Meditation Before Sex? It Could Be the Key to Improving Your Sex Life

By Lauren Zielinski, MSN, CNM
Camille Styles cozy meditation corner in bedroom at home in Austin

Meditation before sex? Let’s dive in, shall we?!

If you’ve ever had a less than easy time trying to get down in bed, you’re probably acutely aware of some of the triggers that make it hard to really let go and enjoy sex. Stress, nerves, time constraints, weird past experiences, shame, hesitation, body consciousness—Eep! It’s a lot! We’re all bound at some point to fall victim to the slew of variables that cut into our ability to enjoy sex. Additionally, it’s not uncommon that many of us set our sexual expectations for ourselves and our partners really high! Don’t we all want to have that best. night. of. sex. ever?—and again and again? Of course, we do! While high standards are great, sometimes they can be dangerous, when we expect too much—we’re often let down.

When it comes to sex, we may really benefit from dropping all expectations, tuning in, and allowing ourselves to fully “let go.”

I really think this is how we find our best sex ever! 

Let’s put on a thinking cap that allows us to frame sex as an activity that invites in relaxation and kicks out inhibition. Let’s also focus on the idea that when you’re having sex there is a total allowance for you to clear your mind, let go of whatever may be preoccupying your conscious and really focus on pleasure, your lover, breath, and release. Is it starting to click?

The idea that meditating and finding a calm and conscious headspace prior to sex may intentionally and wildly increase your ability to focus, connect and let go makes so much sense!

Newer research (while still preliminary) is making pretty cool connections between those who meditate regularly, the act of meditation just before sex, and higher rates of desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction. Ummm, a resounding yes, please!? If you want to dig into the data, here’s a brief commentary on some of the research by renowned sex researcher, Lori Brotto.

camille styles meditation

Meditation: Not just for monks!

While for some individuals, meditation brings up images of monks or hippies seated, chanting with eyes calmly closed, it’s actually so accessible and impactful to literally anyone who wants to give it a go. I recommend dropping any preconceived notions and framing it as taking a moment to yourself to let go and relax (and who doesn’t soooo deserve that in our crazy world??) 

I’ll guide you through the science behind why meditation is thought to make sex better and give you a few ideas on incorporating this practice into your life. All with the intention of increasing pleasure, relaxation, and orgasm. Wheeee!

How does meditation before sex work?

In an article on meditation and sex, author Michael Castleman put it well, “Sex unfolds most pleasurably when people feel calm, centered, and focused on pleasure—their own and their partners’. Even those free of sex problems can benefit from deep relaxation.” I think inherently people want to really connect during sex, however so often we all jump right into sex with a busy brain, thoughts racing from the day, unable to fully relax and let go.

How are we supposed to really enjoy sex when our mind is stuck on that conversation we had with our boss a few hours ago? There’s oftentimes no intention behind what we are doing when we’re doing it! 

Even when we plan to or have thought about having sex with our partner throughout the day, it’s not in our habit to prepare the mind or the emotions, despite the fact that we absolutely know sex is so mental for so many. This is where meditation comes in hot! As you may know, the sole purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind, intentionally become more present, and let go of emotions and stress that don’t serve us well. 

By carving out space to slow our breath, quiet our mind and find presence prior to sex, we prepare to connect more fully, pay attention more deeply, and truly be in the moment with our partners. 

Camille Styles custom wood bed

Hello, blood flow, buh-bye stress.

Let’s talk about how ditching stress can increase pleasure during sex. We know for certain that meditation decreases stress. There’s great research actually that meditation rewires and transforms important neuronal pathways in our brain to better handle stress and stay calmer. I love, love, love this short video by the app Mind the Bump, that explains how stress works in our brains and how meditation combats it. Honestly, mind-blowing!

When we really understand how meditation works within the brain, it’s no surprise it carries over to our sex lives—they are so interconnected! If you’ve read any of my other articles you’ve probably heard me explain the “fight or flight response.” This is our body’s reaction to stress that helps us survive (think predator -vs- prey or survival instincts). Under sizeable stressful events, epinephrine and cortisol (which are stress hormones) soar. Our heart rate quickens, we become more attuned to the environment, and oxygenated blood pumps away from our limbs (and genitals for that matter) and floods our vital organs like our brain, heart, and gut to help us survive. Doesn’t sound very conducive to relaxing and getting busy, am I right?

The last example is admittedly an extreme one—we’re definitely not all jumping into bed right after we have a major stressful event (that would be weird). However, now that you understand the concept; you could easily see how even low-level stress keeps that brain-to-hormone-to-body stress cascade turned on—think of it as a constant mini fight or flight response.

This is why chronic stress is just as detrimental as big stressors that put us into fight or flight mode—if not much more damaging, due to the consistency.

On the flip side though, when we meditate, everything relaxes, creating the opposite effect of what happens during the stress response. Our heart rate slows, our blood vessels relax and open, and our blood pressure goes down alongside stress hormones. Blood flow to our extremities, including our nether regions, is boosted, increasing our ability to experience pleasure, and last longer. Wowsa! We know that the more someone meditates, the stronger their ability to regulate stress is, and if you’re really good at regulating stress, you’re less likely to hop into the sack stressed out and worried, and more likely to really, really enjoy yourself! Okayyyy then….! 

Rev-up your sex drive by simply slowing down!

The delicate dance between our brains and the hormones that regulate mood and libido, while inherent to our body, can easily be thrown off in this wild, life we are living. There are so many external influencing factors from day-to-day. Examples that may have a profound effect on your libido are mood alerting medication usage, stress, and wonky sleep patterns. When one part of your delicate brain balance is ever so slightly off, it’s like a cascade reaction affecting many other parts of your life, including your drive to get down. So how do we combat that?

