Triggers to Turn-Ons


There is something mystical happening to me and I am fully aware, witnessing the pieces of life around me decay and other parts bloom. My seeds are starting to penetrate the dirt. My love is becoming deeper, wider… more succulent, more luscious, more unconditional. I accept all of me and so I accept all of you. Lightning in a bottle provided me so many experiences to explore myself and all my reflections. I intentionally took classes that spoke to what needs healing in me. I want relationships full of love and freedom. When I really want something, I make it happen. I create a whole world for it to manifest easily. I felt the theme this year at Lightning in a bottle was about being able to live in the chaos of life. Being still in the chaos, becoming more aware of your surroundings in the chaos. Loving in the chaos. We can not avoid chaotic experiences but we can control our reactions in them. We can slow down and learn instead of reacting to everything around us. Jaime Williams, a sex and relationship coach guided a class at Lightning in a bottle, Triggers to Turn-Ons, showing us powerful tools we can use in transforming our sexual lives by developing more curiosity when we are triggered, a chaotic experience in itself.

“The Archaeology of Desire, the psychology of our desire often lies buried in the details of our childhood, and digging through the early history of our lives uncovers its archaeology. We can trace back to where we learned to love and how. Did we learn to experience pleasure or not, to trust others or not, to receive or be denied? Were our parents monitoring our needs or were we expected to monitor theirs? Did we turn to them for protection, or did we flee them to protect ourselves? Were we rejected? Humiliated? Abandoned? Were we held? Rocked? Soothed? Did we learn not to expect too much, to hide when we are upset, to make eye contact? In our family, we sense when it’s OK to thrive and when others might be hurt by our zest. We learn how to feel about our body, our gender, and our sexuality. And we learn a multitude of other lessons about who and how to be: to open up or to shut down, to sing or to whisper, to cry or to hide our tears, to dare or to be afraid.” ― Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

I was really sensitive to sound as a child. Maybe that is why my first memory was my mom screeching in fear as she was being threatened by my dads fist, again. I was two. Maybe it was the piercing cries I heard and felt on my back at my dad’s funeral… sitting in the front row, him in front of me. I could still feel this shit on my back. Maybe that’s why I can’t finish this poem I wrote at 12 years old, “Daddy’s Little Girl”. The sounds keep changing, the poem keeps changing, changing many times over the decades (wow, decades now) and some part of me refuses to hear those sounds. JUST MAYBE it’s the cries from my mom as a child- the ones I can’t hear, those are the worst. I feel sound to the places we have to inhale deeply for, places we’d rather put on a fake smile for. I feel sounds. I go to a really dark place when I hear the sounds of past traumas too intensely, it triggers me. I go into hiding… finding myself alone in a dark room. When I am ready, I start to imagine someone coming to keep me company, someone I care about, someone that brings me the most joy. Let’s call that person, Pierre. Pierre comes in and I light up with joy. Pierre then asks me what do I need in this moment? The 12 year old me tells him, “I want to escape the sounds, I want to play music.” Pierre takes out a record player and starts to play my favorite music. We have snacks and food galore, we laugh… we dance, we escaped. Playing this out, some of my turn ons as an adult:  whispering in my ear, listening to loud music like at a live concert, being consumed by music or playing with sound in some way in connection with my body. Serenading me is a major turn on. Having a thought experiment like this with your triggers can possibly lead to some hidden turn ons or turn ons you are aware of, but feel some shame about. Thank you for going on that mind trip with me, from trigger to turn on. It was very difficult to type out those truths, but i’m excited to know how sound is a major play on a few of my many turn-ons.

Navigating triggers to turn ons in intimate relationships requires letting go of conditioned love styles. Knowing what you want in intimate relations demands us to confront our fears and to unleash an undiscovered part of yourself. It may require some healing of past wounds. If you remain open in love, healing comes in the most surprising ways.      

“Sensual and sexual relationships are not something we are suppose to know how to do. Uncovering what is in the way of intimacy takes a generous amount of compassion, curiosity, and an honest gaze at the way you experience yourself in relationships.” – Jaime Williams

Jaime begun the class by asking everyone, “Are you a wave or an island?” When you get into conflict in your intimate relationships, when you are triggered… are you a wave or an island? A wave wants to talk about the issue or concern now, they want answers now and emotional security immediately. An island needs space to process emotions, they need space to think clearly, to feel safe to move forward. Both are still very beautiful but they operate differently. That’s ok. You may be both, a wave and an island, depending on who you are in conflict with or who triggers you. Bringing awareness to the wave and island concept in your relationships, how can we show more compassion when we are triggered? How can we go about having more successful “repair” conversations that may lead to make up sex… conversations that may heal childhood wounds? By becoming aware of how you react in conflict and providing space to understand your needs. Also, being able to clearly say what you need to the other person can heal and bring in more love to the chaos.  

Click link below to see more about the wave, the island, and the anchor attachment styles.

Moving forward in ways we can move from trigger to turn-ons, Jaime speaks about The Erotic Mind by Jack Morin. A book I have not read yet, but is on my reading list now.

“One day while contemplating the elegance of the equation Attraction + Obstacles = Excitement, he had a sudden insight: that eroticism has four cornerstones: longing and anticipation, violating prohibitions, searching for power, and overcoming ambivalence. Morin also finds that six emotions, exuberance, satisfaction, closeness, anxiety, guilt, and anger are associated with peak erotic experiences and that a unifying scenario, or core erotic theme, shapes each individual’s turn-ons” – Jack Morin

Core Erotic Themes, Jack Morin says, are born out of traumas and/or missing resources. The more curious we get about what we want, the more you are able to see where it was born. Helping us to be more mindful. The more we clarify what brings us pleasure… the more we are able to isolate what we crave and those revelations may heal your past wounds. Jaime Williams challenges us to approach our intimate relations like hearing music for the first time… staying curious about yourself and your partner/s… even after knowing each other for 20 years, remain curious. Some of our turn ons are confusing, so we tend to brush them away if they seem strange, sprinkling shame on top… instead of ignoring it, be curious about it. Ask yourself questions. When you take the time to heal yourself, you heal everyone involved in your world. I truly believe it.

Click link below to dive deeper into core erotic themes:

Love and Knowledge,