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Focus on Sexual Arousal, Not Orgasm

Naomi Wolf has taken on the subject of the vagina-heart-brain circuit in her somewhat controversial treatise and NY Times bestseller, Vagina: A New Biography. Though it has met wild adulation and bitter criticism, the message is compelling. When the circuit, in physiological terms a dopamine-oxytocin-opiate loop, is intact and uninterrupted, a woman is in a state of genuine well-being: capable, confident and sexy. She knows how to access arousal and run with it through her day.

But when that loop is disrupted, severed, shamed or abused, women numb out. They get depressed, anxious, have low libido and dare I say it, suffer “hysteria.” While Wolf’s analysis may be hotly contested by some, her understanding and defense of the genital-brain connection is one I’ve witnessed and experienced over and over again. What Ms. Wolf didn’t explain in any great detail, is how to recognize and complete that circuit so that we women are steadily charged, activated, open to and ready for life – and yes even have orgasms!

So let me give you the recipe for the secret sauce again – it’s all about being able to access sexual arousal. Harness that hotbed of energy and you will be able to apply it to help you reach your full potential. I don’t have to look any further than below my own belly button to feel the profound shifts that connecting all the pieces of myself have made. But I do look beyond my own experience. Some might even call it empirically gathered evidence. I coach hundreds of women (and couples), I lead retreats and teach curious, seeking and hungry women how to turn on and tune into their own technicolor lives. My clients are as young as 21 and as old as 78, and they all want the same thing: to feel integrated, powerful, sensuous and seen. They are finding it by learning how to access their arousal.

Dr. Stephen Snyder, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine who works as a sex and relationship therapist and psychiatrist in New York City, recently wrote a wonderful blog on sexual arousal in which he states “When couples come to see me complaining of a sexual symptom, such as lack of sexual desire, or sexual boredom, or some other dysfunction – I always try to find out whether they’ve been getting aroused. Not just hard – or lubricated. But really aroused. Captivated. Self-absorbed. Infantile. I like to see a few giggles. If the arousal isn’t there, then where did it go?“

I believe that, in most cases, our arousal goes the way of other more “important” things. We simply don’t seek a place of arousal except when we want to have partnered sex or an orgasm. We are not living turned on lives and, as a result, we are missing all of that power that we could be bringing into our daily existence. We need to access our own arousal and understand that it is not just there for the sex act. The other benefit of this learning experience is that once we have a handle on our arousal as a whole, we can access it more easily and bring it out in full force to ignite our partner’s sexual passions.

As Naomi Wolf brings out in her book, women who are sexually activated – who are living in their arousal – are more creative and productive. Sexual arousal is not a limited experience – it is a full life experience. It’s time to talk about more than orgasm and support women who find themselves disconnected from this essential and overlooked state of being.

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Related:
How to Enjoy the Power of Seduction
Do You Have Orgasm Anxiety?
“Sex Should Come Naturally” is Nonsense

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Pamela Madsen

Pamela Madsen is an Integrative Life Coach Specializing In Women's Issues: Sexuality, Fertility, Body Image, Wellness and Rejuvenation. Pamela is also author of the best selling memoir Shameless (Rodale, Jan 2011), and founder of The American Fertility Association.Her websites BeingShameless.com and her daily blog, thefertilityadvocate.com, are a breakfast essential for reporters, writers and policymakers.

40 comments

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3:20PM PST on Jan 10, 2013

This is so true, i have a new lover in my life, and our sex life is off the charts. We touch, kiss, talk , oral sex, ect ect, And gettin off is never my goal. The goal of each and every time i have sex with her, is for us to connect. Its actualy hard to find a woman that will let you take time with her, its such a turn on just to do it. I have learned so many new things with this lover. Guys dont try to be the best lover in the world, just be the best lover in your womans life, =)

11:10AM PST on Jan 10, 2013

I sometimes feel aroused from the simplest things, the same for my partner. At least that's what he has told me. I find simply the act of holding hands amazing. It's that physical and spiritual connection that two people have. Do I have to have satisfying sex? No. Do I want him to touch me (ie. hold my hand, let me sleep in his arms, etc)? Of course I do. It's about the connection you have with someone, not the sex, although I will say that is definitly a perk of our relationship.

11:30PM PST on Jan 5, 2013

TY!

1:01PM PST on Dec 27, 2012

Thanks

6:04PM PST on Dec 24, 2012

Thank you for all of the great info. I'm looking forward to my new sex-life!!!

9:51AM PST on Dec 22, 2012

thanks for sharing

9:50PM PST on Dec 19, 2012

thanks for sharing, interesting

7:54AM PST on Dec 19, 2012

(oops, got cut off. Continuing)

but as of yet I am unable to coordinate those same feelings of arousal in the same way as when I am simply alone and focused in the feeling of that deep personal, powerful appreciation for my authentic Self.

7:50AM PST on Dec 19, 2012

I agree wholeheartedly with this article, but my personal experience has been that this type of arousal goes hand-in-hand with the spiritual search. I was celibate for many years after the death of my husband, left to raise three children alone and was totally burnt out sexually. I thought I never wanted sex ever again, couldn't even recall what arousal felt like, was perfectly content being non-sexual and had no interest in beginning a new relationship. As the children grew and became more independent I became a spiritual seeker and tried out many different spiritual modalities including meditation. An inner voice told me that I needed to work on releasing emotional blockages which led me to kundalini meditation and chanting. As this work started to untangle old emotional knots I began to feel a deeper connection to my soul self. I began to feel appreciation and love for myself and this began to translate itself into feelings of profound sexual arousal, sometimes in the strangest of places or moments... alone in my car, walking a labyrinth, viewing a sunset... anything could set it off, and, feeling safe and secure and no pressure to "perform" with another -- after all, I was having a relationship with my SELF, not another person -- I could indulge in the feeling of arousal for a long time, sometimes hours. Eventually I did begin a new relationship with a new partner and the sex is very nice, even orgasmic, but as of yet I am unable to coordinate those same feelings of arous

12:45AM PST on Dec 18, 2012

thanks

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