Moody even outside the passion cycle

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What's going on in my brain now? I feel terrible and the only thing I can think of that's different right now is I'm feeling very aroused (perhaps I'm ovulating). I'm wanting to masturbate (since I'm lacking a partner) even more intensely the past couple of days, but have so far resisted - my motivation being that I'm expecting to see X in a week and want to be in 'good stable condition' for that. This is the first time I've cried for no obvious reason since I started onto this new path and I have no finger nails left to chew. Even though I'm keeping busy with my work (which I love), my child and my friends (who I love), I'm obsessing over X, reading over past emails and seeing the oh-so-obvious post orgasm relationship drama and the amygdala-fear-of-relationship-memory thing play out - it's comical in a way, but so sad. Although maybe it's sadder that I'm reading these emails.

I keep rehearsing in my mind how I would communicate with men I'm interested in about why conventional sex doesn't work (you know what I mean) and came up with a quirky scenario that someone here might enjoy: Imagine two people, a man and a woman that are really close friends. They have tons of shared interests, enjoy all kinds of things together, have great conversations about all kinds of intimate things, they laugh lots, feel great when they're together and then when they're apart and they experience something or have an interesting idea, they imagine talking about it with the other and can't wait to share it with them. Basically, they feel like their lives are much richer because of their friendship.

Now, take these two friends and stick them on some tiny island somewhere -and say, for the sake of moderating the effect of external factors in this experiment, it's a warm place, with great swimming, yummy tropical fruits and no scary creatures. Tell them they will be there for two months only. Give them both a dose of ecstasy (MDMA). Imagine what that might look like. When that runs out, and they haven't had time to recover, give one of them a bottle of Whiskey and the other a line of coke. Imagine what that might look like. Wait three days and repeat the experiment...Repeat again and again for one month. Give them both a sheet of paper and a pen and ask them to write a letter to the other about how they feel about their friendship.

Then wait a couple days and ask them whether they would like to continue with this experiment together on this beautiful island for the remainder of the month or spend that time locked in separate solitary confinement cells in a Texas penitentiary.

Comments

Here's my theory

about lows. They are part of cycles that "kick start" the brain to a new level, by creating a "pit" temporarily so the brain moves to a new level of sensitivity to reward. See how you feel tomorrow and we'll know if I'm onto something. Wink

or it could be because I went

or it could be because I went on a date the other night with someone else who's showing the kind of interest I want to see from X and so I'm feeling anxious to see if I can make it work with X (who's been away for a while) or not before I move on...
or it could be because I'm spending too much time on the internet and not getting outside...
or it could just be the endless cold rain :( ...

What do you mean by "new level of sensitivity to reward" in my case? It seems the reward my brain is looking for is the bonding/cuddling/intimacy thing but I'm not going to get that tomorrow, that's for sure. How does loneliness (the actual absence of an intimate partner) fit into brain science?

Well...go slowly

Men love The Chase, and you have the perfect excuse.

I mean subtler pleasures become more pleasurable. For example, let's say the "dip" I experience at about two week is due to something that depresses my dopamine levels a bit...so my brain goes..."Uh-oh, we gotta get on this and make some adjustments to regulate mood better." And then the "signal" ends...and my brain is feeling better than ever.

I think there are cycles like this in recovery too. Loneliness is likely to create a dip too...because your brain wants you to deal with it...by finding some companionship. As tribal, pair-bonding primates, our brains can be quite insistent about these needs. That's when cuddling your kid, time in nature, meditation and exercise can really help restore balance.

