Episode 100 – How Numbing Out is Hurting Your Sex Life

My 100th Episode!

I can’t believe I have been doing this for 100 episodes and loving this work more and more every day.  

This week’s podcast is full of so much valuable information around buffering feelings, our new schedules (or lack of) , and our thoughts around this new normal.

I will give you ideas on how to fill the time with your kids new life at home as well as tips on managing your brains during this unusual time.

It’s a good time to discuss not numbing ourselves from our emotions and the effect that can have on our lives. . .especially our time in the bedroom.

And if that wasn’t enough, I will be giving you a FREE worksheet to download for this week’s podcast.

Download your FREE Worksheet!

Show Notes:

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References for this episode:

Three Kinds of Sex

Emotional Numbing Symptoms

Show Summary:

You guys! This is episode 100!  I am so proud of the work that I have done here, week after week, for 100 weeks!  This is a big milestone. Thank you to those of you who have been with me since the beginning.  Thank you to those of you who found me later and binged every episode. Thank you to those of you who may have just found me.  I hope that you will continue to stick around. Thank you to those of you who have left a review. Reviews are so important in helping people find the podcast.

I have friends ask me all the time if I have a hard time coming up with more content for this podcast after 100 episodes.  And do you know what I tell them? “I’m just getting started!”

There is still so much that I want to share with you.  It’s going to be amazing!

Before we get started with today’s topic, I just wanted to address the impact on our lives right now by the CoronaVirus.  As I wrote this podcast, Utah had just announced that they are having kids not go to school and do online learning. Church had been cancelled.  We have been encouraged to stay away from large gatherings to hopefully slow the spreading of the virus.

For many of you, this all seems very scary.  I get it. I have had quite a few thoughts about how tough this is going to be on me to have my children home from school for 2 weeks.  I know that for me, I am a much better mother when I have my own time and space to myself when they are at school. But, I also realize that this is a result of the way I am thinking.  And that I can choose to believe whatever I want about CoronaVirus, and my kids being home from school for two weeks. You have the choice too. You can choose to believe whatever you want about this.  So I would encourage you to think about how you are thinking and feeling and if those thoughts are creating the reality that you actually want to have.

To help you with this, I have opened up availability on my calendar for some FREE 20-minute coaching sessions.  I will coach you on anything you want for those 20 minutes. It can be the stress you are feeling about the CoronaVirus.  It can be about sex. Or anything in between. I’ve been doing free sessions this week as I’ve coached on stress, money, emotions, confidence, relationships.  So I would invite you to sign up for a free session with me. I will NOT be selling you anything on these sessions. There is absolutely no pressure. It is just about helping you have some better mental health during this time.  So, if you want to schedule a session you can go to amandalouder.as.me/corona and there will also be a link in the show notes.

Now, I’m going to have to work on my thoughts about having my kids home this week.  But, I’m excited for the extra time I will get to spend with my husband. So here are some ideas of how to make the most of this time with your spouse.

  1. Do some fun things together indoors.
    1. Do some projects that you’ve been putting off.
    2. Do some baking or cooking together.
    3. Find some fun shows to watch on Netflix together.
  2. Spend some time out of doors
    1. Go for walks
    2. Take the kids to the park
    3. Go camping
  3. And of course, you’ll probably have some extra time to spend with each other in the bedroom.  
    1. Maybe try some new things
    2. Take some naked naps together
    3. Spend time talking and sharing with each other what you love about each other and maybe some things you want to continue to work on.

Keep these conversations light and loving.  You definitely don’t want to get in a disagreement if you are going to be with them 24/7 for the next few weeks.

Today’s Podcast – 

So there is a pattern I have seen quite a bit in my clients that I wanted to delve into for today’s episode.  But first let me tell you a little story.

Last weekend, I flew to Dallas for a Business Workshop with one of my coaches and mentors Brooke Castillo of the Life Coach School, where I was trained.  There was increasing amounts of speculation and nervousness at that point with the CoronaVirus, but they assured us, even the morning before (which was when I flew to Dallas) that the workshop was still a go.  So hundreds of us got on planes and flew to Dallas. I landed just after noon and as I was riding in my Uber from the airport to my hotel I got notice that the workshop had been cancelled. Of course I was disappointed.  I had thoughts like “I shouldn’t have come” and “what a waste.” But, I quickly decided that I could make it an amazing weekend with my friends and I could get some great work done while I was here. So even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, I was still going to make the most of it.

There were a ton of coaches, just like me, who decided to make the most of the weekend.  We held impromptu workshops and coaching sessions. We had great discussions on our businesses and coached each other. 

I was sitting around with a bunch of coaches, many who I had never met before.  We went around the circle and were introducing ourselves and who we coach. I absolutely LOVE telling people I’m a sex coach because EVERYONE always wants to talk about.  They want to share with me what they are struggling with because it’s always a huge deal for them and for their relationship. And I LOVE that I can help every single one of them.

