Erotic Embodiment Practice (EEP) is an intentional opportunity, a choice you make to explore what is erotically possible for you as an embodied human. For some folks this is about deepening erotic capacity or exploring new erotic skills. For others it’s about re-connecting with or re-awakening your erotic self. Many find unexpected benefits from regular practice. What might unfold for you if you commit to giving yourself pleasure, to regularly connecting with your life force energy, the source of your vitality?
So “how” does one “do” this practice? EEP sessions can look wildly different from one day to the next or from one practitioner to the next. But every session will contain the following elements: a conscious intention, a clear beginning and ending time, 5 minutes of savoring at the end, and some form of reflective record keeping after the session. Let’s break down each of these aspects of the EEP container, and then we’ll explore the elements that may be incorporated in the heart of your practice.
Setting an Intention
Think it, say it, write it down. Intention is vital for directing the benefits of our practice. It’s the bridge from the present moment to the next moment, allowing for change and transformation. In addition, awareness of intention during repeated practice sessions has been shown to trigger profound changed in the prefrontal cortex connected to high levels of wellbeing.
Intention also supports us in maintaining commitment to our practice, even in the face of our resistance (which I assure you will show up). When you find yourself asking, “Why the fuck am I doing this??” you can recall your intention and find your ground. Practice doesn’t always feel good. Our resistance to our practice provides tremendous information. More about resistance later, but for now, notice it, be curious about it, welcome it into your practice.
Some folx choose one intention to inform an entire month of practice. Others might choose a different intention each week or each day. Or maybe your guiding intention is to explore and expand your erotic capacities, and each day has a specific intention to explore a new skill or pleasure, such as breath, or anal play, or edging. The details of your intention are up to you, but setting it and keeping it in your awareness are essential.
Establishing a Time Container
Establish your time commitments before embarking on your practice, including how many times a week you commit to practicing and what will be the duration of each session. I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes per session. Some folx practice longer, some shorter. To some degree, the length of the session is less important than how present and aware you are during your practice (although I encourage you to notice with curiosity if/when resistance is influencing the amount of time you are willing to commit to yourself). The original prescription for this type of erotic practice was to commit to 30 sessions in 30 days. If that feels good to you, go for it! Generally, I recommend committing to one month of “daily” practice. Here’s why that word is in quotes: in my life, daily practice means 5 days a week. Let’s be honest, life is hectic, and I don’t even shower every day. So for me, aiming for 5 allows for the inevitable couple of days that life gets in the way without creating any sense of “failure” in regards to my commitments or goals. And if I get 7 days in one week, then hooray! Bonus! But I’m not going to shame myself or freak out if I only get to my practice 5 out of seven days. If the thought of even 5 days has you in a panic, take a deep breath, and feel into your body to find what number of days feels like a pleasurable commitment to you. This is all about listening to your body after all, so start now.
As you feel into the time commitments that feel right for your practice, try re-framing the decision this way: You are deciding how much pleasure to gift yourself each week. And notice when the “Omg, I don’t have time for this!” thought pops up, that you are struggling to allow yourself to commit time to pleasure. Allow this realization to support you in getting curious about the small ways every day that you deny yourself pleasure—or at least don’t choose it when you perhaps could. (We all do this, and things can get really interesting when we start to get curious about when and why…)
One last word on the time container: absolutely set a timer at the beginning of each session. You’ve decided how much time you are committing to yourself, but once you’re in the session, don’t think about that time. Let the timer do that and just drop into your practice.
The last five minutes of every session are dedicated to savoring the sensations in your body. Most folx choose to lie down at this point, though it’s not required. From here all you have to do is enjoy the sensations in your body, notice what you feel, be with and be in your body.
Neurobiologically this is really important. In your practice you activated (new) neural pathways and neurons. In savoring you integrate or install that experience into your neurology. Rick Hansen, neuroscientist, writes that the research on how people grow psychologically via cognitive and emotional learning is “…a two stage process of activation and installation…as a long time clinician, I began to think about how relatively good we are as clinicians at activating positive mental states, but how bad we generally are at helping people actually install these activated states into neural structure.” Your practice is the activation; savoring is vital for integration, for truly benefiting from your practice. Hansen goes on to say, “That was a real wake-up call for me as a therapist.” I propose that it’s a real wake-up call for all of us as erotic beings! How often do we just pop up after masturbating (or partner sex) or roll right over and go to sleep? Slow down, savor, and soak up the incredible pleasure of your body.
Reflect and Record
After your five minutes of savoring, spend some time reflecting on your session and somehow make note of those reflections—write them in a journal, keep an ongoing voice log on your phone, or draw or creatively record your experience. The act of reflecting and recording is important for two reasons. First, this further installs the experience in your neurobiology. Second, you’ll need a place to keep track of the insights and ideas that come to you during your practice. You may get ideas for future sessions or a solution to a problem you’ve been struggling with for weeks. And, as much as we always think we’ll remember these big insights, unless we somehow record them, they usually slip away.
When you reflect on your session, make note of the distractions, resistances and struggles as well as the pleasures, insights and joys. The former are equally important parts of the process and offer profound insights of their own.
Elements of Practice
Ok, so we’ve defined the container in which you will cultivate your practice, but what is the actual practice? Here’s where EEP can be hard to describe, as it’s entirely self-directed. What it looks like is up to you, informed by your intention. That being said, most sessions include the following: some form of movement (stretching, dancing—I’m a huge fan of just rolling around on the floor, personally); an awareness of breath (exploring conscious breathing patterns or simply noticing your breath and how it influences your state); sound (moans, laughter, tears, shouting, speaking to yourself, singing); and self-touch (sometimes including the genitals, sometimes not). Sessions might also include: music, kegel exercises, creative/expressive practices, a witness, videotaping your session, etc.
Whatever you choose to “do” in your session, if you are focusing on your body, feeling your sensations, and bringing you attention back to your body when it wanders off, you’re nailing it. Feel free to experiment, and definitely break any conscious or unconscious habits regarding “how” you self-pleasure. Bring your whole body to your eroticism. Bring your eroticism to your whole body. Allow your sexuality, your sensuality and your pleasure to expand beyond your genitals, connecting to your heart, your mind, your whole self.
If this open-ended prescription is too overwhelming, or if you just want some inspiration and ideas, check out these Erotic Meditations, created by Joseph Kramer and a number of sexological bodyworkers over the years. Read through them and see which ones speak to you. Perhaps you’ll want to work with just one for the whole month, or maybe you’ll decide to try a new one every day! Again, there’s no wrong way to do this. And so much learning and pleasure awaits you, whatever you decide.
Of course, don’t hesitate to reach out if you desire support in cultivating, exploring, or maintaining your personal erotic practice or in integrating your discoveries and experiences. No matter what we’re practicing, we can all benefit from a coach at times.
Happy exploring, loves!
Missed Part 1 of the series, exploring the what and why of Erotic Embodiment Practice? You can read it HERE!