Three Ways to Bring Mindfulness Into Sex.

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Mindfulness is a way of being—both in the world and in your own skin. ‘Mindfulness’ refers to the art of paying attention—to bringing awareness and compassion to our experiences and to the life surrounding us. It’s about staying awake to everything that is going on—our emotions, our sensations, the world around us—and enjoying the present moment to the fullest. I teach mindfulness to both therapy and coaching clients to help with a wide range of issues, and have found it to be especially effective in helping people find sexual fulfillment.

Mindfulness helps us to ground ourselves in what is happening in the here and now; it is an anchor to the present moment against the waves of thoughts and worries our mind creates. Sex is supposed to feel great. Its passion is supposed to dissolve the mundane world around us. It seems strange that in the heat of the moment we would become distracted. But we do. We think about how we are doing and what we look like naked. We wonder why we can’t orgasm or focus all our attention on holding in our orgasm. Our to-do list pops into our brain against our greatest efforts to keep it out of the bedroom. This is why bringing mindfulness into sex can be so helpful. Here are a few ways to start:

  1. Check-in honestly with yourself (and your partner).

Before the clothes come off, take your emotional and somatic temperature by mentally scanning your body. Ask yourself how you are feeling in this exact moment. Are there any thoughts or emotions that are blocking the flow of sexual energy? Where are your sexual boundaries at right now? What parts of your body are inviting sexual contact, and what other parts are asking to be left alone? Take note of your findings without judgment, and communicate to your partner any needs you have in this moment. This could look like saying, “I’m feeling really excited, and also kind of nervous. Let’s take it slow.” Keep in touch with your emotions and needs (and those of your partner) throughout sex. Practice differentiating between unnecessary distraction and your body’s communication of needs. Some things are important to think about (such as, ‘do I feel comfortable doing this?’). Listen to yourself and to your partner.

  1. Use all five senses to stay grounded.

Yes, all of them. Add in sensory experiences into your environment: dim lighting, candles, lacy lingerie, a hot shower, scented oils and perfumes, sexy music. Ask yourself what relaxes you, turns you on, and grounds you, and bring that into the bedroom (or wherever you are). This way, when your mind wanders, you can rest your attention on our sensory experience and ground yourself back in the present moment. Spend a moment noticing the softness of the sheets against your back, or the smell of your partner, or the warm glow of your shadows along the wall. Indulge in the sensory richness of your sexual experience.

  1. Enjoy the ride.

Our culture has a problem with looking at sex through a goal-oriented lens. All too often, we miss the best parts of our experience by moving our attention away from the moment and placing it on the future. Whether we are focusing all our energy on “getting to the good part” or keeping tabs on the frequency with which we are having sex, we are cheapening it. Set the intention to enjoy all parts of the experience—kissing, touching, whispering, tingling anticipation—for their own sakes. Challenge yourself to let go of a linear concept of sex and enjoy exploring, moment by moment.

 

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Rachael Uris, MA, LPC is the owner of Atacama Counseling, LLC, offering sex therapy as well as individual and couple's counseling for issues surrounding sexuality, love, and pregnancy. All services are located in downtown Boulder, Colorado, and are provided in English and Spanish.
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