Women who have practiced meditation are more likely to report better sexual functioning and higher levels of sexual desire, according to a new study published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.
“It has been well established in the scientific literature that mindfulness meditation is applicable to women’s sexual health. Our research has shown across a dozen studies that short-term mindfulness interventions, delivered in either 4-session or 8-session formats, significantly improve sexual functioning and satisfaction,” explained study author Lori A. Brotto, a professor at the University of British Columbia and author of Better Sex Through Mindfulness.
“What remains unknown, however, is whether there are sexual benefits associated with long-term meditation. In our study, we predicted that women with a regular, and long-standing meditation practice would report better sexual functioning and greater sexual satisfaction than women with no prior experience with meditation, or women with a shorter term meditation practice.”
For the study, Brotto and her colleague surveyed 451 women, whose ages ranged from 19 to 70, regarding their history with meditation and their sex life. They found that the 193 women with meditation experience tended to report better sexual functioning compared to the 257 women with no meditation experience.
“We found that, on average, women who practiced meditation scored higher than women with no meditation experience on measures of sexual function, sexual desire, interoceptive awareness (which can be defined as awareness of internal body sensations), and trait mindfulness (defined by someone who has a mindful personality, by nature),” Brotto explained to PsyPost.
“In particular, our findings show that women with meditation experience have higher scores related to arousal, lubrication, orgasm and desire than women with no meditation experience, however these outcomes are not correlated with the amount of meditation experience or frequency of practice.”
“Furthermore, mood was found to be a significant predictor of both improved sexual function and sexual desire in women who meditate meaning that it seemed that improvements in mood associated with meditation may contribute to the women’s better sexual functioning,” Brotto said.
The study, like all research, has some limitations.
“Our study explored associations between meditation and various aspects of sexual function, but was cross-sectional in nature,” Brotto remarked. “This means that it is not possible to determine the direction of causation, or in other words, did their long-term meditation lead to their improved sexual function, or are individuals with better sexual functioning more likely to meditate?”
It is possible that meditation improves overall mental well-being, which in turn improves women’s sexual functioning.
“One implication of the findings is that women experiencing sexual difficulties could potentially stand to benefit from any form of meditation, regardless of how frequently they are able to practice,” Brotto added. “Though this study focused on women, we have pilot data and clinical experience to suggest that these same benefits will likely transfer to men.”
The study, “Sexual functioning in experienced meditators“, was authored by Iulia Dascalu and Lori A. Brotto.