It's time to talk about Desire. But before we get into it, I invite you to resource yourself a little, because this topic can bring up a lot of really complicated and uncomfortable emotions. Close your eyes, place one hand over your belly, the other over your heart. Take a deep breath, feel your belly expand, and then an audible exhale. 2 more times, a little deeper and a little louder. If at any time while you are reading you find yourself becoming activated, tense, anxious, frustrated, moving into judgement, I invite you to come back to this breath, or maybe even take a break if you need to.
There. Let's begin.
The Dual Control Model of Sexual Response, developed by the Kinsey Institute is in use by researchers, Sex Therapists, Sexologists and Sexuality Coaches around the world. It is the most reliable model of understanding arousal and desire available to us today, and it is the model I will be referencing here today.
Let go of everything you have learned so far about desire (or libido - ugh I strongly dislike that word, and won't use it again here.) We have been taught about desire and arousal from the filter of the patriarchy. This harmful influence has had pussy owners, and women misunderstanding their bodies and turn on for decades. Add in the fact that we are often shamed for feeling desire, then shamed again for not having enough, and the contradiction of how the sexuality of a female body is used in marketing... damn it is no wonder we can feel so lost, broken, or confused about desire, arousal and sex.
Deep breath beautiful.... you are not broken if you have low desire, or its difficult to feel aroused, or reach orgasm. It just means that there is something, or maybe a lot of things pressing on your brakes.
Your inhibition system (or brakes) are the things that turn you off, or block you from becoming turned on. In a world where we are constantly flooded with tricks and tips on how to spice things up or increase our desire, why isn't anyone talking about this? Reducing the pressure on our brakes is essential to moving towards desire and arousal. To paraphrase the brilliant Emily Nagoski Ph.D., author of my bible of sex, "Come As You Are" 'trying to get turned on while the brakes are active is like trying to drive with the emergency brake on.'
What kinds of things can press on the brakes? So many things, depending on your unique experience of life. Safety is a big one - I mean safety on all levels, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. So for example, if you don't feel emotionally supported by your partner, it might be really hard to feel desire for them. As well, chronic or periodic stress, shame, religious conditioning, certain medications, physical or mental illness, exhaustion, hormone changes and your menstrual cycle can be things that hit your brakes.
Reducing the pressure on the brakes takes some time, some awareness and some intentional work, but it is very possible.
Context is incredibly important to understanding our brakes. Context is your environment and how you interact with and feel about that environment. For example, if your partner were to try to initiate sex, you are in your ovulation cycle, had a great day at work and feel supported and close to them, this is a favorable context and you might experience increased desire. However, if it happened to be the day before your period, you had a hard day at work and didn't feel as though your partner was listening when you tried to discuss why you felt stressed, you very likely won't feel desire or be able to move into arousal. It may also be helpful to know that there are 2 types of desire.
Responsive desire - desire that arises from stimuli (eg you smell a chocolate cake, and then want the cake)
Spontaneous desire - arises without stimuli. ( like an out of the blue, random craving for chocolate cake). Most pussy owners experience Responsive desire far more than Spontaneous. This means we need a some sort of stimulation to move towards desire. This might be a spicy text, a super sensual kiss, a back rub or other gesture of love and caring.
Accelerators, or excitors as they are called in the Dual Control Model tend to get all the attention in our society. These are the things that turn us on. However, they also come with some need for care and attention. Sometimes, we may have been taught that our turn on is too much, too often or even shameful. It is so important to remember that before we focus on the accelerator, we must release the brake.
If you are curious and wish to explore more about The Dual Control Model, and maybe investigate more into your own Brakes and Accelerators, here's a link to a quiz that might be helpful for you to explore. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a2311d41f318d2a02e64554/t/6041263453b09545f885239a/1614882356439/Sexual%2BTemperament%2BQuestionnaire.pdf I highly recommend also "Come As You Are" by Emily Nagoski Ph.D and the accompanying workbook if this peaks your interest. As I mentioned earlier, this book is basically my sex bible, I credit everything I know about The Dual Control Model to this fabulous and essential book.
Sex is complicated, and filled with emotions, conditioning and so many questions. If you are working to release your brake, I invite you to notice what is happening when the brake isn't being pressed. Pay attention to the positive context, so you know what you need more of. This way, when context isn't so favorable and brakes are activated, you will be able to let your partner know what you need, next time.
Understanding paves the path to reclaiming your sexual power. You got this gorgeous. One step at a time.
With Love and Magik