When it Comes to Sex, Slow is the New Fast

Published: JULY 26, 2018 | Updated: FEBRUARY 15, 2022
Simply slowing down can be enough to turn sex into a transcendent experience.

Hot sex can be fast and furious. It can be all about losing control and becoming overwhelmed with pleasure. But what happens when you take it slow?


A few years ago, I was forced to slow down sexually. I had a medical procedure called LEEP for removing abnormal cells from my cervix. The procedure left me with scarring and sex became painful. My orgasmic function and libido suffered as well.

Then I discovered a book called "Slow Love: A Polynesian Pillow Book,"by James N. Powell. The book is based on the ancient art of Polynesian lovemaking, which is all about taking your time, and not rushing to orgasm. The book revealed to me that slow sex could actually have its benefits, and that a deeper sense of pleasure builds up when you start to slow down.

"Slow Love" transported me to a Polynesian island of dancing hibiscus flowers and rustling palm trees. I no longer saw my issues as a problem that would hinder my sex life, but as something that opened up the world of spiritual sex to me. What was beautiful about this slow sex solution is that it didn’t involve any fancy breathing techniques or complicated Tantric methods. Simply slowing down was enough to turn sex into a transcendent experience.


Th Art of Taking Your Time

Have you ever had a sexual encounter where you could really take your time, when night merged with day and there was no limit on your love-making? Perhaps it was at a point in your life when you had less responsibility and weren’t rushing?

Powell explains that in our Western culture we have sex the way we live – in a hurry. We squeeze sex into brief moments, and in doing so we cut off an expansive sense of pleasure that can last longer than those brief moments of orgasm.

Powell says that ‘’Art cannot thrive without idleness and an empty mind. Because good sex is an art, there can be no real sex, no lovemaking that explores the horizons of the sensual and the spiritual, without idleness.’’


Quickies can be hot and exciting, but when a quickie is the only sexual nourishment you get it can leave you in a cycle of sexual tension and release, without any deeper sense of pleasure. If you feel a desperate need to reach orgasm every time you have sex, you may find yourself focused on the goal, rather than being in the moment. Pleasure can be increased by dropping back down into the body, and really feeling where you are right here, right now.

Diana Richardson is the author of "Slow Sex: The Path To Fulfilling and Sustainable Sexuality." She says that ‘’slow sex is more deeply nourishing for bodies, hearts and souls.’’ She describes it as "a medicine, that is easily able to resolve and heal many long term problems and wounds that cause unhappiness, separation and insecurity."

Women have reported that slow sex can help with pain, low libido, or with difficulties reaching orgasm. With men it can help overcome premature ejaculation.


But perhaps you’re wondering, if you’re all fired up with passion, how is it even possible to take it slow? Here are five tips, to turn down your speedometer and enjoy the journey, as well as the destination.

Tips for Slowing Down Sex

Slow Down Your Life

Fast sex is often a build-up of tension that results in a desperate need to orgasm. If we start sex from a more relaxed place, then we can build up to a more expansive pleasure. Whenever possible, listen to your body, and rest when you are tired. Avoid over-scheduling yourself, and don’t guilt-trip yourself for taking time to relax. Cultivate the art of being rather than doing. The effects will soon spill over into your sex life.

Read: Wanna Last Longer in Bed? 7 Simple, Safe Ways to Do It


Develop a Sense of Relaxation and Awareness

Richardson calls relaxation and awareness "love keys" that can help improve our sex life. Outside of the actual act of sex you can practice physical awareness of your body. Notice your posture and how you are sitting. Notice what creates tension and how to relax.

You could try doing something that heightens your physical awareness and involves slow movement, like yoga or tai chi. You could have a massage or just go for a walk and notice how your body feels. From time to time, scan your body and notice any points of tension and try to relax them. If you aren’t really sure of the difference between a tense muscle and a relaxed one then try tightening a muscle and then releasing it.

Become Aware of Your Breathing

Powell says that "the ancient Polynesians knew that the breath, like the ocean surrounding them, was limitless and sacred." He recommends that "if breath is like an ocean, you should not attempt to control breathing at all." Instead, just notice and feel it without trying to change it. Let your breathing just happen without any specific technique.


Powell says that breathing is a way to naturally massage the pelvic area, but because we grew up feeling embarrassed and ashamed of our sex organs we may unconsciously stop our breath from getting there. So as you breathe, notice how your body moves and expands, and if this movement stops short of your belly, and genital area, or if you are tensing those muscles. Allow them to relax, and let your breath flow there.

Meditating daily, (even before sex!) is also a good way to develop good breathing habits.

Read: Can Mindfulness Improve Your Sex Life?

Set Aside Time for Sex

Make an appointment, so that you have at least two-three hours. Scheduling your sex life may not seem sexy, but this can allow you to forget about the concept of time during sex, which is crucial to being slow. Meditate before sex if you can. Take your time with foreplay - Powell recommends an hour. During foreplay, remember what you have learned about breathing and awareness. If you find yourself tensing up, focus on relaxing and letting the breath flow, and enjoy the sensation of desire in your body.

Slow Penetration

If sex involves penetration, then take it slow. Richardson says that the penis should move millimeter by millimeter, and stop if there’s any resistance rather than pushing harder. This allows the tissue to warm up. If there’s any pain, then stop and pull back, which can help tension to release. Often when we have sex we may override those minor twinges, or pains, to get down to business, but with slow sex, we have the opportunity to notice and release them, so that numb tense tissue can become more relaxed and orgasmic.

Still Sex

After penetration, wait before moving. This allows time to build up pleasure and excitement to greater heights. Start by playing with the feeling of stillness and movement, breathing, and awareness, and notice the effects. You could build this still up to as long as 30 minutes!

Enjoy the Destination

You know that feeling of drinking when you are really thirsty, or tucking into a delicious meal after building up an appetite? This is the kind of pleasure that awaits you when you take it slow. With plenty of twists and turns along the way, the destination may surprise you rather than being the same old predictable journey and end point. So settle back, relax and enjoy the sensations.

Kate Orson

Kate Orson is a freelance writer, and author of Tears Heal: How to listen to our children. She writes, about self-help, parenting, and more recently, sex! She is currently working on a memoir; A Cut in The Brain, about her experience of having the LEEP procedure, and her recovery from side effects that doctors didn't warn her about.

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