It’s time to take that mindfulness practice you’ve been honing (right? right!) between the sheets…
Think of mindful sex like “flipping a switch on all five of your senses” as you work to expand all the jaw-dropping ways you can explore your partner, says Michelle Mouhtis, LCSW, a therapist and relationship coach based in New Jersey.
Okay, but what is mindful sex?
Mindful sex is about being fully present, physically and emotionally, during all parts of sex. On the flip side, non-mindful sex isn’t so much an exploration as it is a mechanical act.
“You and your partner may be inclined to go through the usual motions of sex once you learn what each other likes,” says Mouhtis. “But the same motions can become different when you take a moment to turn your senses on.”
Plus, getting down more mindfully will help you form an even closer bond with your S.O. “Sex becomes more intimate,” Mouhtis says. “And being more open and aware of your senses during sex heightens all of those already mind-blowing sensations.”
So how can you have more mindful sex?
Talk to your partner.
It takes two, as they say. “Discuss your desire to have sex more mindfully with your partner,” says Briony Leo, psychologist and head coach at Relish, a relationship coaching and self-care app. “Discuss what you’d like to do during sex and which sensations they’d like to focus on, plus whether you might want to use props.” Think: Ice cubes or feathers to elevate arousal or something less tangible like a special playlist or mood lighting. Remember, one couple’s pleasure is another couple’s meh, so be open to experimenting to see what heats things up for you.
Look, there’s a time and place for a quickie, but this isn’t it. “Remember, this is going to take longer than regular sex, so make sure you have the time and mental space to really enjoy it,” says Leo. Hire a babysitter. Clear your schedule. Do what you need to do to not feel rushed.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Before getting horizontal, take five minutes to do some breathing exercises together as a couple or a quick meditation. Taking these moments to sync up and do some deep breathing will prime you both for intimacy and has the added bonus of making you feel more relaxed (a big help in the “getting turned on” department!).
Focus on one sense at a time.
If you’re new to mindful sex and/ or mindfulness in general, it may feel a bit daunting to try to tune into multiple senses at once. That’s why Mouhtis recommends beginning with whatever sense feels easiest for you to focus on—say, touch—then, when you feel you’ve explored that sense enough, move to another one. A great place for beginners to start: “Notice the feelings of your partner’s hands holding you and mouth tasting you,” she says. “It immediately grounds you in the moment and heightens physical pleasure.”
Get busy with yourself.
One of the best ways to enhance your sexual experience with your partner is to carve out more time for solo sessions. “Take part in self-exploration and self-pleasure to better understand your body,” says LaWanda Hill, PhD, a licensed psychologist specializing in women’s issues and sex-positivity at Stanford University in California. “The more you understand what you find pleasurable, the more empowered you’ll feel.” So whether it’s having playtime with a new vibrator or trying out some anal masturbation techniques, follow Hill’s mantra of “explore, explore, explore.”
Play narrator for your sexy adventure.
Put on your best Samantha from SATC voice and tell your partner what you’re doing to them in real-time as you do every tantalizing move. “Try touching your partner lovingly and telling them what you’re doing, while you’re doing it,” says Gabrielle Usatynski, MA, LPC, a relationship and sex expert in private practice in Boulder, Colorado.
Have fun with it and don’t put too much pressure on yourself—and try to be as specific as possible. You know how those uber-detailed scenes just get to ya in erotic novels? Channel that!
Try a digital detox.
Jess O’Reilly, PhD, ASTROGLIDE’s resident sexologist says that 21st-century mindful sex means stashing the cell phone as far away from your bedroom as possible, out of sight. “Nothing takes you out of the moment during sex quite like a Facebook notification or an email from your boss,” she says.
Better yet, keep it out of the bedroom for the entire night. “The goal is to fall asleep and wake up to one another, not to your online friends,” she says. “If you’re already making excuses (‘but my phone is my alarm clock!’), you may need this detox more than you’d like to admit.”
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