BDSM May Be The Most Mindful Type Of Sex, Study Finds

When you think of mindfulness and sex, you probably think of gentle positions, face caressing, maybe even some flowers and candlelight thrown in for good measure. But in fact, recent research shows that if you're looking to feel mindful during sex, then you might want to turn to something rougher. That's right, according to a small study in Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice BDSM might just get you into that state of mind. Study author Brad Sagarin, professor in the department of psychology at Northern Illinois University found participants described practicing BDSM as feeling like "the rest of the world drops away and someone is completely focused on what they’re doing".

The study looked at seven couples and had them engage in BDSM practices for as long as they wanted and found that afterward they were less stressed and in better moods. What's interesting is that the emphasis on sensations and focus on BDSM makes what's billed as a consensual, hardcore practice actually a great way to detach.

“This may be an effective thing for people who otherwise have a hard time getting out of their intellectual head,” Sagarin told Time. “BDSM, because of the intense sensations and potentially because of the restriction of movement, may have the ability to put someone in the here and now in a way that they may find more difficult to achieve through other means.”

Think about it — being tied down or handcuffed, restricted in some way, and the specific sensations that take over everything. It sounds like a great way to switch off from the rest of the world. BDSM not your thing? There are other ways to get you feeling mindful in the bedroom:

1. Pick Your Position

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While you may not think it's sexy to plan out your positions beforehand, it's good to think about what positions will foster the best connection. "Mindful sex is all about connection," Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, tells Bustle. " You need positions where you can look in each other's eyes, be aware of each other, be in the moment and connect on a deeper level." Think missionary, face-to-face, lotus, even cowgirl— just any position where you can really feel like you connect.

2. Focus On Your Partner

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It can be the hardest thing to do, but you really need to let go of your ego. Focus on what your partner likes and, if you're not sure, take the time to actually ask them. “Take notes!" Dating and sex expert on E!’s Famously Single, Laurel House, tells Bustle "Once you’re done with the act, remove your ego and ask [them] what [they] liked, what [they] want more of, what [they] want differently. You aren’t asking in an insecure way, but instead a totally confident way."

3. Hold Still

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You actually have to be pretty brave to hold still during sex. You can feel like you're not doing enough or being impressive enough, but in reality it's the best time to pause and connect with your partner. “Incorporating periods of stillness into your lovemaking can put you into a meditative state, produce a powerful feeling of connection, and provide you with an opportunity to be together in a new way,” co-authors of Designer Relationships: A Guide to Happy Monogamy, Positive Polyamory, and Optimistic Open Relationships, Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels tell Bustle. “You are likely to enjoy subtle textures of experience that are generally unavailable in more intense and fevered encounters.” Plus, staying still can feel just as good as moving— trust me.

Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (3)