Heard the benefits of mindfulness meditation? Leading relationship therapist Kate Moyle says it’s a game changer for your sex life too
Often when you have conversations with people about the best sex they’ve ever had, they use phrases such as ‘in the zone’ or ‘lost in the moment’.
They can’t tell you what they were thinking, because they weren’t thinking at all; the physicality of what they were doing was where they had focused all their attention.
But for many, this only feels like it is becoming an increasingly impossible ask.
The lives we live are busy and hectic, and it feels that so many people currently use busyness as a measure of success in some way.
And with technology being our constant plus one, the boundaries between work and home easily become blurred, as we are constantly accessible and responding to notifications.
Our to-do-lists are never done.
The moment we get out of bed in the morning our brains are scanning for everything we need to do and achieve that day; and unsurprisingly reported stress and anxiety levels are at an all-time high.
So how does that relate to our sexual and intimate lives?
We have the best sex when we are fully tuned in and fully turned on, not when we are distracted.
We need our heads and bodies to be in the game together to fully experience sex. It’s a simple concept – have sex and don’t think about anything else.
But in order to do this we need to give ourselves permission to do so; to switch off from everything else around us, put the to-do lists to one side, put our phones on do-not-disturb and focus our attention.
Where we give sex our full attention, unsurprisingly we experience it more fully – imagine it like turning up the volume on the here and now.
Mindful sex isn’t about what we are doing, it’s about how we are doing it.
We know that distraction takes us away from sex, but that we only have a set amount of attention available. So if we are distracted, that attention can’t also be on the sexual experience that we are having.
So the skill we need to hone is re-diverting that attention back into the sexual experience, encouraging our arousal and desire, rather than taking away from it. It is a practice to master this redirection, but the thing about practice, is that it’s learnt.
The more we do it, the easier it becomes.
So, these are a few steps to help bring you into this state of more awareness while you’re having sex.
The main aim is to be present and in the immediate effect of what is happening in the here and now, focusing our attention on only what is in reach. Here are a few ways you can make the sex you have more mindful.
#1 Don’t focus on an end goal
Goals create a sense of having or needing to reach something for an experience to be defined as successful.
Targets only focus on the outcome and not how we got there, and this can also create a sense of performance pressure or anxiety.
Make the focus to simply be; to enjoy the experience of each other’s touch, and to experience pleasure.
Remember that intercourse also doesn’t have to be part of a sexual experience for it to be pleasurable or fulfilling.
#2 Use your senses to stay present
Check in with your senses, they are free and available for you to use at any time, and tuning into them is a way of navigating your attention to the right here, right now.
What can you smell
What can you hear
What can you see
What can you feel
What can you taste
A simple example is the sensation of your partner’s skin against yours, the weight, temperature and texture of their body and skin.
#3 Acknowledge distractions
If any thoughts or distractions come up, acknowledge them and that they are there, but then re-focus.
If you give them all your attention, and go with them then you will find yourself out of the moment and the further you go, the harder it is to come back.
#4 Don’t judge each other
Just allow the experience to be what it is.
Like everything else in life, our sex lives have variance, good days, bad days and average days.
It’s not fair to judge the quality of the entirety of anything based on one part of it. Be understanding, warm and loving and focus on the person, not the performance.
#5 – Make space
If you are struggling to know where to start with all this mindful sex, schedule some time for it.
What you do in that time doesn’t have to be scheduled, but agree the rules.
Make sure the time stays in the diary, limit your tech use or don’t use it at all and don’t cancel.
There is no pressure to schedule sex; the focus is just on giving yourselves permission to dedicate that time to nurturing the physical and intimate connection between the two of you.
It might feel that mindfulness is a bit of a buzzword, or that it’s ‘just a phase’ or a ‘trend’ but these techniques are nothing new, particularly not in the world of Psychosexual Therapy – we have been recommending them to couples for years to help enhance their sex lives.
So take the time to invest in your sex life, nurturing it in what may feel like a very simple way. Trust me, it’s highly effective.
To be more mindful, is to get more out of your experiences, and when this comes to our sex lives, that can only be a good thing.
Kate Moyle: As a CORST accredited Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist, I specialise in working with those that are struggling with difficulties with their sex lives and sexuality, including many in their twenties and thirties who are impacted by the stresses of modern life.
I consider a client’s problem or sexual dysfunction in terms of their personal context and meaning and the role it holds for them as an individual.
I work empathetically with people to recognise their personal understanding of their sexuality and sexual health; with the view that issues have roots in psychology, emotion, the physical body, and a person’s history and culture.
Ultimately my aim is to help people get to a place of sexual health, happiness and wellbeing.
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