Ever struggle to be "in the moment" during sex? This week for Baby Making Szn, we partnered with MyWellbeing for expert advice on the best ways to take care of your mental health before, during, and after sex. See below for our conversation with Ayana Ali, LCSW and check out MyWellbeing for amazing resources on mental health and therapy.
This month is Baby Making Szn and we are chatting about how to take care of your mental health before, during, and after sex. What is the best way to take care of your mental health before sex?
Before we even think about our bodies and how they move and how they function, we want to think about our minds and make sure we are centered and in a place of calm. Anything you can do to decrease anxiety in your mind and your body is helpful. This includes meditation, stretching, breathing, and exercise.
So what about during sex? How can we really be present during sex?
Staying focused and staying present is important to enjoying sex. It can be easy to become distracted during sex. Concentrate on your breath and your five senses. Do I hear anything from my partner that sounds nice? Do I smell anything good? What are the sensations in my body? Focusing on the sensational experience is mindfulness, can increase arousal and can keep you present in the moment.
Additionally, how can we take care of our mental health after sex?
Give yourself a moment to process, thank your body for the experience, and, if time allows, give yourself a moment to breathe and bask in the moment.
Many members of our community are trying to conceive and have told us that sex becomes routine, task-oriented, or stressful. What advice do you have for them?
Trying to conceive can feel like work and the spontaneity we are used to with sex can sometimes not be a part of it. Think of ways you may be able to be spontaneous. So, for example, if you know you're in your fertility window, think about what you can do over that span of time to make sex as spontaneous and pleasurable as can be. It's not about getting out of the routine, but thinking about how you can introduce joy and excitement in the moment.
We also recognize that some people may be trying to become pregnant in a way that is not considered to be traditional; they may be undergoing IVF or IUI. Some folks may be utilizing sperm donors or considering parenthood with a friend as opposed to a romantic partner. For some, the conception process does not involve intercourse at all. Regardless of your avenue of pursuing conception, it can be stressful and it’s important to try to concentrate on wellness and contentment as you travel on your journey. We affirm all families and all means of baby making!
The pandemic has changed all of our lives and the stress has taken a toll on many members of our community and their sex drives. What advice do you have for them?
Obviously, this is a very stressful time. First, if you feel like your stress is overwhelming you, finding someone to talk to about it is key. Second, if your stress is affecting your sex drive, talk to your partner about it, and address the issue directly. Bring in elements to your sex life that normally get you in the mood. For example, that can be having a glass of wine before becoming intimate. That can also be going to a hotel for a night. Whatever works best for you.
Additionally, sometimes our bodies are telling us things that our mouths and bodies are unwilling to acknowledge. So if you are feeling less sexually inclined, particularly if you are trying to conceive, it may be time to take a pause. This can be for a week, a month, however long you need for your body to feel ready.
Is there anything else we should keep in mind this Baby Making Szn?
It’s important to always extend grace to ourselves, regardless of what the goal of sex or intimacy is. Whether the goal is making a baby or getting closer to our partner, we are in a very stressful time right now that ebbs and flows even after 8 or so months of this pandemic where we feel like we should be used to it. Know that tomorrow is another day and extend the grace to yourself that you extend to others.