Wired for Sex?
How understanding Neurophysiology can help your recover.
Do you feel like the no matter what you do, you still fail at keeping
sexually sober? There is some information that may be really important
for you to know. Consider the notion that there are times when you are
doing really well and others where you seem to have little control.
What made the difference? This question is not a rhetorical as it
sounds. This means for you to recover, you have to think about what
keeps you sober. . . and what doesn't.
Let us have simple
lesson in how our nervous system works. There is something called the
Autonomic Nervous System. This system is always functioning and helps
us survive the stresses of life. There are three divisions among the
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS): Sympathetic Nervous System (NS),
Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), and Enteric Nervous System (EN).
The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) is activated when we experience
danger. It kicks in automatically to help us survive by raising our
heartrate, our breathing, and our adrenaline. It stops digestion,
stops elimination, the blood leaves our extremities and goes to our core.
Hence, the term "break out into a cold sweat." Our pupils
dilate, the blood leaves our pre-frontal cortex (higher thinking) and goes
to our survival center, the limbic system which is pretty binary. It
is "this" or it is "that." It is "fight" or it is "flight."
There is no continuum. Our speech stops, "we are speechless." I
remember the term "sympathetic" and what happens here by thinking I am
sympathetic to someone running from a bear. Parasympathetic Nervous
System is like a "paramedic" to the rescue. When we are rescued we
The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) is the "rest and
digest" system. We are calm, our blood goes to our extremities, arms
and legs so that we can really relax and enjoy the warm sensation.
This is how the "mood ring" measures temperature to determine our mood, by
how our circulation is in our body and how warm we are. This is why we
relax so well in a hot tub, a nice bath or enjoying the warmth of the sun.
In the PNS, we can digest our food properly, our sphincter muscles are
relaxed we can eliminate waste. Why is is so comforting to release
urine. Is it not just the emptying our our bladder. It is because our
Parasympathetic Nervous System is activated. Our pupils constrict and
we have more blood flow to our cortex. We can think better. Our
speech is engaged. This is why we like to eat so much because it
relaxes us. Now think about acting out and how it relates to the PNS.
So how does this have to do with sex addiction recovery?
When a person gets stressed, their anxiety and fear go up, the SNS
system kicks in. Fight or flight. What do they do? They
run to something that helps them relax. They trigger a PNS response
by acting out. Think about it. It takes the Parasympathetic
Nervous System (PNS) to kick in to have sex. Blood flow to the extremities.
That's right, getting an erection is based on this blood flow. This is
why erectile dysfunction can be treated by treating the anxiety behind it.
Teaching a person relaxation strategies will help improve the blood flow problem.
It is kind of interesting to explore this design. It is not conducive
to fighting a bear if one is hunger, eliminating or having an erection.
The blood needs to be in the core to survive. The "fight" or "flight"
of the limbic system helps us decide in a rather impulsive way, without much
debate of thinking. What happens when we live in the mode a lot.
We can be impulsive and don't think. We may be trying to get relaxed
by eating and sexing. There are other ways to relax beside these
things, but the all or nothing mentality stops us from considering
It is not by accident that prayer and meditation bring increased blood flow
to the brain. We can calm ourselves by immediately surrendering to God
in prayer. We don't have to surrender to the temptation, but to a
power greater than ourselves who will relieve us of the compulsion.
If you or someone you love are affected by sexual addiction, consider
visiting our store for the Audio Download programs
or coaching from Erik Bohlin, M.A.
Contact us for more info