How to Get Out of Your Head During Sex So You Can Actually Enjoy It

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Wouldn’t it be nice if you could flip a switch and shut off your thoughts when you’re having sex? Instead of stressing about your mile-long to-do list, you could worry about doing…your partner. And instead of wondering what your O-face looks like, you could just, you know, orgasm. But getting out of your head during sex is easier said than done—whether you’re easily distracted by the smallest things (Wait, I turned the stove off, right?) or plagued with anxious thoughts (Am I even doing this right?!).

No matter what your inner monologue is yapping about, you’re not alone if it’s killing the mood. Here, experts share why many of us get stuck in our thoughts during sex—and how we can get out of our heads—so we can get off.

What does it even mean to “get out of your head” during sex?

If you’ve ever had sex so good you forgot the outside world existed, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that the best sexual experiences tend to be the ones you’re fully present for. “If you’re in the moment, your mind isn’t pulling you to these far-off places,” certified sex therapist Marissa Nelson, LMFT, tells SELF. “Instead, you’re in your body, feeling connected, and experiencing all of the pleasure and sensations that are happening.” When you’re in this zone, you’re maintaining what Nelson calls your “erotic focus.”

When you’re in your head, on the other hand, your focus can be on anything but the present. Sometimes, a run-of-the-mill distraction (like the ghost of your shitty day at work) could intrude on the moment, but a lot of the time, people overthink the sex itself. Or more specifically, their anxieties, insecurities, and other hangups related to sex. What face am I making? Am I satisfying my partner? What do they think of my body? Ugh, am I ever going to come? Nelson refers to all of this as “erotic chatter,” and as you can probably guess, it’s the enemy of erotic focus.

On top of being annoying, getting stuck in your head during sex can have real consequences, thanks to the ever-important brain-body connection. “There’s this prevailing myth that sex is automatic, that it’s a reflex, that if bodies are touched in the right spot, we will respond and get aroused, and that’s simply not true,” Lori Brotto, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of Better Sex Through Mindfulness, tells SELF. “Instead, what we know is there’s a feedback loop, wherein once the body starts to get aroused, the brain receives those messages and in turn sends messages back down to the rest of the body to continue the arousal.”

At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. But erotic chatter can interrupt that feedback loop, and get in the way of your pleasure, Dr. Brotto says. So how are you supposed to deal? Long story short, the best way to get out of your head during sex is to train your brain to stay present. So let’s talk about how.

1. Pay attention to what’s coming up during sex.

In order to quiet unsexy comments from your inner peanut gallery, it helps to take a step back and ask: What is your brain actually saying and where are those thoughts coming from? If you notice common themes, these patterns might suggest areas you can work on.

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