For years, people have been turning to Buddhist breathing and meditation practices as a way to deal with various mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression.
But more recently, bloggers, health professionals and celebrities have been promoting the idea of mindfulness as way to reduce stress, increase happiness and even enhance sexual arousal.
Mindfulness is about learning to be present and aware of ourselves and our surroundings and to focus our attention on what we are experiencing moment by moment. The goal for people who practice mindfulness is to begin to approach various aspects of life with acceptance and open-mindedness rather than judgement.
“When you hear the word mindfulness, you have to understand that it is presence of heart,” said Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction founder at a recent seminar for the Greater Good Science Center in Berkeley.
For some people, mindfulness during sex is something that comes very naturally, but for others, anxieties and distractions can stand in the way of full awareness of the body and mind during sex.
Several recent scientific studies have proven that the practice of mindfulness can generally reduce pain and relieve stress and particularly during sex, mindfulness can enhance physical arousal and emotional fulfillment.
Researchers at Brown University evaluated a group of 41 male and 36 female students over a period of 12 weeks to study the effects of mindfulness on sexual arousal. All participants underwent a three-month course in mindfulness meditation. Female participants reported that after undergoing mindfulness meditation, they were more sexually aroused, more quickly. The results of the research highlighted the potential of mindfulness training as a treatment of female sexual dysfunction.
Beyond mindfulness training, focusing on something in particular such as the breath or a part of the body can help women move towards closeness and intimacy with their partner. Adopting what is known as an “open focus” approach can help women disengage with all the stresses of day to day life and focus in on the sensations in their bodies, allowing them to enjoy sex more fully.
According to HeadSpace, developing a personal meditation routine can help you become more aware of the distractions around you and help you learn to counter these distractions with mindfulness. Daily meditation has been shown to reduce the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the brain. A reduction of cortisol you can increase libido, thus increasing sex drive.