When Ambiguity Leaves You Feeling Violated: 4 Keys to Healthy Boundaries

RedLightChair Cropped
“I told him I wanted to have sex with him, but only with a condom. Then he pushed his way in without a condom. I cut off all contact with him. He had no idea why.”

“I was drunk and he was drunk. I told him I didn’t want to have sex with him, but I was turned on, and he was sexy. He pushed his way in and came inside of me.”

“I had sex with him just to prevent him from raping me.”

“My masseuse friend fingered me when I thought I was just getting a regular massage, it felt good but… I never said that’s what I wanted, he knew I had a boyfriend, I never gave him permission.”

After the last talk I gave, this is what women said when we opened up the conversation of violation. It made me want to write this piece about what to do when you feel mute, which can easily lead to ambiguous boundaries being crossed, or result in being violated.

How can you regain the power of your voice in the moment?

Many of us have had experiences when our voice wasn’t enough, which led to feeling our body isn’t really our own.  But don’t let yourself believe that that’s the truth, because regaining power over your voice is the most direct way back to being an ambassador for your body.

If you’ve ever been in the ambiguous zone of being physically intimate with someone, and you found yourself saying to yourself, “It feels good but…” then, please, read on.

As a permission-giver for pleasure (because you deserve it and it’s what your body is built for), this calls for a special spotlight on boundaries, and how deciding what you want in advance and committing to it is one of the most empowering things you can do.

Connecting to your sensuality and experiencing pleasure, in itself, does not always honor your desires. To honor your desires, you need to decide in advance what you want from a relationship, get clear about what how far you’re willing to go both emotionally or physically before getting all hot and heavy, and then speak up for what feels right to you moment to moment.

Elect yourself to be a spokewoman for your body. Click To Tweet

Expressing what you’re feeling emotionally, as well as what you know on an intuitive gut level, is crucial in being true to your body’s physical and emotional desires.

That said—we’ve all been there—I’ve also found myself completely and utterly mute, in my own pleasurable but “off” situations.

Sometimes the loss of words can be because you don’t know exactly what it is that you need.  Other times the loss of words can be because you’re in a sort of shock at what’s happening, or your brain goes into overdrive analyzing what to say, how to say it, while another part of you feels increasingly uncomfortable, wronged or unsafe.  Sometimes the loss of words is because you can suddenly be disassociating from what’s happening physically, which is your body’s natural response to protect itself.

Whatever the situation, here are some ways to find your voice in these conflicted moments.

rosepetalfold

#1 – Give yourself time to identify what you want and need.  
If you’re in the moment of feeling sensual pleasure, and feeling at the same time that something is “off” or not right, and you know you need to say something, but you’ve lost your words, give yourself permission to pause.  Slow down.  Take a bathroom break, or do whatever you need to do to ask yourself what you really want.

When you take time to ask yourself what you really want, then ask yourself  what’s holding you back from speaking up. It’s so easy to get in your head and think you’re going to be called a tease, a prude, or be accused of giving mixed messages.  Don’t let that get in the way of being a spokeperson for your own body.  If you find that you’re literally afraid of the person you’re with, do whatever you need to take a break. Call for help.

#2 – Be clear in advance about what you want.
When you’re clear about the NO and the YES in relation to yourself before you hook-up with someone, the agreements you make with yourself and others are much more clear. You can relax more into the interaction; you can trust yourself to say no to what you’re not comfortable with and yes to what really turns you on.

I once worked with a client who wanted to go slow with her new relationships because she was in a pattern of passionate affairs.  For her, sex had been a way of validating her worth and she was working on breaking that pattern knowing that she was worthy whether or not she engaged with a man sexually.  So she made the agreement with herself before she went on a date that she’d be clear with whoever she was dating that she wanted to take things slow.  She decided in advance exactly what that meant for her – which in this case was only kissing and touching.  The will to break an old un-fulfilling pattern was stronger that the endorphin rush she new she’d get from a passionate one night stand.

