Exploring what turns you On and Off: Strategies for mismatched Libidos in your Relationship.

Exploring what turns you On and Off: Strategies for mismatched Libidos in your Relationship.

Navigating Desire: Unveiling Brakes and Accelerators from Emily Nagoski’s book, ‘Come As You Are’

As part of my sex, love and relationship coaching certification I was invited to read Emily Nagowski’s book “Come As You Are’. 

This book is a must for all women to read; there were so many nuggets of profound wisdom shared within the pages that have changed the way I view my libido and body.

I want to share with you one concept, “Accelerators and Brakes.” 

This concept, as I’ll go on to explain today, really opened my eyes and had me feeling hopeful instead of frustrated about my low libido.

Exploring what Turns you on and Off

In the realm of human sexuality, understanding our desire and its ever-changing rhythm can often feel like deciphering a complex code. Emily, in her book, offers a unique perspective on this.

One of the central concepts she introduces is the interplay of brakes and accelerators, shedding light on the intricate dynamics that shape our sexual responses.

If you’re anything like me you’ve spent your sexual life either feeling turned on, grateful for the juicy energy, or turned off, frustrated and hating on your body for not being horny enough, (especially in a relationship where your partner wants more sex than you do).

From the time I was sexually active, I saw libido and desire as black and white. I was either horny (which was good) or I didn’t want to be touched at all (which was bad). I’m excited to share this with you now because it changed my black-and-white view of libido into a delicious rainbow of possibility and pleasure.

Brakes and Accelerators Defined

Nagoski presents the idea of brakes and accelerators as a metaphorical framework to explain the dual nature of sexual arousal. 

“Think of brakes as factors that inhibit or slow down our sexual response, while accelerators are elements that rev up our desire.” 

These metaphorical mechanisms work in tandem, influencing the ebb and flow of our sexual experiences.

Understanding Brakes

Context and Environment:

    • Our surroundings play a pivotal role in determining the presence of brakes. Stressful environments, unresolved conflicts, or uncomfortable settings can act as significant inhibitors to desire. Recognising and addressing these external factors is essential for creating a conducive atmosphere for intimacy.
  • For example: Having a messy bedroom, dirty clothes around and kids toys everywhere might activate your brakes. Coming home from a stressful day at work might activate your brakes. Remembering a fight you and your partner had last week that never reached an end point, might activate your brakes. Your partner not showering, being dirty, or smelling of BO, these are all things that might activate your brakes.

    Body Image and Self-Esteem:

      • Negative body image and low self-esteem act as powerful brakes. Society’s unrealistic beauty standards and personal insecurities can hinder the ability to fully embrace and enjoy one’s own body. Building a positive self-image is a crucial step toward releasing these brakes and unlocking one’s sexual potential.
    • For example: Are you about to get your period and feeling super bloated and unsexy, did someone comment on your body today, have you lost or gained weight and are feeling self-conscious, do you not believe that your partner thinks you’re attractive, maybe you don’t like the way your body looks or feels, maybe you feel shy, want the lights off and no eye contact, all of this can be activating your brakes.

    Past Trauma and Emotional Baggage:

      • Unresolved traumas, whether from past relationships or personal experiences, can serve as substantial brakes. Acknowledging and addressing these emotional barriers is vital for creating a safe space for intimacy. If you feel professional support might be beneficial to navigate and heal from past wounds please reach out to me. I am available for 1:1 coaching.
    • For example: Your ex forced you to do something in the past and when your current (loving) partner asks or tries something similar you don’t feel safe, you have old emotional wounds from childhood bullying that have never been addressed, how you lost your virginity was less than magical and this is being carried and lived out in your current intimate relationship (without you knowing), ALL OF THESE ARE BRAKES! 

      “I want to remind you here that you are NOT broken if you resonated with any of these things. A lot of these examples are my own personal brakes that I discovered after learning about brakes from Emily.”

