How to Improve Your Sex Life by Being More Present
If you’re not exposed to ongoing distraction, you’re probably camping or hiding out in a monastery. Our modern lives are so saturated with competing stimuli that multi-tasking could be thought of as a basic survival tool for life in the 21st century!
The technological revolution is partly to blame: most of us live amidst a non-stop stream of buzzes, beeps, newsfeeds and notifications. One of the effects of this lifestyle, however, is a lack of presence in our day-to-day lives. This can affect not just our mental and emotional lives, but also our sexual wellbeing. Believe it or not, recent data showed that 1 in 10 people check their smartphone during sex!
In this article which aspects of your sex life could be improved if you were to become more present. Next, I provide some actionable advice that you can use to achieve this level of presence in your own life.
#1 - More Sexual Satisfaction
Think back to the most satisfying sex you’ve ever had. What was going through your mind at the time? I’m willing to bet you weren’t thinking about work or your overdue tax returns. This is because mind-blowing sex happens when your mind is right there with you in the room.
This phenomenon is known as sexual concordance, where your mind is tuned-in to your bodily experiences. Research shows that women especially are prone to low sexual concordance. This happens when your body is responding sexually – in the form of increased blood flow to the vagina, for example. However, at the same time, you’re experiencing low sexual satisfaction because your mind is elsewhere!
It’s important, therefore, to be mentally present during sex. This is backed by research, which says that being more present generally leads to more satisfying sexual encounters and improvements in female sexual dysfunction.
#2 - Lasting Longer in Bed
Premature ejaculation is a common condition, whereby a man climaxes too soon. Often, this is a matter of being so mentally preoccupied that you fail to notice the physiological signs leading up to orgasm. Sex therapy for premature ejaculation involves training clients to become more aware of what’s happening in their bodies and minds during sex.
By paying attention to these signs – being more present, in other words – a man can sync his mind with his body. This provides the basis for ejaculatory control. If you’re interested in exploring this topic in a bit more depth, take a look at another more extensive article which I wrote on the topic of how to last longer in bed.
#3 - Increased Libido
Symptoms of depression and anxiety can devastate your sex life. These conditions are linked to changes in brain chemicals and neurological pathways that are linked to your sex drive. Importantly, a 2017 review study shows that these sorts of psychiatric disorders respond incredibly well to treatment that incorporates mindfulness – a technique which helps you to focus on the present. Becoming more present, therefore, can help address underlying emotional issues that might be lowering your libido.
So, How Can You Become More Present?
Becoming more present is both simple and challenging. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. The following are 3 simple mindfulness-based exercises. For best effect, practice these not just during sex, but also at other times throughout the day.
#1 - Notice Your Breath
Fortunately, we breathe automatically without having to pay attention to this process. To be more present, however, pay attention to your breath without trying to change the depth or rhythm. Observe the sensations that arise as the oxygen travels down your airways, expanding your lungs. Feel the exhalation and take note of how your body responds as the warm air leaves your lips.
#2 - Notice Your Sense of Touch
This might be a matter of noticing the feeling of your clothes against your skin, the ground underfoot or the texture and temperature of the chair on which you’re sitting. During sex, there is no shortage of sensory experiences.
Think broadly, however: don’t focus solely on your sex organs. Notice the sensations that arise as your lips come together. Pay attention to what it feels like to run your fingers through your partner’s hair, down their arm and across their back.
#3 - Notice Your Thoughts
Thoughts are constantly drifting in and out of our minds, like clouds passing across the horizon. It’s easy to get caught up in and carried away by these thoughts, which takes us out of the present moment.
To avoid this, engage in the simple act of noticing your thoughts without engaging with them. It’s natural to have these thoughts, so don’t try to banish them. Rather accept their presence and choose to increase your own presence by calmly watching their ebb and flow.
Love in the Moment
Exciting developments in the world of neuroscience have led to the discovery that our brains are neuroplastic – i.e. they can change. Just like a muscle, therefore, your brain can be trained and strengthened. By practicing the mindfulness-based exercises that we have discussed today, you can effectively rewire your brain to be more present. In this way, you can benefit from increased emotional well-being as well as a more fulfilling sex life.
Related Article: Should You Be Open With Your Partner About Your Masturbation Habits?