It’s been a long day, and all you can think about is getting in bed with your wife so both of you can unwind the adult way. Heck, you’ve even been sexting her while at work to try to spice things up so that she’ll look forward to it more. But when it’s finally time to start, you can’t help but feel distracted even when you’re having sex in your favourite position. Why is that?
It could be a lack of mindfulness.
A recent article in The Guardian explores how the problem stems from being too worried about what’s going on elsewhere in your life and being too stressed out to truly enjoy sex.
“People are worried about their jobs, worried about money. They are not in the mood for sex,” said Cath Mercer from University College London. “But we also think modern technologies are behind the trend, too. People have tablets and smartphones and they are taking them into the bedroom, using Twitter and Facebook, answering emails.”
So what is mindfulness exactly? According to Lori Brotto, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and the executive director of the Women’s Health Research Institute in Canada, mindfulness is a “present-moment nonjudgmental awareness. Each of those three components are critical for healthy sexual function”
Simply put, when you’re having sex, stop worrying about everything else and focus on your partner, yourself, and your desire for each other.
Psychosexual and couples therapist, Kate Moyle, states that mindfulness has been used before in therapy. “When people have sexual problems, a lot of the time it’s anxiety-related and they’re not really in their bodies, or in the moment. Mindfulness brings them back into the moment.
“When people say they’ve had the best sex and you ask them what they were thinking about, they can’t tell you, because they weren’t thinking about anything, they were just enjoying the moment. That’s mindfulness.” Moyle says the techniques involve “encouraging people to focus on their sensations, explore their senses, hone in on what is happening in their body and how they’re experiencing it”.
Ammanda Major, the head of clinical practice at the relationship support organisation Relate, says mindful sex “is about focusing in the moment on what’s going on for you and making sure all the extraneous things get left behind. For example, if you’re being touched by your partner, it’s really focusing on those sensations. People may find themselves very distracted during sex, so this is a way of bringing themselves into their body and being totally aware of themselves in that moment.”
It may sound like a lot more work just for some sex. After all, if you and your wife are tired after work, putting in more effort to concentrate won’t really change things will it? The good news is that you don’t really need a drastic change in the way you have sex for mindful sex to work.
“You might have sex the same way, in the same position, but you’re in a different headspace, so you’re experiencing it differently,” says Moyle. “People can think: ‘I’m not into mindfulness,’ or: ‘It’s a bit spiritual and I’m not,’ but it doesn’t have to be that. It can just be really straightforward – focusing your attention and fully experiencing sensations.”
So the next time you’re about to get frisky in bed, just remember to be in the moment. If mindfulness therapy can be used for depression, perhaps using it for a better sex life may not be so farfetched after all.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer