I’ve struck a chord with my dialogue on “Finding the Sexual Voice.” I saw record numbers for my recent webinar and have been flooded with questions about how to release the sexual voice. Some people feel like their sexual voice is stifled, and always has been, others are completely out of touch with it. And, many want to know how they can shift their sexual voice to authentically get their needs met. In any case, to understand the sexual voice, we first have to break it down.
The sexual voice is two-fold: We all have an internal voice and an external voice.
Your internal sexual voice is the way you talk to yourself about your sexuality,the way you treat your body, the way you think and what you think when you are having sex, the stories you have believed and continue to tell yourself about sexuality, your desirability and your sexual life and desires.
In my Women’s Sexual Empowerment program we focus on the sexual story and herstory in our first weekend retreat and we do a powerful exercise that allows us to look at our collective sexual story. It opens us up to seeing what kinds of stories women are carrying, how they are viewing themselves and defining who they are, and what they have held onto. It’s so powerful. I wish everyone could have that experience because it can allow us to see that we are not alone, that others have had similar experiences or stories about themselves and we can develop a deep compassion for ourselves when we are witnessed in our stories.
Your internal story is what you carry around with you all the time. It’s the way you frame your sexuality and what happens to you inside. There are always embedded beliefs in the sexual story we carry internally. Things like, “It’s not normal that I don’t have orgasms, there must be something wrong with me.” Or “I’m not attractive enough/sexy enough/sexual enough/exciting, etc.” Or “I’ll never heal from my sexual abuse.” Or “I’m too old for sex…”
Hopefully we have positive beliefs about our sexuality that we carry: “I am totally lovable.” “I’m capable of amazing orgasms and pleasure and I feel good about my lack of inhibition.” “I love my body and it’s abilities.” “I’m a sexually desirable creature.”
Your internal voice impacts how you feel in your body, in your relationships, how present you are in sex, how much you enjoy your sexuality, how inhibited you are, and how you express your sexuality on a daily basis. It is essential that you do some work around your internal voice, stories and beliefs so that you can have a healthy outlook and framework for your sexual life.
Your external voice is how you talk about your sexuality and your body, how you flirt and approach people, how you put yourself out there, how you ask for what you want, and express your desire.
Your external voice will mirror some of the internal stories and your internal voice. Your level of positivity or negativity about sex, your insecurities, your frustrations, your healthy view of yourself, and your confidence all stem from that internal voice and are expressed verbally, emotionally and energetically.
Most people get really stuck in finding their external sexual voice for a variety of reasons. I can remember when I was younger the way a frog would get stuck in my throat when I wanted to express something in a sexual situation. If I wanted to make a request or ask for an adjustment it could feel like the hardest thing to do. I know many people struggle to tell a partner they want something different or to offer any instruction because then maybe their partner will get discouraged or think they are doing it wrong, or maybe it will hurt their feelings.
There are many ways the external voice shows up during sex. How do you communicate in the moment? How do you ask for what you want when you are in the throws of it? How do you shift gears? How do you make inviting requests?
There is a larger conversation that must happen around sex, and when you establish it with a partner, it becomes much easier to offer this kind of feedback: talking about what is working and what is not, talking about new desires and wishes, and discussing how to improve or build your sexual relationship.
Nothing builds deeper and more meaningful intimacy than learning to talk about sex in a way that feels empowered, exciting and fun. And even when it’s hard, it brings you closer. This is why I work with people so much on how to have these conversations and how to set up their sexual relationships for success and intimacy.
Now that you understand the dichotomy of the sexual voice, you can start to notice your patterns and responses within each aspect, and gather tools to break through to your authentic, empowered sexual voice. If you have questions, I’m holding a live Q&A webinar next week to continue the conversation around sexual voice. Sign up here for “Finding Your Sexual Voice: Part 2”.
akseez / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
I am newly single after a good 10+ years of being in relationship. It’s like taking a great big gulp of air when surfacing from a long deep dive to the bottom of the ocean. It was beautiful under there and a little dark and sometimes scary, and up top awaits this enormous horizon I get to see with new eyes. Little things are different, just walking down the street, taking myself out, moments when I connect to myself, to my center, in a way that was hard to do when I always had another person to consider and check in with about just about everything. That feels a little icky now and I’ve been washing off the sludge that has grown in crevices I didn’t realize existed in my body and energy field.
So I’ve been asking a lot of questions. I am a woman who feels pretty connected to herself and independent in that I have almost always arranged my life in a way that allows me the freedom to do the things that I really want to do, with a minimum amount of exterior demands on my time, my energy, my travels, my expression. But still, it’s so easy to see now how I slowly allowed the comfort, routine and “safety” of relationship to dictate my actions or inactions. How easy it is to slip into a place over time where we don’t even realize we are compromising ourselves, when we stop questioning our relationship and our place in it because maybe we are tired, or maybe we don’t want the honest answers, or maybe it’s just really hard work and we aren’t up for it. Maybe we don’t even see it.
I got complacent. The worst part of my complacency is that I stopped listening to my own guidance. So many signs were there and I didn’t tune them out, but I trusted my partner’s word over the inner word from my own guides and higher self. I knew certain things, but I enabled her dishonesty by trusting her too much, which did not push her to do something different, and ultimately hurt me personally very deeply. I felt betrayed by her but worst of all was the way I betrayed myself, my own knowing.
Our bodies tell us what we need to know. Our intuition tells us. We only need to make the space and time to hear it and then to act on it. So rather than reacting constantly to what is thrown at us, if we listen to what our inner wisdom is telling us and take action based on that knowing, we find that we are in alignment. I think the key is to find that alignment all the time. But we often compromise our own knowing to be in relationship. We rationalize away why our relating looks the way it does. We settle for something less than what we want, need or deserve—joy and expansion—so that we can hold onto relationships that ultimately are not healthy for us. If only we knew when to leave. Most people stay way too long because we are afraid to leave or just don’t know how. Or because we convince ourselves that there are things worth fighting for, or staying for and forget to do a cost-benefit analysis.
