Last month I wrote about what so many women suffer from right smack dab in the middle of having sex. I call it “List Syndrome”. Many of you might already know what List Syndrome is, but for those of you who don’t, here’s a scenario with which you may be familiar:
You and your partner are get-ting bu-SY; things are hot and steamy and on track for a super fun and fabulous time when all of a sudden your lists – of what you’ve got to do, of where you’ve got to be (and don’t forget about the dog food and pimple patches you forgot at Target last night) – any and all of it, come floating into your head. Your brain has hit the brakes, my friend, and you feel as though you’ve been benched by some sex referee goblin that’s decided you’re too preoccupied to carry on.
Some people are able to roll with this and continue to roll around with their partners, but others who experience List Syndrome have a really tough time getting back on track. What can we do about this? Glad you asked:
1. Our minds our designed to have thoughts, and no matter how practiced we may be at mindfulness, NO ONE can maintain a clear and open mind 24-7. It’s just not possible. So if that is your goal, give yourself a break because you’ll never meet it. You’re human after all, and you have lots going on. We’re not trying to rid ourselves of unwanted (or poorly timed) thoughts completely – we just want to know how to better manage them.
2. If you want to learn to become more mindful sexually, then it makes sense to explore how to do generally speaking. We hear a lot about mindfulness these days, but what is it, really? You may be surprised. Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center defines it as the practice of “paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity and a willingness to be with what is”. Practicing mindfulness is unique to each person, so finding what works for you is most important.
3. Speaking of practicing, mindfulness won’t be all that helpful if you don’t prioritize consistency. This doesn’t mean you need 3 hours a day – even just a few minutes on a regular basis can be effective. But it’s like anything; if you don’t commit, you won’t be able to reap the benefits.
4. Once you have a handle on general practice, you’ll want to use your skills during sex, of course! Mindfulness practice teaches us to accept that we’re going to experience thoughts, emotions and physical sensations at any given time. So if you’re suddenly struck by List Syndrome, you can course-correct more easily when you’re able to accept all that’s happening in your head instead of resisting. You’ll learn to ground yourself in the here and now, and get back to the pleasurable present
This isn’t easy, but it is a skill you can absolutely hone. You can find some excellent starting points as well as a structured program in psychologist Lorraine Brotto’s excellent books “Better Sex Through Mindfulness” and “The Better Sex Through Mindfulness Workbook: A Guide to Cultivating Desire”.
If you need more suggestions, we can help! Make an appointment for your free 10-minute phone consult today, and learn how you can have more satisfying and mindful sex!