How to Combine Sex and Mindfulness
We’ve all had mindless sex at some point. I’m talking about the drift into mind-wandering that can happen during some of our greatest pleasures, consciously or subconsciously.
From picturing your favourite porn scene or delectable fantasy, to dealing with anxiety ridden evaluations of our bodies or performance, to fearing contraception failure, or your neighbours overhearing through your paper thin walls.
There are hundreds of opportunities for your mind to wander away from what’s happening in front of you, or to you.
I’m pretty much a stranger to mindfulness.
In fact, when trying to learn about what it was, I watched a video on x2 playback to take in the information more quickly. Ironic, huh?
From what I’ve learnt, I think that mindfulness could be the answer to those mid-sex distractions.
The thoughts will still appear, but rather than allowing them to absorb us completely, we can use mindfulness to bring us back into the zone to connect with ourselves, our sexual partner(s) and ultimately, experience more pleasure.
What is mindfulness?
Mainstream ‘mindfulness’ practiced globally has strong foundational roots in Buddhist meditation.
It has been brought into the mainstream over the past few decades, in part to the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, launched in 1979.
Kabat-Zinn defines the concept as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally”.
Mindfulness involves completely present awareness of your thoughts, feelings, sensations and environment through a gentle and caring lens.
Practice can often involve focusing on the feeling and flow of your own breath, noticing when your mind wanders non-judgmentally and gently bringing it back to the breath for some time.
Mindfulness can be infused into any part of life. For example, people practice mindful eating, through which feelings of hunger and thirst are noticed with care, and each mouthful of food is led through observing the colours, textures and flavours of the meal.
You can also practice mindfulness through everyday activities like washing dishes, through which you focus on the action, sight and feeling of the water and soap on your skin.
How to have mindful sex
I know that I, along with many other people, am addicted to the world behind the screen of my phone and laptop. It’s no wonder that this constant craving for distraction makes its way into the bedroom, too.
So, I suggest creating a tech-free environment pre, during and post-sex. Focus wholly on yourself and the person(s) you’re with.
Notice their body language, facial expressions and tone of voice and how each of these things makes you feel.
Focus on where and how you are being touched, does each touch fill you with pleasure, can you feel it ripple through your whole body or is it focused in just one area?
Focus on your breath, notice its shortness or how your pleasure explodes through long exhales. Take things slow.
If you’re going solo, mindful masturbation is pretty simple.
Try and exclude stimulus of any kind if you can. You are your own stimulus. Focus on the feeling of your actions and how your breath changes throughout your session.
If you’re with others, this all boils down to communication, just like any other sexual act. Let your partner know that you’d like to practice mindful sex, and maybe get up to something slightly different this time.
Make sure to gain consent before going ahead with anything with a partner.
For me, I know that I find practicing mindfulness quite difficult during penetration, there’s just a bit too much going on. However, I know that light, whole-body touching and skin-to-skin contact sends fireworks to my nether-regions.
This could include some kind of sensory deprivation like a bondage kit, so that I’m forced to focus solely on the way things feel on the skin. This kind of act would involve one (or more) partner(s) giving and the other(s) receiving.
Massages, with body oils is also a great way to focus purely on sensation, and the way your breath changes as your experience pleasure. Taking turns is always important to make sure everyone who wants to receive, gets their own time, too.
You can also be a mindful giver, feel your partner and watch how their body moves as you pleasure them, how does it make you feel?
Most importantly, if those distracting thoughts pop into your head, acknowledge them non-judgementally and slowly bring them back to whatever you were focusing on.
If the thought is too distracting, it might be time to do something else, or stop entirely and try again at a later time.
Communication is key when it comes to this and voicing your thoughts and feelings to your partner(s) could make for a safer and happier experience for everyone involved.
Eleni is a health communications student from Sydney. Her favourite topics to communicate are sexual health, gender and sexuality; she spends her time smashing taboo topics everywhere she goes.
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