That’s the question I posed to Portia Brown, Mindful Sex Coach, formally Froetic Sexology.
Portia is the living embodiment of her work and she has a way of making you feel immediately at ease. A knowing smile crept onto her lips, as she prepared to speak from a warm pool of Brooklyn sunshine, surrounded by her signature cherry curls.
Portia’s sexual healing journey began in college, about 6 years ago, and she has been sharing her pleasure lessons on social media ever since. But things amplified in 2020, a year we all remember, when the world turned upside down.
For Portia, the pandemic meant challenges with work when she lost her job and needed to start a new career. She found herself locked down with her boyfriend – and that brought its own difficulties. Portia knew that she needed something to support her mental health and nervous system because she didn’t feel completely present. There was that nagging feeling that something was missing – throughout daily life, and also during sex with her partner and herself.
You might recognise that feeling. That you’re not fully alive. Sleepwalking somehow. I know I’ve been there too.
Can Meditation Really Help?
By chance, Portia stumbled upon some posts that a close friend had begun to share on Instagram. Simple daily mini-meditations. And without really thinking about it, Portia started to follow along every day for two minutes every time she came across the content.
Little by little, she noticed small improvements. And over a few weeks, Portia started to feel a little more present. She was slowing down. Looking back, she can see that her nervous system was starting to regulate.
It felt so good, that Portia fully turned her attention to mindfulness. She sought out more techniques, practised for longer durations, tried different types of meditation and added breathwork.
As her understanding evolved, Portia began to integrate mindfulness into her pleasure practice – that’s when things really began to change. Portia discovered that over time practising meditation helped her to become more present in bed. It reduced distraction, quietened her busy brain – and reduced spectatoring. That’s when you kind of feel like you’re outside of your body, watching yourself get jiggy. Has that ever happened to you?
Through mindfulness, we can strengthen our mental muscles – which helps us come back to the present moment and hang out there for a while… without needing to tune out.
Portia describes mindfulness as “the art of focusing on one task at a time without any judgement.” This simple philosophy has helped her to show up fully in life, and reap the benefits in bed – and her clients are enjoying the same results!!
The shift may seem subtle – but it makes a world of difference. Instead of worrying if you’re doing sex right, you can actually lean in and enjoy it! Now that sounds good, right?
Where to Begin
There are many ways to bring mindfulness into the bedroom – and Portia encourages us to practice in small ways before, during and after sex. There’s no wrong way to do ‘mindful sex’.
Outside of the Bedroom
- Listen to calming sounds and guided meditations
- Try mindful movement – simply let your body move without judgement
- Integrate more of your senses into your day – this will help you to experience the richness of each moment
- Don’t just rush to grab the vibrator – instead, slooooow down
- Light a candle, or some incense
- Tap into your sense of sound with a sexy playlist
- Don’t overlook your sense of touch – choose sheets that are crisp and clean, or give yourself a loving massage with some lotion before getting intimate
- Allow your body to come online before touching your genitals
- Give yourself time and space to become erotically awakened before getting to the juicy parts
- It doesn’t have to be complicated
- Candles, low lights, skin-to-skin contact, and connecting before moving into more intimate acts
- Try meditating together
- Lay side by side, breathing together, eye gazing and holding hands
- Let the day melt away and re-centre together – bringing focus to one another
Bringing mindfulness into sex can feel weird for people because this isn’t what we typically do.
So, if you don’t know where to start with integrating mindfulness into boudoir activities- begin with your senses. Tune into your senses before, during, and after intimacy. There are endless options – so follow your intuition here.
Portia says that the most important thing is to throw away the script of pre-determined sex directions. Just tune into your body and do what feels good for you!
Space to Transition
It can be hard to change things up and have ‘a mindful moment’ when you’re in a long-term relationship. We’ve been socialised and conditioned to think that if our partner initiates sex, we should immediately respond with turn on. And if we don’t feel instant desire, we can think there’s something wrong with us.
But the truth is, we need to give ourselves time to transition into a pleasurable space.
You wouldn’t go running for 3 miles and then jump straight on stage to give a speech!
Imagine that your busy day is a 3-mile run. You’d need a moment to catch your breath and pivot before transitioning into a new space and mindset. Allow your body to calm and your nervous system to recalibrate so that you can feel turned on.
When you give yourself space to transition, you can be more present and… (drumrolllllllll) you can experience more pleasurable sensations!
So, rather than forcing yourself to act sexy and believing there’s something wrong with you, take a pause. Drop in, get present and give yourself time to be authentic!
How can you have mindful sex?
All of these suggestions can be powerful in helping you to have more fun in bed. But, what can you do if you notice that your mind is wandering in the middle of intimacy? When you start thinking about what to cook for dinner… and your orgasm suddenly vanishes?
Portia reassured me that this happens to everyone! Phew!
The problem is, that we’re conditioned to try to multitask. We make grocery lists in our heads while we’re driving. We think about tomorrow’s presentation while we’re walking the dog. And we scroll social media constantly!!
We’ve been trained to do multiple things at once. Even if the thing we’re doing is sex!
So, what can we do? How can we get out of our heads in bed – and have mindful sex?
First up, Portia says not to berate ourselves for getting distracted. If you notice your brain is wandering off, it’s okay! Getting annoyed with yourself – and speaking negatively isn’t helpful.
Instead, replace that with, “Oh, my brain is wandering off. I’ll use my imagination to put that thought on a shelf and then pick one of my senses to focus on.”
Zoom in on a sense that is experiencing a lot of sensation. Perhaps that’s touch. So, touch your own body!
Or, ask your partner to engage you and ask you questions such as: “Does this feel good?” or “What do you need right now?”
Re-engage in the present moment
It can be as simple as this…
- Notice you are distracted
- Don’t stress about it
- Take one, two, three deep breaths
This is a small, simple tool that is always within your grasp. And although it sounds easy – it does take practice. It’s just like forming a new habit. And you can cultivate it outside of the bedroom.
Start to notice other moments of your day where you go on autopilot and daydream. See if you can lock in and get present in those moments. Perhaps you’re washing the dishes – can you focus on the bubbles? Maybe you’re in the shower – can you focus on the sensation of water on your face?
Practising this way will be helpful when you are actually in a high-pressure situation in bed!
So, how can you have more mindful sex? There are many simple tools that we can try! But, Portia reminds us not to feel discouraged if this is harder than we think it should be.
Remember that it’s normal for our minds to be distracted – that is modern life. We have jobs, families, pets, partners, homes and more constantly dividing our time and attention. It’s not intuitive for us to focus on one thing. So don’t judge yourself. We’re not supposed to be perfect at this. That’s why mindfulness is a practice.
The great news is that we can learn to live more mindful lives so that we can have more mindful sex.
So stick with it because that’s a goal worth working towards!
Click for Full Show Notes: https://inbedwithlisa.com/16/
Portia’s website: https://portiabrowncoaching.com/
Apply to work with Portia: https://portiabrowncoaching.com/clientrequestform
Subscribe to my podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/in-bed-with-lisa/id1607881950
Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCEWC8f4QcA6PPrTMF-z3fw