7 Ways Mindful Touching Will Make Your Sex Life Better
There is nothing more soothing than a lover's touch. It's hard to imagine life without it. Whether it's an expression of erotic passion or profound love, there is no greater conduit of emotion than touch. But so many of us are starved for touch, not only because we don't touch enough, but because we haven't learned how to really give and receive touch.
Conscious touch is a way of merging the body with the mind (intentions) and emotions to bring more passion, connection and intention to your sexual expression. The emphasis is on not only about mindfully giving, but also mindfully receiving — a two-way dance between lovers that ignites the flames of desire and keep them burning long after the honeymoon is over.
Conscious touch is simple, although sadly very rare. But to get you on your way, here are a few fundamentals of conscious touch you can try to experience the pleasure of uniting body, mind and heart. Many of these tips you can also try by yourself!
1. Figure out the basics at the get-go.
Decide who will give and who will receive first. Why? To be clear about where to focus your attention. Let's face it: it's hard to give and receive touch with full awareness, at the same time. The receiver can choose to sit or lie down, eyes closed. The giver places themselves comfortably close enough for sustained touch.
Breath is a core component of connected eroticism. Synchronize your breath with your partner by observing or feeling each other's bodies rise and fall with each breath. Ideally, the giver matches their breath with the receiver as a way of holding the space for the receiver. This may take a few moments until both individuals are able to relax and settle into a more natural rhythm. If alone, pay attention to your own breath and the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen until you start to relax.
3. Focus your awareness on yourself.
Take a few minutes to notice how you're feeling, what you're thinking and what you're experiencing in your body. Without judging any of your feelings, thoughts or sensations, just be present and acknowledge them. Whether giving or receiving, this process of "tuning in," or observing yourself, can inform the way you give and receive touch. When you are more aware of how you feel, you are better able to share that sense of awareness and mindfulness with others.
4. Infuse your touch with intention.
It's amazing what intention can do. In the case of touch, setting an intention with your touch brings a real feeling of purpose to what you're doing and allows the receiver to be more receptive and aware. Receivers can state (verbally) what they would like and givers can bring all of their attention to this request to offer the kind of touch required.
Intention might be anything from relaxing to expressing love to letting go of the day to facilitating an intense orgasm. Studies have even proven that when we give and receive touch with intention we are able to communicate more intuitively than with words. If alone, set an intention for your experience; it may be something like permission to experience pleasure without shame.
5. Touch from the heart (literally).
Begin the connection by becoming aware of your own heart (or heart beat if you can). Givers place their left hand over the heart of the receiver. Make sure to place palm first, then fingers. This way, you can set up a direct line from the giver's heart down their left arm to the heart of the receiver. In other words, you and your partner become literally connected by the heart.
Check if your breath is still synchronized with your partner's and take a moment to feel your hand on your partner's chest. Place the other hand on a part of the body that feels appropriate (the lower abdomen can often feel good — but ask if you need to). Apply the same "palm first" process as a way of creating a stable and deep connection.
Receivers, feel the warmth of your partner's hand and allow your heart to open and move toward it. Stay with this moment as long as required. Sometimes just having one's heart touched can be a profoundly humbling and tender experience. If alone, use the same process to touch and honor your own heart.
6. Cultivate mindfulness together.
Maintaining the palm-to-body connection, slowly move your hand(s) around the receiver's body, becoming aware of the palm and breath's ability to ground you. Invite the receiver to receive "actively" by breathing or releasing gentle sighs to show they are present to the touch and not drifting off into their own thoughts. Givers, allow your intuition to guide speed and pressure and take your cues from the receiver's expressions or invite their (verbal) feedback. During all of this, you might like to maintain gentle eye-contact.
7. Don't forget about trust.
By trusting in your body's ability to communicate, you facilitate connection in ways that words alone cannot. Rather than worrying you're doing anything wrong, create deeper erotic connection that leads to pleasure (even orgasm) or healing and release from old wounds.
Cyndi Darnell is a clinical sexologist, sex therapist, and psychotherapist with over 15 years of experience. She has a master's degree in Sexual Health from the University of Sydney, a master's degree in Narrative Therapy and Community Work from the University of Melbourne, and post-graduate diplomas in Applied Linguistics and Counselling & Human Services from La Trobe University. She's also trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with Russ Harris, Trauma and Fragmentation with Janina Fisher, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) with Marsha Linehan.
Originally from Australia and now based in New York, she offers workshops and private counseling to people globally face-to-face and online. She’s faculty at New York's Omega Institute and also the creator of the acclaimed Atlas of Erotic Anatomy and Arousal video series. Visit her at her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.