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These days, you turn to your phone for everything from grocery delivery to meeting your future soulmate. But what about improving your sex life? Yep, there’s an app for that, too. Guided by Glow is a sex meditation app (you read that right) that fuses traditional meditation with sensual stories to deepen your connection to your sexuality—and yourself.
Founder and CEO Sayra Player says her own experiences with meditation apps inspired her to create Guided by Glow. As she listened to soothing voices guide her into a meditative state, she started craving a sexual component. “When you go through a meditation, the teacher talks to your body, your spirit, your energy, and moves you in this inspired, creative, focusing your concentration kind of way,” she says. “To do that—and let it be sexual—I had to see if that existed.”
It didn’t—yet. So Player, who is also an actress and writer, decided to create it herself. In May 2021, Guided by Glow was born.
What, exactly, is a sex meditation?
The app, geared toward women, offers over 80 meditations that range from 10 to 15 minutes. Users can find sessions that pique their interests by filtering by sexual orientation—hetero, same sex, non-binary—and other preferences, like BIPOC and British voices, soundscapes, “quickies” (under 10 minutes), and more. Once you discover a guide you like, you can also filter to hear stories and meditations by that individual. Or, simply discover sessions by their intriguing names, such as “Morning Snuggle” or “Scorpio Seduction.”
A Guided by Glow session starts off like your typical meditation—a soothing voice prompts you to deepen your breath and come into your own. But soon it takes an erotic turn. Over the course of the meditation, you’ll tap into the sensual sensations in your body. Depending on the session you select, you could be guided to use a sex toy, engage in masturbation, or imagine a vivid sexual experience with a partner. Regardless of the meditation you select, know this: They get steamy real quick. (Hint: You’ll want to make sure you have headphones.)
The connection between mindfulness and sex
While sex and meditation may seem like an odd pairing, there is actually a link between the two, says Wendi Dumbroff, a licensed professional counselor. Dumbroff, who is also a meditation teacher, says for most to have a fulfilling experience with sex or mindfulness, you have to fully immerse yourself in the present moment. “The idea of mindfulness is about being aware of the present moment, and [asking] ‘what is my experience right now in the present moment?’,” she says. “The way that I connect mindfulness with sexuality is to use that experience of mindfulness—of [asking] ‘what is happening for me right now?’ [in your sexual experiences].”
Player believes the feelings you experience after a meditation—centeredness, connectedness, focus—can also be achieved through sexual pleasure. Dumbroff agrees with this sentiment, noting that sexual pleasure can also relieve stress. Player wants her app’s users to have the same experience after listening to a sex meditation as they do with a standard meditation—only this one may also come with an orgasm.
So, is sex meditation considered porn?
Yes and no. The dictionary definition of pornography characterizes it as material showing erotic behavior with the goal of making you, well, aroused. Player says if you’re following that technical definition, then, yes, it’s porn. But at the same time, the fact that the app is audio only is a departure from traditional video or photographic porn. Player prefers to view her app in an entirely new category of sexual pleasure and eroticism, rather through the lens of the porn industry.
Player says she has personally struggled to connect with traditional pornography. “It made me feel bad or guilt or shame,” she says, adding it didn’t feel like what she wanted from her sexual experiences.
She created Guided by Glow to offer another option—one that is more approachable to people who already meditate or practice yoga or mindfulness. “My gut says mindful women looking to expand their sexual creativity outlets or their sexual nourishment outlets, those are the ones who are going to be really excited about this,” she says.
And getting excited? That’s what Guided by Glow is all about. Player hopes the app will help users tap into their innate sexual desires, whether with a partner or solo, while simultaneously cultivating relaxation, deepening their spiritual experience, and guiding them to stay present. An orgasm is just the cherry on top.