This is One of the Best Ways to Get Sexually Aroused

by | Jan 1, 2023 | Sexuality | 22 comments

One of the most common statements I hear from women about their sexuality is, “I’m often stuck in my head during sex. Sometimes I’m planning the dinner menu or thinking about what we need from the grocery store. I have a hard time staying in my body.”

As the body is the locus of arousal, it would behoove us to explore how to come back into the body when the head takes over.

But first, let’s become curious about how seductive it is to travel up to the head. For those of you who struggle with anxiety and intrusive thoughts (probably most of you), you know that I talk about intrusive thoughts as protectors: the mind’s way of lifting up us above the pain of life because we formed a belief early on that pain was too hard to feel. Most highly sensitive people have become highly adept over the course of their lives at spending time in their heads. So it makes sense that this would show up during one of the most vulnerable places in our lives: our sexuality.

Why would the head take over during sex? Because most of us have experienced some form of assault, abuse, violation, or shaming of our bodies and boundaries, which then causes our voice to become silent. Without our voice, we have no safety. As sexual arousal hinges on safety, in order to feel safe we must have access to our true voice: the voice that lives below the good girl persona that has been conditioned to say yes even when we feel no.

How many times have you submitted to sex even after you said no? How many times has your NO either explicitly or implicitly been overridden? And, by the way, this applies even in the most loving partnerships as we’ve all been conditioned to override when it comes to sexuality and bodies.

Sexual violations include:

  • Being kissed when you don’t want to be kissed (more on this next week)
  • Being touched when you don’t want to be touched
  • Being cajoled into having sex.
  • Being sexualized when you aren’t being sexual.

Does this list surprise you? We’re stirring up the patriarchy here! There is one bottom-line inarguable fact that must be clearly stated and known in order for our bodies to feel safe and open: No is no. This applies to affection, kissing, touching, intercourse. No can be verbal or non-verbal, but it must be listened to in order for true consent to exist. And without consent, touch of any kind is a violation.

Our bodies are sacred, sovereign lands, and yet they have been colonized in a variety of ways.

A significant part of reclaiming our bodies and our sexuality is reclaiming our sovereignty, which means reclaiming our voice: the voice that knows when we want to be touched and don’t want to be touched, the voice that knows and trusts our pace and rhythm, the voice that can say no, and be respected in our no.

For when we lose our capacity to say no, there is no true yes. One is dependent on the other.

Your voice is your gateway to desire, because using your voice makes you feel safe, and true desire hinges on safety. When we feel safe, we open, we naturally move toward, we feel courageous and uninhibited, we reclaim our intrinsic desire.

Every time you override your NO and ignore your voice, you shut down the pathway to desire.

So what is the best way to become sexually aroused? To use your voice!

Every time you speak your truth, you open the channel to desire, for there is a direct line between the throat and the genitals.

Using your voice can also sound like: Stopping in the middle of sex when you notice that your body isn’t responding or you’re lost in your head and saying, “Can we stop for a minute? My body isn’t really here right now.” That’s the time to drop in and down and gently scan for what might be needed.

It might be that you need to stop altogether. That’s okay.

It might be that the way your partner is touching you doesn’t feel good and you need to say something.

It might be that there’s a block between the two of you because of an unresolved rupture that happened recently and you need to spend a few minutes clearing the air.

What I know for sure is that our bodies do not lie. We might not always interpret the body’s messages accurately (as is often the case with relationship anxiety), but if your body is shutting down there are good reasons for it.

Repairing trust in your body hinges on developing reverence for it, which hinges on softening and releasing the shame that shrouds you in protection. Once you restore a true love and respect for your body, you will start to listen to it, trust it, and speak on its behalf.

This is what I teach in Sacred Sexuality: a gentle roadmap for identifying and releasing shame and a safe place to tell your stories so that you can retrieve your lost voice and reclaim your aliveness and your desire.

I will say it again:

Arousal and desire hinge on safety. Your voice is your gateway to desire because using your voice makes you feel safe. And when we feel safe, we open, we naturally move toward, we feel courageous and uninhibited, and we reclaim our arousal.