On the other side of the spectrum, if your pattern is to with hold sex in order to feel in control , or as a way of protecting yourself from intimacy or getting hurt, you might explore a different kind of agreeement. You may want to commit to be being more emotionally vulnerable while allowing yourself more unconditional passion at a pace that feels good to you.

The point is, whatever you decide on in advance, gives you clarity, which will allow you feel both safe and free. Setting your own playing field, and letting your date know in advance what  you want and what your limits are, saves you from an unspoken boundary being crossed.

Once you know what feels right in your body, independent from sensual interplay with someone else, you’ll have the fortitude to commit fully to your boundaries before, during and after sex.  And this saves you from from being muted, and inevitably, betraying yourself by disregarding what it really is that you want and don’t want.  

Boundaries create a safe playground for physical and emotional desires. Click To Tweet

#3 – Know Your Body
Years ago, I once made out with a friend of my ex-boyfriend – part of me wanted to have wild, passionate, unapologetic sex with him, while another part of me felt guilty, wrong and undeserving—even though my ex and I had been broken up for two years! I judged myself so harshly that I couldn’t enjoy the moment of mutually consenting sex with someone who I liked, and who I knew liked me. I couldn’t discern my mind messaging from my body messaging, so I was involuntarily giving this guy mixed messages—my body was shutting down – turning on – shutting down – turning on—to the point that this guy said to me:

“I can’t tell if you want to have sex with me or not?”

The problem was, I couldn’t tell if I wanted sex with him or not either. Holding back what I was feeling inhibited me from being true to myself, and without knowing the difference between my guilt and my desire, I couldn’t make a choice for myself in the moment of what I really wanted.

In my case, I was often afraid of losing myself (which often happens when we’re too busy doing what we ‘think we should’). When driven by this fear, you might push your partner away by saying they’re not giving you what you want and need, and end up giving them a cold shoulder, killing them with silence, brushing them off or even dumping them.

If you were like me, the only desire you may have been able to pinpoint is that you want to be in a loving and sexually satisfying relationship. The thing is—you need to know what ‘loving’ means for you in each moment, just like you need to know what ‘sexually satisfying’ means to you in each moment, so that it’s not just a fantasy. You need to know what feels good and right in your body, as well as what feels good and right to you emotionally, so that you can actually make choices that honor yourself moment to moment.

Once you know what would be honoring yourself and your desires, having a conversation about what you want can be the most freeing thing you do before engaging in sex.

Knowing yourself is the pillar of creating boundaries and

empowering your voice.

couple bed-erotic-situation-in-bed

#4 – Learn How To Create Healthy Boundaries
Learning to create boundaries in personal relationships isn’t something we learn in school, and in most cases, we’re taught how to be a ‘good girl’, and how to be liked and accepted. But few of us are taught how to navigate our feelings, especially in relationship to our bodies.

Boundaries aren’t only necessary for feeling free in your sensual and sexual expression, they’re also necessary in all of your agreements with yourself.

Many of us are raised with what is right, and good, to do as a partner, spouse, lover or friend, and sometimes are not even aware of what we need or want, we just operate out of what we think we “should” be doing to maintain a sense of love, integrity and feeling of being accepted.

It’s easy to be overzealous with boundaries—even if we’re able to be fully sexually and sensually self-expressed and achieve pleasure, but won’t let anyone get too close emotionally. This is no fun either, because it ultimately prevents us from deeper connection.

If you’re someone who has also struggled with not knowing how to navigate conflicted sensual pleasure, and you want to feel unconditionally loving and loved while you’re ‘at it’, here are some questions you can ask yourself to get more clear on how to create boundaries:

What boundaries do I need to create for myself, to help me trust myself to express my needs and feelings?

Do my boundaries help me to stand up for something I truly desire and deserve?  Or have I created boundaries to protect myself from fear of being hurt?  (Hint: The key is to choose boundaries that take a stand for what you desire, as opposed to creating boundaries that are road blocks to intimacy, love and pleasure.)

