Sex Ed Friday: Are You Focusing On Pleasure During Sex?

“I was so in my head during sex.”

Female couple lying in the bedPhoto by istock

People have sex for so many different reasons. Maybe it’s because they want to feel connected to their partner, they might want to feel sexy, they might feel obligated to, they might want to explore new desires, they might need help releasing stress. So. Many. Reasons. to have sex!

There’s often a goal: Orgasm. Either you really want to give it to your partner or you want to feel it for yourself, or both! But when your brain becomes solely focused on the end of goal of orgasm, sometimes you forget to enjoy the pleasure felt along the way. In the sex ed world, this is what we refer to as goal-based vs. pleasure-based sex.

I teach pleasure-centered sex education. Because I believe that we all deserve to feel and experience our sexual pleasure fully.

As soon as I knew about this phenomenon of goal-based sex,  I felt an a-ha moment happen in my body. I realized that I had gotten myself in this frustrating and monotonous cycle of obsessing over orgasm during sex. I would feel so tense until I felt that wave of release rush over my body. I was so in my head during sex, constantly thinking oh my god, I just want to cum or, did she cum or is she faking it? 

I had forgotten that sex is a journey for our physical bodies to go on. And if I didn’t have an orgasm or wasn’t able to make my partners cum, I got so frustrated. I feel like most of us have been there at some point in our sexual lives. You stop exploring new positions or kinks and just fixate on the final destination. But as they say: it isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.

I know that sounds so cliche and dorky. But it’s real! What about the incredible pleasure your body feels when your partner first touches you, or the tremble of her body when you graze her ever so tenderly? Aren’t those moments of sexual pleasure also worth focusing on?

So, if you’re like me and have found yourself fixated on orgasm and not the journey, here are 5 tips to better feel pleasure throughout your entire sexual experience.

1. Let go of your expectations.

If you go into having sex with a hundred expectations of yourself and your partner, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. And when you’re only expending energy thinking about these specific expectations, there’s no room for magical surprises to come at you.

Like, maybe you had no intention of squirting but your partner just made a river come out of you. Um, amazing!

Leave room for new experiences that you didn’t expect during your sex and not only will it keep you on your toes with your own pleasure — but it will have you feeling more excited to have sex next time!

2. Release the pressure to “perform” for your partners. 

Society puts so much pressure on us all (but especially women) to have the best sex life, to be our sexiest selves (to their beauty standards, of course), and to perform for our partners. When I first started having sex, I remember thinking that I should do certain positions because they made my body look sexier or I have to suck my stomach in just so from a certain angle or I had to wash my vagina with scented things to make it “smell good” (our vag’s naturally smell amazing). The point is, I did a lot to perform for my partners, before, during and after sex.

And while yes, you want to court someone and make sure you’re all having amazing and consensual sex – it shouldn’t feel like a performance. Sex is raw and messy and fluid gets everywhere and amazing sex smells happen and your hair gets messed up and your lipstick smudges and sometime’s you fart or queef or lick your partner’s butt. That’s part of the beauty of sex! Let it be messy, because when you let your performance of sex fall to the wayside — that’s when you get to the real, raw, uninhibited kind of sex where your desires come naturally and pleasure is constant.

3. Tune into where your thoughts go during sex.

Our minds wander, that’s just a fact of life. Whether in meditation, a work meeting or during sex — sometimes you’ll find yourself in a completely different world than where your present body is. And that’s totally normal and okay.

Drawing awareness to where your thoughts go during sex is important. Are you making your to-do list while your partner is eating you out? Are you reminding yourself to call the vet tomorrow while you’re scissoring? These might be signs that you’re only having sex with the goal of orgasm (and release) in mind. When you pay attention to where your thoughts are drifted off to, you can try to gently pull them back to your body and the pleasure you’re experiencing. Being present with your partner(s) is a beautiful thing because that allows you both to focus on the pleasure being given and received.

4. Verbally describe sensations to one another. 

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking ugh, being present is hard and I don’t really understand this whole pleasure-based sex thing, then I have some homework for you. The next time you have sex, try asking your partner to describe the sensations of their pleasure as you go down on them or finger them or f*ck them. It’s sexy to hear exactly how your partner experiences pleasure.

All bodies are different and feel sensations in their own unique ways. You might describe an orgasm like a firework and others describe it as an ocean wave crashing down on the shore. Then, I want you to also practice verbally describing the sensations your body feels during sex. Whisper them in your partner’s ear as she’s f*cking you. It’s okay if your sentences get interrupted with moans of pleasure 😉

5. Talk about it afterward. 

When you are done having sex, don’t just turn over and fall asleep. Make time not only for aftercare but for decompressing and talking about it. People are constantly asking me how they can get “better” at sex. My best advice? Talk to your partners about the sex you’re having. Ask them what felt really incredible that time and let them know if there was something you didn’t really like. Not only does this help you both have more awareness of your desires and pleasure-spots, it helps you f*ck your partner better next time. And the time after that. And the time after that!

You see the pattern? You’ll just keep having more amazing sex every time you f*ck. And who doesn’t want that?