? What was the feeling? My guess is that you were feeling relaxed, safe, comfortable, and maybe slightly vulnerable. Great sex is impossible unless you are willing to let go and breathe. You may also have been feeling curious, excited, or stimulated as you imagined a delicious, sensuous, best case scenario. And as you are imagining that scenario, my bet is that the kid’s soccer practice schedule or the next day’s meeting agenda was nowhere to be seen, or felt. Am I right?
Shortly after I decided to adopt a mindfulness practice to manage my stress, I began to bring my mindfulness practice into the bedroom, and I began to understand that sex was much better if it was an in-the-moment experience. However, I knew I needed to set the stage for that experience, to adopt a practice of mindful foreplay that had nothing to do with erogenous zones and French kisses. As an executive and life coach, I realized good sex could be an intentional process rather than just a happy accident, so I broke down what I had begun to call “mindful intimacy” into ten steps.
10 Steps to Mindful Intimacy
1) Create a Sanctuary. Create one space in your home devoid of TVs, video, phones and other annoying distractions. This does not have to be your bedroom, it could be a hammock for built for two in your backyard or patio, provided you have some privacy; a place where you can relax and be comfortable. This sanctuary should be kid free and pet free during the time you are utilizing it.
2) Turn the volume down on your phone and tuck your phone or tablet in a drawer. Make a promise to yourself and your partner to create a no-interruption zone for at least 30 minutes. You might even want to say the following, out loud: “There’s nowhere to go, there’s nothing to do.” You may choose to listen to some relaxing music you both enjoy.
3) Start by lying down with your partner and engaging in a full body hug, clothed or unclothed. Imagine yourself doing the horizontal tango.
4) Agree with your partner to let go of any expectations or attachment to outcome. This does not have to lead to sex or orgasm.
5) Position yourselves so that you’re belly to belly and take a number of full belly breaths. Tune into your partners breathing pattern and, without trying too hard, see if you can get into sync with your breaths. It helps if you can close your eyes and imagine that you are one organism or one cluster of vibrating energy.
6) This is where you may give yourself permission to sleep, or meditate, or just breathe.
7) Then, if you feel like it, you can open your eyes and look into your partner’s eyes. Softly (this is not a staring contest) hold your partner’s gaze without speaking for a couple of minutes. You can do this even if your partner’s eyes are closed.
8) Ask yourself the question, “What does love look like?” or “What does love feel like?” Respond to that question nonverbally. Depending on how you feel you want to respond to that question, you may begin to hug, stroke, kiss, or gently massage your partner with the understanding that there is no right way or wrong way to respond to the question.
9) Then ask yourself the question “What can I do so that I can feel totally open, vulnerable, and loving in this moment?”
10) Whatever happens, however you choose to be in this moment, is perfect and right. Afterwards, take a moment to be grateful and thankful for taking the time to be together in this way.
You don’t actually have to be partnered up to have this experience. Much of this can be experienced alone or with a platonic partner. In the absence of a partner, you can experience the sensuous feel of bed linens on your body, the scent of a bubble bath, the flickering of the candle flame, or the warmth of a roaring fire. In any case, all it takes is for you to give yourself permission to take 15 to 30 minutes a week to experience this.
[image: via m01229 on flickr]
About the Author
Laura S. Scott is the President of 180 Coaching, an Energy Leadership Master Practitioner, and Author of Two is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice