EROTIC MAGAZINE FOR WOMEN AND COUPLES » Sex Articles » Breathe into pleasure – 5 tips to activate your sexual life force
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“Breathe like your pleasure depends on it. Because it does.” Wise words from Sexologist and author of Urban Tantra, Barbara Carrellas, when explaining Tantra on the Curious Fox podcast. 

But what does it really mean to breathe into pleasure? And how can we harness the breath work to heighten arousal, create deeper connections, and even trigger stronger orgasms? 

Using my own experience and teachings as a Sensual Intimacy Coach and through talking to other pleasure and breath work experts, we will explore everything you need to know about how the breath impacts sex. And how to accessibly activate this sexual life force!


  1. Breath work check-in
  2. Breath as a sexual life force
  3. Breath and the nervous system
  4. Breath and the pleasure system
  5. Breath and the orgasm 
  6. Breath and sexual exploration: 5 transformative tips!

Breath work check-in

Before we dive into some of the theory and practice surrounding the breath and how it relates to your pleasure, it might be worth taking note of your personal relationship with your breath. 

Yes, right now. 

You can start to ask yourself, how is my breathing right now? Am I breathing through my nose or mouth? Is it deep and slow? Fast and shallow? 

Perhaps you’re barely breathing at all? 

If so, you’re not alone. In a chronically stressed society, we often take our breath for granted, allowing it to control our thoughts, behaviours, and emotions. When we disregard the importance of the breath, our literal life force, we might not notice how it can impact our stress levels and even our experience of pleasure. 

Or perhaps, you are familiar with the power of the breath work, through yoga or meditation classes, having learned how to follow the breath and adjust it, along with movement, for expanding your awareness. 

Whatever your relationship with the breath, you can take this opportunity right here, right now, to deepen your inhale and exhale through different poses and focus your attention on your breath, if it feels comfortable, you can take a deep inhale through your nose, and extend a long exhale out through your mouth. 

Notice what a couple of those can do to your body, thoughts, and emotions, and you might take a glimpse into how the breath can be used to enhance not only your quality of life but also your experience of sex, pleasure, and connection.

Breath as a sexual life force

Life started with the breath. It will also end with the breath. “Breath is everything,” says Miss Erica Storm, a self-titled free spirit, former International Dominatrix, founder of Strut Masterclass, and Power of the Pussy Retreat. 

Also known as “Prana” in Sanskrit, which means both “breath” and “energy” (i.e., the conscious field that permeates the whole universe).

“The breath is a metaphor for life,” shares Storm, “it’s in everything you do, whether you’re on the yoga mat or whether you’re walking onto a stage doing a huge presentation in front of a thousand people. What’s gonna calm you? Your breath. What’s gonna excite you? Your breath. What’s gonna save you? Your breath. As simple as it sounds, if you can control your breath you can control everything else that happens inside the body.” 

In particular, “during sex,” Miss Erica emphasises. “When we tense the body up and hold the breath, and then release, that’s the orgasmic state.” 

Breath and the nervous system

In a 2018 study on How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing, results found that the effects of “slow breathing techniques cover autonomic and central nervous systems activities as well as the psychological status,” creating states of “increased comfort, relaxation, pleasantness, vigour and alertness, and reduced symptoms of arousal, anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.

Despite Western culture adopting Eastern practices of breathing techniques for the means of stress reduction, “Western science has paid little attention to the investigation of the effects of pure breathing control on neural correlates of consciousness, and on specific mental functions.” 

What is clear is how the nervous system is made up of two parts:

  • The sympathetic nervous system controls the fight, flight and freeze responses.
  • The parasympathetic nervous system induces the rest and digest responses. 

Each has their very important roles for keeping us alive, and it’s important to know that we fluctuate between these throughout our day, and are intricately related to our breath cycle. 

When we breathe in, we are engaging the sympathetic and when we breathe out, we are engaging our parasympathetic. When we breathe in, we send fresh oxygen to the muscles and when we breathe out, we relax our muscles. 

Breath work and the pleasure system

The wonderful thing about the breath is that it is one of a few techniques that we can control to transform our experience of pleasure. 

Full spectrum pleasure coach and author of Slow Pleasure, Euphemia Russell says that they “see breath as one of the main four ways of allowing and magnifying pleasure. They are: sound, breath, movement, and self-touch.” 

