In the past couple of years, mindfulness has become quite the trend. It’s an essential element of Buddhist practice, and has gained worldwide popularity as a method of handling emotions. Mindfulness is commonly used in psychology to alleviate conditions ranging from OCD and anxiety to stress and worry.

A Study on Sex and Mindfulness

The combination of mindfulness practices and sex can sound a bit woo-woo; I had my doubts as to whether one would complement the other. However, several studies have proven that the two make excellent bedfellows.

In a recent study of 251 sexually active French women between the ages of 18 to 67, study author Professor Pascal de Sutter (of the department of Sexology and Family Science at the University of Louvain in Belgium) came to the conclusion that women who regularly reach orgasm are more focused on their bodily sensations during sex. The 176 participants who described themselves as "orgasmic" were also reported as saying they had "more erotic thoughts" during intercourse. The other 75 participants, the group identifying themselves as "not orgasmic," seemed to have more difficulties focusing on the present during sex and let worries about things like body image get in the way.

It isn’t just worries about looking good or having the right moves that can play havoc with you during sex. In my case, aside from ongoing problems with anxiety and depression, I am also a chronic worrier who tends to let the tiniest, most insignificant things blow up into full-sized frets during sex with my partner.

These thoughts can run the gamut from serious things like the way my stomach looks to him when he’s on top, whether he actually likes how I’m sucking him, or the eternal 'Dammit, did I forget to take my birth control today?’ The list could go on and on.

Since it is clear that I am obviously not alone in my worries during sex, I thought I would share with you some of the things that I have spent time worrying about during sex.

Will the bed collapse underneath us?

A worry that, in our case, is actually quite legit as we’ve got a rather old bed with supporting slats that aren’t actually hammered in. This isn’t exactly something you want to take into consideration when you’re straddling your partner and giving it the full Annie Oakley-on-a-wild-stallion.

Is my partner going to bang his head against the headboard again?

Trust me, this isn’t a round-about way of bragging about my own sexual prowess; in the early days of our relationship, when we still had a bed with a metal bedpost, my boyfriend managed to hit his head on it so hard that I thought I’d killed him. It’s been a perennial worry ever since that time, but one that mysteriously goes right out the window when we’re having sex in a hotel room (which usually has one of those nice and soft, head-bashing-proof headboards).

Are we being too loud?

Whether it was my bed in the house share I lived in, the bedroom we rented as lodgers in a family home, or (our current situation) living with his parents, being too loud has always been a concern. Mental images of my other half’s folks, clad in bathrobes and eye bags, knocking on our door and telling us to "KEEP IT DOWN, KIDS" are very, very prevalent.

Do I have to go to the bathroom?

Repeat for most normal bodily functions, really. See also: I’m fine with period sex, but I’m also worried about these lovely white sheets or white towel.

Then, there’s one particular one that I’m not sure anyone else has ever had to worry about...

Am I going to swallow this loose tooth as we’re shagging?

This worry happened a couple of weeks ago, when I was dealing with a pesky broken tooth that had come loose while I was eating. Not too long after that little accident, I was on my knees in the living room, my boyfriend’s cock tasting luscious in my mouth, when I was suddenly hit by a thought that basically rendered me incapable of going on: what if I swallow this tooth? What if we, at any point, get so overtly enthusiastic, that this tooth will no longer be there, post-climax? Yes, my own loose tooth was enough to render me incapable of continuing the sex.

Rest assured, I was not pleased with my brain afterwards.

Be Fully Present In the Moment

There is a good case to be made for incorporating mindfulness practices in your sex life, especially if you can even identify even just a little bit with what you’ve just read. Joking aside, I genuinely find it hard to focus on what I’m feeling in my own body during sex most of the time.

When my thoughts go a-wondering, sometimes to tricky and dark places, it can be hard to, enjoy the kisses, licks, and thrusts that are happening in the moment. More than once, I’ve had tears in my eyes because I felt like my mind had let me down.

Both the group of "orgasmic" and "non-orgasmic" women in Professor de Sutter’s study noted to being able to reach orgasm and have erotic thoughts throughout when they were alone. Is it because when they’re alone, they can truly focus on the being in the moment and in their bodies without having to worry about anything other than what they feel? Is there a way to take the kind of mindfulness you might have when you’re masturbating and try it on when you’re having partnered sex? One thing’s for sure: I am definitely keen on finding that way and trying it on for size. I’m rather tired of letting a creaky bed or a thin wall influence my sex life. Or, God forbid, another loose tooth...