One woman I met in this circle, came to the workshop and she hasn’t even gone through coaching certification yet.  But she was there to learn business. As we were sitting around, talking about sex, she said something that she noticed in herself, and this is what I wanted to talk about today.

She said, that she has realized that the less she buffers, the better sex is, the better her orgasms are.  And, I actually see this a lot with clients.


I want to talk about buffering, but let me backup just a little bit and go over some basic concepts that I teach for those that are new here.

Most people think that our feelings happen because of what is happening around us.  That our circumstances, whatever they may be are what make us feel the way we feel. And because we can’t control our circumstances most of the time, we are just at the mercy of them and our feelings.  This feels very disempowering and out of control. But I teach my clients and my listeners that our circumstances don’t control our feelings because if they did, we would all feel the exact same way about a circumstance.  

Take this CoronaVirus.  Think about how many different feelings people have about it.  How is it that some are panicked and some don’t seem to be phased by it at all?  And of course, there’s everything in between right? It’s not because CoronaVirus causes us to feel things, it’s because of what we are THINKING about the Corona Virus that causes us to feel things.  Every single feeling you have, comes from a thought. Whether you are conscious of it or not. And some people have thoughts like “this is going to be the end of the world” which leaves them full of fear, anxiety, and panic, and some people have thoughts like “I’ll do what I need to do keep this contained, but it’s really not a big deal.” And those people seem to be pretty at peace with things.  Isn’t that so interesting?

And, of course, with our primitive brains that are constantly seeking out possible danger wherever it might be so that we can avoid it and not die, your brain is freaking out right now.  But it doesn’t have to be. You can have compassion for your brain AND decide to think something differently. It’s totally possible.

So, now that we know that our thoughts cause our feelings, let’s talk about buffering a little bit.  

Most of us have been taught and socialized to not deal with any negative emotion.  That when negative emotions arise we push them away and avoid them at all costs. We often do this by trying to do other things that make us feel better.  Most of this isn’t even conscious behavior. We don’t even understand that that is what we are doing. But we experience a negative emotion, and we eat. We scroll through social media. We watch Netflix.  We go to Target. This is what I see the most in women. In men I see them gaming, exercising, diving even more into work, or a big one is looking at pornography.

So what are some of these emotions that we are not wanting to feel?  

  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Being tired
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Resentment
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Loneliness
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Shame

These are just examples of some of the most common ones I see.  

So when we don’t want to feel these emotions, we do something so that we don’t have to feel them.  We try to numb them. We buffer. And most of the time these buffers have net negative consequences.  Meaning, that they usually cause us more problems than the negative emotions would. We don’t get done what we are supposed to.  We are overweight. We aren’t present with our family. We isolate ourselves. Or we feel guilty or shame for what we have done. It’s a vicious cycle.

So, the example that this woman gave was that she would eat a sleeve of Ritz crackers to avoid feeling some negative emotion, and of course it felt so good in the moment, but afterward she felt guilty and awful about herself.  Then she would not feel like having sex, because she felt unattractive, overweight, and bad about herself. She couldn’t get in the mood. And when she does allow herself to get in the mood, she isn’t able to realize her full potential because she is still suffering from the negative consequences of her thoughts and emotions. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

When we numb ourselves from our true emotions, it really numbs all of them.  We can’t appreciate the highs when we avoid the lows. Our emotional baseline is compromised.

Feeling our feelings

So, what can we do instead?  We need to learn to feel our feelings.  The highs and the lows.

Wait a minute…did she say “hi’s and lows?”  And the answer is yes. Because most of the time we avoid the negative emotions, but we also sometimes avoid the positive ones as well.  Let me give you an example a friend of mine shared with me.

My friend loves to go to the movies.  She loves seeing movies on the big screen, going with her husband, her kids, or some girlfriends.  Seeing movies makes her so happy. But when she goes to the movies, she isn’t just content going and seeing a movie, she has to have popcorn too.  She has to be eating and kind of distracting herself throughout the movie because it just feels too good otherwise. Isn’t that funny. She’s numbing positive emotion.

Now, I want you to think about when you go to the movies.  And let’s say there is no buffering with popcorn, a drink, or snacks, but you are just there watching the movie.  The BEST movies take you on an emotional rollercoaster. There are highs and lows. Depending on the movie you’ll have angst, anticipation, love, fear, anxiety, comedy, and resolution.  Those are the best kind, right? The movies that don’t take you on that ride are pretty boring, and most would agree that they aren’t a great movie. But when you get to FEEL all your emotions, those are the BEST movies.

I’m not a big fan of scary movies.  I can remember my son, when he was 15 wanting to go see World War Z, that Zombie movie with Brad Pitt.  I soooo did NOT want to see that movie, even with Brad Pitt in it. But, I loved my son, so I took him. I sat there for 2 hours in a state of near panic.  The fear, even though I knew it wasn’t real, and the anxiety were so intense and so horrible. I swear I spent most of the movie with my eyes covered.

