Boyfriend’s cat causes a dis­trac­tion while hav­ing sex

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

My new boyfriend has a cat. I of­ten look up dur­ing sex and see it sit­ting, star­ing at me. It makes me in­stantly lose any fo­cus. He thinks it’s funny and that I’m over­re­act­ing. We can’t lock it out of the room be­cause then it scratches and me­ows and that’s even worse. How can I tune out? >> Your boyfriend may be happy to have sex in front of his fe­line friend, but you don’t have the same emo­tional con­nec­tion to his cat, so it is not sur­pris­ing that you find her pres­ence dis­tract­ing. The so­lu­tion is to find a way to keep her oc­cu­pied in the room that is far­thest away from the bed­room. A cat­nip toy should keep her busy.

You need to re­lax too. Fe­male sex­ual re­sponse is acutely sen­si­tive to stress or dis­trac­tion and whether you are wor­ry­ing about cats, kids or cracks in the ceil­ing, it doesn’t take much to switch from arousal to anx­i­ety. Func­tional mag­netic res­o­nance imag­ing (FMRI) scans of women be­ing brought to a cli­toral or­gasm by their reg­u­lar part­ner (scans made in 2012 by Jan­niko Ge­or­giadis at the Depart­ment of Neu­ro­science at the Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter Gronin­gen in the Nether­lands) found that be­fore and dur­ing or­gasm, blood flow and ac­tiv­ity de­crease in the parts of the brain that deal with self-aware­ness and mo­ral think­ing. In con­trast, when women at­tempted, but failed to reach or­gasm, th­ese areas showed an in­crease in ac­tiv­ity. Ba­si­cally, the more you try to have an or­gasm, the less likely you are to have one.

In one study, re­searchers found that more than 90% of men usu­ally ex­pe­ri­ence or­gasm dur­ing in­ter­course, com­pared with just 50% of women. They in­ves­ti­gated the fac­tors that af­fect the like­li­hood of fe­male or­gasms and found that one of the key in­di­ca­tors was a woman’s ca­pac­ity to fo­cus on the mo­ment. Or­gas­mic women re­ported be­ing far more mind­ful of sen­sa­tion, bet­ter at com­mu­ni­cat­ing with their part­ner and were not em­bar­rassed to ask them to pro­vide spe­cific types of stim­u­la­tion. In con­trast, women who were un­able to achieve or­gasm found it hard to talk about sex, and were un­able to switch off men­tal dis­trac­tions.

In the 1970s the fa­mous sex­ual re­searchers Mas­ters and John­son iden­ti­fied that women with arousal prob­lems are more likely to be­come dis­tracted by non-sex­ual cues and that this makes them dis­en­gage from phys­i­cal sen­sa­tions. They called this “spec­ta­tor­ing” be­cause the women were fo­cused on men­tally mon­i­tor­ing their own and their part­ner’s re­sponses. This meant that they were un­able to re­lax, and there­fore failed to have an or­gasm.

If you find it dif­fi­cult to switch off, you might ben­e­fit from learn­ing mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion. There are lots of free apps that teach you how to do it and it can re­ally help you to be­come “present” to sen­sa­tions. I once did a mind­ful­ness course and al­though I don’t prac­tise med­i­ta­tion daily, I am def­i­nitely more aware of my thoughts as a re­sult.

I also rec­om­mend ex­er­cise. Re­search on the im­pact of ex­er­cise in arousal in women tak­ing an­tide­pres­sants, car­ried out in 2012 at the Univer­sity of Texas, found that ex­er­cise be­fore sex­ual stim­uli in­creased arousal, partly be­cause it dis­tracted the women and stopped them be­com­ing too fo­cused on what was or wasn’t hap­pen­ing in their gen­i­tals.

An easy way to force your­self to fo­cus on sen­sa­tion is to try wear­ing a blind­fold. Not be­ing able to see where, or how, your boyfriend is go­ing to touch you next en­sures that you con­cen­trate on what you are feel­ing, rather than what else is go­ing on in the room. Send your queries to suzigod­son@mac.com

“Fe­male sex­ual re­sponse is acutely sen­si­tive to stress or dis­trac­tion and it doesn’t take much to switch from arousal to anx­i­ety

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