If you want to learn how to minimize distractions, get rid of self judgment and pay attention to all of the love and pleasure that is available to you, join us in exploring Mindful Sex.
Mindfulness is the art of paying attention. In mindfulness meditation, you practice focusing your attention and minimizing the “monkey mind” of mental chatter.
Mindful sex is all about paying attention to the pleasure of your erotic connection. It means showing up fully so you can fully enjoy the intimacy and eroticism you are generating. This is a simple practice, but far from easy!
Ready to explore the practices of Mindful Sex? Join us in our online course!
In this week’s episode, we share our secrets of practicing mindful sex.
- How To Practice Mindful Sex
- The Emotional and Physical Benefits of Mindful Sex
- How To Amplify Arousal Through Breathwork
- The Key To Being A Masterful Lover
Podcast Transcript: Mindful Sex Episode
Charlotte Rose: 00:00 Hello. And welcome to Speaking of Sex with the Pleasure Mechanics. I’m Charlotte.
Chris Rose: 00:06 I’m Chris. And we are the Pleasure Mechanics. In this podcast, we offer expert advice so you can have an amazing sex life. You can submit a question to be answered on future episodes by heading over to pleasuremechanics.com, where you’ll also find a complete archive of podcast episodes, heading towards 125 at the time of this recording.
Charlotte Rose: 00:28 What what! (Excitement)
Chris Rose: 00:30 While you’re there, definitely get on our newsletter for a free weekly dose of erotic inspiration delivered straight to your inbox, and when you’re ready to master new erotic skills, check out our online courses designed to help you master skills such as couples’ massage, foreplay, and spanking, and more. Check them all out at pleasuremechanics.com and use the speakingofsex for 20 percent off.
Chris Rose: 00:55 I’m taking a deep breath, because on today’s episode, we’re talking about mindful sex.
Charlotte Rose: 01:01 I love this subject. It may be one of my favorite subjects in the entire world.
Chris Rose: 01:06 You just got so excited, but we sat down. So, Charlotte, mindful sex. Let’s break it down. What is mindfulness? How does it apply to sex? Why do you love it?
Charlotte Rose: 01:16 Great questions. The trifecta. We, the Pleasure Mechanics, think of mindfulness as paying attention to what you’re doing while you’re doing it. Which sounds incredibly simple.
Chris Rose: 01:29 And yet, it’s so profound.
Charlotte Rose: 01:30 Right.
Chris Rose: 01:30 As we will explore.
Charlotte Rose: 01:31 Right.
Chris Rose: 01:32 Right. It can be as simple as that. The practice of mindfulness dates back into antiquity with Buddhist traditions, but the current field of mindfulness was started by this guy, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and he started the mindfulness-based stress reduction program at the University of Massachusetts, and has since spread the practice of mindfulness throughout so many institutions, like prisons, hospitals, schools, monasteries, you name it, he is there teaching mindfulness as this very simple, secular practice of paying attention deliberately. He says his working definition of mindfulness is the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment non-judgmentally. And he’s also called it “presence of heart,” citing the idea that heart and mind are not as divided in Eastern traditions such as Buddhism, which is where these practices originate. And when you’re paying attention with your mind, you’re paying attention with your heart.
Chris Rose: 02:40 So in today’s episode, we’re gonna be breaking down how the practice of mindfulness applies to sex.
Charlotte Rose: 02:46 I love his addition of “being non-judgmental.” I feel like that is an essential part for sex. Because if we can pay attention to what we’re doing, and bring a non-judgmental to it, that’s like the Holy Grail of being present to sex and being available for all the joy and pleasure and getting rid of all of the crap that goes on in our mind. I mean, that is what we all wanna be heading towards. This is what we wanna be able to show up with in our bodies, in our bedrooms. This makes sex so much better.
Chris Rose: 03:21 Why?
Charlotte Rose: 03:22 Because so many of us spend so much mental energy judging our bodies, our breasts, our fat, our penis size, our breast size, all of that takes up so much emotional energy-
Chris Rose: 03:34 Well, and also-
Charlotte Rose: 03:34 … and mental energy.
Chris Rose: 03:35 … judging our fantasies and our desires, and what we’re saying and not saying, and who we’re sleeping with.
Charlotte Rose: 03:41 And what they’re doing.
Chris Rose: 03:42 So much judgment.
Charlotte Rose: 03:42 Right. It’s judging of ourselves, our bodies, what we’re doing, who our partner is, and if we could eliminate all of those thoughts, there is so much more emotional and mental energy to be present to what we’re actually feeling as we’re feeling it, to each other, to pleasure. We can begin to shift that from the problems that we’re seeing to the pleasure and the magic of being in this body, experiencing pleasure and love. And that is a whole different ballgame, and it is so beautiful. This is what I want-
Chris Rose: 04:18 That’s your ballgame, Charlotte.
