I’ve been wanting to talk about this topic for a while, sexuality is an important aspect in our lives and relationships that’s often avoided for societal, familial and many other reasons.
In his article ‘Sex is Everywhere, Just Don’t Talk About It’, Michael J. Rasser says, “We will all be living in the dark shadows until we can talk about sex openly and authentically…”
Given all the negative messages that most of us received about sex when we were young, it’s no surprise we rarely talk about sex in an overt setting. Unfortunately, a lack of informative sex education means most of us don’t even have access to relatively basic information. In our society, sex is still not fully accepted as a topic of conversation, at least not in its entirety. Being silent about sex keeps us ignorant though, so it’s vitally important that we begin to normalise talking about sex in our society, and this should start as early as school.
A Reality Check
As a coach and counsellor working with couples, I believe it’s important to reverse this taboo attitude towards talking about sex. We should become aware and educate ourselves on sex and sexuality at any age, it should not just be an after-though school subject or spoken about between couples.
Sex is something that’s difficult to ignore in our lives because despite its back seat in day-to-day conversation, it’s everywhere in our culture. It’s constantly projected to us in magazines, TV, advertising, fashion, music, films and now, social media. You’d think with all this exposure we’d be open, relaxed and comfortable around the topic of sex but in fact, the opposite is still true for the most part.
Debby Herbenick from the Kinsey Institute of Sex candidly affirms that, “too many of us don’t know how to talk about sex and sexual health on a personal level, with partners, our children, physicians or friends. As a result, relationships and health can suffer and important information doesn’t get to the people who need it. We need to make sure that people, especially young people, have access to good, accurate information, and we need to promote tolerant, inclusive attitudes towards everyone regardless of their sexual preferences or orientation”.
Sex, Health & Intimacy
3,000 years ago, the Chinese became experts at documenting the effects of sex on physical and emotional health. They discovered how the vital life force that flows through the body is impacted by sex and how this in turn affects all the organs in the body. Good, regular sex keeps your organs functioning properly. Conversely, a lack of sex -or unskilled sex- sets off a negative domino effect on your body.
According to Chinese medicine, the liver controls your emotions and the vital life force to the liver flows through the genitals. When the flow through the genitals is not supported through sexual stimulation, the congestion can create blockages which turn into physical problems.
The result? Health issues, fatigue, aches and pains, lack of concentration, mood swings, depression and accelerated ageing, combined with reduced sex drive and desire for your partner, which then leads to relationship issues and resentment. It’s a nasty downward spiral.
When people don’t fully understand the connection between sex, health and intimacy, they tend to make all sorts of mistakes, and then they experience symptoms they were wholly unprepared for. A typical example I see in my practice is the couple who’s not had sex for weeks, months or even years… and very often they are young couples!
Sex, Self-Education and Communication
We are led to believe that sex is something that comes naturally and we should be instinctively good at it, which just isn’t true. We are well taught from a young age how to perform the most basic human tasks and we study to be well equipped for our jobs. But when it comes to sex, we’re just supposed to know how!
The truth is, the key to becoming a good lover is to overcome the stigmas around sex, educate yourself and have good communication with your partner and yourself.
It’s about becoming aware individually and as a couple, of our true physical and sexual needs and desires and having the confidence to speak about and discuss them when necessary. If problems arise, the openness to see a coach or counsellor is crucial to overcoming communication obstacles.
If we are buying into external ‘rules’ or rebelling against them as far as sexuality is concerned, our natural flow of energy gets ignored. As Shakty Gawain so poignantly puts it in her book, ‘Living in the Light – a guide to personal and planetary changes’, “to get in tough with that takes letting go of all previous ideas; it means changing everything you have been doing so far. To have ecstasy, we have to risk trusting ourselves, learn to put away external rules and then discover our internal rhythm”.
Unfortunately, the reality is that…
- It’s common not to have positive role models in our parents or caretakers as far as sexuality and communication are concerned. The result is that we start exploring sex by ourselves with no healthy and mature guidance from outside.
- Religions and their teaching have often limited or even suppressed the communication around sex and sexuality and the results in our society can be obvious and negative.
We don’t have a culture where frank and honest conversations about sex and intimacy are common place. The more something is suppressed, the more likely it is to pop up in ways that are distorted and reviled.
As more individuals from all walks of life develop the confidence to be open to real discussions on sex and intimacy, the quicker the repressive cultural forces that are against this openness will lose their power. And that is a movement we should all be a part of, for our sake and that of future generations.
How Sex as Taboo Perpetuates Abuse
In 2008 when I published my book, ’Stella’s Mum Gets Her Groove Back – A True Story’, I shared my experience of sexual abuse as a child and adolescent. People told me I was brave being that at the time, this topic was still taboo. What about today?
Undoubtedly, things have changed a lot since then but I still believe that more needs to be done. It’s so important to implement accessible healthy sexual education, not only in schools but within families. If not to educate, then to be support young children and adolescents to recognise and report sexual abuse when it happens or pay head to the warning signs. The more we talk about it, the more courage we give people to find their voice and expose abuse.
The consequences of sexual abuse are many and prolonged. They come in different guises. If we’re not able to talk openly about these issues and how they are interconnected with our lack of sexual education and the shame surrounding the topic of sexuality, nothing will change for the next generation.
