Photo courtesy of Jon Rawlinson
Mindfulness makes for an existence that is much more enjoyable, simply because you’re living in the moment and paying attention to your life. Living a mindful life means that, regardless of what you’re doing, you are present – mentally as well as physically. Many people skate through life distracted, thinking about everything else except the moment at hand. What does that mean for the moment at hand? Well, it gets passed over, ignored: an experience lost.
When I was a child, I remember feeling like I always wanted to have “something to look forward to.” Continually excited about the future, getting older, having adult experiences. Hindsight tells me there are so many moments I must have missed.
Rather than dwell on what I didn’t experience when I was ten years old, I will give my young self credit for one thing: knowing that life only gets better and better with age. As we gain self-awareness and clarity of mind, we learn how to seek out the kind of experiences that will make us happiest. One of those adult experiences just happens to be… sex.
It’s true that, as a general rule, people don’t typically put “mindfulness” and “sex” in the same sentence, but they should! I am here to tell you that it is absolutely impossible to have a completely satisfying sexual encounter if you’re not fully committed to the moment.
In fact, many cases of sexual dysfunction have improved drastically with the practice of mindfulness, according to Lori Brotto, professor of gynecology at the University of British Columbia. Both women and men suffering from low libido or low self-esteem were able to “…increase their sexual desire by [becoming more] attuned to their body’s sexual responses.” Not only did their desire increase, but they enjoyed the act of sex more, too.
For those of you who already have a decent sex life – wanna kick things up a notch? Luckily, applying mindfulness strategies in the bedroom isn’t only for couples with existing problems. The reality is that most long-term, committed couples admit to wanting to spice things up after awhile. They don’t necessarily have any complaints – but a little something new wouldn’t hurt, either.
According to Marsha Lucas, PhD., a huge percentage of her clients ask for advice about how to spice up their sex lives. Years of the same old, same old can get, well – old! Mindfulness meditation is what she prescribes to her patients who want help in this area. At first, most of them look at her funny, but they always come back the next visit and thank her profusely.
It’s often helpful to try exploring mindfulness as a couple outside of the bedroom first. Together with your partner, take turns sitting in a chair while the other person feeds you different pieces of fruit with your eyes closed. Practice focusing on the sensation and taste of the fruit in your mouth for a full minute before swallowing. During this time, also notice how your body feels in the chair, and how your feet feel touching the floor. Push all other outside thoughts away anytime they enter your mind.
To bring mindfulness with you into the bedroom, you’ll switch from focusing on food to focusing on your partner (and yourself). Again keep all other thoughts at bay and pay attention to how your partner’s body feels, tastes and smells as you explore it. It’s also ok to observe how the bed (or table, floor, etc) feels against your body. It’s easy to find these things exciting with a new partner, but they sometimes need to be rediscovered or rekindled in long-term relationships.
To learn more about bringing mindfulness into your love life, check out this book written by Dr. Lucas herself: Rewire Your Brain For Love: Creating Vibrant Relationships and Using the Science of Mindfulness. Oh – and remember – practice, practice, practice! ;)