Charlotte Rose: 04:19 That is what I want for all of us, guys.
Chris Rose: 04:21 Right.
Charlotte Rose: 04:22 I want us all to be-
Chris Rose: 04:23 This is what you’re all about.
Charlotte Rose: 04:24 This is what I live for. This, ladies and gentlemen, this is what I live for. This is what I want to gift to you through our podcasts, through our work, is the ability to be able to experience this kind of emotional freedom, to enjoy life and your body and your sex. That feels so fun and satisfying to me, and I really hope …
Chris Rose: 04:50 And mindful sex is the tool to get there.
Charlotte Rose: 04:52 I think it’s the framework which all the other stuff that we talk about week after week falls under.
Chris Rose: 04:58 Right.
Charlotte Rose: 04:58 I think we talk about this all the time, in fact, but we don’t language it in this way, and I think this does hone and solidify what we’re up to.
Chris Rose: 05:08 So let me tell you a story.
Charlotte Rose: 05:10 Okay.
Chris Rose: 05:11 So when I was in-
Charlotte Rose: 05:12 I love stories. Story time.
Chris Rose: 05:13 When I was in college, I went to Vassar College, and while I was there, I had a yoga teacher. And the yoga was actually one of my very first steps into body-based practices, which got me to where I am now in this very direct way. And also, to healing sexual trauma, which also allowed me to sit here with you today. But my yoga teacher, Erin was her name, decided to take the mindfulness-based stress reduction course with Jon Kabat-Zinn, and she disappeared for a few weeks, and when she came back, she had to teach a course to qualify as a practitioner. So she invited me into this pilot program, and it blew my mind, because as a heady college student running around studying sexuality and putting on all these events and publishing a magazine, what I wasn’t doing was slowing down enough to feel my body.
Chris Rose: 06:07 And I was in this program with some faculty members and some staff, some people experiencing chronic illness and chronic pain, and here I was in my young, healthy body for the most part. But when I slowed down and started feeling my body through these practices, and it was simple things. Like, she would pass around a box of raisins, and you would hold a raisin in your mouth and feel it hydrate in your mouth, and the texture change. And you were paying full attention to that moment of contact, that experience of the raisin on your tongue, and rolling it around, and what that feels like. And this set of practices in my study with her is what allowed me to start healing my relationship with my body, feel pleasure again, and start enjoying being in my skin.
Chris Rose: 07:00 So for me, there’s this direct experiential correlation between doing mindfulness practices and having a better and better sex life. And it really is so much of the foundation of what we teach in these very subtle ways, and maybe we should do individual episodes on mindful anal sex, and mindful orgasm. Because these things are all, as you said, the framework of what we teach. It’s showing up with full confidence and presence and a clear head. You’ve done the work to get rid of shame and guilt in your body, and you can focus on the sex that’s happening between you and your loved one, whether that’s sweet and tender sex or super rough-and-tumble sex. Whatever it is, you’re fully there paying attention, participating fully, and that’s when you get that earth-shaking, incredible, life-changing sex that we all, perhaps, want more of in our lives.
Chris Rose: 07:56 So that’s my story with mindfulness-based stress reduction. What’s interesting about this, to me, Charlotte, is that you experience this so fully it’s very easy for you to show up with full presence and enjoy pleasure in your body, and you’re a natural at it. You’re very gifted at this. And I’m curious if you have any sense of where that came from for you.
Charlotte Rose: 08:17 I think that I’ve spent a lot of time paying attention to my body, whether that is from my younger years of doing sports or dancing or spending a lot of time in meditation. I love to meditate. I love the feeling state that it gets my body into. When I did erotic massage, which if that’s new information for some of you, I talked about it more in Episode 100, I would meditate for as long as I could before each session, so that would be 10 minutes to an hour, depending on my schedule. I really noticed the difference between the sessions that I gave post-meditation to the ones that I was a bit more hurried and was rushing into a session. The way you can show up once you’ve stilled yourself through meditation, you can show up so much more fully and be so much more aware of yourself, your breath, the body that’s in front of you. It’s a whole different way of being. And I-
Chris Rose: 09:13 And what about when receiving touch? Do you use it then, as well?
