Harness the power of mindfulness to form deeper connections
We all know the benefits of mindfulness, but have you ever considered introducing aspects of mindful practice into your sex life? Many of us don’t associate calm and mindfulness with the passion we strive for in the bedroom, yet taking the time to think mindfully about sex is a great way to super-charge your love life.
Professor Lori Brotto is a psychologist and author from the University of British Columbia’s Sexual Health Laboratory. Considering the links she’s found in her research, Professor Brotto says: “A large body of scientific research shows that mindfulness significantly improves sexual desire, and several other facets of sexual function, mood, and sexual quality of life.”
Improving the way we tune-in to our bodies through mindfulness can improve the way we tune-in to our sexuality. These five steps will help you get started.
Passionate sex is mindful sex
Think back to your most powerful sexual experience. Do you remember what was running through your head? It’s likely that you don’t. When we’re immersed in the throes of passion, we are seized by the moment. We give our whole being to it. And that is exactly what mindfulness is. Passionate sex is mindful sex: we give all our energy to the heat of the experience, with no room for distraction.
In long-term relationships, we often find ourselves slipping into autopilot. We put ourselves through the motions of sex without being present. Do you ever find yourself thinking about work, or your never-ending to-do list? Our thoughts can be a barrier to intimacy.
Learn to switch off
Be in the moment during sex. Focus on your senses, and not on how you’re performing. This will not only help both you and your partner to relax, but will make the experience more enjoyable. Focus on the parts of your body that are alight with sensation. Notice your movements, the rise and fall of your breath, the warmth and coolness, the shiver of your skin.
Talking to your partner about what you’re experiencing during sex will help you both gain a better understanding of how to dial up the pleasure. Those whispers between the sheets can also be a huge turn on.
Meditation and sex
Meditation and sex might sound like contradictory activities. Meditation is practised alone, usually in stillness and silence; sex is often active, noisy, and frequently practised with a partner! But these two activities are more complementary than you might think.
Research suggests that meditating in our daily lives has a positive impact on our enjoyment of sex. Regular meditation reduces the amount of the stress hormone, cortisol, that we produce. We all know that feeling stressed pushes sex down the priority list, and makes us more distracted when engaging with our partner. By lowering our stress levels through meditation, we can give our mind, and libido, the breathing space required to ignite our sense of desire.
Don’t put pressure on yourself
Often, we think of an orgasm as the primary goal when having sex, but placing climax on a pedestal can create unwanted pressure. According to a study published in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, more than half of women struggle to climax through penetrative sex, and chasing after an orgasm can distract from other sensual pleasures, and lead to frustration. Letting go of expectations, and simply enjoying the moment for what it is, will often yield astonishing results.
Make a date
It is easy for sex to slip down the list of priorities in long-term relationships – it’s not often given the time it deserves. A survey published in the British Medical Journal revealed that we are having less sex than we used to. This is often attributed to the fast pace of our modern lives.
A lot of value is placed on our ability to be spontaneous with sex, but there is no shame in scheduling it in. If you take one thing from this, promise yourself that you’ll dedicate a few hours to engage mindfully with sex.
Mindfulness is about finding an anchor for your focus. Let the anchor be your own body. Learn to return to that anchor when you are distracted, and you will revolutionise your love life. That’s a promise.
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