When you feel sexually aroused or sexually frustrated does your mind too often jump to a habitual fantasy or fetish to push you over the edge to climax?

You are not alone. This kind of neural link is extremely common. Even if you would never want to act out a fantasy in real life it can be pesky, preoccupying your daily thoughts.

Perhaps it hijacks moments of warm closeness with a partner, launching you into a familiar mental orbit that has nothing to do with intimacy. Maybe you see it as a nuisance or merely as a means to an end. Or maybe you find it disturbing because you wonder what it means about who you really are, sexually or as a person? Spoiler alert: It typically means nothing, although it’s not necessarily risk-free.

Wondering how this happens?

You can thank evolution. You see, a primitive circuit in your brain evolved to create neural connections between sexual arousal and everything you associate with it. It evolved because arousal so often signals a potential genetic opportunity – evolution’s top priority.

Sometimes fantasies can emerge for innocuous reasons – or for seemingly no reason at all. For example, if crawling toward your mother’s shoe happened to stimulate your genitals through your nappy…Voilà! You may later discover that you find women’s feet and shoes erotic. Other times fantasies can arise from a traumatic experience, such as sexual abuse. Not surprisingly, later in life, when masturbating, your fantasies or erotic inspirations incorporate those elements. For some people these fantasies bleed into almost every area of their sexual behaviour.

There’s no rhyme or reason behind such associations. Humiliation, voyeurism, pain…all can end up in your repertoire without any conscious choice or underlying cause. No matter how distasteful you objectively find them.

Here’s the rub

The more often that you orgasm to your fetish, the stronger the brain loop between arousal and related cues becomes. Many scientists summarise this natural process as, “Nerve cells that fire together wire together”.

Again, this occurs because strengthening the neural connections between sexual cues and arousal historically furthered genetic success. Obviously, if you’re engaged in solo sex your genes are going nowhere when you climax. However, these brain circuits aren’t capable of reasoning. They evolved before humans were even human.

Mammals who swiftly learned what cues were associated with fertile mates passed on more genes. Their progeny continued to hone the neural mechanisms for linking cues associated with having sex. So successful were our ancestors at wiring up these associations that all of us now do this subconsciously.

As noted, associations between seemingly random things and sexual arousal can form early in life. Also, perhaps because males evolved with greater proceptivity (the tendency to initiate sexual activity), they tend to wire up fetishes and fantasies more easily than females. However, as today’s females discover sex aids (erotic images and fiction) earlier than our female ancestors did, and well before partner contact, that may shift a bit going forward.

Want to erase an association?

Given how deeply embedded these fetish-associations can be, how could one ever hope to erase them? The process is simple and logical, but not easy at first. Scientists have summarised it as, “When nerve cells fire apart wires depart”.

Stop using your fetish to get aroused, and you weaken the link. Over time it can lose its power to the point where you can steer your attention wherever you like – even when aroused.

If you and a partner are exploring Synergy, this can be easier than you think. After all, Synergy lovemaking does not have orgasm as the goal. Because of the pleasure of affectionate contact, you’ll find it easier to keep your attention on other delicious aspects of your time together. Also, if a habitual fantasy springs up, you’ll automatically know to ignore it. It can only carry you away from your goal (Synergy) and toward business as usual (climax).

The challenge will grow more severe if you approach climax, of course, so try not to exceed a “6” or “7” out of “10” arousal level. If you say “Sod it”, and give in, your brain will promptly summon your fantasy to propel you toward your familiar goal. After all, your fetish’s job is to get you to climax and it operates independently of your conscious will.

Let Synergy help!

You may be surprised at how your fantasies/fetishes fade if you’re lucky enough to have a Synergy partner and regular contact. Stay away from climax-seeking for a few months.

Pro tip: If you become complacent and drift back into pursuing climax, whether with a partner or on your own, you will once again strengthen the old neural loop. As the saying goes, the wolf you feed will be the dominant wolf. (See below.)

Why bother eradicating familiar fantasies/fetishes?

Fantasies/fetishes have to do with random associations and not our worth as people. Yet they entail risks. One risk is escalation. If you satiate yourself too frequently via climax, you may find you need more extreme fantasies/fetishes or more “me time” to try to ease subsequent cravings. Escalation in pursuit of climax can drive people to act impulsively or make hazardous choices with very real repercussions from themselves or their partners.

Second, by giving into fantasies in pursuit of climax you may never be able to explore the full treasure of your relationship. Even when together, you can end up in your head imagining films that have little to do with trust or affection. This produces a neurochemistry that may impede deep bonding.

Also, think about it. If your most intense reward from a sexual session comes not from your partner, it means your partner alone has no hope of ever satisfying you. To find each other satisfying you need to be fully present in the experience. If you aren’t, then be honest. You value climax above intimacy however you may rationalise it or hope that you can have both.

Finally, pursuing fantasy can mar your self-esteem, causing you to mistake weird and less than wonderful associations from your past for indications of who you really are, both sexually and as a human being. Shaking yourself free of these customary shackles can be empowering and refreshing. Your fetishes don’t have to dictate your sex life. You have the capability to get them under control.

Ready to experiment?

If you decide to try weakening an unwanted brain loop a few things help. The first is lots of affectionate contact or socialising with friends. A second is vigorous, daily exercise. A third is energy circulation exercises. The latter have been used for thousands of years to harness sexual desire for larger goals.

Good luck!



Feeding the right wolf

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, lust and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, connection and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”