Mindfulness involves intentional, non-judgmental and accepting awareness of the present moment. People differ in terms of their level of dispositional mindfulness and can also engage in formal training to cultivate greater mindfulness. Despite a recent proliferation in research on mindfulness and its association with numerous aspects of psychological well-being, researchers have only recently investigated mindfulness in relation to sexual well-being. Existing research has primarily focused on small clinical samples and formal mindfulness intervention and the mechanisms by which mindfulness relates to sexual well-being are poorly understood. In the current study, mindfulness and sexual satisfaction were measured in an online sample of adult women (n = 355) who were in relationships. Cognitive distraction during sexual activity was examined as a potential mediator as cognitive distraction has been associated with sexual well-being in women and mindfulness is associated with lower levels of rumination. Women who reported higher levels of mindfulness reported experiencing significantly less frequent cognitive distraction during partnered sexual activity and significantly higher levels of sexual satisfaction. Mindfulness was associated with all measured aspects of cognitive distraction (i.e., cognitive distraction due to appearance concerns, performance concerns, and everyday distractors). Bootstrapping mediational analysis revealed a significant indirect effect; that is, cognitive distraction mediated the association between mindfulness and sexual satisfaction. Mindfulness interventions may be particularly beneficial for women who experience frequent cognitive distraction during sexual activity. Additional clinical implications and potential directions for future research are discussed.


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pp. 99-108
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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