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.