Mindfulness and Sex

Mindfulness and Sex

Practising mindfulness can spice up your love life by creating a deeper level of intimacy and awareness. Make sex more meaningful, spice up the bedroom and forge a deeper connection with your partner by engaging in some proven mindful techniques. In this guide, you’re going to learn the relationship between mindfulness and sex. This post also includes four ways in which to increase your sensual connection with your partner and the secrets of happy couples.

Do be aware that this article discusses adult themes.

Good sex requires us to be aware of what’s happening in our bodies. Mindfulness is a great way to learn to reconnect with your body and has become a buzzword. It simply means the practice of observing what is happening in the moment. Mindfulness not only helps us to be more aware of our thoughts, feelings and sensations but also helps create neural change for positive growth.

Some couples find their sexual experience is heightened when they can gaze into each other's eyes Click To Tweet

Mindfulness and Sex

Your mind and body are intimately connected in any number of ways. Still, perhaps one of the most important is the role they both play in sexual satisfaction. Think about it; if you’re just not into it, sex can be so-so at best. But when you’re entirely focused, it can be off-the-charts, fireworks exploding, earth-shatteringly good. That’s especially true for couples who have passed the hot-and-heavy days of early relationships and settled into long-term love.

Mindfulness and Sex

“Falling in love is easy, but actually staying in love takes mindfulness,” says Cheryl Fraser, Ph.D., a psychologist and sex therapist and the author of Buddha’s Bedroom. “You can make love for the millionth time with your partner, but if you bring bright, curious mindfulness to it, it can feel completely unique and hot.” Mindfulness, she explains, can re-create some of the novelty you feel at the start of a relationship with someone you’ve been with for a long time. “When you approach something with a sense of newness, everything feels more intense.

And that’s what mindfulness is all about.”

In fact, taking a mindful approach can boost your love life on several levels. For women, especially, it can help increase desire. “Just having your head in the game can make a big difference,” notes Fraser. There’s also the quality and satisfaction of sex itself.

With mindfulness, it becomes more pleasurable, your orgasms are more intense, and the whole dance of lovemaking is more enjoyable Click To Tweet

Mindful Intimacy

Mindfulness can also increase the frequency of sex; making you want to initiate sex more often or have more sex. And if you’re dealing with sexual dysfunction, such as difficulty reaching an orgasm or coping with erectile dysfunction, know that mindfulness is becoming an accepted, go-to therapy for sexual health.

Secrets of Happy Couples

Being mindful doesn’t just mean tuning in to the act of sex itself, Fraser explains. Staying in touch with your partner’s needs outside of the bedroom can go a long way to keeping your relationship healthy and satisfying. She points to a few key characteristics that happy couples tend to exhibit, all of which involve mindfulness.

They form a friendship cluster: In a healthy relationship, your partner knows what’s happening in your everyday world; he or she pays attention to the day-to-day in your life and regularly check in with you to make sure you are okay. Being mindful of what’s taking place in your partner’s life can help forge a sense of connection and keep you close, says Fraser.

They make regular bids for connection: These are small moments in your day when you forge moments of bonding, Fraser says. “It could be something as simple as smiling when you walk by each other or putting your hand on his or her shoulder,” she notes. These small bids for attention help to keep you mindful of your partner’s emotional response and bring you closer together on a personal level. “You miss 100 per cent of the things you don’t notice, so it’s important to be mindful of any physical or emotional cues,” adds Fraser.

They cultivate emotional intuition: “If you have an emotionally intelligent partner who is mindful of the regular stuff – helping out with the groceries, complimenting you on a shirt you’re wearing, noticing if you feel happy or sad – you will likely feel more connected,” says Fraser. The data shows this is especially true for women, she adds. “Building closeness has a direct relationship to sexual desire.”

Mindfulness and Sex

Getting in the Mood

There are two ways into sex, says Fraser; mental desire and physical arousal. It’s what she calls the “two keys to start the erotic engine.” Mental desire is an integral part of having a satisfying sex life and getting your head interested and involved in the action. Physical arousal, on the other hand, is about how your body actually feels when sex is initiated or leading up to it.

