Interest in mindfulness as a way to handle stress and improve day-to-day wellbeing has increased in recent years. We set out to understand sexual mindfulness in particular – the ability to be in the present moment, and not judgmental, during sexual experiences. Some prior research has considered associations between trait mindfulness and individual, sexual, and relational wellbeing. However, trait mindfulness is a necessary but not sufficient indicator of ability to be mindful in sexual situations. In my earlier work, I’ve described how positive parent-child relationships are likely necessary but not sufficient for the ability to have positive parent-child conversations about sex. Similarly, people need the ability to be mindful in general to be able to be mindful in sexual situations. However, even individuals who are mindful in their daily routine may experience obstacles to mindfulness during sexual experiences, such as being overly goal-oriented, self-critical, or sexually anxious. Thus, we developed a measures of sexual mindfulness to consider its role in sexual satisfaction, relational satisfaction, and self-esteem in a sample of 194 midlife men and women (ages 35-60). We found that more sexually mindful individuals tended to be more satisfied with their relationships, more satisfied with their sex lives (particularly for women), and have better self-esteem. Some of these associations occurred even after controlling for trait mindfulness. We believe that these findings have important implications for researchers, interventionists, and clinicians who work with couples and individuals to address sexual wellbeing, relational wellbeing, and individual wellbeing.
“Sexual mindfulness matters for individual, relational, and sexual wellbeing first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on May 23, 2019.”