Have you been called “picky” many times?
I know that one.
From a young age, when my girlfriends were finding this or that human attractive, I was mostly just like, “Meeehhh.”
It took me a long time to grant my first kiss. I was not after it so much; it would even bring me a sense of discomfort to think about it.
I started to ask myself the scariest question for an adolescent: “Am I normal?”
But to my own surprise, when it happened at almost 16, it was, in fact, natural and super ecstatic.
Same with sex when I first experienced it. I was comfortable. Pleasure, play, and connection were second nature for me.
But still, I felt so different observing my friends during my adult life. Most of them would come out of a relationship, even heartbroken, and eventually move on and find someone else within a timing that felt like speed to me.
When I ended a five-year relationship in my mid-20s, I started to feel envy toward those who could be attracted to so many people, when I was so easily bored. And this difference didn’t serve me well.
I have been alone more than I have been in relationships, when it’s all I wanted.
It was always exceptional for me to experience attraction to the point that I wanted to touch that person. It made the heartbreaks even more difficult to recover from, as I knew it would probably take me a long time to find someone I would desire again.
I heard many judgmental comments like, “You’re too picky.” And I found it unfair, as I really wished I could get intimate with more men. I actually met lots of good and interesting guys, and I really liked them! But when it came to being intimate, my body mostly said no. And I am glad I mostly respected it.
I did, though, make that stupid mistake of “trying” to push through my body’s “no” with someone nice, and, of course, it didn’t work out and I broke his heart!
As attraction was a rare gem for me, I had a tendency to project a lot on those relationships, and I had a severe tendency to magnify my partners through my love and hope lenses. This made me lose my power and bite the dust a few times.
As the lack of attraction touched everything really, I found myself easily bored with life as well and always looking for depth and meaning.
Ready to embark on a spiritual journey to embrace all my lights and what I considered my shadows, I studied and practiced in a tantric community for four years. It ended up being more like a cult, and polyamory was the “spiritual thing” to do. I think I wanted to open my mind to other models that would give me a shake, but needless to say, I was soon labelled with “my heart chakra being blocked” and not wanting to “practice” with the teachers. (Thank Goddess I didn’t by the way.)
For the record, the swami of this tantric school read my astrological chart to me. I don’t know enough about astrology to support his point. But as it was the first time someone addressed what I felt like my “paradox,” his words stayed with me for a few years, until I studied the nervous system.
“You are Scorpio; you have a lot of planets in Scorpio. Scorpios are very sexual creatures; they need a lot of sex, but they are very good at austerity as well; they can live the monastery life. It’s a sign that finds ease in both extremes.”
Very sexual, yes, but just with a few chosen partners. And the austerity part was true too; I experimented with Tibetan monastery life for a few months and I loved it.
I understood my paradox recently, but before I share it with you, I want to raise two points:
>> Like many women, I have been sexually assaulted, but not to the point of being heavily traumatized on that level. I am not minimizing it; this was not okay—I just don’t feel it impacted the dynamics in my sexual and romantic life. So if you have been through a heavily traumatic experience at that level, there might be deeper layers to your difficulty to get intimate than what I address in this article.
>> I have standards and I hope you have them too. Maybe that’s a part of it, and in this era, the pressure to consume and to perform negatively reaches our bedrooms as well. I am aware of spending time single and the kinds of comments one may receive in this—implying we might have a problem. It actually takes courage to not settle. So I am proud to slow down and keep the bar high. But my standards didn’t explain everything.
Are you also attracted romantically and physically to a few humans?
The main reason resides in your nervous system. Let me pause here to say this already has an important consequence:
You are wired that way for now and you have no say in it.
Here is how the wiring was done:
>> Your nervous system might be parasympathetic dominant. Parasympathetic is always depicted as the “rest and digest” part of your nervous system. The truth is that under threat, one of our responses is to freeze. Freeze means time stops and so does your body. You can’t defend yourself as you wish too, you can’t talk, and you do nothing instead. You don’t need a big shock to freeze. It can be your response to anything you perceive as dangerous.
>> You might have experienced repetitive freeze. This can be the case, for example, if one of your caregivers or an adult around you put you down regularly when you were a child, or scared you and you were too afraid to respond.
