Where did you learn about your sexuality? Was it from friends at school? Was it from books in the library? Was it from porn magazine or movies? Was it from your parents or other family members? And what things in your life went on to shape your idea of sex and sexuality? Did you have partners that were patient, fun, and encouraging? Or were your partners critical, selfish and close-minded? All of these things contribute to how we think and feel about sex as well as how much we allow ourselves to enjoy and discover our sexuality.

Most importantly, all of these factors contribute to our expectations of sex – what we allow for ourselves versus what we exclude for ourselves (whether we do it knowingly or unknowingly). In fact, our expectations of ourselves have been found to be one of the most, if not the most, important determining factors in our response to sexual situations or stimulation. What this means is that we end up creating our own reality for ourselves. What we think is true will be true. And what we think is negative will be negative. It’s what many people commonly refer to as a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy.’ If we believe that we have pleasure and excitement, then we have it. If we already believe that we do not enjoy a particular situation, then it becomes a negative experience for us.

The question then becomes – how can we have positive expectations about ourselves, our sexuality, our bodies, and our experiences? Many of us want to improve our sex life and our experiences and are seemingly open to this. But the sticking point here is that wanting it alone does not produce the results we are looking for. It goes much deeper than that. We may want something very badly for ourselves, but at the same time believe that we cannot have it. This happens because our beliefs about ourselves – what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, and what is good and what is dirty or bad – lies deep in our unconscious mind. Because of this, deep exploration often causes us anxiety or blocking of our true thoughts and feelings. A combination of mindfulness meditation and trial and error with a partner we trust is an excellent way to start unlocking those parts of ourselves. But this takes practice, relaxation, and taking a risk. To become more open to the entirety of our sexuality requires being able to tolerate the uncertainty of what we might find within our own minds. Too many times, this uncertainty causes us to leave the door to the vault of our unconscious mind tightly sealed. The first step is to believe that we do have this capacity inside of us already, and know that all aspects of ourselves contribute to the reality we create for ourselves. In what ways do you create your own reality?

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The Risk of Intimacy