Great sex happens when two people are intimately connected with each other in the moment and fully present.
Being present during sex is one of the first and most effective ways to improve your sex life.
It sounds deciptively simple, but being 100% in the moment during sex is actually quite rare. It’s so easy for our minds to drift off—perhaps you begin to wander into your favorite fantasy, or maybe you start recapping tomorrow’s to-do list. Whatever the topic, when your mind begins to drift, you dissociate from your body and you dissociate from the moment.
Great sex happens when two people are intimately connected with each other in the moment and fully present, sensing their own bodies fully, free of thoughts and distractions. The closer you can get to presence, the better.
Think about it: if you’re eating while you’re busy or preoccupied, the food is finished before you know it and you barely seemed to taste it. But when you stop to savor the meal you’re eating, doesn’t it seem to taste better? It’s the same with sex. While it’s completely normal for your mind to drift, continually bring your thoughts back to your partner and the sensations happening in the now. The more you’re able to be present with your partner—in your body and in the moment—the more you’ll increase your pleasure and connectedness.
Believe it or not, it’s our natural state to be present, so it’s important to discover what’s keeping us disconnected. Most often, there are two reasons:
[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”#363636″ ]1[/dropcaps]Being distracted. An unfocused, drifting mind is common, and often has to do with performance anxiety or avoidance of a particular emotion or thought. In cases of performance anxiety, it’s often very difficult to stay in the moment and fully connected as you find your thoughts drifting to questions of whether you’re “doing it right,” thinking about the latest tips and advice you read, or a myriad of other things that serve to judge your performance. In other cases, people find that sexual intimacy brings up a host of distressing emotions and memories, especially in cases where previous trauma was experienced. Distracting yourself from the present is a way of avoiding these feelings and disconnecting from the moment.
[dropcaps type=”circle” color=”#363636″ ]2[/dropcaps]Being disembodied. Being distanced or separated from your body is another reason why people struggle to stay present during sex. This is a common experience in our culture, particularly for men who have learned not to be emotional and “weak” and, therefore, cut themselves off from their feelings. But emotions are situated within the body, so cutting yourself off emotionally also means disconnecting from your body. Being disembodied means that you will struggle to stay present with the sensual and sexual sensations that allow you to experience (and enjoy) them fully.
Becoming mindful is a great way to practice being in the moment and becoming more present during sex. Next time you’re with your partner, try to fully notice and savor the following:
- How it feels when your partner presses their lips to yours
- The taste of your partner’s tongue or skin
- How it feels to touch your partner’s skin
- The way the sheets feel against your skin
- The smell of your partner’s hair
- The little hairs on the nape of their neck
- The way your partner looks at you
- The rise and fall of their breath
- How it feels to embrace or laugh together
- What it feels like to be joined together in intercourse or kissing
These are aspects we easily notice when we’re in a new relationship and falling in love. But with time, this becomes familiar and we can stop paying attention. Being mindful and present means that you’re fully aware of all of the sensations—what you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel—in the moment with your partner. Allowing yourself to become more present will mean that you allow yourself a more satisfying, pleasurable, and connected experience of sexual intimacy with your partner.
Sex and intimacy is a relationship challenge our couples therapists can help you navigate and overcome. Contact a counselor in San Francisco, Berkeley, or Palo Alto if you and your partner need support in rekindling the passion.