Courtesy Amazon Publishing
By Dr. Ruth Westheimer
January 25, 2018

After 30 years of working as a sex therapist, the legendary Dr. Ruth isn’t done sharing her wisdom. Here, she answers your most pressing questions on sex, relationships and life. Email your own queries to drruth@time.com, or catch up on previous installments of the Ask Dr. Ruth series.

Q: How do I focus on sex when there are a million other things going on in my life?

A: Sometimes it’s difficult to stay focused. We all lead busy lives and it’s not always easy to shut out the events of the day or worries about the next one. It’s similar to what many people face when they’re trying to fall asleep. They keep replaying a fight they had with their boss or worry about coming up with the money to pay next month’s rent, so they can’t get their brains sufficiently relaxed to fall asleep.

That’s why counting sheep can be effective. It’s not the boredom that comes from keeping track of those leaping mammals that lulls you to sleep, but the fact that the distraction of counting helps drown out your concerns. Now, I’m not recommending that you count sheep while having sex, but I do recommend diving into a sexual fantasy. By concentrating on a fantasy, you can increase your level of arousal while muffling thoughts about work or finances or whatever else is bothering you.

To do this effectively, I suggest developing a fantasy or two beforehand. This way, if you ever catch yourself too distracted to make love with the attention and passion that is required because your brain is racing with other thoughts, you don’t have to worry about making something up from scratch. You can concentrate on one that you already know well and one that you know will cause you to become very aroused.

Don’t worry yourself about the content of these fantasies. Don’t say to yourself that you’re cheating on your partner because in your mind you’re having a threesome with two movie stars. This isn’t real life, it’s a fantasy, and more importantly, a tool to improve your sex life with the partner you have.

Email questions to drruth@time.com.

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