The One

Most people know that their partner will hardly ever change because they ask or want them to. If they don’t know that yet, they soon find it out the hard way. Still, it’s astounding the number of people who say they will succeed in changing something they dislike in their partner.

When someone makes a change, it’s often with great effort, and only if he or she has strong reasons to do so.

Wouldn’t it be easier to find someone who has less of the things you don’t want, and more of those that you want? Of course, if you don’t know what you’re looking for in the first place, how can you ever find the one?

Can Couples want to Have Sex Again?

From the comments on the post “Why Couples Stop Having Sex“, it may seem like it’s the woman who doesn’t want to have sex anymore. I hope you’ll trust that this is not the case, and that man also have loss of desire for sex. With this fact out of the way, lets see what turns us on.

Arousal is what turns the ons on and the offs off. It doesn’t say what counts as a signal to turn someone on or off. We learn what is sexually relevant to us through experience and culture.

That’s why some people are turned on by a slow and sensual blowjob, while others get aroused just by thinking about anal sex. Smell, touch, what you see, what you hear, what you think about can all be stimuli to get aroused.

You need a successful experience to tell your brain that what you just lived is sexually relevant. Your sexual excitation and inhibition systems can’t be learned from a book, only through experience.

The way male and female learn about sex is different. What is sexually relevant and is potentially a threat for men is not the same as for women. I know, who would’ve guessed?

Can we change our sexual excitation and inhibition systems? No, but yes. You can’t change the systems that much, but you can change what it responds to. You can change what your “brakes” consider a threat, and you can also increase the sexual relevant things in your life.

So, can couples want to have sex again? The answer is an absolute yes.


You may not want to read the book Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski, so I’ll do it for you, and distill the essence in a few posts. Of course, reading the book would give you much more information to put into practice, and might guide you on a healing path.

P.S.: I think you guys are awesome and very open to post your comments on such an intimate subject. Thank you for your honesty!

 

 

Why Couples Stop Having Sex

I’ve been puzzled with the reasons why some couples, who love each other very much, who are attracted to each other, and where the relationship is thriving, would suddenly stop having sex, or find themselves not having sex as much as they would like to.

To understand this conflict, we have to understand how the sexual brain works. It has an “accelerator”, which responds to sexual stimulation, but it also has “brakes”. The “brakes” responds to every reason not to be turned on at this very moment. This is called the dual control model. How sensitive an individual is to the “brakes” and the “accelerator” impacts the way she/he responds to sex stimulation throughout the world, and they are connected to their moods and environment.

The dual control model is made of two elements.

The first one is the sexual excitation system, the “accelerator”. It computes the relevant sexual information in the environment: what you see, hear , smell, touch, taste, imagine. Then it sends a “Turn On!” signal to the genitals.

The second one is the sexual inhibition system, the “brakes”. There are two kinds of “brakes”: one that works like the “accelerator” by noticing everything in the environment that could be a threat, and thus sending a “Turn Off!” signal.

Both systems are working all day long to either turn us on or off.

The other kind of “brake” like a chronic, low-level “No thank you” signal. Where the first is a fear of consequences, the second is a fear of performance failure, as in worrying about not having an orgasm.

Once we know whether the problem is not enough stimulation to the “accelerator” or too much to the “brakes”, you can figure out how to create some changes.

We’re all the same because everyone has sexual “accelerator” and “brakes” in their nervous systems. We’re also all different because we have a distinct sensitivity to what arouses us.

Learn more about the dual control model in the book Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski.

 

Become a Master

Mastering any physical skill takes practice. Practicing is the repetition of an action with the goal of improvement that helps us perform with more ease, speed, and confidence.

Here’s a little bit of science to understand what happens when we practice things. You can skip this paragraph if you want to go straight to getting the most out of your practice time.

Our brain has two types of neural tissues. Gray matter, which processes information directing signals and sensory stimuli to nerve cells, and white matter, which is made of fatty tissues and nerve matters.

For our body to move, the information needs to travel from the grey matter down the spinal cord, to a chain of nerve fibers called axons in our muscles. The axons in the white matter are wrapped with a substance called myelin. This substance changes when you practice: it’s like black electric tape on electrical cables. It prevents energy loss from electrical signals that the brain uses, moving them more effectively along neural pathways.

