As fun as being intimate with a partner can be, it's still pretty darned easy to zone out or get distracted mentally, even in the moment. Here's one easy game you can play to make staying present more fun, and more sexy.
How to Play Grown-Up "Red Light, Green Light"
Remember playing "Red Light, Green Light" as a kid? The general premise was that one person was running the show, and everyone else was lined up some distance away. The shotcaller would yell "green light" and everyone would scramble for the finish line. When "red light" was called out, everyone had to immediately freeze in place.
The rules are the same, but in a much more adult context. The next time you're being intimate, both partners have the power to call out "red light" or "green light." You can also use "stop" and "go" if you'd like, or maybe you have some sort of funny inside joke that you can use. One command to bring a halt to things, and one to resume activity.
The basic version of the game is to call out "red light" when you feel yourself drifting off or losing your connection to your partner. Started thinking about that email you have to write? "Red light!" Caught yourself staring at your partner's belly button lint? "Red light!" Feel like your partner might be staring at your lint? You get the picture.
Whenever "red light" or its equivalent is spoken, you both have to stop whatever you were doing and attempt to bring yourselves back into the moment and into connection with each other. You can move your bodies, but you can try making eye contact, taking a deep breath, laughing, or smiling at each other. Whatever you do, try to bring a little levity to the moment. You aren't allowed to get back to the fun until the same person says "green light."
It's a simple game, but it's also adaptable. Try taking turns making each other the sole focus of attention, and notice if you tend to get more distracted when you're the giver or the receiver. Or try only allowing one person to be the shotcaller in a particular interaction. You can even use the game to tease each other, by making yourselves stop just when things start to get really hot and heavy.
Better Presence Makes for Better Sex
If you've ever tried meditating, or have developed even the most basic awareness practice, you know that it's ridiculously difficult to stay fully present for any significant period of time. Our brains are used to being in constant overdrive, and it's hard to shut them off. Even if sex is your favourite part of the day, you may still find yourself getting distracted by random thoughts or going somewhere else mentally. It's normal to float in and out of awareness, but more often than not, these little distractions snowball into a complete lack of presence. When you're not mentally there during sex, you can't really experience pleasure or the connection that makes sex so intimate. Your partner can feel that you're gone too, and at best it lessens the experience for them, and at worst it makes you seem distant, or makes them self-conscious.
Playing this little game is a fun and easy way to learn to stay present for more of the time you're intimate with your partner. You're not scolding yourself for not being able to focus, or giving up hope and staring at the ceiling until your partner finishes. You're making those moments of reconnecting feel light-hearted and sweet. Who couldn't benefit from that?