But why can we sit through these intense emotions in a movie but we can’t deal with them in real life?  Because we’ve learned that we should just avoid them. But when we are in the movies, we don’t avoid them…we are actually welcoming them in, inviting them to stay, and then dealing with them.  This is what we need to do with emotions in our day to day life. Open ourselves up to them. Welcome them into our lives. Invite them to stay with us for as long as they need to be there. And learn to process them.  Our bodies were made for processing emotions.

I recently heard a statistic that fascinated me.  So, when we think a thought, our brain sends chemicals, neurotransmitters, and hormones throughout our body to create a vibration.  And this is what we know as emotions. Some of those feel good and some don’t feel very good. But guess how long it takes those chemicals to do their job before they go away?  90 Seconds! Seriously…90 seconds is how long we have to feel those negative emotions before they start to go away, UNLESS we avoid or resist them. When we avoid or resist them and don’t just process them, then they can stay a lot longer.  But when we just allow our emotions – we only have to deal with it for about 90 seconds. Now, it may come back. And if we keep thinking the thought over and over it will come back. But it’s just 90 seconds. That really isn’t very long at all.

Emotions are a critical part of how we function in life.  They are indicators in what is going on with our brain. They drive how we act and show up in the world.  Anything we do in life is so that we can feel a certain way. And anything we don’t do in life is so we can avoid feeling a certain way.  

We often see negative emotion and this horrible thing to be avoided at all cost.  But negative emotions, while uncomfortable, they also keep you safe, motivate you to take action, and help you make decisions.  But we often numb ourselves to negative emotions to protect ourselves. And while it may provide temporary relief, not learning to deal with them can have long-lasting consequences.

Dr. Mayra Mendez, a licensed psychotherapist said that emotional numbing results in temporary restrictions in the capacity to feel or express emotions.  She says “While emotional numbing blocks or shuts down negative feelings and experiences, it also shuts down the ability to experience pleasure, engage in positive interactions and social activities, and interferes with openness for intimacy, social interests, and problem-solving skills.”  

So, numbing of negative emotions also numbs positive emotions.  When we numb, avoid, and buffer away our emotions we lose interest in activities we once enjoyed

  • We feel distant and detached from others
  • We feel flat both physically and emotionally
  • We lose access to our feelings
  • We have the inability to fully participate in life
  • We have difficulty with experiencing positive feelings such as happiness and love

And this is what I see in many of my clients and women that I talk to.  They have not dealt well with the negative emotions. They’ve buffered them away, and so they are out of touch with the positive ones as well.  They don’t know what that intense desire, attraction, love, and passion feel like anymore because they haven’t numbed out all the emotions with buffering and with resisting emotions.

Resisting Emotions

Now, we’ve talked about avoiding and buffering emotions. We’ve talked about allowing emotions.  Let’s talk about resisting emotions. A lot of times we think that resisting an emotion is the same as feeling it.  So how do you know when you are resisting them versus allowing them? If you allow them, you feel relief. Resisting them creates more tension and perpetuates the emotion.  I always say “What we resist, persists.”

When we resist emotions we are putting as much pressure against the emotion as it is putting on us.  I like to think about it pushing against a door and we’ve got our shoulder pushing back to keep the door shut.  This resistance increases anxiety. Almost all anxiety comes from resisting other emotions. But, again, if we can learn to just feel our emotions, and not resist them, then the original emotion and the anxiety subside.

How Numbing Out is Hurting Your Sex Life

Ok – so how does all this buffering and resisting and numbing out hurt your Sex Life? 

The best sex is where partners feel emotionally open and responsive to each other.  This is the sex that fulfills, satisfies, and connects. But, if you aren’t in touch with your emotions, you are not going to be able to emotionally connect with your partner.  It just doesn’t work.

Now, before you go blaming your partner for them being emotionally disconnected.  It’s really important that you look at yourself first. Where are you not connecting to your emotions?  Where are you not feeling them to their fullest? What emotions are you afraid of? What emotions are you having a hard time giving in to?

When I was thinking about this, I was thinking about little children.  Isn’t it so amazing how they just aren’t afraid to feel it all. They have such BIG emotions and they feel everything so deeply.  They haven’t learned yet how to buffer and resist emotion. When they are excited…wow you can tell they are excited. When they are sad, they are just so, so sad.  They aren’t afraid of being judged or ridiculed for their emotions. They aren’t afraid of feeling that pit in their stomach or the tightening in their chest. These things are taught to them over time.  But when they are little, they just feel it all. Why can’t we be more like that? Why can’t we feel our emotions so deeply and fully instead of trying to buffer and numb them all away.

Can you imagine if you felt that desire, passion, and arousal as deeply as a three year old who gets to see Minnie Mouse at Disneyland?  What would that look like for you? What if you just allowed and cultivated those emotions and weren’t afraid of them? How much better would your Sex Life be if you could not be afraid of what your spouse might think if you fully give in to what you are feeling?  Wouldn’t that be amazing?

I’ve put together a worksheet to help you work through these buffers and see what comes up for you.  You can download it below.

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