By Airial Clatney
It’s happened to most of us during sex… What should I cook for dinner? Do I look pretty on top? This is called ‘spectatoring’ and it totally hinders sexual arousal and pleasure. The two most common forms of spectatoring are worrying about our appearance during sex and worrying about our sexual performance. This can sometimes reflect a person’s insecurities and discomfort about sexuality as well as someone’s challenges with self-esteem. I know I’ve been there, as someone who continues to struggle with accepting my body. Mindfulness has not only helped me with improving my sense of self, but is a beautiful way to experience what is happening in the now.
By achieving mindfulness, we can turn our brains off, and dial in fully on the amazing experiences that sexuality can bring to us, all the while increasing happiness, decreasing depression and cutting down anxiety. A great place to start would be by incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine, like a morning mediation ritual, or even a self-love mindfulness ritual, which I have found super helpful. If you like, you can try the ritual that I have been using for body image. Start by standing in front of a full-length mirror scanning your body from head to toe. You can do this a couple times until you start feeling more comfortable, or if this is too challenging or brings up trauma, you can close your eyes. Then pick a body part that you want to focus on (I often choose my thighs, because I want to fall in love with them and cut back on judgment) and just focus on the way they look and feel (use your hands). Try to focus only on the part of your body you are feeling or looking at. Thoughts will come and go, and just acknowledge them and let them go! Shame and judgment might come to you at first, but after trying this activity more and more, you may start to feel more positive emotions and thoughts of acceptance flowing your way. For example, I’ve begun to accept the cellulite on my thighs and see it as beautiful instead of embarrassing).
Mindful sex is a state of being totally immersed in the physical sensations of your body, but it doesn’t mean that your thoughts won’t wonder. A great place to start would be by incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine, like a morning meditation ritual, or one like I described above that exercises your self-love muscles. By practicing how to let go of distractions, you may find yourself in a state of meditative sex, where sensations will feel amplified and more arousing than usual.
Nasserzadeh, S. (2018). Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters—and How to Get It, by Dr. Laurie Mintz: New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2017, 277 pages, 17.75(hardcover), 12.99 (Kindle).