Between the sheets with Pelvic Solutions
Sex. The mystique and mundane, the taboo and the accepted, the longing, love, shame, trauma, stigma and necessity of it, wrapped and knotted together to embody an incredibly nuanced, sensitive and personal experience. Sexual behaviour can move along a spectrum, from the conservative to the very liberal; while sexuality, the erotic and its physical manifestation also exists on a spectrum. On one side is the joyful, whole bodied worship of sex as the ultimate expression of divine love; a spiritual act that helps to raise consciousness, ignite creativity and spark connectivity. At the opposite end, sex is an act to be feared or to be shied away from; a trigger of former trauma, a painful experience, or one that brings little or no sensation or contentment. Many of us will traipse up and down the spectrum through our lives to various degrees like playing a keyboard; dancing to a soundtrack that ebbs and flows according to our life’s events. Childbirth, loss, love, pain and emotional disturbances alter the frequency and vibrations of the chords so that the sound waves oscillate. Sometimes, the tune jars discordantly and we lose that sweet rhythm that dictates the beat of our days. However, with the right fiddling of the right knob at the right time (!) the harmonies can unite in angelic delectability, so that everything and everyone is singing of the same hymen sheet. I mean, hymn sheet.
How Pelvic Solutions can help
Lisa Carnie and Ingrid Volweiller are pelvic health physiotherapists at Pelvic Solutions, working with men and women to assess and help rectify issues arising from a myriad of different affectations. Life events that leave a physical imprint, like childbirth, prostate cancer, injury or sexual trauma, can have an enormous impact on one’s sexual health. Prolapse, incontinence, erectile dysfunction and pain during sex are very common dysfunctions, but should never be considered normal. 18% of sexually active women have experienced leaking with sex, with 62.9% experiencing it with penetration and 31.7% experiencing it with orgasm. There are so many ways to help and there’s hope for all. Lisa and Ingrid can help perform physical and internal adjustments to restore the balance and activity of the pelvic floor muscles which can often affect incontinence or pain; as well as using devices such as penis pumps which have been shown to significantly aid nutritional blood flow to the penile tissues for men with erectile dysfunction following prostate cancer surgery or treatment. As specialists in the sector, they look at pelvic health from a holistic sense; taking into account the mental and physical contributors and working with their clients to better their muscle integrity, breathing, posture and sense of wellbeing.
Getting down and dirty with Nina Powell
Every month we have a theme which we explore in our social media and blog posts; interviewing therapists who specialise within that theme and how they work alongside us as pelvic health physios. This month we chatted to Transformational Coach Nina Powell who is a local therapist working to better the relationships, mental health and sex lives of women. She believes in the transformative energy of the erotic, and that a healthier sexual experience can trickle into and benefit every area of our life. New Zealand born and bred, it took Nina a divorce at 30-years-of-age to realise where her purpose lay. “I was living in the UK, working as an Ergonomist and Occupational Psychologist in safety critical industries,” she says. “I did a lot of travelling for work and it was a very corporate, professional setting. I always imagined I would work with people, but it turned out I was writing a lot of reports. When my marriage ended, I started to question everything in my life.” Nina started to research meditation and began attending weekend workshops, which eventually led her to study Sexological Bodywork. “It was the initial piece that gave me the tools to help people become sexual sovereigns and really reclaim their pleasure; to be able to transform their life from that place because it’s the core of all relationships and the place where all our traumas show up,” Nina says.
The coach eventually left her corporate job in 2014 and has been working in her chosen modality ever since – moving to Wanaka three-years ago. “I think that without the erotic, we die. Not necessarily physically, but our life force wilts,” she says. “The erotic life force in the body is the ability to enjoy every moment; it’s sensuality in aliveness. It’s the breeze on your skin, it’s the taste of food and playfulness. Sex is such a part of that because it’s the full expression of that energy and without it I believe we are the living dead.”
The why behind the wet
Powell says women come to her for support with a plethora of issues. “Relationships are the biggest reason that people come to me; if things aren’t really working and people are worried about their relationship and they know that sexuality is the glue. Often women don’t feel fulfilled sexually. A lot of women are so busy in their mind that they can’t relax and enjoy sex. A lot of women also have pain throughout sex and if you’ve got pain that’s totally wrong. The longer you have pain, the more the body starts priming for it. A pelvic floor physiotherapist can help you here. Past trauma is a big thing, as is libido, or lack thereof. Women can also find it really hard to communicate during sex and ask for what they want, or difficulty in becoming aroused, for a whole host of reasons.”
Taking self-love to a new level
One of the key things Nina teaches women is how to become attune with their own bodies. “Really take the time to learn your own body. Become an incredible lover with yourself so you’re not dependent on someone else, and through that you’ll be able to enjoy sex a lot more with a partner,” Nina says. “If you don’t use it, you lose it. Your libido will drop off and you’ll find it hard to get aroused. A women’s body can take up to 40-minutes to become aroused and when you’re with a partner, a lot of women feel they’re taking too long. Neurologically we form highways to pleasure, and you can cultivate your own sexuality and sexual pleasure. If you want to be able to enjoy sex in other ways, you have to practise other things and form new highways. There are things you can do, such as full breathing, making sounds, relaxing your body and using particular visualisations that really help to move us to, ‘Oh my God’ realms. That is the juicy, amazing sex that people are craving. The more you can practise doing that on your own, the more you’ll be satisfied with a partner.”
“There is hope for everybody. And amazingly, the body wants it so much, that often it will happen very quickly if you get professional support. Often I find that things can shift as quickly as a couple of weeks. Let’s be clear that not everyone can surrender to an orgasm; but you can have much more pleasure and enjoy all of the neurotransmitters which are released during wonderful sex; the testosterone, dopamine and oxytocin.”
Better sex = better work?
Nina says the benefits of transcendent sex goes far beyond the bedroom (or couch/living room floor/kitchen counter.) “The same thing that creates babies can create other babies like your work. And your work babies will be much better creations if you have the erotic turned on,” she says. “It’s like your secret weapon and it’s something that we don’t talk about because women have been shamed around sex. But it’s your superpower and you can use it to succeed in all areas of your life, boosting your magnetism and confidence. If that part of self is being shut down, there is a sense of pain and loss, and it might manifest as physical pain. You only get one life; do you want to spend this life wondering?”
You can see more of Nina’s work at www.ninapowell.org