It is a scary idea for many people that our Lizard brains might be influencing our sexuality. To stop this happening most societies use a very effective tool – SHAME. The message shame brings is that it’s not just your behaviour that is wrong but YOU (‘you animal’). We avoid the pain that shame brings by trying to be normal and conforming to the accepted standard of behaviour.
Not surprisingly fear and shame are two of the most powerfully repressive influences on human sexuality. These emotions have a great deal to teach us if only we understood and accepted them. Unfortunately they have been used for centuries as very effective ways to control our behaviour.
Thankfully our ancestry isn’t just reptilian. On top of the Lizard brain sits the mammalian brain, otherwise known as the Limbic system. Mammals are more complicated organisms whose mating requires bonding to protect and nurture their young.
Love is friendship that has caught fire. Ann Landers
The sexuality that is characteristic of this part of the brain is expressed in bonded relationships between people who are attracted to each other. Now, it’s not just any-old body that will do, as for the lizard brain, but only one specific body will do. Now it is the bond of attraction that justifies the sexual connection rather than blind instinctual drive. These mammalian bonds can be fragile, as in teenage infatuations, or strong enough to bring people together in lasting relationships, even if the reason ends up being ‘for the sake of the kids.’
Care and protection are fundamental aspects of human mating patterns and not surprisingly also common factors in the breakdown of our bonded sexual relationships. To get the best out of our relationships we have to satisfy our subconscious survival instincts, which are constantly asking the question ‘am I safe?’
However, each individual has their own definition of safety which will depend on their character and life experience. Generally the three areas that influence security are:-
- resources, such as money, jobs and houses
- connectedness, such as business associations, clubs and a large circle of friends
- deeply significant relationships, such as having a soul-mate, or long-term best friend.
These criteria will then have a big subconscious influence on our ability to relax and be freely sexually expressive.
The most powerful antidote to shame is being able to accept that we are PERFECTLY NATURAL and therefore, NOT ALONE in our thoughts and feelings. The whole human race is by definition quite natural but what is normal varies with each distinct group of humans. Understanding our psycho-physiology is a huge step in the direction of self-discovery of what is natural and then being able to choose our own normality.
If you feel you may need help after reading this blog please call me on 07933 709169 or email me here.
(Inspired by a talk given by Ron Levine at SCU)