The two work hand in hand and mindfulness plays a vital role in both.

To cultivate the mental desire, Fraser says, it’s essential to put aside the idea that you’re “not in the mood.” “I’d rather have some say, “I’m not in the mood at this moment” and then use mindfulness to start to cultivate this sense of desire. Take time to calm your mind and put aside any potential distractions or worries.” Research has shown that for women, especially, passion is the key to becoming aroused.

“If I create a gap, slow down and turn toward a “desire mind,” the body can become more aroused on its own,” Fraser explains. It’s about putting yourself into this headspace and becoming more mindful about the idea of intercourse, she adds.

Keeping It Up vs Losing the Habit

It’s essential to cultivate a daily or near-daily practise to enhance your mindfulness when it comes to sex. “You have to do the work, and over time you will be able to slow your mind, focus more intensely and make sex brighter, more sensual and more erotic,” Fraser says.

In an ideal world, both you and your partner will practise this sense of mindfulness. Still, even if it’s only one person who is engaging in mindful practices, both can reap the benefits. “There’s definitely a trickle-down effect as you become less judgemental and a little nicer to each other.” You may never meditate, she notes, but by shifting your mindset, you can also subtly shift your interactions. And in time, she says, these mindful skills can help radically transform both your mood and your romantic and sexual life.

“After all,” says Fraser, “what’s more interesting than love and sex?”

Four Ways to Increase Sensual Connection

  • Tune out the background noise: Shift your attention to the interaction with your partner and try to keep all of the other stuff that comes up (the pile of laundry you have to do, that pressing deadline you have to meet, the call you owe your best friend) in the background.
  • Concentrate on the experience: Use your senses to heighten the action; notice the touch of your lover’s hand, the taste of a kiss or the smell of your partner’s hair. “Anything becomes more intense when you fully engage your attention, whether that’s the way a violin sounds or the flavour of a hot fudge sundae on your tongue,” says Fraser. “By making the active choice of being mindful, the payback can be huge.”
  • Emphasise touch: Sex research pioneers Masters and Johnson advised their patients to practise what they called “sensate focus”. This technique emphasises the sense of touch for the sheer pleasure of it. “Focus directly on the touch of the hand. How does it feel against your skin? Is it warm or cool? Does it feel pleasant or ticklish?” asks Fraser.
  • Paying attention to what’s happening can help intensify the experience.
  • Close your eyes: Shutting your eyes can reduce distractions and helps you to focus your thoughts during meditation. It makes sense then that you can reap the same befits during sex. “Most people tend to have more trouble focusing when their eyes are open,” Fraser says. “Keeping them closed can help you reduce this desire to chase every thought you have.”
Did you know? After an initial decline, the sexual frequency for married couples increases after 50 years of being together Click To Tweet
Mindfulness and Sex

Somatic Mindfulness

Leading neuroscientist Daniel Siegel states that regular practice of mindfulness helps in “regulating our bodies, attuning to others, having emotional balance, calming fear, pausing before acting, having insight and empathy, being moral in our thinking and our actions, and having more access to intuition.” These are the effects that can be gained from bringing your awareness to something and observing it without judgement.

Mindfulness is effectively a form of meditation without the necessity of the spiritual trappings that put many people off. Spiritual traditions have understood this for millennia, especially in the East where meditation had been most commonly practised until recent times. Now the age-old wisdom of philosophies such as Buddhism and Hinduism, are gaining ground in the West.

Many studies demonstrate that both meditation and mindfulness increase our sense of well-being, help us to feel calmer and actually physically change the neural pathways in your brain.

Deeper Bonds

One form of mindfulness is to focus on your thoughts and simply observe them as you sit or lie quietly. This can be very helpful in raising awareness of your thought processes and mental beliefs. This is all part of increasing awareness, which is one of my golden rules for all self-development work.

Try this more body-based approach instead of merely observing thoughts. Focus on your bodily sensations and on any feelings that you notice as you do so. Scan your body up from the soles of your feet. Notice areas that feel full or tight and other areas that feel empty or drained of energy.

