LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX, VOL 1
Do you want to improve your sex life?
Then we have to start with your biggest sex organ: the brain.
I know, I know, that’s the last place you want to look for better sex. You probably want to turn your brain OFF when it comes to getting it on.
But I promise it’s worth the trip.
Our thoughts aren’t the only thing that determines our sexual experience, of course. Sexuality is complex and involves a range of biological and mental factors (and of course thoughts and biology also impact each other).
But even so, our thoughts have a HUGE impact on how we experience ourselves as sexual beings, how we experience attraction and desire, how we feel about other people’s desire for us, and how we experience sexual pleasure.
That means that when you understand how your thoughts impact your experience of sex and desire, you will be able to take ownership of your sexual experience.
It ALSO means that until you unpack your thoughts around sex, desire, and your own sexuality, your brain will most likely default to some pretty f*cked up beliefs that get in the way of your sex life.
If you are raised or socialized as a woman, you are generally conditioned to think about yourself as an OBJECT of desire.
Men, on the other hand, are generally taught to think of themselves as the SUBJECT who acts out this desire.
In other words, women’s experience of arousal and desire is often contingent on whether someone else desires them – whereas men are taught to think about who and what they desire, and then to pursue it.
That whole “men are aggressors, women are receivers” thing is a stereotype for a reason – not because of any inherent differences between men and women, but because of how men and women are taught to relate to their own sexuality.
Even if you don’t ascribe to this belief consciously, it is bound to impact how you think about sex subconsciously.
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about whether you’re sexually desirable to others? Do you tend to expect someone to pursue you if they’re interested in you? Is it hard for you to get in the mood if you don’t think a person is actively expressing desire for you?
This is because of your social conditioning, and it can make you feel pretty powerless over your sexuality.
Because when your experience of desire is constructed around BEING desired, you will look to your partner to validate you, “make” you feel sexy, and generate your arousal.
Fortunately, you can take charge of your desire WITHOUT changing anybody else’s behavior.
By acknowledging that nobody else has the power to make you feel sexy or sexual.
Your OWN THOUGHTS do that for you.
The difference between your experience of a partner who “makes you” feel desirable and your experience of a partner who “makes you” feel unsexy both stem from the thoughts you’re having about yourself.
In one case, you’re thinking “they’re looking at me like a snack so I must be really sexy” and in the other, you’re thinking “they’re not attracted to me so there must be something wrong with me.”
If you want to feel desirable and sexy regardless of how other people around you are acting, you have to divorce your idea of your own sexuality from being something that exists to arouse other people…and you have to reframe it as something that exists for YOU.
You have to become the subject of your own desire.
In other words, you have to shift your experience of sexuality away from being wanted and toward wanting.
The best way to do this is by focusing on being attracted to yourself.
It may seem odd at first, but it will allow you to access the experience of embodying your own desire.
Ask yourself “how can I see myself as desirable, in my own gaze?”
If your brain immediately jumps to all of your flaws, that’s ok. Body image work and sexuality are often very connected. Your brain is just showing you some thoughts you need to work on.
The more you practice finding yourself desirable, the more you will embody your own sexuality.
Since sexuality is about exploration and play, don’t approach it like a problem. Approach it like an exploration.
Think about a time you felt sexy or alluring, and connect to what that feels like in your body.
Notice what you are thinking.
If you’re used to only feeling sexy or desirable in response to someone else’s desire, think about someone you’ve been intimate with and imagine how they looked at you.
Then notice what you are thinking and feeling in your body when you call up that memory.
Imagine a sexy scenario.
Connect to your body.
Dance to music. Move your hips.
Touch yourself, sexually or not.
Practice seeing yourself in your mind’s eye the way someone who desires you would see you.
Go at your own pace. You can take this slow, especially if you’ve had sexual trauma. If you know that this will bring up a lot of negative thoughts and feelings, you can decide ahead of time on a thought to practice if any strong emotions arise for you – something like “I am safe” or “I can stop anytime I want.”
If you feel weird or uncomfortable doing any of this, just remind yourself that this is a practice. There is no right or wrong to it.
Your body’s ability to experience sexual pleasure is as innately yours to enjoy as your ability to taste delicious food or appreciate a beautiful flower.
Learning to connect to a sexual energy that is solely for your own pleasure is at the foundation of all other work you will do on your sex life – even (especially!) work you will do with a partner.
Whether or not you choose to involve others in your experience of sexuality, your desire is ultimately about your relationship to yourself – so I encourage you to explore it (and yourself!) with curiosity, compassion, and desire.
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