Intimacy can be an area that many people have trepidation venturing into, so it is important to address the subject in an open and understanding fashion. Like most things the issues it raises can be complex and intrinsically unobvious. The temptation to generalize needs to be
resisted for variety is the only universal characteristic of sexuality. What makes you attracted to a person at one stage in your life and not at another, what makes you enjoy one aspect of intimacy and then not, are feelings that we have all had to question in our lives. We are all moveable feasts, our feelings change, we develop. Little stays the same.
When issues arise how you deal with it can make the whole situation worse if not handled
well, regarding affection in a relationship what you are telling yourself, the pressure you put
yourself under can be bigger than the original problem itself. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling there is something wrong with you, that you are somehow ‘broken.’ It would be a better policy to give yourself a degree of cognitive dissonance, big yourself up, make notes of all the things you like about yourself and be more aware of all the good stuff that is going on in your life.
Let your partner know what is worrying you, showing a judgement-free way of thinking,
perhaps using metaphor to ease the responsibility for what is happening. That way the pair
of you can talk more freely without the feeling of being blamed or pressurized into thinking
you are doing something wrong. Response depends as much on context as on the workings of your brain. It is a very individual process for peoples sensitivity to stimulations and to inhibitors will vary. You can only create the best possible environment that works for you, that avoids the stresses that make your brain interpret everything as a potential threat.
What turns us on or off is learned from our own personal culture for little is innate, our
brain learns to associate stimuli with excitement or inhibition. We must ensure we control
the context rather than it controls us. This does not have to be overly complex if we can
reduce the stress that we often create for ourselves.
Taking away the performance pressure needs to happen, when the context changes the
perception of the sensation can be different. Strategies to do this will sound simple but take
time to be a success, patience is required. People can feel safe in their old thoughts and
concepts no matter how unhelpful they realize they can be. They become old friends that
you do not want to say goodbye to but letting go of them sometimes must be done.
This can be about trust, do you trust yourself at this moment, or do you want to keep it
imprisoned by negative thoughts? It is as though there is a system at work throughout your
body in which brakes can be triggered to inhibit you. If threats are perceived whether at the
time or inherited from past events signals can be sent to turn yourself off or more
immediately a brake can be initiated by a fear of performance failure.
We need to be aware of the associated worries and anxieties and the effects these stressors
will have and find ways to separate from them. Stress is of course not a new phenomenon;
it has been preparing us for perceived threats since evolutionary times. We need to give
ourselves time and space to discover strategies that suit us to discharge it. There are many
options to creating the right context to do this whether by physical activity, better sleep
patterns, mindfulness, more and better kindness to yourself as well as your partner,
creativity in the arts, keeping journals of your thoughts or simply having a cry.
Past trauma can take control away from a person and intimate life, with the survival
mechanism kicking in to such an extent that the brain decides you cannot escape this
stressor often described as ‘the body keeping the score;. Processing the meaning that has
been created around it, challenging these belief patterns can help in the form of a top-down
approach. As a culture we are often made to feel that we cannot trust our bodies but this
feeling of being ‘stuck’ can change if we treat ourselves with warmth, kindness, and
When we realize that stress has been hitting our emotional brakes accept what is
happening, look for ways to change the environment around you and see what happens.
Our culture seems determined to criticize and find fault with anything, but we do not have
to play that game with ourselves. Replace this with self-kindness, if you stop beating
yourself up you will heal. Otherwise, the constant reinforcement of negative messages will
become imbedded in your response to stimulation. Whereas affectionate attention, giving
yourself a constant stream of reminders that you are amazing can help to energize your
desire with pleasure being the key to unlock it.
By focusing on simply having pleasure, keeping things low key with zero expectation the
pressure and consequent stress can be taken away. Whether you stoke your own fire or do
it together passion does not happen automatically, it will need a degree of control of the
context. So, disrupt the problem, take away the pressure and avoid feeling there is
something wrong with you. The solution is based on attitude not behavior, think along the
terms that any emotional issue does not want to hang around any longer than you want it
to, they are itinerant travellers who need to pass on.