      Understanding Accelerators

      Novelty and Excitement:

        • Novel experiences and a sense of excitement act as powerful accelerators. Trying new activities or introducing variety in the bedroom can stimulate desire. Open communication with a partner about desires and fantasies can contribute to creating a sense of novelty.
      • For example: sexy lingerie, sex toys, exploring kinks, discovering your erotic blueprint (seriously Google this and take Jaiya’s Quiz, Game Changer!), adding sexy music and dancing, spending more time on foreplay, sexy conversations about fantasies, reading erotica etc.

      Feeling Safe and Connected:

        • Emotional intimacy and a strong sense of connection with a partner can serve as accelerators. Feeling safe and secure in a relationship fosters an environment where one can be vulnerable and explore their desires without fear of judgment or rejection.
      • For example: Explain to your partner that when they do something (like spank you) it triggers an unsafe memory from your sexual past, and if they want to spank you they ask for your consent first. If you say no, they respect this, if you say yes they start lightly and ensure that during the act of spanking, they are also hugging and kissing you treating you with love and creating an environment of safety in your body. It’s all about communicating these needs before and during lovemaking so that you are feeling seen, safe and understood. BONUS: add some time after love-making for a debrief; chat about what was great, what was confronting, what you didn’t say that you wanted to etc.

      Physical Well-Being:

        • A healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and proper nutrition, can act as an accelerator. Physical well-being contributes to increased energy levels, improved mood, and a positive body image – all of which are crucial components of a satisfying sexual experience.
      • For example: We all know what it feels like in our bodies when we spend days in bed recovering from an injury or illness. We reenter the world fuzzy, dazed, confused, unmotivated etc. But when we start to move again, whether it be a walk outside, dancing, yoga, or swimming in the ocean, we start to create and release oxytocin (the love hormone) back into the body. The same can be said for eating nutritious foods. I’m not telling you to become a dietitian or anything but making sure you are fueling your body with fresh food and cutting back on fast food, processed foods and refined sugars plays a huge role in your body’s ability to access pleasure.

      Emily Nagoski’s concept of brakes and accelerators offers a valuable framework for understanding the complexities of human desire. By recognising and addressing the factors that act as brakes, and actively incorporating accelerators into our lives, we can navigate the intricate landscape of sexuality with greater awareness, understanding and satisfaction. ‘Come As You Are’ serves as a guide, encouraging individuals to embrace their unique desires and fostering a more fulfilling connection with both themselves and their partners.

      Real-life Strategies for Couples with Mismatched Libidos

      Navigating a relationship where you have mismatched libidos presents its own set of challenges. However, the framework of brakes and accelerators offers valuable insights and practical strategies for couples looking to create a more harmonious intimate life despite their differences.

      Open Communication

      • One of the most crucial aspects of addressing mismatched libidos is open communication. Partners should feel comfortable discussing their desires, concerns, and boundaries without judgment. By sharing individual brakes and accelerators, couples can better understand each other’s needs and work towards creating an environment that caters to both partners.

      • Real-Life Example: Sarah and Mark found success by establishing a regular “check-in” where they openly discussed their sexual desires, concerns, and fantasies. This practice not only improved communication but also created a sense of shared responsibility for their intimate life.

        Exploration and Variety

        • Introducing variety in the bedroom can act as an accelerator, reigniting the spark in the relationship. Experimenting with different activities, trying new things, and being open to exploring fantasies can create excitement and appeal to the accelerators for both partners. 

        • Real-Life Example: Alex and Jamie, a couple with mismatched libidos, discovered that incorporating new experiences, such as weekend getaways or trying new hobbies together, helped reignite their connection and desire for each other. Also taking sex off the table for a certain amount of days or weeks and focusing on foreplay only, building sexual energy without the pressure of actually having sex. JUICY 😛

        Understanding Eachothers Brakes

        • Recognising and respecting each other’s brakes is crucial for creating a safe and comfortable space for intimacy. Partners should be aware of external factors that may stump each other’s desires and work together to move through these challenges.

