6 Ways to Have Radically Intimate Sex

We’ve seen it in the movies. We’ve read about it in books. We have lived it over and over in our fantasies. I’m talking about the kind of sex that bends time and expands space as you and your lover dive into each other, swimming through veins till you find the tender, pristine places no one has ever touched. Intimacy so pure and potent that physical form cannot sustain itself and you burst into effervescent molecules, disintegrating in sacred union with the primordial, ecstatic center of the universe. The kind of sex where you finally collapse, breathless, in a pile of limbs wrapped around each other, stunned by the power and purity you just experienced.

While we long for this kind of sex, few of us have found it. We crave connection, but fear vulnerability. In our 140-character, hyperconnected culture, we have lost our capacity for the kind of delayed gratification this kind of physical intimacy requires.

Here are 6 ways to have radically intimate sex:

SHHHH: NO TALKING

Often when we think of intimacy, we think about the sharing of secrets. There is something intimate about verbalizing our innermost thoughts and desires—especially when it comes to sex. However, as alluring as fantasy can be, by its very definition, it’s a way of escaping reality. And we tend to hide behind our words, using conversation as a means of avoiding vulnerability. We tell people who we are instead of showing them. True intimacy with a lover happens in the silent moments of presence and connectedness between words.

Practice #1Set a specific time to meet in the bedroom without speaking a single word. Spend an hour together, not talking, before any physical intimacy begins. Show up clean—physically and emotionally. This is an opportunity to let our stories fall away—as individuals and as a couple—making room for a deep, non-verbal, energetic connection.

MAKE IT ANTI-CLIMACTIC: NO ORGASM

When Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination” he meant that when we focus on getting to a particular goal, we miss value in the moments along the way. And so it is with sex. There are reports that women can have 11 different kinds of orgasms. From the time men are boys, they are fascinated with ejaculating (it’s a built-in, biological preoccupation on which the survival of the species depends!). We have misunderstood the destination of sex to be orgasm, and by doing so, robbed ourselves of some potentially powerful opportunities for both pleasure and intimacy.

Practice #2: Agree upfront to forgo reaching orgasm. Take the possibility completely off the table, for both of you. By doing so, you provide space to be present and find appreciation of each moment for the pleasure and connection it brings, without distraction. Take turns bringing each other close and backing off. Notice the powerful bond created as you hold each other on the brink of ecstasy.

LIKE A LAVA LAMP: SLOW IT WAY DOWN

We live in a fast-paced, over-stimulating, 140-character-status-update kind of world. As a culture, we are usually focused on “doing” rather than “being.” Because we juggle so many responsibilities, sex tends to become just another thing on the “To Do List.” Rushing through the “doing of sex” does not encourage the “being” of intimacy.

Practice #3: Create a bubble of time and space to climb into together. Do whatever it takes to enable getting lost in your own world together. Make a conscious decision not to rush. Let energy flow between  you like a lava lamp. Moving verrrrry slowly, savor each moment of sensation and allow intimacy to rise.

SEALED WITH A KISS: UNDRESS EACH OTHER

Whether it’s your first time together, or you’ve been having sex for 30 years, giving your body to your lover is a gift. To receive your partner’s body is a privilege. Don’t let modesty or habit stop you from honoring this generous exchange.

Practice #4: This practice is most comfortable done with the lights dimmed or by candlelight. Undress each other by taking turns removing one article of clothing at a time. As each piece comes off, gently kiss the part of the body revealed in gratitude.

IN AND OUT: BREATHE LIFE INTO IT

It is a technique in meditation to turn the focus from thoughts to the breath. In Tantra, partners will “match breath” as a way of forming an energetic connection that is not based on the giving and receiving of physical pleasure.

Practice #5: Begin in a simple embrace. Spend a few minutes slowing and synchronizing your breath. Silently negotiate a rhythm that is comfortable for both of you. Pause at the top of each inhale and at the bottom of each exhale, creating a moment of mutual stillness. Breathing together is facilitated by cooperation and consideration for each other. Try to maintain this collaboration as sex unfolds.

WINDOW OF THE SOUL: EYE GAZING

Eye contact is a distinct point of connection. Yet, it is common to keep one’s eyes closed during sex. Extended eye contact reveals vulnerability, and so it can be a powerful facilitator of intimacy.

Practice #6: Sit on the floor facing each other and gaze into each other’s eyes without looking away for 20 minutes. Shifting from eye to eye helps sustain the gaze. Maintain eye contact as much as possible as sex unfolds. Play with looking into each other’s eyes all the way through orgasm. It is nearly impossible to climax with open eyes (like sneezing). Gazing into your lover’s eyes at the moment of release just might be the very definition of intimacy.

 

This article was originally published on Elephant Journal where it currently has 2.3 million views and over 200,000 Facebook shares.

The Cost of Being a Badass

I am exhausted. Flat-out, bone-weary knackered. Drained, depleted, beat, wasted, spent. You get the idea.

