Healing your Body Armouring by Margo Anand
Body armoring is a process whereby past traumatic experiences are stored in the body's muscle tissues. What happens is that the body's tissues harden, creating tension and blocking energy in the area that has been traumatised. By armoring itself, the body's intention is to reduce its vulnerability to pain. But this process has the parallel effect of reducing our capacity for feeling pleasure.
In this regard the male and female sex organs are as prone to armoring as the rest of the body and can function at a reduced level of sensitivity. In fact, because the sexual organs have been subjected to vigorous condemnation from childhood onward, the genital area has become a major storehouse of negative imprints, greatly reducing our capacity for sexual pleasure and preventing full enjoyment of orgasmic release. Think about it for a moment. Traces of the emotional content of every unsatisfactory sexual experience have been recorded in the muscular tissues of your genitals, building up tension in the area so slowly that you did not even suspect that it was happening.
In men, circumcision, early experiences of guilt and fear associated with masturbation, clumsy prostatic examinations, and a compulsion to demonstrate "masculinity" by being forceful and thrusting in lovemaking all contribute to genital armoring. This armoring can manifest itself as a hardening of the penis, causing penile insensitivity that requires extremely strong stimulation in order to achieve arousal or, by contrast, it can result in oversensitivity and fragility of the foreskin that translates into the attitude, "Don't touch me!" Armoring in men also manifests itself in the form of chronic tension in the anal sphincter muscles, involuntary erections, and an attitude of sexual greed - the need for repeated genital stimulation.
In women, armoring can be caused by guilty masturbation, forceful male fingering, sexual intercourse without sufficient foreplay, making love when you don't feel like it, failing to reach orgasm, having an abortion, or undergoing a caesarean birth or a hysterectomy. These contribute to the build-up of insensitivity in tissues around the vagina and pelvis. This tension manifests itself most commonly as a subtle tightness or stiffness in a vagina that never fully relaxes, even during intercourse. As a result, it is only narrowly receptive to the male organ.
Through working with many women, I have been able to create an "armoring map" of the vagina, showing how certain types of fears are related to specific areas of the female sex organs.
- Vaginal lips: fear of opening, shame, desire to hide, a feeling of "l can't do this!"
- Clitoris: nervousness, distrust, impatience, holding tight, like clenching your fists or teeth when you don't want to express your anger
- Perineum and perineal sponge: difficulty letting go into pleasure, numbness
- G spot: sexual frustration as a result of faking orgasm, performance anxiety, feeling inadequate, pushing for orgasm and not getting it
- Vagina canal around cervix: anger, expecting the worst, neediness, feeling like a victim, abortions, and childbirth traumas
If you are not sure whether genital armoring applies to you, try answering these questions. Think about them slowly rather than giving a reflex response:
Women: Were you forced into sexual intercourse or sexual manipulation at an early age, before you were ready?
Have you ever made love because your partner was turned on, even though you didn't feel like it?
Have you ever felt your partner left you "hanging in mid-air" while he was already "over the edge"?
Have you ever faked an orgasm?
Men: Have you ever made love as a performance, even though you had no enthusiasm for it?
Have you ever found yourself so busy giving pleasure to your woman that you forgot about your own pleasure?
Both: During sex have you ever found to your dismay that you couldn't feel anything "down there"?
Have you ever made love as way of avoiding confrontation with your partner or covering up your anger?
Have you ever believed that everyone else was sexual and orgasmic, while you were lagging way behind, feeling just a trickle of a sensation?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you probably have some body armoring in your genitals. This armoring also translates into psychological attitudes -for instance, feeling uncomfortable talking about your sexuality or your genitals, or feeling discomfort when your lover examines your genitals. Working with hundreds of people, I have found that armoring seriously inhibits sexual sensitivity and therefore blocks deeper pleasure. I have also found that it is difficult for people to be open to the ecstasy of High Sex until the whole genital and anal area has been cleaned of imprints left by negative sexual experiences. Only through direct, hands-on, loving massage around and inside the genital area can we effectively heal these past wounds and transform pain into, pleasure. To do this we need to direct our full attention and acceptance to the way our genitals feel.
When the penis is healed, it becomes flexible, warm, and vibrantly alive when erect. In addition to the stimulation provided by vigorous sexual intercourse, this increased sensitivity enables the man to receive pleasure by resting his penis in the vagina in a gentle, relaxed, non-demanding way. Prior to healing, he may not have been able to feel anything without continued stimulation.
When the vagina is healed, it becomes naturally yielding, soft, and welcoming, allowing a sense of trust and playfulness in lovemaking. The vaginal muscles are elastic and respond to the penis by massaging it naturally.
Love and acceptance are the key ingredients for healing. That is why we need to understand the meaning of loving ourselves and our bodies before we can even think of making love with another person. Only then are we fully ready and available for the joys of ecstatic lovemaking.
Veronique, a busy executive secretary, attended one of my European seminars and told the following story of her own sexual healing. "I had fallen into a lovemaking pattern that permitted men to penetrate me before I was fully ready to receive them," she explained. "This habit developed during a long relationship I had in my twenties and continued for many years afterward. Then, at the age of 36, I began a beautiful love affair with Roland, a French dancer. We quickly became very intimate and tender with each other. Lovemaking became a slow, unhurried affair in which foreplay was as intriguing as intercourse.
"One day, Roland suggested that I lie on my back, relax, and close my eyes. He said he wanted to give me a vaginal massage. I accepted, although I was a little apprehensive. He spent a long time caressing and stimulating my clitoris without conveying any need for penetration. He also caressed my whole body and suggested I breathe deeply whenever I felt pleasure. When I was very aroused, he penetrated my vagina with his fingers. Very slowly, he started circling with his fingertips, gradually going deeper. Suddenly he came to a place that triggered an unusual sort of electric, erotic sensation in me. At first I was scared and began to tense up. It was almost too much. But he kept telling me to breathe and relax. I could feel his love, his caring touch, and the electric sensation started spreading to the rest of my vagina. Eventually, Roland penetrated me from behind, allowing his penis to touch that spot inside me again. As he made love to me, he caressed my clitoris with his hand. We got into a strong, steady rhythmic movement, and at the apex of excitement, I had an intense orgasm, feeling at the same time a warm liquid gush forth inside my vagina. The sensation of pleasure was so overwhelming that I burst into tears! It gave me such a sense of release and contentment. I realised how much pleasure I had been denying myself and how my genitals were only then awakening from a long period of insensitivity. They needed healing, love, and gentle caresses from a patient partner. After that, it was like being a teenager again, starting my sexual education from the beginning. My love life has never been the same since. It is so much more relaxed and pleasurable than before."
As Veronique discovered, when the genitals are healed, there is no fear, no identification with past traumas, and therefore no habitual tendency to contract. Your male or female organs are free to enjoy their instinctual ability to experience ecstatic lovemaking. When you experience union between your healed sexual organs, you will have an impression that they have a loving perceptiveness - an intelligence of their own - that can guide you to the most exquisite and pleasurable experiences. This will enable you to surrender mental control in lovemaking more readily, and this in turn will bring you maximum enjoyment of your orgasmic feelings.
By Margo Anand