By Amy Stewart, LMFT
That we fancy ourselves as well-practiced at living in a sexual moment, longing to return with our partner/s to the “natural feeling of time stopping and everything else falling away,” is one of the most blatant contradictions of human experience. In reality, sex is one of the areas where we are inveitably least mindful. We're often focused primarily on the goal of climax, for ourselves or partner, leaving us living constantly in our heads, thus a few steps ahead of our bodily sensations.
Often it sounds something like this: Is this taking us toward or away from orgasm? Do they like this? Do I like this? Is it too much? Should I tell them they’re on my hair? How much longer do I have to do this? What exactly was one supposed to think about England whilst lying back?
Helping clients to step out of the chatter and into their bodies is one of the foundational aspects of sex therapy. Being more mindful and in the moment can both improve sexual response and sidestep anxiety about performance. As Amy Freier highlighted last week, sexual mindfulness might just blow your mind and it’s a big part of sex therapy, both in and out of session.
Some quick tips:
Start Outside of The Bedroom: Incorporating mindfulness outside of the bedroom translates into being more present in any situation, including sex. Plenty of apps are available to practice mindfulness meditation regularly, alone or with a partner.
Incorporate All The Senses: Sex can be a sensual experience. No one has to create a tantric sex den and stare into their partners eyes for hours Sting-style, but setting matters. Choosing lighting that sets a tone and doesn't distract, incorporating sexy smells and choosing music or other sounds can help you to stay present.
Come Back to The Sensation: Officially coined Sensate Focus by sex therapists Masters and Johnson, this technique calls you to focus on the sensation. Just as with any other mindfulness practice, where you might come back to your breath, mantra or sound as your mind wanders, practice coming back to the experience of touch. When you notice your mind wandering, return your focus to the physical sensation and the point of contact of giving or receiving touch. Over and over and over again.