We take our vitality for granted. The strength of our life force impacts not only our overall physical health, but often acts as a primary filter for our emotional life and how we interpret the events that make up our days. Often we also bear witness to the strength of our life force in our sexual lives. When we are feeling vitally alive, colors are brighter, our thinking is more acute and our emotional life is stable. Our sexuality is heightened and readily available for exploration.
Many things eat away at the life force that makes us who we are. Stamina and energy can start to feel like a zero sum game as the demands for our attention mount and the resources that we have to deal with life’s challenges diminish. Our bodies reflect this waning energy in physical weakness and strange symptoms from a range of heretofore unknown illness. Our thinking and decision making process gets stuck more often, without the energy to re-think and re-imagine life obstacles. We are emotionally off, sometimes without knowing why. It is no wonder that our sexual life mirrors the life force we are working with. And no wonder too, when you consider the sexual dysfunction issues that plague at least one third of our population, both male and female.
Yet it is rarely our withering sex life that generates the commitment to change our lifestyle, well except perhaps for the knee jerk way we leave our partners in response to lacking sexual vitality. While relationships often bear the brunt for our collective sexual dysfunction, in truth, our sexual energy and capacity is founded in our overall vitality. More often, meaningful changes in diet and exercise routines are linked to an urge for survival. Illnesses, symptoms of continuous fatigue, and ongoing pain and weakness remind us of our mortality.
Last year, when I started exercising regularly, I was afraid. The long years of bearing and raising children and my new foray into aging combined to remind me daily of my physical weakness this would translate into one back injury after another. It got to the point that the smallest of movements could trigger an injury that would have me lying on an icepack for days. I was often exhausted when I woke up. And my emotional life was a rollercoaster that reflected my body. I knew that I had to find a way to strength or perish. This is sadly I think, not a unique experience. So many of us suffer from the toll the years take on our bodies without committing to giving that energy back to our core.
Doing the work of regaining my core strength came from my urge to stay alive. Bodies are designed for motion and as hard as the work of building muscle can be, it beats the alternative of chronic pain and facing the world with weakness. I have since become addicted to the wonder of a strong and solid inner core, and also my Pilates studio. I revel in my physical strength and I draw courage from it for the other challenging parts of my life.
The connection between our physical and sexual vitality seems like it would be obvious. Yet interestingly while many studies emphasize how increased and regular intimacy impacts physical well being, the reverse is even more true. I didn’t anticipate how building my core strength would transform my intimate experience. Yet, after years of cautious love making and limited ability to perform the sexual acrobatics shown in many books, my pilates bridging exercises held new meaning. For the first time in my life, I actually have the stamina to move towards sex like the body contact sport that it is. We all want to have better sex. So here is a great tip to get there-move your body deeply and often. Consider your physical workouts an invitation to your sexual vitality.