So much of sex occurs in our brain.[i] So maybe we should rethink how we approach sex. For example, why not take more time to prepare our brain for sex? And if it truly is a case of mind over matter, how might we free ourselves up to focus on the things that matter most for great sex?
What Healthy Sex Is—and Isn’t
Sex in a relationship is a consensual giving and sharing of your body with someone you trust, love, and feel committed to. But we are often given “advice” from popular media sources that paints a distorted picture.
Dr. Charles Wampold[ii] compiled a fascinating list of the most common themes found in popular magazines about how to improve your sex life. Here is the most common advice topics:
1. Technical/mechanical factors (like sexual techniques)
2. Variety (such as incorporating several sexual positions, sex toys)
3. Relationship factors
4. Personal psychological factors (things like lack of distraction by household or job concerns)
5. Pre-sex preparation (personal grooming, creating a romantic atmosphere, or choosing a romantic setting)
With the exception of relationship factors, research suggests these themes are just not that critical to a great sexual relationship. In order to study whether tabloid tips and tricks like this really make a difference in the bedroom, Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz, researched couples who enjoyed full and satisfying sex lives and found the most important things that people reported for creating the best sex.[iii]
EIGHT MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO GREAT SEX MADE THE LIST:
1. Being present, focused, and embodied
2. Connection, alignment, merger, being in sync
3. Deep sexual and erotic intimacy
4. Extraordinary communication, heightened empathy
5. Authenticity, being genuine, uninhibited, transparency
6. Transcendence, bliss, peace, healing
7. Exploration, fun
8. Vulnerability and surrender
Isn’t it amazing that nearly none of the items on the list included what the top items are in the supermarket tabloids?
People in the Kleinplatz study gave a few other minor considerations for having great sex:
1. Intense physical sensation, orgasm
2. Lust, desire, chemistry, attraction
It’s interesting that so much of what we focus on is the minor considerations and not the major ones. The first eight items are things we have control over. We can give attention to improving these great sex contributors. The minor considerations we have less control over, but they’re minor. So how can we learn from these studies?
One major contributor to nearly all of the list of eight is our MIND.
PREPARING YOUR MIND
Source: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Some of us would rather receive electric shock than be alone with our thoughts for 15 minutes[iv], so concentrating our mind on thoughts, feelings, and sensations for a much longer period of time seems daunting or even impossible. How do we prepare our mind for sex? This is probably best done initially as an individual. There’s no need for partner buy-in. We can independently take charge of our minds. No fancy self-help book needed. No tools or toys needed.
Our interactions and communications within our intimate relationships are always playing a part in our sexual relationship. Be attuned to your body, your mind, your partner, and your relationship.
Take a little time to think about sex, how you process sex.
Many couples benefit from taking a mindful approach to sex.[v] Try making a plan to breathe together as a couple. Embrace each other and breathe for 5-10 minutes. How do you feel when you are in close contact like this with your partner? After your breathing exercise, put your heads together with forehead on forehead and talk about how you felt during the breathing exercise.
Giving your partner your complete presence is pretty sexy. Being emotionally authentic is pretty sexy. Allowing your partner to see something that you are afraid to confront (within yourself or your relationship) builds emotional integrity, strengthens the relationship, and pumps up the intimacy between partners. Getting to know your brain is getting to know one of your most powerful sexual organs.