The Connection Between Trauma Responses And Your Sex Life

Aug 08, 2023

We like to blame a lot of different things for the lack of sex and intimacy in our relationships, I hear these excuses all the time. The problem is that blaming these things is ruining your relationships and your overall well being.

Hormones and/or stress are common things people blame for the lack of sex and intimacy in their relationship. And while it’s true that stress and sex DO NOT MIX, which you can learn more about in my book The Pink Canary, this isn’t an excuse and there’s likely more to it.

You have heard me say it before and I will say it again – You are not missing a tip, technique, or another podcast about better sex. It’s about YOU. There’s a 90% chance it’s not your hormones contributing to the lack of sex and intimacy in your relationship. Instead, we have to look inward at our ability to receive pleasure and our ability to allow ourselves to feel good.

Good sex requires 3 things: 

  1. Pleasure - How good can you let yourself feel, feel good without earning it
  2. Presence - The goal of amazing sex and connection is to be present with high sensation 
  3. Connection - Anyone can have the check box sex, but good sex is about SEEKING to connect in an intimate way, showing/sharing all of you with someone

This is what people are missing and CRAVING.

Let’s talk about how trauma responses are impacting your ability to achieve these three elements for good sex.


Trauma Responses and Being A High-Achieving Superwoman

You might not think this applies to you, but hear me out. Being able to be present, receive pleasure, and to truly connect is directly correlated to our ability to feel safe. With both ourselves and others. 

So many of the women I work with do not identify as childhood trauma survivors. They had food on the table, their parents went to watch their sports, they took family vacations, etc. The other half are like me. They’ve been to therapy, have had coaches, they’ve read the books, and our healing work continues to deepen.

My clients are successful. They have the house, the cars, they take the vacations, etc. and they DO NOT see themselves as trauma survivors, codependent, or coming from dysfunctional homes. 

Even myself – growing up I experienced sexual abuse but because I wasn’t curled up in a ball and non-functional, I didn’t think it counted and thought it wasn't that bad. I spent years in denial convincing myself it didn't really happen and that it didn't affect me. But my nervous system had another story.

I truly don’t know a client that has not had some form of abuse or emotional neglect.

So what does this have to do with being a high-achieving Superwoman? Let’s go over the characteristics of what I like to call a “Superwoman”.

  • Over-functioning
  • Perfectionism
  • People-pleasing
  • Difficulty relaxing and being present
  • Approval seeking
  • Addiction to stress, constantly “doing”, being “on” 

These are trauma responses. They make us successful, resourceful, tenacious, and highly capable of anything we set our minds to. But it can also make it extremely difficult for us to connect intimately.


How do trauma responses affect sex and intimacy?

Even if we consciously feel safe with our partners, intimacy can trigger our trauma responses, causing our nervous system to NOT feel safe or act as if there’s a threat.

If you’re not having the best sex ever, chances are you are missing the CONNECTION part. And in order to rectify that, your nervous system needs to feel safe. But like I mentioned, our trauma responses can trigger our nervous system to go into fight/flight/freeze/fawn to protect us from the perceived threat.

Here’s how the different trauma responses may be affecting your sex life.


  • Tension, stiff muscles
  • Crustiness and irritability
  • Picking fights, arguing to avoid intimacy
  • Physically pushing your partner away
  • Sex usually devoid of connection
  • Sex for validation/control
  • Selfish lover


  • Difficulties staying present during sex (thinking about to-do lists, etc.)
  • Checking the clock, wanting to “get it over with” 
  • Feeling like its “not the right time”, circumstances need to perfect 
  • Feeling shivering, ticklish, other intense physical sensations of discomforting when being touched 
  • Anxious and in your head 
  • Faking orgasms 
  • Feeling emotionally and physically unsafe 
  • Sex as stress relief


  • Low libido, disconnected 
  • Difficulty expressing desires/needs verbally 
  • Doesn’t see a point in sex 
  • Feeling like you are watching things from a birds eye view, out of body 
  • Feeling empty
  • Being withdrawn afterward 
  • Avoiding sex to gain a form of safety


  • Having sex out of obligation or guilt 
  • Feeling pressured and like you have to be amazing at all sexual acts 
  • Feeling rejected when your partner tells you what they like/gives feedback 
  • Better at giving, not good at receiving 
  • Feeling empty after
  • Faking orgasm/enjoyment 
  • Chronic pelvic pain


How To Calm Your Nervous System During Intimacy

I’m going to be honest, this work is deeper than advice I can write in a blog article. But here are some quick tips to help get you started.

  • Getting your nervous system regulated outside of sex
    • Gargling or other vagus nerve exercises
    • Exercise, walking/bilateral movement
  • Grounding exercises
    • Focus on your 5 senses – what can you see, touch, taste, smell, hear?
  • Slow down, take breaks if you need to 
  • Learn communication techniques to share your desires, fears, boundaries in a way that does not put your partner on tilt (this is something you learn in Pleasure Principles)
  • Self pleasure – this is a great way to rewire your nervous system to know that pleasure is safe! In and out of the bedroom.


I need help regulating my nervous system for better sex and intimacy

There are two ways you can work with me to fill the void you’ve been feeling and achieve the intimacy and connection you’ve been craving.

  1. 1:1 Private Coaching with Jordin 

At the time I am writing this, applications are open for private coaching – Private and exclusive pleasure and intimacy coaching for successful women looking for intimacy, better sex, and more connected relationships. Click here to learn more and apply to work with me. 


  1. Enroll in the Pleasure Principles™

Pleasure Principles™ is the foundational program created by Jordin Wiggins  to enhance, reignite, and communicate your desires, while bringing the vitality back to you and your relationships. Click here to learn more and enroll in the program.


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