“What do you think about when you’re having sex?” I asked a group of girlfriends.
The answers came back fast and furious – their partners, what they should do to please them, and wanting to race to an orgasm. Do you think about yourself? I asked. Yes, they say, but always in the context of their man. Even when it comes to self-love, they rely on external factors (memories of ex-boyfriends, naughty vids or erotica) to get them off.
Focusing more on your partner isn’t a bad thing. But it can get in the way. It means you’re probably not maxing out the satisfaction you could get out of this steamy encounter. “A lot of us are not connected to our sexuality, and we go through the motions during sex,” says sex and relationship counsellor Erin Chen. “We’re socially conditioned about what sex should be like, and what we should look like while it’s happening. When all that is running through your head, it can be difficult to just enjoy being in the present.”
The trick is to cultivate self-awareness as you’re experiencing sexual pleasure, says Erin. Think of it like yoga, when the instructor tells you to focus on the physical sensations. Take that advice and run with it between the sheets.
To achieve this, Erin says you need to be as comfortable with your body as possible, and know what gets it to sing. The first step – demystify your lady bits: “Look at your vagina in the mirror, because that’s when the connection starts,” she adds. Maybe you don’t like the way it looks down there – and that stops you from letting your guy get up close and personal with it. Be conscious of your reaction, and why you feel the way you do. Once you understand and accept your body for what it is, the confidence will slowly follow.
Next, grab your partner, get out of your comfort zone, and be open about exploring your body. Ask him to touch you on the inside of your arms, the back of your thighs, or the small of your back. Or do it yourself. Now, focus on how that feels. You might find that there are more erogenous zones that you’ve yet to discover, simply because you haven’t been paying attention.
Focusing on your body isn’t going to be easy – after all, old habits die hard. But it’s about re-programming your mind. Don’t be hard on yourself when you feel embarrassed or self-conscious – keep calling your thoughts back to what you’re doing, and asking yourself how you feel. When you’re super in tune with your body, you’ll feel the difference. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that.
And when you know what you like and you can communicate that to your partner, it’ll mean maximum pleasure for both of you.
This story was first published in the April 2018 issue of Her World magazine.