Many times medication use and levels of stress are hard to suddenly change, and that’s so okay. In a review of the literature published in the Journal of Sex Research, the results of multiple recent research studies showed mindfulness actually has a super positive effect on sex drive in women by potentially altering and reaffirming the delicate hormonal balance we need to feel in the mood. Simple breath work and stress relief may play a larger role in balancing our brain hormones than we previously understood.

Simply put; keeping our breath in balance when outside factors are wearing us down may help us get our groove back on!

If you’re curious to dig into the science behind hormones and how it all works check out this article too. 

camille styles bedroom flower arranging

Breathe in pleasure, breathe out anxiety.

In a 2013 study of individuals who had been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, the implementation of meditation and mindfulness in daily life versus just learning stress reduction techniques helped significantly reduce anxiety. The participants who learned meditation were much more likely to have reduced anxiety than those who learned “how to de-stress.” Meditation group participants were also more likely to use positive self-statements when it came to how they felt about themselves and their interactions with others in the world.

In other words, meditation helps decrease anxiety and increase self-esteem. This is great news for our sex lives! If you’ve ever found yourself questioning your body image, your confidence, or your “normalcy” in bed—meditation may be an excellent tool to help boost up your self-esteem. There’s also pretty striking research that men who suffer from erectile dysfunction—that can be attributed to psychological causes such as performance anxiety or body image insecurity—have an easier time in bed after implementing meditation techniques. The possibilities are really endless.

When we’re less anxious in bed, we’re more likely to show up fully and confidently; for foreplay, for sex, for connection, and for orgasm. Boom! 

Increase your presence, heighten your experience of orgasm.

Be present! Two little words that are so common these days, they’re bordering the line of cliché. The current hyper-focus on the presence and showing up in the moment is big for a reason though—it works!

Regular meditation practice helps us live in the moment rather than live in a busy brain that’s always on to the next thing, moving too fast to just enjoy where we are.

By practicing meditation and honing in on the moment— imagine how that may affect your ability to experience pleasure. When we slow down enough, each touch, stroke, and kiss feels different than if we’re just working towards the end goal of finishing. Mindfulness helps us appreciate the entire experience we’re in and each step along that journey, including in our sex life. Think about the last time you experienced sex after a whole lot of tension and build-up—mind-blowing, no? It’s the same idea, but meditating your brain helps you slow down and thoughtfully and intentionally create that tension naturally. Don’t take my word for it; I’ll recommend a few exercises and places to begin next and you can see for yourself.

fall candles

Dive into brain training. 

If you’ve never meditated before there are plenty of ways to jump in. My favorite app is one called headspace. This app has a free or a paid version that guides you through the process of learning how to meditate or offers great meditations for those who are more experienced. It’s especially targeted at beginner meditators, so it never feels over your head or intimidating. Additionally a simple YouTube or Spotify search of “guided meditation” is a quick and easy way to jump in.

Once you’ve found a meditation recording you dig, consider lying on your back on a yoga mat or taking a comfy seat somewhere in your house. I love to sit in the morning light, burn my favorite incense and get reallll cozy. In reality, the details are less important than how you commit to it. Setting a timer for ten or fifteen minutes may also be helpful at first so you’re not tempted to check your phone. I personally ditch my phone in the other room! You could totally do this on a break at work in a waiting room or in your car if you want— it’s so accessible! If you find yourself distracted or thinking of other things while you try to meditate at first; don’t worry! That’s super normal!

Just acknowledge the fact that you have thoughts, perhaps many, or even weird ones, and let them drift away.

Continue to breathe and focus on the experience of just being in your body. Here are a few meditation and breathing techniques I’ve discussed in the past.  Additionally, here’s a link to a basic meditation by one of my favorite breathwork practitioners, Ashley Neese. Whatever you do, just try your best. It can be frustrating and feel a bit “pointless” at first. That feeling just means you’re growing. Hang in there! 

Regular practice versus just before sex.

What we know for sure is that the longer you meditate, the stronger your response is in day-to-day life. Think of meditation as exercising to strengthen different muscle groups, but the muscle is your brain!

The more you practice the stronger your brain becomes in the field of chilling out, processing difficult information calmly, reducing stress, anxiety, and ultimately paving your way to a happier, more enjoyable, driven, sex life!

Data shows that the best results come after eight weeks of meditation and get stronger as you continue to practice. Of course! All good things in life come with time, practice, energy, and devotion. Instant gratification is (whether we like to admit it or not) what many of us search for though, and interestingly, people do perceive instant calmness, relaxation, and a decrease in muscle tension and lower blood pressure after just one session.

So whether you’re in for the long haul (which I highly recommend) and want to practice two to three days per week, 10 to 20 minutes at a time… or just want to dip your toe in and try meditation before sex with your partner—you should reap some kind of positive reward either way! 

Specific pre-sex exercises.

Check out this article for a few pre-sex partner meditations that I really love. Sitting back to back with a partner before sex and finding the same breath pattern or finding ways to sync your breath with your partner during sex while making eye contact are the two that I find the most intriguing. Simply creating a meditative routine together or going on a meditative walk together where you hold hands, don’t talk, and breathe deeply, taking in nature and the sights and sounds of the world together is a great way to build up some calm tension. Get creative, the possibilities are endless. And cheers to your new happier endings.

Have you tried meditation before sex? Share your thoughts below!