        • Real-Life Example: Lisa and Mike learned to navigate Mike’s stress-related brakes by implementing stress-reduction techniques, such as mindfulness exercises (like meditation and yoga) and regular relaxation rituals (like massage and walking in nature). This proactive approach helped create a more conducive environment for intimacy.

        Embracing Emotional Intimacy

        • Building emotional intimacy is a powerful accelerator. Fostering a deep connection based on trust and understanding can enhance the overall quality of a relationship and contribute to a more fulfilling intimate life. 
        • Real-Life Example: Emily and Chris focused on strengthening their emotional connection by prioritising quality time together. Regular date nights, shared experiences, common goals and expressing gratitude helped them create a stronger bond that positively influenced their sexual connection.

        Professional Support

        Seeking professional help, either as a couple or individually (or both), can be a valuable resource for couples dealing with mismatched libidos. A trained professional can provide guidance, facilitate communication, and offer strategies tailored to the unique dynamics of the relationship. Again, reach out to me if you’d like to explore this more. 

        Real-Life Example: Mark and Olivia sought the assistance of a sex coach to navigate their mismatched libidos. The coach helped them explore individual desires, improve communication, and develop practical strategies to meet each other’s needs.

        Interested in having me support your relationship and libido journey?

        Embrace Your Sacred Rhythm: Trust Your Bleed

        Embrace Your Sacred Rhythm: Trust Your Bleed

        To all the women who bleed, this is a heartfelt invitation to join me on a profound journey. 

        Have you ever allowed your menstrual blood to flow into the earth, changing the color of soil as it nourishes the grass? 

        This blog isn’t just a story of an ancient ritual—free bleeding on the earth—it’s a narrative interwoven with threads of self-discovery, body confidence, and genuine self-love. 

        From an ancient ritual honoring the cycles of life to reclaiming lost heritage in modern living, I invite you to rediscover sacred practices, rebel against societal hush, and declare that our bodies are meant to be celebrated. 

        Let us begin a collective journey to reclaim our narratives, honoring the divine connection between womanhood and the earth.

        Embracing Sacred Rhythms: A Journey to Trusting Your bleed. 

        To all the women who bleed, to all the vulva owners who bleed and to all who used to bleed. 

        Have you ever allowed your menstrual blood to naturally flow out of you and into the earth?

        Have you ever seen the colour of soil change as the deep red river of your cycle mixes with it?

        Have you ever witnessed your plants and grass be nourished by your iron and mineral rich blood? 

        In a world that often hurries past the sacred rhythms of femininity, I invite you to join me on a profound and deeply personal journey. 

        This is not just a story of an ancient ritual – free bleeding on the earth – but a narrative interwoven with the threads of self-discovery, body confidence, and the pursuit of genuine self-love. 

        This journey is dedicated to the women who, like me, have struggled with trusting and listening to their bodies and finding peace in their unique essence.

        The Ancient Ritual

        On the first day of my cycle, I do my best to make space in my schedule to immerse myself in the soft embrace of nature, letting the pulsing of my body intertwine with the heartbeat of Pachamama. 

        The perks of working from home 😉

        This ancient ritual serves as a reminder of the forgotten beauty in our ancestral practices; a connection that transcends time and whispers of wisdom buried deep within our feminine lineage.

        We were never intended to experience a sense of isolation or detachment from Mother Gaia, Pachamama, our earth. However, many of us may grapple with a profound ache stemming from this disconnection. 

        Directly allowing our menstrual blood to flow onto the earth, whether wearing a big dress or skirt with no underware or being completely naked, can genuinely serve as a bridge, dismantling the illusion of separation between us and her. 

        In this act, our menstrual blood transforms into a crimson river of reconnection—an intimate, flowing umbilical cord that roots us back into the embrace of the earth. 

        Each time I bleed onto the earth, I sense as though I am planting my own roots more profoundly into the soil, a reaffirmation of my innate right to be a daughter of nature. 

        Honouring the Cycles of Life (the red tent)

        Our foremothers understood the power in embracing the cycles of life, honoring the ebb and flow that courses through us. 

