Sexual Meditation Could Be The Key To Deepening Your Connection In The Bedroom

Meditation is a mindful awareness practice that has been used for centuries. Vedantism, an ancient system of Indian Hindu philosophy, is associated with the oldest written references to meditation, which date back to roughly 1500 BCE. But according to historians, the practice of meditation was traced as far back as 3000 BCE, according to Medical News. The Latin verb meditatum, which means "to ponder," is where the word "meditation" comes from. This word was first used by monk Guigo II in the 12th century AD.

A mind-body practice, meditation helps a person strengthen the connection between the mind and the body and enter a state of relaxation by keeping their mind focused and removing jumbled thoughts. There are numerous physical and mental health benefits that come with meditation. In addition to boosting patience, meditation is helpful in managing stress and anxiety, easing pain, preventing early aging, and even strengthening your immune system, according to Mayo Clinic. And the list goes on. 

But overall health is not where the perks of meditative and mindful practices end. A growing body of studies indicates that meditation may also offer a solution to the growing need to enjoy more passion in one's love life. This type of meditation that helps people deepen their connection in the bedroom is also known as sexual meditation. The idea of mixing something as "om shanti" as meditation with an arousing and intense act like lovemaking sounds too much of a stretch, but here's why it works. 

What is sexual meditation

"Sexual meditation is the practice of being completely present and attuned to yourself, your partner and to the third body you create together when you are coupled," Christine Marie Mason, the CEO and founder of Rosebud Woman, tells PureWow. "By bringing profound awareness to our most intimate moments, our pleasure deepens, and it can even lead to what we might call a spiritual experience of sex." In other words, sexual meditation enables you to bring the same kind of benefits reaped from meditation in a normal setting into a sexual setting. 

According to psychologist Lori Brotto, director of the University of British Columbia Sexual Health Laboratory and author of "Better Sex Through Mindfulness" (via Prevention), the idea of sexual meditation is simply to make mindfulness — the practice of being in the moment — a part of sexual activity. The goal of sexual meditation is to maintain awareness and presence when engaging in sex with a partner or performing sexual stimulation solo — to the end of increasing your sense of self-awareness and connection to your body and mind as well as to your partner.

"What we're bringing together is the mind and the body—the physical, sexual response," sex therapist, clinical psychologist, and author of "Buddha's Bedroom," Cheryl Fraser tells Prevention. "Meditation is essentially the ability to focus our attention, our concentration, and our mind on whatever the chosen meditation object is—and great sex is all in your head."

The link between sex and meditation

Numerous studies have found a connection between meditation and sexual functions. According to a 2018 study in The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, compared to women who did not mediate, women who meditated scored higher on measures of sexual function and desire. However, there was no noticeable correlation between the frequency or length of their meditation and their sexual performances. "These findings suggest that, compared to women with no meditation experience, women who meditate to any extent have, on average, improved sexual function associated with better overall mental health," the report reads. 

Another 2019 study published in The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy revealed that individuals who practiced sexual mindfulness tended to have better self-esteem and satisfaction in their relationships as well as their love lives.  Meanwhile, a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine reveals that women who practice mindfulness during sex also get turned on more easily.

In another experiment published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, 44 female college students participated in a 12-week active control course that contained a "meditation laboratory." Compared to active controls, women who underwent the meditation training became noticeably quicker at identifying their interoceptive awareness, or the awareness of what is happening inside the body, as sexual stimulation. The result shows that mindfulness training, which is associated with improvements in interoceptive awareness, makes a potentially ideal treatment for those with female sexual dysfunction.

How to perform sexual meditation

One way to kickstart sexual mindfulness is to engage in a general meditative session first, psychologist Brotto tells Prevention. There are different techniques to help you enter a meditative state, and it's up to you to choose a meditative style that helps you reach the deepest state of relaxation. For example, you can begin meditation by observing without getting involved in the wandering thoughts as they flash through your mind and being aware of any mental note that arises — which is the case with mindfulness meditation, per Gaiam. If you're a practitioner of concentration meditation, your practice typically involves focusing your attention on every breath, repeating a mantra, or listening to the sound of a gong.   