If I’m protecting myself from ‘being hurt again’, what is it that I need to heal?

If you’re hurt from a past break-up or physical violation, choosing to be worthy of healing over expecting someone else to take care of your wounds will pay off for your lifetime.  Be honest with yourself and find how you can take responsibility for your feelings, so you don’t put the responsibility in someone else’s court.

Am I taking action to go for what I desire by asking for it? If not, then what’s holding me back?
Once you know what’s holding you back, you can explore what’s behind it.  Is it a fear or a legitimate desire?

If I’m not speaking up, is it because my fear of being hurt is driving me to be complacent? And stopping me from expressing what I need?

Asking yourself these questions while you’re connected to your body, and out of “analytic” mode, is key.

When you start asking yourself these questions, and commit yourself to asking for what you want and need, you’ll always get closer to being true to yourself, you’ll master getting clarity on healthy boundaries and being able to experience pleasure without the turmoil of mixed messages!

Relationships are like tennis games. Once you know the parameters of what you need to do for yourself to stay in the game, then you’ll find your freedom in launching the ball into the other court with confidence.

Commit yourself to playing with someone who’s as available and willing to return the ball… know what you want… keep your eye on the ball… and be ready to give and receive!

To learn more about what you desire emotionally & physically, take the Intimacy Quiz.

 

 

 

© Krista Kujat


by // Comments Off on When Ambiguity Leaves You Feeling Violated: 4 Keys to Healthy Boundaries

Discover Your Holy Key to Hidden Power by Being Seen

BlackTable
Photo by Candace Smith

Being Seen as a Woman is Holy.

I’m not talking about “looking good.”

I’m talking about being seen for your internal beauty.

That part is holy.

It’s the truth of who you are.

Let me tell you how I learned this lesson deeply.

*********

I grew up in a household where “looks mattered.”

Throughout my childhood, my two sisters and my mom devotedly braided our hair everyday, so we would look presentable at school. Meanwhile, for pictures, my dad preferred our hair to be down, because in his opinion it made us look more beautiful.  I somehow understood that looks mattered to be liked by others or to be loved by those who I loved.

Despite my mother’s support in appraising or advising my clothing, and insisting on lipstick to ‘spruce myself up’ during my teenage years, she protectively showered me with explicit reminders to “watch out, because men will take advantage of women, especially attractive women.” My mom always ended this comment with “I know this from experience” and her voice dripped with unspoken hurt.  Meanwhile, I learned from everyone around me that being sexy mattered, included my Dad who openly appraised and remarked on women’s bodies and their sex appeal.

My self-consciousness jumped into overdrive.  Beauty felt like a double edged sword:  If I’m too attractive I could be violated.  But if I’m not attractive enough, I won’t be liked, or worse, I wont’ be loved.

BSNP2597

It’s necessary to share another truth at this point.

I know my parents love me, and out of love, they wanted to protect me.

Still.

Fear sunk into my bones.  

I was terrified of my very nature: being female.

Before I share how I busted through my fear, first I must share a short story of teenage turmoil…

In high school, there was guy in school who I had a crush on, and finally, I had the courage to flirt with him, which in my world meant not running away. He talked to me at a party, and led me into a bedroom and play wrestled me onto the bed.

My body froze.

The strength of his body on top of me terrified me. When he held my wrists down on the bed and tried to kiss me, I turned my head and I said I didn’t want to.

My only thought in that moment, was that he could rape me.

He said I was no fun. And he released his hold.

Ashamed for being a both disappointing  him, and for being a coward, afraid that kissing him would give him permission to have sex with me, I wriggled off the bed, and left the room.

Here’s what strikes me looking back on that story:  At that time, I truly believed a kiss would lead to rape. I never considered that my voice could hold any weight in my choice to have sex or not, especially if it’s someone who I was attracted to.

Feeling incapable of innocent exploration or pleasure, made me believe there was something wrong with me.

