Recently, while talking to someone in my world about their marriage, they shared with me that, while they typically have a huge appetite for sex, because there has been a real breakdown in their connection with their spouse as of late, they haven't been in the mood. "Something that marriage teaches you is that sex really needs to have a strong emotional connection," they told me. "I had a lot of great sex when I was single, but nothing beats when the chemistry and connection are there with your spouse. Once you've had that, anything less is settling. And so, until my partner and I can get back on the same page, I'm just not interested in 'going through the motions'."
Because I know so much about what is going on in that marriage right now, I get why they are currently at their resolve. After all, while sexless marriages are traditionally not beneficial to a couple, neither is the misuse/abuse of make-up sex.
Ask any husband or wife who has a truly fulfilling sex life and they will totally vouch for the fact that that the best kind of sex is when the mind, body and spirit are in sync; when one of these components is lacking, copulation is compromised.
That's why I wrote articles on this platform like "10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important", "8 'Kinds of Sex' All Married Couples Should Put Into Rotation", "What Exactly Is 'Orgasmic Meditation'?", "Are You Ready To Apply Your Love Language To Your Sex Life?" and "9 Sex-Related Questions You & Your Partner Should Ask Each Other. Tonight.". All of these are reminders that sex isn't supposed to be merely a mechanical act; it has to go far deeper than that.
That's why I am broaching to the topic of a mindful orgasm today. Because, while any orgasm is pretty damn dope (I mean, c'mon now), folks who've had the extreme pleasure of experiencing a mindful one would say you are truly missing out if you haven't had one too. Here's why. And how.
What Exactly Does It Mean to Be “Mindful”?
To me, "mindful" is the kind of word that we all should want to apply to our lives, across the board. When it comes to a basic definition of what the word means, when we are a mindful individual, it means that we are choosing to live in the moment. When it comes to sharing a quote that I think describes mindfulness quite well, it would have to be one by the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius. He once said, "Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life." It speaks to being purposeful. It speaks to being intentional. It also speaks of not taking one single moment of life for granted. Ever.
So, how can you know if you are someone who at least strives to be mindful?
- You believe in a Higher Power which keeps you from trying to control what you cannot.
- You areextremely self-aware (or at least try to be).
- You do not allow fear, worry and anxiety to run your life.
- You don't spend a lot of time complaining because, more times than not, it's a total waste of time.
- You try to resolve conflicts or issues as soon as possible.
- You enjoy the "little things" that happen around you.
- You've made peace with the fact that you're not perfect nor is anyone else which, in turn, makes you more patient and compassionate (to yourself as well as towards others).
- You strive to master the art of going with the flow.
- You are far more interested in giving than receiving, knowing that the universe always rewards the good that you do.
- You typically focus on now until the "next now" arrives.
Whew. When you stop to really take all of this in, mindfulness seems like a huge "exhale" and "woosah", doesn't it? It brings a whole new meaning to "why sweat the small stuff?" and "why miss out on today by focusing so much on tomorrow?"
Because of this, mindful people tend to be calmer than most. They are also loving, respectful and accepting (including self-accepting). Know what else? Mindful individuals have a certain level of healthy intensity to them too. Since they are fully aware of the fact that right now is all that they really and truly have, they usually experience things on a very profound and passionate level. Everything is something special—because they choose to see it as so.
And when you look at mindfulness from this angle and perspective, doesn't it make perfect sense that their sex life—including their orgasms—would truly be some next level ish?
How Can Mindfulness Take Your Orgasms to Another Level?
If, in theory, you can grasp a surface-level concept of how being mindful has the ability to produce some pretty earth-shattering climaxes but still, you're needing a little bit more help to take it all in, let's briefly apply all 10 of the points I just made to your sex life specifically.
- If you believe in a Higher Power and you also believe that Power is who created sex (I am a Bible follower, so I totally believe that God created sex because the Bible says so in Genesis 1:26-27), then you will honor sex as being something that is spiritual, not just physical.
- If you are self-aware, then you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, even sexually (like you might be really great at oral sex but you're timid when it comes to trying new things). You also know what works for you sexually and what doesn't.
