Saturday, 22 February 2014

Mary Roach on mindfulness and female sexual responsiveness

"Bonk," by Mary Roach, is about...well, you can guess, but actually, it is a very well-informed and frequently very funny look at research into human sexuality. In a section about female sexuality, the author writes:

"One needn't suffer these particular anxieties to be distracted during sex. A thousand things can play on a woman's mind: work, kids, problems with Ultrasuede. One non-pharmaceutical solution is to teach women to redirect their focus and pay more attention to physical sensations - a practice called mindfulness. 

A pilot study - meaning it's a preliminary investigation with no control group - by Lori Brotto and two colleagues at the University of British Columbia had promising results. Eighteen women with complaints about their ability to become aroused participated in mindfulness training. Afterwards, there was a significant jump in their ratings of how aroused they'd been feeling during sexual encounters."

Leaving aside the way Roach over-simplifies mindfulness meditation training, all I can say is: you heard it first here, ladies. (Unless of course you've read "Bonk.") 

I expect a sudden imbalance in the gender profile of enrolments on the eight-week mindfulness introductory course.

Ms Roach ends her chapter thus: "If it's any solace, even female rats have trouble focusing. I give you my favourite sentence in the oeuvre of Alfred Kinsey: 'Cheese crumbs spread in front of a copulating pair of rats may distract the female, but not the male.'"

Few surprises there, eh chaps?

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