A major block to healthy sexual expression is anger, which is connected to low self-esteem and the feeling of being ineffectual. The struggle for self-esteem and a sense of importance as a person is a basic human concern. Sexuality in an angry relationship is not a source of pleasure, nor is it a basis on which a couple can share growth and build mutual respect. Repressed or improperly expressed anger is destructive to self-esteem and to relationships. Anger properly communicated and directed can be a powerful motivating force, an agent of change, and a personal resource.
For the Aries Woman, anger is a time-tested coping mechanism that comes more easily than tears. She uses anger to attack when she feels defensive, to cover inner doubts and fears, and to manipulate her way to personal power. What she loses is intimacy.
Repressed sexuality produces anger. Repressed anger produces inadequate sexual functioning. A woman who smiles when she feels like screaming, agrees when she really wants to disagree, or gets a headache whenever the subject of sex is brought up by her partner—may wind up anorgasmic. She often seeks many sex partners in a vain search for satisfaction. She psychologically castrates her male partners by never climaxing and sabotages herself by repeatedly putting herself in situations where she can't possibly get what she needs. Love is based not on self-denial but on the affirmation of self. One who is angry cannot be affirmative. Angry women hold back sexually. Improper or poor sexual stimulation is only a secondary cause for sensory, orgasmic impoverishment.
Obviously, ridding oneself of anger is the answer. However, wild fights that grow in volume and frequency are destructive and are not recommended. Controlled-release fights, the method described by Dr. George Bach in The Intimate Enemy, are constructive. In these, partners begin with honest, levelheaded statements of their anger and needs and conclude by negotiating for space, change, or compromise. Blowing off steam by beating a mattress or some other inanimate object is also recommended unless done with the intent to punish or blame the partner.
The Aries Woman usually knows when she's angry, and this puts her in a minority. Most people have trouble identifying anger, which is often called depression, masochism, or frustration instead. It is essential that people recognize and admit when they are angry and learn ways to share their anger constructively.
The Aries Woman in her twenties thinks nothing of expressing anger explosively and manipulatively. She won't hesitate to leave the table in the midst of an argument, walk out, and slam the door—especially if she realizes she is losing the fight. In short, she gets in a rage and runs, attempting to show the party who dared to arouse her who the real boss is. What is missing is the realization that she chose to get angry and the commitment to work through the anger with the other person. At this stage, she is using anger as a power ploy. She is likely to leave many sexual partners dissatisfied until she stops running.
In her thirties, the Aries Woman simmers down a bit. She begins to disclose her inner workings to her partner. She learns to discuss what makes her angry, to reveal how this relates to childhood experiences, to acknowledge the fears and insecurities her anger covers. She now throws dishes and fights it out right away. She uses her anger as facilitator and intimacy maker, bulldozing psychic walls instead of raising them. At this point she needs a man who will listen, whose ego can take the periodic explosions, the exploratory conversations, and the heated sex.
In her forties, the Aries Woman definitely mellows out. In mid-life, she learns to balance, to get in touch with the opposite Libra qualities: harmonizing the "I" and the "We," cooperating, sharing. She has now accepted anger as a fact of life and has begun to figure out how best to use it as a catalyst. In mid-life the Aries Woman is more afraid of loneliness than women with other signs. She begins to hunger for a solid union. She has created a pattern of destructive and unforgettable exchanges, of stern independence, and she now sees the need to change in order to grow into the Libra nature which makes her complete. She no longer cherishes being in a position to slam the door on problems and arguments . . . particularly if she has no one to leave behind that door.
In her fifties, the Aries Woman has, to a degree, tamed her anger and made it a tool for growth. She has finally learned to manage confrontations diplomatically without feeling an affront to her natural pride. She has learned that her ego is not enhanced by anger and that significant relationships will not advance to the sound of screeching cars and aggressive, nonproductive warfare.
The Aries Woman feels her anger is justifiable. She feels superior to the person who makes her angry, and in the heat of the moment it is she who expects an apology. Basically, this reaction stems from her pride. She has difficulty taking any step she believes will leave her in an inferior position.
In order to demilitarize her anger, she must recognize those situations where she needs to get angry: to gain energy to change an old situation, to shore up the courage to be honest, to be heard by someone who normally ignores what she has to say. Choosing to be angry is a pragmatic policy that builds self-respect through the awareness that a choice has been made. The Aries Woman must recognize that as long as she uses anger as a weapon she cannot expect to have a lasting and sexually potent intimate relationship. She herself must exemplify caring behavior, which never includes destructively used anger.
A man would have to be brought up very atypically and be exceptionally sensitive and bright to understand the complexities of the Aries Woman's anger. The burden is on the woman to recognize that in order to build intimacy she must do away with unproductive explosions.
I advocate a five-step system to settle differences with a partner while using anger productively.
1. Decide on a no-fault relationship. No one needs to be blamed or made to feel guilty.
2. Agree to acknowledge the anger you feel for your partner. Decide not to let anger last for more than a day. Decide not to discuss a major issue when either of you is hurried or under stress.
3. Accept unconditionally your right, as well as your partner's, to be angry.
4. Renounce the right to vent anger hurtfully just to get your way. Learn to say, "I am angry with you, but you know that I will not attack you." Hurt feelings can be aired without blame and attacks. Be specific, keep your tone even, and do not let one incident contaminate the whole relationship. If you feel unable to keep a level tone, let your anger out first in another room by taking a bat, rubber hose, or pillow and beating on a convenient, unbreakable object.
5. Ask for your partner's help in dealing with your anger. No one likes being the sender or receiver of anger, but a coalition is unbeatable. You are enlisting a potential enemy as a friend.
To use this process, the Aries Woman must specifically renounce the idea that relationships are founded on competition and instead embrace the spirit of cooperation. She must learn to give up using anger to call the shots or punish a wrongdoer. Finally, she must recognize that inner harmony can be achieved and outer harmony maintained only when she has learned to respect another's rights as much as her own. When the Aries Woman learns to use anger constructively, as a prelude to change and a pragmatic way of keeping her relationship free of debris, she will be opting for free-flowing sexual energy and the potential to feel and share total pleasure.
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