- If you don't get consumed with fear, worry and anxiety, then you don't do a lot of "pre-thinking" (other than incorporating safer sex practices, of course) when it comes to sex. You let it happen as it comes.
- If you don't complain a lot, you're not always brooding or stressing over past sexual partners or experiences. You're more interested in what you and your partner can do to make the next time better; not what happened in the past that was less than stellar.
- If you don't hold grudges, then you don't withhold sex as a way to "punish" your partner. You work to find compromise and peace so that the two of you can always remain close and connected; including sexually.
- If you enjoy the little things, then, on the sex tip, you're not an "orgasm chaser". What I mean by that is, while orgasms are desired, they aren't the main goal; you and your partner enjoying one another is and every little thing that cultivates pleasure is welcome.
- If you embrace imperfection, then you're not hung up on body image issues when it comes to you or your partner. You don't care about having flaws. In fact, some of each other's imperfections are what you like the most because those are some of the things that make us all unique. By embracing this reality, you and your partner can be more at ease.
- If you go with the flow, sex doesn't always have to happen at a certain time, in a specific place. Nor does it always have to go the same way. You don't expect anything other than extreme closeness. Beyond that, what will be will be.
- If you and your partner are more interested in giving pleasure than receiving it, selfishness isn't a big issue in your sex life. And that is ALWAYS beneficial.
- And finally, if you are solely into the here and now, then you are 1000 percent present with your partner, from beginning to end, when it comes to the sex that the two of you choose to engage in. And because of this, the stage is set to have an orgasm that isn't forced, isn't "judged" and isn't filled with preconceived notions or expectations.
Now go briefly back over these 10 points again. If you really take a moment to take all of this in, I bet you can see how and why a mindful orgasm can be the best you and your partner will probably ever have. I bet you can also better grasp how to make a mindful orgasm happen too. But just to be perfectly sure, how about a few pointers?
Here’s How to Have Your First Mindful OrgasmGiphy
Now that the foundation has been laid for how to bring mindfulness into your bedroom (or wherever you like to get it in), give me a couple of minutes to provide a few tips on how you can have your very first mindful orgasm (if you don't think you've ever had one before).
First, it's important to keep in mind that, no matter how many orgasm hack articles you might read (including the ones that are on this site), it's not really going to matter much if your mind isn't in the right place.
There are plenty of health-related articles that share the fact that things like anxiety, unrealistic expectations, poor body image issues can impede orgasms. So, it's important to remember that, before even engaging with your partner, you need to be good with yourself if you want a mindful orgasm to take place (sex journaling can help you in this area, by the way).
Second, since being mindful is about being—and staying—in the moment, what is the freaking rush? Practices like orgasmic meditation, affirming one another, listening to sensual music, giving your partner a lingam massage, encouraging him to get to know your sexual pressure points, kissing, cuddling, oral sex marathons—basically getting off the clock and just taking the time to take each other in (even down to listening to the sounds that your partner makes) are all acts of foreplay that can put you both at ease while helping you both to focus more on just being together than setting a goal to have an orgasm in 30 minutes or less.
Lastly, encourage you and your partner to pay close attention to peaks of pleasure. I don't mean what you're saying and doing when on the brink of an orgasm. What I'm talking about is what are the things that the both of you enjoy most before even getting to that point and place? Whatever those things are, get some edging (which is bringing someone to the point of climaxing and then stopping so that their orgasms will be intensified) going by extending those acts while telling your partner what you adore the most about them sexually.
For instance, if you really enjoy having your inner thighs kissed, encourage your partner to also share what they enjoy so much about doing that to you, right in the moment of doing it. Then, when you feel like you can't take it anymore, switch up and do something that brings him extreme satisfaction while professing what turns you on, so much about him, in the moment as well. If the two of you do this, at least a couple of times, you'll both feel sexy, safe and ready for intercourse. And, because of all of these factors that are working so seamlessly together, a deeply intense orgasm could very well be only a few moments away.
And that, my dear, is what gets you to a mindful orgasm.
