A lot of the sexual problems people have come down to getting stuck in your head during sex. From erectile dysfunction to anorgasmia, the real problem is sometimes that we're just not in the moment. That's why mindfulness can go such a long way toward improving your sex life.
Even when people exhibit physical signs of sexual arousal, like getting hard or wet, they're less likely to actually feel excitement or pleasure if they're thinking about something else. "Research shows that men with erectile issues tend to be less aware of how aroused they are, as they’re so worried about getting and maintaining an erection," Astroglide's resident sexologist "Dr. Jess" O'Reilly tell Bustle. "People of all genders report that they sometimes can’t reach orgasm (despite physical stimulation and arousal) when they’re stressed out, worried about the kids, or distracted by work. Because part of the brain shuts down momentarily at orgasm, if you’re not willing to 'let go,' you’re less likely to climax."
Thinking about trying to get aroused, orgasm, or do whatever you're trying to do can actually backfire, since it'll just cause more distracting anxiety. Instead, here are some ways Dr. Jess suggests getting out of your head during sex.
1Practice Mindful Masturbation
This includes setting aside 20-30 minutes without trying to orgasm, touching your whole body, and paying attention to your breathing and other physical responses. You can even play with products that bring in different sensations, like lube, massage oil, and sex toys. The awareness you gain will also help you tune into your body when you're with a partner, since "you’re less hung up on the performance and the unnecessary goal of orgasm," says Dr. Jess.
2Visualize An Ocean
One visualization technique that can help turn off your mind is to picture an ocean with waves moving in synch with your breathing. "Inhale as the waves arrive on shore and exhale as they depart back into the ocean," Dr. Jess suggests. Then, picture yourself on the beach as the water washes over you.
3Use Sensory Deprivation
Depriving yourself of one sense heightens the others. So if you want to feel more sensation, try keeping your eyes closed or even using a blindfold.
4Take Time To Just Receive
If we feel responsible for our partners' pleasure, our minds may be preoccupied with how we're performing. To minimize the chances of that happening, designate some time just for you to receive. You may even want to receive more outside the bedroom to get yourself used to it.
5Create A "Role Ritual"
Since we're playing so many roles throughout the day — employee, mother, etc. — we may have trouble switching into our "lover" roles at night. To help yourself do this, you could create a nightly ritual. "Your role ritual should be something that helps you to relax, be playful, and ultimately, be the best version of yourself," says Dr. Jess. "You might play a song, sip a glass of wine, alter the lighting, change your clothes, switch your phone to airplane mode, write in a journal, close the blinds, stretch, read a few pages of a book, or have a dance party — it’s up to you." Even if you don't have sex, transitioning into your "lover" role can help you connect with your partner for the night.
It might feel a little silly to engage in all these elaborate rituals just to stop thinking. But over-thinking sex is an extremely common problem, and any understanding partner will want to help you through it.