How To Be Present During Sex (Yes, It's Totally Normal To Get Distracted)

Many of us live with very full plates. From work responsibilities, social engagements, family obligations, and everything in between, it's hard to turn our brains off and relax — even during sex. As much as sex is meant to give us the opportunity to take a deep breath and indulge in something that's good for our body and mind, trying to be completely present and staying completely present isn't always possible for some. Instead, their brain is a million miles away and their body is just going through the actions of having sex. It's hard to reap all the benefits that come with sex if your head isn't in the game


"[Feeling present] can really vary from person to person and in the level of intensity that it's felt," psychosexual therapist Kate Moyle told Cosmopolitan. "Letting our thoughts jump from things that have happened in the past to things that could happen in the future rather than tuning into the very present moment ... Instead of paying attention to how their body is responding to their partner's touch, they are now distracted and thinking about something else."

Naturally, it becomes almost impossible to enjoy sex if there's no mind-body connection. While there's no one way to be present during sex as different techniques work for different people, here are a few that will definitely help.

Give yourself the chance to mentally switch gears

For some, jumping right into sex when you're not mentally or physically ready, just doesn't work. This is especially the case for those who struggle with going from one thought process to the next. Not everyone can come home after a long day of work, totally stressed out, then be able to crawl into bed with their partner and be 100% present. There needs to be a break in between so the mind has a chance to switch gears.


"The energy and mindset you need to be in to receive pleasure are totally different," psychotherapist Jenn Mann told Insider, adding that people need transition time to get in the right state of mind. "Meditation can be very helpful."

As much as a quickie might seem deliciously hot (because they are!), if it's an uphill battle to be present during sex, then make sure you give yourself time to shift your thoughts. Before getting into sexy mode, unwind with a bubble bath or lay in bed with some lavender candles to calm you — anything that's going to make you feel centered and at peace will help in being more present during and after sex.

Don't be so hard on yourself

Staying present for some folks comes down to letting insecurities and anxieties go, which isn't always easy. But think about it this way: we all have our hang-ups, so you're not alone and it's completely normal to have these feelings that can be really distracting. 


"Not only is it difficult to stay present in general in our go, go, go society, [but] sex is one of the most vulnerable and intimate acts you can do with another person," therapist Vienna Costanzo-D'Aprile, LMHC told PsychCentral. "So if you're having a hard time staying present, your mind may be trying to avoid the scariness of being vulnerable ... Trying not to pair any thoughts or labels to it if possible [can] really get that presence."

If you can't untangle yourself from negative thoughts, talk to your partner about it. Tell them why you're struggling to stay present and together you can work toward making your insecurities less a part of the equation.

Reframe how you view sex

Sex isn't just about intercourse, nor is it about having an orgasm every time. But despite this, not everyone is willing to branch out and explore different ways to have to sex, subtracting orgasms from being the ultimate end goal. If every romp you have is focused on your orgasm and/or your partner's orgasm, then of course you're not going to be present during sex because your brain is already at the end of your intimacy session, hoping everything went as planned. Sex isn't a time to be making plans. 


Instead of concerning yourself with orgasms, let your body melt into everything you're experiencing. Focus on sensations, the way your partner's body feels, and how their touch affects and emotionally moves you. Take in not just the physical sensations, but tap into your senses; the smells, the tastes, and the sounds of it all. Immerse yourself completely in the moment and don't worry about whether or not anyone climaxes. If neither of you do, it's not a big deal — you will have other opportunities. 

Trying to be present during sex is a bigger struggle for some than for others. But if you take it in stride and practice, you'll find yourself becoming more present in time.