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Mindful sex

mindful sex
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Whilst a lot of the focus on sex is about getting somewhere faster or in a bigger way, there is a quiet revolution that is starting to permeate the mainstream. Mindfulness is the flavour of the month in all sorts of ways and is starting to become available on the NHS as either an alternative or complement to anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. There is now a school of people finding huge benefits from applying the same practice to sexual relationships.

Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the cornerstone practice of Buddhist psychology and through research, has been shown to alleviate stress, depression and anxiety, and even boost your immunity. It helps to focus the mind on what’s happening in the moment, often through following the breath. In a nut shell it’s about being in the moment rather than caught in the past or focussed on a future plan or goal.

Sadly many people’s sexual experiences are far from being in the present moment. People are often caught up in performance anxiety, concern about how their body looks, wondering how to ask for what they really want or just always chasing that elusive full body orgasm!

Be right here, now

Mindfulness practice helps people to settle down and bring acceptance to what is right here and now and to let go of things having to go a certain way. By being focussed on your breathing, the sensations in your body, the sounds and sights that you are noticing, without getting overly caught up in any of them, it is possible to become better attuned to what you want and need and also be more aware of what is going on for your partner so that you can resond in better ways as a lover.

And breathe….

Focusing on the breath is the most basic approach to mindfulness meditation and the one you’ll want to return to frequently, but you can also try a body scan, in which you gently and slowly bring awareness to different parts of your body. If there’s a part you consistently can’t tune into, think about what it would be like to have more awareness of sensation there. You may be writing off that part of your body through numbness or discomfort, whereas the more you can be aware of your whole body, the better sex is going to be.

Mindful sex

mindful sexSlowing down and letting go of goals is a by-product of most meditation. Sex can be incredibly goal focussed with orgasm being the be all and end all of the experience. Explore with yourself and your sexual partner how it would be to put that aside and simply relax into enjoying the sensations and experience moment to moment. It is quite a radical shift and overtime can lead to much deeper levels of intimacy. You may even be surprised about the richness of seemingly simple practices such as stroking one part of the body softly or looking into each others eyes, whilst being aware of breathing.

Stop worrying

An important element of being in the moment during sex, is to stop worrying about your orgasm: Just focus on the sensations you’re having, in a non-judgmental, non-critical way. The famous sex researchers Masters and Johnson developed a technique called sensate focus in which you and your partner take turns feeling what it’s like to touch and be touched (when he runs his fingers up and down your back, for example) in both sexual and non-sexual ways. The exercise helps you pay attention to the experience rather than the orgasm goal… or the size of your thighs.

Twenty minutes a day devoted to mindfulness meditation will support you to become much more present, and breaking this into two 10-minute chunks also seems to work. Most people start with five or even just two minutes and work up from there. It’s more about the regularity than the quantity,and it’s important to ‘practice mindulness whislt practicing mindfulness’ in terms of just being with what is when you sit down and meditate rather than trying to get to a place of absolute calm!

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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