Not feeling so buzzed about sex? I want you to know that if like me, you’ve been thinking of yourself as all dried up, too old and too cold to be hot to trot, it’s just not true. And remember, no matter where you are in terms of your relationship, it’s never too late to shamelessly start over.
I consider myself to be an intensely private person, so a part of me would rather die than share my vulnerabilities with you, but I have a mission to inspire and teach women and girls how to be more confident and loving of their bodies, so I often push the envelope of propriety in pursuit of bringing more peace that comes with knowing that you’re not alone.
First For Women Magazine Comes Calling
Back in 2008, one of my blog posts caught the eye of Dana Squilla, then Assistant Editor of First for Women Magazine.
February 06, 2008
Freedom from Weight Obsession Evolves As You Make Friends with Your “Fat” Parts
After she interviewed me, she wrote an article entitled, “My Sex Life Started To Soar When I Stopped Dieting.” (You can read it by clicking on the First for Women cover image icon to the right of my home page.)
When I spoke with Dana, I shared how my body insecurites were jeopardizing my then 18 year marriage to my husband, Angel. I also told her how I was able to turn everything around when I stopped dieting. But the single biggest change that made the most profound difference in my life was that my self-talk stopped being so angry and obsessive.
For years I hated the idea of sex. Once in the mood, it was wonderful, but getting to that place of relaxing and connecting with my body and being open to feeling pleasure, was really hard. I was always tired or too busy, had a headache, stressed or just plain ‘not in the mood.’ I kind of thought of sex as a chore and myself as a cold fish, maybe even a frigid woman. I lived in so much fear constantly that I’d kill the love that I had with my husband because I couldn’t stop obsessing about how inadequate and unattractive I felt.
I put so many labels on myself it wasn’t funny. All because I hated my body. As a result of being constantly bombarded by my own inner critic, comparing myself to other women, and obsessing on my fat, my anger slithered out and threatened to destroy my happy marriage.
In August of 2006 everything changed when I made the decision to stop dieting. For me, I realize that was a pivotal point in my life that restored my marriage because I stopped being obsessed about my weight long enough to realize that unconsciously I was pushing my husband out the front door.
How ’bout you? Are you having a tough time being intimate and feeling safe to enjoy sex? Here are some tips that have worked to put the spice back in my marriage.
Deal with open wounds – Many times as in the case of illness, abuse or trauma, there can be physical, psychological or deep emotional scars that are creating your lack of interest in sex. If that’s true for you, I encourage you to explore the possibility of getting support from your doctor, a skilled therapist, or a trained coach. Find someone whom you can trust who is capable of helping you to address your individual challenges.
Nurture Your Curvy Confidence – It’s your body. Own it. Whatever size and shape you are, it’s important to love and accept your body in order to feel comfortable enough to share yourself with your lover.
Over the years, I’ve begun to reconnect with parts of my body that I had long disowned for being imperfect. I like to touch my stomach and legs and other areas of my body that are still overweight just to show them some love. It feels wonderful to nurture and touch yourself. Try it. Get some massage oil and rub some lotion on your body, setting an intention to connect with yourself at a deeper level. Consider for a moment. What parts of your body have been lacking love?
Stand in Your Power – Avoid being the little girl. Acting like a child is detrimental to your intimate relationship with your mate. Aside of enjoying the fantasy side of roleplaying, If you act in a way that you consistently show yourself as weak or incapable, such as the damsel in distress, you are jeopardizing your relationship with your partner because they won’t see you as an equal. By whining, complaining, having tantrums and acting helpless you show that you are unable to handle confrontation and challenges in an adult manner, and you’ll find that your partner will start to treat you like a child.
No More Dieting – In order to feel truly confident in my sexuality, it was an important choice for me to stop dieting. It may not be right for you, but it was the right decision for me. For years I was obsessed with food and hated my body. I feel strongly that if you want to truly enjoy sex, it’s important to love the skin you’re in and before I made the decision to make peace with food and friends with my body, I didn’t have a clue what loving myself meant. If you know in your heart that your relationship with your body is dysfunctional, the kindest thing that you can do for yourself would be to commit to learning how to trust your body and eat in accordance with your body’s natural hunger.