Are you ready to retrieve your voice? Come join me and a group of like-minded, open-hearted women from around the world for my 8th round of Sacred Sexuality: A 40-day course to heal body shame and ignite desire. It starts on January 14th, 2023, and I look forward to connecting with you there.

Note: This all hinges on being with a safe partner who respects your voice. This doesn’t mean that your partner might not have their own triggers stemming from their early wounds and negative enculturation, but ideally you’re with a partner who listens to you, even when it’s hard, and strives to grow alongside you sexually and in all ways.

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22 Comments

  1. This was a good reminder to read for me personally in different ways.
    One of them being the connection to using our voice and how it relates to how much shame we carry around with us.
    Thank you so much Sheryl

    And all the best this 2023! <3

    Reply
  2. I’m so glad it was helpful, N, and all the best to you in 2023 as well!

    Reply
  3. Hi Sheryl,

    I know your postings on sexuality are geared towards women, but as man, my challenge has been finding my wife sexually attractive and having to let my mind wander to thinking about other women or porn during sex to get aroused. In my case, I am still recovering from a porn addiction, so I know that makes things more challenging. Is it possible to rewire my arousal template to stay focused on my wife? It makes me fear that I am in a doomed marriage even though I love my wife very much. As always, thank you for the work you do around relationship anxiety.

    Reply
    • Hi Jonathan: You’re asking a very common question among men and the answer is YES, you can absolutely rewire, but it requires abstaining from porn completely and utilizing many of the principles that I’m writing about in these posts: go very slowly, focus on your voice, notice when you’re in your head/in fantasy, come back to sensation and the present moment, let go of the need to orgasm and focus instead on connection. It’s a true rewiring and it takes time but the process itself, when focused on connection, is part of the healing.

      Reply
  4. Hi sheryl. I’m obsessed with your posts and have been for two years now. Which would be the best course for me to take part in first time?
    I keep shutting down sexually and mentally. I experience a lot of resistance and was hoping for some guidance.

    Reply
    • If you’re hoping to address the sexual shut down then I would suggest Sacred Sexuality. If resistance is your primary concern, I would recommend the 9-month course, which will start up again in September 2023.

      Reply
  5. Sheryl, this is such a good post. I think so many of us are so stuck in the fantasies / ideal / “shoulds” of sex, that we forget the most important part of all: consent in our bodies and the arousal that comes with it.
    I, for instance, have an opposite experience. I seek it obsessively when I know we have been disconnected in that area (which we have in the past 6 months due to being in career transition and very sad about having stagnant jobs where we feel unappreciated and awful when we come back home).
    This makes us have absolutely no desire (even with ourselves!) and I catch myself demanding this interaction and sometimes even making him feel awful that he cannot meet my needs rn. I get stuck there without seeing that sex gets built up in my head as a “should”, when my body needs safety and connection (which we have because we kiss, hug, appreciate each other after every tiny thing we do around the house, do activities together…). It’s just that sex isn’t quite there for either of us, even individually.
    Wow, feels so good to say this outloud. I’m really not upset with us not wanting to have sex, it’s the life situation we are in right now that has made our bodies disconnect.
    You are an incredible source of wisdom Sheryl. Thank you🤍

    Reply
    • That all makes so much sense, Carlota, and I’m glad that writing it out was helpful. ❤️

      Reply
  6. I just watched the movie “Good Luck to you Leo Grande” (on Hulu) and was very moved by the story and message. It’s about an older woman (recently widowed) who decides to hire a male sex-worker in order to reconnect to her sexual self and achieve orgasm.. Stars Emma Thompson, who bares it all, both body and soul.

    It definitely opened my mind and released interesting thoughts about sex, society, and pleasure!

    Reply
    • Sounds fascinating! Thank you for the recommendation.

      Reply
  7. I’m in a hard place sexually because I’m breastfeeding an infant around the clock, and have a very cuddly toddler climbing on me all day (and night…we cosleep). So by the time I have alone time with my husband I am completely touched out! I have an incredibly hard time turning off “mom mode” and relaxing into “wife mode” but I make an effort for my marriage. Is this something the course could address?

    Reply
    • You’re not alone, and there are many ways to nurture your marriage during this time other than sex. If you’re wanting to reconnect to your sexuality the course will help you, but it’s the very rare mother that truly wants to be sexual with a newborn and a toddler.

