Understanding what sex feels like with another person can be tricky. It’s important to understand that sexual attraction and orgasms are normal.
Often, people think that sex only involves touching genitals or penetrative sex but that is not true. Sex can involve lots of other things and it’s about enjoyment for all involved.
1. Be in the moment
The practice of mindfulness is one that can help you stay more fully in the moment. It’s the ability to notice and appreciate what’s happening right now, in your body and with your partner. Whether your mind wanders to that midterm you have tomorrow or the pile of laundry that needs to be done, returning to this focused awareness can increase your pleasure and satisfaction in all areas of life, including sex.
Of course, sexual pleasure is a whole different ball of wax than washing the dishes or going to work. So, it’s understandable that some people may have a hard time explaining what sex feels like. But, the truth is that sex can feel really, really good. It can be light or intense, intimate or casual, painful or pleasurable. It can last for a few seconds or hours. It can produce lots of orgasms, and it can involve any gender. It can even feel a bit like love. It all depends on your unique experience and the context in which it occurs. And, that’s what makes sex so beautiful.
2. Listen to your body
It’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to what feels good and what doesn’t. This can help you figure out what you enjoy, as well as what feels painful or uncomfortable.
Whether you’re having penetrative sex, oral, or some other form of sex, you want to make sure that you’re both enjoying the experience. So, listen to your partner’s verbal and non-verbal cues and pay attention to her body language. For instance, if she clenches her jaw or pulls away, it’s likely that she’s not feeling her best. Similarly, if she is moaning or grunting, it’s probably because she’s in a state of pleasure and you can enjoy her even more!
Keeping your focus can be challenging, especially when thoughts of that midterm or the dishes in the sink keep creeping in. But, practicing mindfulness techniques throughout the day can help you learn to hone your ability to stay focused and bring more awareness to sexual experiences. It may take practice, but it’s an important skill to have in your toolbox.
3. Be present
Many people find it difficult to feel present and fully engrossed in sex. This isn’t necessarily because they aren’t trying, but more often because life’s responsibilities can get in the way of pleasure and intimacy.
For example, a person might be distracted by an incoming phone call or they might be thinking about their to-do list and what needs to get done at work. Or perhaps they are overthinking it and putting too much pressure on themselves to have the perfect sex experience. They might even be overthinking about safer sex and wondering about STI risks or how they can avoid pregnancy.
It is also common for someone who has experienced sexual trauma to dissociate during sex and other intimate experiences. If you notice your mind wandering, don’t fight it – try to bring it back to the present moment using techniques discussed above. It can take time to retrain the brain, but it is absolutely possible! It just takes practice. This is why it’s so important to talk openly with your partner about how you can work together to make things as pleasurable as they can be.
4. Let go
During sex we need to let go of everything else. It’s hard to enjoy sex when you’re thinking about what you’ll have for dinner, your unpaid bills or a recap of the day at work. This kind of mental rambling is a sign that you’re tense and that your mind can’t focus on the sensual experience at hand.
Some people find it difficult to focus during sex due to performance anxiety (thinking that sex needs to be like what they see in porn or society), past traumas, or boredom. If you’re experiencing these kinds of issues, make a note of them and talk about them with your partner. Open communication during sex can help recenter the mind and create a more pleasurable experience for everyone.
One way to relax during sex is to focus on your breath. Deep inhales and exhales can bring the brain back into the moment, creating a calm focus that can lead to pleasure and orgasm. Many people also find that focusing on a physical sensation—smells, sounds, or visuals—is a helpful way to engage with the body.
5. Be comfortable
The key to comfort is trust, and you’ll only feel comfortable when you can communicate what you want and need. This can be anything from sharing your kinks, to asking for more orgasms. Being able to share your needs with your partner is a key part of any intimate relationship, but it’s especially important during sex.
It’s also helpful to be able to talk about things like contraception, STIs, basic anatomy and more with your partner, even if you’re not yet ready for sex. This can help you get familiar with what sex feels like, and make it seem less scary or unfamiliar.
Lastly, you need to know that your partner is someone you can trust, and that they’ll respect your decisions. They should be supportive and safe, and should always encourage you to go at your own speed and not pressure you in any way. If you don’t feel that, it might be best to skip the sex altogether. There are plenty of other ways to be intimate, so don’t force it if you’re not feeling it.