If your first sexual experiences were negative, it is hard to build from this place a positive, loving relationship. We first need to heal this damaging early experience. A very powerful and transforming exercise I did was to go back to each of my past relationships, either sexual or non-sexual, and forgive the person I had been involved with for the pain and misunderstanding which occurred between us. This showed me how much I was hanging on to from the past.
This exercise allows you to let go and move on, so you are able to be more present in the here and now. It is particularly good if your past relationship or relationships ended badly or were never resolved. Often we feel that to resolve a past experience we need to be in contact with that person and this might be impractical, impossible or inappropriate. With this exercise you are able to resolve past relationship issues regardless of whether you ever have any contact again with that person. The importance of doing this exercise is so free us from continuing to carry our unresolved relationship issues into our present ones.
Exercise: Letting the past go (1.1)
Time: 20-30 minutes
Setting: Somewhere you will not be disturbed
Music: No music
Props: Paper, pencil or pen and scissors
Partner or friend: Not required
First write a list of the names of people with whom you have unresolved relationship issues. Start by sitting or lying down, closing your eyes and taking three belly breaths, placing more emphasis on the inhale than the exhale. To do a belly breath, place your hands on the belly, breathing in deeply through the nose and noticing how your belly pushes out against your hands as it fills with air. At the same time your anus should gently push out from the body and when you exhale relax back into the body. This is the method of breathing we naturally use when we are sleeping and is helpful for relaxation.
Imagine the first relationship on your list, whether it be sexual or non-sexual, and think deeply about what you need to resolve with that relationship. This can involve an emotional dialogue, expressing what was never said but needed to be in order for you to let go. Remember what it was like when you were involved with this person and the style of relationship you had.
The next part of the exercise you can draw with your eyes open or closed. Imagine or draw a figure 8 and place yourself in one of the circles and your ex-partner or past relationship in the other circle. Without judging, forgive yourself and them for the relationship not working. Recognize what was there, or not there, between you and consciously let go of the relationship. Finish by saying “Thank you for having been in my life and for what you taught me.”
Ask yourself “Am I ready to let go?” and if the answer is “yes”, cut the figure 8 in half, either in your imagination or by physically cutting the paper. Separate the two circles and imagine the circle with the past relationship in it being like a balloon floating up into the atmosphere. Alternatively physically bury, burn or let the circle go into the ocean. Know that you have retained the positive knowledge that you needed from this past relationship. Once this feels complete allow yourself to go onto the next relationship and do the process again.