If your partner is on the same page with you about sexual awareness goals, consider doing it together. "Mindfulness exercises can be done with a partner, and I often advocate doing them together," says Brotto. A great approach to it is sitting or standing back-to-back with your partner and checking in with your body. This is when you should mentally examine your entire body, identifying any areas that are tense or relaxed. You can also talk for a few minutes, exchanging verbal appreciation, Mason tells PureWow. Then, focus on the areas of contact between you two and pay close attention to the physical sensations that you experience at every touch. During meditation, keep your eyes open. If you feel like you're distracted, Brotto recommends gazing into your partner's eyes to bring yourself back into the present.

Sexual meditation helps you cope with sexual anxiety

For those struggling with sexual performance anxiety, sexual meditation can be your sex lifesaver. Sexual performance anxiety is a common sexual issue, affecting up to 25% of men and 16% of women, according to a study published in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews. According to ISSM, sexual performance anxiety is defined as "fear, worry, or anxiety related to sexual activity." Sexual performance anxiety is not recognized as a medical condition, despite being one of the most prevalent sexual problems in both men and women and often accompanying other sexual dysfunctions. It's common for a person with severe sexual performance anxiety to worry about their sexual performance and encounter difficulties that get in their way of enjoying sex. 

"Sex is stressful for a lot of people," says Brotto. "During sex, all sorts of worries and preoccupations can create stress, and that is reflected in the stress response system in the body." According to Everyday Health, stress is able to mess with your body's hormone levels and cause your arteries to hinder blood flow, resulting in a low libido as well as erectile dysfunction. Meanwhile, mindfulness and meditation are tried-and-true cures for anxiety. According to Mindworks, meditation can help turn off your stress response as it gives you time and space to respond to what's going on, which can be helpful in helping you get in the mood and get back to great sex. 

It trains you to stay in the present

You might try to give yourself some time to move away from those responsibilities and into the present before diving immediately into sex after returning from work, cooking, or bathing your children. This is where sexual meditation comes into play. Meditation teaches you to be more mindful and present during sex, which can lead to enhanced connection and pleasure in the bedroom. According to therapist Vienna Costanzo-D'Aprile (via PsychCentral), being mindful in the bedroom helps to boost your pleasure, deepen intimacy with your partner and connection with yourself, strengthen mind-body coordination, lessen your tendency to overthink, hike your chances of having orgasms, and turn lovemaking into a more sacred or spiritual experience.  

Focusing on your breath or practicing deep breathing is a great way to help you stay present during sex, says Costanzo-D'Aprile. "It's important to stick to the basics. Even better, pay attention to your partner's breath and see if you can match yours to theirs," Costanzo-D'Aprile explains, noting that the act of focusing and trying to synchronize your breath leads to deepened connection and intimacy. 

To be fully present, you need to activate all of your five senses. Lighting a scented candle, concentrating on your partner's aroma or taste, listening to the sounds you two make, maintaining eye contact, tracing your fingers over your partner's face and body, and exploring various textures and sensations like sex toys or vibrations are some methods you can try to boost your sexual experience through your five senses, says Costanzo-D'Aprile.

It deepens the sexual bond between you and your partner

According to Fraser (via Prevention), sexual meditation allows you to be more receptive to your partner's presence, which leads to an enhanced connection between you too. And connection can be a game-changer when it comes to sex.

"Without connection, sex is having two bodies rub against each other and create pleasurable sensations," sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr tells Bustle. "That can be good, just like a massage from a massage therapist can be intensely pleasurable. Sex without connection is a set of movements against each other, as if doing something onto each other. Sex with connection is being with each other." When there's a deep sense of connection between you two, sex becomes a safe place to be in and open up with each other, which can increase the chances of partners fully experiencing pleasure during sex, says Fehr.

When you have sex in a state of mindfulness, you can expect to have more enjoyable sex. "If you can train your mind to show up, it creates novelty, it creates excitement, and it creates a type of connection that generally we have only experienced early on in our love affair," Fraser says. In other words, retraining your mind to look internally for fulfillment before seeking it outside through mindfulness and meditation might recreate the honeymoon-phase euphoria you may not have experienced in a while and reinvigorate your love life.