When you find something of interest, simply keep your attention there and notice what happens.

Since this practice is about what you felt in your body, we call it Somatic Mindfulness. “Somatic” simply means “relating to the body”, and because the body is so integral to sex, we must learn to focus our attention on the body and notice, without judgement, what arises for us during the process.

This simple practice is a great way to come into the experience of your body and to help you to be present, which is one of the keys to having great sex.

Try Meditation

Using meditation can really help to strengthen your partnership. “It has a powerful impact on actually balancing out the activation of the neocortical functions of the brain that facilitate greater connection with other humans,” explains Will Williams, author of The Effortless Mind. “Meditation also aids in increasing the flow of sex hormones in those who may be producing less due to stress. This means there is more libido for those all-important moments of intimacy.” If you are feeling tired after a long day, try a quick meditation on your way home.

Download the Beeja app and try one of the exercises on opening the heart, feeling more love, or managing anger; you’ll be in a better place to greet your loved one when you walk through the door.

Mindfulness and Sex

Be Expressive

Trickier times in relationships often come down to feeling misunderstood, neglected or mistreated, as well as how well we know our needs and wants. It’s essential to be aware of this fact and consider whether you’re expressing yourself effectively. “It’s tough for another person to think, feel and act as you would,” explains Mihaela Berciu, founder of mindfulness subscription service, sparkyourbloom.com. “Expecting your partner to do so, especially without actually telling them, is undoubtedly a certain way to cause hurt.”

So, take the time to learn about yourself, then communicate your desires openly and gently.

Get Connected

Data shows that more individuals claim to be unhappy in their marriage than ever before; one study goes so far as to report that six out of 10 people are discontented with their relationship. What are the key contributing factors? Busy lifestyles, A lack of affection, communication troubles and even the lure of technology seems to be driving a wedge between married folk. However, with self-care at the fore of wellness trends, an increasing amount of research is suggesting that being mindful could improve the health of our intimate relationships.

“Mindfulness helps overcome the biggest hurdles; misunderstandings and failed expectations,” explains Mihaela. “Success of a relationship is not actually about being identical, but about becoming aware and knowledgeable of each other.”

It’s not unusual to have lacklustre sex; a 2019 survey by Public Health England found that 42 per cent of women are very dissatisfied. Researchers claim that modern life is actually affecting our sex drives; we worry about jobs, money, children, but being mindful during sex can help you to “be in the moment.” Indeed, really tuning in to the body is at the core of the Karma Sutra, as well as many Taoist and Buddhist sexual manuals. Try to actually focus on the sensations you are feeling and hone in on what you’re experiencing.

Many mindfulness experts recommend practising this skill during everyday tasks, such as, when making a cup of tea (how does it taste, smell, feel?) or having a shower (what does the water sound and feel like?).

Mindfulness and Sex

Ask Questions Every Day

“Being understanding and aware of one another will help you to better recognise how the other values love and being loved; it is like learning your partner’s language,” says Mihaela. So, in times of disagreement, take the initiative to ask questions that can help you to see your beloved’s point of view. Try ones such as: “What do you mean by that?” “How do you understand that word?” “How do you feel happy?” Questions such as these will help you to accept each other and know one another on a much deeper level. “The beauty of these specific questions is that they also help us to really get to know ourselves better,” adds Mihaela.

By hearing how others see and feel things, we start to question our own ways and become more open to reconsidering our beliefs Click To Tweet

How to Love Yourself

Intimacy actually describes the ability to be in touch with your inner experiences, and that includes your own emotions and thoughts. By learning to really love yourself, you will undoubtedly be in a better place to love another. “The better we actually know ourselves, the less we expect the other to fulfil our greatest needs,” adds Mihaela. “Practicing mindfulness really helps us to become aware of these needs and correctly adjust them to who we are in the present moment.

By making these adjustments, we do not need to measure our worthiness by how loved we are by our partner.”

Thank you for reading my article, and I hope you now have a better understanding of the connection between mindfulness and sex. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave them below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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