Maybe you’re familiar with the super-common-among-couples sexual imbalance of desire discrepancy. Desire discrepancy is when one partner wants sex more often, and with more intensity than the other.
Desire discrepancy always leads to the sex in your relationship becoming uber boring, and it usually leads to a cycle of not having ANY sex at all. And as a matter of fact, it’s easier to not have sex because the idea of initiating sex (after not feeling enthusiastic about it for so long) feels much more difficult.
And one day you realize that you’ve gotten really good at ‘not having sex’.
So, you stop worrying (or even thinking) about starting up anything sexual with your partner because NOT HAVING SEX has all of a sudden become NORMAL.
That’s a bad sex habit.
See, your brain is REALLY comfy with cycles. As we established in the last article, It likes going around in thought loops where it does one thing over and over better and better. This little trick has helped the human brain evolve throughout time, but it can also do the opposite. It can keep your brain (and YOU) stuck in a mindset, a situation, a pattern, or negative experiences simply because doing what it’s been doing is easier than trying something new.
And so moving from one situation with a certain set of rules and boundaries to another with a completely different set, is actually pretty challenging for most people. This little snag in the human capacity to migrate from one thing to another creates major challenges for sex.
Because it can be super tricky to switch gears … just like that. That’s why it’s SO HARD to feel sexy right after you get home from work or a stressful trip to the grocery store. Your brain is often stuck in a thought loop that your body is following.
But what about when your partner pisses you off, but you know it’s trivial and it’s time to let go of being pissed off at them … but you just can’t let it go! See, that’s a thought loop too, and one that definitely doesn’t serve you or your relationship.
So thought loops are good when you need to be really good at doing one specific thing (like working a cash register during rush hour at the grocery store), but really bad when it comes to something like navigating a sexual relationship, that requires the power of creativity and thinking OUTSIDE of the box, (and especially) letting go of the past.
So, wouldn’t it be incredible if there were something that could help you to fluidly move from one state to another state (for instance, work life to sex life)?
Imagine if you could snap out of a cycle, and move into another … just … like … that … with efficiency and ease, and most of all confidence.
THAT’S where ritual comes in.
Ritual helps to flip a switch in your brain, so that even if you’re in the middle of a super negative thought loop (“my boss really shouldn’t have said that to me today” or “that person was such a jerk”), ritual diverts this cycle of stress-focused thoughts and helps to guide you into another state of being. What kind of state of being? Whatever state of being you consciously choose and direct.
And that right there is the key: Ritual is like a statement of intention about what you intend to create.
Sometimes this ritual is small. In fact, a ritual can be as short as 5 seconds.
You might have noticed performers or athletes often employ a ritual before game time or show time. Some of them might recite a mantra, dance around in place, or take several full breaths before they go to perform their next big thing.
Some scientists have called these rituals superstitious or silly, but they can’t deny the data. These “lucky charms” and rituals have been proven to help athletes with performance, control blood pressure, and regulate heart rate. Because ritual increases self-efficacy, or the belief that you achieve what you put your mind to.
And the benefits extend even further, according to research: “The boost in self-efficacy from a lucky charm, in turn, leads to higher self-set goals and increased persistence, which both further improve performance.”
So by using this power of ritual in your sensual practice, you’ll learn to work with your sexual imbalance with confidence. And when sex is about you plus your partner, ritual can take you from feeling sexually stagnant to inspiring more juicy, powerful sexual energy between you.
There are rituals for honoring the body, rituals for protecting the planet, and rituals for death. The most effective rituals for working with sexual energy and clearing your sensual space fall into two categories: starting rituals and transition rituals.
Starting rituals are SUPER helpful, and they work really well for sexual situations (like when you want to initiate sex). See, starting ANY NEW task requires a lot of your willpower and energy.
As a matter of fact, it takes about 80% of your energy just to start a new task, and only about 10% to keep that task coasting along. Kind of like a ramp to get onto the highway: you have to accelerate to get onto the highway, but once you’re on, you can set the cruise-control.
A starting ritual does just that: it’s a signal to your brain that you’re initiating new activity, that you’re headed a different direction. And it collects and focuses your energy, using all of your senses, to achieve the desired result, even if your ritual is only 5-seconds long!
To make things CLICK, you’ll need to physically involve more of your senses. Because just thinking about starting something new doesn’t activate this trigger in your brain. You have to take physical action.
A great starting ritual for a lot of people is a SHOWER. You might already start your day with a shower, to get your blood flowing and as a way of cleansing yourself.
A shower clears away emotional debris and makes room for new, fresh emotional energy to excite you and bring your sensation to LIFE. It initiates a change of pace in your body for the next new thing.
And how do you transform something as mundane as a shower into the tool of ritual to inspire your life? All you need to do is inject that experience with a little bit of awareness.
A transition ritual is similar, except it acts as a tool to switch from one active state to another. This could be a breathing exercise or simply counting down from 5.
Sexual energy is creative energy. It’s what helps humans make babies, but it can also fuel PASSION and INSPIRATION in many other areas of your life. Sexual energy is powerful but coupled with ritual, it’s wildly powerful!
When playing with your sexual energy, ritual is a tool that you can use to set the tone for the experience you really want to have. Even the shortest little ritual can pull together an abundance of your sexual energy and focus it where and how you want.
Ritual recognizes the cycles that your brain likes to go through, and it short circuits the thought loops by inserting action and awareness. That’s why often, just thinking about initiating sex isn’t enough. You need to combine that thought with focused awareness and action to get your brain out of its habitual cycles.
Ritual stops your brain from messy anxiety loops by taking an ACTIVE step towards the goal you want to achieve. It really is that EMPOWERING! And any ritual around your sensual practice is going to bring serious healing and pleasure into your life.
If you’re ready to explore more about ritual and how to use it in your own sensual practice, there are a few things to consider:
To encourage your ritual and burgeoning sensual practice, there are a few tools to help with your rituals. Some of the best ones for working with sexual energy are:
Crystals + Stones: Depending on the kind of healing you’re working towards in your practice, you can include crystals in your ritual. Ruby, for example, is known to inspire passion and promote sexual activity. You can also include crystal dildos or jade eggs in your sensual practice to strengthen your practice and enhance sexual energy.
Chanting: Reciting prayers or chanting a mantra inspires even more energy in your ritual. Words are powerful, and using your voice through chanting is a profound way of expressing your desire in ritual. SUPER cool fact: OM chanting has been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve and can deactivate the limbic system (which induces a state of calm). “5 – 4 – 3 -2 – 1” is also a chant that interrups the brain cycles enough to create change.
Smudging: Using sage or other sacred herbs is an effective way of working with the energy in your space. There are a number of herbs that you can smudge with, and you should do some research before you light up any bundles. Dried white sage works really well for shifting energy and clearing out negativity.
Water: Oh, the power of a ritual bath! Water is an excellent tool for clearing energy and cleansing. Showers can also be a nice way to shift into a sexier state of mind and body, and to help wash away any old emotional debris from previous experiences during the day.
No matter how you incorporate ritual into your life, most importantly it should belong to YOU.
So here’s to infusing more meaning into your sex life! Here’s to exploring more through ritual, by honoring your body and your HUGE and wonderful capacity for pleasure.