Reich’s Map of Body Armor: Pelvic Segment

 

We have arrived, in our delineation of the segments of armor, at the final, seventh segment: the pelvis. Once the other six segments have been opened, releasing the pelvic segment will allow us to experience a complete flow of energy and circulation from the top of our head through to our feet. Energy can circulate and be released through work, pleasurable activities, exercise, and sexual expression. The pelvis should be flexible, mobile, and move with ease so that it can allow energetic movement rather than become a block to expression. This openness from head to toe creates a sense of well-being, health, ease of movement, and relaxation. Relational intimacy also increases as our expressions flow more freely and we can make good contact with others.

The pelvic segment is made up of the muscles of the pelvis and lower limbs. If this area is armored, the pelvis does not move with ease. There can be pain in the leg muscles and tightening in the abductors and adductors in the thighs. The anal sphincter can be contracted as well as the pelvic floor. The gluteal muscles can also be continuously contracted. Chronic tightening of the pelvic segment and all the intertwined muscles of the pelvis, leads to chronic lower back pain, sciatica nerve pain down the legs, and other symptoms of misalignment, which impacts the entire body.

Armoring in the pelvis can create lack of sensation and sensitivity in the genitals. This, of course, affects sexual function. When our sensations and excitations are absent, we lose our interest in sex and that function atrophies. Reich described the energy economy of the body as a constant balance between build up and discharge of energy. If energy builds up and is not released, then it can be diverted into mental and physical symptoms. The genitals function to release excess energy through orgasm. We take in supplies that provide energy and we release it through work, creativity, exercise and sexual release. If this last avenue is not utilized, we can build up energy, experience stasis in our body/mind, and that can lead to unwanted symptoms.

Some symptoms of pelvic armoring include constipation, IBS, other anal issues like hemorrhoids, cysts, vaginal pain and anesthesia, penis anesthesia, erectile dysfunction, and other sexual and intimacy problems. The legs may be chronically cold, numb, or have tingling sensations or varicose veins. And circulation to the lower limbs is compromised.

The pelvic segment, with its emphasis on sexual functioning, can have a variety of associated feelings. Anger can be felt in the pelvic area and rage can be connected to the sex act. Also, anxiety is associated with sexuality because intimacy is founded on vulnerability, which can be experienced as threatening. Many of us have been psychologically or physically hurt, abandoned, abused and betrayed, thus giving ourselves to another sexually is anxiety provoking and we may want to avoid sex altogether. Or we can detach our emotions and sex becomes mechanical.

Therapeutically loosening the muscles in this area and allowing expressions of various feelings, helps to release blockages. First, as I have explained in prior posts, all the other six segments must be open before you work with the pelvis. There is strong energy in the pelvis and the other segments have to be able to balance it.

As this segment opens in therapy, the orgasm reflex occurs, allowing a slight current to move through the body along with the breath. This permits the pelvis to move naturally, and waves of energy or streaming can be felt throughout the body causing a pleasurable, expansive sensation. This is not the same as orgasm in sex, but it is a soft flow of energy and movement with the breath when this segment is open.

When the pelvis is not open and the capacity for vulnerability is limited or non-existent, then we resort to activities that create hyper-stimulation so we can feel something. We can become addicted to pornography, masturbation, sexual acting out with affairs, sex clubs, anonymous sex, fetishes, drugs, etc. We can over-erotize elements of life, making sex a fixation that dominates our thinking. We can become narcissistic and want to control others through our sexuality, or strive to be adored by making ourselves into erotic symbols. We over exercise, get implants, or use steroids or other interventions to make ourselves desirable according to society’s sexual models. Sexuality becomes the avenue for seeking adoration, power, and control. So our sexuality can be distorted in these ways.

When we are open, we can experience our sexuality as a natural part of life, with sensations and sensitivities readily available so they don’t have to be created through exaggerated scenarios. We seek genuine relationships that contain those tender feelings.

With hardness in the body/mind, we need dramatic measures to feel, and there is a tendency to over-control in relationships. We miss the subtle flow of energy and the delicate excitement it brings. Allowing the body/mind to make genuine contact with all the segments of the body frees the person to be authentic, warm, and capable of sincerity and tenderness toward the self and others.

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