I have been on a bender for the last several months, giving birth to a batch of new programs and reinventing the way I do business. This is a good thing. I am fulfilling on my purpose. I am aligned with my passion. I am showing up in the world, climbing into the arena, playing big. I’ve been manifesting like a mad woman. BAM!

As a single mother, writer, coach, speaker, editor, entrepreneur, I play many roles. My hat rack is jammed full, and I wear all of those lids enthusiastically. I often say I am the most competent woman I know. I even changed a tire in my flip-flops one morning on the way to drop my son at school. I got this. I’m a badass, and I know it. And yet somehow I find myself in the familiar place of dragging my badass around wondering why this often feels so hard.

I’m not alone in this. I know a ridiculous number of equally badass women with whom I have this conversation on a regular basis. We are simultaneously inspired and tired. My most desperate moments of energetic decimation have brought me to this realization: there are two varieties of exhaustion.

 

PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION—The kind of fatigue that shows up when we haven’t fed, watered, moved, or rested our bodies in the way that sustains our wellbeing.
Symptoms: sleepiness, brain fog, headache, muscle weakness, short-term memory loss, difficulty regulating mood.

EXISTENTIAL EXHAUSTION—A syndrome that occurs at a certain point in the downward spiral of compounded physical exhaustion when there is no clear path out of the current paradigm.
Symptoms: overwhelm, depression, lack of motivation, loss of purpose, disorientation, hopelessness.

 

The question that characterizes the state of Physical Exhaustion is, “Can I really do it all?” Once Existential Exhaustion sets in, we find ourselves asking, “Can I really HAVE it all?”

The answers to these questions are largely determined by how we define “all,” but one thing is certain, if the answer is yes, it cannot be at the expense of our wellbeing. The cost of being a badass cannot, by definition, be our badass-ness.

Pondering all this, I climbed into a hot bath, submerged my tired body in lavender-scented water, and came up with this. It’s a work in progress (both the list and myself), but it seems like embracing these 8 rules would go a long way in the avoidance of the kind of exhaustion where our entire existence is called into question.

 

RULES OF BADASS CLUB:

  1. Your own wellbeing is a priority.

You don’t pretend that everyone else’s needs come first. You’ve renounced martyrdom. You might take care of others first, but you never go without eating or sleeping or making everyone wait for a few minutes while you put yourself in time-out.

  1. You have a strong statement of purpose and anything that isn’t in alignment with it has to go.

You have determined what it is you are up to here on planet earth and you use that vision as a guiding force in your life. You do not indulge anything that is out of integrity with who you are and you are ruthless in eliminating distraction. You are a living example of what you are bringing forth. You walk the talk. You are the change you want to see in the world. 

  1. You have cultivated a relationship with your feminine essence and do what it takes to tend the fire.

You recognize that we are navigating a culture that values our rational minds and celebrates linear, problem-solving, masculine energy. You know that as a woman, you have an innate, intuitive nature that is fluid, expansive, and grows wild. You have developed the tools to access this creative life force to fuel your existence and fulfill on your purpose. 

  1. You realize that saying no can be an essential expression of love.

You have a handle on your co-dependency quotient and feel secure in enforcing boundaries as a means of being able to sustain your loving presence in the world. You also know the importance of teaching people to fish for themselves, and that in doing so, they not only develop their own self-sustaining skills, but often discover and innovate in ways that serve others.

  1. You have developed a support system and you’re not afraid to use it.

You have let go of the idea that you have to do it all and fully embrace the vulnerability it takes to ask for help. You even enjoy creating opportunities for others to show their love for you through acts of service.

  1. At any given time, you can answer the question: What do you need?

No matter what the situation, you have developed a set of criteria by which you check-in with yourself—physically, emotionally, spiritually—to determine your needs, for which you take responsibility, and act accordingly.

  1. You are willing to be alone.

You acknowledge that we are born alone and we die alone. While you choose to be in the company of others, you never do so to avoid confronting your own self. And you don’t pretend to have the right to mandate others’ thoughts, feelings, or behavior. In fact, every morning you release the ones you love, graciously, to their path.

  1. You are willing to tolerate uncertainty.

You relish the state of “not knowing” because you know that’s where possibility lives. You have cultivated a practice by which you are able to disconnect from your controlling mind and embrace the natural flow of the universe.

Waking Up to Sex

I had dinner with an ex-lover last weekend. He waited until we ordered and then looked directly at me across the table and said, “I read your article, 6 Ways to Have Radically Intimate Sex, and you forgot the biggest one.”

I looked back at him trying to detect if he was serious or just playfully sparring. He was serious.

“Yes? Which one did I miss?” I said with tentative curiosity. Without hesitation, he said, “Morning Sex.” It came out of his mouth like the moderator at a spelling bee, each syllable deliberately and matter-of-factly articulated.

MOR. NING. SEX.

