In a world of distractions, expectations, and stress, sex has become routine, purposeful, boring or non-existent. This article explains how to enjoy sex again through mindfulness and being present in the moment.
Mindfulness. It's been recognized as helpful for eating disorders, stress and coping mechanisms, and parenting challenges... but could mindfulness also be the secret to mind-blowing sex? Some sexperts and health professionals certainly think so!
While a desire for better sex isn't normally the reason a client seeks out my services, sex is something that comes up over and over again when dealing with other health and hormone issues. Unless you're asexual, a low libido can be a sign of underlying health problems.
Conversely, great sex can have huge health benefits, including boosting your immune system and mood, while working wonders for your skin. So, how can you use mindfulness to have better sex, strengthen your relationship, and maybe even support your fertility journey?
Great sex can have huge health benefits, including boosting your immune system and mood, while working wonders for your skin.
How is mindfulness related to sex?
First, let's think about what we mean by mindfulness. Author Lori Brotto defines mindfulness as "present-moment nonjudgmental awareness." For mindful sex, this means paying attention to bodily sensations and avoiding, or moving on from, distracting thoughts. For example, you might notice that your partner's skin feels soft, warm, or cool, or notice how nice they smell or how their voice or breath sounds in that moment. And, if a thought threatens to distract you from the moment, you can just acknowledge it and let it fall away.
For mindful sex, this means paying attention to bodily sensations and avoiding, or moving on from, distracting thoughts.
Advocates of mindfulness have noted that the practice is not only helpful for individuals working through past trauma, it can also take an already great sex life to the next level and even help sex feel enjoyable again if fertility problems have turned it into a chore.
Being 'present' is key, which means tuning out all other distractions. So, leave your cellphone, tablet, and other devices out of the bedroom, dim the lights, so it's easier to focus solely on your partner (and yourself), and... focus on the raisin. Wait, what?
Think of the raisin
Oddly enough, raisins have become synonymous with mindfulness practice for some. In mindfulness training, you learn to truly appreciate all the qualities of a raisin, scrutinizing its shape, feel, smell, and size, then moving on to how it feels against your lips, noting any effect on your salivary glands. When, after many minutes of anticipation, you finally put the raisin in your mouth, feeling the ridges of the fruit, and then bite into it, you'll be acutely attuned to the explosion of taste.
Now, think about how sensual and satisfying sex could be if you apply the same mindfulness approach to lovemaking. Sure, this takes some practice, and it's difficult to push aside invasive thoughts, especially if you're a multitasker with a busy schedule or if you're managing fertility issues and sex has become just another thing you need to schedule. This just makes mindful sex all the more important though as this is one of the best opportunities available to truly connect with your spouse (thanks, oxytocin!).
Can I implement this practice easily?
Mindful sex doesn't mean dedicating a whole evening or afternoon to the endeavor. In fact, bringing mindfulness into the bedroom can make even the shortest lovemaking session mind-blowing. This is especially helpful if you're trying to time intercourse or sex and insemination to maximize your chances of conception. It can also help if you and your spouse have become passing ships while you chauffeur (and clean and cook for) your kids.
Bringing mindfulness into the bedroom can make even the shortest lovemaking session mind-blowing.
Instead of focusing on the pressure of getting pregnant, the stress of work, the next ball game or anything else that distracts your brain, try shifting your focus back to the body, to the enjoyment of the sensual experience. A more enjoyable intimate experience can help prevent emotional and relationship burnout that is common after long periods of stress, or an extended journey to pregnancy.
Get ready to enjoy sex again
So, next time you're slipping between the sheets, take a moment to appreciate the feel of cotton on your skin, the smell of arousal, and how the flow of energy moves in your body. Then, enjoy all those wonderful sensations that help make you feel fantastic and re-energized.