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How to stay focused during sex.

How to stay focused during sex.

Tuning in and getting off. 

Sex, like meditation, involves the counterintuitive process of working towards letting go. But while meditation is referred to as a daily practice, sex is largely depicted in popular culture as a process in which participants immediately lose themselves and ascend to higher psychosexual consciousness as soon as someone’s top comes off. 

It’s understandable, then, that folks who don’t “zone in” so easily experience guilt or shame around their inability to remain consistently horny and focused on sexual experiences, especially since the reason behind this lack of focus often feels like a mystery better left untapped. 

But it is not necessary to tap and dry the well of our deepest fears and desires in order to feel a bit more present during sex. We can start simply, by improving our environment, and using basic tools of communication and movement to ground ourselves in ways that are still arousing and playful. 

Here are a few suggestions you can try right away: 

Take the pressure off 

In Dr. Emily Nagoski’s popular sex empowerment book Come as You Are, the author discusses the concept of horny “blockers,” claiming that one common “blocker,” or barrier to arousal, is the pressure to have sex at all. She suggests to clients that they take the pressure off completely by purposely not having sex. This suggestion has the intended effect in her anecdote; in one case, her clients returned and said the freedom to not have sex made it desirable once again. 

This may or may not be a decision you come to with your partner. If you’re comfortable enough with someone, it may be easier and perhaps erotic to introduce the concept of abstaining. But, if this sort of conversation doesn’t make sense in your relationship dynamic, you can keep the focus on you, reminding yourself that you do not need to have sex to enjoy the company of this person, or to be enjoyed, and that you can instead share intimacy in less explicit ways. 

Important note: If the person you’re with is pressuring you to hook up anyway, you might have found your reason for not enjoying sex with them. 

Slow down and pay attention to your body’s signals 

This recommendation goes hand in hand with the previous one, in that you’re stopping yourself from working towards the “goal” of orgasm, or mutual sexual satisfaction. Start by kissing, and tell yourself you will not move to another step until you feel properly aroused--this can look different for everybody: your breath might quicken, or you’ll feel wet, or your might start fantasizing about more explicit scenarios. 

If your partner is rushing to get the ball rolling, tell them in your own words that you’d like to try something new by building the anticipation a bit, or that you’re really enjoying whatever PG13 portion of intimacy you’ve reached and would like to keep that going a little longer.

Consider temperature 

This one is often overlooked. Think of the stereotypical, high 60 degree office environment, where one colleague is sitting pretty in a t-shirt while their co-worker is in three layers beneath a desk blanket. In the case of public laboring, the idea that each person requires a different outfit in order to focus and work to their best ability makes sense but, during sex, clothing is treated as a barrier to productivity. 

It’s important for the temperature in the room to be comfortable if you’re planning to do your best work. If you and your partner differ in temperature preferences, come to a compromise, like keeping an article of clothing on that makes you feel sexy. Or, if you’d like to be naked, treat your blanket like a third you’re seeking, and find a way to include her. 

Choose between touch and touching 

One common criticism of the “69” is that it can be difficult to experience pleasure when you’re focused on reciprocating sexily. But during sex you may engage in this reciprocity-minded thinking in smaller ways, which can make you preoccupied by the needs and desires of the other person above your own. 

In order to avoid this mentality, focus exclusively on your pleasure or the other person’s for a length of time. 

If you choose to experience pleasure, pay attention to the way someone is handling your body. Do you like something in particular? Ask for more of it. Is something doing absolutely nothing for you? Redirect the action. If you choose to give pleasure, treat a person’s body with curiosity, listening to their breathing and the way their body reacts each time you try something. It might even help to reassure them that you will be focusing on their body, and that they should feel no rush to pleasure you in return.

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