While meditation and sex aren't obvious bedfellows, there is a tradition linking the two that goes back for centuries. Tantric practice in the East viewed the energy generated during sex as a potential springboard for certain meditative states. However, that connection is not a one-way street: Sex may be a method for enhancing meditation, but if you’re looking to spice up your sex life, meditation could be the best route. Here's why:
1. Meditation helps with stress management.
Meditation is probably best known for helping to manage stress, and stress is terrible for sex. Stress is the body’s reaction to being overwhelmed by the pressure of our lives, which triggers the fight-or-flight response and makes us feel lightheaded, nervous, and even nauseous. We feel the urge to run, hide, or fight in response to stress—not to make love. When this happens, our libido takes a hammering.
Plus, stress takes energy. Part of the physiological response to stress is the release of adrenaline and related hormones. We are then primed for action and hypervigilance, but this takes a lot of energy, and not surprisingly, we feel exhausted long before we get to bed. To compound the problem, we don’t sleep well with our mind ill at ease, relentlessly trying to find solutions to our problems. No energy equals "not tonight."
2. Meditation helps eliminate distractions.
Meditation helps our brains notice when we're distracted. And when one partner is distracted during sex, it's not good for anyone. When you're thinking about work, finances, or life in general, your partner is going to know. They may not know what or who you’re thinking about, but they know you’re not fully present. It’s discouraging (to say the least) to know your partner is not paying attention when you’re at your most vulnerable. Meditation trains us to move our attention back to where we want it. Become more attentive—your partner will notice and want to reciprocate.
3. Meditation will help you get the spark back.
Listening is one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs. When you first started dating, you were likely fascinated by everything your partner had to say, and they were fascinated by everything you had to say. You both felt seen, heard, and had a sense of a powerful connection. The lust that emanates from this is our desire to physicalize the psychological union. However, after months or years of being with the same person, you’ve probably stopped listening.
You may still have physical attraction, but over time the psychological desire that kindles real passion dies down a bit. Meditation teaches you how to listen properly again by helping you see when your attention is no longer fully on what they’re saying and gives you the skill to put it back. To get the spark back, start listening fully. Meditation is the training that shows you how.
4. Meditation helps you understand the power of now.
Meditation really helps make sex special again by snapping you out of your routine and waking you up to your innate present moment awareness. While automaticity is fine for brushing your teeth, it's not quite as fine for intimacy. Part of meditation is about being awake to right now. We try to sit in observation of the present moment by putting our attention on things happening in the present, like our breathing.
We see how hard that is when we become distracted but then train ourselves over and over to return our attention to see what’s happening in the moment rather than what’s happening in our heads. "Automaticity" is that thing that happens when we slip into automatic behavior rather than paying attention. It is how we drive home without needing to think about the route or how we brush our teeth while thinking about the day ahead. And it can be how we end up having sex after a while. You do this, I’ll do that, you stroke here, I’ll rub there—and let’s get some sleep. It’s functional, efficient, and passionless. Wake up to the now thanks to meditation, and you can bring back the intimacy by being fully present.
5. Meditation can help you read your partner's mind.
Most top athletes know they need to ignore the thinking mind and let their natural talent come through to perform at their best. Some call this "getting out of their own way." This is about recognizing the conscious mind as being great at many things like rational thought but also that it is severely limited. It is about recognizing our subconscious mind as being far quicker, more aware, and more capable at many other things. Meditation is the training that can help you quiet your thinking and help you get in touch with that awareness that sits behind your conscious brain. It is this part of yourself that can pick up and process hundreds of subtle cues from your partner’s breathing, their body, sighs, and reactions that the thinking mind will completely miss. You’ll just instinctively know what the right move is without knowing why. You may not actually be psychic, but your partner may well think you are.
When I teach meditation, I like to emphasize that it’s a practice that can help every aspect of your life; it’s not just about stress relief. Although it might be surprising, I hope you’ll start to explore how meditation can even reset and rekindle your love life.
Want to learn more about the benefits of meditation? Here are 13 really good reasons to start meditating every day.
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