When you repeat a physical motion, it increases the layers of myelin that insulates the axon. The more layer, the greater the insolation around the axon. This forms a sort of super highway for information that connects your brain to your muscles.

Muscles don’t have what is commonly referred to as muscle memory. It’s rather the increase of the myelin layers forming a better insolation that creates a faster and more efficient neural pathway that gives the impression of the muscle memory phenomenon.

Enough science for now.

Mastery isn’t simply about the hours you put into practice, but also the quality and effectiveness of your practice.

To be effective, practice must be consistent, intensely focused, and must target content or weaknesses that lies at the edge of your current abilities. 

Here’s how to get the most out of your practice time.

  • Focus on the task at end. Reduce all potential distractions like TV, computer and cell phone notifications.
  • Start slowly. You will build your coordination through correct or incorrect repetition. Try to gradually increase the speed of the correct repetitions.
  • Repeat frequently with a few breaks in between. You’ll be better off dividing your time for effective practice into many daily practice sessions of limited duration.
  • Once you have established a physical motion, you can reinforce it with vivid visualization. Practice by imagining your craft with as much detail as possible.

Enjoy becoming a master!

Running in Circles

You probably know what you want to change in your life, but maybe you’re not open to change, or you’re stuck in a loop.

You want to change, but can’t seem to accomplish what you said you would, or you don’t know how to make it happen.

Maybe you do things, but it’s not working, and you don’t know what to do differently.

You might be too afraid because you know your own limitations, or it’s impossible because you would destroy everything you’ve built so far.

You’re running in circles. If only you could take action. You don’t feel like it though. You’re too tired. You’re afraid. You can’t. Your boss won’t let you. You have bills to pay. And you have 5 or 10 more very good reasons not to.

Changing something is a lot of work, and nobody feels like doing it. And there’s the difference between someone who’s running in circles, who feels stuck, and someone who does it anyway and makes things happen.

I know. The life you created makes you feel trapped and frustrated. You want something more.

The only antidote to running in circles is action. You’re in charge, and you can do the hard work to make your desires come true. Take action when you don’t feel like it, when you worry you can’t, and when everyone says you’re crazy.

Listen to that little twinge and stop running in circles.

The Next Avenue

When you comment on a post, your ideas sometimes meet with something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Like Mark said on “Can This Work for Me“:

I too am guilty of rationalizing away the solution all too often. And you nailed it! Because it takes me outside of my comfort zone. So I just give up and look for the next avenue.

You see, I read tons of books (and that’s the problem), but I get frustrated because I’m not retaining the information I’m reading. Science says we remember only 10% of what we read. Even so, with 10% of everything I’ve read, I should be pretty close to hitting Nirvana! I should be the happiest, fittest, healthiest, most organized person in the world!

Unfortunately, I’m far from having completed this feat. Which is a good thing in a way, because I can continue to grow, but it’s also frustrating because I feel like starting over and over again from ground zero.

My frustration is caused by my hunger for what Mark calls “the next avenue”. I read the book, implemented a few of the things the author prescribed, and then forget about what I’ve learned because I’m reading another great book, from which I take a few tricks to make my life better, and this loop just goes on.

There’s a lot of good information. My problem is I want to have the best information, and use it to grow into a better person. So I’m still chasing “the next avenue”.

One solution I found for this never ending chase is to re-read books that I find have the most life changing information.

Taking notes is tedious, but the rare time I did it, and went through them a few times were when I made the most progress.

Another solution is blogging. It has helped me retain more information and put it into action.

I guess it’s only a matter of getting into the habit of taking notes, re-reading, and blogging. But there’s always this teasing voice telling me, “what if this next book has what you’re looking for?”…

 

 

Doubts

It can be daunting to doubt your own thoughts and decisions, and other people’s actions and ideas. To doubt means to have feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something. Even when that something is proven by facts, science, and unfaulted logic.

When you chronically doubt yourself, you create a loop of low self-confidence that leads to more self-doubt. When you lack confidence in your own decision, it’s because you are afraid of making a mistake.