Sexuality, Aliveness & Spirituality
My personal experience as a woman, mother, coach and speaker taught me that no matter what we’ve been told or conditioned to believe, sexual energy is aliveness… vitality. Sexual energy is passion. It is the life force and the creative power within each of us, men and women.
I remember after my separation at 48, when depression had taken over and I had felt totally dead inside. Falling in love again after a couple of years helped me to re-activate my sexual drive and feel alive again. After months shut in darkness, I was able to see the light again.
My belief today after years of educating myself on the subject, is that each person’s sexual energy is different and individual. When freed from our own ‘rules’, limitations and rebellions, we’re able to discover our own natural flow. It’s true, some people want to express themselves more sexually than others. That’s not to say one is better or worse, right or wrong, everyone has unique and totally valid needs and desires that need to be respected and accepted for what they are.
I believe we can and should have an ‘innocent’ attitude towards and with our sexuality. We can feel our energy as pure, as the force of the universe moving through us with no resistance or judgement. To come to this place of innocence, we must first recognise where we have been. We have to acknowledge the old beliefs, judgements and attitudes that have kept us from experiencing and being open about our true sexuality.
There are fears, excitement, traumas and uncertainties around sex at any level of society and as we start to explore our energy all these feelings will surface. We must endeavour not to deny them but instead recognise and accept those feelings in order to free ourselves of old taboos and wounds so we can live life fully alive.
Unfortunately, most of us have become masters at cutting off our sexual energy. We don’t feel and sense it as one of our basic and vital aspects of self and our lives. We’re afraid of ourselves and our desires, afraid of where our sexual energy might lead us.
As Michael J. Russer affirms, “many people still suffer from the mistaken idea that the spiritual energy and sexual energy are opposite, instead of recognising that they are the same force. People split themselves: they try to deny their sexuality in order to be more spiritual, create a tremendous conflict within themselves and end up blocking the very energy that they are seeking”.
Like Michael, I believe that one of the main challenges with conversations about sex, sexuality and intimacy is being able to discern the difference between overt sexual gratification and understanding and exploring sex and intimacy as gateways to self-actualisation and transcendence.
Our Body Needs Sex Like It Needs Sleep
Because of what’s been preached and taught by many in the past, we’ve wound up believing that sex is not essential to a healthy body nor a mature healthy relationship. What a lie!
With a lack of sex, our energy level will drop and we will become more prone to illness and stress. Our sleep quality is disrupted too. The emotional and intellectual connection with our partner risks becoming increasingly fragile and any blame or resentment of the other can erode the relationship over time. This is when we enter the ‘Danger Zone’. Without being aware of the impact of sex or lack of it, we unknowingly ignore the magic pill that can resolve the symptoms we’re suffering.
In my own personal experience and drawing from those of my clients’, I’ve noticed the following ineffective roads we might find ourselves going down in search of restoring our health and love lives:
- We do our best to focus on improving our communication skills without realising that no amount of technique is going to be successful if we do not also connect and communicate sexually.
- We can become prone to throwing ourselves into work for many hours a day or finding new hobbies. But with the imbalance or absence of the vital life force that sex facilitates, we can find that we are simply running ourselves into the ground, only to perpetuate any feelings of emptiness.
- The third option is the most dangerous. We try to find what we’re missing…with someone else. But if we don’t know how to have the kind of sex that sustains us and a relationship, we eventually keep repeating the same choices, cycles and mistakes that land us with the same results.
Sex is an extremely intimate act; we can feel very vulnerable and uneasy, and find it difficult to have a dialogue. Fear of rejection, not performing well enough, body insecurities or anxiety about disclosing an unusual sexual desire can stop us from communicating freely and authentically. Therefore, talking about sex is the only way to have better sex. Educate yourself more with books, magazines and videos that can help you get to know your way around female/male sexual anatomy, sexual positions, techniques and so on.
P.S. Some personal advise: I would recommend to avoid looking at porn, which can give us a very unrealistic vision and expectation of what sex, sexuality and intimacy are indeed about.
If you fall anywhere on this continuum, I urge you to pay close attention to this message, because it could help both your health and your relationship.
If what I’ve written has resonated with you and you think I could be the right support for you, feel free to get in touch and schedule a Free 30 Minute Consultation by clicking the button below.Click here to contact me for a consultation
► Elisabetta Franzoso is a multi continental Life and Wellness Coach practicing between Barcelona, London, Milan and Singapore where she has many loyal clients.
► Elisabetta empowers men and women to master their mind, body and personal relationships through renewing their confidence and building a sense of wellness. She does this through her unique Coaching In 4 Dimensions framework which takes into account the physical, emotional, intellectual and relational aspects of humanity.
► Elisabetta will inspire you to live the life you want to live, maximise your potential and achieve self mastery. Aside from coaching, Elisabetta is a passionate social activist and spokesperson against abuse.
► Elisabetta has been featured extensively across international and UK press including Thrive Global, Grazia Magazine, Breathe Magazine and Health & Wellbeing Magazine. Stay up to date with Elisabetta at instagram.com/elisabettafranzoso and www.elisabettafranzoso.com
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