Many times during sex, we may trend toward attempts to reproduce a library of visual images that we’ve stored in our heads. Years of intaking sexual visual imagery alongside our formative vulnerabilities and lack of sexual education leaves us with the impression that sexiness is, indeed, a performance. To compound matters, the majority of men have, since childhood, been discouraged from developing and expressing nuanced ranges of emotional presence and individual expression. As a result, our bodies may be doing a practiced way of connecting while simultaneously feeling disconnected and distant.
Try this exercise with a friend, lover, or partner to cultivate deeper expression and more range. You can even do it as a solo practice in your mirror. First, make a list of emotions that you commonly experience. Maybe investigate the feelings wheel below to enrich your practice. Challenge yourself to experiment with both “positively” and “negatively” impacting emotions. In fact, much of our sex is galvanized by more shadowy emotions that we might prefer to suppress. Then, moving through one feeling at a time, locate where it lives in your body. Allow yourself to feel its location and use your movement to express what that feeling might do if it had the freedom to move your bodily form into action.
To integrate this practice into the sex that you may be having with yourself or others, try taking note of how you’re feeling before, during, and after erotic contact. Try bringing awareness of your emotions into the ways that your body expresses sexuality. Have sex from a place of personal emotional acknowledgment, rather than performance. For an even deeper practice, keep an erotic journal about your experiences and track the ways that your emotional life and your sex life intersect with each other. Harmony inside and outside can allow for more authentic sex and a more comprehensive understanding of one’s erotic identity.