Charlotte Rose: 09:16 Absolutely. Absolutely. I feel like one of the gifts through all of these practices that I have done over the years is that I do feel like I can switch off my thinking mind while receiving pleasure or while being in the world and just feel the sensations in my body. And that does allow me to access so much pleasure. And that can be practiced in moments out in the world when you’re feeling breeze on your skin or sunshine on your skin or really inhaling the scent of flowers. All of those moments are really mini-sensual mindful moments, or practice moments, that can make sex feel so much better, too. Because you can feel more.
Chris Rose: 10:03 Right. And your capacity for pleasure and intimacy is what I imagine as this deep well in a very wet land, where as you draw water from the well, it just keeps filling itself up, and it’s really this endless capacity for pleasure and connection. Whereas my path is very much learning, even just to get back to my baseline after my experiences of trauma in my life. And so I think what this is showing is that these practices, which I wanna break down in a really practical way in a minute, these practices are available to all of us, no matter what our current state is and where we’re going, they’re always going to be useful and healthy and positive. And so why not try it out?
Chris Rose: 10:46 So here is what mindful sex looks like in a very practical way. It means while you’re having sex, you are completely focused on what you are doing while you are doing it, meaning your mind is not thinking about any to-do list, practical stuff, nor is it thinking about the shame and judgment that you might bring to any sexual encounter. It’s completely focused on the sensations on your skin, on your authentic emotional reactions, on the entire present moment. And it sounds simple, right? But why is this difficult? Why is it a skill that needs to be learned? I think the truth is, it is our natural native state of being as human beings, but we’ve been really taken far away from it. So it’s more of a re-learning, of a getting back to a state we’re designed to experience.
Chris Rose: 11:34 And what’s great about Jon Kabat-Zinn and his huge mindfulness movement is that they’ve done a lot of research in labs about mindfulness, they’ve done functional MRI scans that allow them to see into the brains of monks and mindfulness practitioners, they’ve done scans of the brain structures and how they’ve actually been changed by a practice of mindfulness. It’s really healthy for your brain folds. It turns out.
Charlotte Rose: 12:02 Your brain folds?
Chris Rose: 12:03 Your brain folds.
Charlotte Rose: 12:05 Kind of intriguing.
Chris Rose: 12:09 And then that, they found, is correlated with more orgasmic capacity. They’ve actually studied these things. In a Brown University study, they focused on the effect of mindfulness on sexual arousal, and they found that the women who practiced mindfulness became much more aroused more quickly and reported higher sexual satisfaction. So fear not, these things have been studied in the lab and found to be super healthy for your brain, your body, and your overall experience of wellbeing in the world, and that can be applied to your sex life.
Charlotte Rose: 12:41 Bless them for studying these things. I love it.
Chris Rose: 12:44 Right?
Charlotte Rose: 12:46 It sounds like, from the Brown study, what was interesting is that women were able to experience arousal more fully because they had worked on getting the self-judgment out of the way. So things that they may have previously judged as “dirty” or “uncomfortable,” they were able to not judge, and so they were able to see what turned them on more. And there is a lot of great research coming out about this issue, where women are judging themselves so fully that they’re not experiencing arousal. This shouldn’t be under-estimated, the power of getting over judgment allowing us to feel our turn-on more fully is really profound.
Chris Rose: 13:26 So here is a four-step plan to starting to explore mindfulness sex in your current sex life, no matter where you’re starting from. One of the first things you learn to do in mindfulness training is what’s called the body scan, where you just lie still and comfortably and go through your body part by part and just check in with it. Focus your mind’s attention to first your head, then your neck, then your shoulders. And as you scan your body, you notice points of tension and points of pleasure and sensations. And this is one of the essential tools that they use in all different kinds of mindfulness practices, which are beyond the scope of this podcast. So that might be a place to start is before sex, do a body scan, and just breathe through your body and notice what you notice, and if you Google mindfulness body scan, you’ll come up with all sorts of scripts that will walk you through that. Although we should have Charlotte record one in her beautiful voice for you.
Chris Rose: 14:28 And now when you are getting aroused. And this can be during masturbation or it can be during partnered sex. The basic practice is you stay focused on sensations, and any time you notice your mind wandering, you bring it back to your body using the breath. So you start thinking about the laundry, and you take a big breath in, focus on what that feels like, and exhale, come back to the present moment, and focus on sensations and on the intimacy you’re experiencing. So that is step one, is learn how to pay attention to your sensations in your body and start allowing yourself to feel what it feels like to build pleasure and build arousal. Gosh, I’m noticing we have so much to say on this. More to come, folks. Okay. But we’re gonna keep moving through the basic steps.
