This One Pratice Has The Potential To Transform Your Sex Life

Dr. Chelom Leavitt explains how sexual mindfulness can improve your sexual relationship with your partner and yourself.

By Mark Travers, Ph.D. | November 23, 2022

A new study published in Sexual and Relationship Therapy describes how being sexually mindful can make sex more pleasurable and meaningful.

I recently spoke to researcher Chelom Leavitt to understand how one can incorporate mindful practices in the bedroom. Here is a summary of our conversation.

How would you describe sexual mindfulness to the layperson? How does it build on the larger umbrella of relationship mindfulness?

Sexual mindfulness builds on relational and individual mindfulness. It is the ability to stay present, aware, and curious during a sexual experience.

What would you say as the key qualities of a sexually mindful individual and/or relationship?

A sexually mindful can slow down, be aware of sensation and arousal and instead of being judgmental, they are curious about their own feelings and arousal, and their partner's feelings and arousal.

Could you walk us through the benefits that a relationship can derive from relationship and sexual mindfulness?

My research shows that being sexually mindful is connected to great relational and sexual satisfaction, emotional connection, sexual communication, and physical functioning. Couples report feeling like their relationship was elevated.

What would you say were your most important findings?

The most important finding is that the simple, non-drug use of mindfulness during sex is effective, easy, and rewarding. Couples not only reported more satisfaction and connectedness, they reported more consistent orgasms and feelings of attunement and flourishing within their relationship.

Your results also highlighted certain key differences based on gender. Could you explain?

Women have been socialized to feel a little disconnected from their body. They are not as aware of their own sexual feelings and responses. So when women practice sexual mindfulness, they experience greater improvements than men do. However, both men and women reported significant improvements in the relational and sexual experience.

Your study included a small intervention that instructed participating couples on how to practice sexual mindfulness. Could you walk us through some of those steps that people can adopt in their own lives to practice sexual mindfulness and reap its benefits?

Slow down your arousal process. Notice how your partner smells, tastes, the texture, and temperature of touching your partner's skin. How does it feel to be touched? What thoughts arise as you are in your partner's embrace. See how it feels to take time to notice nuanced emotions instead of hurrying the sexual experience.

This is a time to savor not rush toward the sometimes artificial goal of orgasm.

Would you have any words of advice for anyone struggling with self-judgment and insecurity in the bedroom?

Try to let go of self-judgment and recognize that your partner is attracted to more than just your body — they love your sense of humor, your ideas, and emotions. Talk about your insecurities and authentically make a plan together to try to eliminate these distractions. Emotional intimacy is the goal of sex.

Don't lose sight of the beauty of shared emotions and genuine vulnerability. The opposite of judgment is curiosity. Be curious about your insecurities and create an environment of safety in your relationship.

Do you have any plans for follow-up research? Where do you wish to see research on this topic go in the future?

We are expanding this research to include cross-cultural verification of the class. We have already trained therapists in the U.S. and Bangladesh and will soon be teaching therapists in Iran, Romania, and Poland. We have validated this class with newlyweds, middle-aged, Black couples, and interracial couples.