Plan for passion – Ink It, Baby! Don’t Just Think It! – Put sex on a schedule. One of the things that really souped up my sex life was my decision to get several of Laura Corn’s books. She’s a guru in the field of sex and relationships. Laura says that she found her calling when she noticed that her once fabulous sex life with her boyfriend was as thrilling to her as a wet dish rag.
At the time, she was under the gun as far as having to complete a TV project and sex was the least of all her considerations. One day after a two month stretch of “sorry cookie, no nookie,” she said that she felt sorry for her boyfriend, Jeff, and just decided to give in and have sex with him. She wasn’t expecting anything, because she was only doing this for him, so she was shocked and amazed when she realized how much her acting soon turned into being. The result of her little experiment yielded a whole new paradigm shift for her relationship.
Visualization – As a professional coach, I’m a huge proponent in favor of using the power of visualization. I use visualization often for everything, including sex. There’s a saying that the most important sexual organ is your brain. Stimulate that and you can do anything. Whenever I spend just a few minutes visualizing feeling sexy and enjoying sex, the results afterwards are memorable.
Sleep Naked – If you’re looking for a quick tip to heat things up in the bedroom and spice up your relationship, there’s nothing like skin to skin contact that has the power to rev up your engine. Whether you’re interested in taking that connection to the next level or not, sleeping with your partner au naturale creates a powerful bond that reinforces the depth of your love and connection for one another.
Create ‘Safe Spaces’ – Since women are basically different from men, we arrive at the desire to be intimate based on how safe and loved we feel in the relationship. Then once we recognize that we are important to our partner and not just a warm body, we feel more relaxed being sexual. If your partner has a tendency to be overenthusiastic, with his hands all over you, it can be overwhelming, frustrating and make you feel uncomfortable if you don’t match that level of desire.
In every relationship it’s natural for both of you to feel very differently about sex. Your partner may want it more and you may desire it less, or vice versa. Remember it’s not a competition. In order for you both to make the most of your time together and to inspire feelings of warmth and connection, it’s important to create safe spaces. These are times when both you and your partner make an agreement to go only as far as you are both comfortable. For example in order for you to feel safe sleeping naked with your partner, you may want to set certain boundaries, such as no sex, just holding and caressing one another.
Emotional Freedom Technique – Having a lack of desire for sex means that your body is associating some aspect of your relationship with stress. That shows up in your brain as the warning bells coming from your amygdala smoke alarm as going crazy. Red alert. Red alert.
If you are encountering resistance around anything, this is an indication to you that you are dealing with some kind of fear that is showing up as feeling conflicted when you think about it. You can use EFT to tap on resistance around whatever is bothering you – Now this is not the time to point the finger of blame at anyone, because that doesn’t do anybody any good. In terms of sex, these emotional blocks manifest in our thoughts as limiting beliefs that prevent us from feeling good whenever we think about any aspect of being sexual.
Whether they are true or not, imagined or real, left unchallenged, these negative beliefs will keep us stuck in old behaviors and unconscious habits like procrastination, emotional eating, being fearful, paranoid or anxious. None of these circumstances are conducive to enjoying a romantic evening.
It’s lovely to know that when I want to, I can rely on EFT to increase my desire, stimulate my body, get my hormones flowing, be present in the moment, reconnect with my husband, bump up my sex drive, increase feelings of sensitivity, eliminate fears of being inadequate, have more fun, be more playful, relax more so that I can enjoy sex and have great orgasms, boost my confidence and overall increase my feelings of comfort and appreciation for my body right now at whatever size I am.
Compromise – Be honest with yourself and find out why you’re not ‘in the mood.’ During times of stress, when you’re under deadlines, everything gets harder and feels more difficult. Sometimes the answer is getting more rest, other times the answer is releasing stress by enjoying a good romp in bed. You may call it menopause or whatever you like. By any label, it’s still the same, a sagging sex drive.
My criteria for knowing when I do vs. don’t want sex is when I recognize that some type of fear is blocking my desire. You can pin this down by noticing what you are telling yourself. Many times what happens for me, especially when I’m overstressed is I lose sight of how much I love my Angel. Those are the times when I’m most vulnerable and that’s when my blanket fears pop up and fall into the old habit of generalizing him into the category of all men who have hurt me in the past.
