Do you think about sex? A lot?
I do. But I used to think about it a lot more. And it used to torment me. Maybe you can relate?
I think it’s safe to say, like 98% of men on earth, sex consumed a lot of my awareness. (I can’t speak for women, but my female friends tell me it’s not an exclusively male experience.)
But meditation showed me something incredible about sexual desire. It changed my relationship to both sex and meditation...for the better. And I think the insight I’m about to share with you applies to both men and women.
How Our Culture Fans the Flames of Sexual Desire
These days, it’s hard not to be influenced by the sexual impulse. Images of women—and to a lesser extent, men—dressed in provocative clothing, or not dressed at all, cross our visual field all the time. You see it on the Internet, billboards, magazine covers, and on the rich palette of our imaginations.
And we live in a culture that trains our attention on the surface of things. We are barraged with images of beautiful people wearing less and less. These images are carefully designed to provoke our desire.
As if this weren’t enough, add to this cultural allure the stubborn fact that you are programmed to procreate. You are hardwired with a biological drive designed to override your rational faculties so you can act NOW!
The truth is, our culture and our biology compel us to think about sex all the time. And I have observed these forces are working at very deep levels. Mostly, we aren’t conscious of it.
Why Is Sexual Desire So Overwhelming?
And please don’t misunderstand me. I think there is nothing inherently wrong with sex. Having a comfortable, creative, and healthy relationship to sex is important and fulfilling for me.
But that doesn’t change the fact that sexual desire holds enormous sway over our awareness. It can cause anxiety, stress, and insecurity. It can be distracting and lead to a loss of focus. Or worse, it can lead you to negative and undermining conclusions about your self.
So it helps to have perspective on this powerful drive. Remember, this impulse gave birth to life, planets, and stars. The creation of life appears to be the driving force of the cosmos. Technically, sexual desire is the awakening of that same imperative in our bodies and minds.
That helps to explain why sexual desire is so overwhelming.
How Sexual Desire Works Inside Your Mind
If you’re like me, you might appreciate learning how to step back and understand how this force works inside your own mind. That’s where meditation can really help.
For me, meditation helped me to see how programmed I was by the procreative impulse. I realized that my mind would warp and contract in response to the onset of sexual desire. And my motives would morph to align with the motives of creation.
Most importantly, I didn’t know it was happening. Sure, I knew I was feeling frisky, but I didn’t realize that I was suffering and responding to the mandate of that impulse in often-subtle ways. But when I did realize it, everything changed.
No, I didn’t become sex negative. But I realized there are drives within us that we unconsciously respond to all the time. The sexual impulse is one of them.
When you wake up to that fact, it’s empowering. You feel liberated and you didn’t even know you were captive. Suddenly you are filled with space, perspective, and insight. That always happens when you see through conditioned patterns in your awareness.
So why and how does this happen? And how does meditation help?
Meditation Frees Your Awareness
Meditation means having no relationship to anything in your mind. In the face of everything arising in your awareness, you do nothing. You sit very still, relax, and pay attention. Eventually, you observe that some thoughts grip your attention more than others. Why is that?
It’s because some thoughts reflect our core fears and desires. Those thoughts have the most powerful sway over our attention. And frankly, the source of those fears and desires is not always clear.
For example, we all desire sex. It’s natural. And when the thought of a person you desire, or a sexual fantasy arises in your mind while you're sitting still and quiet, it grabs your attention. You’ll notice that those thoughts are harder to let go. And, just like the terminator, they tend to come back again and again.
But meditation is the grand equalizer. It helps you to see that sexual desire is like any other object in your awareness. If you are steadfast, you can let go of it again and again. And every thought and every desire becomes equal in your resolve to let it go.
If your intention is strong and you gently return to the posture of meditation, those terminator thoughts start to become transparent.You recognize they are animated by a deep and universal motive to fulfill that procreative impulse. And with practice, they eventually lose their grip.
Meditation And Your Perspective On Sexual Desire
That’s how meditation can give you such a useful and objective perspective on sexual desire. Letting go of your deeper fears and desires always frees your awareness.And the more you do it, the more you will see how sexual desire moves and operates in your own awareness on a daily basis.
So meditation helps you stay cool when you start to get hot. It provides clarity and space when your body and mind are winding you up and ringing the 4-alarm fire of sexual desire. In the end, it will give you perspective and help you make better choices.
And if you’re at all like me, you may also discover the vast ocean of silence and stillness that beckons on the other side of desire.