Title: Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire

Authors: Lori A. Brotto, PhD

Year Published: 2018

Main Topics Covered: Women’s Sexuality, Low Libido, Mindfulness, Fear, and Pain

Written for: Women, Partners, Practitioners

Recommended for: Clients

Perspectives Taken: Mindfulness, Sex Positive

Type of Resource: Self Help Book

APA Citation: Brotto, L. A. (2018). Better sex through mindfulness: How women can cultivate desire. Canada: Greystone.

Book Review:

In her 2018 book, Dr. Lori Brotto, a sex researcher and clinical psychologist at The University of British Columbia explores mindfulness and sex through case studies, research, practical exercises and her wealth of knowledge and experience. Dr. Brotto both endorses and encourages the practice of mindfulness as a treatment approach for a variety of sexual health concerns, focusing on concerns specific to women or a female experience.

The development and introduction of Viagra for men’s sexual response had implications for women, which prompted Dr. Brotto to further investigate the female sexual response. From physiological function to educational systems, attitudes, and emotional intelligence, Dr. Brotto’s evaluation addresses the complexity of the cultural messages women receive and the subsequent shame she observes in her female clients in relation to their feelings and beliefs around sexual desire.

Noting low sexual desire as the most commonly reported female sexual concern, Dr. Brotto explores the relationship between self-criticism/self-doubt and sexual desire, and subsequently how mindfulness meditation can foster awareness, understanding and acceptance to combat unhappiness with sex, unrewarding sexual experiences and even painful sex.    

Using accessible language and practical instruction, Dr. Brotto incorporates a number of mindfulness scripts that can be utilized by the reader. Varying from mindful listening and bathing to mindful awareness of sexual sensations and as well as instructions for couples, this book also serves as a guide for both beginners and more experienced meditators to explore not only sexual desire but self-awareness in general.

The author touches briefly on mindfulness as it relates to male sexual concerns, but the bulk of the research is female-oriented, likely due to the available relevant research and speaking to the larger cultural implications surrounding male and female expectations, reports, and experiences of sexual education and health.

This in-depth exploration draws attention to the lack of evidence-based education in schools that also focus on sexual pleasure. Dr. Brotto conveys how comprehensive education can serve to mitigate the development of sexual concerns and how paying attention to bodies in a kind, compassionate and non-judgmental way is relevant for all genders and sexual orientations.

About the Author:
Lori A. Brotto, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and sex researcher from the University of British Columbia, and Canada Research Chair in Women’s Sexual Health. She has been featured in the New York Times, and many other outlets, and writes for monthly columns for the Globe and Mail.

Written by Westland Researcher Hazel Hughes