Sexual Healing from Genital Armoring
“Genital armoring initially occurs when children are shamed or discouraged from touching their genitals, enjoying their bodies through masturbation and engaging in natural exploration with peers. It can also result from invasive medical interventions (i.e. abortion, hysterectomy, circumcision, or cesarean delivery) insensitive or unskilled partners, rough handling, overuse of vibrators, emotional trauma, and from unfulfilling lovemaking. The most dramatic and severe genital armoring is often a result of rape or child sexual abuse but ordinary people with no personal history of abuse can easily acquire enough armoring to drastically limit their sexual pleasure simply by being exposed to society’s typical anti-sex messages.
The concept of genital armoring is derived from Wilhelm Reichs theory of body armoring. Reich believed that the muscular tissue of the body responds to emotional as well as physical trauma by tensing up in a protective reflex. Over time, these tissues become chronically stiff and hard, blocking sensation and energy flow in the affected area. Armoring is an instinctive protective device whose purpose is to defend against experiencing physical or emotional pain. It is the bodily equivalent of psychological defense mechanisms such as denial, projection, or repression. It is mediated by constricting the breath and by muscular contraction, both of which reduce our capacity to experience pleasurable feelings and ultimately lead to disease.
When body armoring occurs in the sex organs we call it genital armoring. Genital armoring in women can show up as decreased arousal, decreased clitoral or vaginal sensitivity, insufficient lubrication, hypersensitivity, absence of pleasurable sensation during intercourse, vaginismus, or painful intercourse. A healthy vagina is naturally soft, wet, elastic, and electrifyingly responsive to a desirable partner. It invites the penis to enter and enthusiastically enters into a dance of love.
In men, armoring can cause the penis to become insensitive, resulting in a need for intense stimulation in order to maintain an erection or reach orgasm. Conversely, armoring can create over-sensitivity, premature ejaculation and a discomfort with being gently stroked. Armoring in men also manifests itself in the form of chronic tension in the anal sphincter muscles, involuntary erections, an attitude of sexual greed and the need for repeated genital stimulation. Men frequently have a lot of armoring in the heart area, as well, and are unable to experience pleasurable sensations from stimulation of their breasts and nipples. A healthy penis remains flexible and sensitive even when erect. It is able to transmit energy to the vagina and receive sexual pleasure both during vigorous intercourse and in a softer, resting mode.”
- Dr. Deborah Taj Anapol, Ph.D (What is Sexual Healing?)