Overthinking killing the mood? Get mindful in bed – here’s how.
Sextrain your brain
Think sex, think genitals. But new research locates the source of sexual pleasure and frustration about 90cm higher – in our minds. “During the day we train our minds to be in multiple places at once. But sex requires full brainbody communication, not distractions, which hamper response,” says psychologist Dr Lori Brotto. Read on for ways to keep your brain and body orgasmically aligned.
Think bedroom yoga
Wonder what yoga and sex have in common, besides bendy legs? Well, like reaching dancer pose, reaching orgasm is easier when you’re 100% present-moment focused.
In a study of women seeking treatment for low desire, Dr Brotto found that just four sessions of mindfulness meditation improved arousal, because it stops self-judgement. “When we focus on the sensations unfolding in the moment, we don’t evaluate, overthink or worry about them,” she says.
How to do it? The most basic method is to follow your breath (in, out, in) or ask yourself, ‘What do I feel?’ “Root your focus in physical sensations: your partner’s breathing, the sounds of bodies moving.”
Lose task mentality
Whatever great things are happening, urgency can trump eroticism: Am I close? Will it happen? “Setting up orgasm as a goal is a sure way not to have one,” says Dr Vivienne Cass, author of The Elusive Orgasm (Marlowe & Co; R292). “The minute you start tensing to work at it, you’re distracted. The closer you get, the stronger the anxiety and the more likely you are to switch off sexual feelings.”
If you catch yourself on the Impatience Express, Dr Cass recommends stopping other thoughts by repeating, ‘It’s good for me to simply enjoy what’s happening.’ If ‘must’ or ‘have to’ enter your internal dialogue, ask yourself, ‘Is there real pressure on me to orgasm or is it imagined?’ Lifting that weight could get you there.
Be your own narrator
Sometimes the solution is letting a wandering mind run wild rather than reining it in. “Fantasy isn’t mindfulness, but it can keep you ‘on topic’. It’s about moving to another place – an image, memory or story – to boost sexual response,” says Dr Brotto.
Narrate what your partner’s doing to you – the more you flesh out the fantasy, the more you immerse yourself in it.