        In the whispers of the wind and the rustle of leaves, I hear the echoes of a time when such practices were revered—a time when women found strength in the rhythms of their bodies.


        The Red Tent has deep historical roots, representing a sacred space where women would gather during the new moon to collectively experience menstruation. This tradition can be traced back to various ancient cultures, including those in Mesopotamia, ancient Greece, and indigenous communities. 

        The Red Tent served as a communal haven for women to share the transformative experience of menstruation, fostering a sense of sisterhood, support, and spiritual connection.

        Within the Red Tent, women engaged in rituals that celebrated the cyclical nature of womanhood. These rituals often included storytelling, singing, and dancing, creating an environment where the wisdom of elder women was passed down to younger generations. The new moon, symbolizing renewal and fertility, was considered an auspicious time for women to come together and honor their menstrual cycles.

        A profound Sense of Unity

        Laying in the grass, letting my blood meet the earth, brings a sense of unity—a reminder that my body, much like the changing seasons, follows a natural rhythm. 

        It’s a connection to the earth, a recognition that we are part of a greater whole, and a testament to the innate wisdom within our very cells.

        Lost heritage in Modern Living

        In the cacophony of modern living, we’ve lost touch with these sacred rituals. The pressures of society have drowned out the whispers of our ancestral wisdom, leaving us disconnected from the very essence of our being. Yet, in this moment, amidst the chaos, I reclaim a piece of our shared heritage—a heritage that holds the key to trusting our bodies and embracing self-love.

        A rebellion and Declaration

        This act of free bleeding is not just a physical act; it’s a rebellion against the societal hush surrounding menstruation. 

        It’s a declaration that our bodies are not meant to be hidden but celebrated—a vessel of life intricately entwined with the world around us. 

        It’s an act to combat the shame I felt for most of my bleeding life and the stigmas that to bleed is gross, dirty and should be hidden from others.

        I extend an invitation to all women, urging you to rediscover these sacred practices, break free from the chains of silence, and honor the ancient wisdom that resides within.

        Reclaiming our Narratives

        In a society that often overlooks the magic of our bodies, let’s embark on a collective journey to reclaim our narratives. 

        It’s time to revive the traditions that celebrate the divine connection between womanhood and the earth—a connection that holds the key to trusting our bodies and cultivating a profound sense of self-love.

        Conclusion

        This journey is an exploration of trust, body confidence, and self-love—a journey that transcends societal norms and embraces the innate wisdom within every woman. 

        As we reclaim the sacred rhythms of femininity, may we find empowerment, healing, and a renewed sense of confidence in our bodies. Let this be a testament to the resilience and beauty inherent in each of us, a celebration of our unique essence intertwined with the ancient wisdom that echoes through time.

        Interested in having me support you on your journey back to your womb?

        A heartfelt Journey to Body Confidence

        A heartfelt Journey to Body Confidence

        Embark on a transformative journey with me as we explore the profound concept of impermanence in the pursuit of body confidence.

        Ever felt exhausted by society’s unrealistic beauty standards?

        Join me as we shift our perspective, redirecting our gaze towards cherishing the inherent beauty in the natural evolution of our bodies.

        Skeptical? I was too.

        But as living testimonies of unique and ever-evolving stories, our bodies are dynamic canvases, offering gifts in every phase.

        Through the emotional journey of body confidence, let’s find light in the darkness, recognising that impermanence empowers us to shape our own narratives with resilience and self-compassion.

        This isn’t just a philosophy; it’s a personal and emotional odyssey toward self-love.

        Navigating the Waves of Change: 

        A heartfelt Journey to Body Confidence

        It’s not unknown to us that we live in a society that are obsessed with unattainable (and unrealistic) beauty standards. The quest for body confidence can be an emotional rollercoaster for all of us, I ride this rollercoaster everyday. 

        Recently, someone straight up asked me a question that in the past would of sent me spiralling into self-loathing but instead I realised that it resonates with the struggles of most individuals.

