The idea of being “present” feels like a new one, but in fact, the importance of staying in and enjoying the here and now (rather than fretting about the future or being stuck in the past) is a concept rooted in Eastern philosophy and teachings.
Sex is a time where our senses are the most engaged. We’re experiencing heightened sensitivity, pleasure, endorphins, connection.
So if you can’t get focussed, stay present, feel sensual, and enjoy sex ultimately the sensations can’t reach their peak.
It can feel horrible when your body is in the room but your mind is spiralling out of control.
Is that a crack in the ceiling?
Damn, I forgot milk.
I wonder if my bum’s jiggling while he thrusts?
And it’s a definite way to dampen desire.
We’ve likely all been there at times.
But for some of us, this inability to focus and enjoy sex becomes chronic, and we get stuck into a pattern where we can’t relax and lose ourselves in the pleasure.
This is mirrored by science!
In a study of 40 years of research on women with low desire, it was found that: “negative thoughts play a key role in women’s sexual dysfunction: They distract women from erotic stimulation, produce anxiety and guilt, and diminish sexual arousal and pleasure.”
If this is you- this was also me- there are a number of things you can do to combat the so called “monkey mind” and stay in the room and in the mood.
Here’s what I did:
1. Learn more about anxiety, stress and sex
In my experience, anxiety has a cancelling effect on the libido because it makes it hard to stay focussed, relax into sex and increases your inner critic.
There is a huge cross over between the ability to stay present during sex and how anxious you feel, so take a look at the section about anxiety on this site.
2: Learn to become vulnerable during sex
It’s hard to lose yourself during sex and totally give over to pleasure if you aren’t used to being present. Read this article about losing yourself and becoming vulnerable during sex for plenty of practical tips and ideas,
3: Try mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness is also a great help to try and calm down and just enjoy being in the present moment. HeadSpace are a great app to try that instructs you how to meditate, as well as this great post from Romantic Isa about how to do mindfulness and the impact on her sex life.
4: Create a focus on now.
There’s nothing more “present” than being in tune with your body (or your partners) through touch, taste, smell, touch and hearing. And this can be cultivated at every opportunity.
- Use food and take the time to savour it. When you cook, breathe in the spices you use, inhale the fragrance of the ingredients cooking, when eating, look at your food, eat colourful vegetables, eat slowly, really tasting each bite. Turn off the TV and put on some sensual music to eat, sit at the table, celebrate your meal. How about going to a food market, looking at the vibrant foods and interesting smells?
- Get yourself outside– kick the autumn leaves around, stop and realise how beautiful the rain is, watch a bird foraging for worms. Many people talk about how forest bathing is great for depression- how about great for your sex drive? Reconnect with nature, slow down, and breathe in life.
- Listen to music
- Do the five senses exercise: practise incorporating these into your everyday. Here’s some I use frequently…
- Sight: wear colours you love. Get outside and see the horizon- whether it;s from a high building or on the coast, it’s the sense of perspective that is liberating. Go star gazing, read colourful soul-fulfilling magazines, buy art prints or visit art galleries.
- Touch: have a bath and gently massage yourself, or get a massage from your partner. How about investing in a silk dressing gown for max sensual points!
- Taste: chocolate. Always chocolate. Don’t scoff it though, let it melt on your tongue.
- Sound: put on your favourite music, or some classical songs turned up loud to get goosebumps. Or, moan more than you would normally during sex. That’s a winner!
- Smell: light fragrant candles, wear your favourite perfume, bake bread or brew coffee.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below- how do you practise staying in the moment?
I’d also really recommend checking out these four articles that have some genuinely great tips for how to relax and stop getting distracted in bed