      Reply
  8. Great read, Sheryl! My close girlfriend and I were talking just yesterday about how we are only “in the mood” when we feel emotionally-connected to our respective partners. We laughed at how it’s hard to feel interested in intimacy after our partners have spent a whole Sunday watching football on tv, for instance. It was good to connect with another woman on this! I wish we spoke more freely on the topic generally in our communities. I think folks would not feel so alone if they could hear others sharing the same sentiments.

    Reply
  9. Hi Sheryl! Thank you so much for this blog post. I’m sad to say that I often feel a “no”, there’s so much fear in my body. This lead me to having horrible SO-OCD, because I couldn’t figure out why I was so afraid to be with my male partner. After some digging, I realized there might be repressed sexual trauma, but I’m not totally sure what to do with it when it comes to being intimate with my partner. In the beginning, I was a constant “YES”, but after intimacy, vulnerability and love increased, it’s been super difficult. Any advice on this? Is this covered in your Sacred Sexuality course? Thank you for all that you do <3

    Reply
    • Hi Liz: This is very common and yes, it’s addressed in the course. But as I talk about in this post, trauma work is best done with a skilled and trauma-informed therapist.

      Reply
    • Hi Sheryl,
      I first encountered your site and blogs in 2012, when I had my first relationship anxiety attack.
      I was a complete wreck, but somehow I successfully got out of it in 2014, got married with my partner, had 2 sweet kids, and had a great life, up until 2020. Stress, and disappointment brought anxiety back, I think, cause it feels different..so I’m not sure..
      I can’t connect with husband during sex, it’s like my heart shuts down the minute we get intimate, and i got to a point where I can’t get turned on by his touch, and basically, I made myself believe that my husband is not manly enough sexually, and that im not sexually attracted to him, so thinking about sex with him makes me feel extremely anxious, I really don’t want to be intimate with him, even though I love him. This situation makes me feel anxious about my relationship, sad, less connected to him in general, and terrified..

      I need your guidance! What course will help me most?
      I really want my great sex life back. I just lost it completely!
      Oh and another very very terrified new thing thats is happening to me, is that thinking about vacation alone with him, also gives me anxiety. This is so weird! I loved vacations with him!

      Thank you for all your amazing work, and guidance.

      Waiting for your answer.

      Reply
      • Hi Maya: I recommend Sacred Sexuality, which I’ll be running again as a live course in January. I hope to see you there!

        Reply
        • Dear Sheryl,

          Thank you so much for your reply!
          I must ask about the “open your heart” course, it clicked with me right away when I read the information.
          Will you be guiding it anytime soon? Or Will you talk about the love laws In sacred sexually as well?
          I really need to feel more connected to my husband also outside of our sex life.

          I just have a FOMO information about relationship anxiety, ways to connect with husband and a lot more.

          Thank you so much for your patience, I just really want to cover everything so I can heal and be relaxed.

          Reply
  10. Can I throw a flip perspective into the mix?
    For me, the struggle to connect with my sexuality was (and still is to a waning degree as I mature and grow more into myself) NOT having myself positively affirmed as a sexual being… even when I was trying to be. Always landing in the friend zone; having people fawn over my gorgeous sister (who IS stunning, both inside and out) while patting me on the head and calling me “handsome” (just what every teenage girl wants to hear); being teased and labelled as “trying hard” for even small efforts to express my prettiness (even, like, putting on tinted lip balm)… It became easier to shut that side down, and focus my efforts on other, more successful areas of my life.
    Reconnecting with it has been a journey of intentionality, but taking the Sacred Sexuality course 5yrs ago was instrumental in getting that ball rolling (thanks Sheryl!!). I’m also grateful I have a patient, loving, tender, sexuality-healthy husband who makes the journey fun 🙂 I’m growing.

    Reply
    • A beautiful perspective, and it’s always a joy to see your name show up in the comments 🥰❤️🙏🏽.

      Reply
  11. Hi Sheryl

    This post has been a bit triggering. You mentioned we shut down when there has been history of violation and you also mentioned how this can happen in the most loving ways.

    I am triggered because it feels like thos way I can never build initimacy with my partner. I almost always feel a no so should I always say no and not try to make an effort.

    Reply

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