From Sexual Madness to Mindfulness
My guest is fresh off a book tour for her new book From Madness to Mindfulness: Reinventing Sex for Women. Her name is Dr. Jennifer Gunsaullus and she is a sociologist and sex coach with a wealth of knowledge on sexuality and mindfulness. Within this talk she deftly connects her term ‘sexual madness’ with mindfulness, which is an extension of her book and professional work with her clients.
If you wondering how mindfulness can help you with sexual desire, body image, and to achieve better, well-rounded sex, then listen along and learn. You won’t regret stopping by!
What is “Sexual Madness”?
Dr. Jenn says that women are not given a right to own their sexuality. Additionally, many are not taught at all growing up in school about sexual expression or even basic anatomy. And when women get married and have sexual partners they are expected to just flip a switch and have this working knowledge of sexual expression. That, in a nutshell, is madness. More specifically, it’s sexual madness.
She then introduces sexual mindfulness as a solution for breaking through this sexual madness. Jenn encourages heading towards the pain and discomfort in sex first. She says that it’s important to explore the pain points through mindfulness because you can get to the root of sexual avoidance and unpack whatever is there.
Jenn also states that it’s such an empowering practice. The ability to not compartmentalize feelings and instead connect thoughts to bodily feelings and be in tune with yourself like that is such a valuable skill. She sees it countless times in her clients.
Expanded Definitions of Mindfulness
Jenn says that because mindfulness has become such a buzzword nowadays, there should be distinctions made between some of the more important factors of the concept. Paying attention and really focusing is a part of mindfulness. But more important to the definition is self-compassion and non-judgment. This means being truly present with whatever arises, and if there is shame that bubbles to the surface, not beating yourself up about that shame. That’s true mindfulness.
Another important concept that arises during the interview is just being with the raw sensations you feel, no matter what. Just staying with them, without any meaning, interpretation, or story attached to it, often means you can get through the feelings. Jenn says most of the time, all it takes is 90 seconds of being present, of being mindful.
How Mindfulness is Helpful for Desire
For women, Jenn says that mindfulness can be a real help for cultivating and understanding desire. She says there is a dearth of understanding on the topic, so any help is beneficial. She says body image issues and shame can definitely arise and mindfulness can always help. Even for those in perfectly healthy relationships where partners are attracted to each other can lead to a lack of desire. Mindfulness helps unearth traumas, shame, or overall feelings that may be inhibiting desire from really flourishing.
She says that journaling and sitting with the awkward, uncomfortable feelings is absolutely essential.
Jennifer not only teaches mindfulness practices and their merits to couples, but she also encourages their active participation with the principles. Without what she calls “applied mindfulness” there’s hardly any room for growth or the complete cultivation of sexual expression.
She also says that we’re responsible for teaching the younger generation about the importance of not passing on limiting ideas of sexuality to young women. Instead of just compliments about physical appearance, parents should stress the importance of celebrating the whole person: intelligence, personality, and so forth. This cultivates a deeper sense of self-worth in women.
Key Links for Jennifer:
Her book: From Madness to Mindfulness
Link to video resources: https://www.drjennsden.com/videos-1