to a recent study, maintaining awareness and non-judgment during sexual
activity is associated with better sexual well-being among married
couples. The findings, published in Archives of Sexual Behavior,
also revealed partner effects — for example, husbands’ awareness during
sexual activity was associated with improved orgasm consistency among
involves a non-judgmental awareness of the present and heightened
intentionality. More recently, scholars have applied this concept to
sexual behavior, using the term sexual mindfulness. Early evidence
suggests men have higher sexual mindfulness than women, leading study
authors Chelom E. Leavitt and her team to wonder whether women’s lower
sexual mindfulness might explain why women tend to orgasm less
and her colleagues were particularly interested in how one partner’s
mindfulness during sex might influence their partner’s outcomes. The
researchers conducted a study using data from a nationally
representative sample of newlywed couples in the U.S. In total, there
were 1,473 mixed-sex couples in the analysis. Wives were an average age
of 29 and husbands were an average age of 31.
partners completed a measure of sexual mindfulness to assess awareness
during sexual experiences (e.g., “I pay attention to my emotions during
sex”) and non-judgment during sexual experiences (e.g., “During sex, I
sometimes get distracted by evaluating myself or my partner”). They also
completed measures of relationship flourishing to assess meaning,
personal growth, and goal sharing within the relationship, and sexual
harmony to assess the extent that their sexuality is integrated into
their life in a balanced way. Finally, both partners indicated how often
they experience orgasm during sexual experiences with their partner.
the researchers analyzed the results, they found convincing evidence
that mindfulness was related to improvements in sexual well-being. Among
both wives and husbands, greater awareness and non-judgment during
sexual activity was associated with greater relationship flourishing,
sexual harmony, and orgasm consistency.
authors theorize that mindfulness supports relationship flourishing
since the mindset encourages a more regulated response to events that
may happen during sex compared to a reactive one. Increased awareness
and open discussions about sex can promote meaning and connection within
a relationship. Similarly, mindfulness promotes greater sexual harmony
by encouraging people away from “goal-driven sex” toward sex that is
intentional and in the moment, paving the way for a more meaningful
sexual experience that is integrated with other aspects of life.
there were also partner effects, suggesting that one member of the
couple’s sexual mindfulness led to positive outcomes in their partner.
Both husbands and wives with greater awareness and non-judgment had
partners who reported better relationship flourishing and sexual
harmony. Further, both husbands and wives who had greater sexual
awareness had partners with a more consistent orgasm experience.
authors say that these findings suggest a way to address the orgasm gap
between men and women. People who were more aware during sex
experienced more consistent orgasms, and so did their partners.
Encouraging couples to slow down and let go of judgment may help women
(who are less likely to orgasm during sex than men) feel greater
autonomy and competence. Taking things slowly might also give women the
time they need to achieve sufficient arousal and orgasm.
mindfulness may provide a valuable resource for couples who are working
to improve their connection and meaning in their romantic and sexual
relationships,” Leavitt and team write. “Additionally, this study
provides initial evidence that not only is a woman’s sexual mindfulness
linked to her own orgasm consistency, but her husband’s sexual
mindfulness is linked to her orgasm consistency.”
authors note that their sample consisted only of mixed-sex, younger
couples. They say that future studies will be needed to explore a wider
demographic and to examine how sexual mindfulness relates to
relationship length, relationship timing, and same-sex relationships.
The study, “Linking Sexual Mindfulness to Mixed‑Sex Couples’ Relational Flourishing, Sexual Harmony, and Orgasm”,
was authored by Chelom E. Leavitt, Tawniele F. Maurer, Tiffany L.
Clyde, Rebecca W. Clarke, Dean M. Busby, Jeremy B. Yorgason, Erin K.
Holmes, and Spencer James.