By Max Plenke for .Mic
Stressed out? The sexier side of science has good and bad news for you. The bad news: Your stress is keeping you from having the best sex you can. The good news is you can change that with just a few minutes of meditation every day.
You’ve probably heard that meditation helps you be more present, keep your mind focused and quiet your thoughts. Turns out that’s pretty much the hat trick of preventing mental performance anxiety in the bedroom.
Megan Fleming, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist based in New York, uses meditation and breathing exercises to help clients get in tune with their own bodies. To do that, she focuses on getting people to actually relax.
“The foundation of arousal is relaxation,” Fleming told Mic. “When people think, ‘We gotta hurry up and have sex!,’ they just lost the guiding principle. Meditation facilitates relaxation and blood flow along with present-moment awareness.”
Presence isn’t just a state of mind: It’s a state of brain too. For type-A personalities and people who find themselves constantly stressed out, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain right behind your hairline, is like a screaming next-door neighbor, distracting you from the things that matter with anxious thoughts about the world around you.
“You start thinking about painting the ceiling and wishing your partner would hurry up,” Fleming told Mic. “There’s so much mental chatter. I say to my patients, ‘If you had a thought bubble above your head, what’s in that dialog box, and is it sexy?’ Because a lot of people are not saying very sexy things to themselves when they’re having sex.”
When the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is hushed, however, you’re letting the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of your brain that activates when you’re aroused, do its thing.