        The question was, “How can you still love your body when you’ve gained so much weight?” The first thing that came to my mind was the word IMPERMANENCE.

        Rather than take this question as personal attack or dismissing their query all together, I realised they were actually asking me because the wanted to know how to move through their body acceptance struggles. So, I want to delve into the concept of impermanence here with you today to share with you what I discovered as a source of solace and something so simple yet profound that transformed my perspective.

        The Essence of Impermanence

        I first learnt about impermanence when I was backpacking through Nepal in 2018 and for my 28th birthday I booked myself into a 10 day ‘Introduction To Bhuddism Course’ at Kopan Monestary in Katgmandu. It resonated with me so deeply; the teaching and the concept has never left me.

        Impermanence, a concept not commonly discussed in the realm of body confidence, is a profound philosophy that teaches us the art of embracing change. It serves as a reminder that every facet of life, including our feelings, thoughts, and bodies, is in a perpetual state of evolution, with each phase bringing its unique beauty and challenges.

        A Shift in Focus

        The pursuit of the “perfect” body often leaves us feeling exhausting, defeated and unworthy. Embracing impermanence, however, invites a paradigm shift. It encourages us to divert our gaze from the unattainable (and unrealistic) and redirect it towards recognising and cherishing the inherent beauty in the natural evolution of our bodies over time.

        You may roll your eyes and think, “I’ve hear all this before.”

        You may think, “this is great but it’s easier said than done.”

        You may say, “I don’t believe it’s even possible to view myself and my body in this way.”

        But I am proof right here that once you decide enough is enough, you seem to find the strength, the drive and the belief that propels you into a new way of thinking.

        The Buddhist Endless Knot and the concept of impermanence are complementary aspects of Buddhist philosophy. The Endless Knot visually symbolizes the interconnected and continuous nature of existence, reinforcing the understanding of impermanence as a fundamental aspect of life in Buddhist teachings.

        The Beauty Amidst Change

        Our bodies are not monuments frozen in time; they are dynamic canvases that showcase the ebb and flow of our lives. Embracing impermanence invites us to witness and appreciate the beauty in every stage, freeing us from the shackles of societal expectations and fostering a profound connection with our ever-changing selves.

        Loving the fact that we get to be babies, young children, teenages, adults, parents, grandparents, even great grandparents.

        And in every chapter of our lives along with our age our bodies give us the gifts of living out each phase.

        The soft skin of a baby with a beautiful pot belly, the joy of being a child and not yet being poisened by societies body shame, being a teenager and find the pleasure available to us, being an adult and having children or fluctuating through different levels of fitness, being old and finally finding acceptance for what our bodies have allowed us to do in one life time.

        IT IS PROFOUND.

        The Emotional Journey

        Navigating the rough waters of body confidence is an emotional journey that involves us confronting societal pressures, self-doubt, uncomfortable realisation and moments of despair. Along with impermanence, self-love becomes a powerful anchor in this journey, offering ourselves kindness during times of uncertainty and reminding us that no matter what we are going through we deserve to feel love, especially from ourselves. 

        Finding Light in the Darkness

        For those caught in a season where self-love feels elusive and the mirror reflects a narrative of discontent, remember: this too shall pass. Impermanence empowers us to recognise that we are the authors of our stories, capable of shaping the next chapter with resilience and self-compassion. Even in the darkest moments, there is a glimmer of light waiting to guide us toward acceptance and self-love. And if you can’t be this for yourself find someone (like me) who can support you.

        Embracing impermanence is not just a philosophy; it’s a deeply personal and emotional journey towards body confidence. As we navigate the complexities of self-image, may we find comfort in the understanding that our bodies are not meant to be stagnant, after all they are energy, and energy is ever flowing. Our bodies are the living testimonies of our unique and ever-evolving stories. Let impermanence be the compass that guides us towards a profound appreciation for the beauty within ourselves, promoting a journey of self-love that transcends societal expectations and embraces the authenticity of our individual narratives.

        Want to discuss how I can support you?