The Key to Better Sex Is All in Your Breathing
Breath is like the siren going off in your body. If it's screwy, there are more sinister forces at play, like stress, tension, and anxiety. None of these are making the sex you have any better. To really enjoy sex, you've got to connect to yourself and your partner in "a fuller, deeper way," says Jimmy Burgio, an instructor at Pure Yoga in New York. And the easiest way to do that is by doing exactly what you're doing right now: breathing, but with more control.
During sex—and especially during sex with a new partner—you can get nervous or agitated. You might hold your breath, or huff and puff erratically. You're thinking about a thousand things at once, when you only want to be thinking about one. Controlled, mindful breathing quiets that excess noise and relaxes your body. You're tuned into what's happening in front of you, and the sex is more enjoyable—a lot more. "You become more skillful, because you're not going to be worried about the past or anxious about the future," Burgio says.
You know how they say "breathe through the pain?" Well, breathe through the pleasure, too. "The idea is you want to arrive at that place of just being," Burgio says. "That doesn't mean that you're going to lay down and be a starfish—it means that you're going to be able to attend to what's going on in a really dynamic way, because you're not hung up or checking out."
And yeah, this might come off as hippy or holistic, but sex is about feeling good, and taking control of your breath is the most direct way to get there.
The Better-Sex Breathing Routine
Here are three techniques to master mindful, healing breaths, courtesy of Burgio. With practice, they won't just help with your sex life, but yeah, they'll help with your sex life. And they aren't hard to incorporate into your everyday routine, either.
1| An Exercise for Anytime, Anywhere
Do for: 1 minute, at least 3 times a day
Inhale from the tailbone up to the crown of your head, and then exhale in the opposite direction, from the crown of your head to your tailbone. Follow your breath as it travels that path. If certain areas feel tense, continued breathing can smooth them out.
Instructor wisdom: "Associate a color with breath, so maybe green. When you're crossing the crosswalk and you see a green light, it reminds you to bring your awareness back to the breath. "
"You become more skillful, because you're not going to be worried about the past or anxious about the future."
2| An Exercise for Stressful Situations
Do for: 5 minutes after you wake up or before you go to sleep; or, when needed.
If you find yourself in a tense situation, focus on sensation as you breath. For example, as you inhale through your nose, your breath is cooler, and as you exhale through your nose, it's warmer. Think of the cool breath as a calm wind and the hot breath as the tension you're expelling from your body. As you sense more, you'll start to notice specific tension spots in your body start to ease up.
Instructor wisdom: "Suppose you just got out of a really tense meeting or you're anxiously waiting for someone to text you back. Those are great times to notice the sensations, because then you'll be like: I'm nervously tapping my foot now, there's tension in my neck, my forehead is all furrowed. It's good for high stakes sensations, when it starts to become really obvious that you're stressed."
3| An Exercise for When You're Having Sex
Do for: However long you're having sex
During sex, consciously breathe with your partner by noticing how you're breathing, and then how your partner is breathing. If either of you are breathing erratically or holding your breath, be an influencer by drawing deeper breaths—and making eye contact if necessary—so that your breaths start to sync up. Eventually, it will feel natural (and not awkward) to breathe together.
Instructor wisdom: "It's not necessarily something you have to sit down and be like, 'Let's breathe together,' but you will notice that it'll increase the way you feel sensation. If you're in a tense moment, or it's not going necessarily the way you thought, just focus on your breath."
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.