Sex and Fear

(A column from TUESDAY, AUGUST 03, 2010)

Seven Faces of F.E.A.R. part Two
Part Two: Sexuality

As we look at the different ways fear
hides in our lives, I want to restate
the masks in phase #1. Survival fear,
primal fear, would include words such
as fear, stress, terror, anxiety, etc.
–concerns for continued life. Such
stressors affect health, joy in life,
life expentency, energy, sleep, and more.

The second level is fear associated with

“Sex pleasure…is a kind of
magic spell; it demands complete abandon;
if words or movements oppose the magic of
caresses, the spell is broken.”
Simone de Beauvoir

Words, or movements, or emotions. The
causes of sexual dysfunction are many:
rape or abuse, power issues, body image
issues, estrangement, guilt, shame.
Fear that a sex drive is too strong or
too weak, that we lack bedroom skills,
or that our tastes and preferences are
somehow out of line with society or
our partners.

There are more, of course, but the ways
they manifest are simpler to list: anything
that prevents a deep, full experience
of sex with our partners (and/or alone!)
with full excitation to an earth-shattering
orgasm might well be considered a
dysfunction. IN THE PAST MONTH ALONE my
clients and students have expressed the
following problems:
1) A woman who lost her ability to orgasm
following a pair of armed robberies.
2) A man who lost his sex drive when his
career fell apart.
3) A couple that has not had sex in years,
due to financial and life stress.
4) A woman who resents her husband’s lack
of compassion, and with holds her passion
–will not orgasm with him.
5) A woman who has gained over a hundred
pounds due to a rape.
6) A man who, although a fine martial
artist, is dealing with rape trauma and
cannot lose the last fifty pounds
“protecting” him.
7) A woman consumed with guilt due to
childhood sexual experimentation that
has left her making inappropriate choices
for thirty years.
8) A man who is so insecure that he
interprets the slightest reluctance on
the part of his wife as rejection.

These are just a sample. It is so easy
to fall into the “sex is evil, bad, wrong,
risky” crevasse. After all–it IS risky.
Choosing the wrong partner can lead to
violence or disease. Combine that with
using the wrong birth control method can
lead to pregnancy, abortion, or a lifetime
of being bonded to someone you don’t love
or respect. Think of how vulnerable both
men and women must make themselves to
their partners in order to experience
pleasure. Think of the guilt many parents
and institutions grind into their children
to prevent sexual exploration. That is
NOT easily remedied. Guilt, shame, anxiety,
the inability to “turn off” the conscious
mind and simply flow with the moment…
actual emotional pain, feelings of
worthlessness and insecurity…how many
other emotions have you associated with
sex, or seen others associate with it?

Identifying the problem emotions, and the
masks they hide behind, is critical to
the healing process. Sex, expressed
healthfully in the life of a mature
adult (or in a mature relationship of
whatever duration) can be one of the most
healing, joyful, positive and wonderful
things in the world. Anything that
stands between you and an ethically valid
sexual expression is NOT your friend.

1) What were the earliest rules you learned about sex?
2) Is sex “dirty” or “nasty”? Why, or why not?
3) When is it appropriate for a person to first have sex? Why?
4) Under what circumstances is sex healthy
and natural? Under what circumstances is
it wrong, sinful or dangerous?
5) Is your sex life satisfying? Can you
fully enjoy it…or are there doors you
fear to open?

WRITERS can apply the above thoughts to
their characters. Better still, take one
of your own attitudes and experiences,
and exaggerate it into a character’s
foibles or challenges, devising a story
that expresses, reveals or challenges
the sexual status quo.

EVERYONE ELSE: Grasp that our sexual
energy is directly related with creative
energy, second only to survival. Unknot
this one, and your ability to embrace
life can soar.

Embrace Your Life!

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