Erectile dysfunction is the persistent inability to attain or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfying sexual performance (Bossio et al., 2018). At least one-third of men will experience ED at some point in their lifetime, with rates increasing to over 75% for men 70 years of age or older.(Lewis et al., 2010; Bossio et al., 2018).
Current beliefs about male sexual response show that it is complex, involving inhibitory and excitatory mechanisms of the nervous systems (Bossio et al., 2018)—in plain language--some things have to relax, while other things have to get excited.
Mindfulness can be defined as an open or a receptive attention to and awareness of what is taking place, both internally and externally, in the present moment (Barnes et al., 2007).
Sex and mindfulness meditation are both practices in which you are encouraged to break away from daily activities, connect with the body, and with the present moment. Clearing the mind of anxieties, worries, and to-do lists is also recommended for both these activities.
Improved Sexual Satisfaction
A 2019 study by Leavitt et al., found that cultivating mindfulness during sex and sexual situations has a positive effect on sexual wellbeing, satisfaction within the relationship, and improved self-esteem.
Improved Arousal Levels, Better Sexual Function
Bossio et al. (2018) found that men with erection difficulties reported significant improvement in sexual function after attending a four week intervention program that included education about erectile dysfunction (ED), psychological counseling, and instruction in mindfulness meditation. The men also practiced mindfulness meditation daily on their own.
A 2012 study by Brotto et al. found mindfulness classes and a regular meditation practice at home led to greater sexual desire, arousal, easier orgasms, and greater sexual satisfaction for their study participants. The participants went to three 90 minute classes within a span of six months that discussed the causes of low libido and offered instruction in mindfulness meditation. Between classes participants practiced mindfulness meditation daily.
Improved Relationship Satisfaction
Barnes et al. (2007) found that having a mindfulness practice predicted higher relationship satisfaction in individuals and greater capacities to respond constructively to relationship stress.
Use Deep Breathing to Gain Body Awareness
Download a Meditation App
Insight timer is a free app/website with an archive of guided meditations, longer talks teachings, sound healings, and other offerings.
Headspace is a paid subscription app/service which provides guided meditation instruction. There is currently some free offerings on their website to deal with stress and overwhelm connected to COVID-19.
Get Connected with a Local Meditation Group
Insight LA is a meditation center based in Los Angeles, which is now offering classes and group guided meditations online via teleconference platforms.
Other helpful resources:
Leavitt, C. E., Lefkowitz, E. S., & Waterman, E. A. (2019). The Role of Sexual Mindfulness in Sexual Wellbeing, Relational Wellbeing, and Self-Esteem. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 1–12. doi:10.1080/0092623x.2019.1572680
Bossio, J.A. et al. “Mindfulness-Based Group Therapy for Men with Situational Erectile Dysfunction: A Mixed-Methods Feasibility Analysis and Pilot Study,” Journal of Sexual Medicine (2018) 15:1478.
Brotto, L.A. et al. “Pilot Study of a Brief Cognitive Behavioral Versus Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Women with Sexual Distress and a History of Childhood Sexual Abuse,” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (2012) 38:1.
Lewis RW, Fugl-Meyer KS, Corona G, et al. (2010). Definitions/epidemiology/risk factors for sexual dysfunction. J Sex Med 2010; 7:1598-1607
Atkinson BJ (2013). Mindfulness training and the cultivation of secure, satisfying couple relationships. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 2(2), 73–94. doi:10.1037/cfp0000002 [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
Barnes S, Brown KW, Krusemark E, Campbell WK, & Rogge RD (2007). The role of mindfulness in romantic relationship satisfaction and responses to relationship stress. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33(4), 482–500. doi:10.1111/j.1752-0606.2007.00033.x [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
**This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.