The Holistic Lover, Sam Benjamin discusses how you can sage your way to better sex.
We tend to miss out on the innate healing and magic of sex when we allow it to become routine or unremarkable. Sex can be curative, creative, even sacramental – IF you’re willing to take the time to set some intentions around your practice. Here’s how you do it.
Burn Away the Stagnancy
Sex is often associated with impulsivity and spontaneity, but there’s much to be said for methodically creating a sacred space that will house your intimacy. Try burning some White Sage in your bedroom to clear away the stagnant energy (smudge sticks can be found in your local health food store). For a slightly sweeter, softer scent, try burning a stick of Palo Santo. Peruvian Shamans use this stuff in healing ceremonies to help rid participants of “negative thought prints.” There’s often lots of old patterning around sex, so freeing yourself or your partner through a little good-natured pre-lovemaking fumigation may enable you to go to new places together.
Breathe Deep, Baby
For the uninitiated, the idea of practicing breathwork before sex (or at any other time!) can be a little wacky, but trust me, a few minutes of deep breathing can do the same work as burning a bundle of sage. It clears stagnant energy from within, heightens mood, and produces a relaxed but alert sensation in the body. Breathwork can make you feel centered and present, ready to focus on your partner and make some sacred love.
There are many practitioners of breathwork to choose from online, but my personal favorite is Amy Weintraub, author of Yoga For Depression. (Note: Weintraub has never recommended her breathwork to reach a sacred state, or to enhance one’s sex life – I came to that conclusion on my own!) Watch Amy teaching Bellows Breath and listen to her direction. “Imagine that you are pulling in the benevolent energy of the cosmos. Feel the energy circulating through you now.” Scoff if you will, non-hippies, but practice this or other breathing techniques with your partner, and you’ll be amazed at the connection you feel, and your sudden access to healing life energy.
Oil It Up
This isn’t rocket science: massaging your partner before sex helps to relax them. A more relaxed partner is generally a happier partner, one who’s going to be more present for you, more open, and more easily aroused.
Don’t have access to expensive lotions or oils? Try using some organic unrefined sesame oil. You can buy a twelve-ounce bottle at Whole Foods for about seven bucks, and with a few drops of scented essential oil thrown in there, you’re in business. In the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, sesame oil massage is recommended on a daily basis – it’s extremely calming for your central nervous system, as well as luxuriantly hydrating for your skin and hair. And maybe this doesn’t have much to do with the path to the sacred, but everyone’s body looks sexy as hell with some oil on it!
Look into My Eyes
Eye gazing is a practice that is inordinately simple: you sit cross-legged across from your beloved, and try to look deeply into one another’s eyes. Don’t laugh! It’s inevitable that you will at first, of course, but really try to take this opportunity to relax and become vulnerable. Sex is an activity that’s done in tandem, but often, habits can develop where we isolate during sex, having our own experiences, and not always sharing them with our beloved. Engaging in an exercise like eye gazing can encourage a thorough, conscious, gentle acknowledgment of your partner’s existence. Three to five minutes of appreciating the person sitting across from you can make a world of difference in subtle connecting once you begin making love.
Get a Little Weird
It’s said that in the end, only honesty and openness can truly open the doors to enlightenment. Sometimes, we find ourselves unconsciously practicing self-inhibition during sex: being quiet or unexpressive for fear of being thought strange, or limiting ourselves to having sex in ways that have already been agreed upon as pleasurable. This is a definite path to sexual stagnation.
But if you’re open to it, sex can be a truly creative practice, It can be humorous, personal, life-affirmingly absurd. So if you’re feeling like opening up, expressing yourself and the weird joy that comes along with being alive, then go for it! Say the sexy, freaky thing that’s been on your mind. Take a chance, consult the Kama Sutra, and try to make love in a new position. Pause as you’re moving, so as to feel the tactile sensation of the present moment. Most of all, take yourself out of your habits that you’ve grown into, in order to give yourself the permission to feel free in experimenting. It will take you out of the realm of the everyday, and put you in position to experience the unique and sacred beauty of being.