Why couldn’t I feel exhilarated and carefree that the guy I liked wanted to kiss me?

The answer was hidden between not trusting my voice or my body.

I became withdrawn, and only engaged myself with men intellectually, going deep into  philosophical discussion. Expressing my feelings with men or physical intimacy remained terrifying, and out of bounds.

The more time passed like this, the greater I felt a sad separation with myself, and the more I felt trapped in my body.

On the outside, I’d put on a smile to keep within the barometer of doing what people will like, including keeping up the standard of ‘looking pretty’. But inside, I was living a slow death. Keeping my feelings inside was excruciating.

The pain that I internalized feeling trapped in my body, despite being told I was “pretty” led me to a profound and irrevocable wisdom:

 Our inner beauty, sexuality and self-expression are inextricably linked. 

The truth is that my story isn’t different from many other stories of women being raised to either protect themselves or ward off men as “predators.”

Not being able to trust our female nature entirely creates an inhibition towards intimacy, and trusting our men.

If we don’t heal these parts of ourselves, by letting ourselves be seen in our true feminine nature, and continue to perceive men as predators, as I did unconsciously, it prevents ourselves from the pleasure our bodies are built for.  

In short, the predator-prey perception gives our power away.

I know I’m not alone in experiencing the repression of my voice and sexual desires, in direct relation to the ‘beauty’ that I’m perceived for through a barometer of wanting to be loved and accepted.  These deep seeded cultural messages run deep in religions, family traditions and culture.

One close friend recently shared that she wasn’t allowed to sing in her synagogue when she was growing up. As a young girl, she would see and hear all of the boys sing solos, and my friend (who has a beautiful singing voice and is now a singer) felt jealous, sad and angry that they were allowed to sing in spiritual service in public, but that she wasn’t. The reason that women were not allowed to sing in service and in celebration in public was that men may be turned on by them, and then be tempted to disobey the guidelines of “modesty.”

When she shared this story with me, the lightening bolts busted through my brain:

And what would be so wrong if the men were turned on by the women singing?

The point is, if we don’t first recognize and free what has unconsciously held back our holy self expression, it stays repressed—coupled with the belief that we need to be constantly protecting ourselves from harm, which is the death of true self-acceptance and self-love.

I’m sharing this to shed light on these subtle tricky ways, that as women, even those raised, in my case, by a generation of loving feminists in their own time, there are these double messages that, if we are not vigilant, can creep into our minds and restrict our possibilities for happiness, and restrain our pleasure and the joy of experiencing and loving our glorious bodies.

Where we’ve been groomed to “be good” in our lives, may very well be at the expense of cutting out the heart of our inner beauty by either dampening our voice or hiding our sexual nature.

TGYX3503

SO HOW DID I BUST THROUGH FEELING TRAPPED IN MY BODY??

Almost 20 years post high-school-hall-of-shame riddled with fear of what my beauty and my body could lead to, my self-rescue led me to meet a mentor, Praful Saracino, who invited me  to a program called Path of Love, to experience somatic release from my body.

After trying so many other things to become more trusting of my feminine body, at last, exposing all the dark corners that I kept hidden, allowed space for me to be seen un-edited, which opened up space inside of me to feel, see, honor, and recognize my own inner beauty.

All of the protective reflexes that were jacked up in my muscles (specifically tension held in my erogenous zones), and all of the deep-seated beliefs, which colored the lens through which I experienced every relationship as “being taken advantage of” (not just in my intimate relationships but any male relationship—contractors, business colleagues, etc.), and all of the accumulated walls of mis-trust that I’d build up around myself came undone.

Letting yourself be seen for your fears, as well as your desires, gives you the freedom of accepting all parts of yourself, and the ability to deeply see and recognize your own unique inner beauty.   

Through the act of being seen, I experienced a profound, humbling collapse of my protective mechanisms, and feeling the visceral love for something tangible within myself: My essence. My Inner Beauty.

Still, there was a missing link.

How could I share this inner beauty that I came to know?

