A confluence of events left me as the spiritual, financial and emotional rock of my family.
Before becoming a Tibetan Tantra Educator, I was faced with one of the most trying times in my life. We had a new house, my stepchildren were reeling and my husband lost his job and was deeply depressed.
I suddenly found myself at the center of our lives, and the stress was overwhelming.
To make matters worse, my libido was in the toilet. I desperately wanted to connect with my husband—emotionally and sexually—as we were sad, numb and terribly frustrated. We knew that a strong sex life was vital to maintaining our connection and weathering the stressful period; we just couldn’t seem to muster the enthusiasm.
Why was it so hard to make love?
Why did the stress in our lives seem to impede our sexual appetite?
The answer came when I began studying Tibetan Tantra.
I learned that my low libido was physiologically caused by my stress.
I discovered that most people will have less interest in sex as their stress levels rise over time. During prolonged stressful periods our “fight or flight” response is engaged, making it difficult for our body to recognize sexual cues as pleasurable.
Since our minds are not too adept at distinguishing between a bear attack and a particularly nasty boss, our “fight or flight” response is easily triggered during high-stress periods—and often difficult to shut off.
I realized that I wasn’t broken and there was nothing wrong with me; I was just too stressed.
I was so excited to finally have the answer. To cope, I began using simple, effective, stress-relieving techniques to relax my body and mind and boost my sexual arousal. I began incorporating these techniques into my daily routine. The more I practiced, the more relaxed and balanced I felt. Gradually, I began to feel rested, happier and much more sexy.
Here are some of the techniques I used:
When I sit in my meditation practice, I feel my body settling into its own awareness. I begin by counting my breaths. The simple act of bringing this awareness to my body and checking my emotional state has been profoundly transformative.
There are days when I haven’t even noticed that I was tense, or upset, or holding onto something; in those first few moments of settling into the practice, I am able to watch what is happening within me and release.
Meditation has many proven benefits. It increases focus, boosts the immune system, improves cognitive skills and creativity, reduces depression and lowers blood pressure. How does it sustain a healthy libido? All of those feel-good side effects help to engage the parasympathetic nervous system, or the “rest and feed” response, which is responsible for arousal; so when we activate it, we are more likely to want sex.
Breath is a fast way to stop the “fight or flight” response. That is why, when I’m watching my breath in meditation, I’m able to so quickly experience relief. With 10 to 20 deep breaths, a person can complete the stress response cycle, allowing the body to relax into a state of arousal. I often suggest to clients that they use deep breathing by placing one hand on the heart and one hand on the genitals while breathing deeply into the belly. Deep breathing is also a great way to begin a self-pleasuring session or a yoni or lingam massage.
I love hot water and being naked, so this is one of my favorite things. There’s nothing as relaxing and sexy as soaking in a tub, surrounded by candles, while listening to soothing music. It may seem cliché, but it really works. The only caveat is that if I want to reduce stress and feel sexy, I cannot soak in the tub for too long. Soaking in hot water for long periods of time often makes a person feel so relaxed that they’ll want to sleep—not make love.
I go to the tub for so many reasons—to reduce stress, to practice loving kindness to myself and to gain inspiration and clarity about my life, my emotions, my path and my desires.
Dance and Exercise.
I find that dance and exercise are both excellent ways to reduce stress and feel sexy. Regularly dancing and exercising tones my body, releases endorphins and leaves me with a lot of extra energy.
In Tibetan Tantra, we use sacred erotic dance as a way to build our sexual energy and feel beautiful and luminous. I highly recommend putting on sexy music while letting your body feel the rhythm and move sensually. It feels good.
My husband and I both love being physically affectionate; this has always been our go-to stress reliever. Holding a loved one close releases a flood of oxytocin into the brain. This neurotransmitter is often referred to as the “bonding” chemical because it helps a person attach to the one they are cuddling, while promoting a sense of safety and security for both parties. In short, cuddling calms us down and makes us feel close to one another. I like to cuddle naked to relax, bond and increase the chance of love-making.
My husband and I have had great success with massage for stress relief. He even surprised me with a massage table this year. Massage helps us relax while building sexual intimacy and anticipation. What is sexier than having your lover’s hands all over your body? We like to finish the massage with a yoni or lingam massage to cultivate even more sexual energy.
My wish would be for all of us to add these practices to our lives for the added benefit of ourselves and our partner.
Author: Alaina Salks
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Apprentice Editor: Theresa Wolfrom; Editor: Toby Israel