Sexual Healing: Intimacy, Celibacy & Identity
Since last week I started talking about sex and you all got so excited since it was my most read blog this year I thought we should continue the conversation. Clearly it interests everyone. As someone who has lived in community for years and also dealt with many common life struggles that had great influence on my sex life I wanted to share some insights on intimacy, celibacy and identity.
I had no feeling on the left side of my body for close to 25 years. When it first happened I was newly married and sex was the farthest thing from my mind. I literally know the exact moment and place my daughter was conceived because I only had sex one time in many months. There was no question about her conception because my body was in the throws of my very first attack from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and life was upside down. Daily I was losing control of my body and sex not even a consideration. Sad reality for a newly married couple after only 6 weeks our world unhinged completely. Pregnancy was a gift, but life was still horrifically scary.
At this time I had no tools to deal with these changes in my life. My lack of sex life was involuntary, very real and having a kid made things even harder.
I felt frustrated, angry and mad that sex was not in my newly married life. I felt shame and guilt because MS took my feeling and desire for sex and replaced it with fear. I am sure there are many reading who can identify a time when life took this from you as well.
How do you handle an involuntary sexless life?
I had zero tools in my “Bag of Tricks'“ when I was younger. I didn’t deal with it. Much later in life personally my sexual healing involved learning about intimacy outside of sex. It did not happen until I was in a relationship much later to someone who struggled with mental illness. The many prescription medicines taken by my partner offered an encyclopedia of side effects that included zero sex drive and desire.
There was a period of several years I lived married and without sex.
This situation was hard for both of us and we worked with a therapist to develop and discover intimacy in other ways. Not going to lie intimacy without sex can be better in ways never imagined. The power of touch, acts of kindness and simply being in the same space together were ways of sharing intimacy that I found to be beyond the joy of sex. Personally I found all of this to be very hard to wrap my head around at first, but eventually a tenderness developed that made this all very special. To date I have never duplicated the sweet tenderness sexless intimacy brought to my life. I still missed having sex, but found this period of time to be more intimate than any other time in my life to date.
Ever considered voluntary celibacy?
You might be thinking like I did when my friend back in my Venice Beach days shared she decided that was her path. I thought she was out of her mind and informed her daily. I also believed that it was not good for your health not to have sex. Not kidding there is science that shares this truth. Her desire was for a fixed period of time no sex. The end. No matter what I said she decided to be celibate for a time and never looked back.
It took me years of self discovery and honest conversation, but today I look at celibacy as a bio-hacking tool.
I believe celibacy holds the same power as not taking supplements for periods of time. It’s good to take some time off, let your body reset and to check in with yourself seeing what it really needs. I often do not take supplements when traveling to give my body a chance to see what it can do on its own without relying on supplements. Personally it feels like a total baseline reset.
Celibacy and supplement bio-hacking I see though a similar lens.
For many in long term relationships sex often becomes routine and simply an action based event. Now don’t get me wrong there is a time and a place for all of that, but if we were all honest in most long term relationships sex is a playbook. A boring, quick, you can count on playbook. A celibate period offers an opportunity to create the space to shake things up by abstaining.
Celibacy for those of us who are single allows for a time to check in and identify our perfect sex life. To really think about our bodies in a sexual way addressing, contemplating and identifying our ever changing sexual needs. It would be nice if our bodies offered some ‘status quo’, but the older I get the more I realize how quickly our they change no matter how hard we try to slow it down. Celibacy or abstinence through a healthy psychological lens can be a very powerful bio-hacking tool.
The thinking behind sexual identity seems to be evolving with a volume similar to the sexual revolutions of the 60’s and 70’s.
I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s during the sexual revolution and today’s sexual movements regarding identity outside of the binary feels more liberating. In real time many in society are re-defining the rules on sexual partners and standards. Finding great love, happiness, joy and commitment using idea’s about relationships that are defined 100% outside of the status quo.
i believe this movement has strong foundations that support an almost universal sexual healing. The more we are able to freely identify without fear the more we can express our sexuality and feel safe. I have my eyes wide open and feel inspired and energized by all movements that support a persons right to sexually identify outside the binary. I am most excited about the movement to allow us to safely be free to express our own personal sexual identity without fear. This is long overdue.
For all of us there are times we need to bio-hack for sexual healing. Taking time to honor our body and mind regarding sex can create the space for sexual experiences that are redefined and respectful of where we are in the evolution of our lives.
In case you missed it this blog post a follow up to a previous one about sex and sex and sex and sex and sex.
You crack me up.