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Daily Connect: Is Meditation the New Viagra?

If you follow news on science and meditation on the Internet, you might believe that meditation is the new penicillin, a wonder drug that can create most of what ails you. Research studies show it has benefits for those who suffer from anxiety, high blood pressure, digestive problems, etc etc.

So the headline "Meditation Increases Sex Drive" seemed like more of the same -- evidence that meditation is just generally good. (It's also kind a duh. Ask anyone who's gone on a prolonged retreat what sitting on the cushion thinking -- or not thinking -- does for your sex drive.)

Yahoo Lifestyle's Sex Tip of the Day reports:

According to researchers at Canada's University of British Columbia and Israel's Hadassah University Hospital, just a few sessions of meditation can boost your sex drive and speed arousal time.

The researchers measured the reactions of 24 women who were watching an erotic film, then measured for a second time after they attended three 'mindfulness' meditation courses.

Even though the participants were watching the same film, they were more turned on than during the first viewing.

The reasons for this aren't fully understood, but researchers believe the art of meditation allows you to 'turn off' the active part of your brain and focus on specific feelings and sensations instead.

It took some research to get closer to the actual research. It turns out it's not as frivolous as it sounds.

In this interview, researcher Lori Brotto of  the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, a Buddhist meditator herself, describes how she uses mindfulness meditation to help women who are unable to have intercourse because of actual or anticipated pain.

...in the last seven years we’ve carried out at least three studies now adapting the mindfulness based intervention to gynaecologic cancer survivors who we know have a high incidence of sexual side-effects following treatment. And most recently we’ve looked at either three-session or four-session mindfulness intervention versus a wait-list control group, or an education only control group. And women will report improvements in their level of sexual desire, their level of sexual arousal; we also measure the physiological sexual arousal response. We have women come into our lab, we expose them to some short video clips, neutral and erotic video clips and we measure their sexual arousal response  before and after treatment. And not only do we see an increase in the genital arousal response but we also see more agreement between the genital response and women’s self-report of being sexually aroused. So it seems that their mind and their body is more in unison following the intervention.

I find that lovely and not at all the sort of tawdry activity that's implied by putting meditation on the Sex Tip of the Day list.

If you're curious about meditation and sex drive, you could try a long retreat and see for yourself.

Or check out Orgasmic Meditation. According to an instructor, "It’s a partnered practice, a timed 15-minute meditation. The woman lays down, nude from the waist down, and her partner [massages her]. There’s no goal: Both partners are feeling what’s happening in their bodies and sensations as they are in contact with the most sensitive part of the human body."

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