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.