By Susan Bratton
Pain can severely impact your libido, but it doesn’t have to destroy your intimacy.
Pain numbs your sex drive because desire is “life force.” Desire can get used up battling illness or negative emotions.
Pain medications, including anti-depressants that use SSRI’s produce a state of satiety due to raised serotonin levels which lower motivation, anesthetize emotion and suppress or block desire.
Pain covers up desire even though feeling desire is our natural state. If you want to increase your lust, first focus on rekindling your lust for life. Enjoying food, family, music and movement brings an awakening to the five senses. Get back in touch with your own body to begin to cultivate your desire again.
If you are a woman, try a restorative yoga practice. Men are nurtured by martial arts such as QiGong, which is an ancient practice of energy cultivation. Dance of any kind, even slow and easy movement on your living room rug together, brings simple pleasure back into your bodies.
As you begin to feel reconnected to your partner through effortless sensual pleasures like a nice walk or a delicious meal, take extra time to be fully present in the moments you share together. Get out of the past, ignore the future and just be here now with each other noticing your partner’s sweet smile and their love for you.
Move from romantic activities into a more intimate connection through being held and holding one another. Lie in each others’ arms in bed and just breathe together. Begin your communication about what vulnerabilities you feel re-engaging sexually. Talk through your “issues” about being sexual. What do you two need to modify to work around your pain? Pillows? Off-limits areas of touch? How can your partner be close with you and express his/her sexual desire while making you feel safe pleasuring one another?
Non-demand pleasuring starts with PLAY. The ideal starting place is to regain your childlike innocence. Take the time to schedule intimacy but make it playful intimacy to start. Scheduling intimate play dates doesn’t mean you forego spontaneity. You can be spontaneous within the safe container of a scheduled date. Increase your presence in the moment and bring that to your sexual encounter to generate even more feelings of aliveness. The more moments of joyful intimacy you actively cultivate, the more you will want going forward.
For men to feel their lust for life and sexual desire they need to feel a sense of competence and success in the world. If a man is in pain or struggling with his career or finances, this must be actively handled for him to be able to desire more intimacy. Women need to feel honored, safe and able to just “be.” If your partner is the one in pain, ask how you can best support them in feeling competent or honored.
As you’re enlivening your intimate connection, try this game. It’s called, “Yes, No, Maybe: If The Conditions Are Right.” Offer your partner a list of possible ideas for intimacy. Perhaps it’s a bubble bath together, or a sensual massage. Maybe it’s the opportunity to lie together naked and just hold each other. Find out what the “right-sized offers” are for that day and then allow your partner to say, “Yes, No or Maybe If These Conditions Are Right.” As you communicate the conditions required for you to be a “Yes,” the world will open again for you and the sun will begin shining.
And remember, your brain processes pain and ecstasy in parallel throughout many parts of the brain. During orgasm your pain diminishes, your body reboots and refreshes and you are much better able to handle pain. Sexual pleasure is a natural pain-killer. So take the steps to nurture yourself through intimacy and orgasm.
This article appeared in the December 2013 issue of Live Pain Free®. Don’t miss the conclusion of this 2-part series, Revive Your Libido Despite Your Pain!
In it you’ll discover specific tips for rekindling your passion and intimacy with your partner. It’s found only in the January 2014 issue of Live Pain Free® – but for a limited time you can read it FREE!
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Susan Bratton is the author of 30 Romance Tricks That Work Like Magic, The Passion Patch and Revive Her Drive, an online home study course that helps men rekindle the intimacy in their marriage. She believes there’s a smoldering vixen underneath your wife’s bathrobe if you just know what to do to make it safe for her to come out to play.
Susan is the co-founder of Personal Life Media with her techno-genius husband, Tim Bratton. They’ve been married more than 20 years and figured out how to turn their marriage back on as their intimacy dwindled.