How Can Mindfulness Benefit a Person’s Sexual Health?
Anxiety, low self-esteem, negative thoughts, and stress can all interfere with a person’s sex life. Fortunately, mindfulness can help.
Mindfulness is achieved through focusing one’s attention and awareness on the present moment, rather than on other thoughts, feelings, or external stimuli. It is often used as a therapeutic technique because it allows people to slow down and focus on their current circumstances in a calm, rational way instead of being plagued by negative thoughts or anxiety.
A person’s sexuality is a vital part of who they are. It is strongly linked to identity, self-expression, and connection in romantic relationships. As such, it is also closely tied to a person’s internal thoughts and mental well-being.
When a person experiences doubt or anxiety about their sexual performance, for example, they may be more likely to experience sexual dysfunction. What’s more, memories of past sexual difficulties during sex can lead to greater insecurities and an increased likelihood of experiencing the same sexual difficulties again.
This is why it is so important to stay in the present moment during sexual experiences, and several studies have shown that mindfulness can improve sexual outcomes in several ways.
First, mindfulness can help a person increase their awareness of the present moment. It encourages individuals to become more attuned to their bodies and sensations, which can help them recognize physical and emotional responses during sexual experiences. Being in touch with bodily sensations can lead to a better understanding of pleasure, discomfort, and arousal.
Additionally, the practice of mindfulness can reduce a person’s stress and anxiety, which are common barriers to enjoyable and satisfying sexual experiences. This can help individuals approach sexual encounters with a more open and relaxed mindset.
Mindfulness can also lead to enhanced intimacy and improved communication between sexual partners. Being present and fully engaged during sexual activities can lead to a deeper sense of connection with a partner. The practice encourages nonjudgmental thoughts and communication. As such, it can help individuals connect emotionally and mentally with their partner, fostering better communication, a stronger bond, and increased overall relationship satisfaction.
Furthermore, mindfulness can lead to better emotional regulation. This practice teaches individuals to acknowledge and accept their emotions without reacting impulsively. Such a skill is valuable in managing emotions such as frustration, disappointment, or even anger that might arise during intimate situations.
Lastly, this meditative practice can help reduce distractions by having a person focus on the current moment only. In this way, an individual may be better able to engage in the experience without being preoccupied with unrelated concerns.
Clearly, mindfulness has several benefits for a person’s sexual health. If you are interested in learning how to incorporate mindfulness techniques into your sex life, consider making an appointment with a sex therapist who is trained in teaching this practice.
- Newcombe, B. C., & Weaver, A. D. (2016). Mindfulness, cognitive distraction, and sexual well-being in women. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 25(2), 99-108.
- Pepping, C. A., Cronin, T. J., Lyons, A., & Caldwell, J. G. (2018). The effects of mindfulness on sexual outcomes: The role of emotion regulation. Archives of sexual behavior, 47, 1601-1612.
- Valderrama Rodríguez, M. F., Sánchez-Sánchez, L. C., García-Montes, J. M., & Petisco-Rodríguez, C. (2023). A Scoping Review of the Influence of Mindfulness on Men's Sexual Activity. International journal of environmental research and public health, 20(4), 3739. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043739
- Vilarinho, S. (2017). Management of sexual problems: the approach of mindfulness. Current opinion in psychiatry, 30(6), 402-408.