Your breath is your erotic pump
Many people take shallow breaths during sex—or hold their breath altogether. Enter: breathwork. Breathwork can help you improve mindfulness and presence, which allows you to soften and relax into your sexual experiences and open to deeper pleasure. When our bodies are feeling relaxed and receptive, our capacity to experience pleasure expands exponentially. Your breath is a pathway to supercharge your orgasms and experience longer-lasting and more intense pleasure experiences.
“Your breath is an erotic pump; it is one of the quickest ways to physiologically change how you’re feeling—physically and emotionally,” says Sex and Relationships Practitioner Georgia Grace.
Try these breathwork techniques during masturbation/solo sex so you can get a feel for them and experiment with what works best for your body. With practice, it will feel like second nature to breathe like this during partnered sex!
Breathe from the belly. If you’ve ever attended a yoga or pilates class, you’ll likely be familiar with the idea of breathing from your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing allows full oxygen exchange to take place in your body—in other words, it’s the trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Many studies suggest that deep breathing supports arousal and orgasm by flooding your system with oxygen which increases blood flow, slows your heart rate, and lowers your blood pressure.
Lengthen the exhale. Extending your exhale triggers the “rest and digest” influence of vagus nerve and parasympathetic nervous system. This breath can feel very relaxing and grounding—it’s ideal to help you drop into your body and alleviate any anxiety that you might be feeling. I recommend inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for a count of six.
Box breath. Box breathing is a four-step downregulating breathing technique to help you calm your mind and nervous system when you’re feeling anxious or dysregulated. Inhale slowly and deeply for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of four. Repeat. If it’s useful, visualise a square or box and align your breaths and holds with its edges.
Step breath. If you want to upregulate or build physiological arousal, try incorporating a step breath. Purse your lips as though you’re drinking from a straw and make two short, sharp inhalations followed by an effortless exhale, letting your breath fall out of your lungs. Start slow with this technique—it can make you feel dizzy otherwise!
Synchronise your breath with your partner. Breathing in the same rhythm as your partner is a beautiful exercise that can boost feelings of intimacy and connectedness. It also synchronises your nervous systems—as my ever-wise teacher and supervisor Deej Juventin says, “foreplay is getting your nervous systems in sync”. You can try this in a sexual and non-sexual context, like when you’re cuddling or sitting down together. What do you notice physically and emotionally when you sync your breath with your partner?
Slow it down when you’re close. When you feel your orgasm approaching, slow down and deepen your breath. This will reduce muscle tension, allow you to surrender, and surf the orgasmic sensations flooding your body. Enjoy!