How could I express it?

My main go-to was always hiding behind “being good” and ‘getting things right.’

Uncensored self-expression freaked me out.

I knew I needed to start in a safe space.

I knew it needed it to be visceral.

I knew I needed it to be an on-going dialogue of what I felt was true for me from the inside out, and not a super-imposed idea of what is true for ANYONE else, or what is even right or wrong.

My truth found its place in a room of 8 women practicing sensual moving meditation, and each woman was seen, one by one, for her own sensual self-expression.

MeRopes
Photo by Lori Berkowitz

Simply by following the emotional intelligence held in our bodies to express our sexual desires, we expressed our deepest emotion through the curves, thrusts, and undulations in our bodies.

Anger transformed to passion.

Self-forgiveness turned to love.

Lightness and vitality re-emerged from heaviness.

And fear turned to compassion.

When we find and reveal hidden parts of ourselves, the depth of our beauty becomes more apparent, more palpable, more real.

It glistens, it vibrates, it sings and soars out of our bodies, where we may have unknowingly suppressed or repressed it’s greatest glory for fear of it not being safe.

img_7927Photo by Lori Berkowitz

Compliments start to become celebrations instead of badges of self-worth, scoffs of disbelief or comparative appraisals.

It all starts with giving yourself permission to be seen.

My inspiration in creating Permission Sessions is to cultivate a safe space to express and celebrate your inner beauty through your voice and through your body, with other women who are doing the same.

Unshackle the prison of the lens you’ve been taught to see through.

Become a master of letting your soul’s beauty be seen.

Use your voice to express what others can’t see.

Know your own beauty and express it in celebration.

This is sacred. This is magic. This is reverent.

This is for always, and forever.

You’re invited.

Jump on board here:

PERMISSION SESSIONS IN PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO

© Krista Kujat

*******


by // Comments Off on Discover Your Holy Key to Hidden Power by Being Seen

Deepen Your Sensual Practice With Meditation

CandleSanctuary
What’s the best way to dissolve ambiguity and anxiety around sex for the long term?

Clarity!

And what’s the best way to gain clarity?

Meditation!!

With so much information whirling on the internet, it’s easy to get confused about what meditation really is…

Focusing on balls of light to dissolve negativity? Sitting with an idea and contemplating it? Listening to a voice guide you to visualize the lover of your dreams or buckets of money? Singing mantras? Praying to something or someone and hoping our prayers come true?

While each version of meditation has benefits, the purpose of all meditation in its pure form, is training the mind to observe without judgment.

When it comes to freeing our sensuality and being fully expressed sexually, training our minds to stay focused on sensation without judgment is key. Since fears which come up around sex can be deeply embedded in our psyche – fear around being slutty – fear around being inexperienced – fear of being immoral – fear of going against religious beliefs – fear of going against family values – fear around getting hurt or violated – fear around being emotionally abandoned – fear of betrayal – we need to harness our focus to ride through the fear and follow the thread of pure sensations. Those fears are embedded in our nervous system and connected to the base of all nerves in our sex center, so observing our sensations without judgment is essential to free our bodies towards ecstasy. Observing sensation without judgment allows us to feel safe and grounded as much as it allows us to feel freely aroused.

Especially when it comes to intimacy, we need to know what we need ourselves first, before we can express our needs to our partners. Once we know what makes us feel safe and grounded physically, we can express it to our partners. Likewise, when we know what we need to feel aroused and turned on, we can communicate more freely with our partners.

If you’re looking to jumpstart your meditation practice to get you into observation mode, I challenge you to practice the 10-minute sensation meditation for 21 days!

I truly believe the best gift we can every give to another human is our presence, and the best gift we can give to ourselves is cultivating that presence! Enjoy giving and getting 🙂 !


by // Comments Off on Deepen Your Sensual Practice With Meditation

Manifesto

rosedarkedges

To all the women in the world who want to feel free.

You. Yes, you.

The one with your heart beating.

