Have you felt like you can’t focus during sex? Or that you and your partner’s sexual desire just WILL NOT align and it’s very hard for you to stay in the moment once you begin to have sex? It is very, very common for spouses to have differing desires for sex, and it’s an issue that we work on frequently in couples therapy. Desire is affected by many factors in your life – these factors can be medical, mental, contextual, emotional and more. Often times, a higher desire partner becomes extremely frustrated by the lack of sex in a relationship; where the lower desire partner feels perfectly content. Because of this, it is often said that the lower desire partner controls the frequency of sex in a relationship, and thus less and less sex occurs.
Partners struggle to discuss how to fix their sex life, well, because for starters, it can be awkward. If you have not created a culture where sex is a topic in your relationship, you’re not going to feel comfortable talking about it. Sometimes, we work with couples who have not discussed (like, really, truly discussed – the good, the bad, and the ugly) their sex life for the entire duration of their relationship. That could be 20 or more years of a relationship where there has been differing desires, needs, or fears that are basically a complete secret from the person you have dedicated your entire love life to. We don’t think relationships should be like this. And they don’t have to be! Bottom line, if you’re the higher or lower desire partner, have a pretty good sex life, need major improvements, or anywhere in between, at some point it’s going to be necessary (and healthy) to talk about what kind of tune up your sex life might need.
In today’s blog, we wanted to offer an exercise that can help you stay present during sex if you are a lower desire partner, struggle with anxiety or just have a difficult time feeling like you are in the headspace for sex. Perhaps it takes longer for your desire to peak (btw, this is normal and a part of what is called “responsive desire”), and you’re looking for a way to be more “in the moment” so you can enjoy sex with your partner. Here’s a couple of tips to practice being mindful during sex:
- Focus more on foreplay: take extra time to allow your desire to peak by focusing on the sensations you feel and the things you can smell/touch/hear/feel leading up to sex. Focusing on using your senses will take you out of your head and into the moment, allowing your body to relax and you to be more open to the sexual experience.
- Breathe when you disconnect: you might notice tension, the urge to pull away, or just a feeling of anxiety (fight/flight mode) during sex. Take yourself back into your body by focusing on deep breaths, even if you feel it disconnects you from your partner momentarily. Once your nervous system has calmed down, slowly rejoin with your partner and focus back on what is happening with your senses.
Mindful sex can help you more deeply and authentically enjoy the experience of sex with your partner. Our therapists can help you talk about issues with your sex life and practice skills that will make it better. Don’t hesitate to call or email us and set up a therapy appointment today!