It seems like there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get a letter from someone having a really hard time in life right now.
From earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, migrant crisis, incredible political uncertainty, global economic hardship all the way down to their love relationships being in crisis, people are stressed out.
We want to know how to stay connected to the people we love even when things seem so bleak.
Connection, of course, is more than just the physical act of sex. Connection is holistic, it’s physical, it’s emotional and it’s sometimes even spiritual.
When it feels like the world around you is crashing and falling apart, sometimes the only anchor we have is the person we have chosen as our lover, our partner, our husband or wife. The connection with them is ultimately of utmost importance for staying sane in the midst of the insanity.
If you are not in a relationship, or you can’t turn to your lover because that’s where your crisis currently exists, versions of these tools can help you connect to a family member or friend who can hold you.
It may feel particularly vulnerable to ask a non-intimate partner for this kind of care, but these techniques can help your body to down-regulate, get out of the sympathetic nervous system and begin to replace all the cortisol with oxytocin.
Getting caught in a Cortisol loop can become addictive. Your body begins to forget how to self-regulate. Touch and physical connection help to rewire your body.
Here are some tips for keeping the connection and closeness alive and helping your system to down-regulate:
1) Be Vulnerable!
I’ve said it before, but honesty and vulnerability can be a huge turn on. They can also open another’s heart to feel you.
It’s okay to admit that you are afraid, angry, hurt, confused and sad.
It’s okay to let your partner or friend know that you feel vulnerable.
Just the other day my partner couldn’t get present enough with me to connect physically, he started to cry because he’s so stressed.
He could have pushed me away, but instead he opened the curtains on his inner feelings and it only made us feel closer to each other, even if we weren’t able to have sexual intercourse.
2) Find Ways to Touch or Receive Touch
Stroking, massaging, patting are all types of touch that can help to relieve stress.
Maybe you don’t have the time or energy for full-on erotic massages, but you can find ways to touch each other.
Maybe it’s just placing your hands on your partner’s shoulders, maybe it’s holding hands in the car, maybe it’s touching feet as you fall asleep at night.
Find those little opportunities to touch your partner in a way that says that you love them and that you care.
If you’re seeking this from a family member or a friend, it can be requesting full body hugs, or having them compress your body until you feel calm.
3) Remember What’s Most Important
When we’re caught in a hurricane of stress, we can forget what really matters.
Sometimes I get so caught up in work that I forget to even look up from my laptop to say hello to the people I love most.
Sometimes I get so caught up in the rat race that I forget my basic human need for relaxation and intimacy.
Right now, make a list of what matters most to you.
Look at the list and circle the three most important things on it.
Now ask yourself how you can pay more attention or devote more time on those things.
4) Get Orgasmic
This is not said to pressure you, only to have to add having an orgasm to your overwhelming list, but being in a state of high arousal is really healthy for you and can lift your mood.
State changes are often within our power and can radically transform how we feel in an instant. Using breath, intense movement or exercise, building erotic energy, eye gazing; there are so many methods for creating state change.
Erotic connection and intercourse…
Sometimes when I least feel like having sex, is the time that I most need to do it. And once I’ve done it, I’m always glad that I did because I feel so much better.
I advise many couples to have sex even when they aren’t in the mood. When you’re stressed, you’re most likely not going to be in the mood.
If you wait around to be in the mood, sex isn’t going to happen. But if you go ahead and start connecting physically and you have sex or some kind of intimate connection, you’ll most likely get in the mood and be in a better mood than when you started.
Obviously this last step is not something you’re likely to do with someone who is not your lover or partner. However, there are ways to get erotically fed within a safe container with someone who is not officially your partner. This can be very healing.
If you go this route, be very clear about your boundaries and what it means to you. Be clear in your requests and make sure your friend knows how to honor your boundaries, even if things become heated.
If you are seeking this kind of comfort outside of your relationship, because your relationship is in turmoil, make sure it is still consistent with your agreements with your partner, husband, wife at this time. If you’re already having challenges, I don’t think you wish to add betrayal to your list of woes.
If you have trauma (almost everyone I have ever met has some form of trauma) is being triggered and you really can’t get yourself out of a stress loop, I advise you seek help immediately from a competent therapist or psychologist. Somatic Experiencing Therapy is highly effective for getting you into you own body and getting to the source of traumas that may be pre-verbal or unconscious.
Trauma can show up in some very strange behaviors.
If you truly feel out of control, get help. You can call a suicide prevention hotline: 1(800)273-8255
Do not isolate! You are not alone in your pain, even if it feels like you are.
If you knew you were going to die very soon, what would you prioritize?
It think that if I knew I was going to die, or that the end of the world was near, I’d just want the people that I love the most close to me.
I’d want to be kissing them, hugging them, telling them how much I care about them; because to me LOVE is what matters most.