I can’t count the number of women who come to me saying, “I am sexually blocked.”
And yet none of them had something physiological that could “block” them.
I am not saying it’s impossible, but so far I have never seen it.
What is always true is that their nervous system has registered sex as danger. It can be through their own experience or through something they witnessed.
If sex feels like danger, a defense mechanism is built. The form can vary—from not wanting to have sex, to wanting it and having no pleasure.
This mechanism isn’t something that you can switch on and off, depending who is with you.
“I don’t understand. I am with a new partner, I am in love, and I feel safe. I want to have sex with him/her but I don’t have pleasure.”
“I am craving more sensuality and touch in my life, but when I am interested in a potential partner, I feel no sexual desire.”
“I have pleasure on my own but not with a partner.”
These examples don’t make sense if we look at them from a logical perspective—but our nervous system has a very different logic, and our body will respond to it.
I describe it like having your human brain wanting something and your animal body wanting something else. The animal wins, and there’s a physiological reason for this.
We have a network of nerves detecting threats, which loops between the body/the vital organs and the brain.
Eighty percent of the fibres are afferent. It means that most of the information comes from the body first and goes to the brain.
The way the body registers is through sensing. If it senses a danger, it builds a defense mechanism to be activated each time it will sense a similar threat.
Let’s take the example of my client who is safe, in love, but has no pleasure with her actual partner and doesn’t understand why.
I asked her if she had pleasure before or if it was always like that.
It took her a while to remember. The memory came back after I helped her to be more present in her body and her sensations. (Amnesia can happen as well when it comes to painful experiences; that’s another defense mechanism).
She experienced pleasure with various partners until working as an escort to pay for college. At some point, she was asked to sleep with clients for more money, which she did.
Though she consciously made that choice, it was a choice driven by survival, not desire.
Like a wife scared of an angry husband’s reaction if she says no.
Like a young woman scared of being dumped if she says no when she isn’t ready.
Like a woman who wants to be sensual or broaden her sexual experience and is called a slut or a nymphomaniac.
Like a woman who is conditioned to believe her body and her sexuality is first and foremost the property of others.
Like a girl who goes through sexual abuse or witnesses it.
I can go on and on.
Our world isn’t yet safe for girls and women.
If you have a female body, chances are you experienced some of this.
Each and every time as a woman you are overpowered in a way that your body, your sexuality, your desire doesn’t belong to you, where you see that it’s primarily for someone else’s pleasure, that it can be awakened only by someone else, that it can be transactional, traded for money or something else, that exploring your sexuality will affect your reputation, your career, your life negatively, that pregnancy can’t be interrupted legally, that pregnancy is interrupted but society shames you—you’ll feel a shutdown inside. Because each time, your precious body, sexuality, or desire is stolen from you.
Or you perceive it this way, which is the same for your nervous system. (An example of that: a woman went through an abortion and the process was so painful that unconsciously she links that pain to sex instead of linking it to the judgments of her family that make it even more painful. And now she has no desire.)
Each time this happens, your animal body will feel the threat and offer resistance and protection.
And if it can’t protect you from boundaries being ruptured—physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually.
Remember, the animal body senses, so it will lock the sensations linked to sexual desire or the pleasurable sensations.
And it registers as sex = danger. Any situation resembling the one that created pain from a sensory perspective, will reactivate the defense mechanism. The animal body doesn’t care if you change the characters of that story. Again it senses, it doesn’t think.
So, how to have access to your sensations again later in life when you wish and your logic doesn’t help?
>> Be aware, if that’s the case, of which event or series of events might have locked the access to sensations implying sexual desire or pleasure. It will help you realize it’s not your physiology or something wrong with you.
>> Notice before or during sex when exactly you have the feeling of “leaving your body” and “shoot back to the head.” Another way to say this is losing contact with your sensations and being more in your head, present with your thoughts.
>> Each time this happens try to stay in your body, feeling the sensations. Focus on a simple one, like feeling the contact from skin to skin.
>> Stay present with the sensations a bit longer each time.
>> Ask for professional help if you get stuck at any point or to accelerate that process.
The nervous system, your animal body, is somehow pure and innocent.
It holds and protects this ancient knowing, deep inside.
This body, this pleasure, this desire, it’s pure, it’s innocent, it’s sacred.
It’s a beautiful gift, and this gift is first and foremost for you.
May we build a world that anchors this deep knowing into all female bodies.