>> Folks who experience a lot of freeze need a lot more stimulation to feel alive. And here it is: we love intensity. Small talk, for example, bores us to death. Same with disconnected sex.
To be attracted to partners, we need them to be highly stimulating for us. And as intensity junkies, we won’t have a lot of discernment about how this energy is created—even if we, at heart, have a desire to bond with someone smart, kind, or (fill up the blank).
Generally, people who have something in them that’s kind of extreme will catch our attention. It can be charismatic, extroverted, high energy people who take up the space, aka the rock star of the room/school/work place/sport club, the man or woman who travelled the world or lives off the grid, the tortured artist…and so on.
I would say anyone with a strong enough flavor to become the main character of our movie.
Parasympathetic dominant peeps thrive at daydreaming as well. Those higher volume or larger-than-life persons are like the electricity plug we need to feel we are part of life, instead of what we are used to feeling: being the spectator of a movie everyone else is a part of except us, at best, and dead inside, at worst.
You can see a few problems here:
>> We can feel disconnected and feel like nothing has meaning without this type of highly stimulating person by our side.
>> These people, for good or bad reasons, naturally attract attention, and the attention of others is another electric input that can make us replace what we consider high values for a kind of charisma.
>> We can find it difficult to connect to life and the erotic when on our own.
>> We can get addicted to those people, which makes the relationship unbalanced from the beginning.
>> Highly stimulating doesn’t necessarily mean kind or emotionally healthy. So the addiction can happen, as well, with partners who are toxic for us.
And if you are an HSP (highly sensitive person), empath, or introvert on top of being parasympathetic dominant, the sense of merging with the other person will increase even more as the intensity is felt.
HSP, empath, and introvert might be considered genetic traits, but if you are stuck in freeze mode, you can totally wire your nervous system differently.
The work I did on myself and that I practice now with my clients to address this is somatic, which means it’s body based instead of cognitive based.
The multiple experiences of freeze are registered in your nervous system, so this pull toward intensity feels like a trait. But when you use somatic techniques to get out of the freeze, you recover a felt experience of your own connection to aliveness.
This is a process, but you can start with this:
>> Awareness tip: when you feel attraction, there will be chemistry and nervousness for sure. But check if your body is 100 percent on board when you are about to meet with this person. If you feel a contraction somewhere, anything that makes you feel not good enough, remember the body never lies. Your mind is the one finding excuses.
>> Give a go to any slow, grounding, and soothing practices that you have been avoiding—yin or yoga nidra, relaxation, gentle breathwork, chi gong, gardening, and so on.
Learning to self-soothe and self-regulate supports the transformation. There is so much power in being in charge of your aliveness and regulation, versus giving that capability only to external stimulations.
>> Then use one of these practices to help you to remember moments where you experienced the freeze when you were younger.
>> Choose one of these moments and take the time to feel it in your body—the emotions and then the sensations.
>> Change the then powerless response of your body—dance it out! Put music on that matches the feeling of what had been repressed at that time, and let it move through you intuitively until there is no more charge to it.
>> If you feel you still experience the freeze a lot and it keeps you stuck, don’t hesitate to ask for the help of a professional. Getting your nervous system over these past experiences of freeze is your way back home.
As a result, this high vibe electricity that only a few people are able to carry won’t be so compelling for you. It doesn’t mean your life will become boring or shallow or that you will be attracted to everyone (I know it might be your first fear as you are still an intensity junkie!). But the people you will be attracted to will be different and there will be more of them. Your “attractiveness field” will completely shift. The qualities and the values you enjoy in a partner will now be priorities. Your heart will be able to spot them more accurately now that you don’t have this old freeze veil searching for charismatic electricity to enchant you.
Of course, I am not saying everyone is hiding a lot of flaws and wants to put a spell on others. Maybe you found the electrifying love of your life with one of those outgoing, energetically intense, charismatic charmers, and all is good. I just want to point out that their energy will be the only magnet for you regarding whether they are a good match for you or not—obstructing your perception of other less intense people around who could bring more happiness to your life and with whom you could have chemistry as well, once you have shifted.
The idea is not to get rid of the magic—it’s to experience it with the right people for us.
So don’t worry, the butterflies in the belly will still be there.
More often even—and, now, they’ll come from the real stuff!