September is sexual health month! Sexual health is a topic I frequently discuss with my clients. If you need a refresher on what sexual health is, feel free to read our previous blog post on the subject (URL at the bottom of page).
Something I often hear from folks is that they want to enjoy sex more. So I’d like to share some thoughts on how mindfulness can be an effective tool in working toward more enjoyable sex. Here are four ways in which mindfulness can improve your sex life:
1. Checking in on your motivation to have sex
If you want to increase your chances of having a satisfying and enjoyable sexual experience, it’s essential to understand why you want to have sex at that moment. There are plenty of reasons to have sex, and there aren’t necessarily right or wrong motivations, but there are some motivations that may lead to discomfort, disconnection, or harm.
Some examples of motivations that may lead to satisfying experiences are:
- to connect with my partner
- to relieve stress
- to experience pleasure
- to play
- to explore new sexual interests
- to feel loved or cared for, and so much more!
Some examples of motivations that may not lead to satisfying experiences are:
- I feel obligated
- I’m worried my partner will be mad at me if I don’t
- to feel worthy or valuable
- I’m afraid to say no
- to avoid heavy emotions, etc.
Using a mindful practice to ask yourself, “what is my motivation behind having sex right now?” may help you assess whether or not that motivation will lead to a satisfying experience for you and your partner.
2. Identifying ‘turn ons’ and ‘turn offs’
How can you expect to enjoy sex if you don’t know what you like? Figuring out what you enjoy requires mindful awareness of sensations in your body. Staying present in your body as you explore various stimulation and sensations during masturbation is a great way to learn what feels good and what doesn’t work for you.
3. Communicating with partners
One of the best ways to improve your sex life is to practice effective communication with your partners. When you talk with your partner before, during, and after sex, you can work together to co-create a mutually satisfying experience.
You can ask for what you want and need during these conversations, set limits and boundaries, and explore possibilities—this communication hinges upon your awareness of what is important to you when it comes to sex.
Communicating during sex can help keep you present in the moment. This can look like practicing dirty talk, making instructional comments, or offering words of affirmation. All of these can enhance the experience.
4. Losing yourself in the moment
Something that quickly reduces feelings of arousal and desire is getting stuck in your head. During sex, you may experience performance anxiety, feel self-conscious of your body, or you may find it hard to stop thinking about work tomorrow or your long to-do list. All of these thought-based distractions keep you out of the present moment.
When we lose the ability to be present during sex, it becomes difficult to tap into and expand on the erotic energy and pleasure we are hoping to cultivate through sex. Try identifying a couple of ways to return to the moment when you find your mind wandering during sex.
Do you need to change positions? Focus on some visual element of your partner’s body? Hear your partner make noise or say sexy things? Play around with options that help you drop back into the present moment and relax your mind and body.
In summary, to cultivate healthy and happy sex make sure the following are involved:
- Enthusiastic consent and appropriate motivation.
- Knowledge of needs and desires.
- Effective and timely communication.
- Undivided attention/presence.
- Relaxation of the mind and body.
Then, of course, add any flavor and flare you’d like on top to personalize your experience with your partners!
You can learn more about our Intimacy Counseling (URL at the bottom of page) or Schedule an appointment (URL at the bottom of page).
What is Sexual Health blog post: https://www.intouchandmotion.com/blog/sex-therapy/what-is-sexual-health/
Individual therapy: https://www.intouchandmotion.com/counseling-services/intimacy-counseling-illinois/
Contact us: https://www.intouchandmotion.com/contact/