For empaths and sensitive people, sexuality is an important topic to get clear about, whether you’re single, dating, or in a long-term relationship.
As I discuss in “The Empath’s Survival Guide,” because empaths are so sensitive, there is no such thing as “casual sex.” During lovemaking, empaths can pick up both anxiety and joy from our sexual partner, and often get intuitions about his or her thoughts and feelings. Therefore, choose your partners wisely. Otherwise, during lovemaking, you can absorb toxic energy, stress, or fear. This is particularly true if you are a sexual empath.
What is a sexual empath? Someone whose empathic abilities intensify during an erotic encounter so that he or she senses more stress or bliss. Sexual empaths are highly sensitive during lovemaking (and flirting too). They can pick up a partner’s energy even more than other empaths can. For all empaths (especially the sexual type) to feel their best, they must share physical intimacy with the right person who can reciprocate love and respect.
Unfortunately, some of my empath patients have made mistakes when they’ve been without a partner for a long time. If someone comes along who sparks their sexuality, they are so eager to enter a relationship, they ignore intuitive warning signs. So they engage in a sexual relationship early on with a person who is a poor choice. They fear that because it has taken so long to find someone who is even remotely interesting, they’d better get involved despite the red flags.
We open ourselves to hurt by becoming overly attached to unavailable people who can’t love us back. One empath told me, “I haven’t been in a serious relationship in five years, but when I’ve dated men with whom I was fast and furious in love, I turned into this love-crazed person. I didn’t listen to the warning signs and was disappointed. But now, I go slower to make sure the person is available.”
One solution to simply waiting for a partner to show up is attending a tantra workshop or having private sessions with a tantric teacher. Tantra is an ancient practice that combines sexuality and spirituality via body-centered exercises. In private or group situations, you will be taught to tune into your body, tap into your sexuality and spirituality, and work through old traumas, destructive relationship patterns, or numbness that stops you from feeling. These sessions increase your sexuality and keep it flowing to maximize your powers of attraction rather than allowing this energy to go dormant during the waiting period. Others may not feel how sexy you are if that happens.
A few years ago, I experienced some valuable tantric sessions after I became involved with the wrong person too quickly. I wanted to address any blocks that contributed to my pattern of choosing unavailable men or having long periods of aloneness. But I was tired of talking about this with my psychotherapist. So instead, these additional sessions helped me open up and attract a compatible partner.
Once you’ve found a partner who is well-matched with you, the basis for intimacy is to combine your heart with your sexuality. Empaths thrive in this way. When sex, spirit, and heart are combined in lovemaking, it is sublimely nurturing to our system.
Part of maintaining heart-centered sexuality is learning to set limits with your partner if something about your encounter feels off. For instance, if your partner had a frustrating day and is angry, it might not be the best time to be sexual because empaths can absorb this anger. Have a frank conversation about this. Your beloved needs to understand why you’re choosing not to be intimate when he or she is angry or under extreme stress.
Educate your mate about your sensitivities. Unless you’re in a relationship with an empath, you will need to lovingly explain your reactions so that your partner can meet your needs. The empath universe is different than the non-empath one. Your compassion and patience will make all the difference in your closeness.
(Adapted from The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People by Judith Orloff MD.)