By Logan Mitchell
Meditation is the single most important coping mechanism I have in my life. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. Practicing sitting meditation every day (sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes for thirty) keeps me sane. I’ve been a practicing Buddhist in the Plum Village tradition (founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh) since 2012, when I was seventeen. I also love sex. A lot. I have sex quite a bit. When I was seventeen (and still a virgin), I took a vow (one of five “Mindfulness Trainings”) to abstain from sex until I met someone I loved and was committed to. Then I turned eighteen and found Grindr. Grindr won. I lost my virginity through a one-night stand with a (handsome) Republican. Less than a year earlier I had been considering monastic living as a viable option for my life.
Feeling like maybe my mindfulness practice was best kept out of my sex life, I quickly spiraled into a typical teenage tirade of sexual adventures, some of which were great, most of which were not. I would cycle between complete whoredom and celibacy, intermittently recommitting to my meditation practice and the commitments I had taken. The root of my conflict came back to that one troublesome sentence in the Mindfulness Trainings I committed myself to at seventeen, to wait until true love and a deep, long-term commitment. It was hard to loosely interpret such concrete and non-Grindr-conducive language. For years, I oscillated between perspectives. I would abandon the vow, then meditate and find a fresh commitment to waiting for true love.
What helped me find my balance in the end was, naturally, meditation. While on tour with the musical West Side Story, I recognized that I simply liked myself more when I meditated every day. I wasn’t quite as vindictive, snippy, or easily agitated. I found myself enjoying my work more and connecting with my friends on a deeper level. That was over a year ago, and it continues to be my daily motivation to meditate every day. I like myself more, and the world becomes a little more beautiful when I meditate. I also like sex more, and likewise sex becomes more beautiful when I meditate.
In the end, I meditated (a lot) on the subject of sex. I renounced that one sentence talking about deep, long term commitment from the Mindfulness Training on sex, because for me “true love” and commitment aren’t what delineate a positive and constructive sexual experience between a harmful and destructive one. In my own life, the difference between a positive and a negative sexual experience is my intention. If I’m desperate for validation, half-asleep, and feeling lonely, 95% of the time any sexual encounter I have is going to feel phony at best and downright unbearable at worst. If I’m feeling excited, intrigued, and full of passion, my sexual experiences tend to be of a much higher quality. My meditation practice has inspired me to bring my spiritual toolkit into the bedroom and onto Grindr with me, and not with magic crystals or tantric rituals. It’s simpler than that. Mindfulness allows me to take one step back from my “looking for now” mindset to find a little more foresight. I can reconnect with my most important values: compassion, mindfulness, and joy. And then I can do what I want, aware of the consequences and ready for whatever comes my way. There’s no formal process, and the only commitments I have are to my own values. And I’m having the best sex of my life because of it.
You can follow Logan on Instagram at loganscottmitchell