This is a common question for anyone who feels like they aren’t feeling everything they could be, lacks libido, or aren’t as excited to be sexual and intimate as they once were.
Feeling sexual and sensitive again is part of our healing process. We are naturally sensitive to touch, we feel pleasure, and we have life energy to share with others. When we don’t feel this, we have some clues as to what we need to heal on our tantric journey.
Emotional Scarring During Sex
We are incredibly vulnerable when we are sexually intimate. Physically and energetically, our most vulnerable parts are exposed and mingling with another. If we are intimate with someone and they say or do something careless, this can do real damage and stay with us for a long time.
Some men who struggle with erectile dysfunction can trace it back to a partner who made a derogatory comment about them during a sexual encounter. One woman told me she remembers a certain lover making fun of something she did and after that, she was always a little shy about lovemaking. She held back more. She became afraid to let go and enjoy.
Tantra helps us heal these inner wounds through self-love, acknowledging what happened, knowing it wasn’t true, or reframing the experience. We never know exactly how these wounds get healed, but somehow in the process of becoming whole and re-integrating all of our lost parts, we gain a new confidence. Those experiences are still part of our memories, but we are now stronger and more sensual because of them.
When we are stressed out, we are fully engaged in our brains. We are locked into our churning and twisting thoughts about some topic. When we are like this, we cannot be sensual.
To be sensual is to be in our bodies, to feel touch and emotion. It is to connect with another person. None of this is possible if we are lost in our minds.
Taking the time to meditate and get to the bottom of our mental stress is helpful if we are ever to become sexual, sensual, and tantric.
De-Sensitization to Touch and Pleasure:
There is a connection between our emotional walls in life and our ability to experience touch with another. Our ability to feel touch can also be diminished through painful past experiences, whether they were sexual experiences, medical procedures, accidents, etc.
Both of these topics are covered in depth in Tantric Intimacy in Chapter 5 and Chapter 12: “Letting Down Our Walls” and “Tantric Touch.”
Medication & Recreational Drugs & Alcohol
Modern society has turned to medicating all unpleasant emotions. There are instances where medication truly saves someone’s life and makes it possible for them to live in society, but many medications are prescribed to simply “take the edge off.”
We might feel stuck in situations we can’t change, or we are still hurting from past pain and trauma we haven’t been able to heal. We take medications from the doctors to feel better, or we take recreational drugs or drink alcohol. We self-medicate because we don’t want to feel bad any longer.
However, when we “take the edge off” of life, we decrease our virility. We are “taking the edge off” of the life force running through us. We are choosing not to feel everything we are feeling. This is going to have a direct effect on our sex drives.
Our sexual desires are directly linked to our excitement to be alive. They are connected to our emotions and how we feel about everything. It is our happiness, sadness, grief, low times, high times, anger and everything in between that makes us feel alive, dynamic, and real. This is what stokes our inner fire – living in each moment.
The anger or sadness inside may be just what you need to make necessary changes. But if you’re afraid or feel unable to make those changes, then you might turn to other options to repress what you are feeling. This will affect your ability to feel all over.
If you are on medication, ask your doctor whether it may affect your sex drive and see what other options you have. If you self-medicate with natural or recreational drugs and alcohol, be compassionate with yourself and look at what’s really going on.
Once we find a way to self-medicate when we are feeling low, we will never go into those painful feelings. The path of tantra asks us to find our way through these challenges. It gives us the divine courage to dig deep and step into the fire, knowing we will come out the other side.
When we can go into those dark parts of our psyches and heal them, we will start to feel alive again. When we can feel the life force flowing through us, we will feel sexual again.
For many women, sex is quite unsatisfying. Because the primal goal of “regular sex” is for the man to ejaculate, a woman’s satisfaction tends to be secondary. (This does not apply to everyone. The goal of many men is to make sure their partner is satisfied.)
It wasn’t until the late twentieth century that it was widely accepted women were able to have orgasms at all. Prior to this, you simply had sex until the man ejaculated. Period.
Of course, women did have sexual desires. They had intimate needs. They desired connection, but this wasn’t necessarily happening. They would become emotional and frustrated. The medical system even created a diagnosis for this called “hysteria.” This condition had nearly every possible symptom, including depression, anxiety, nervousness, excessive vaginal lubrication, and sexual thoughts… Hmmm.
When this happened, the most common treatment was a “hysterectomy,” the removal of the female organs. The other common treatment was much more enjoyable. She would go to the doctor to have a “vulva massage,” which would result in a “paroxysm.” In other words, she would be masturbated until orgasm and then she would feel wonderful. Her symptoms would vanish. And so, she would simply go for weekly “treatments.”
We think this sounds crazy today, but the diagnosis of “hysteria” existed in diagnostic manuals until the 1980s. It isn’t ancient history. Historically, the idea of women enjoying sex is relatively new.
If you are older, you may have had many years of mechanical sex. Sex was an expectation and duty within marriage, whether we felt loving connection or not. Being entered sexually when we didn’t want it set up emotional walls within us. This will drastically affect our desire for more of the same. Of course, the other common diagnosis for women was “frigidity.” It’s not really a surprise.
If you are a younger woman, we have to look at the effects of porn on today’s generation. Many boys start watching porn as early as 12 years old. Many girls watch it so they know what to do. This heavily influences what we think is “normal” sexually and therefore what we expect from each other.
One of my students chose to be celibate in his late 20s for a time because he didn’t know which sexual desires were his and which ones were from all the videos he had watched for so long. Because so much porn is focused on what pleases men (despite the fact that the women act like they are having great pleasure), the men learn nothing about what pleases a woman. There is often no kissing or intimacy at all. Yet these are the acts that create the loving experiences that make women happy.
Both of these situations can cause sexuality to be mechanical and painful for women. I’ve spoken to women of all ages who believe intercourse is painful, sometimes or at least most of the time. We have to realize that our vaginas hold memories. When we have been hurt, our bodies react with armour. Our bodies learn “when this happens,” I need to protect myself. We become less sensitive. But when we become less sensitive to pain, we also feel less pleasure.
When we come into our divine feminine and understand the incredible pleasure our bodies are capable of, we can release all of this armour and explore the infinite wonder of the feminine body.