Do you remember last March, when the pandemic started, when we were told to stay home for 2 weeks that turned into the longest 2 weeks of our life? How could you forget! We’re still in the trauma of it all. What was interesting about that time was the prediction that we would have a ‘corona baby boom’ 9 months after the stay at home order – the assumption that since we all had to stay home, that we’d have nothing else to do but get busy with our significant other.
Have you seen any evidence of this baby boom? Neither have I.
Whoever was predicting this baby boom got a few things wrong – first off, not everyone is in a heterosexual relationship and second of all, they don’t understand the impact of stress on sexual desire.
Have you given much thought to your sexual desire lately? How would you rate your relationship with your sexual desire? I would hazard to guess that it might be filled with an off/on-again love/hate relationship.
So many people struggle with embracing the ebb and flow of their sexual desire, regardless of what it is, and to really learn more about how it works. We tend to jump into comparison saying ‘well, Karen has sex 4 times a week with her spouse’ or ‘Fred is able to maintain an erection for hours’ or ‘I wish I liked sex like I used to’.
I invite you to step away from comparison and dive into a new metaphor that will help you learn more about your sexual desire, where it’s at, and how to create some changes if that’s what you want to do.
What if you could see your life as a car – where you’re the driver and in full control of the navigation. Sit in the driver’s seat and take a look around. Take it all in, this is your car – what type of car is it? What colour is it? How many doors and seats? What’s playing on the radio? This is your car and no one else has the right to be in it unless you want them to be in it.
This is a great metaphor to help you set boundaries and ensure that you are always in the driver’s seat of your life. Grab a journal and describe your car and what it feels like to be in the driver’s seat.
The Gas and Brake Pedal
What’s the most important piece to learn when driving a car? It’s the gas and brake pedal. If you don’t get this down, then chaos ensues. We learn that as the driver, we are in control of those pedals and navigate life fairly well (for the most part). Want to have more of something – hit the gas. Feeling fearful and need to slow down – hit the brake.
Seems fairly straightforward. But what if you’re not always aware of what’s hitting your gas or brake?
Our sexual desire is influenced by your gas and brake pedal – do you know what hits your gas? Or puts on the brakes? We are made up of all the same parts, but put together differently – so we all have our own lists of things that influence the gas and brakes AND we all have different levels of sensitivity with our gas and brakes.
What’s typically on the brake list? Stress, parenting demands, physical pain, worry, anxiety, depression, overwhelm, low self-worth, disconnection, fear of pregnancy, performance anxiety, low energy, no privacy – just to name a few.
And how about the gas list? Confidence, feeling attractive and desired, peace, the accomplishment of a ‘to-do’ list, flirting, foreplay, love letters, hearing loving words from your partner, having your needs met, feeling heard in a relationship, affection, touching, connection, and communication – and the list can go on and on.
What’s on your brake and gas pedal list? Make one and discover all the things and influence your sexual desire. This is a great way to create a connection with your partner while discovering more about each other.
Context is everything!
External Circumstance + Internal State
Imagine that you’re in your car, driving down the coastline enjoying the sunshine, the smell of the ocean, and the tunes you’re playing – your foot on the gas pedal slowly increases and you go a bit faster while you enjoy the wind in your hair. You breathe it all in, smile at the beauty of the day, and think to yourself ‘this is a great day!’
Then imagine driving in a storm – like a lower mainland wind and rain storm, your wipers are working hard to keep up to the pounding rain on your windshield, you crank up the heat because you feel cold in your bones, you turn down the radio because it feels like too much input and you slightly press on the brakes because you feel that you might be going too fast and you’re feeling cautious and slightly stressed.
Which one would you prefer?
Remember to take into account that context influences how we feel about ourselves, others, and the world around us. Add this to your writing and reflect on what the ideal contexts are that increases your sexual desire while others hamper your sexual desire.
Addressing sexual desire cannot be explored with a cookie-cutter approach – it requires a custom exploration because you are unique and special.
Don’t let anyone tell you what your sexual desire ‘should’ be, the comparison game doesn’t benefit anyone and just leaves you feeling not good enough. The world is filled with lies about what our sexual desire ‘should’ be, but in reality, it’s constantly changing and shifting in reaction to our life cycle, needs, and life circumstances.
PS. I did a live on this exact concept! Watch the replay here.
NOTE: some of the themes in this blog are influenced by the work of Emily Nagoski.