They explain that playing “with different lengthed inhales, exhales, and pauses we can find different functions such as release, allow, magnify or disperse aliveness/pleasure.” 

When practised effectively and in conjunction with the other elements of sound, movement, and self-touch, breathing can help us explore different states of arousal and pleasure. 

The sharper and shallower our breath, the more activated and focused we are. The slower and deeper our breath, the more relaxed and connected we are. As well as the depth and tempo of the breath, what we use to breath is also important. “Mouth breathing is energising, while nose breathing is calming,” shares Carrellas. 

When it comes to kinky explorations of the breath, Storm invites us to imagine the person wearing a gimp mask, “now their breath is restricted, it’s that edge of life, it’s them now feeling their breath on their skin, it’s their heart now beating a little faster.” 

By playing with a variety of breathing styles and practices, we can learn to consciously expand our experience; releasing tension, allowing sensation, magnifying arousal, or dispersing pleasure.

Breath and the orgasm 

While the sympathetic nervous system may sometimes get a bad rep for engaging in flight or freeze response when we don’t want it to, what not many people are aware of is the importance of this element in our experience of orgasm. 

While slowing down the breath and sending fresh oxygen and blood to engorge the genitals for a more fulfilling experience of pleasure, in order to tip ourselves over the “edge” or to “climax”, we need an intense dose of the stress. 

According to Kevin E. McKenna in his work on the autonomic neuroscience of sexual function, “the sympathetic innervation stimulates contraction in the smooth muscle of the internal sexual organs.”

Which is why you may notice at the peak of arousal your breathing may become very fast and shallow, and perhaps even stop all together. 

In French, an orgasm is commonly known as ‘le petit mort’, aka the little death, because ultimately, the breath stops as you reach peak climax. 

Breath and sexual exploration: 5 transformative tips 

In order to put all that we have learned into practice, here are some practical ideas and videos for you to explore depending on what you want to experience. 

  1. Breath and Energy Orgasm:

    Practise visualising your breath flowing through each chakra while lying down, as Barbara Carrellas suggests. Focus on tensing your pelvic floor and whole body at key points to build energy and experience a hands-free orgasm. Essentially “thinking off”. Youtube Video.

  2. Enhancing Erections with Breath Work:

    Incorporate conscious breathing exercises into your intimate moments to reduce anxiety and promote blood flow to the genital area. As a sex hypnotherapist and confidence coach, Linda Connors recommends directing your breath towards your chest, stomach, and penis to build confidence and achieve stronger, longer-lasting erections. Youtube video.

  3. Edging for Stronger Orgasms:

    Experiment with edging techniques by combining Kegel exercises with breath control. Slow down your breath and arousal level to prolong the pleasure and intensity of orgasmic release. As masturbation coach Helena Nista, shares, taking 10 abdominal breaths when you are reaching close to climax to help calm the nervous system and edge yourself to a more powerful orgasm. Youtube video.

  4. Exploring Full-Body Pleasure:

    Practise spreading sexual energy throughout your entire body using breathwork. Focus on deep, rhythmic breathing to amplify sensations and experience orgasmic pleasure beyond the genital region. As sex coach, Aida Lucie, shares, you can explore sending the breath from your “yoni” (vulva), up and through your body to expand the pleasure and connection for a full-bodied experience. Youtube video.

  5. Kinky Breath Play:

    If exploring breath play in BDSM contexts, you’ll want to prioritise safety precautions. Always establish clear communication and trust with your sexual partner, establish safe words, and discuss what you want to get out of the experience. Whether it’s restricting the breath via the throat, nose, or mouth, either with the hands, arm, gag, or even a gimp mask, it’s worth figuring out why you want to explore it as kink expert, Lola Jean, shares, you can always explore “fantasy” chokes to have a similar effect. Youtube video.

And exhale… 

With practice, integrating breathwork into your sexual practices can undoubtedly unlock new levels of pleasure, intimacy, and connection. 

By understanding the profound influence of breath work on our physiological and psychological states, we can harness its power to enhance arousal, achieve stronger orgasms, and deepen our overall sexual experience and erotic connection. 

Whether you’re exploring solo or with a partner, remember that breath is a fundamental aspect of our overall life, and tapping into its potential can transform your sex life. 

Take the time to observe your breath and explore these techniques mindfully, listen to your body, and always prioritise safety and consent. 

Now go forth and breathe yourself into pleasure! May it be a guiding force on your path to sexual liberation and fulfilment.

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