Charlotte Rose: 15:17 You can also practice mindfulness when you’re giving pleasure to your lover. So what this can look like is really paying attention to the sensations in your fingertips, in your hands, on your tongue, in your mouth, really luxuriating in the sensations that your body is feeling in the giving. And also focusing on their skin, their body, their responses. So you’re trying to bring all of your mental and emotional energy into feeling the sensations of your skin, your body, and their body. And again, as Chris was saying, any time there are thoughts that interrupt that, you just bring your attention, your heart and your mind, back to the sensations. And this can really change your experience of sex and of touch and of being with your lover.
Charlotte Rose: 16:12 Then there’s also this art of paying attention to two things at once. We call it developing the skill of having split attention, where you’re both paying attention to all of those sensations I was just speaking about, but you’re also paying attention to your partner’s pleasure and their body and their responses and their breath and their inhales and their [crosstalk 00:16:33].
Chris Rose: 16:34 Subtle energetic cues.
Charlotte Rose: 16:35 Yeah. So you’re really fine-tuning your attention to how they’re responding to your touch, so that then you can respond if it feels like they really like a touch, you can repeat it. Or if it seems like they might like more pressure you can do that. If … When you really really hone in and look at all of their body’s cues, then you cultivate yourself as a better lover, because you’re being so responsive. But you can only pay attention to those micro-cues if you’re really present to them.
Chris Rose: 17:06 And I was about to say, all of these skills are what we call presence sometimes. It’s not this esoteric thing. It’s a very real, felt experience. And you can experience it even when you’re out to dinner with someone. The difference between someone who’s really paying attention to you and looking you in the eye and paying attention to how you’re feeling about what you’re saying as you’re saying it. The difference between that and someone who’s kind of listening and twirling their spaghetti on their fork and looking off into the distance and is not really present with you. That’s like night and day.
Charlotte Rose: 17:38 Yeah, I know that you’ve spoken before about love is …
Chris Rose: 17:41 Paying attention?
Charlotte Rose: 17:42 Yeah love is paying attention, and that’s a really beautiful … it’s an active experience. It’s something that you can generate. It’s something that is replenishable, and it’s very active. I think sometimes we think about love as this sort of passive thing that is already between us, but when you engage in it and say, “How much presence, how much attention, how much mindfulness can I bring to this moment?” I mean, that’s infinite. I don’t … It’s … I don’t wanna get too esoteric, but it’s cool to think about it.
Chris Rose: 18:10 I think what we’re saying here is that this is a huge part of great sex, which is what we’re all about, and so we have a lot to say about it. So we’ll do more. We’ll do more episodes, folks, on mindful sex and all its applications. This goes deep, and it’s a never-ending practice. It’s not something you learn and put in your back pocket. It’s a constant, ongoing thing. And we’ll try to break this down and explore this topic in greater depth with you over time. So send us any questions you have about mindful sex and its applications in great sex, in great relationships.
Chris Rose: 18:44 And a closing thought here is that when you both are practicing mindfulness, when both you and your partner are on board, it creates the conditions for this circuit to develop. And this circuit I’m talking about is you are both actively participating in this split attention of paying attention to giving and paying attention to receiving. Receiving love, receiving pleasure, giving love, giving pleasure, giving attention. And this becomes a beautiful upward spiral in both the microcosm of a single sexual event, and in the macrocosm of your relationship as a whole. So when you’re giving touch and you notice what feels good, you can do a little bit more of that, and then your partner feels that “ah” moment of, not only does something feel good, but my partner noticed and is paying attention to what I want.
Chris Rose: 19:39 And feeling seen in that way can really open you up and feel really both vulnerable and delicious at the same time. And then your partner notices that you’ve had this opening, this transformation, and you’re more present in the moment, and so they start paying attention more. And you go in this cycle together where you’re both paying attention to lifting one another up and creating as much pleasure and joy together as you can. The experience of mindful sex, for me, is when I feel so loved and so held and so pleasured in both body and mind that I feel fulfilled by sex. I feel filled up and super charged and in love with life and my body and my partner. So for me this is the core of what sex is about. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. You can always contact us over at pleasuremechanics.com and let us know your thoughts on this topic, what you wanna hear more about, and we will bring it to you in future episodes of the Speaking of Sex podcast.
Chris Rose: 20:47 Thank you so much for listening. I do wanna mention, if you listen to this show and like what we’re doing and wanna support this conversation continuing, please leave us a review on iTunes. It really helps us out. We would love a review and a rating from you. It really helps other people find the show. And one click at a time, we’ll create a sexier world together for us all. I’m Chris.
Charlotte Rose: 21:10 I’m Charlotte. We are the Pleasure Mechanics, wishing you a lifetime of pleasure.