If you were really paying attention to all of this, you probably noticed that a mindful orgasm has less to do with your partner or even sexual technique. It's more about simply being at peace with yourself and the moment that you are in—moment by moment. Trust me, if mindfulness is something that you choose to make a part of your daily life, I'd be shocked if, not only will it be easier to have orgasms but you'll not want less than a mindful orgasm every time. Practice some mindfulness today. Watch what that could do for your orgasms tonight. Whew.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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The Unhealthy 'Unconscious Contracts' We Make With Our Parents (And How To Break Them)
I’m a quotes kind of girl. Unapologetically so. I think I like them so much because they’re a way of packing in a lot of wisdom and insight without giving an entire speech (or writing an entire article). And if there’s one quote that I know I use at least three times a week, it’s “Adulthood is surviving childhood.”
It’s not a good thing either because, basically, what the quote is saying is a lot of us experience so much trauma as children that many of our adult years are actually spent trying to figure out how to survive it all. In fact, I recently read a Guardian article entitled, “Survivors of childhood trauma often grow up believing they are unworthy,” which had a line in it that summarizes a lot of why I do what I do for a living: “Jane now understands that she was conditioned as a child to see toxic relationships as almost normal.” I’m here to reprogram a lot of counterproductive stuff that a lot of us don’t realize we are doing…as best as I possibly can.
And yes, believe it or not, a part of the reason why we get into then tolerate then endure the oftentimes pure suffering of unhealthy relationships with other people — personal and professional, romantic, platonic and familial — is due to something known as unconscious contracts. Boy, when I first learned about unconscious contracts and what they entail, it was like I had a new way of helping to free up so many people from their hamster wheels of dysfunction with other individuals.
Okay, but I’m getting a little ahead of myself. If you already feel drawn to or even triggered by the intro of this article alone, please set aside some time tonight or this weekend to dive into what it means to sign an unconscious contract, how it typically ends up working against you, and what you can do to change it ASAP.
What Is an Unconscious Contract?
I like giving credit where credit's due, and when it comes to the entire concept of unconscious contracts, one of my instructors taught it to me. She said she learned it from a neuroscience educator by the name of Sarah Peyton.
The gist of an "unconscious contract" is it's an agreement that you made, oftentimes in order to get through living with your toxic parent (or parents), that ended up being an unhealthy habit or approach to dealing with other people as you grow and develop into adulthood (you can watch an intro video about it here that is pretty damn enlightening if I do say so myself).
According to Sarah and her findings, a lot of our full dependence on our parents (especially our mother since she's usually the primary caregiver), as far as communication goes, happens around four months of age and, without us even noticing it, we find ourselves figuring out what needs to be done in order to get along with them — even if it's ultimately to our detriment.
An article that dives deeper into all of this is "When Relationships Fall Apart: Conscious and Unconscious Agreements in Relationship." The authors speak on the fact that a conscious contract is an agreement where both parties know the commitment that they are getting into, while an unconscious contract is usually unspoken, although what transpires is one person decides to suppress their thoughts, feelings, and needs in order to make another person happy (or it at least makes getting along with them easier to do).
Now I'll already tell you that if you read this and thought, "Isn't that just compromising?" you just revealed that you are someone who definitely needs to continue on with this piece because, no, suppression is not compromise; suppression is you denying a part of who you are in order to keep the peace — or avoid abuse — and there is nothing compromising about that. It is destructive and definitely the kind of "unconscious contract" that you need to break…immediately if you can.
Before I break down how to do that, let's go a bit deeper into all of this.
How an Unconscious Contract Affected Your Childhood Development
Last fall, Newsweek published an article entitled "Why Adult Children Are Cutting Off Their Parents More Than Ever." Now for the record, no parent is perfect, and since some people like to throw around words like "toxic" as if they are confetti, let's look into some signs that you definitely had a toxic parent as a child/teenager — and that you may still have one now:
- They didn't respect your privacy/boundaries
- They pressured you to agree with them even when you didn't
- They were harder on you than they were on other children (especially outside of the home)
- They found a way to make everything about them
- They wouldn't let you ask questions for clarity (and/or they lashed out when you did)
- They were controlling
- They didn't shield you from trauma (and they oftentimes caused it)
- They used religion to justify their toxic behavior
- They used you as a makeshift therapist/counselor (told you too much information)
- They were verbally and/or emotionally and/or physically and/or sexually abusive
- They were emotionally unpredictable
- They weren't supportive (or you felt like they were competing with you)
- They kept you walking on eggshells
- They deflected from taking accountability for their mistakes (or poor choices)
- They either used guilt or withheld love in order to get their way
If any of this resonated with you, yes, on some level, you are a survivor of a toxic parent — again, not an imperfect parent; more like someone who put you in a position where you dealt with some level of trauma on a consistent basis. And because it's a parent's job to help you to become a holistically healthy individual, when the opposite happens, it can stifle you on some level.
