We’ve talked a lot over the last seven months about how the stress of this moment in history is affecting people’s sex lives. But when there’s really no clear end in sight, what can we do about it? Well, thanks for asking–today we’ve brought you six sensual practices that will ground you, reduce anxiety, and help you get out of your head and into your body. Use them to fall asleep, use them to break the cycle of doomscrolling, use them as foreplay, use them however you want! You still have some choices in this world!
1. Apply your favorite lotion or oil
This is an easy one to incorporate into your daily routine—in fact, it may already be a part of your daily routine. The only difference (and it’s an important one) is that you’re not just slapping on some lotion and rubbing it in as fast as you can so you can pull your day sweatpants on. Instead, really focus on the feeling of your hands caressing your skin. Notice the way the lotion or oil smells. Notice how your skin responds to the moisture.
2. Give yourself a good massage
It may not be the same as what a professional used to do for you, but it’s certainly better than nothing, and it presents a great opportunity for grounding. Start with your hands, massaging the meaty bit between your thumb and forefinger. Work your way up your arms to your shoulders. Then give yourself the footrub you deserve and work your way up your legs (and if funny business ensues, so be it!). For those hard-to-reach spots on your back try the Thera Cane—yes, it looks like a sex toy, and yes, okay, it could be used that way too, but its intended purpose is just as magical, we promise.
3. Take a bath or shower
This is another practice that may already be a normal part of your day. But to make it a grounding exercise, you’ll want to focus on the physical sensations you’re experiencing rather than trying to get through each step as quickly and efficiently as possible. Notice how the warm (or cool, if that’s your jam) water feels on your skin, notice the sounds of the water, notice how your shampoo smells and how the bubbles feel under your fingers. When your attention wanders, just note that it’s wandering and bring it back to the physical sensations.
4. Walk barefoot outside
If you live somewhere where you can be barefoot outside, this is one of the simplest grounding activities you can do. Just take your shoes off and walk outside. Notice the texture of the surface under your feet—is it hard? Soft? Prickly? Notice the temperature—is the ground warm or cool? Walk around to change up the sensations. If you don’t have your own safe space for walking around barefoot, try taking your shoes off in a park or just walk barefoot through your own home, noticing what you’re feeling as you do.
5. Lay on the ground
This is another great one to do outside if you can, simply because there are so many more interesting sensations outside, but doing it inside works too. Lay on the ground (or floor) and focus on the sensation of your full body weight being supported by what is underneath you—whether that’s grass and dirt or your living room floor.
6. Count sensations
This is a great one to do while on a walk, but you can really do it anywhere. Look for three sounds you can hear—honking horns maybe? The wind rustling through the leaves? The sound of a ceiling fan? The hum of a refrigerator? Then identify three things you can feel—the fabric of your shirt or the cool breeze on your skin, perhaps. Then three things you can see, and finally three things you can smell. Remember, it’s not a race and it’s not a test. The objective is to focus on each sensation, not check it off a list and move on to the next question.
P.S. Prefer to get a massage from someone else than do all the work yourself? No problem–just send your partner these tips as a hint.