The one full of desire to feel freedom and love in every cell of your body.

You. With your arms open wide to the sky.

You. Beating your fists on the ground.

You, who knows there is more than what you know already.

You, who wants to feel your vitality with unquestionable knowing.

You, who has done everything and still, you feel a fire.

Burning and yearning from deep within.

You, who is running.

Sometimes towards something and sometimes away from something.

It’s Time for You to feel, know and claim your truth.

It’s time for you to be heard and seen through every cell of your body.  

It’s time for you to feel your vital life force the way you want to feel it in your skin.

It’s Time to remember who you are.

You know.

There’s more to being all that you are.

There’s more underneath your great pains, and your great loves.

There’s more to why you are here.

It’s Time to dig up your treasures.

To give fire and passion to your voice and body.

It’s Time.

For you to step into the magic spot.

It’s time to give yourself Permission.

To Trust in the most important person in the world.

You.

The world needs you.

To move mountains with your life force.

Come now.

Come closer.

Enter this sacred vessel, safe to hold your deepest hurts, and your burning love.

Incubate in the embrace your deepest desires, and lead yourself to walk freely and lightly

towards

Yourself.

 Untouchable magic.

Unraveled, raw, rapturous and ravenous.

Alive to the constant tingling that percolates beneath the surface of your skin.

Open to receive the constant motion of what touches you.

We need your beauty,

For the world to be a better place.

Come join me in making the world a better place.

Give yourself the gift of giving yourself permission to be you.


by // Comments Off on Manifesto

Tap Into The Emotions Hidden In Your Body, Then Free Them

CarlJungEnlightenment

A big revelation for me was when I discovered a body-heart healing modality called Systemic Constellation (aka Family Constellations).

Through this work, I realized something mind-blowing.

I have trauma in my body? What?!   

I’m just a simple girl who grew up coddled in the crispy clean suburbs of Calgary, Alberta Canada? Trauma? Hell Noooo.

I had always related trauma to things like “living in a war zone” or “being held at gun-point”.   

Never could I have imagined that my “feeling of being trapped” was the result of covering emotional pain, which translated as trauma in my body.

I mean, really. I was totally normal. (Right?!)

In systemic constellation work (AKA Family Constellation), without any thinking, analyzing or searching, I immediately felt an intense feeling in my body of shutting down for fear of “doing something wrong.” It was a feeling that I knew well, but I never had been able to have enough distance from it to see it for what it was, until I tried this work.

Having the space to feel it and know it without analyzing it freed me. 

Now here’s the bomb.

I started to see my monstrous self-consciousness, my fear of making mistakes, and my feeling of being trapped, was driven by the motherboard of all pains: Shame.  

Specifically shame that I held around my sexuality.

I started to see how other things that I had considered as “just the way things are” were far from a “healthy kind of normal.” 

Here’s an example of the “unhealthy kind of normal” that naively penetrated deep into my being.

When I was 11 years old, on a family trip in Germany, my dad grumpily commented about being able to see the panty lines through a woman’s dress. The woman was walking in front of us, was wearing an all-white, knee-length, capped-sleeve dress, and yes, her panty lines were visible.

His next comment was: “Unbelievable—women dress like that, and then they wonder why they get raped.”  

My sisters and I rolled our eyes that we had to live with that attitude. And my mother brushed it off. But I never realized until all these years later how this casual comment, not just from my father, and not just from men, but also from the women in my life, impacted me. I know my dad loves me, but this is clearly not a healthy kind of respect towards women’s bodies, and I innocently took it in as a universal truth.

This “unhealthy kind of normal” about sexuality penetrates deep in our world without us even realizing it.  

I had been living in fear that if I showed any hint of ‘sexy’, or inadvertently dressed “the wrong way”, I could be violated, hurt, harmed. And that just felt normal to me. Until I could see it for what it was.

The power of this realization could never have been figured out in my mind; it took bypassing my brain to see the dynamics that were living inside of me.

That’s freedom.