I felt my chest and throat tighten. My resistance tells me I am at my edge. He’s right. Morning sex is radically intimate.

“Oh right, I forgot that about you,” I replied.

I love middle-of-the-night sex—the kind when it’s pitch black and you’re half asleep, when a good naked spoon slowly becomes a fork—but when the sun streams through the windows, I usually want to sneak out undetected. As a boyfriend of mine once said upon waking, “You look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.” Even his charming London accent didn’t soften the blow. I am not a morning person by nature. Having post-coital company exacerbates this condition.

In the days after our dinner, the conversation stayed with me. I asked my ex-lover to tell me what he loves about morning sex. This is what he said:

“I love watching the woman I have been intimate with stirring in the morning light. It’s like that Leonard Cohen lyric, “I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm…”’

Morning is

A time of true heartfelt exchange

And then…without the liquid intoxication

It’s like first steps again

Freshness of the skin sensations

Eye to eye acknowledgement and smiles

A playful scene

Kissing past the bad breath and leftover scents

A reconvening

I love the force of sobriety

If you can fuck in the morning, you can win the world

Maybe it’s like blowing off the ash of the fire burned the night before and then feeding it again.

His words moved me. This is a man who is not afraid to feel. I know well the benefits of radical intimacy; the deep connection that is made through mutual vulnerability—the healing that comes from being seen and from the witnessing of another. I want to feel about morning sex the way he does.

“What would have to happen for that to happen?” I asked myself. It’s not easy—but it’s simple.

I would embrace my imperfections. I would be naked in broad daylight. I would love my scars that grace my body after 17 surgeries. I would see my pale lips and bare cheeks as an expression of natural beauty. I would rock my bed head like it was the mane of the goddess mother herself.

The great researcher and author, Brené Brown, says that people who live “wholeheartedly” believe that what makes them vulnerable makes them beautiful. I imagine a space where physical imperfections actually make me more beautiful—because I embrace them with courage and the kind of self-love and compassion that it takes to dance naked in the sunlight with a lover, without shame. I want to live there.

And as far as the morning breath goes, I have found that a single sip of bubbly water from a bottle—strategically place on the nightstand the night before—has a way of freshening a morning mouth.

Grace by Bandwidth

“I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.” —Brené Brown

There are a few things that I am certain of: we are born alone, we die alone, and I could eat rice pudding until I explode. Other than that, it’s all a crap shoot. The remarkable breadth of possibility in the world is met by an equally broad range of uncertainty. And so, in order to embrace a life filled with expansion and growth, we must also be able to sit with uncertainty and the discomfort of vulnerability it brings with it.

Here are 3 ways to increase your tolerance for discomfort:

1. Play with Your Edges

I had a boyfriend once who insisted, one night, that we sleep upside down in our bed—with our feet at the top, heads at the bottom. His point was that we would never forget that night. Many years and lovers later, I can confirm that he was right. But something else happened that night. We woke up.

By definition, habits are unconscious thoughts and actions. When we begin to dismantle habitual patterns, we awaken to our experiences with a heightened state of awareness. We usually embody this wakefulness across the board, bringing new perspective to many areas of our lives—a state of enlightenment.

Rather than wait to be passively woken up out of our sleepy habits by an accident, trauma, or other existential bump in the road, practice stretching the edges of your comfort zone when life is calm and peaceful. Actively creating insignificant changes for the purpose of sitting in discomfort, will help to develop the muscles you need when life takes you on a roller coaster unexpectedly.

Some suggestions:
Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
Forgo one of your go-to comfort foods for a month.
Drive a different route home from work for a week.
Read before bed instead of watching television.

2. Self-Soothe

Those of us who are parents know how important it is to teach our infants to self-soothe. It is an area in which many of us are still underdeveloped, even as adults. When we are emotionally uncomfortable, it is easy to act out in ways that ultimately will contribute to an increased state of discomfort and distress.

Some suggestions:
Choose a cup of hot tea, instead of a pint of ice cream.
Take a warm, candle lit bath, instead of opening a bottle of wine.
Read a book to escape perseverating over a situation, instead of calling a friend to vent about it into the night.

3. Delay Action

As a culture, we are conditioned to focus on Doing, and not so much on Being. When faced with challenging circumstances, we usually will find ourselves saying, “I don’t know what to do about this.” Very often, the doing is something that could—or even should—come later. A better statement of inquiry would be, “I don’t know how to be with this.” By resisting the urge to take action, we afford ourselves the room to sit with our thoughts and feelings. Give yourself permission to have your thoughts and feelings, but at the same time, realize that your thoughts and feelings do not define you. One of my favorite Pema Chödrön quotes is: “You are the sky. Everything else—it’s just the weather.”

Some suggestions:
Name your pain. Unpack it, spread it on the table, inventory it, write it down.
Sit with it and get to know it.
Draw distinctions between what you think and what you feel.
Breathe into the part of yourself that transcends “the weather”.