Friday, December 6, 2019

Sex Is An Experience

If you're like me, you tend to think of sex as a task to accomplish. As a wife, a lot of us see it as our duty, which feels more like a burden and a responsibility than the recreation I imagined it would be. Dr. Holbrook encouraged me to move away from that by thinking of it as an experience in my body.  She referenced yoga as an example, which was awesome for me because that's where I first began to reconnect with my body after years of disassociation. If you haven't practiced yoga, I'll explain the basics. 

In a yoga class, you're encouraged to feel and observe your body. Rather than fitness instructors who tell you to push through the pain, the teacher encourages you to listen to your body and work at a pace where you can still breathe. This is counter-cultural because we're generally taught it's noble to ignore our bodies. 

You're also encouraged to set worries aside. Instructors say something like, "For this next hour, you can just be here. You don't have to be a mom, employee, daughter, dad, spouse. It will all be waiting for you when you're done." This helps you focus.

And lastly, you're encouraged to let the experience play out as it will that day. This means not judging how easy it feels compared to last time (good) or how your butt compares with all the other butts in the room (bad) or what harder variation that student is doing so they are the real deal (bad because I'm not). Observing these things is natural. Going the  next step and judging them is a rejection of the situation as it is today.

This may not seem like a big deal, but a measurement of mental health is one's ability to deal with reality AS IT IS. If we judge our present situation as bad, we grab for denial to lessen the pain. And once we are denying our situation, we aren't IN IT. Which is why this matters for sex. You can't enjoy sex if you aren't present.  

I know non-judgement is a foreign concept if you have a Christian background because even though Jesus said not to judge, we've been told to be VIGILANT to pick between right and wrong and our eyes are usually bulging out of our heads with the effort. For those of us with very little reference for non-judgement, let me try to describe it. 

When you go to an ophthalmologist and have your eyes examined, you sit in a chair and they put a machine in front of your face with a million lenses. They ask which one is clearer, A or B. You say, "B." 

"Which one is clearer, B or C?" 

You answer. This continues for a long time and by process of elimination, they learn what your eyesight is and if you need corrective lenses. 

At no point do they say, "Really? Are you sure?"

At no point do they say, "I was sure you'd pick this one." 

Or, "Whatever you say..." in a way that shows they don't agree.

Non-judgement. Like either one is FINE. 

This is what I want to suggest to us in the bedroom. 

Penetrative sex or mutual masturbation? 
Quiet or noisy? 
Every day or once a month? 
Kissing or more? 
Toys or no toys? 

None of this matters and all of it matters, as long as there is connection and pleasure. That is the experience we're going for and the details are personal preference. Our choices are neutral. They really are. 

If connection is what we're after, what better way to do that than to be totally honest about what you like and don't like? Can we allow ourselves to say? Because if we can, our partners can walk softly into our holy of holies and we will know what it's like to let someone in. 

I thought having a man's penis inside my body was what made us one. Now I know letting him see the truth of me is how we become one. 

This is full disclosure and total intimacy. 

Is that scary? Yes. 

Is it downright freeing to be loved AS YOU ACTUALLY ARE? 


If you've been wondering if sex is ever going to live up to your hopes, try laying judgement aside. Sex is a gift designed for us. Our desires weren't put inside us to torture us. God has every intention of fulfilling them. 

Open the door to your curiosity again, and allow each sexual experience to be what it is. Some yoga sessions feel amazing and some feel difficult and some are just meh. I notice and I wonder at it and I let it be a mystery. Why was it so good this time? It's a gift. I don't break it down to come up with the winning formula. When it's tough and less satisfying, I don't ask myself what I did wrong that made it that way. It just is. 

Give your sex life permission to be whatever it is. When we stop forcing a storyline on it, we find our love stories are already beautiful.

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