What’s Sex Got To Do With Mindfulness?

What our partners are really craving is connection, attention—­and better use of our tongues.

Illustrations by Julia Rothman

If mindfulness can make us happier, healthier, and more compassionate (that is, if the raft of current scientific research is to be believed), what can that same moment-to-moment awareness do for our sex lives? Imagine the possibilities.

On the face of it, having enjoyable, loving sex seems like the last thing we might be inclined to tune out. But we all know the kind of mind-wandering that can strike even in the midst of great pleasures. From a mental replay of the staff meeting earlier in the day to obsessing about the final luscious peak of the sex you’re having in that very moment, in lovemaking, as in life, tuning out is a part of being human that’s very difficult to turn off.

That’s where mindfulness comes in.

But before we go there, let’s admit: sex is tricky to talk about. It’s either too much information or not enough. And it’s probably the most subjective thing you’re likely to have an opinion on. (Substitute one little word in “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like,” and you’ve got it just about right.)

It’s challenging because our sexuality is such an essential part of who we…