By: Arielle Aquino
We often don’t think about the extent to which your mind is involved in sex. However, your mental state has a huge effect on your sexual experiences - both partnered and alone.
Relaxing your nervous system can in turn calm your mind - which is essential to a grounded and enjoyable sexual experience. There are two branches of the nervous system - the sympathetic system and the parasympathetic system. The former keeps you in an alert state and the latter brings you back to a relaxed resting state. Meditation and breath stimulate our parasympathetic system, in turn relaxing our body.
There have been so many times I’ve been masturbating but my mind is elsewhere. I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve also actually caught myself texting people or checking email in the middle of it! l know being present is something a lot of us struggle with to some extent.
Being able to calm down, relax and receive pleasure is an exercise that can be practiced and learned. We’re not referring here to calming your body down so much that you become too relaxed - that would have a negative effect on your sex drive. We’re talking about helping you tune out the outside world and drop into the experience.
There are some general relaxation techniques for life that can be applied to sex. For example, everyone will tell you to focus on your breath when you need to quiet your mind and that’s especially important in sex. Breathing audibly makes you aware of yourself. It can make you aware of your pleasure. Breathe deeply and slowly. If you’re with a partner, focus on trying to match each other’s breath pattern. This is an incredibly intimate experience and helps ground you in the sexual experience.
Another general tip is to do your best to engage in a healthy lifestyle. Get enough sleep, exercise and eat healthy, light meals before intimacy. Consuming anything heavy will affect your sex drive by making you more tired, less sensitive and harder to tap into your pleasure centers.
Read on to discover our additional relaxation tips specifically for sex:
- Fantasize: planning sex allows you to prepare your mind and your body. As you anticipate and fantasize leading up to a date or self-love session, your overall relaxation and arousal will increase.
- Slow down: Prepare yourself to receive by moving through your tasks slowly. Drink slowly, eat slowly with intention, breathe slowly and deeply. Slower, deliberate movements help increase your awareness of your body and sensuality.
- Move: Before planned intimacy, carve out 15-20 minutes to move. Stretch, do yoga or dance around your living room - move in a way you probably haven’t all day. Check in with yourself - how does your body feel today? What energy are you able to conjure up and circulate? This is a great opportunity to check in with the sensations in your body before inviting a partner in.
- Drink a relaxing tea: Blue Lotus was sacred to the ancient Egyptians. It was revered for the relaxation and heightened awareness it induces. Blue Lotus contains nuciferan (a natural anti-spasmodic) along with aporphine, which will give you feelings of calming euphoria. The effects of the Blue Lotus, or Blue Waterlily are euphoric, while cooling down the nervous system and relaxing the whole body. Mix 1-2 tsp of the tea in hot, almost boiling water, and steep for around 10 minutes. Enjoy before bed or intimacy.
- Partnered massage: massage top of your head and above your ears, or have your partner massage you.
- Lightly run one or two fingers over your lips. There are lots of nerve fibers spread throughout your lips and touching them stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. This can be an arousing touch to do with your partner to get both of you in the mood for intimacy.
- Self-massage: give yourself a body massage with oils or your favorite cream. Use this as an opportunity to loosen overall tension and honor your body.
- Acupressure points: There’s a small spot, above the v where the hip hinges and meets the body. Known as Stomach 30 (ST30) it is right near a main artery. Slowly pressing on this pressure point helps to increase blood flow to this part of the body, which can aid in overall arousal. Press on this point for a few seconds, hold, and release.
- Ren 2 is located on the midline of the lower abdomen at the top of the pubic bone. Pressing on this point for 3-5 seconds at a time can relax this area and aid genital dryness by stimulating blood flow to the area.
- Tip: use Rosebud Woman Honor Balm to massage your pelvic region including the vulva.
- Check-in: Check in with yourself at each step along the way. Ensure you are enjoying every sensation. If suddenly your partner does something you weren’t expecting or don’t like - your body will involuntarily tighten up, even if your mind tries to go along with it.
Once you’re in this more anxious state, it will be harder to relax again. You might need a quick reset so take a minute to relax the muscles. Request a break to kiss or stroke one another, slow down or ask for something you know you do like.
- Let go: Enjoy the present moment, every moment. Try not to focus on a goal for the session - I.e. orgasm. In a sense, treat your intimate experience as a meditation. As thoughts come into your mind, notice them and allow them to pass. Use the physical sensations you’re experiencing to help bring you back to the present.
Remember that every day is different, so try not to beat yourself up if you are feeling particularly high-strung and having trouble dropping in. Some days, you’ll be too wound up and nothing will work - that’s ok. Every experience is an opportunity to try new things and learn about your body.
Photo by Inna Shnayder