WHAT IS SLOW SEX? PART 1
So I’m writing about Slow Sex because people have asked me about it after I attended a workshop in Paris this spring. Exploring Slow Sex practices is a part of my ongoing pleasure research, a part of my personal sensual/body intelligence journey. I believe that exploring Slow Sex practices is essential for me to fully own my body, my sensuality, my femininity and my sexuality, and I know I will probably teach a few of these practices in the future.
By sharing some of my discoveries with you, I hope to inspire your own pleasure research!
There are a lot of different approaches to Slow Sex. It is a movement that encompasses certain ancient Taoist and tantric traditions. We’re starting to experience a paradigm shift, a new way of thinking about, experiencing and sharing sexual experiences.
SLOW SEX IS ABOUT LETTING GO OF SHOULDS
Our culture has conditioned us to think about sex in a certain way. We carry a lot of shoulds around our roles and expectations, how sex should be and how we should feel.
I should/shouldn’t enjoy this.
A woman/man should/shouldn’t act or feel this way.
My body should/shouldn’t react this way.
A sexy body should/shouldn’t look this way.
My partner should know what I need (better than I know myself).
I should/shouldn’t reach orgasm this way.
By embracing Slow Sex practices we shift paradigms and let go of many of the cultural conditionings that stifle our vitality and keep us from deeply connecting with ourselves and others.
SLOW SEX IS ABOUT FEELING IT ALL
What if you could just feel what you were feeling, without all these ‘shoulds’? What if what your body is feeling now, was ok?
In fact, Slow Sex is not only about pleasure. Most of us have stored up so much shame and pain in our bodies around our sexuality, that when sexual energy moves through us, it can and will stir things up! These emotions come up to be healed. Everything you are feeling is ok: Numbness? Ok. Pain? Ok. Discomfort? Ok. Anger, sadness? That’s ok too. It’s what’s there.
A few years ago, in the wake of the breakup of a 13 year relationship, I was in bed with my new boyfriend and got the sudden urge to bite hard, and not in a playful way! I was so confused and ashamed. I shared this aggressive urge with my partner and he was willing to let me bite him, but I was upset and couldn’t let myself do it. I now know that this was stored anger from my past coming up, and that it had nothing to do with my brand-new relationship.
Our bodies are a storehouse of emotions that we’ve mostly learnt to shut down. The truth is, if we can’t feel the uncomfortable, difficult emotions, we can’t get to bliss.
‘When we numb the darkness, we numb the light.’ Brené Brown, researcher and author
So if tears come up, cry. If anger arises, roar! We can receive and hold these emotions with love. We can ask our partners to support us – because moving these emotions is a pathway to more pleasurable sexual experiences.
We need to fully feel what we’re feeling, even the painful and uncomfortable, if we want to get to a place of deep pleasure, and that requires vulnerability, trust, and a lot of love.
SLOW SEX IS ABOUT FEELING MORE
When you slow down, you can learn to feel more. Slow Sex invites us to reprogram ourselves. To tune in and say yes to all of our sensations, without judgement (the shoulds!). To feel more and more and more with less stimulation, because you’re really present in your body.
In Orgasmic Meditation, or OM, a very structured, respectful practice between two partners, the stroker (man or woman) touches the upper left hand quadrant of the strokee’s clitoris with the tip of a gloved finger. One of the benefits of this practice, apart from developing better partnering and communication skills, is to feel more and more pleasure with the lightest touch. It can be really pretty incredible what you can begin to feel when you do less, and really tune in to every nuance, with focus and acceptance. It can become quite intense!
Other Slow Sex practices often focus on feeling more when a man’s penis is inside a woman’s vagina. Both men and women learn to develop greater and greater sensitivity in their sexual organs. With practice, over time, our brain creates new neural connections, and our capacity for pleasure expands more and more. One of my friends practiced very conscious, slow penetration with her partner for years. Now her vagina can feel the most subtle sensations and her orgasmic responses are long and deep, rippling like waves inside her.
SLOW SEX IS ABOUT SAYING YES TO YIN
Slow Sex, as you may have guessed, is about slowing down. Dropping into a more feminine, yin (dark, slow, deep) energy. We’ve learnt a very masculine, yang way of having sex, one that is much more linear and focussed on reaching climax. The story goes like this: foreplay, penetration, intense thrusting of penis in vagina, climax, roll over, (maybe cuddle), the end. Still today, sex isn’t considered ‘real’ sex if there is no intercourse or penetration. Everything outside of this is considered ‘foreplay’, an appetizer to the main course. For most of us this sexual story is the norm, and it has been for centuries.
The old model of sex was like mountain climbing: reaching the peak was the goal. With Slow Sex, the valleys are just as valuable. Soft, subtle and slow are equally important. Sex is redefined as touching and connection of all sorts. The idea of foreplay disappears – it’s all sex! Reaching a goal (climax) becomes less important than the pleasurable, connected quality of the journey.
‘Dance with varying rhythms, from exquisitely slow through racing-car fast, and every speed in between. Sometimes you can even take time for stillness – in fact, that’s often where the pleasure and sensation can expand!’ Sheri Winston, Wholistic Sexuality Teacher and author
This rebalancing of the (masculine) yang with (feminine) yin energies benefits both men and women’s expression of their sexuality.
Saying yes to YIN also means becoming more receptive. Learning to receive can be quite a challenge.
‘…very few of us know how to receive. That’s the ultimate gift of OM, it teaches us how to receive. It teaches the person stroking to receive the intuition of how to stroke; it teaches the person being stroked how to receive from another human being.’ Nicole Daedone, founder of One Taste and author of Slow Sex. (*OM = Orgasmic meditation)
Saying yes to YIN means learning to receive love, caresses. Softening into an experience, into discomfort and pleasure. Opening to sensation. Melting our resistances. Letting things in all the way. Letting go. Surrendering.
Deep stuff! Slow sex can bring us into soul work.
I’ll explore further in WHAT IS SLOW SEX? PART 2, which will be about communication, consent and cultivating desire.