What Is Sexual De-Armoring?

Published: Feb 16, 2024 | Revised: Mar 31, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Couple having sex with the woman being disinterested

Although Body De-Armoring is about release of muscular tensions and related emotional trauma in a general sense, it’s often equated with Sexual De-Armoring or even Genital De-Armoring, that is, with sexual trauma healing.

Creation of the Body Armor

The reason that De-Armoring is commonly interpreted as Sexual De-Armoring is because the origins of this Body-Mind Therapy (Somatic Therapy or Body Psychotherapy) can be found in the work of the Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. In fact, Reich developed the concepts of Character Armor and Body Armor (Muscular Armor), notably based on the idea that sexual repression in our early childhood lies at the core of our “armors” or emotional defense.

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According to Reich, already at an early age, our parents, family, and in a wider sense society disapprove of the free expression of our sexual energy (often equated with libido), sexual excitation, and sexual curiosity, which subsequently results in feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and consequently repression of our sexual feelings and our desire for sexual pleasure.

This gradually creates a Character Armor, a psychological protection mechanism that later in our lives results in a distorted connection to sexuality, expressing itself in emotional avoidance mechanisms which inhibit us to form intimate relationships and experience a joyful and healthy sexual life.

In addition, this Sexual Character Armor reflects itself physically in the body, creating muscular and other bodily tensions (or numbness and disconnectedness) — a Body or Muscular Armor — notably related to the sexual organs that is, the genitals. This restricts the flow of Vital Life Force in the body (Reich called this energy Orgone), while it may also result in a range of sexual dysfunctions and disorders, such as pain during sexual intercourse, numbness, vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction (ED), premature ejaculation (PE), orgasmic disorders, low sex drive, and so on.

Mind also that tensions of muscles and other tissues in the body restricts the blood flow, puts pressure on internal organs, and may lead to breathing issues — typically shallow breathing — which again may cause a variety of other discomforts or health issues, such as a decreased immune function, slower wound healing, diminished detoxification and waste management of the body, decreased hormone delivery, hypertension, feelings of low energy and low vitality, and diminished creative concentration ability, to just give some examples.

Sexual De-Armoring Techniques

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Reich claimed that the benefit of dissolving the patient’s Muscular Armor includes an automatic purge and release of the Character Armor. He therefore developed a Body De-Armoring therapy called Vegetotherapy, which consists of a combination of massage, abdominal work, breathwork, palpation, strong pressure, and movement and trauma simulation exercises.

This work may be accompanied by actual Psychotherapy (Talk Therapy), which involves reflecting on the emotions and traumatic memories that come up during a Vegetotherapy session. Nevertheless, Reich also claimed that additional psychological reflection and integration is not always necessary; the Abreaction or Catharsis achieved in a session may be enough to becoming aware of and relive a traumatic experience, completely relax the body, and purge the stored negative emotions and its effects out of one’s system.

As a result people can again experience joy and pleasure in sex, have better orgasms, feel calmer and less stressed, have more meaningful and intimate relationships, feel revitalized and healthier, and tap better into their Vital Life Energy flow and creative potential. As a whole one could say that Sexual De-Armoring opens up the door to increased personal growth, happiness, and pleasure in life.

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Today, we find a broad variety of De-Armoring techniques and therapies that are (partly or fully) based on Reich’s pioneering work, such as Tantric De-Armoring, Core Energetics, Bioenergetic Analysis, Bioenergetic Breathing, Neo-Reichian Massage, Genital Mapping, Biodynamic Massage, Radiance Breathwork, Radix Work, Somatic Sexology, among other methodologies.

Some of the practices described above include professional Psychotherapy, but many don’t. Additionally, we find that certain massage, breathwork and other bodywork modalities may induce Sexual Body De-Armoring and Catharsis, which sometimes happens coincidentally during a session, but at other times as a result of deliberate De-Armoring purposes. Think in this case of treatments such as Tantric Massage, Holotropic Breathwork, Abdominal Massage, Genital Massage, Yoni Mapping, Rebirthing Breathwork, Taoist Erotic Massage, among other modalities.

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