Imagine that you’re naked and I’m trailing silk ribbons all over your body and I tell you to think of nothing or to think only of the silk ribbons on your skin.
What if you’re chasing a deadline or know that your kids are going to interrupt you? What if you don’t like the feel of the ribbons or me? Maybe you start worrying about what you look like naked and what I think about you.
Now we’re no longer having a good time, we’re just having worries.
The social presentation of the ‘good sex’ picture is that you’re fully engaged mentally, physically and emotionally with your partner every second of the way.
But anyone who’s actually had sex knows that somewhere along the line, your mind will start intruding on your good times, like that unwanted third wheel.
It’ll get distracted, it’ll get bored, it’ll amuse itself with random thoughts, projections and insecurities.
I used to feel like there was something wrong with me; like I was supposed to have no thoughts other than ohmygodohmygodtheblissthebliss.
In reality, my mind would flip through thoughts like a couch potato on crack: porn, news, soapies, Oprah, reality TV, back to porn, back to reality TV…
The more freaked out I got about it, the more my mind jumped around. The more my mind jumped around, the less I could enjoy my sexperience.
‘Monkey mind’, those who practice meditation call it.
Then it dawned on me: Sex is like meditation. You have to practice being in the moment; being present with your pleasure and your involvement in the interaction.
And you have to practice it, because focus isn’t something that comes naturally to us.
We’re beings that need a lot of stimulation; we’re babbling, thinking, feeling, sensual, spiritual creatures and all of these ‘senses’ are engaged ALL THE TIME, to greater or lesser degrees, whether you like it or not.
So this is what I worked with.
I began to train my monkey mind to be in the moment as much as possible (in meditation they call it detaching from your thoughts and letting them move on instead of attending to them) and started actively focusing on my physical pleasure, my body, instead of letting my mind wander out to external stimulus.
I started including my partner in my internal dialogue. Now, if I need to stop and reset the experience, I do. If I need to ground a particularly delicious fantasy in reality we talk through it like a roleplay. (And if I need to ride that fantasy out in my head during sex, I do.)
I acknowledged when I needed more physically expressive sex to engage my senses, when I needed more rough and tumble grabbing, growling and spanking; more active physicality.
This has been a powerful learning for me.
Passivity in sex is the playground for a bored monkey mind, detaching you from physical pleasure even further.
And I think this is a problem experienced most often by women, who are already socialised to be detached from their own bodies and pleasure, to be passive objects that something is done to, rather than active co-creators of their own sexual experience.
Yes, sometimes your brain is your biggest sex organ, and sometimes it’s just the ride your monkey mind rolls in on to ruin a good thing.
Whether that thing is my imaginary ribbons on your naked skin or the sex you’re enjoying with your partner, you ultimately hold the keys to the door it exits from.