Breathing for pleasure

An Article by Michael Dresser

Paying attention to the breath can be an incredibly powerful way to bring you from your mind back to your body and sensation.

Take a deep breath….

If you’ve ever meditated, or practiced yoga or mindfulness, you’ll know that paying attention to the breath can be a powerful way to bring you from your mind back to your body and sensation.

More so even than Touch, Sound, or Movement, breathing is absolutely essential for life itself, and it influences – and is influenced by – almost every experience we have:

“Whatever you are doing is influencing your breathing: being in movement, stillness, when you laugh or cry, when you are upset or in love. The way you breathe is an expression of what you are thinking, doing and feeling” Wilhelm Porzelt

Breathing in the bedroom

Breath is also an integral part of our sexual experience – many bodily systems involved, including the nervous system, are affected by the type of breath we use. It’s possible to take the body into orgasmic states simply through conscious breath work!

“You know the best thing about oxygen? It gets you high. Deep breathing during sex elevates the sensation of euphoria. The more you breathe, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the better the sex”  Barbara Carrellas

But when we feel challenged or scared we also have a tendency to hold our breath – and given how many fears a lot of us have when it comes to sex, this can start to cause big problems in the bedroom:  imagine trying to do a physical workout, or climb a mountain, without breathing – you wouldn’t get very far!

Pleasure and Breath

So what does breathing have to do with pleasure? Well, pretty much everything!

Pleasure is a combination of excitement (or arousal), and relaxation. When we take short, sharp breaths in we start to oxygenate the body, causing arousal in the nervous system.  If we exhale more strongly, like a sigh, the nervous system starts to relax.

It’s the interface between these two body states where the most intense pleasure can be found.  Perhaps no surprise then that many of our expressions about pleasure involve breathing: think about all the times you’ve ‘sighed with pleasure’ or ‘panted with excitement’!

So if you want to get more pleasure into your sex, learning to work with your breathing is a very good place to start.

Try it now:

  1. Spend a minute or so taking short, sharp ‘sips’ of air (purse your lips as if you’re ‘sipping’ through a straw) – about 1 per second. Try to send the breath right down into your diaphragm, and focus on the in-breath rather than the out-breath – just allow the air to naturally exit without forcing it out. Notice how you feel afterwards. You’ll probably feel a little more alert and energised.
  2. Now yawn. Even if you don’t feel it at first open your mouth wide and pretend you’re yawning and it probably won’t take long until you are! Feel how it opens up the back of your throat and creates spaciousness in your mouth and jaw? Keep this feeling as you breathe in gently and deeply, taking in as much air as you can easily, and then just let it go – let it fall out with a sigh. Letting your shoulders go as you do this can really help. After repeating this for a minute or so notice how you feel. You’ll probably notice you feel a little more relaxed and calm.
  3. Play around with alternating between these two types of breath for different lengths of time. What do you notice in your body?

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