Jess is coming home to Toronto this weekend for the Everything To Do With Sex Show at the International Centre. She’ll be on stage with her favourites from We-Vibe Friday-Sunday talking about a range of topics including how mindfulness can help to improve relationships. She joined Carolyn and Mike this morning to discuss Mindful Sex and more and we’ve shared the show summary and video below:
1. What does it mean to be mindful?
Mindfulness is a bit of a buzzword, but it ultimately means being present and mindful of where you’re at any particular moment.
We tend to move through life distracted by our phones, by advertising, by what we need to do in an hour and by self-consciousness and all of this mindlessness detracts from human connection and fulfilling relationships.
It’s important to note that mindfulness draws from eastern philosophies including Hinduism and Buddhism and though in the west, it’s often framed as a secular (even performative) practice, we owe its roots to the East.
2. So what can you do to be more mindful throughout the day?
I always find it useful to start with your breath. Can you start your day with 6 deep breaths during which you focus on nothing but your body and the way your breath moves in through your nose and out through your mouth? Can you slow it down and really feel your breath move throughout your body?
We only use 70% of our lung capacity when working out at maximum capacity (much less when we’re sitting here) and when we bring our focus back to our breath, we can’t help but be present. You can think about a big meeting or your kids in the same room if you’re focused on the airflow of your breath.
I also suggest you end each day with a shower meditation. As you let the water run over your body, can you really feel its texture and temperature and can you visualize your worries, your distractions and your self-consciousness washing away down the drain?
These practices build the foundation for learning to be more present — at work in a meeting, in the living room with your family and in the bedroom with your partner.
3. And when it comes to being more present with your partner, how can you be more mindful in your relationship?
First and foremost, you need phone-free time. Whether you leave your phone in the car for the first hour after work or put it in the bathroom during dinner, fewer beeps, dings, and lights will automatically heighten mindfulness. This may sound obvious, but do you do it? Do you follow through or do you go to bed and wake up to your newsfeed?
I also assign touch exercises to help you to be more connected and mindful of touch. I just launched a Mindful Sex course with a fellow Canadian sexologist, Reece Malone, and it’s not actually about sex, but about touch. The first 30 exercises/activities have nothing to do with sex, but with breath, visualization and touch. The facial caress, for example, has you blindfolded while you’re partner simply touches and caresses you while you breathe and learn to receive pleasure for 10-15 minutes. An exercise like this is powerful — not only in terms of intimacy and connection — but in learning to simply feel the physical touch from a loved one which most of us have never really experienced.
4. What can you if you have trouble staying in the moment? What if you get distracted?
I usually suggest visualization techniques like the “stress box”. If you’re lying in bed and night and can’t sleep because something is bothering you, I suggest that you connect with your breath while you visualize putting that stress in a box, carrying it out of the room and putting it in a drawer. You can access it tomorrow when you have time, but for now, you need to relax with breath or a body scan.
Throughout the day, you need to eliminate distractions if you want to be present. If you want to eat healthier, one of the most effective strategies is not keeping junk food in the house and similarly, if you want to be present and mindful, you need to move distractions out of your personal spaces. This might include taking electronics out of the bedroom or not taking phone calls from certain people after a certain hour.
5. You’ll be covering this topic and more this weekend at the International Centre by the airport…
Yes. I’ll be on stage Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with We-Vibe and I’ll be talking about a range of subjects from pleasure to mindfulness to the science of passion. You can come down for the seminars or to check out some of the entertainment on stage including some burlesque performances, gentlemen entertainers and even sensual circus acts, to which I’m looking forward.
If you can’t make it to the show this weekend and you’re interested in the Mindful Sex online course with 25+ video and audio modules PLUS bonus videos and handouts you can use in the comfort of your own home, click here and use discount code WEVIBE at checkout to save 40%.