It’s not uncommon to have a wandering mind during sex. Sex can become habitual enough that we go into autopilot, allowing our mind to get distracted by non sexual things (the day ahead, our shopping lists, the need to respond to a text).
When our mind is wandering, we’re not present. We therefore know that the sexual experience isn’t going to be as pleasurable for you or your sexual partners and consequently maintaining that spark of passion can quickly become compromised.
Think back to that first time you started being intimate with a partner—whether it was a make out session in a dark room at a party or on the lounge room couch, most likely, it was exciting, adventurous, passionate, spontaneous...and you were in the moment.
Introducing mindfulness practices into the bedroom can help keep you in the moment. Headspace defines mindfulness as “the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment — free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.”
We’ve outlined some tips below to help you be more mindful during sex:
Get in the habit of practicing mindfulness outside of the bedroom
If you’ve got the right tools to be mindful when eating, walking, or spending time with a friend then there’s no reason why you can’t transfer those practices into your sexual encounters.
If you’re new to the practice of mindfulness, a good place to start is by incorporating it into an already established daily routine like when you make your morning coffee or when brushing your teeth.
Begin by paying attention to what you’re doing, notice any smells or sensations, feel your feet grounded on the floor or the item against your skin, and then notice when thoughts pop up and your mind starts to wander elsewhere. As soon as you’re aware that your mind is wandering, consciously and without judgment, bring it back to the present moment.
The more aware you become of your mind wandering and the better you get at bringing it back to the present moment, the more likely you’ll be able to do it over and over again.
Don’t be down on yourself if you notice your mind constantly wandering and don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts pop up -- it’s called a practice for a reason so keep at it. Always bringing your mind back to the moment.
Keep things spontaneous and explorative
To avoid your sex life becoming repetitive and monotonous, try to keep things spicy and don’t disregard the benefits of foreplay to ease into it. Start by building up the arousal and tension slowly. Enjoy the overall act of intimacy, the passion, the connection, the exploration, the contact, the playfulness.
Have you thought about taking off one piece of clothing slowly? How about introducing pleasure products into your sex life? Or what about roleplaying or dirty talk? Whatever your preference, keeping things interesting instead of worrying about “finishing” will help keep you engaged in the moment and out of your inbox.
Focus on breath to bring you back to your body
For many people, pressure to orgasm can be an anxiety provoking experience. The more worried you are about how quickly or slowly you’re going to finish — or if you’re going to finish at all — the more in your head you are and the less in your body you are. A good way to bring yourself back into your body is by focusing on your breath.
When we start focusing on our breath, our mind is forced to slow down. Breath is the vehicle that takes us out of our mind and into our body. Breath helps us to be more present; to feel, instead of to think.
Make sure you have a transition period
If you’ve just finished work or putting kids to sleep, you’ll most likely need to switch off and transition into feeling more sensual.
Take some time out and do whatever you need to help you get in the mood. This might be having a bath, rubbing oil on yourself, lighting a candle, meditating, sitting in silence, dimming the lights or putting technology away.
Don’t be afraid to communicate to a partner what your sexual needs are in the moment. If you’re not enjoying it, let them know what they can do to make it more pleasurable. If you’re loving it, give encouragement by telling them how good it feels. By communicating, you’re not only focusing your mind on the present but you’re also cultivating a healthy outlook on your sexuality. The best part, most likely this will deepen and strengthen your connection leading to a more fulfilling sex life.
Start with solo sex
Not being present doesn’t always mean you’re distracted on mundane tasks, it can also be because you’re experiencing anxiety about the way the sex is going or how you look.
Start getting more comfortable in your own body by spending time nurturing your own needs and being comfortable in your naked body. Consider taking the time to undress in front of the mirror and spend some time each day tending to everyday tasks in the nude. When it comes to undressing in front of a new partner, it will feel more natural to you.
Similarly, having solo sex will help you master your own pleasure so that you can easily guide others to do what feels best for you.
Image credit: @nadiaryder