How Deep Breathing Can Lead to Improved Orgasms
rē•spin how you approach the mind-body connection.
Deep breathing. One engages with conscious, controlled breathing for relaxation, meditation, or therapy. It can provide an emotional dive into our core selves. The Western world commonly uses it for stress relief and emotional release. However, it often encourages wide-ranging reactions like increased clarity, tingling sensations, and emotional purging. In extreme cases, breathwork can even cause you to sob almost uncontrollably.
Mindful breathwork—deepening your breath to fill your abdomen, diaphragm, and chest—dates back centuries and has rē-emerged in various cultures ever since. But did you know that deep breathing can make for a more palatable sexual experience, increasing your chances of reaching a more intense climax? If you haven’t yet, it might be time to prioritize the practice.
Deep breathing can heal physical and emotional trauma.
“Breathwork is helpful for practically anyone and anything,” explained marriage and family therapist and therapeutic coach Callie David. She came to the practice organically while working through her own trauma. “I was working with a coach at the time that knew I could benefit from taking a deeper, more somatic approach to my healing. After my first breathwork session, I knew that this was the missing piece. And I knew that I needed to get trained in it as well.”
David’s practice is far-reaching and constantly evolving. At present, she works with a core group in Denver where she lives and offers digital breathwork and coaching sessions. While most are geared toward overall well-being, she has implemented many courses that involve increasing your sexual prowess while you heal.
“As you begin to breathe deeply, you kick off the pituitary gland in the endocrine system, and endorphins begin to flow through your body,” explained David, who was formally trained under teacher and healer David Elliott’s two-part pranayama breathwork system and employs versions of those original teachings in her work. “So, sexuality and pleasure are directly linked to the breath and the nervous system. They are in sync and constantly working together.”
Deep breathing can lead to confidence.
You can often experience an intense sensation when you focus on your breath during a sexual encounter. While many people reach a different, perhaps more concentrated, breathing pattern as we get closer to climax, deepening our breathing can contain massive benefits. “When people can deepen their breath,” David said, “their ability to receive pleasure increases immensely.” A tensed orgasm can feel much less powerful than one when we are relaxed and in our flow.
“Everything has felt just a touch different since our session,” said David’s client Abby Rockers, who claims that breathing techniques help boost their confidence and performance in the bedroom. “A little [slower]. A little more intimate.”
This comes as no surprise since deep breathing directly relieves stress response, and healthy, regulated lung function is linked to increased athletic performance and agility.
Physical pleasure can increase with a routine deep breathing practice
That’s not the only science behind it all, either. Deep breathing enacts the nervous system in ways that can increase pressure and pleasure. “There’s the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls balance, resting, and digesting, and there’s the sympathetic nervous system that responds to perceived dangerous or stressful situations,” David explained.
Tightening due to clitoral stimulation increases your heart rate, an adrenaline kick much like that in natural fight-or-flight responses. But that’s just the lead-up. During a cervical orgasm, the vagus nerve is stimulated. This engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for reactions such as pupil dilation and heart-rate control. “This allows the body to open, expand and receive pleasure,” David explains. Body and mind function really do go hand in hand.
Try meditation to heighten the benefits of deep breathing
Meditative practices are suggested alongside deep breathing in self-exploration. Meditation allows you to have the quiet and calmness to break away from your daily routine and completely clear your mind. Regular meditative practices can help calm your mind during sex, leading to better orgasms.
Different forms of popular meditation include transcendental, qigong, tai chi, heart-centered practice, and walking. These practices, unsurprisingly, marry breath with focused thought and relaxation. Meditation has also been used in treatment and therapies regarding child sex abuse, low libido, sexual dysfunctions, and sexual distress.
So how do you implement breathing during bedroom activities? “There’s no way you can do this wrong,” David admits. “If you get frustrated trying the practice, the frustration is meant to be felt. Everything is showing up for a reason, but the more you resist it, it will persist. So, soften and know every sensation is fleeting. The more we feel these uncomfortable sensations, the more access we have to pleasure, joy, and our innate wholeness.”
For most practices, results vary depending on experience, health, anatomy, and additional factors. “It’s important to go into breathwork without expectation or a ‘goal’ around orgasm,” David insisted. Having a baseline expectation of improving your body is key, but always keep an open mind.
She recommends engaging pelvic floor muscles on inhales and softening them during exhales. People who have been practicing deep breathing for a while should try to notice their breathing during sex. Noticing patterns and existing sensations can help them build their practice from there.