Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Have you ever thought about how you breathe during sex or masturbation? Most of us don't think consciously about our breathing, but it can play a big part in our sexual experience and our ability to have an orgasm.
How Does Breathing Affect Sex?
During arousal, our body directs blood to our genitals, which increases sensitivity. Good circulation is affected by the amount of oxygen in our body, so if we increase our oxygen intake, we can increase our blood flow, hence why taking longer breaths may help us experience more pleasure during sex.
Many of us unconsciously hold our breath during sex, partly because of the anticipation and excitement we feel and partly because our muscles are contracting. Although it's a natural response, holding your breath cuts off the oxygen supply to your body, which has a ripple effect throughout, particularly on that all-important blood flow to the genitals.
Breathing more deeply helps your body relax, which can help you overcome initial over-sensitivity or discomfort during sexual acts. If you've been interested to try anal sex, practising deep breathing can help your body warm-up and relax into the sensation and start feeling pleasure instead of pain.
Deeper, longer breaths also have an impact on our mental health, helping reduce feelings of stress, which is hugely important for us to enjoy our sexual experiences. They can also help you elongate your sexual sessions, as they give you the ability to last longer and explore your pleasure more deeply.
Breathing Exercises for More Mindful Pleasure
Breathing techniques are a simple but effective way to increase your awareness of your body and help set you up for a more pleasurable sexual experience. If you've practised yoga or meditation, you can use the same breathing techniques for sexual experiences too, but if you're new to training your breathing, don't worry! Here are some tips and techniques to help you start training your breathing for more pleasure during sex.
Be More Present and Conscious of Your Breath
The first step is starting to listen to your body and be more aware of how it's moving and reacting. This is where the mindfulness aspect comes into your pleasure practice, and it takes some training to be more conscious, especially during highly stimulating activities like sex.
It's important not to think too much, as this can negatively impact your experience, but to begin by reflecting on your past sexual experiences and take note of how your breathing was.
Were your breaths short and shallow, long and deep, were you expelling a lot of air during heavy moaning or did you hold your breath?
You might not remember, but you can imagine how you would be reacting during pleasure at this very moment and notice how your breathing starts to change. Once you're more familiar with listening to your breathing, you can begin to train it.
Use counting to practice
Taking longer, deeper breaths takes practice, and a good way to start is to count. In the beginning, just count how many seconds each normal breath takes, then start to increase it by 1-2 seconds. Once that feels good, start to set yourself the task of breathing in for 5 seconds, and holding it for 3-5, then releasing for 5 or more seconds.
It's great to begin practising this before sex, not during, as it will help your body get into the rhythm of taking longer breaths and means you don't have to start counting during sex.
Breathe into your chest, not your throat
If you've ever tried professional singing practice, you know the difference between breathing into your chest or your throat. Breathing into and from your chest feels a lot deeper and fills your body with more oxygen, which is great during sex! You can feel the difference by noticing how your chest moves during breathing. Your chest should be expanding and retracting during deeper breaths.
Your chest will also become more active during longer breaths, so anything more than a few seconds usually requires you to use the lungs and chest more, so aim for a few seconds more than normal and direct the airflow.
Deep breathing during masturbation
Masturbation is a great time to begin practising your deep breathing techniques and is a great exercise during mindful self-pleasure.
This gives you the space to take notice of how your breathing changes during arousal and allows you to consciously direct and train your breath. You can combine breathing techniques with pleasure mapping to give you more awareness of your body and how to utilise touch and breath to increase your pleasure, which will improve your partnered sessions so much more.
Direct your breath to your genitals
Breathe in through your nose and try to be conscious of where the air is going. Imagine pushing the air down through your whole body and into your genitals. When you breathe out, try breathing through your nose with strength and feel how that pressure can be felt throughout your body. If you're struggling to feel it in your genitals, work your way down. First focus on feeling the air in your lungs, then your stomach, and slowly move further and further down.
Engage your pelvic floor muscles
We need muscle tension in order to experience an orgasm, and our pelvic floor muscles are one of the most important sets of muscles in achieving this. When you breathe in, think about how your pelvic area feels. Can you feel the muscles around your genitals tighten as you breathe in? Think about those muscles during your breathing, can you tense them more? Your pelvic muscles can be felt in the vagina and in the anus, and you can engage them by squeezing, holding and releasing. When you breathe in, pull the air up through your body from your genitals, and squeeze those muscles while you're doing it.
Training your breathing to the point where it feels natural and you don't have to think about it, takes practice. It won't happen overnight, and you won't always remember to do it during sex, but don't worry. The more you practice it, outside of sex or during masturbation especially, the more your body will become familiar with the rhythm and do it without thinking.
Pleasure is unique to everyone
Everybody is different and although your body needs to give your body enough oxygen during sex, if you experience pleasure with short breaths, or holding your breath, don't overthink it and try to change it. Even if you don't practice deep breathing during sex, it has so many positive benefits on our body and mind that building this practice into our daily life, can make us happier and potentially healthier.
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