The Arousal Wall

One of the most common problems that I help people with is low sexual desire. This can be either (or both) wanting sex but not being able to become sufficiently aroused (e.g. lack of erection or lubrication) or lack of interest (just simply not being interested in sex, not thinking about or fantasizing about sex anymore). Either way, feeling disconnected from your sexual self is an extremely demoralizing and upsetting experience.

When you lose your desire, often your sexuality feels alien and strange to you. You forget what used to turn you on and cannot remember your cues to sexual excitement. What this exercise does is ask you to commit to examining your previous sexual experiences and identifying your own triggers for arousal. Thinking about sex is one way of awakening desire. At the very least you will have learned something about yourself and, if you are part of a couple, so will your partner. This exercise is an adaptation of one of Tracey Cox’s and I am happy to acknowledge her contribution.

You will need a pin/cork board, some postcards/notecards and some pins. The idea is that twice a day for 14 days, you write and answer a question about your triggers for arousal and then stick the card to your board. The board is ideally placed in the bedroom and making it constantly visible is best. Depending upon the age and curiosity of any children you might have, you may choose to put it somewhere else. It does need to be seen though, as it is a reminder of who you are as a sexual person and the pleasure that you have felt in the past. Some ideas for questions: What I would like more of sexually is …..My favourite part of my partner’s body is ….I am most sexually confident when ….Where is my favourite place to make love? What is my favourite sexual position – and why?One of my favourite sexual fantasies is ….One thing I have always wanted to try is ….. Over the 2 weeks you will have amassed a great deal of information about what arouses you the most. If you are a couple, you can choose to have a board each and share results at the end of the fortnight. Another option is to leave the board up and both of you add to it each day, with your Q &A being visible to your partner each day.Your choice will depend upon how you feel about your partner, the relationship, yourself and your confidence and communication skills at this stage.

Of course this exercise may not by itself resolve your disinterest in sex. It is a first step to helping you see yourself as somebody who is entitled to and capable of having a great sex life. You may need to work with a coach to help you gain some perspective on the causes of your lack of interest in sex before you can reach the core of your sexual dissatisfaction.

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Tara Few

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