How to Have a Healthy Sexual Relationship Despite a Past History of Abuse
in my work with private clients, when I talk to women about creating safe spaces for themselves, I mean emotional hubs where they can rest knowing that they are safe and out of harm’s way. As an abuse survivor myself, I understand the challenges women face in relationships if they have an abusive past. If you have experienced any type of violation or abuse in the past, your brain’s default setting whenever you are under stress will make you associate your abusive past with your current partner. For example if you have a memory from your abuse of the abuser talking in a certain way, shouting or gesturing, whenever your partner does that same thing, it will raise a red flag in your unconscious mind. It could be perfectly innocent on their part, but that fear retriggered makes them seem like an abuser from your perspective. That means in order to have a happy and healthy relationship with anyone, you have to clear up the pain from your past. You can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. I know this is terribly frightening, but you’ll never be happy or feel safe with ANYONE unless you sever your emotional ties to your past.
You must do whatever you can to ensure that you are looking at your partner through the eyes of reality and not rushing to judge them or your relationship based on your past abusive experiences. The way to do that is to resolve whatever painful emotions and memories from your past that are getting triggered by your partners’ actions. You must, must, must handle those emotions before they get out of hand, because you will put yourself in a position of feeling pressured to leave what could be a loving relationship because you are looking at your partner through the eyes of one who has been abused. In other words, if you’ve been abused, your brain has a sensitivity chip that is intended to protect you from abusive people, however in times of stress, our ability to think clearly is inhibited and when your fear and emotions are coming at you in a wave, it’s not possible to see things from a realistic light. This is why you must be vigilant and use whatever stress relief technique you can to continually ground yourself in reality so that you won’t see abuse everywhere.
Talk about it. Whether you think you are in an abusive relationship or not, get the help of other people to support you to see your situation realistically. It’s very important to continually be aware that when you are under stress, you lose important perspective. For this reason, I suggest that you find trustworthy people with whom you can share your feelings and doubts who are able to help you to reconnect with your wisest self to make the decisions that are right for you. I’ve been married now for 26 years to a wonderful man whom I adore, but I have had several occasions in my life when my abusive past rose up in my face and it led me to a marriage crisis where I considered the possibility of divorcing Angel. My husband has always been a very even tempered man, and has always been incredibly loving towards me. Growing up with a father who was verbally abusive and a stepfather who was sexually abusive, has left me with many emotional scars, especially around people who remind me of the way they treated me.
When Angel began shouting and yelling and venting his anger at a family situation that had festered for years, I became very fearful of his anger. As I talked about it, with the family members who knew both of us best, I realized that the problem was not him. It was the way that I was looking at him; as a potential abuser. When I handled the unresolved emotions around my past experiences with the abusive men in my life, my relationship with Angel transformed. Come out of the closet and talk about what’s happening in your life. Shame and fear thrives in secrecy. Don’t give it a chance to take root.
Be grateful – I’m big on gratitude. I love letting Angel know how much I adore him and how excited he makes me feel. I give thanks for having so many blessings and that keeps me feeling good. Make a list of all the reasons you fell in love with your honey. Share that list and ask your sweetheart to partner with you in reigniting the flame by doing those things for you again. Tell them how much you enjoyed… and watch your sweetheart grow a foot taller before your eyes. Keep in mind the principles of the law of attraction, what you focus on, you get more of. When we remind people of what we love about them, they do those things more. And so on.
Now have some fun and put my suggestions to use. Have a great time and enjoy yourself and your partner. And remember sex is supposed to be fun. If it’s not, then your body’s telling you that something’s not right. Pay attention and really question if you want to continue to distance yourself from your partner. What are the consequences of continuing to do that? Be brave and willing to dig deeper and find out what’s behind any old resistance that pops up. Remember it’s never too late to shamelessly start over; you can always begin again.
Have you been struggling with feelings of insecurity around baring your body? Does the idea of wearing a pair of shorts send you into the shakes? Come and join my women’s community on FB: 30 Days to Lovin’ the Skin Your In. Click the image below to join a group of women dedicated to learning how to make peace with food and friends with their bodies.
Andrea Amador, The Juicy Woman, sex, First for Women Magazine, dieting, body acceptance,