Welcome to the 'New Normal'?
Your nervous system guides almost everything you do, think, say or feel. It controls complicated processes like movement, thought and memory. It also plays an essential role in the things your body does without thinking, such as breathing, blushing and blinking. Your nervous system affects every aspect of your health, including your:
Thoughts, memory, learning, and feelings.
Movements, such as balance and coordination.
Senses, including how your brain interprets what you see, hear, taste, touch and feel.
Sleep, healing and aging.
Heartbeat and breathing patterns.
Response to stressful situations.
Digestion, as well as how hungry and thirsty you feel.
Body processes, such as puberty.
This complex system is compromised of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), and is the command center for your body. It regulates your body’s systems and allows you to experience your environment. A vast network of nerves sends electrical signals to and from other cells, glands, and muscles all over your body. These nerves receive information from the world around you. Then the nerves interpret the information and control your response. It’s almost like an enormous information highway running throughout your body. Your nervous system uses specialized cells called neurons to send signals, or messages, all over your body. These electrical signals travel between your brain, skin, organs, glands and muscles. The messages help you move your limbs and feel sensations, such as pain and pleasure. Your eyes, ears, tongue, nose and the nerves all over your body take in information about your environment. Then nerves carry that data to and from your brain. The autonomic system is the part of the peripheral nervous system that is responsible for regulating involuntary body functions, such as heartbeat, blood flow, breathing, and digestion. The autonomic nervous system comprises two parts- the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system activates the fight or flight response during a threat or perceived danger, and the parasympathetic nervous system restores the body to a state of calm. The four main functions of the nervous system are;
Control of body's internal environment to maintain 'homeostasis' An example of this is the regulation of body temperature.
Programming of spinal cord reflexes. An example of this is the stretch reflex.
Memory and learning.
Voluntary control of movement.
By now you may already start to see the critical connection the health of your nervous system has to your experience of your sexuality. And likewise how deeply your experience of your sexual nature is tied to the state of your nervous system.
So why are we even talking about sex and your nervous system? Because sex is one of the best ways for any of us to live a vibrant and healthy life. Check out these ten research backed benefits of sex:
10 Research Backed Benefits of Sex Boost immune system Improve libido Lowers Blood Pressure Counts as Cardio Lowers Heart Attack Risk Lessens Pain Reduces Risk for Prostate Cancer Improves Sleep Eases Stress and Anxiety Improves Bladder Control (Women) To make things a little easier and maximize the pleasure you're getting from sex, let go of your expectations of what it should look like and avoid forcing yourself to go through the motions of your usual sexual routine if it's not really working for you. Instead, pay attention to what your real needs are right now and what sensations would actually make you feel good. And remember, its ok to not want to have sex sometimes. You might prefer masturbation or even abstinence these days, which is totally OK. Pay attention to what your body and soul really needs right now.
For many people, stress is a libido killer. When we're stressed out, it's much harder to get into that playful, indulgent, relaxed zone we usually need to be in to really enjoy sex. So often our nervous system is in survival mode and challenged to send messages of pleasure to our brain. Sex can however, also be a stress reliever or a distraction or a place of enjoyment during these tense times for some people.
However, many people are experiencing a diminished sexual functioning these days, which includes things like arousal, lubrication, and ability to orgasm. There are many reasons why that might be: Many people seek out sex as a way to relax, but it's possible that the overwhelming ambient stress of the pandemic can make it too hard to enjoy sex, even if you want it and are having more of it. Research has even linked lower genital arousal to chronic stress and distraction. That said, not all sex has to be great. If having more sex helps you relax and get some small iota of pleasure during this period of great struggle, go for it. It may not be the magic, mind-blowing sex you were having pre-COVID, and that's OK.
Like in so many other areas of our lives right now, it's important to go easy on ourselves and recognize that some things are just harder right now. It’s important that we honor where we are during this time of upheaval and transition. Only when we acknowledge our current reality will we have the capacity to create a new one. And healing sexual trauma is at the intersection of attending to personal and collective trauma. We need to source ourselves somewhere, so that our energy is not entirely outgoing. When we are overdrawn, we get sad, exhausted, overwhelmed, resentful and angry. Sex can be the place and space where we Source ourselves.
I've had many people (all genders) tell me they simply don't want the sex they know or the sex they are being offered. AND it seems like too much energy to figure out how to make new requests, how to communicate, how to change the game, or find someone who is willing to accept our evolving selves.
I get it. It can be exhausting all the adjusting and reconfiguring. And yet, this is the place that can make life become alive, vibrant and full of self expression.
What is the sex that gives you energy? What is the sex that makes you come alive? What is the sex that powers you? That builds your sense of both connectedness and confidence?
In Peace and Power