If I were a woman

If it was me and I was a woman wanting to get a man's attention around being non-orgasmic, I would say something like this. I'd look him in the eye's and say,"I can take you places you have never gone sexually. I can receive you like you've never been received. I can open up to you and sooth the core of your masculine soul with my feminine being. And, we can share a depth of pleasure thats like no other. Come with me on a journey that you never even knew even existed and will not come to an end. All I ask is an open sincere heart from you and a commitment not to orgasm with me"

I say this because this is the experience I've had with my wife since embarking on our orgasm free journey. I doubt there is not a man alive that wouldnt have some pretty powerful feeling from hearing you say something like this. They'll either run for their lives or be transfixed. Might be a little dramatic but you get the general idea. Part of what I am saying is about women being at the core of all things sexual. In my opinion sexuality is the womans domain and our role as men is to honor and cherish your feminine divinity. You hold the power and it is an immeasurable gift when a woman opens up her being to a man. Its our challenge as men to fully receive the feminine gifts and not get grabby.

What would you say as a man

What would you say as a man to a woman if you were proposing the idea? I tried mentioning something about orgasm in an online dating profile. Only one woman asked about it and then she shifted back to boring interview type questions. I suspect I didn't say enough and the women don't know what to ask or are insecure. What clicks for us here who read about this or practice it may not work for everyone else. If I saw/heard anything close, I'd be intrigued. I clearly don't get women or maybe it's fatal to not use a photo.

Freedom, I think the rhino

Freedom, I think the rhino is saying the perfect thing, you just need to know her a little bit more first. Starting off with anything like that without knowing the girl a bit might scare her off, or it might not...which would make her pretty cool from the start. Saying that on a dating website would not get the same response as in person, it just won't, think about it. It is something you say once you have a pretty good idea of who the girl is.

I'm a pretty open book

I'm a pretty open book online. I say enough to intrigue. Some women respond well. I communicate now and then with everyone I've met in person. There are not enough of them for a fit.

I don't think reading

I don't think reading anything about Karezza or not orgasming or whatever online would have intrigued me at all until maybe now.

What worked for me was hitting a wall. That is to say, in the past, the people I got involved with were all into sex with me as much as I was into it with them...in the beginning. For the past year, things haven't worked so well, but I just thought I hadn't met the right person. I am a very open minded person and extremely curious, but if anyone that didn't have my attention at all had suggested to me (including Marnia's previous book "between the sheets" that was sitting on my shelf unread) that orgasming was bad for me, or that I should approach sex slowly, it probably just would have gone over my head as something that might be interesting, but not something I want to bother looking into. It took me a lot of work to learn to peak and ask for what I want from a man to make that happen and I was quite proud of my success. I'd say that's true for a lot of women. I was also very allured by ever more exciting sexual adventures. That's probably true for a lot of women as well. But I was also deeply wanting intimacy, I just never connected that with the kind of sex I was having, so for solving the 'intimacy' issue, I was turning to 'how to improve my relationships' books.

But when I met someone who I was really interested in, in every way, who'd had similar relationship struggles, who was a great listener, treated me with the full respect of a friend, who really wanted good sex and talked about sex a lot with me, but who wasn't willing to just jump into bed with me, I became intensely aroused. I did push and I made the sex happen, but he continued to put up walls. That sent my world into chaos. My entire perception of sex, passion, arousal, love...was put into question. That wall that he gave me was a gift that pushed me into a new direction. I don't think he knew what he was doing to me exactly, and he's never said anything about women not orgasming or about dopamine levels, etc., but that wall was what I needed get engaged in these 'crazy' ideas - for that book on my table to finally get my attention. It couldn't have been, for me, presented intellectually. To question my sexual desires, I had to feel that. He's extremely intellectual (in fact, when I read a couple of your posts, you kind of reminded me of him) and when he presented other stuff to me, I ate it up. If he had presented this to me, once I was already interested in him, I definitely would have listened.

I'm sure you could find a woman who's there already, intrigued just by reading about it in your profile, but I don't think you have to wait for that and maybe that's not even the best approach. I would say the other stuff - finding someone you can engage with and vice versa on all sorts of other levels is more important if you're wanting a long term relationship. Find someone who's open minded and curious. Allow attraction to happen naturally and as you gradually move towards intimacy (there's a book I read that suggests moving slowly through the different stages of intimacy - the verbal stages being from talking about interests to values to talking about sex and then feelings about sex - and the physical stages from a friendly hug to playing sports together to the bonding behaviours we know about to sexual contact to orgasm - we can leave out the latter :) ) when you get to talking about sex (make sure you go there before becoming sexual), then she's more likely to want to listen and consider these ideas than when she's not engaged with you.

