Reconnecting to Sexuality After An Unhealthy Relationship

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In this episode, Nischa Phair helps us reconnect to our sexuality after being in an unhealthy relationship.

Nischa Heron Phair is an author, researcher and trauma-informed sex educator who believes in authentic sexuality as the antidote to sexual perfectionism—the silent intimacy killer that makes us perform sex instead of experiencing it in a way that feels truly embodied. She works almost exclusively with female survivors and those recovering from unhealthy relationships to help them reclaim a nourishing, authentic and soulfully-aligned relationship to pleasure that supports them to live purposefully in every area of their lives.

In this episode of Last First Date Radio:

  • Why Nischa became passionate about sexuality
  • How unhealthy relationships impact and injure a person’s sexuality
  • What is fawning?
  • How fawning affects people long term
  • How to reclaim sexuality after an unhealthy relationship
  • How the pandemic affected our relationship to pleasure

EP 493: Nischa Heron Phair – Reconnecting to Sexuality After An Unhealthy Relationship

Tell us why you became passionate about this field.

I’ve been doing somatic body work for over a decade. I started specializign in sexuality after I began my sexual reclamation process. I ended an abusive relationship in 2014. Prior to that I felt comfortable with my sexuality despite having a lot of sexual trauma. After that relationship, I was terrified to even touch myself. I was shut down emotionally and physically. I had a dream where I had an orgasm and was woken up to my sexuality. It took several months to feel safe in my body and compassionate with myself.

How do unhealthy relationships impact and injure a person’s sexuality?

When we are shut down, the stress responses aren’t separate from the behaviors and thoughts that go with that. We avoid harm by staying where we are instead of fighting back or fleeing. Fawning is shutting down. It’s not a choice. It’s a physiological response. Please don’t feel ashamed that this happened to you. It’s an unconscious choice. When your body is in shock, it shuts down. We can have digestive issues, depression, and more over time.

What is fawning?

It’s a stress response in relationship to people. When we’re in unsafe relationships, it shows up. People pleasing is a form of fawning. It represses our authentic needs and desires, so we can be loved and accepted. We lose connection to our language center. We repress our boundaries and make ourselves smaller. We lose ourselves to the relationship and their turn ons become our turn ons, because it’s easier that way. Sex is so vulnerable, and the worst thing is opening to our partner, and they don’t meet us or they criticize us.

How do we stop fawning?

Create a clean slate and choose partners who will help us have authentic safe relationships. Find someone who appreciates our value and worth. I work with people on their bodies first. Your conditioning is in your body, not your head. We have to recondition our bodies to know what to do in times of heightened stress.

I also do voice work and movement work with clients to rewire ourselves. Watch what babies look like when they’re learning to use their voice to cry and vocalize. That’s what we need to reconnect to if we want to stop fawning and have healthy relationships. 

What can people do to reclaim their sexuality after an unhealthy relationship?

We have to repattern our bodies from a cellular level. Our bodies feel unsafe and shut down after unhealthy relationships. Dose your senses with beautiful sensory information, whether it’s having essential oils, or flowers, using self-touch, to reaffirm that the world is safe, and it’s okay to receive it. In unhealthy relationships, we pay for our pleasure with pain. We have to recalibrate our senses. 

How has the pandemic affected our relationship to pleasure?

When our bodies close off to the world, we are disconnected from pleasure. When we were in lockdown, we lost connection. It’s a trauma we don’t know how to process. People feel more easily triggered. In terms of pleasure, some people struggled a lot, due to the imbalance of the workload in relationships, negotiating small spaces when working from home. There are a lot of things that need balancing and fixing. If we’re in stress management, we don’t have access to pleasure. 

What are your final words of advice for anyone who wants to go on their last first date?

Define your sexual values and weed people out sooner if they don’t have the same values as you. To figure out your sexual values, define what turns you on, what’s in integrity, and the sweet spot in the middle reveals your sexual values. Become your ideal partner. 

Watch this episode on Youtube

Connect with Nischa Go to her website to get her new book, Fawn: When No Looks Like Yes. 

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