Is that a crack in the ceiling?

Damn, I forgot milk.

What the hell did Karen from HR mean when she said I can’t pull off a jumpsuit?!

Loud thoughts that distract us whilst having sex are the worst.

In a study of 40 years of research on women with low desire, it was found that our thoughts play a key role in our sexual dysfunction. Some thoughts can “distract women from erotic stimulation, produce anxiety and guilt, and diminish sexual arousal and pleasure.”

There are SO many reasons why our minds wander- here are just a few….

  • If we’re not enjoying it
  • We’re worrying about our performance
  • If there’s a lack of emotional engagement during sex
  • If we’re feeling stressed or under pressure
  • Sometimes it’s caused by low-body confidence or self-esteem (our appearance)

If you’re someone that struggles with mental chatter when you have sex, you are most definitely not alone. Below is a list of my #19 tried and tested top tips to help keep your mind from wandering and stay focused on the task at hand…..

“What you focus on during sex is under your control, not in control of you” Lori Brotto

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Tips to try outside of the bedroom first….

#1. Learn more about what’s causing you to be distracted

There is a huge cross over between the ability to stay present during sex and your well-being.

Take a look at this section on mood and wellbeing- especially the parts about stress, anxiety, performance anxiety and self-esteem to find out how these can all distract you in the moment.

It’s also really hard to just “lose yourself” during sex and lean in to pleasure. Find out what factors are stopping you from allowing yourself to be vulnerable in this post about letting go to the point of foolishness during sex

#2. Look at minimising the multi-tasking

Sex is all about being in the moment- and multi-tasking is like it’s nemisis as it involves being in several moments at once. As I explain in this post, although multi-tasking is seen as a desirable skill, it could also be stealing our ability to feel pleasure by decreasing our brain’s ability to concentrate on one thing at once.

#3: Try mindfulness

Check out this post on “sex and mindfulness” to understand more about the benefits of meditation, what it is, and how you can practise it to improve your sex drive. By learning to focus your brain more outside of the bedroom you can focus more in it. This really is a super (and I’m actually going to say it- guaranteed!) method to improving pleasure!

#4: Give yourself enough time.

If you feel like getting turned on is an effort, it really takes the fun out of sex.

Responsive desire can feel like starting up the boiler after you’ve been on holiday and knowing it’s going to take AAGGGESS to heat your cold house.

So if you’re always having sex late at night, and you know that by the time you’ve been arsed to get aroused and you’ve had sex, it’s going to be at least an hour- which means not enough sleep before a busy day tomorrow- you can begin to panic about time. So, making sure you get to bed with an hour to spare before your actual bed time can mean it’s so much easier to relax, enjoy sex and know you’ll get a full nights sleep still. See the section on making time for sex for more.

Tips to try *in* the bedroom….

#5: Breathe

“Feel, don’t think. Trust your instincts”- Qui-Gon Jinn

Try focusing on your breath, breathing slowly and deeply in and out. This will help slow your mind down, giving you more oxygen and helping you calm down more generally. It apparently gives you a better orgasm too!

#6: Put on some music.

Music is great because it gives you something to listen to and anchor yourself into the present moment. Choose a sound track that makes you feel great and suits your mood/the type of sex you want to have, and get cracking.

 #7: Light a candle

Anything you can do to boost your awareness of your senses is really important, and with candles they work on both our sight and smell. Choose one with a scent that boosts eroticism if you can- rose, ylang-ylang, cinnamon or vanilla are great places to start! Equally using oil burners or incense sticks work just as well.

#8. Try initiating sex

When you initiate you are focused on what you are doing to your partner (with the added bonus of taking back some control of your sex life) which will help stop your mind wandering.

#9: Make noises

Making noise during sex, or tuning in to your partners, again taps into our sensuality with sound. To begin with if you don’t know how, just breathe heavily, sigh, give soft moans. The sound will make you more aware of the present moment, and hopefully turn you on 🙂

#10: Use lube

Lube can be SO helpful when you’re worrying about not being aroused and get into a performance anxiety loop to the point that you’re not getting wet. Using lube just nips those worries in the bud before they even begin, so that you can relax and focus on more exciting things!

#11: Do kegels

Kegels are a little trick I have up my sleeve if ever I’m struggling to keep my mind in the moment. Doing kegels brings you back to your body, and particularly your vulva, grounding you in the moment- and hopefully heightening sensation a little more.

#12: Do something with touch!

Get out a blindfold, or really softly kiss, lick and stroke each other. At times our bodies can feel numb, so use gentle forms of touch to encourage your brain to listen louder. It’s like straining to hear someone whispering- we use all of our senses to zoom in so we can hear what our bodies are saying. See this post on how to wake up your body to sex for more examples.

#13: Use mindfulness during sex.

Firstly, be kind to yourself! We ALL have thoughts that distract us during sex, just as we have them in the other areas of our lives.

Don’t judge yourself (pr panic) if you mind does wander.

Instead, consider how to distance yourself from any thoughts that come into your mind. The aim is to understand that your thoughts are not you- instead they come and go just like the weather. Some people imagine their thoughts as passing clouds, as cars, they tie them to balloons and let them go… whatever works for you. Once you’ve taken the heat out of the thought, try and gently bring your mind back to what your current focus is.

#14: Use other tactics to ground yourself-

Again this is very personal, but work out what things help you feel grounded. This means what things help you feel in the present moment.

For some it is having eye contact with their partner, for others it is thinking about what they can touch, taste, smell, hear etc.

#15: Get moving

This was a recent tip I discovered when I realised that laying in missionary meant my mind often wandered and I was more like a corpse than an active sexual partner!

So instead, get moving, wriggle that body, shake those hips, get on top- the more your body is active the harder it is to sink into the anxiety fog in your brain.

This tip was one of my all time best discoveries and personally I find it works really well…

#16: Use post-it notes to stay present

Strange, yes. Does it work? Hell yeah! Find out more here.

#17: Ask for what you want

If the sex feels bad, don’t give away your power by continuing.

Ask for something different, instruct them how to touch you, do what you need to make sure sex feels pleasurable for you.

#18: Narrate

Can’t shake your negative thoughts? Do as I do and turn the situation into a Mills and Boon-esque commentary in your head instead!

Focus your thoughts on describing whats happening as sensually as you can with you and your partner as the third person… use sight, taste, touch, smell and what you can hear to enhance the scene in your mind. This will help you stay in the room and reconnect to sex and your partner.

#19: Be honest with yourself.

We often talk about mental chatter as being bad, but sometimes the voice inside our head is actually our intuition sending us a message. So rather than ignoring these thoughts, sometimes it’s better to lean in and consider what they’re saying. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, if it hurts, if your voice is telling you to stop for any reason, trust yourself that you know whats needed and either stop or try something else.

If you’re finding that sex feels a bit stressful because you can’t focus or enjoy it, it might be impacting on your future desire. Check out this article on the sexual avoidance cycle for more information.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below- how do you stop mental chatter during sex?