Picture this: things are getting hot and heavy with the person you’re currently in bed with, when all of a sudden, your mind starts to wander. You give in to unnecessary thoughts such as Does my partner think I’m good enough? How long will it take for me to orgasm this time? Or perhaps it’s something totally unrelated, such as, Have I paid the bills?
The sad truth is that distraction during sex happens to be a common problem. This can be even more difficult for the female, whose orgasm is sometimes painted as a big mystery, when in reality, it just needs a little more attention. For more insight, I spoke to Sex and Relationships Therapist Rica Cruz, MA, RPsy. According to her, the answer to solving practically any problem in the bedroom is simple: mindfulness.
What is mindfulness, anyway?
In its essence, mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment, where you can observe your thoughts and feelings without judgement. This can be done anywhere—whether you’re in the middle of a conversation with a friend, taking a walk around the park and yes, in the bedroom as well. According to Cruz, one should be aware of “catching” negative thoughts and observing them, eventually letting them go so that you can bring yourself back to the present.
My thighs look huge today, you might tell your self-conscious self as you strip in front of your partner. Following the therapist’s instructions, you should focus on the following instead: how excited you feel, how excited your partner is to see your body and the sensations that follow. Don’t think so much; just simply bring your mind to whatever you are feeling in the moment. With enough practice, it should get easier. “It appears that practicing mindfulness techniques could help revive and renew a partnership,” Cruz starts. “Continual mindfulness practices hushes and quiets areas of the brain that are linked to our automatic and reactive thinking patterns to make room for a more informed, thoughtful response.”
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And if you’re not content with whatever your partner is doing? “We need to let our partners know what feels good. Women need to be empowered enough to ask for what they want,” she says. In a conservative country such as the Philippines, however, she shares that many individuals seem to have a problem with this.
The female orgasm is definitely more complicated than the male’s, but rather than feeling daunted, one should simply change their attitude towards it. “A lot of women don’t know what they want or what is pleasurable for them. When someone is having trouble with this, I encourage them to explore, explore, explore. Touching yourself will help you in getting to know your body better,” Cruz shares.
Try out “sensate focus”
In addition to this, there is a similar technique that many sex therapists use called “sensate focus,” made famous by American researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson. This focuses on the physical sensations rather than the goal of orgasm, which can be frustrating if that is the only thing on your mind. The result of participating in this? A deeper connection with your partner.
“Mindfulness training and practice can invite us to step out of tired thinking patterns and see our partner and relationship with fresh eyes. It can also help us focus more on our sensations, discovering what is pleasurable and what is not,” Cruz shares, adding that it would greatly help to practice mindfulness outside the bedroom too. After all, the technique has been used to treat anxiety, depression and to improve the overall quality of one’s life, making practitioners happier and more compassionate towards others.
So the next time you’re about to sleep with someone, remember to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Paying attention is good manners, after all.