Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
A topic that came up recently in one of my couples counseling sessions here in Fort lauderdale was mindful sex.
You’ve probably heard of mindfulness before, but did you know that you can have mindful sex? In fact, practicing mindfulness during sex has a lot of awesome benefits.
Before we get to that, let me define what mindfulness is, just so we are on the same page. Mindfulness has its roots in Eastern tradition, most notably present in Buddhism.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment, not dwelling on the past or imagining the future, using your body and senses to ground you in the present moment.
It’s not about clearing your mind of any thought but about training your mind to notice and acknowledge whatever thoughts, emotions, images, or memories that might pop up; letting them go, and gently bringing your focus back to the present moment.
Acceptance is a big part of mindfulness as is remaining nonjudgmental. It’s about accepting whatever thoughts come up in a nonjudgmental way and gently focusing our attention back to the present. There is tons of research out there that mindfulness has many benefits, here is one study from 2019.
Practicing mindfulness has been shown to decrease depression and anxiety, improve stress, improve self-esteem, improve relationships, help people cope with distress and chronic pain, and regulate emotions.
There are so many benefits to practicing mindfulness daily and the best part about it is that it is so accessible. There are countless ways to practice mindfulness, if one approach doesn’t work there is something out there that likely will. These practices can also be customized to the person practicing, it’s not a one size fits all.
How Can Mindfulness Help with Sex?
Mindfulness can help improve desire problems, performance problems, and sexual dysfunctions. It can also help increase connection with romantic partners or with oneself. Think about it, when we are more in tune with our bodies and our surroundings, we are more able to engage in pleasure.
I can’t tell you how often I hear from clients that they are distracted during sex. I get it, everyone is busy, go, go, go all the time. So much of life is about routine, oftentimes sex becomes routine too.
This is generally when people begin to complain that sex is boring. People are in their heads worrying about work, the kids, the dog, or worried about their performance. This can lead to issues with being in the mood, reaching climax, maintaining erections, or fully experiencing pleasure.
The same can be said if you’re so worried about performance or pleasing your partner. So, it’s time to get out of your head and into the bed!
Here’s How to Start Practicing Mindful Sex.
- Practice mindfulness outside of sexual activity. This is especially important if you have never practiced mindfulness before. Take some time to incorporate mindfulness practices in your everyday life before taking it into the bedroom. You can find thousands of mindfulness resources online. Here is a link to a sensual body scan.
- Time your sex right. Allow yourself time to wind down from the workday. Try to be in a headspace that is conducive for pleasure. If you’re distracted with the kids, errands, chores, you won’t be in it. Try to engage in sex when these things aren’t top of mind.
- Minimize distractions. We are so connected all the time, and this does not make for a good time, sexually speaking. Get rid of the phone, leave it in the kitchen. Turn off the TV and even the music if you find that it’s distracting. Try to have your attention fully on yourself and your partner.
- Breathe into it. Breath is such a big part of mindfulness work because it acts as an anchor. Whenever a distracting thought pops into your head you can always come back to your breath as a way to refocus on the present moment. Breathing also helps lower stress, anxiety, and can help relax the body.
- Use your senses. Few activities allow you to use all your senses at once, sex hits every single one. If you find yourself slipping into your head, use your senses to ground you into the present moment. Bring awareness to the way your partner’s body feels in connection to yours, to the way your partner tastes, to the aromas produced by two connected bodies, use your sight to notice what your partner’s body looks like. Listen to the sounds you and your partner are making. This will help ground you into the present moment and the awareness of everything that is going on will certainly help with experiencing pleasure.
- Be kind to yourself. Remember it’s called a mindfulness practice, not mindfulness perfection. Your mind will wander, this is what our minds do. When this happens gently turn your attention back to the activity at hand by either using your breath as an anchor or your senses to ground you. Remain nonjudgmental and kind. The same kindness should be extended to your partner if they are also practicing mindfulness with you.
Mindfulness is an extremely useful skill to learn for everyday life, but it can also be a gamechanger in the bedroom. The benefits of mindfulness are empirically validated, science says it’s good for us!
Start to practice mindfulness during your day-to-day, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, and then try it in the bedroom.
Start off by mindfully engaging in solo sex, then include your partner.
Bringing mindfulness into the bedroom can help with many of the sexual issues that people struggle with. Try it out, you’d be surprised at how much better sex can get!
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