Any time individuals feel body insecurity, hypersomnia, and other symptoms of depression, their sex life will most likely be affected. In most cases, if you’re not happy, you’re not horny. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can plague many people and their sex lives in different ways. When it’s cold out, we layer up, creating a disconnect with our own bodies. We might also eat more during the winter months, which can result in ignoring hunger or body cues. Sleep can increase leading to a lack of movement and lack of connection with our physical bodies. When we are disconnected from ourselves, it can be incredibly difficult to connect with our partners. One way to begin to feel sexy again with others is to feel sexy with ourselves, and that begins with reconnecting to our bodies.
Spending time in the shower alone can be a great way to reconnect our brains to our bodies. There are so many sensations happening in that tiny space! The key to taking a mindful shower is not to clear our minds but to focus our minds deliberately on our surroundings. By focusing on our senses, we allow our thinking mind to slow down and begin to take pleasure in the current moment. This practice can be helpful to reconnect with our bodies by using sensual touch. The goal is not to use the shower for masturbation, although you may feel inclined and are welcome to do so. Sensual self-touch can be used to learn how our body responds to specific types of touch and to practice self-love and appreciation through body awareness and acceptance.
Start by picking out a fluffy towel or robe to wrap around you after your shower. Leave any electronics outside of the bathroom as this is a time to unwind and connect to yourself. As you turn the water on, use this moment to let go of the outside world. Take time to find the right temperature of the water. Start to recognize your muscles relaxing as the waterfalls gently onto your head and runs down your body. Allow your eyes to close or soften your gaze if that feels more comfortable. As you breathe in the warmth of the steam, imagine the steam swirling around your body, bringing sexual energy into your body and radiating to every part of your body. As you exhale, picture any negative thoughts or worries leaving your body with your breath. Take several breaths until you begin to feel centered and safe. Repeat the words “I am deserving of sexual pleasure, I am desirable, I am in control of my sexuality.”
Begin to focus on each sensation individually. First, what does the water feel like hitting your skin? Do you prefer when the water is steaming hot or cooler? How does the steam feel entering your nose and opening your chest? After you’ve focused on the temperature of the water, take a moment to listen to the water flowing from the showerhead beating down on the floor. How does the sound differ from the sound of it hitting your body? Are there any other sounds you are hearing? If yes, notice them, without judgment, and bring your attention back to the sound of the water around you.
As you continue with your shower routine, take time to notice the sensations of each movement. Instead of rushing through washing your hair, work on massaging your scalp. How does it feel to slow down and engage in the soft feeling of the soap? Is the familiar smell of your shampoo comforting or energizing? As you wash the shampoo from your hair, try to imagine washing any of the negative feelings or thoughts about your body that you may have down the drain with the shampoo. As those negative thoughts swirl down the drain, imagine the water is penetrating your body with empowerment, love, and desire. The softness of your skin under your hands longing to be touched and appreciated. Allow yourself to admire the feeling of your skin as your hands run down your body, across the curves of your body. Take a few moments to truly enjoy the sensation of your own soft touch, guiding your hands wherever they long to touch. Perhaps tracing and touching more sensual areas, such as your genitals or nipples, allowing the warm water to flow naturally. Remind yourself as you touch these more sensitive areas that you are deserving of pleasure, that your genitals are perfect the way they are. Express gratitude for your body, regardless of its shape or size, for all the sexual pleasure it allows you to experience.
Begin to wash your body, lather the soap and breathe in the scent. Feel the soap glide across your body and take notice of how your body reacts to the sensation of soft touch. Perhaps you spend a bit more time on your stomach and chest, maybe your shoulders need more attention. Pay attention to the areas of your body that might cause you strife or anxiety, bringing appreciation and care to these areas, recognizing how unique these parts of you are. Focus extra attention on the areas you might feel more self-conscious about when engaging in intimate situations. Bring extra care to these areas touching and admiring the way a partner would. Imagine the trail of water trickling down your chest and stomach is the mouth of your partner trailing kisses on the sensitive areas of your body. Focus on the pressure you use while washing your body and how it would feel having someone else apply pressure to your skin, grabbing and kneading or lightly caressing you from your neck down to your genitals. Use your touch to explore what ignites arousal within your body and sit with the pleasure of this touch without the goal of reaching orgasm. Step back into the water and breathe deeply as the remaining soap circles down the drain. Once you feel ready to turn the water off and step out of the shower, take one more moment to appreciate your time alone with your body, free of judgment and scrutiny.
As you dry off, continue to pay attention to the sensations of the soft towel against your skin. If you would like to expand this time appreciating your body through touch and connection, choose your favorite moisturizer and start at your feet, repeating the appreciation and acknowledgment of your body parts just as you did in the shower. As you practice mindful showers, the connection and admiration you have with your body will continue to increase, creating self-confidence and appreciation. Once this connection has strengthened, it will be easier to share it with others, even during the cold, dark winter months.