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?”…