by Julie Peters: When we’re connected to our sexual energy, we’re connected to our libido, our personal power, our sense of self, and our ability to go after what we want in life…
The word “libido,” which we often use to refer to our sex drive, has an etymological relationship with the concept of will; “Libido dominandi,” a phrase found in St. Augustine’s writings around 426 CE, means the “will to power.” When we are connected to our libido, we’re connected to our personal power, our sense of self, and our ability to go after what we want in life.
In other words, sexuality isn’t all about sex. It’s fundamental human energy within us that has a relationship to our desire, our creativity, our drive, and our connectedness, not only to others but also to ourselves, to our own flawed sacred human bodies. Connecting to our sexual selves doesn’t always have to mean connecting to another person.
Fight-or-Flight vs. Rest-and-Digest
Low libido is a very common problem that can happen for all kinds of reasons, including hormonal fluctuations and stress. When we’re in fight-or-flight mode, blood and energy exit the digestive and sexual systems and move to our limbs so we can fight or run away. Many of us are in a low-level stress state all the time, which can cause problems for our digestion and sexual health. The rest state, on the other hand, is often called rest-and-digest (some also call it feed and…well, another f-word).
We have to feel safe in order to connect, and when we don’t feel safe in our lives, our libido can go into hiding.
When we’re having sex without desire, out of obligation, or under stress, we’re actually not connecting to our true sexual energy. We’re connecting to something else: perhaps our fear of losing a partner, our need to please, or our desire to have power over someone else. These motivations are not about the generative, loving, intimate, playful, creative sexual energy that we all have within us. When we have sex for these other reasons, it can actually cause our sexual energy to retreat deeper into our bodies, making it harder to recover.
Sexual Energy Needs a Clear Path
Sometimes sexual energy gets blocked simply because we have rigid ideas about what sex is supposed to look like. When we can let go of the expectations of what’s supposed to happen when we have sex, we can simply connect with a lover or with ourselves and explore the many possibilities of physical sexuality for its own sake.
Sexual energy needs a clear path. It needs to be able to move around without too much resistance from emotions like guilt or shame or tension in the body. When we don’t feel confident or powerful in our own little worlds, we lose the sense that our libido (or our desire or will) matters.
Sexual energy shows up when we are actively participating in our lives, not simply letting life happen to us. Simple things like communicating how we feel, exercising in a way that makes us feel connected and healthy in our bodies, and speaking up for ourselves can be fantastic ways of clearing the blockages to this energy and letting it begin to flow again.
Sexual Energy and Spirituality
In some cases, what sexual energy needs is, paradoxically, a time of celibacy. Sexual energy does not need another person. Sometimes setting a boundary around your body and your relationships means you can access sexuality as an aspect of spirituality, of connection to self or the divine. Many religions, of course, fear sexual expression, but many deeply spiritual people already understand that the energy of sexuality can be one of the purest ways to connect to that which is larger than your small self. Sexual energy can be used to heal our hearts or drive a project we are passionate about.
Your libido isn’t just about sex. It’s your life force, the source of your will to power. Honor it as such.