[This is the first of a series of 3 articles – see the end for links to the others.]
Female Sexual Dysfunction
- Vaginal numbness
- Primary and secondary anorgasmia
- Situational anorgasmia
All terms that describe a huge range of experiences with a diversity of causes: when women or people with vaginas, find their enjoyment of sex is impaired or limited.
Something like these words was my experience throughout my twenties. I am not sure which would have specifically applied to me: probably a combination of vaginal numbness and situational anorgasmia. That I couldn’t feel much pleasure or orgasm with a partner for most of a decade, felt so secret and so shameful, it never occurred to me at the time that there might be “official terms” to describe what was happening.
Through tantra and enquiry into conscious sexuality (with some therapy along the way) this is no longer the whole of my sexual experience. I now know many different forms of pleasure and orgasm – ripples / waves / peak / multiple / ejaculatory – both with partners, and with myself. I also know meditative and orgasmic experiences from subtle bliss through to earthquakes, that have ripped apart any former sense of who I am and how I experience ‘reality’ – but that’s another article 🙂
A large part of my journey here, was receiving healing yoni massage, which helped to restore an exquisite sensitivity by bringing awareness to what lay beneath the numbness. The intention of yoni massage is not necessarily pleasure, though pleasure may happen. But more deeply to allow and be with what is true in our sex and our being.
Through cultivating a loving inner receptivity and presence, we shift from an objectifying relationship that sees our sex as “other”. In this “other” relationship we may actually even resent this non functioning “thing” down below, that we don’t deeply inhabit or know. The intent of yoni massage is awakening a deep inner love affair, that seeks to know and welcome every aspect of our being, supported by the presence and skill of our guide.
Having moved through a healing process, I still at times drop out of my “erotic zone” and lose touch with my pleasure. That this happens does not feel so much like a shameful “dysfunction” as it did in my twenties. Instead in the spirit of this love affair – it is something I listen to, inspiring deeper enquiry into my being. I often find sexual pleasure is a good barometer for ascertaining how loving and truthful I am being with myself. A bit like the canary in the mine of 21st Century living*.
If you are experiencing “sexual dysfunction” you could ask – what is your sex functioning to make you aware of? It might be past unacknowledged trauma, that is calling for your attention and some healing. Or it can be ancestral trauma that we may not even be aware of, family constellations>> can be a good method by which to explore this. Or perhaps our sex is functioning to make us aware of factors in the present that need addressing – diet, health, emotional health, work life balance etc.
Read on for more links to exercises that can begin this process of deep listening, and about receiving healing yoni massage in London.
* An important caveat here is to be aware of the difference between a “dysfunction” and a healthy unproblematic asexuality. No sex doesn’t always equate with a problem. At times we might simply be channeling our life force energy into other things, such as our creativity, business, family, or intense forms of enquiry.
Anatomy of the clitoris
Beyond individual histories there are huge social factors governing how we conceive of our sexuality, thus shaping our experience of it, the history of the anatomy of the clitoris being exemplar of this.
In 2005 The American Urological Association published a report by Dr. O’Connell on clitoral anatomy, through MRI scanning. The report stated “The anatomy of the clitoris has not been stable with time as would be expected. To a major extent its study has been dominated by social factors … Some recent anatomy textbooks omit a description of the clitoris. By comparison, pages are devoted to penile anatomy.”
For an easy to grasp visualisation of the full anatomy of the clitoris watch this brilliant video with Betty Dodson>>
And depressingly it can seem that we are even going backwards in this regard. Recently the UK government introduced legislation limiting what could be shown in British pornography. The list of things banned includes vaginal ejaculation. In case you can’t grasp the implications of this, can you imagine male / penis ejaculation being banned? For more information read The UK pornography law: a scientific perspective >>
Causes of Female sexual dysfunction
When we experience a loss or absence of pleasure, there maybe many potential causes, and it may take a combination of approaches in order to rediscover the fullness of our pleasure. Ways we might begin to understand just what it is we need to give our deeper attention to include:
- Conventional western medical advice to rule out the causes that its able to identify, a place to begin NHS Female sexual dysfunction >>
- The Sexual advice association >> also has a range of advice leaflets
- Talking therapy as appropriate, especially where there has been trauma or abuse, you might consult the College of sexual and relationship therapists >>
- Looking at the conditioning and concepts we have inherited around sex
- Learning how to cultivate a loving presence and deeper love for ourselves, and to listen deeply to our body / being
- Looking at how we are taking care of ourselves through physical exercise and enjoyment
- A look out our general habits such as nutrition, hydration, smoking or caffeine,
- Looking at stress factors in our environment
- Looking at our relationship(s) and how we show up in them
- Looking at how we connect with and communicate our desires (or not…)
- And looking more broadly at our sense of spirit, creativity, aliveness, joy and meaning in life
The latter eight points are themes that may be addressed in my sessions, along with healing yoni massage, and other Tantra and conscious sexuality teachings which may help transform an experience of FSD.
But, when we have been around all the different teachers (as I did), consulted all the different experts – then we come home. By that I mean in the end we find we are at home, with ourselves or with our partners, having sex. And more important than sessions, workshops or therapy or anything else at all – is what we do in these moments.
In this article I want to share one simple massage & meditation teaching I have evolved, from many received – that I have found very useful both for myself, and individuals & couples who come to work with me. I have found this teaching particularly helpful in connecting people back up with sensation, when a feeling of numbness or absence is experienced in the genitals of either men or women.
How to heal all this?
Please read on – – > Healing Through Tantra