Hi Def Sex: Sharpening Our Focus on Feeling Good

Back when I was a kid, probably around eight-years old, I can remember we had a family friend who was a hypnotist. One time at a party, she took me into a bedroom and (with my parents’ permission) tried to hypnotize me for fun. This involved a step-by-step process of talking me through relaxing different body parts, starting from my toes up to my head. No pendulums or “you are getting sleepy” — just a simple exercise in training my focus inwards.

As I grew up, I developed a deeper understanding of what I’d first learned from our hypnotist friend’s party trick: people have awareness of their body not just from the outside, but from the inside as well. Everyone has the mental ability to focus very specifically on, say, the tip of a finger, the lobe of an ear, inside the head, or really, anywhere in the body.

If this sounds vague to you while reading this, take a second to try it. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and move your focus around to different parts of your body. See if you can single out your big toe in your mind. Your left knee-cap? It seems so simple and obvious that maybe it’s silly to point it out, but then again, maybe you’ve never thought of it before-and maybe you’ve never thought about how this feeling might relate to sex.

Sexual Proprioception
Proprioception is this ever-present, innate awareness of where the body is and what it’s doing. Whereas the so-called five senses inform us of stimuli from the outside world, proprioception is often called the “true sixth-sense” because it is informed by feedback from within the body. Beyond balance, it is how you intuitively know where your limbs are without constantly looking at or thinking about them. It’s the sense you jumble up when you’re drunk and can’t touch your finger to your nose with your eyes closed. It is the perception that is deceived in phantom limb syndrome. Here’s an article about a really fascinating study where some Pittsburgh researchers used a disarmingly simple ruse to trick people’ proprioception.

Without proprioception, your body would barely be able to keep track of legs, arms, toes, head angle, stomach strength, posture, ankles, knee, etc. — everything that adds up to being able to walk, as well as far more complex actions like dancing, hitting a tennis ball, or having wild sex.

We use our five senses for sex. But what about this sixth-sense? We don’t normally think about utilizing proprioception, since it is an unconscious process that’s always functioning way, way off in the background. With a conscious effort though, this proprioceptive awareness can vastly deepen one’s range of sexual experience.

Focus Factor
People focus on all sorts of stuff when they’re having sex. Whilst fucking, a mind can be consumed by kinky fantasies, baseball scores, car repair, or writing that next GV article. For me, it’s usually something along the lines of what I’m going to eat for lunch afterwards. There are also times when worries, cares, anxieties, ego, all exterior concerns melt away. It is during these fleeting seconds or perhaps minutes that we are consumed by a complete and utter focus on the moment, movement, emotion, connection.

In our hectic lives, sometimes you’ve really got to make an effort to be fully present during sex. We can choose to make daily choices for good sex-getting enough sleep, not being wasted on drugs or alcohol, reducing stress, shutting off the cell phone, so on and so forth-all the obvious stuff. Once you take care of the basic, outward aspects of sex, then you’ve laid the groundwork to go deeper into your sensory perception.

Wine and Clits
Wine tasting (a subject I know next to nothing about) is a great analogy for all of this. Even the most casual wine drinkers have a certain amount of inherent skill in discerning the tastes of different wines from one to another. However, the connoisseur learned to focus in on flavors and aromas that are indiscernible to the layman. Professionals create a language to describe this new world that exists within the sensory experience of wine.

Accordingly, winemakers put just as much detail and craftsmanship into making their wines with complexity and depth, so that the wine enthusiast has something substantial to sink their teeth into. The idea is, you take something that begins as sensually small and vague to you and through practice; you open your consciousness to it. Take this blunt object and find the intricate texture that’s been there all along — fill in the details, expand the mental terrain, discover a bigger place within.

Some people might enjoy wine a lot but never even notice anything particularly special about the stuff besides that it tastes good and it gets you drunk. Others devote their entire life to the pursuit of the finest in fermented grape juice. Wine is no longer a thing or even a beverage-it’s an experience. Wine, music, art, yoga-anything to which you can apply and hone your senses to go deeper into the experience-are perfect parallels for thinking about sex.

Let’s consider the clitoris for a moment. Hopefully, we’re moving past the dark days of men (and women) not knowing what or where the clitoris is. But even what I’ve read in the best sex books only begins to touch upon all there is to know about the clit. It seems to me, in the last few decades of increased clit consciousness, there has been a lot of nuance lost in the sex-ed hubbub. This supple and complex organ is a lot more than just a contiguous little nub. Since there’s only one word for it, we tend to think of it as solid thing, an on/off switch even. But if the Inuits have 400 terms for snow, and who knows how many terms there are for wine, we should have at least a hundred for clits!

Clits come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes and sensitivities. Even the smallest ones have way more nerve endings than the stubby head of a penis. Beyond that, there are important divisions to the clitoris: top/bottom and left/right — as different as hot/cold and hard/soft. A tip which runs on down to an internal shaft with a network of nerves that can extend up to five inches into the body; parts that you can see, parts you can’t. And think of all that territory surrounding and leading up to it! Where does it begin and where does it end? Can the exact point where one ocean runs into another ever truly be known? Is there a limit to what one can see in their own body? Ad infinitum? Down to the single nerve perhaps? Who knows¬¶ to me, it’s like imagining angels dancing on the point of a needle.

As With Clits
Through our feeling sense alone, it’s difficult to discover these places. By moving and focusing the proprioceptive consciousness, you can experience these heretofore unknown regions of the body. All it takes is a new awareness of your innate ability to look within.

With practice, the ability to focus gets stronger and more precise. The capacity for sensory experience broadens. Using all six senses during sex becomes ingrained second nature.

Hopefully this little primer is enough to get you thinking and experimenting. By the above example, I don’t mean to come off as clitcentric by any means. If you have one on hand, there’s certainly no better place to start fooling around with this stuff. But needless to say, apply this method of thinking to any and all parts of the body!

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations is the premiere sex-positive, women-principled adult toy retailer in the US. An iconic brand and one of the world's first sex toy shops to focus specifically on women's pleasure and sexual education, Good Vibrations was founded by Joani Blank in 1977 to provide women with a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental place to shop for erotic toys. Good Vibrations has always included all people across the gender spectrum, and is a place where customers can come for education, high quality products, and information promoting sexual health, pleasure and empowerment. Customers can shop Good Vibrations' expertly curated product selection across any of its nine retail locations or on the GoodVibes.com website, where they can also find a wealth of information pertaining to sexual pleasure, exploration and education.

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