Season 1, Episode 16

Aversive to Sex? Let’s Talk About Why & How to Reconnect



Catalina Lawsin, PhD

About This Episode

This week I was influenced by a few clients and participants from a webinar I spoke at where many individuals felt “broke” or “f*cked up” because they didn’t have sexual desire, or not as much as they used to due to an illness, stress, trauma – a multitude of reasons. These individuals feel ashamed, guilty, angry and sad – and I hate seeing them have to go through it. Remember, mismatched libido is relative to the partner you’re currently with. In and of itself, having decreased desire isn’t a “problem”, the problems arise in the impact this mismatch has on distress and the relationship. In this week’s episode of Sex Marks the Spot, I’m starting the conversation about sex aversion and low or no libido/sexual desire. I’m also going to mention a few strategies you can do to connect back to yourself!

I’d love to hear your comments and as always for more evidence-based tips, advice about getting Real about Sex & Relationships, please Subscribe to my: YouTube Channel Sex Marks the Spot podcast IG @TheIntimacyDoc Check out more about me, my work and how I can support you or someone you love go to: Cheers! Stay healthy & Safe! Dr. Catalina

Tune in to Sex Marks the Spot every Hump Day on ITunes, YouTube, GooglePlay, Stitcher, Deezer and the link in my bio.  Comment + Share + Subscribe!!


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Some of the research cited in this episode:

Episode Transcript

Are you feeling broken or just plain fucked up when it comes

to sex and not wanting to have sex right particularly right

now during this lockdown?

I want to talk about today.

That that is just okay for right now, but then I also want

to talk about why this might be happening and if it’s problematic

what you can do.

Hi, I’m Doctor Catalina, The Intimacy Doc and thanks for tuning

in and this week’s episode of Sex Marks the Spot.

I really want to speak to this fact of this week.

I have heard so much about people Saying that they feel broken.

I did a webinar yesterday about sex after cancer and feeling

like our bodies are letting us down and feeling disconnected

and doing the same things in relationships over and over

and I’ve talked to women and men where they are.

Just feeling absolutely averse to having sex whether that

be because you have an have had some type of either.

Either sexual trauma or physical trauma illness or surgery

something that has caused physical sexual changes such as

vaginal dryness pain during sex or some chronic pain period

whatever it has been.

What we know is that it does not take very long for our bodies

to learn.

This is danger.

And once it starts to think that this is dangerous.

It becomes aversive.

This is how aversions happen and unfortunately intimacy and

sex. Is it happens often?

Because it is the most vulnerable part about us, you know,

it is in our relationships and and that we actually make

ourselves vulnerable we open ourselves up.

So if there is a time where we may get wounded or hurt it

is in relationships.

That’s why relationships can be so hard.

but I keep on hearing so many people saying that they feel

so guilty and bad for their partner or how are they gonna

they’re gonna leave me and I hate hearing this because the

number one thing I want to get across is know that if you

are finding that this aversion to sex has gotten more and

more and more is increased over time know that you do not

have control over this your body has taken over your brain

is doing this to protect you.

Okay, so all of that guilt and shame that you may have around

sex and intimacy know that absolutely this is a conditioned

response. Okay, and we talked a lot about emotion regulation

and perhaps you’ve heard of polyvagal theory and the research

is still beginning to connect attachment and Neuroscience

to actual sexuality.

But a lot of my work is is integrating all of what we know

in neuroscience and attachment Theory and relationships and

cognitions and Havior ISM to know that we absolutely when

our bodies feel threatened.

It is fight flight freeze, right everything gets vasoconstrictive.

So when you think about any kind of sexuality or particularly

intercourse, this is often why women are our hips will close

up we won’t be as open.

Our vaginas will tighten they will narrow they will shorten

because our cortisol levels will go up.

Our hormone levels will go down.

Our Beto will go down everything vasoconstriction next thing,

you know, if you are trying to have intercourse, it’s painful

and then your body begins to have an aversion to that pain

and you see this going and going and going and getting worse

next thing.

You know, you see people who have Are in if they are married

or in a real long-term relationship avoiding sex for years

or if they’re dating sex always have it becoming a problem

over and over and over that they no longer.

They literally become so averse to sex and don’t want it

the partners and feeling rejected and they feel guilty and

ashamed and again when we think about how our bodies all

our bodies are trying our mind our brains trying to do is

protect us keep us safe.

So if it believes actual touch from someone as dangerous

if you’re getting triggered again because of what’s happened

in the past again, oh cumulatively generally or if there

was a big trauma with a big T sexual trauma, everything gets

everything gets shut in our bodies just get Shut in and all

it wants to do is protect itself.

Okay, so the strategy is to actually begin to work with this

aversion is first and foremost.

We need to connect with our bodies and regulate it.

Okay, we need to regulate that arousal and tell our bodies

teach it that it is safe and one of the things that often

happen happens with sexual aversion.

Ins is that.

You will become your body will over time has learned that

so it also needs some reward but one of the things that your

body has done is that lost trust that you will actually take

care of it.

So this is where you need to begin to do little things.

You know, I know that a lot of people read self-help books

and even again this video is supposed to Ignite some thought

but be very mindful.

It is hard to do this stuff on your own and this is not just

because I’m advocating for therapy.

But the reality is is our bodies heal together.

Our nervous systems have to co regulate with another nervous

system. It has to begin to trust the co regulating with another

nervous system so that you can actually experience intimacy

and be Relationship in connection.

Okay, so that’s really important to remember.

So this is where the grounding techniques need to start.

Okay, grounding your body.

I’m a big believer of touch is last week’s episode.

I talked a lot about touch and how it’s our fastest most

efficient regulator.

So again, when you’re feeling triggered it, even if your

partner just touched your hand.

I put your own hand start with your own regulation your own

touch. You trust build trust in your own trust.

Put your hand on your heart.

Notice what is happening then begin to ground?

Five five?

What do I see for?

What do I hear?


What do I what am I touching my skin feels moist to what

am I smelling?

Nothing like damp and one.

What do I taste my toothpaste?

Okay going through the five senses connecting to your body

and then focusing on the present of acknowledging your feelings.

I know right now.

I feel fucked up with my life fucked up with my relationships.

And I know right now I’m doing the best I can to connect

to myself.

And then move move your body.

Now I’m moving forward bring yourself to the present connect

to your body and then move through it.

This will begin to connect acknowledge your feelings.

They are just not just but they are feelings.

They’re going to be transient.

They’re going to shift connecting to that acknowledging it

giving voice to it.

Connecting to your body in the moment acknowledging the perception

any negative thought and bringing yourself in a present of

what you were doing now to acknowledge that and move through

it. Those are the strategies that we begin to actually Regulate

and connect to our bodies because we are not fucked up.

All right.

I hope that was I will keep going into this.

But I hope that was helpful.

If you haven’t already.

I have a few more definitely more videos subscribe to my

YouTube channel follow me on insta the Intimacy Doc or you

can subscribe to my podcasts Sex Marks the Spot.

Have a great week guys.

Stay safe and healthy.



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