I want to chat today about being present during sex.
Being present is one of the things that contributes to creating awesome sex that I’ve talked about before on the blog, as well as how it’s affected by shame.
Today, I want to talk about what it is, what gets in the way, what the benefits of being present are and some ways that you can increase presence during sex.
So, let’s first look at what being present is.
Being present is about letting go and I’m sure you’ve heard that before. But what does it really mean? Well, I look at this in three ways.
First, we’re often focused (whether we’re fully aware or not) on past things. So, a shitty experience, past trauma, things we heard from others or from society that affected us and created feelings of shame, etc.
Second, we’re also often focused on future things. This is usually fear or some form of it like worry or anxiety … what if it sucks this time too, what if things never change, what if … whatever.
And third, we’re often focused on the stresses of current situations. So, we’re thinking about the giant stack of laundry or something to do with the kids or what happened at work or some not-so-great news we heard from someone we care about.
So, letting go is about NOT concentrating on those things and instead, paying attention to what’s going on right now, sexually. It’s kind of like leaving work at the office and focusing on the people in your life when you’re at home. Same idea.
Which gets into something else that being present is, which is that it’s about focusing on the now or being in the moment, present in the situation that we’re experiencing right now … and particularly being aware of the sensations that we’re experiencing.
So, when we let the other shit go for now, one way to help with that is to focus on what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing, what you’re smelling, what you’re tasting and what you’re feeling in a tactile, physical touch kind of way.
And being present is also about focusing on the moment without judgment … or rather, with acceptance. That’s a big one for many people and it’s related to sexual confidence. Does that one speak to you or make you think, “Oh, shit. There’s a lot of judgment or criticism or negative self-talk going on for me.”
I hear you.
And this is key because we could totally be focusing on the present moment and the sensations and still be beating ourselves up in our heads, right?
We can let the thoughts go to judgments about the present moment, “Do I smell okay, do I taste okay, what are they thinking, are they enjoying it, I wish they’d do x, y, z, are they enjoying it, am I doing it right.”
And that’s not REALLY being present. It’s thinking about the current situation, but judging it, which creates a separation from it and kind of loops back around to what I was talking about when I mentioned different factors involved in letting go.
It’s focusing on the things that can get in the way of being present.
All those thoughts related to:
Am I good enough? Am I as good as so and so? Am I normal?
It’s not the same as in porn. Am I doing it right?
What will they think?
Should we be doing this?
I really want _____ instead.
Gotta keep the lights off.
So, why does being present matter?
I alluded to some reasons in what I’ve shared so far, but more specifically, it’s necessary so you can:
Experience pleasure fully and create awesome, satisfying and optimal sex.
Connect with your authentic self to know what you like and don’t like.
Honestly and vulnerably create an experience that honors that.
Connect with and respond to your partner or partners and what they’re experiencing.
Get into your body (and out of all the self-judgment, anxiety about what a partner or partners might be thinking, comparison, and other loops of thought that go around and around in your head).
Release feelings that have been holding you back like the shame I talked about in the last episode.
So, being present is a big deal and it’s not necessarily an easy thing to do.
Which brings me to some common mistakes that you might relate to:
People want quick fixes for most things including their sexual struggles, so they often don’t want to cultivate presence because it takes time and effort.
But the thing is, as I’ve mentioned before, that quick fixes are just Band-Aids. They don’t actually solve the problem, or they give temporary solutions that disappear after a little while because the underlying causes aren’t dealt with. It’s really important to work on those underlying things in order to create the change you want.
And being present is one piece of that underlying stuff. It’s part of what actually creates real and sustainable change.
People try to keep all non-focused thoughts out of their heads and give up when things don’t go perfectly. It’s the same if you’ve ever tried meditation.
I’ve heard so many people say that they can’t meditate because they have too many thoughts going on and they can’t focus. Believe me, I relate to this. Ask my partner how my brain works! You know those memes with all the bazillions of squiggly lines representing the thoughts in a person’s head. That’s like my head.
But what’s true is that in meditation or in being present during sex, it’s not about eliminating all the thoughts or emptying your mind. It’s just about training your brain to focus on something right now.
When the other thoughts come, you can just notice and set them aside without judgment. And you’re filling your mind with focus on the sensations in the moment, not with emptiness.
People only try to be present in non-sexual contexts and wonder why it doesn’t change anything in sexual situations. Practicing mindfulness or presence in other contexts of your life is a good thing.
Definitely do that.
But if you only do that and don’t play with or practice it in specifically sexual situations, it’s possible that you’ll still struggle during sex. There was a recent study that showed that this may be the case. You can check it out here if you want to nerd out.
So, if those are things NOT to do, what are the things TO do?
There are three key ways to cultivate presence, plus one optional way:
The first way is to reprogram your limiting beliefs, shift shame and negative self-talk and change unrealistic expectations.
The second way is to increase self-awareness and awareness about your partner(s). This might look like masturbation, mutual masturbation, creating your sexual vision and visualizing it regularly, getting to know what you want/don’t want, exploring different types of touch, trying various lubes or toys, watching ethical porn and creating communication about your discoveries, including regularly checking in about it.
The third way is to focus on cultivating presence during sexual situations. So, you might pay attention to what you see, smell, taste, touch and hear. You might experiment with adding in different sensations. Or you might incorporate techniques like certain breathing exercises, body scans or other methods to get into your body and increase presence.
The optional way is to focus on cultivating presence OUTSIDE of sexual situations to build the muscle of being present in the moment and ease into doing it in sexual scenarios.
To get you started with all of these things, I’ve created the Picture Your Pleasure bundle special offer for you. This bundle is designed to help you get crystal clear about what you uniquely and authentically want sexually so you can create the sex life you really want and begin to develop presence as well.
My 5P Process for creating your sexual vision.
Powerful questions to consider as you build out that vision.
The Discover Your Desires Deep Dive process to expand and clarify things so that you’ll know exactly what turns you on and off, what you might want to explore, and what is an absolute no for you. This includes a comprehensive list of possibilities to consider.
A worksheet to record the top ten things you want to explore further.
The Types of Touch & Sensation activity to discover how you really like to be touched as well as other types of sensation that you find pleasurable.
Sensual Touch exercises to open up awareness of what feels pleasurable to you, what doesn’t and where you like to be touched.
Two techniques to increase your presence in the moment so you can begin to experience pleasure more fully as we’ve talked about today.
Access to the What’s Your Unique Superpower quiz if you haven’t done it yet in order to determine your sexual superpower and get some ideas about things you might want to try that align with that.
And the 10 ways to start a conversation about sex checklist to support you in sharing things with your partner or partners.
And let me know on Instagram what you struggle with in terms of being present during sex. I’d love to hear from you over there and I can’t wait to see you in the next episode as well!
IMPORTANT NOTE: The bundle mentioned above is no longer available and I'm totally revamping it into an awesome course that I'll let you know about soon.
Hi! I'm Leanne. I'm a teacher, certified sex and mindset coach and creator of the Sexy brand, Your Pleasure Profile and the SEXY System. I'm passionate about helping you know who you uniquely are without all the stuff that says who you "should" be so you can be in your power, worth and confidence and express your authentic sexual desires without shame. I specialize in sexual desire discrepancy (a mismatch in the amount or type of sex that you and your partner/s want), sexual communication and shifting what keeps you stuck so you can create the sex life that you really want. You can learn more at https://sexysexualconfidence.com.
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