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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 calm down.

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 alternatives. 


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.

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