Anyway, maybe that's just me.

This post makes me think I

This post makes me think I should send Cupid to an ex. Things got a bit nuts at the end and so I probably won't. I wasn't interested in getting into a sexual relationship with her and certainly not the her she was then. I was willing to explore friendship. It was interesting to see her shift when she began to feel the value in going a little slower. She couldn't get it intellectually either when I tried that route. With time and seeing that her feelings were new to her, she started to shift. Are so few men willing to go slow and see the other person? Don't men want to be seen in return? It seems everyone wants this, though many can't yet explore that. I go so slow that it seems women aren't always sure I'm interested. I'm not sure myself until we explore more. She couldn't slow down because this slowness made her excessively interested due to the new feelings she was experiencing... almost as you describe sending her to chaos. When offering sex didn't work, she had no idea what to do. She subconsciously found a way to push me completely away even without orgasm...wow, I never thought of that until now...she was doing what she had always done (thanks for triggering inspiration). Ironically, this was foolish as she was in a very good position to finally explore who she was. I wasn't in as good a spot because for various reasons including her pushing, it was hard to feel fully safe with her. I let myself feel more vulnerable to see how she could help herself through me. I sensed she needed that and I don't mind sharing myself. I liked the inner person as a human and a possible friend. At that point, she had a lot of inner work to do. I hope she's moved on and not reverted back to her old modus operandi which seemed to lead to hurt for her.

Your comments on communication are important. It seems hard for many women (guys too) to hear going slow as sex positive. It's one thing to be entirely avoidant of the issue. It's another thing entirely to embrace intimacy and communication without rushing to sexuality. The lack of communication seems to be a contributing factor in the ED issues here. I enjoyed talking about sex with this woman even though that conversation made me less interested in exploring it with her. Seeing I could learn much by doing little was reassuring to my confidence in the slow way. Had the path been different and I became more interested, it would have led in only good directions over time. The casual hookup mode makes no sense to me such that it's existence interferes with dating. I'm working on holding my space better in the choppy seas.

I'm not suggesting anyone use the ideas here as the only hook. It's a form of education by living too. Other than the idea itself, I'm expressing that I'm willing to learn things that are best learned together. And it ensures that I can't back away later. I'm simply surprised that so few seem to get it at all. I have considered they are not ready. My guess is like in real life much of my profile is above other's heads and they assume that I'm then inaccessible to them, even though it's quite the contrary. Women start to share and then clamp up. I look for intriguing, different, bold aspects and dive in. I've met some interesting women doing that who seem more secure with who they are despite having insecurities like all of us. Online dating is self-selecting and my guess is most of the people there are not my kind of nearly impossible to find people.

Freedom, I think so few men

Freedom, I think so few men and so few women are ABLE to go slow and see the other person. But only because we don't know it. I thought I was seeing the other person in all my relationships. But I wasn't, not fully. I was blinded by my passion, by my mammalian brain. That doesn't make me stupid or insensitive (I'm not suggesting this is what you are saying), it just makes me human.

Thank-you so much for your post...I had a pretty deep reaction to reading it - a good one - but in certain ways you, or your situation, reminds me of some of my dynamics with X, (I think I should start using another letter - I used X in the way it's used in algebra and only later made the connection to 'ex' which I don't consider him to be...maybe I'll try Q) that it's like having an opportunity for him to understand me and me to understand him. Don't know if that makes sense. Maybe you can reconcile with your ex, maybe sending her a book won't work, but maybe showing what you're showing me here would.

