One of my very early girlfriends used to live her life by a motto I’ve come to greatly appreciate late in life: “Nothing human disgusts me!” As you might guess, Marlyce had a very high “Ick Factor” capacity. Research seems to suggest that she got that way by being permitted a lot of “near sense experience” as a kid – unfettered freedom to touch, taste, see and smell whatever showed up in her toddler world. Good thing, too, because as a motorcycle enthusiast and a building contractor – not to mention being … a guy – I occasionally showed up wafting some pretty personally intense Ick elements.
This early freedom to explore the world with all our senses becomes important later on down the line, especially when our sexual energies burst into bloom. Whatever disgusts us we usually turn away from. This turning away from life’s icky aspects often results in much mayhem in the world. On the other hand, much that is sexual and sensual is individually unique and distinct in how it looks, smells, tastes and feels. If our brain and body already contain pleasurable memories associated with new near sense experiences, then much that we begin to discover in the sexual realm will be more likely to have great creative draw and appeal. Or at a minimum, won’t make us barf.
In addition to early near sense experience, our sexual lives are also profoundly affected by how our parents were with each other sexually – by what we spied, felt, heard and suspected, not from any party line they might have tried to put over on us. And how mom and dad were with each other had a lot to do with how they were cared for by their own parents. Turns out that mothers or fathers with low Ick Factor capacity often have a comparatively low libido. And unless children of such parents take active steps to address this kind of acquired reflexive somatic response, they too could very well be consigned to the low libido life. So, if you want to avoid a sexless marriage, one good way is to be born to sexually engaged parents. You would do well to interview any prospective partner’s parents about their sex lives. Get details!
Being Our Own BFF with Benefits
But what if we weren’t born to such parents? Then we have more work to do, much of it requiring us to be honest, forgiving, compassionate and extremely gentle with ourselves. And we can experiment with “near sense experiences” as an adult. It’s never too late to rewire our childhood into an adulthood that lets us jump in puddles, smell the roses, play in the muck, and roll in the hay.
After the Thrill is Gone
Sex surprises the unconscious. On the road of repair, once the early thrills in any new relationship have paved the way for the possibility of the things living unresolved in our hearts to rise up from the depths of our right brain, odds are that somatosensory aversions won’t be especially good for welcoming Eros. (Drat. I hate when that happens). Much that yearns for healing integration and connection plays out in the bedroom, just as it did earlier in the nursery. Because of this tendency, it’s generally a good idea to bring as much of that same gentleness, compassion, forgiveness and awareness into the bedroom as we can muster.
Bizarrify Your Sexual Relationship
Finally, in the Superman comic series, the character Bizarro was the exact opposite of Superman. Bizarro might be a good role model to take into the safe confines of the bedroom. The brain learns by doing, and by repetition. From public speaking to doing yoga to building chicken coops – the more we do them, the less anxiety we experience along the learning trail. So, while doing the opposite of what we might usually do – initiating sex in the middle of the kitchen in the middle of the day, for example – what initially might trigger anxiety, with repetition can become playful, exciting and erotic, until it becomes … ho-hum – a signal perhaps to move out to the garage or the neighbor’s back yard? Anything so that we don’t remain “good friends lost at sea” is probably worth experimenting with.