For instance, I grew up with parents who didn't know how to respect a boundary or take accountability if it hit them square in the face. I don't even have the time to get into how deep it all went. For now, I'll just give one example of how it played out in my adult years — recent ones. One parent was so toxic that they really should be in prison. Because they're not, they had the nerve to email me acting like they were doing me some favor by leaving me alone…like I had told them to do for almost two decades now, that they still had moments when they would disrespect the boundary. And where did they get my contact information? From the other parent. WILD. Not you out here enabling my abuser.
Boundaries are limits, and limits (when they are not used to weaponize or manipulate) are put into place to keep us safe. People who don't respect your boundaries are unsafe individuals.
When I think about how my boundaries were constantly being dishonored as I was growing up affected me all through those years. One way is I didn't know how to set healthy boundaries with other people. As a result, I had some of the most toxic female friendships known to man (no joke). Another result is I had a tendency to be controlling to certain other people too. Control is what was modeled to me (suffocatingly so), all the while being told that it was love, and so… that's what I thought it was.
I had written an "unconscious contract" with my parents that allowed them to railroad my space, my body, and my feelings. My needs were basically the "rent" that I had to pay to live in their home and have my basic material needs met. And so, I thought that's what relationships looked like — that I had to go above and beyond while overlooking what I deserved in order to keep people around, OR I had to control the narrative in some way as a way of expressing my "love" to them. And I lived just like this for many years.
How an Unconscious Contract Affects Your Relationships Now
Before the end of the year is out, I'll be finishing my third book. One of the things that it's going to touch on is just how emotionally abusive one dynamic with a certain guy was. I'll give you an example. One time, I helped him put on an event. I got him the venue for free. I made the programs. I set up the slideshow. I ran the slideshow. He didn't pay me a dime. Because the venue was about an hour away and we left unbelievably late (in separate cars), I asked him if he would stay on the phone with me because I was sleepy. He yelled at me, told me that I needed to find someone else, and hung up. And the next day, what did I do? I texted him to make sure that he was okay. AMAZING. He never apologized, even when I brought it up. Instead, he deflected and justified his behavior. Also AMAZING.
In hindsight, I know this is the fallout from unconscious contracts that I had "signed" with my parents, several of them. Something in me thought that if I just loved that man enough, eventually, he would stop mistreating me. Yet, I know him well enough to know that he has his own unconscious contracts that need to be broken, so while I was over-giving, he was over-hustling. He also was being ungrateful and narcissistic (and narcissism is also oftentimes the result of a traumatic childhood; it's a cryptic way of protecting oneself). Yeah, because I still had some "live contracts" going on, folks were able to get away with all kinds of stuff.
I'll give you another example. I have a girlfriend who keeps picking materialistic and shallow women as friends (check out "7 Signs Your Friendship...Actually Isn't One"). Her mother was exactly that way. It's wearing her out now because she feels like all she has in common with her circle is shopping and, inconsequentially, debt. Yet, until I introduced the concept of unconscious contracts to her, she didn't realize that all she really had in common with her mom — and the only time her mom ever really spent quality time with her — was when money was involved (including her mom feeling entitled to her money in present time).
Again, adulthood is surviving childhood. So, take a moment and think about the list that I provided as it relates to whether or not you had a toxic parent. Where the points apply, ponder what your adult relationships look like these days. Where are there patterns? Where are there mirror reflections of the relationship that you had with your mother and/or father and/or caregiver? Where do you see the same kind of unhealthiness…even now?
When we're children, we are innocent and a blank slate. We rely on our parents to show us how we are to see ourselves, along with how we are to live out our lives. So yeah, without some serious inner work (and oftentimes therapy), the contracts that we became a part of as children will continue in our adult world — that is, until we break them.
