Low sexual arousal /interest? Mindfulness is the answer

Think about the greatest sexual experience you have ever had. I am sure you remember every detail of this experience: the place, date, time , smells and the intimate activities that were happening. You might have been alone ,with  a partner, or  with more than one partner. You were not thinking about a work assignment, household chores, or your credit card debt. You were fully present. You were completely alive.

Now consider your regular sexual activities. Anxiety,, pain , pressure and performance dominate and distract you from being fully present . You tell  sex therapists that you have no desire nor interest in being sexual and  female arousal and orgasms never happen whilst male orgasms are a pain in the ass as they happen too quickly or not at all.

Take a short in breathe then a slow out breathe. Notice  the chair you are sitting in , the bed you are laying on , as you read my blog. Just notice. Notice the sensations you are feeling in your body , from body temperature to body tingly, tightness, lightness. Just notice without judging how you should be feeling. Just be present now.  That’s the kind of attention I want you to bring to your sexuality: no distracting  mental thoughts about the past, nor  planning or worrying thoughts  about the future.

Laurel, aged 42 years, and her husband consulted me about their despair about Laurel’s inability to become orgasmic.  Despite much research , many hours of clitoral stimulation, foreplay, sex toys, and porn viewing , she could not achieve the longed for orgasm.. not alone nor with her husband. The usual culprits of low arousal /desire were absent- they had a very happy loving relationship, Laurel had no illness, no sexual pain,  nor was she on medication that could inhibit her orgasmic ability.

Watching Laurel in the session , being present with her,  I was aware of her distracted glances, restlessness, big sighs and her language of hopelessness. Laurel was anxious. I voiced my observations to her. With animation , Laurel described her stress of daily living, her inability to complete a task, constant worry about the children and how it exhausted her.

It all made sense. Laurel was unable to become  orgasmic due to her anxiety caused by her high stress levels. Every time she felt  some  arousal  it triggered a fearful emotion.  .  She needed deliberate relaxation as soon as she felt aroused, to avoid the stress response. She was in need of mindfulness not  magic medicine .

Mindfulness is about being fully present in the moment. Laurel needed to feel the stress response and simply accept it without judging it. She needed to learn to breathe, still her brain through meditation  and  be able to feel each bodily  sensation. And surely orgasm will follow..

Peggy Kleinplatz, a Canadian psychologist , has interviewed many people , asking the simple question : “What makes your sex great?”.

I invite you to think about this right now: “What makes your sex great?” .

Eight main themes emerged from Kleinplatz’s research :

  1. Being completely present, focused, embodied and immersed
  2. A sense of connection and being in synch
  3. Deep intimacy accompanied mutual respect and caring
  4. Communication was extraordinary , both verbally and non verbally
  5. Sex was viewed as an adventure.
  6. Sex as an opportunity to be authentic , uninhibited and totally free with partners.
  7. Enjoyed the feeling of vulnerability
  8. Described these optimal sexual experiences as transformative.

Dr Lori Brotto, PhD, Director, UBC Sexual Health Laboratory, internationally  acclaimed Canadian  sex researcher  and clinician, was organically drawn into the world of mindfulness as a therapeutic intervention. Her many years of researching female  low arousal and desire  ,  and pain , got her to  observe the disconnect women have between their brain and body. . Their engorged and lubricating  genital sensations were not being experienced mentally . She asked if women could be taught to pay attention to their bodies during sexual stimulation. And if so, would this increase the brain-body connection and in turn trigger sexual desire. Mindfulness, decided Brotto,  may just be the answer

Today Lori is the world’s leading researcher and voice on mindfulness as an evidence based method for treatment of female  – and couple- sexual dysfunction. Her new book “Better Sex through Mindfulness : How women can cultivate desire” (2018) is breath takingly important, a handbook full of tips and techniques (no hanging from chandeliers : ) on mindfulness that will not only bring you the best sex you have ever had but will get you to adapt   a more mindful way of living in the world.

Her robust  research shows that when you tune into your body rather than tune out of your body,  different sensations are noticed, without judgment and with self acceptance.  Lori claims that mindfulness teaches women – and men- to become more aware of bodily and sexual sensations. This may well improve your motivation for wanting sex as you will be aware when you feel some tingling, wet throbbing and swelling in your genitals. Rather than judging the fear and  anxiety that you won’t have an orgasm once you feel these sensations, Mindfulness encourages you to be present with the fearful feelings . As well as the sexual feelings.

Buy her book. Enter the practice of Mindfulness. Your sexual desire will astonish you.

For more information , contact me.