You said "I go so slow that it seems women aren't always sure I'm interested. I'm not sure myself until we explore more." Mayben that was what was happening for Q. And I WASN'T sure if he was interested in me, even though he said he was. The terrible irony was that his respect for me as a person was so deep and yet without the sex, without the carnal experience of his interest in me, I couldn't really believe that he liked me. So I worked harder, I put on more sexual charm, changed my wardrobe, I did everything I could to make him interested. My ego needed him to be interested cause I was so interested.

That chaos was painful for me. It hit on every insecurity I had about my sexuality, my body, the expression of my sexuality. If I hadn't made a promise to him, when we decided to become sexual, to stay friends no matter what (hmm, Mealoaf's coming to mind here..."and now I'm praying for the end of time...") I might have ran too. But I'm way to proud to break a promise. And that promise was important to me when I made it, but it's the pride that helped me keep it in the face of the pain I wanted to escape. I'm sooo happy I stuck around cause I want him in my life regardless of whether we ever have sex again.

You also said you didn't feel fully safe with her. I don't think I was 'safe' until now, until I did the work. If he'd have let down his wall, he would have gotten really hurt with me in the sense that we would have just ended up in the passion cycle.

You wrote "I'm simply surprised that so few seem to get it at all. I have considered they are not ready. My guess is like in real life much of my profile is above other's heads and they assume that I'm then inaccessible to them, even though it's quite the contrary." I'm thinking that maybe you need to break that down a bit. There seems to be a hierarchy there of the intellect over experience or feeling or of bonding-based sex over conventional sex. I think if we perceive it as higher or better or whatever, then we'll just turn people away. Kind of like missionaries do. Cause remember, we could be getting this all wrong!

Maybe that's my problem.

Maybe that's my problem. While many want sex, I want mutual seeing to the fullest extent that that is possible with another human. Then sex will be more to my liking. Of course, it doesn't have to be in that absolute order. Seeing need to be complete before sex. But there must be a willingness to see and be seen and to go slow enough that this is apparent.

Non-interested partners are the most interesting. It sounds like Q awakening this in you was a great gift. I'm willing to see potential partners for their giving by activating parts of us we haven't yet found. In that light, there is no bad date, no rejection, and no un-healable hurt. He sounds like a valuable friend even if he's not meant to be a partner.

I don't mean to belittle the sex everyone is having. I recognize that given the information their brains perceive they are on the best path for them. I cannot ignore the hurt they often experience from it. I was very careful to honor her sexual energy. I never told her how to behave. I highlighted changes in herself. I explained what works for me. That wasn't always respected and that is where the unsafe feeling arose. We would end up in long and sometimes heated discussions about sex. She had walls. The same walls I feel on many dates and with many people. The deeper reasons that were driving her were not being explored. I'm not sure she knew them herself. I knew a lot less about this then. Either way, it would be impossible to use reason. It was hard to being in a high energy, passion cycle tinder box where I couldn't fully explore my own feelings. She couldn't fully receive my feelings because where I was coming from was beyond her perception. I could understand her or at least made my greatest effort to do so. I did not get this in return. If she greatly slowed down, her brain might have caught up. The most cherished moments for her were when she gave up for that moment her sexual quest. That would allow me to release glimpses of myself.

I've reconciled any hurt as best as possible in my mind. We're not compatible in certain ways so I'd rather invest my energy elsewhere. It's a challenge because I refuse to be put on my sexual junk food label. It goes against both my upbringing and everything I've learned here. I wait like a patient hunter who is at times a little hungry. Good things come to those who wait. For all I know she's reading Cupid while finding the courage to to contact me.

