Mindfulness makes sex way more satisfying- here's how

By Louise Head

Magazines are constantly promising to teach us the one sex trick that will transform our sex lives. Of course, there is no one trick that will ever give you a perfect sex life. Your relationship with sexuality evolves constantly over your lifetime. Satisfaction and sexual connection is something that may look different depending on who you are and what you need and desire at any given time.

However, one practice that has shown to significantly improve women’s sexual satisfaction is mindfulness. A 2013 study showed that women who intentionally engaged in a group mindfulness practice experienced a significant increase in sexual arousal, desire, general satisfaction and enjoyment during sex, as well as better physiological sexual functioning (lubrication for example). Additionally, a 2015 study showed that women who orgasm more frequently during partnered sex also score higher on mindfulness measures.

Mindfulness basically helps us to stay present in our bodies during sex. It appears to work by allowing us to feel physical sensations more consciously and deeply while also helping us to experience sex without self-judgment. It’s common for people to get distracted during sex because they are worried about whether they are pleasing their partner, whether their bodies are attractive enough, whether they will orgasm quickly enough, etc. Mindfulness can help refocus your attention away from negative thoughts and back towards physical pleasure. The best thing about mindfulness? Practicing it actually makes you better at it. 

How can you make mindfulness work for you during sex? Here are some tips. 

Anytime, anywhere 

You don’t need to be having sex with anyone to practice the type of mindfulness that will come in handy when you are having sex. Whenever you remember, practice being fully present in the moment. This can be while you’re eating, chatting with a friend, taking a shower, and, yes, even sending tedious work emails.

Mindfulness in each moment simply means paying attention to what is going on in the real world, right now, rather than daydreaming or worrying about something in the past or future. You can do this by attending to how your body and each of your five senses feel in the current moment. Mindfulness also means not judging or criticizing the experience you are having but simply accepting it for how it is. 

When you are practicing this, it’s natural to get distracted and realize you spent the last minute trying to remember whether you sent your boss that project proposal rather than paying attention to what your friend was trying to share with you. When you notice this, gently guide your mind back to the present and reconnect to your senses.

Sex + masturbation 

Practicing mindfulness during your own masturbation sessions is a great way to strengthen your ability to stay present during sex with a partner. Often, the anxiety and expectations we experience during sex with a partner, especially a newer partner, cause us to become distracted and disconnected from our bodies. This is when it can get hard to enjoy sex and actually feel physical pleasure.

During masturbation, you can experiment with paying close attention to the sensations caused by each touch. When you are alone, you have permission to relax, take your time, and explore what really feels good to you as well as what doesn’t really feel that good. Then, when you find yourself with a partner, not only will you have a better sense of what types of touch will work for you, but you will have practiced staying connected and present enough to feel it.

Name your anxieties  

If you are really struggling to stay in your body without distractions during sex, it can help to identify exactly what is causing you to disconnect during sex. When we are too in our heads during sex, whether this shows up as worries, anxiety, or self-judgment, it has a way of taking over our entire experience. Often we get a sense that sex just isn’t good for us when really there may be one or two specific things about sex that are challenging or unpleasant. Outside of those things we may actually really enjoy sex.

For example, perhaps when you think about it, your specific anxiety is knowing that you can’t achieve orgasm through penetrative sex alone but you feel like you don’t know how to communicate this to your partner. Or maybe your specific anxiety is that you won’t make your partner feel satisfied. Once you identify what’s bothering you, you can take stock of your options for addressing that specific worry. For example, maybe you just need to ask your partner how they like to be touched. 

Additionally, take some time to acknowledge what actually excites you about sex. You may find it’s easier to put your anxieties in their place when you’re more in touch with the reasons you’re really into having sex in the first place.

Constant practice  

Finally, remember that mindful sex is a constant practice. There may be days where mindful, connective, amazing sex eludes you because you’re feeling tired or stressed. That’s ok. Mindfulness works best when you treat yourself with compassion and non-judgment. Let go of the moments where you wish you could have focused more, and enjoy the moments where you are able to engage just a little more than before. 

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