A little while ago I wrote an article — “How to let go in bed”.
In it, I addressed the most common reasons why women find it difficult to completely let go and surrender. I also listed a few practices that we can do, ongoingly, to help us release the tension surrounding our sexuality, generally. These methods work gradually and require some practice. If you keep doing them, you’re bound to feel more at ease while having sex.
However, I still hear from many women that they find themselves self-conscious while having sex. Constantly thinking of things. From thoughts about the so familiar “to-do” list, to thoughts like: “Is this normal?”; “Should I be feeling this now?”; “Is my lover enjoying himself?”; “Do I still look attractive from this angle?” etc… etc… etc…
I know the exercises which I listed in that said article require some dedication. And I realize that they might not be practical enough. I mean, really, who has the time to fit another exercise into their daily routine???
Which is why I decided to share with you something you can do while having sex.
When you’re in the middle of things and you find your mind drifting elsewhere… Into anywhere but the here and now.
Our mind is designed for thinking.
The thing that we need to understand is, that our mind is used to constantly being busy.
Not just busy — stupidly so.
And when I say stupidly so, I mean things like: scheduling a sex date with your partner and making sure you have nothing that needs to be done for that time. Meaning, your mind “shouldn’t” be thinking about that dreaded “to-do” list. Only it does! And all of a sudden you find yourself thinking about the to-do list anyway. Or the to-do list for tomorrow. What gives?
If you ever tried to meditate, you might have noticed it already. Our mind jumps from one thought to another and we can’t really control it.
And although some people can train their mind to do exactly what they want, or even stop thinking altogether in a drop of a hat — most of us simply don’t know how to do it.
And the truth is, trying to control our mind is not too smart either. At least for most of us. Have you ever tried that exercise, not thinking about pink elephants? The mind is used for thinking. That’s what it does.
So unless you are enlightened, or close to it — which means your mind is used only when you want it to — then expecting your mind to stop thinking is not going to work. It simply won’t.
There’s a difference between stopping your mind and not letting it run the show.
Now you know, there’s no point in getting annoyed that your mind is thinking about the “to-do” list or any other thing it is thinking of to that matter. Your mind just does its job!
When we’re engaged in our everyday tasks, our mind thinking about a billion-and-one things at once is not all that horrible. So we simply let it.
But when we are trying to enjoy ourselves in an act that is supposed to be amazingly wonderful (e.g. sex), and our mind keeps interrupting us, that’s a whole different story. Oh boy. Now we get frustrated.
And you know what happens when you get frustrated about something, don’t you? We now have two problems at hand:
One — the problem of our mind not shutting down when we want it to;
Two — the problem of us being frustrated at our mind not shutting down when we want it to.
I can tell you to not be frustrated with your mind until the cows come home. Will that help? No.
The trick of not letting your mind run the show.
Think of your mind like a little puppy. And you are holding it with a lead. When your puppy-mind runs everywhere, jumps, licks, and sniffs, you let it. But when it runs a little too far your lead jerks and you notice it. And you lovingly pull it closer to you. Notice it needs to be done lovingly. You love your puppy for what it is: jovial, exploring, curious… And still, by pulling it a bit closer, slowly and gradually your puppy trains and learns not to run that far. And guess what? A few months pass, your puppy matures, and it doesn’t run too far too often. It will still run too far sometimes — even a grown-up dog can get too excited when it sees a cat it can chase — but it happens less and less.
Next time you’re having sex and you notice your mind thinking about something else, remember the little puppy and lovingly pull it closer to you. You can even say to yourself something like: “It’s time to stay closer, Rex!”. Just because it’s funny. Then go back to focusing on anything that you can sense at that very moment. Some people use their breath. Others use sensations in their body. It can be smells, sounds, visuals or touch. Whatever is easier for you to focus on at that particular moment.
Your puppy-mind might go venturing again in a split of a second. That’s fine. It’s what it does. And your job is to lovingly bring it back again whenever you notice it strayed too far away.
Like any other skill in life, it comes easier to some people, while others find it quite challenging. On the verge of being impossible, really.
And like any other skill in life, practice improves things for everyone, regardless of the starting point.
This is mindful meditation in a nutshell.
What to do when our mind is taking over during sex.
Sometimes our mind completely takes over. No matter what you do, your mind wouldn’t stop, and it feels really discouraging.
If that’s the case for you, you might need to adjust for it and take care of your mind first.
I remember when I was at this amazing resort with a boyfriend. We went for a week-long holiday and the sex was so wonderful. One day I was troubled by something he did and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was planning on telling him and didn’t have the opportunity. And it kept nagging me when we had sex that evening. When I realized it, I just stopped him. I apologized for the timing, but I had to talk this through with him because it bothered me too much.
We ended up talking instead of having sex.
And we resolved the issue.
We felt more connected afterward.
I don’t remember if we resumed the lovemaking or not, and truly, I don’t think it really matters.
We both felt more intimate and close after that chat — isn’t this what sex is all about anyway? Feeling closer? Experiencing the intimacy between us?
It was wonderful.
You might fear that your partner will be frustrated because he wants sex — but please remind yourself that a loving, caring partner appreciates connection more than sex. And he will respect you for taking care of your needs first.
And a little side note. If you have sex with him ongoingly only (or mainly) to satisfy him, and you’re not truly present — he will notice it. Maybe not immediately. Maybe not consciously. But he will. The best gift you can give your loving, caring partner sex-wise, is to learn how to be fully with him and truly enjoy yourself while having sex.
I wrote more about this here.
What to do if your mind is ongoingly taking over during sex.
If your main experience of sex is that your mind is completely taking over, and you have no capacity to bring it back, there’s another adjustment you might want to experiment with your partner.
See, many of us have experienced some sort of trauma around sexuality. Trauma can be acute (say, experiencing a sexual assault of any capacity). And it can be chronic — like, absorbing our society’s approach to sexuality and trying to fit ourselves into that mold. Or perhaps practicing sex in a way that is not fully enjoyable or pleasurable.
And your mind doesn’t want to be engaged in sex anymore, because it proved itself to be disappointing (at best) or painful. So it’s protecting you by taking you away from the activity of sex, and into any other experience that it can come up with.
If you are constantly feeling that your puppy-mind is jerking the lead; or that you are just annoyed at it and hardly-ever loving towards it — there’s a good chance you need to release some trauma off your system.
There are many ways to deal with trauma — way beyond the scope of this article.
But I will mention here the one thing that you can do with your partner while having sex.
It is the practice of observing, paying attention, and accepting any sensations and feelings that come up during lovemaking.
This is the practice of slow sex.
I wrote about it so many times that I feel like I’m a broken record — but truly, it does work wonders.
If you only remember one thing from this article, let it be this:
Don’t expect your mind to stop. But learn how to not let it run the show.