Knowing your visceral fears.

And having the clarity to make a choice in light of it.

Some resources for Family Constellation:
Praful Saracino & Karen Passalacqua:
http://www.karensyogaandmassage.com/family-constellations-cyrus-and-karen.php
Mark Wollyn: http://www.markwolynn.com



Pulse Beneath Your Skin

SwirlRed

Stuffed and crammed

The desires fire up thoughts

The thoughts fire up action

The actions fire up doing

The doings fire up your soul

Or destroy it

When you forget

The pulse under your skin

That constantly beating heart

The one that fired up desire

The one that had you dancing in circles

Only to find yourself standing still

In the center of an empty room

Did you forget?

The pulse beneath your skin?

When you were doing all you’re doing?


by // Comments Off on Pulse Beneath Your Skin

6 Truths About Sensuality: Cracking the Code of Negative Body Image

07.1.KK1.A1_0264

REPLACING LACK WITH PLEASURE

About 80% of what we take in everyday comes through our vision. When we see what’s outside of ourselves, it’s the first way to see possibility and inspire desires, and it also becomes a first point of reference to comparing ourselves. When the massive overload in the media is tantalizing us to compare ourselves with “how we look”, especially when it comes to “looking sexy”, one of the most important things we can do is to create an inner communion with our bodies.

The most tragic thing about comparing ourselves is that it gets in the way of being able to see, to feel and to know our own beauty.

We get caught up in “what we are not”, which makes us feel trapped in a continual cycle of trying to change something about ourselves.

When I was six years old in ballet classes, adults would casually comment about how I had more “meat on my bones” or I was “bigger boned” or a little more “fleshy” than my older sister, who was leaner than I was. For some reason, people liked to categorize us and they were surprised to hear my sister was the older one when I was the “bigger” one.

I Felt Not “Enough”

When I was fourteen, I was still bigger than my sister. I was convinced I wasn’t “skinny enough” to wear a bikini. I have a picture of my precious teenage self wearing a one-piece bathing suit, with big felt marks circled around all the areas of my body that I didn’t like. I wrote “FAT” and pointed arrows to the areas of my body I wanted to change before I’d deem myself able to wear a bikini.

Still, I was convinced that I needed to do more exercises from my Mom’s Reader’s Digest, and that I should eat only what my sister ate. In my brain, I believed that what I was doing was “positive” because I was “improving myself.” Little did I know that this quest to improve myself was motivated not by self-love, but by selflack.

“Improving” myself became one of the biggest forms of self-sabotage ever.

Years later, as a fit model, my income depended on being the exact measurements of the clothing the job required me to wear. My financial stability and survival depended on how my body and its image was seen and measured from the outside.

I was never “done” improving myself. 

Underneath it was shame that I wasn’t enough, there was something wrong with me.

Shame is the motherboard of doubt, fear, control, and self sabotage.

Shame is what no one likes to talk about.

It’s the thing that makes us hide.

It’s the thing that makes us fear and avoid rejection at all costs.

It’s the thing that makes us believe that we don’t deserve happiness, pleasure or love.

When you hide this feeling of shame, your body on some primal level doesn’t feel safe.

Your body clenches up, because in your nervous system, there’s an imprint of a painful emotional experience.

This contraction in your body leads to sexual frustration because even if our minds WANT to experience pleasure, our bodies may shut down.

Perhaps you’ve long outgrown some of your body image insecurities. But if you are like me, you may have found yourself, at some point, experiencing sexual shut-down no matter how many affirmations you do, or how much you tally your “gratitudes” everyday. If your body says no, (even if your mind is saying yes) this shut-down leads us to feeling not fully self-expressed, and sooner or later you start to feel trapped.

Often when we’re on the verge of feeling most alive… like on the cusp of orgasm, or opening up our hearts and the possibility of new love, or taking on a new business venture, or exposing a new art project to the world, that’s when our deepest fears start to kick in, and our bodies contract.

On a very basic level, the core thing that causes our bodies to shut down is: not feeling safe.

