Mindful Sex

Mindful

Jeff Wilson has recently published Mindful America: The Mutual Transformation of Buddhist Meditation and American Culture.

On the Oxford University Press website it is described as:

‘The first comprehensive exploration of the practice of mindfulness in America.Outlines how Buddhism influences and is appropriated and adapted by non-Buddhist cultures in the United States and elsewhere.’

Wilson also has an article published today on the oupblog called ‘Mindful Sex’. It describes the practice of and therapy leading to mindful sex – ‘the ability to let go of mental strain and intrusive thoughts so one can fully tap into sexual intercourse’.

He describes three categories of this movement:

‘The first category is the scientific discussion of using mindfulness to treat sexually-related problems in a patient or client population [….] The second category of works on mindful sex—those belonging to the self-help genre—take these impulses further. These books and articles are often written by medical doctors, therapists, and other specialists, but their target audience is mainstream North Americans without any particular credentials or connection to the health industries. As such, they reach a vastly larger audience than the medicalized mindfulness studies. Books in this category are no strangers to the bestseller lists, and these mindful sex promoters tout their expertise on impressive websites and through popular TED talks [….] The third category is spiritual applications of Buddhist mindfulness to sex. These are typically promoted by people without formal medical or psychological credentials who operate outside of overtly Buddhist institutions. They offer mindful sex as part of a package of techniques and perspectives for personal enhancement.’
This last category includes the wonderful ‘Orgasmic Yoga‘ and Wilson quotes Bruce Gether and his ‘Nine Golden Keys to Mindful Masturbation’ which I have to quote:

‘Mindful masturbation is a simple, yet powerful practice. It requires dedication, and becomes its own reward. Just pay full attention while you masturbate. Don’t let yourself get distracted by imagination. Keep your primary focus on yourself, your own body, your penis and your own sensations. This path of self-pleasure can take you into realms of ecstasy you have never before experienced.’
The irony of all of this is not lost on Wilson but he does make some very serious points:
‘What are the points that I want to make with all of this? First, North Americans use Buddhist practices to enhance their desires, rather than retreat from or conquer them. Mindfulness of the body used to be an ascetic monastic practice designed to eliminate sexual feelings and break down the erroneous sense of an enduring personal self. Mindful sex is a pleasure-enhancing practice designed for laypeople to rekindle their sexual fires, promote self-esteem, and variously lead the practitioner to mind-blowing orgasm, greater bonding, or perhaps metaphysical oneness with all.’
Wilson suggests that ‘Buddhism has been used for achieving these-worldly benefits more or less since its creation, be they faith-healing, safe childbirth, protection from harm, and so on.’ On this point one has to agree and perhaps reevaluate some of these practices and consider them in a new light.

 

 

 

 

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