Just writing this heading made me recoil a little. Women don’t want to hear about anger right? We just want to talk about adopting a positive mindset and being all light and airy and carefree.
That’s all well and good and I’m going to get to that. I’m bringing up anger to acknowledge it as a valid emotion. ‘Cos suppressing it all the time isn’t doing all that much good for your libido.
Welcome to the second instalment of the Permission blog series!
With the release of my first book Permission in the coming weeks, I’ve made the month of September all about PERMISSION and what giving that to yourself means for your sexual and intimate life.
Back to anger.
Anger isn't doing all that much for your libido. In fact, constantly swallowing down anger and its BFF frustration are potentially contributing to some big old blocks inside of your body and I reckon they have had their time taking up precious space. Space that could be better used to feel all the good stuff in life and sex.
Nothing clogs up our heart energy, which is comprised of compassion, generosity, love (obvs) and nurturing quite like anger does. Think of anger as strangling your potential to feel all of those things.
Anger inserts itself into sex and intimacy through multiple channels. The problem isn’t that anger comes up – it really is more about what you do with that anger when you notice it. Bottling it up, suppressing it, swallowing it down means that it closes off our heart and over time, morphs into bitterness and resentment.
Bitterness and resentment are libido killers.
(Read that line again for emphasis)
You can’t be juiced up for your partner if you are feeling angry, bitter and resentful towards them. These are incompatible states.
I don’t want to dwell on this too much – let’s move on to what triggers anger and what you can do about it to clear and move on…
You probably get angry about/within sex and intimacy because…
+You don’t feel heard. You are repeating the same things/requests and they are not being honoured
+You don’t feel acknowledged. Women say to me that they feel like they are just a vessel for their partners’ sexual pleasure or release
+You are in a sexless/low sexual frequency relationship and this is not a mutual decision
+There has been a breech of trust, which includes secret behaviours and/or infidelity that have you feeling unsafe
+There is ongoing conflict about touch, affection and what intimacy actually is within your relationship
+You have historically had negative sexual experiences - some of which have breeched your consent (your yes or no) or you are a victim (some prefer survivor) of sexual assault or abuse
+You are open to having an intimate partner and you have been independent a long time
These are all valid reasons to get angry and feel angry.
If you never allow yourself to feel this, here is your permission slip:
You have permission to feel angry.
You have permission to feel a sense of injustice.
You have permission to feel betrayed.
You have permission to feel livid.
My advice is to speak to anger where you can in the moment. Public spaces and in front of children obviously aren’t ideal.
When you are in the right space (which may be when you are alone), say what it is you need to say.
Don’t go silent. Don’t let that lump grow in your throat. Don’t say ‘I’m FINE!’
You gotta let it out! Please…do it for your sanity, do it for your body, which will feel the effects of not saying anything long after the original problem has passed. It’s smart like that.
And if you really feel blocked about speaking up and out, do it in therapy (hey, I know this woman… ;)
The most important thing is that the anger comes OUT and doesn’t stay IN.
Not all conversations that involve anger will be productive and I think that is part of the reason why we don’t express it. It feels unruly and whether we know it or not, expressing anger feels un-feminine. We are meant to be understanding and forgiving right? Erm...
That is a really damaging narrative for women to live by. That we need to be soft. Always soft.
My favourite ways to get the anger out is to:
+Say what I mean in the moment, EVEN if to an outsider it would sound unjustified or privileged or full of the victim mentality. I really think it just needs to come out in an uncensored way. I allow my voice to get loud because it speeds up the clearing process. When we say what is happening in the moment, it makes space for all the gratitude, love and appreciation to be expressed later. Don’t soften it. Just say it.
+I choose who I say what to. I place my anger in safe spaces. Each to their own but in the moment, going to social media probably isn’t the wisest decision as the anger is raw and may not be expressed in the way that you ultimately want it to be expressed or the message to be conveyed.
+Be on my own. Sometimes I just need the space to process and come down from my spiral to clear and re-emerge in the world. The longer I put it off, the more useless I become to my husband, my girls and my business.
+Walk in nature. Sometimes I just walk on grass and speak out loud to that vastness. I say I am disappointed or frustrated and why and honestly, it shrinks the size of my anger. It’s an act of clearing.
+Pour it into creative pursuits. I love writing but I know other people love using their hands, gardening, helping other people, dreaming about where it is you want to be (or who you want to be with), travelling…whatever it is that you love and keeps you feeling like life has a little motion to it.
Taking all of this into the bedroom, I don’t recommend that you push through with having sex or sexual contact if you are in the midst of anger. Hey, there are some people that this works for – angry sex is a real thing. But the odds are, if you are reading this, that anger doesn’t easily or quickly morph into arousal for you. That’s cool and totally natural. Own it, don’t try and feel anger and arousal simultaneously if you just don’t and never have.
I’m a fan of anger when I see its sense of purpose.
I use it as a barometer to let me know what I really feel passionate about or where I really need to pour my energy. When I get riled up, my husband just waits and listens to me because more often than not, that anger isn’t targeted at someone. It is targeted at myself or something bigger than me that has triggered off a sense of powerlessness.
If your anger is targeted at your partner or an old dynamic that you have that just isn’t working, it’s time to let it out. Good old fashioned communication skills are using the ‘I’ where you can to own your stuff that is contributing to or causing the anger. Can you use that to work out where you have power and where you don’t? Remember, we can make requests of our partners but we can’t change them.
If you have exhausted all the options – speaking with the ‘I’, doing your own inner work, going to couples counselling and nurturing all the forms of intimacy and love languages, maybe it’s time to either accept things as they are OR to consider bringing the relationship to a close. If the anger has already made way for the bitterness and resentment and it feels like there isn’t a lot to salvage, why are you staying together? (This is a whole blog in itself and I know some of the obvious reasons but I’ll leave it there).
Know that I am reluctant to suggest separation (I ultimately want good relationships to see it through) but if the anger isn’t budging and the problems are persisting despite various interventions then it can be the healthiest course of action.
If you are nodding your head to this one, my biggest nudge to you would be…please don’t go into sex angry or bitter. It’s a massive cause of shutdown in sex – probably the biggest. It can’t keep going on or you risk never wanting sex or arousal in any form again.
Life happens, shit happens and there’s a lot that isn’t really fair, especially when we choose to spend our lives together.
You have permission to feel angry.
P.S. Your anger is valid and if you are struggling to find a safe place to put it or you feel lost with how to express it in your own way, then it’s time to step forward into a private discussion with me. I am so comfortable with anger and injustice and getting it out is safer than keeping it in. Let’s talk, vent and get you clear so you can move through and move on with your intimate and personal life.