We got a bit off topic. I've appreciated gaining a deeper understanding of what my ex might have experienced through you sharing your experience. It's come at a time when my inner reconciliation feels more complete in other ways. I do look forward to one day bumping into her and embracing as a final signal of mutual peace.

wow, that's beautiful

wow, that's beautiful Darryl. You've helped get me out of my cynical bitter mood ...now I'm going to have a cold shower...and maybe cry a little:)

The question I keep asking myself though is this...I don't think the person in question would have a problem with exploring non-orgasmic sex, I think they are afraid of relationships in general after 30 years of break-ups. So while I believe this kind of love-making and intimate relationship would undue that fear, how does someone make that big leap of faith when their brain doesn't want them to...Or I guess I'm asking the impossible, and that's how can I influence the desire to make that leap? Maybe you've already answered that and I just need to take in what you've said a little deeper and stop listening to my anxious thoughts about outcomes. Really, what you've said is beautiful.

And yes Marnia, cuddling your kid, time in nature, meditation and exercise...I was just thinking I'll take an internet cleanse for a while and go do all that!

If someone simply starts

If someone simply starts exploring non-orgasmic lovemaking a lot of that "stuff" will start to work itself out. For starters, ones brain chemistry will come into balance, the thinking gets clearer, and the emotions begin to calm down, which in turn help the thinking again. Emotions are a tough thing for a lot of us to handle so they get bottled up. Bonding behaviours and non-orgasmic love making help to calm and sooth our emotions so they can move more naturally.

If someone you know is interested in bonding behaviours and non-orgasmic love making and willing to give it a try, either it will begin to move those fears, slowly but surely, or they'll self eject. The medicine stays the same, its a matter of if someone is ready to let go and move. Not to worry, karezza is a slow process and goes at your pace. It wont yank anyones fears away. All you have to do is stick with it and you WILL move to a better place.

I would rather engage with someone who is a bit closed but willing to work with the karezza concept than someone who shows less fear but will not even consider non-orgasmic lovemaking. The first scenario has more transformational potential. The second more likely to cycle a loop.

The Exchanges from our book

are a three-week program. My thought was to give people a relatively *short* commitment. That should help balance their brain chemistry (and yours) enough to feel good about getting closer. No need to ask for more at the beginning.

Now, I know you're hampered by your child, but you could still say, "Let's experiment for a month," or something like that...and see each other when you can. But he'd have to stop going for orgasms on his own or with others, for best results.

You folks are all so great.

You folks are all so great. I better be careful or I'll start getting addicted to all this good advice and attention:) Usually I just write all these thoughts and psychological/relationship dilemmas into my journal and deal with it on my own...or torment my friends (please change the subject would you!).

Yeah, I've been thinking about suggesting the "let's just experiment" option, but in my experience so far with him, two things were happening - he was intensely triggered by anything that looks like I'm getting in any way attached to or wanting to be in a relationship (even me approaching him to engage in certain non-sexual bonding behaviors were doing this, it's like he can sniff out any residue of attachment to outcome that I have or like I've got a big flashing light across my chest that says PAIN) and I tried desperately to convince him (and myself) that I could deal with it if we didn't end up in a relationship, which when I look back wasn't really true (I mean, yes, I am dealing with it, but it hasn't been easy). I just can't seem to jump into sex without commitment since I separated from my husband. I've tried a few times and it either turned me off after the first kiss or when I enjoyed the sexual connection and they pulled back, it sent me into a major emotional meltdown. I'm baffled by this. I guess that's my own amygdala at work.

He suggested we not have sex to get away from this push/pull/pain pattern, which we did, and after lot's of heartache and soul searching and finally reading CPO, I've gotten onto this other path, am much more relaxed when I'm with him (apparently not so much when I'm away from him, grrr), am much clearer on why our patterns are happening the way they are, but am still just as into the idea of being in relationship with him...maybe even more so now that I'm reading all these posts about the ecstatic experiences people are having through Karezza. Ahhhh....

So taking this all in, I think I need to just friggin' relax about all this. I'm putting too much pressure on myself to get this right (a pattern of mine). I think I've got a pretty good grasp of the brain science (that's certainly a strength for me and so far I've convinced several friends to explore this further) and I'm very clear on what kind of relationship I want to be in. Now if I can just get back into the calm place I was in a few days ago, then I can enjoy the friendship we have and really appreciate him and observe the subtler sensations I feel when I'm around him or when I'm connecting with him. The bonding of a karezza type relationship would relax me, but I know intuitively that I can't get there with him if I'm not relaxed (the chicken and egg thing) so I'll pull out my other tools (dance, mindfulness, journalling, etc) for now.

