Every Sexsomniac has a unique set of triggers. Triggers are a key area of Sexsomnia that must be addressed head on with all due diligence. We must first learn what our triggers are and understand them before we can begin to heal and recover from sexsomnia. This is the first step to the Path of Understanding and Healing.
So, what are triggers? Triggers are stressors that lead up to an episode. (Episode- an episode is the term used for an actual sexsomnia event) From my extensive research about Sexsomnia and my first-hand experience of triggers and episodes, I have found that most sexsomniacs, including myself, experience one or more of the following triggers prior to an episode. I recommend reading Dr. Michael Mangan’s book, [amazon_link id=”1401037666″ target=”_blank” ]Sleepsex: Uncovered[/amazon_link], it is well-written and easy-to-understand.
These are a few of the biggest triggers that impact each Sexsomniac. We will address them and then how to best manage them. This list, by no means, is complete and will be added to as other Sexsomniacs share their triggers with us. (Find a Sleep Center Near You)
Life Stress– situations or circumstances that impact you mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. i.e. A bad day at work, tense situations at home or in a relationship, financial concerns, etc…
Emotional Factors– a set of feelings that emotionally impact you in a negative way. i.e. A bad or hostile personal relationship, people who you may or may not know that treat you poorly and disrespectfully that causes you to feel resentment, anger, or depressed, etc…
Mental Factors– a thought process or processes that effect your conscious decision-making abilities and thoughts that you keep to yourself. i.e. these include comments from other people who you may or may not know, something that you read, hear, or see etc…
Psychological Factors– situations or circumstances that affect your psychological health. i.e. Did someone put you down, make you feel less than, or say anything negative about you, your attributes, your physique, or your virtues that you know simply is not true? Comments from others affect our self-esteem, self-image, and self-perception. How are you currently processing these statements from others?
Subconscious Attraction– an attraction on any level (mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, sexual, etc…) that you have towards someone while not consciously realizing your attraction to the person. i.e. you see someone and are attracted to them because they may have given you a compliment or perhaps you saw this person and thought they look nice or carry themselves in a manner that you respect. They may also have a body odor, scent, or physical symmetry that your subconscious focuses on. This could very well lay the foundation to a subconscious attraction. One that you will not realize is present and even growing.
NOTE: If you consciously realize that you find someone attractive in any of the aforementioned ways that is not a subconscious attraction since you have mental recall of the thoughts. Subconscious attraction is when you do not realize you are attracted and have no conscious recollection of any attractive thoughts or emotions.
Subconscious Thoughts– this is similar to subconscious attraction in respect to the fact you do not consciously realize it is taking place. The human mind is extremely powerful and still not fully understood. Perhaps one day with the constant research into the human brain we will come to fully understand our brains. In fact, on a daily basis, your subconscious thoughts affect your overall disposition either negatively or positively. Often from a culmination of thoughts that you will likely not be able to discern consciously. i.e. have you ever felt happy or sad without really knowing why? This is your subconscious at work pre-disposing you to a particular mood or feelings.
Sexual Desire– is the subjective feeling and inclination to have sex coupled with ones natural hormonal production. Internal and external cues may also bring forth sexual desire whether one actively engages in sexual behavior or not. i.e. the sensations pre-disposing one to sexual desire. Visual, physical, emotional, psychological, taste and touch are such sensations.
Mentally Processing Triggers
Now that we have outlined a few triggers and what they are, let us discern how best to mentally process them.
As we focus on our triggers it is paramount to remain positive and not become discouraged, doing so will ensure that we view our triggers in healthy and productive manner. We must view the triggers as objective information about us and our illness (Sexsomnia) and not take it personally when a trigger manifests itself in our daily lives.
Remember, we did not choose to have sexsomnia. You did nothing wrong to get sexsomnia. It is no different from a cancer patient, they did not choose to have cancer anymore than we chose to have sexsomnia. So where to we go from here?
Identifying and understanding triggers is the first step to ensuring sexsomnia episodes happen at a lower frequency. As you are addressing your triggers you will likely have episodes. This is ok, it happens to all of us. Like cancer, sexsomnia is not an illness that we will ever fully recover from. At best, as with cancer, the most we can hope for is a form of remission.
Addressing Triggers with a Healthy, Positive, and Constructive Outlook
Now that we know a few of the most common triggers and how view them, what is next?
Step 1: Keep a daily journal about the events of your day. Ask yourself: What were my thoughts about today? Were they positive or negative? Did you see someone that you find attractive? Or, did someone offend you personally or professionally?
NOTE: I find it useful to provide a summary of the day at the beginning of my journal, outline the triggers, and close with thoughts, concerns, and aspirations. Outline each of the aforementioned triggers and write about any concerns or thoughts you have about them. If you do this, then you will begin a record that you can come back to later one when you have episodes to see what went wrong or when you are not having episodes to figure out what went right. Which is very useful in mitigating future episodes.
Step 2: If you discover a trigger is plaguing you, focus on that trigger. Remember, we are all human and mistakes happen. If triggers are pulled DO NOT take it out on yourself. Instead follow the process in, process out thought process. In other words, mentally remove yourself from the situation and view what happened as though you were assisting an extremely close friend. You will find that this is much more productive and healthy for you and it will be much easier to not become so discouraged.
NOTE: If you are reading this, then you have found an online community full of support, understanding, and acceptance. Please take advantage of our community. Post your concerns, comment posts, or join the discussion in our forum. You will find you are not alone and that we will help each other to the best of our abilities.
Step 3: Implement safeguards. You may be asking yourself, what is a safeguard? A safeguard is a very conscious decision to ensure that you remain 100% focused and attentive to what your triggers are and remain vigiliant in your day-to-day life to ensure that you do not allow anyone to pull your tirggers. Do not allow anyone to pull your triggers. Quite frankly, this is about YOUR health and YOUR well being, do not allow someone else to have that power over you.
NOTE: This is can seem very tedious and tiresome, however it is a great way to embark on the path of understanding and healing. Other people can only get you down and make you feel less than if you allow them too. If you have people in your life like this, then they are simply not people worth your attention. The people who truly care about you will not make you feel ashamed, guilty, or less for any reason.
Step 4: Make the decision that you will not allow yourself to feel like a victim and stick your decision. By not allowing yourself to feel like a victim to unforunate events and realities of life, you will effectively take away any excuses for not getting better.
NOTE: This is especially important if you have mild to severe sexsomnia. Please know, there are sexsomniacs with mild to severe sexsomnia that have greatly improved and largely minimized their episodes. Anything is possible with the right outlook, attitude, and discipline.
Step 5: Probably, one of most important steps. Realize, you are not the only one with sexsomnia and you will find solace here at Sexsomniacs Journey. Whether you are going through good times or having very hard times with Sexsomnia, we are here for YOU.
I greatly look forward to reading your comments and feedback about your experiences with sexsomnia. If you would like for me to add a trigger or step to this post please share it with me at email@example.com Thank you.
Take care and be well.