9 easy ways to be more present during sex

February 02,2021

A few weeks ago, I got this DM:

“How do you know what great sex is? I hear people talk about it all the time, but I guess I’ve never really had sex that was particularly good. I don’t know what ‘great sex’ even means. How do you define it?”

So many different answers swirled through my head, but there was one word that felt the strongest:


Have you ever had sex and felt like you and your partner were truly in that moment together? 

Like time stood still, and it was just the two of you? Like you wanted to laugh and kiss and cry and scream all at once? 

Or, do you often find yourself feeling lonely and disconnected during sex? 

Do you find yourself wondering why the hell people even get so worked up about sex in the first place?

I left the topic of presence and sex until the very end of the month for a reason. Most people want to learn how to be more present during sex, but they get a little bored thinking about being present outside of the bedroom. 

But it’s really hard to learn how to be present during sex if you haven’t practiced that skill when your clothes are on! 

So without further ado, let me share…

9 ways to be more present during sex.

Tip #1: Set yourself up for success

If you don’t want to get distracted during sex, do your best to minimize distractions beforehand! 

Clear the clutter out of your room. Make the bed. Light a candle or two. Lock the door. Put on music. 

These things may seem small, but they make a world of difference in the moment. 

Another thing you can do is set your intentions before getting intimate. 

Take a second to remind yourself that you’d like to be present with yourself and your partner. To go even deeper, think of the specific reasons why you want to be present. You can do this on your own or with your partner!

Tip #2: Go slow

Presence takes time. 

It’s so important not to rush yourself. If you go into sex feeling relaxed, you’re much more likely to stay present.

Tip #3: Lower your expectations

I know this one sounds ridiculous, but hear me out for a second!

A lot of people expect to be completely in the zone during sex, but it very rarely works out that way in real life. 

Our brains love being busy and thinking thoughts. And try as hard as you might, you just can’t stop your brain from thinking. 

Don’t put pressure on yourself to be present and engaged 100 percent of the time you’re being intimate with your partner.

Tip #4: Respect your own desires

You’re not going to be present during sex if you’re having boring sex that’s boring, or if you’re doing things you don’t want to be doing. 

It’s so important for you to honor your boundaries and ask for what you want. 

We actually have a masterclass all about this! It’s called How To Ask For What You Want In The Bedroom – And Even Know What You Want In The First Place! And it’s on flash sale right now.

Tip #5: Focus on sensation

One of the main reasons why it feels so great to be present during sex is because sensations get heightened! Everything feels SO much better! 

Take a second to ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” Check in with every part of your body. Check in with each of your five senses. 

This is also a great way to pull your energy back into the moment if you find yourself getting distracted. 

Tip #6: Don’t fixate on orgasm

I teach an entire course on how to orgasm. But I will be the first to tell you that orgasms aren’t everything! 

When we get overly focused on orgasm, it sucks all of the joy and pleasure out of the current moment. 

But the reality is that you can experience pleasure for hours on end, while an orgasm will last 20 seconds at most. 

Tip #7: Talk during sex

Most couples will tell you that they feel most present with each other when they’re having a deep conversation. 

But who says intimate conversations can’t happen during sex?!

You don’t have to quiz each other about your deepest fears in the middle of getting down! But checking in with each other, making requests of each other, or describing how good you’re feeling can be deeply connecting! 

Tip #8: Breathe

Breathing – yes, breathing! – can be deeply erotic!

There has been so much research about the power of breath. Focusing on your breath has been proven to soothe your anxiety, help you release your thoughts, connect you to your body, help you relax, and even improve your mood. 

Try taking slow, deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Or imagine that you’re breathing in and out through different parts of your body. 

Tip #9: Change what you’re doing

If you’re noticing that your mind keeps drifting, try changing up the position or activity.

A change forces your brain to refocus and reconnect to the current moment.


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!