Better Sex through Mindfulness project

Other than the first two or three years after my epiphany, I’ve had low libido my whole life, so when I came across Lori A. Brotto’s Better Sex through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire a little over a year ago, I bought it and promptly started reading. Unfortunately I didn’t get far. The mindfulness it was asking me for felt out of my range.

I had assumed that mindfulness was a thing I’d be good at. I’m observant. I’m introspective. I’m a highly sensitive person. I have good physical awareness for both movement and health issues. So it threw me for a loop when a body awareness exercise felt difficult.

But maybe it shouldn’t have. Now that I give it some thought, there are also ways in which I can be rather disconnected from my body. Relatively recently I developed a tendency to hold my breath under certain circumstances and it took some time (and a trip to the doctor) before I figured out what I was doing. I always have a certain degree of muscle tension, especially in my neck and shoulders. And then there’s the big one: the nighttime jaw-clenching habit that I’ve struggled with for my entire adult life. Oh yeah, that!

There’s also the puzzling fact that I have no memory of my first orgasm even though I’m certain that it was with a boyfriend (pretty sure I know which one), and resulted from him giving me oral sex. I’m also certain that I didn’t dissociate in the moment, but my former sexual shame seems to have cast the memory of it adrift. In reading about dissociation (the current SB4MH prompt), I also brushed up on the related concept of emotional detachment, which is much more familiar to me, especially as demonstrated by my mother who I believe experienced some kind of sexual trauma as a child.

Although I set the Brotto book aside, I started trying to tune in more to certain physical sensations that I seem to habitually ignore.

For instance, I don’t really feel hungry when it’s time to eat, and I now wonder whether my lack of a sense of hunger is somehow learned and is an example of an idiosyncratic disconnect between physical sensation and awareness. It’s a real issue because it leads to issues and symptoms relating to low blood sugar, especially when I’m not able to eat on a schedule like while I’m travelling. This is something where mindfulness might really help.

I’ve also been paying more attention to the times when I feel (spontaneously) turned on. I’ve found that I rarely feel any arousal at all, and if I do, the sensation tends to be very mild and easily ignored. It’s usually only perceptible it in the morning when I wake up, and getting up to go to the bathroom or retrieve my vibe has often been enough to kill it.

In addition to working on this ‘remedial physical awareness’, I also started meditating. In the past I’d never got beyond a bit of dabbling but this time I actively sought out meditation classes as a way of building a foundation for mindfulness. I found a Buddhist class that was conveniently located and had a set of talks aimed at beginners. Perfect! While I haven’t quite gotten into a regular meditation routine, I now feel that I have the foundation I was after.

And with that, I think I’m ready to dive back in to Better Sex through Mindfulness!

As I read Brotto’s book, I’ll be using each chapter as a writing prompt as a way of encouraging myself to slow down, reflect, and engage with it deeply.

Below is the table of contents, which I will link to my posts as I work through it.

Introduction

Chapter 1. Sex in a Multitasking World

Chapter 2. Seeking Sexual Ecstasy – From the Couch to the Brain Drug

Chapter 3. Introducing the Raisin

Chapter 4. Becoming Aware of Your Body

Chapter 5. “Your Attention, Please!”

Chapter 6. How Mindfulness Works

Chapter 7. If You’re Happy and You Know It

Chapter 8. It Takes Two

Chapter 9. Tuning In to Pain

Chapter 10. You Have My Attention – Now What?

Chapter 11. The Next Chapter of the Present Moment

Masturbation Monday

16 thoughts on “Better Sex through Mindfulness project

  1. Great post!
    I can totally relate to the jaw-clenching at night, and I too cannot remember my first orgasm. I’ve been wondering why that is 🤔
    It sounds like you’re on the right track. The book definitely sounds interesting ☺️

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    1. Thank you! My jaw-clenching has been better lately – a few things have helped over the years, but most recently it’s the meditation. I don’t expect it to resolve all my issues but I think the book will help me reach some new insights.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a really interesting book. Tuning in to what your body is actually feeling is HARD (at least, I find it really hard) and I’m glad you’re taking time to reconnect with your body like this.

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    1. I wouldn’t even say ‘reconnecting’ with my body, as I’m not sure I’ve ever been connected in the first place! I expect it to be a hard process – glad I’m not alone in that 🙂

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  3. The book looks interesting. And hopefully it will help you. Don’t forget that May More is hosting her #lifematters and one of the prompts is #booksmatter so please keep that in mind for a possible link up.😁😎

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    1. Thanks, I did see the book matters prompts and will keep that in mind for when they roll around! Hopefully I’ll have something more to say about it by that point 😉

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  4. Interesting that you mention emotional detachment, that’s probably a better description of how I’ve mostly processed things over the years than full on dissociation.

    I do look forward to reading about you progress through the book and your thoughts.

    melody 🌹

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    1. I get the feeling that there’s a lot more emotional detachment going on than we realise. As a culture I think we’re not great with emotions in general, and of course if boys and men aren’t supposed to have emotions, where do they go?

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  5. I always assumed I’d be good at mindfulness for the same reasons — introspective, etc…and I’m not. I think using this book as a writing exercise and to learn more/dive deeper is a great one.

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    1. OK, the mindfulness issue isn’t just me then – phew! I’m looking forward to working through the book but I’m also hesitant because it’s going to involve some hard work. And tears. So many tears!

      Liked by 1 person

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