As a proud partner for the inaugural Sugar & Spice Festival that’s happening this 1-15 August 2020, we are bringing you this series of interviews with presenters so that you get to know them better and their workshops.
Today, we have Dr. Reece Malone, an award-winning certified sex therapist and sexuality educator, who is delivering the ‘Mindless to Mindful Sex: Tools for Deeper Connection, Intimacy and Pleasure’ workshop at the festival. We ask him some questions about the workshops and his background. Please enjoy and sign up for his workshops!
Q: Most of us may not have thought much about the quality of our sex lives. Can you explain the concept of “mindful sex” and how it can enhance one’s sexual experience?
Mindful sex invites individuals to be more present and in the moment and to be more attuned with yourself and/or with a partner in a sexual experience. That practice of mindful sex requires oneself to be fully immersed in the whole experience. Mindful sex is an invitation to associate sex with an openness to pleasure, non-judgement, and curiosity.
Mindful sex builds a stronger, more intimate relationship with ourselves and with a sexual partner. For intimate partners, mindful sex can cascade into other aspects of the relationship and improve the overall quality of the relationship itself including being better able to resolve conflicts, improve communication, and have hotter and more fulfilling sex. For individuals, mindful sex can help reduce incidences of erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and improve orgasm quality. Finally, mindful sex can improve mental health and wellness. Research suggests that the practice of mindfulness reduces stress, worry and anxiety, and invites more meaningfulness, joy and pleasure.
Q: As the practice of “mindful sex” requires a deep understanding of one’s character, proclivities and values, wouldn’t this require a lot of work on psychoanalyzing oneself?
The practice of mindfulness is to be present and in the moment. It doesn’t require psychoanalysis rather an intention to focus on the here and now without judgement or critique. It is a commitment to be authentic with yourself and with your intimate and sexual partners. If the individual finds that their mind is wondering, or they have difficulty focusing or to paying attention, they may want to seek support from a professional to help resolve these difficulties.
Q: As a first-generation Filipino-Canadian, is there a growing acceptance within the Asian community to seek sex therapy?
For many Asian cultures, the topic of sex remains unspoken, hidden and taboo. Cultural norms along with a lack of comprehensive sexuality education make it even more difficult. Depending on the individual’s Asian culture, I find a range of self-pathologising and deep shame associated with sex, sexuality and sexual development. In my experience, many of my Asian clients don’t give themselves permission to be deeply self-reflective where priorities are often on academics, professional success, and upholding cultural traditions.
While there is growing acceptance on some topics, what often remains is the topic of sex being synonymous with danger and harm rather than liberation and pleasure. It’s very difficult to break into the Filipino community on the topic of sex as there’s an unspoken culture of fear of judgement and worry about what others may think. It’s common for me to hear from others that sex is associated with secrecy, sin and harm.
Q: Are there cultural factors that come up often in working with Asians on sex-related issues?
The tensions of straddling traditional cultural expectations and legacies of home and contemporary more sex-positive cultures can be stressful. Also, social issues such as racism and internalized racism, sexism and internalized sexism, and other forms of prejudice and oppression are compounding stressors that can impact sexual functioning and sexual wellness. It can be difficult to be authentic in who you are as a sexual being if you’re shouldering the emotional labour of social oppression and cultural expectations.
Q: Living in Winnipeg, what do you do for leisure in your free time there outside of work?
Winnipeg as a city is diverse and eclectic with plenty to do. Also, our province has vast and rich forests so in my downtime, I’m either with my partner enjoying Winnipeg’s food culture, or arts and entertainment culture, or I’m in the forest gathering wild mushrooms and wild edibles to cook or sell to the markets. I also love to travel and visit friends, spend time with my dogs, or sit quietly and reflect.
If you’re interested to attend Dr. Reece Malone’s or other presenters’ workshops, please go to www.sugarandspice.asia to get your festival pass!
Images: Dr Reece Malone