Yet we would follow a path of joyful living where we could be so present with ourselves, our loved ones and our process if we made our daily spiritual practice this checking in and acting on our own behalf. We would not spend so much time straying from our path and trying to find our way back, hurting ourselves in the process, if we listened to what our wisdom tells us. We know. We KNOW. Yet, now when everybody is just a text message or an IM away, we check in with everybody but ourselves about decisions that are ours to make. Our lives are ours to make.
When we get new illnesses, it’s so important to look at what our body is responding to energetically. I do not believe we get sick randomly. I believe, as many medical intuitives do, that when something is happening in our body’s organism, it’s telling us something, it’s there to teach us something. We can ignore its message and just treat the illness, or we can really tune into our body’s wisdom and see the bigger picture of what is necessary for our own healing.
Relationships play this role as well. They each come to teach us. Initially, it’s not apparent what a relationship holds for us in its teachings. We may get glimpses early on, but often, we spend years after a relationship is over figuring out the lessons. Better if we could see it more clearly when we are in it and appreciate the gifts of that relationship more fully.
I think we get so mucked up with the larger culture’s unrealistic ideas about relationships, the romantic ideal of forever. Sometimes forever really is possible and satisfying. What if we could let go of that expectation and be so present in our relationships that we were able to assess when the relationship has shown us what we need to see, and move forward in our lives. What if this allowed us to have grace in letting relationships go? How that would change the world. How much more dynamic our lives could be.
I’m not advocating that people flee before they’ve done the work. I’m talking about really doing the work, and when we’ve built what we came to build, we can stand back and appreciate the fruits of our hard labor, the fun we had while we were creating and loving and we could leave it standing and in tact, rather than impulsively burning down the house in order to get out. Then we would have well constructed communities that live inside of us and around us, rather than rubble and ash. This is not to acknowledge that sometimes we need to burn things up. But let us make that choice really consciously, to protect ourselves and transform energy, rather than to harm and inflict pain on ourselves and others because we have no other tools.
We have the tools available to us. It starts with our internal compass. But many of us know what to do, but don’t know how to do it, so we either do nothing or do something poorly. Take nothing for granted. No matter how long you have been in your relationships, assess whether they are really working for you. Check in with yourself about what you currently need, what needs to be said or talked about, or what action you need to take. Give yourself the space to make choices in your relationships every step of the way. When we stop making choices and just accept that we are in it, regardless of how unsatisfying, we cease to live vibrantly. I will choose vibrancy with myself any day over dullness in relationship. It’s always easiest to see in hindsight.
How many people spend their lives searching for “the one”? Another romantic myth that is perpetuated by many spiritual belief systems and plain old romantic folks who can’t let go of this idea that if we search the earth for that perfect fit, everything else will fall into place and our lives will be complete. I don’t believe there is the “one”. I think there are many potential “ones” and that we find the right one for the right time in our lives and place in our own growth process.
Relationships come to teach us the deepest lessons we will learn in this world. This is the playground for deep growth, but most people don’t like to play that way. The work of being in relationship, of learning about ourselves as we relate to people we love and learning how to love fully, fiercely and with great presence is the hardest work we will do in our lives. So hard that many people choose just not to do it. We have so many ways to avoid doing this work. We create a maze of defenses to keep ourselves from getting too close and from creating too much intimacy because vulnerability is an absolute requirement for intimate development. How scary it is to be seen in all of our facets. We like to be liked and seen positively rather than holistically, ugly and all.
So we think if we find that perfect soulmate we’ll be able to let our guard down just for them because they are who we’ve been waiting for, and “it’s meant to be” so they won’t ever leave us, right? But we have many potential “soul mates”, play mates to traverse this gorgeous life with and they tend to come right when we need them, for whatever spell they are meant to be in our lives. Let us learn the lessons we are meant to learn from each one and then move forward courageously and fiercely, ready to love and love again, to bear our souls when we lock in again with the next brave loving soul we connect with. Many people can fit our needs at any given time…how well and for how long varies.
Many of us stay in loveless relationships because we are convinced “it’s meant to be” so we come up with complex stories for why we need to stay together. We do not do ourselves or our lovers favors by maintaining lovelessness or relationships where we are simply existing and have ceased to grow. We either need to find the love again, or free ourselves up to have it with someone new, starting with ourselves. We avoid loving ourselves to such an intense degree when we stay in unhealthy relationships. The truth of limitation in relationship is so painful we do everything possible to avoid accepting it.
Every relationship runs its course. Many have limitations. But as many of our relationships have clear limitations, we keep putting them all into this ideal model of “forever.” It’s like having a small cup of water that we keep pouring over and over into the large jar of forever, thinking if we keep pouring it into this jar that can hold so much more that the water itself will magically expand. But the water is what is available, and meanwhile, we are getting thirsty. Forever is a really long time.
This is not about my being cynical, but about encouraging people to be more realistic and honest about our relationships. It’s about being Courageous with your Love. If you find a soul mate, enjoy them for the time you have together and be grateful each day that they are here to work and play with you for whatever amount of time you have together. Be courageously present to that each day. Can our fierce presence help us to stay in gratitude rather than falling to taking for granted our beloved? When we begin to take for granted, it’s time to assess why we are doing that and whether the relationship is still right for us. Hard questions that might need to be asked over and over. We are not limited to just “the one.” We have many possibilities, so which one is right for you right now in your life? The answer may not be as obvious as the one you are with.