To do anything consciously means to become aware of what we are doing and why. Much of our lives, including our interactions with others, is done either on auto-pilot or in a way that masks underlying intentions or needs that we haven’t brought into the foreground yet: games we play to get what we want without having to directly ask for it. Conscious sexuality asks us to become more sensitive to what’s really going on when we’re making love. And beyond this, to really feel into our desires, our sexual energy, and our boundaries during all of our encounters.
When we use sex to act out unconscious stories or habits we do ourselves and our partners a disservice, turning sex into something it doesn’t need to be – whether that’s a performance, a manipulation, or something else. Doing this without conscious awareness creates barriers between us, preventing deeper intimacy.
Bringing conscious awareness into each sexual experience allows us to find a closer emotional connection with the other because we’re allowing more of ourselves to be seen. When we can be honest and transparent about what we really want, how we’re really feeling in our body, and what sex really means to us, we allow those we’re engaging with to meet us where we are instead of asking them, unconsciously, to fulfil a need that we haven’t been able to express.
Beyond transforming our erotic life and our intimate relationships, beginning to journey towards conscious sexuality can also help us to grow in different ways. Being able to embrace all aspects of our sexuality means working through any shame and emotional blocks we may be carrying – and almost all of us have work we can do here. Even becoming conscious of the parts of ourselves we struggle to fully express is a good first step. Sometimes it’s not necessarily about overcoming absolutely everything, but becoming aware of where we’re stuck so that we can notice, witness, and not give it the power to dictate our behaviour as much as it has.
While there are plenty of workshops available for both men and women in the neo-tantric and Taoist sexual arts, and festivals and retreats dedicated to bringing more consciousness into our sexuality and our relationships, the most helpful first step can be to simply slow down. Letting go of any goals you may have noticed you’re attached to, such as reaching orgasm, can help you to open up to simply feeling pleasure – whatever that looks like for you in your body.
Doing this as a solo exploration and taking all the time you need can be a great way to really notice what feels good, with no other objective in mind, before then being able to share this new awareness of your body with whomever you choose. When you are having sex with another, something as relatively simple as maintaining eye contact with your lover helps to keep you connected both to them and to the present moment.
This is a process that takes time and patience, but its benefits are huge for people who are prepared to bring some introspection into their sexuality. Becoming conscious of what you really want, what you’re scared or ashamed of, and what excites you frees you up to express what’s truly alive for you with the kind of vulnerability and honesty that creates real intimacy.
Perhaps this article inspires you to explore going on a Tantra retreat, click here to read our article on what to expect when going on Tantra retreat.
Hannah is a writer and community builder discussing sex, relationships, and embodiment. She is currently training to become a coach and guide in the field of Psychosexual Somatics, working with sexuality and intimacy issues and trauma resolution.
Hannah also uses her skills in digital marketing and SEO to support sex-positive practitioners and business owners in making their work more visible online.