What Can You Do to Break an Unconscious Contact
I already know — this is some pretty heavy stuff (which is why I implied at the beginning that it's not exactly lunchtime reading). Yet you know how the saying goes, knowledge is power, and if you could relate to any of this, how freeing is it to get to some of the roots, to receive confirmation that you're not crazy (sis, you're not) and then be provided with tips on how to get up out of these, what seem like lifelong binding agreements, that are not serving you (and never really were)?
Okay, so now that you know what an unconscious contract is, how you found yourself being a part of one, and how much damage they ended up doing, what can be done to break the contract? Good question.
A PDF that I was given (via Sarah Peyton's site) is what my instructor shared with me. I have edited it a bit so that it can make a bit more sense (if this is your first time hearing about unconscious contracts):
Step 1. Determine what the contract initially was.
“I (your name), ________________ , solemnly swear to you (parent/caregiver),___________________
to (whatever the self-defeating behavior was) ________________________ in order to protect you/honor you/survive, no matter the cost to myself. “
Step 2. Was the vow heard? (In order to feel validated in this exercise, you should get someone you trust to serve as a representative to act as the parent/caregiver you are speaking to.)
“Parent or caregiver, did you hear this vow?”
“Parent or caregiver, do you like this vow?”
Step 3. Can the vow be released? If so, release it.
If yes, the representative says, “I release you from this vow and I revoke this contract.”
(If the vow cannot be released, like your parent lives with you and they are still doing the behavior, you may want to seek therapy to figure out what boundaries need to be set up, especially if your parent tends to go full gaslight or full denial whenever you bring trauma or their past mistakes up.)
Step 4. Create a blessing to break the unconscious contract.
The representative says, “And instead of this vow, I give you my blessing to...(create the blessing)”
In a perfect world, you could talk to your parent about all of this, and no representative would be needed — yet honestly if that were the case and your parent was truly self-aware, apologetic, and willing to make amends, they would probably approach you first about the harm that they caused. That's why a representative can be helpful. They are symbolic, and while you may never get this kind of release from your actual parent, the validation and affirmation that comes from the exercise may be enough for you to fast-track your way to healing and to feel stronger in saying "no," setting limits and requiring that your needs be met from your parents — and to offer up consequences when that is not the case.
This is an exercise that can reduce fear and stagnation so that you can start to get on with how to have healthier relationships with others moving forward.
The Benefits of Ending Unconscious Contracts…and Creating New Ones
A wise man once said, "My word is my bond." That said, to tell you the truth, the only way that breaking an unconscious contract is going to work is if there is integrity behind your words. You need to identify them, vocally acknowledge them, and have your representative acknowledge you/them. You need to receive the blessing, and then, what I recommend is setting up a new contract — this time between you and yourself.
For instance, if your childhood unconscious contract was all about you walking on eggshells, the new contract needs to say something along the lines of, "I will no longer put my own feelings and needs aside whenever I feel bullied or even dismissed. My voice matters, especially when it comes to what directly affects me, so I will speak up when necessary." Whew. Can you see how empowering that is?
It can't be said enough that there is plenty of data out here to support the fact that at the age we are traumatized, oftentimes we remain right there emotionally until we heal — and healing can include breaking our unconscious contracts. Only, in my opinion, it's not enough to break one…you need to then replace it with another; otherwise, you could find yourself slipping back into what's familiar…even if you know it's not what's better/best for you.
This really is something that I could go on for days about because it’s the kind of topic that is so freeing once people are able to apply it in their own world. For now, I’ll just say that contracts are binding agreements. Yet, the good thing about unconscious contracts is you can let yourself off of the hook, knowing that you, as an adult, now have the space to live as you wish. You don’t have to “go along to get along” in the midst of super crazy, super counterproductive, super toxic ways.
You can write new contracts — ones that will strengthen you, validate you, and give you the kind of life that YOU want to live. Not the one that your toxic parent(s) made you think you had to settle for.
So, what unconscious contracts are you going to break today?
What new ones are you going to put into motion?
There’s no time like the present to start fully living YOUR life.
Amen? Hallelujah. For real.
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