Meanwhile I want to really listen on a deeper level to what I'm hearing from you folks, and what I feel, about the woman's role in sex, about the power I possess, about the potential of this shift to bonding-based sex, and about the minimum commitment I'd need to feel good before being sexually engaged with someone again. I'm confident that when I'm in that calm place, I have a pretty powerful voice and it won't be hard to bring up any of these ideas and to suggest we try them together, if that still seems right. Maybe that will be a week from now or 6 months from now or maybe life will present someone different.

Thank-you again for sharing your wisdom.

Well,

another aspect of the Exchanges is that you try two weeks of bonding behaviors...without intercourse. So there's a good bit of time where you don't have to commit to adding sex to the mix. Maybe X would be willing to try two weeks with you, and then rethink it. Bonding behaviors are powerful. They really help partners see each other more clearly, without the haze of projections from past relationship drama.

I had an insight

I had an insight last night when I went back to my journalling that was like the moment when I remember where I left my keys the previous week...I keep looking for commitment but really, the commitment I'm looking for has to come from me. It's all about my commitment to being relaxed in a sexual relationship, to only engage in sexual contact, even kissing, when I feel completely relaxed. I was never relaxed with him when I was aroused. I was so anxious. And to be relaxed, I need to listen closely to myself, be present and make bonding behaviours a priority. For now, if we're hanging out and I'm feeling anxious, I could easily say "I'm feeling kind of ____ [nervous, anxious, irritated, aroused] and would like to be relaxed with you. Can we try ____ [bonding activity]"

I have a long list of bonding activities we've tried or stuff I read in your book Marnia, or from tantra books or relationship books that I wanted to try with him, but I was always coming from a place of wanting to do them to move towards sex, not towards relaxing or discovering new ways of communicating, so our efforts were derailed. He could see through that. (I hate him for that Wink ) If I'm committed to being relaxed and I really honestly know and accept that if I can't find that place of relaxation with him, then it's not 'meant to be', then it's all good.

That's it Marnia. That line in your book where you say "Even if you are not each other's final partners, your time together can leave you stronger and more open to the rewards of future intimacy" or in Peace Between the Sheets, in your checklist you say "My motive is to heal. I am not using the Exchanges as an excuse to seduce my partner. Yet I also understand that we may not be each other's ultimate partners, so I will let go of our physical relationship and move on without rancor if appropriate." That was the one thing I couldn't honestly check off. I hated reading that. It didn't make any sense to me. I couldn't grasp the concept of going down this path if I was with someone who's not committed to being with me. My motive was mixed - to heal, yes, but also to set up a long term sexual relationship. How on earth could I simply move on without saying this entire thing is just stupid, doesn't work and then trying something else to make it work?

But the light that's going on for me as I write is that the long term relationship is with myself, it's my commitment to being love, being giving, to bonding-based sex, to healing sex, to heal each other, no matter who I'm with. If that's my true commitment then if we were to do the nurturing exchanges and they didn't lead to harmony and a mutual desire to move to the sexual exchanges, I would recognize as well as him that we are not 'meant to be' each other's final partners and would have to accept that to be true to my own commitment.

Oh thank-you, you're brilliant!

So much dating advice

So much dating advice focuses on fighting anxiety. I'm not so sure. This is why drinking and even eating, especially when that is the purpose, are not useful. I've found my relax-o-meter very telling. I've sat there eating with a woman I'm not even dating after offering to help her with something and by finding fuller relaxation in myself found more love. I also look for this in her. Relaxed humans are radiant.

Oh, the kissing wars if not feeling it. The idea that men have to steal a kiss because women are wired to resist troubles me. I just don't get it.