“When I see a Pretty Woman in the Street I feel Paralysed.”

“When I see a Pretty Woman in the Street I feel Paralysed.”

Why do I feel Paralysed when I see a Pretty Woman in the Street?

When seeing a pretty woman in the street makes you feel paralysed, she obviously made an impression on you! Feeling paralysed can of course be really annoying. You feel your limbs are getting heavy, and it seems impossible to say anything without slurring your words. That state prevents you from being able to walk up to her, and to just say hello, and give her a smile. Feeling paralysed is akin to a freeze response – you may feel like a rabbit in the headlights. In this state, your subconscious mind takes over your body, to protect you, and it may feel very difficult to take actions to get back to safety, and calm your nervous system down. Of course you do not want to be in that state, especially given that you are not being attacked by a sabre tooth tiger or similar – that pretty girl is however having a very similar effect to real danger presenting itself. Why would your nervous system respond like that to physical attraction?

The Role of Physical Attraction in our Lives

Our sex drive can be an incredibly strong force, to the degree that it gets us into altered states. It seems that this is how most of us are made, as (younger) adults, and it ensures survival of the species. Strangers can be dangerous. We don’t know them, and maybe they are not benevolent towards us. A stranger who we are attracted to is a person who potentially has the power to transform our lives if we let them. Attraction can bypass all our usual boundaries and defences, and while it may lead to healthy and wholesome relationships and family, there is also the phenomenon of the ‘femme fatale’. The femme fatale will not feel attraction herself but abuse her power to destroy lives. Sexual attraction can be wholesome or devastating, that’s why a great number of cultures have laws, rules and regulations that protect matrimony and family, and rely on arranged marriages for their youth. In the Western World however, most people pick their partners by themselves, and physical attraction can feel scary! Inexperience of course plays a role in this, and things can become more relaxed once we are a little older, and have lived through quite a number of erotic situations.

What can I do when I feel Paralysed in Erotic Situations?

In scary situations, even if triggered by a pretty woman, we tend to hold our breath. While this is naturally occurring, we can actually use conscious breathing to get back to safety. Take a deep breath if you can! Fear plus breath equals excitement. Ideally, you want to breathe deeply into your lower abdomen to ground yourself. You can also try the so-called square breath – count to 4 on the inhale, hold for 4, exhale on 4, and hold for 4 again. Make it a habit to smile, even if only to yourself, because like the famous Ipanema girl, she might not even have seen you. 

Pretty Women, and heterosexual Men

‘For heterosexual men, women are the life-giving element’, said Tantra teacher John Hawken. Both men and women look at women in the street, and women may have more of an effect on men than vice versa. That’s why it can feel and be scary for attractive women to draw attention, often from men they don’t feel particularly drawn to. As to men, they are bombarded by sexual imagery in today’s urban environments, and it can feel frustrating and even depressing for men to be surrounded by all this beauty and not being able to meet a suitable partner. Overcoming a paralysis response, and then experiencing constant rejection can feel devastating.

Men have a lot to give, too!

What can be off-putting for women is when a man comes across as needy. In order to overcome neediness and find your own self worth as a heterosexual man, you may want to do an exercise, where you picture yourself as giving from your essence, selflessly, to the world. I would suggest using your voice as the medium. Whenever you talk to a female stranger, the cashier perhaps, or a shop assistant, imagine that you are giving your voice as a gift to them. While this gift is selfless, you may be surprised how different the response to this is! Embodiment is also a great skill which I teach, and can help to ground yourself when you feel erotic attraction. Remember to breathe when you next see a pretty woman in the street!

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