One of the first things I work on with almost all my clients is breath because it is so important during sexual play. Having connection with your breathing gives you a chance to feel what is actually going on in your body. By having the ability to sense what is happening in your physical experience in the moment – whether you are open or closed off, balanced or unbalanced, feel warm or cold, or have aches, pains or tensions – you are able to slow down and enjoy all the sensations of your experience. So often people are hurrying through the experience, rushing to get to an orgasm, and are missing all the pleasure that their body feels as arousal builds.
This idea of sensing or feeling into what is happening in the body is called the felt sense. The felt sense can be any sort of sensation happening in the body. The words that you might use to describe the felt sense could be words relating to feelings or sensations such as: pressure, tension, pain, itch, temperature, size, shapes, weight, motion, speed, texture, elements, color, smell, sound, and taste. The sensation of pleasure lives within the felt sense. In learning to connect with and more deeply feel your felt sense, you can more deeply feel your pleasure.
People often get confused between the felt sense and an emotion. In my studies with psychologist John Welwood, he clarified the difference between emotions and felt sense in simple terms:
- Emotions are something that feels familiar, you have felt this way before and you know it well. Emotions are memories stored in your body.
- A felt sense (or feeling) is something that is new and fresh, almost as if you are experiencing it for the first time. The feeling will come and go, just as fast as breath comes in and goes out.
To experience felt sense, I recommend an exercise by Peter Levin, from his book, Waking the Tiger. You can find the exercise here.If you liked that exercise, try experimenting a little with a breathing exercise. Start with letting your body get comfortable in a seated or lying down position. Begin noticing and slowing down your breathing with the intent of letting your body and brain also slow down. Breathing through your mouth allows for a quicker path into the body, so as long as it is comfortable, breathing in and out of your mouth. Start with breath into your chest. Feeling the rise and fall of your chest as the air fills your lungs. You can place your hands on your chest if it feels comfortable. Then move your breath (and hands if you are using them) down onto your belly, allowing for your belly to rise and fall. Next, allow your breath (and hands) to drop down into your genitals. For some people, this will be really easy and they will easily feel the connection, for others, this may be more difficult. If you notice difficulty, continue to breathe into the place where the breath seems to stop. Sometimes it helps to imagine the breath is like a wave. Envision the wave going farther down into your body until it fully reaches your genitals. Allowing for your breath to connect with your genitals if the first step into deepening your pleasure.
Remember, we start a relationship with breath, we never master it. Over time your body will intuitively move to this connected breath when a sexual experience presents itself. You will have more access to pleasure in your body and more fulfilling sexual experiences.
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