For many of us, sex is often just a means to a (hopefully very pleasurable) end. But as couples therapist Diana Richardson points out in her 2018 TED talk, when we measure a successful bedroom romp purely based on whether or not we (or our partner) have an orgasm, all sorts of anxiety can arise.
So what if, instead of focusing on achieving that coveted climax, we savored every moment of the process leading up to it—from that first thrilling brush of skin to the final euphoric thrust.
In other words, rather than mind-filled sex, as Richardson puts it, what if we practiced mindful sex.
As is the case when doing anything mindfully, the secret is reframing your perception of the act: rather than having sex, we should try being sex. Sounds esoteric, we know, but really it’s a matter of being aware and present.
So how do we do it?
Make the time.
Whether it’s a few hours or a whole day, designate the time to enjoy the act of sex and not feel like you have to rush it. Taking things slow makes them all the more enjoyable.
Get rid of gadgets.
While we encourage certain battery-powered devices in the bedroom, make your space a no-phone zone.
Set an intention.
Again, this shouldn’t be just to have an amazing orgasm, but rather to experience every single sensation and connect with your partner(s).
Be aware of tension.
Scan your body regularly to see where you might be tensing your muscles unnecessarily—in the jaw, shoulders, butt, or stomach, for example—and just relax. It will make things a whole lot more pleasurable.
It can be easy to get caught up in shallow breathing during sex, so remember to take long, deep breaths.
Richardson gives us one final, fitting analogy. Sex is like fire—if you fuel it too quickly, it will create big, blazing flames but will quickly die down. But if you keep the flame low, sustaining it by adding pieces of wood and kindling gradually, it’ll last all night long.
Watch her talk here.