Sex and mediation are probably my two favourite things, or processes perhaps more accurately. They have some elements in common and some aspects that are different. They are of course both great for you as lots of science I can’t be bothered to do my homework on, and personal research I can, is testament to….but in what ways exactly? Now, any good/night day includes both in my book/bed/cushion but sometimes it’s a choice!!! How to decide? Here are my musings as a passionate amateur on two subjects that rarely get considered together (mostly due to Buddhism being a repressed monastic tradition by and large).
Of course much of what I am about to say depends on the type of sex and meditation, both of which cover many activities and are not just one thing. Maybe don’t take this article too seriously which is a good rule for both..
Some Things Sex and Meditation have in Common
I’m not even going to argue this one. It’s a fact.
Mediation, while something of a bucket term for many activities, involves awareness and training the attention. Sex makes us pay attention,
3. The body!
The vast majority of meditations bring us into the present moment via the body (concentrating on the breathing for example). Sex also is bodily and often breathy!. In a cognitive world where information is king and most people are extremely dissociated, they are both welcome returns home.
Meditation is about choosing what to attend to rather than being habitual. Sex is also about choice as all ethical codes and laws attest to
Perhaps less obvious in meditation but both activities are both creative ends in themselves and ways of connecting deeply – how I’d define play.
6. Connection and acceptance
Meditation is about a deep intimate connection with the present moment, accepting what is completely. That’s also a nice basis for a top quality shag IMO.
7. Both can be really pleasurable…but maybe that’s not the point
It may surprise people that experienced and sometimes just lucky meditators can experience blissful states that are “better than sex”. Meditation is often relaxing though awareness not relaxation is the point, something which can be a common misconception. There are those who would say the same is true for sex…
Some Differences Between Sex and Meditation
1. Trained v taken attention (meditation is boring)
Sex tends to take one’s attention…mine a
t least anyway about 20 times a day…while meditation is about training the attention on something, well, a bit dull, at least at first. This is the main reason meditation is less popular, but also why meditation builds a capacity that simply getting your rocks off won’t.
2. Pleasure vs awareness
While I argue the opposite above, the fact remains that most people orientate around sex as pleasure delivery method and meditation as about awareness. There are those who don’t of course and for many this article will all be very obvious. Many of these people would say they are “into tantra”, a term which seems to cover everything from ancient Tibetan Buddhist teaching on eating puss in graveyards, to the new age sexiness of getting laid dressed in tie-dye and pretending it’s deep, to some really lovely practices such as eye gazing and breathing in union (which personally I’d just call good sex). This all blurs the lines but what is true however, is that meditation is not some kind of excitement (to quote a Suzuki Roshi) and sex usually is.
3. Self vs Relationship?
Meditation is usually done alone, sex of course can be a solo thing too, but involving a partner is preferable for many and this is a common association.
4. The Media
The modern world uses sex to sell and it’s in our faces in a way meditation – while occasionally trendy – rarely is.
Sex is about desire and meditation is often about equanimity. While “desire” has a bad name in Buddhist practice and is a bad translation of the Pali “tanha” meaning grasping or unhealthy wanting, there is a fundamental difference here.
When they’re the Same?
There are those of course who turn their sexual activities into meditation as I’ve mentioned and meditators eventually find that everything becomes practice, so any of these differences can be critiqued. Go for your life.
These are just some meandering thoughts which I hope will get people thinking and start some discussion, frankly I’m no expert in either field but am interested. Perhaps the question becomes what is ones intention within any activity and given an intention what activities best support that? I wish you all good sits and shags.