A great way to combat self-doubt is to experience the very thing you’re doubting. It’s in no case a quick fix, will surely take some time and efforts, and there will be plenty of challenges along the way because doubt is perceived as some kind of safety. You’ll have to remind yourself that it is okay to make mistakes because you’ll learn from them, and grow because you’ll have survive the experience.

The more experiences you create to battle your self-doubts, the more confidence you’ll build, which will also create a loop, a positive one that is.

In short, self-doubt is another fancy word for fear, and the only way to fight fear is to have the courage to face it.

 

Blame and Responsibility

There’s a huge difference between blame and responsibility. Blame doesn’t have acceptance connected to it, and it suggests that someone is at fault. What’s important to understand is that people who tend to blame will look for anything that is not in line with their rigid beliefs.

Blamers hold on to inflexible belief systems, and they feel threatened when you do things that question their small thinking.

When everyone agrees with one another on these belief systems instead of developing our thinking to consider new beliefs, we stay stuck in the inadequate belief model.

Being blamed for something makes you feel guilty. Instead of letting the feeling take hold of you, try to understand the other person’s belief, and chose to let go of the guilt by giving back what belongs to the blamer in a loving and caring way, and taking responsibility for what belongs to you.

Taking responsibility simply means you acknowledge you have not done the best you could. You know you’ve made a mistake, but you forgive yourself, and do everything you can to fix the mess you’ve made.

The compassion you use to taking responsibility gives you power, confidence, and lets you grow better beliefs. Your new beliefs will help you express positive intentions, and search for the best solution when a challenge is presented to you.

It’s hard to not blame other people, and when we do, it’s time to look at our own set of beliefs. Maybe they’re great beliefs, but they simply do not align with the other person’s beliefs. If that’s the case, understand the dichotomy, and share compassion with the person about her challenging and frustrating problem.

 

Our Default Self vs Habit Design

People rarely change their behaviour for good. Your brains tend to revert to your old ways of thinking and doing. The old pathways are still there and because they are so familiar to you, you use them when you’re not paying attention.

The habits you most recently acquired are the ones most likely to go first. The enemy of your brand new habit is your past behaviour.

There are a few things you must do if you want your new shiny habit to stick.

The behaviour you’re trying to make into a habit needs to be repeated  often, and/or must be perceives as having a high degree of utility. This means the behaviour needs to give you great pleasure, or help you avoid pain.

Indeed, a behaviour that provides minimal perceived benefit can become a habit just because you repeat it often.

Science has yet to determine the length of time it takes to form new habits. If you read it takes 21 days or 6 months to form a new habit, these are just myths that have been debunked many times already.

Habits are wonderful tools that can help you create a rich life. If you carefully plan which habits you want to establish, you’ll get more success in making your dreams come true.

Combine the formula to creating habits with frequency, perceived benefits, focus, and persistence will most definitely turn you into a master habit maker. The formula that creates habits (good or bad) is a follow:

Cue -> Behaviour -> Reward = Habit

If you think habits are boring, that you hate routines, and you think you are living your life with spontaneity now, think again. You are already living at least 40% your life through a routine. If you didn’t design the habits yourself, chances are other people — your boss, clients, marketers, spouse, children, friends, family, yogi master — have done it for you.

 

There’s no Such Thing as Time Management

Time management is not logical. It looks like it is when you put it down on paper, or on your favourite time management application, but really, time management is emotional. How you choose to spend your time is based on how you feel.

No one can manage time. Time passes. You got to deal with that fact. You can’t change it, and you can’t do anything about it. Can’t get back in the past, can’t go into the future. Only the now can be used to do/feel/say something.

So, it’s just another case of using the wrong words. Creating an extra hour a day? That’s impossible. Everybody gets 24h/day. What we’re really managing here are the things we do, the feelings we feel, and the things we say.

When I do what’s important instead of what’s urgent, I’m managing both my tasks and my feelings. Doing what’s important will make me feel proud, confident, and free. If I’m responding to urgency, I’ll get behind in my important things, and will be stressed, tired, and anxious.

That’s why I got into the habit of using an hour or two every day to do, feel, and say the important things without interruption from anyone or anything.

Instead of trying to manage time, which is impossible, I choose to manage myself, and take responsibility for the life I have created through the time I was given.

Are you trying to manage time, or do you manage yourself?

 

P.S.: May the 4th be with you!