In this age of information and technology, we tend to live fast paced lives, with news, social media and any answers we want at the touch of our fingertips. Whether our daily routines include work, caring for loved ones or simply making dinner, we often feel we do not have enough time or focus in the day to do necessary tasks, like making breakfast, washing clothes and paying bills, let alone doing something that is good for us and relieves stress.
So where does sex fit in to our ever increasingly busy and faced paced lives? Here is where mindful sex comes into play. Both sex and mindfulness are known to reduce stress levels and promote overall well-being. Being mindful during sex can enhance sexual pleasure as well as improve intimacy. But what is mindfulness you may ask?
Mindfulness is a Buddhist concept and eastern meditation practice that is gaining more interest in the western world as people come to understand its benefits. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, the definition of mindfulness includes, “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Increased awareness is at the heart of mindfulness, which can serve to help you relax and focus on the sensations you are feeling. Anyone can practice mindfulness, and through repetition, the exercise can become a fixture of our day-to-day lives.
To become mindful, in and out of the bedroom, the first step involves engaging in mindfulness on a daily basis. Start by setting aside about 10 minutes a day. Begin by siting in a comfortable position and turn off all distractions. Then focus your attention to your body. Notice what sensations occur as you relax. Be in the moment and let go of expectations. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowing. Then breathe in through your nose while slowly counting to four. As you exhale on four counts, notice as your breath passes your lips and your chest falls. If you find yourself distracted with thoughts, gently bring your attention back to your body. With time, mindfulness practice will train your mind to pay attention and be better attuned to what you are experiencing in the present moment. If you need further support and direction, try using a guided meditation.
Once you have mastered mindfulness individually, you can bring this practice into the bedroom. Mindfulness is a great way to take your sex life up an notch by increasing arousal and the likelihood of orgasm. We often think of sex as something that solely involves our bodies, but a great deal of our sex life occurs in our brains. Our thoughts and feelings play a fundamental role in getting us turned on, and remaining so. Mindful sex can be particularly helpful for those who find themselves distracted with thoughts or who have difficulty turning off everyday worries while engaging in sex. While for some mindfulness comes naturally during sex, for others it is common for our minds to wander, whether it be how our bodies look in certain positions, upcoming work assignments, worrying about pleasing our partners, or if we are going to achieve orgasm.
In order to be mindful while having sex, we must learn to observe what is occurring both inside our body as well as our mind, including our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the surrounding environment, without assigning judgment. Mindful sex involves really tuning in to the moment, yourself, and your partner. Once you become aware of what you are feeling, whether that be anxiety or fatigue, you can then focus on bringing your mind back to physical sensations that are occurring.
Being mindful allows us to be truly aware during sex, acknowledge feelings and thoughts that arise, notice sensations we may have overlooked in the past, and recognize and accept what really gets us off. Once you become comfortable with engaging in mindfulness during sex, you will be able to reap the benefits, including becoming more sensitive and having a deeper connection to your body as well as to your partner.
For more information about mindful sex, Kate Klein, LMHC, Chamin Ajjan Psychotherapy or the Mindful Intimacy for Couples Group call 917.476.9381 or CLICK HERE.