When we don’t feel safe emotionally: fearing rejection (feeling “not enough”), fearing betrayal (maybe you’ve experienced this from a past lover?), and/or when we don’t feel safe from the result of a physical trauma or violation, like sexual abuse, we’re not free to experience the full range of pleasure in our bodies, because the visceral shut-down mechanisms start to run the show to protect you from re-experiencing past pains that don’t want to be reactivated or re-lived.

Maybe you’ve not only experienced body shut-down through touch and intimacy, but you may also feel shut-down emotionally and feel disgusted, violated, overwhelmed, or nauseous as a replay of an emotional or physical pain starts to activate in your body.

If you’ve ever felt this, you know how it gets in the way of experiencing pleasure!

1 – The splendid truth: our bodies are built for pleasure

When we don’t express the sensual part of ourselves, it reinforces the feeling of “lack” or “not enough” that our brains picked up over the years either by comparing ourselves, based on the cultural messaging that our bodies are not our own, or by a physical violation that left the imprint of feeling fear or disgust. That feeling of lack can sometimes turn into addiction— work addiction, consumer addiction, food addiction, drug addiction.

However, the opposite is equally true:

2 – Expressing the sensual part of ourselves fills us with our own unique beauty from the inside out  

So how do you dissolve the belief and judgment of yourself as “not enough” or “tainted” or “shamed” in order to feel pleasure and arousal, even when your body involuntarily shuts down?

Shame is held in our nervous system, in our bone structures, in the stature of our spinal cord, in the way we hold ourselves and in the way we speak.

In order to experience the change in your body and in your nervous system, a change needs to happen beyond the level of your mind.

Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, one of the leading psychologists in trauma and neuroscience, outlines the limitations of “talk therapy” and has proven with his patients that the most healing forces for healing emotional and physical trauma held in the body are through movement, breath and touch. Van Der Kolk explains that talking through trauma either gets the patient disconnected from feeling, or gets the patient to re-live trauma, neither of which have proven to be helpful in the healing process. However his research shows that movement, breath and touch help to make the body feel safe with any range of emotion, and therefore free the patient of becoming identified with the trauma.*

Specifically with experiencing sexual pleasure, harnessing your mind to focus on sensation breaks the pattern of sending signals to your nervous system to shut down. It untangles the belief that something harmful will happen when your body opens up.

The key to allowing pleasure to open in your body is this:

3 – Practice observation of your senses without judgment

Building the experience of pleasure and happiness in your body everyday starts with focusing your mind so that your body can first feel safe and grounded, and then open to greater degrees of pleasure.

4 – Everyday pleasure without guilt 

Learning to focus on sensation, without guilt, without shame, and without even labeling it as pleasurable or not, but just noticing it, dissolves your body’s involuntary impulse to shut down, and expands your ability to experience pleasure beyond your imagination.

When you breathe into those areas of sensation, you become more sensitive and open to express your emotions through your body and your voice. All of the above allows you to deepen intimacy with confidence, so you can feel fully self-expressed, fulfilled emotionally, and physically free—first and foremost with yourself, and also with your lover.

Connecting to your sensuality is as simple as shifting your focus from any action you’re doing, or from the emotion you’re feeling, to focusing on the sensation you’re feeling.

It doesn’t need to take a lot of time! Just focus on sensation.

5 – The key? Consistency.

You can focus on sensation anytime during your daily activities!

When you do the dishes, focus on feeling the smooth surface of a plate glide beneath your fingertips. When you’re walking, feel the textures of the stones beneath the arch of your foot.

When you’re savoring fruit, feel the tiny bulbs of a raspberry as you roll it against the ridges on the roof of your mouth. When you take a bath, experiment with focusing on the sensation of your fingers sliding a smooth bar of soap over your skin, or caressing your skin with a sponge or a wet face cloth. To amp up the focus on pleasure a notch, play music that evokes emotion, and let your touch express how the music moves you.

The trick is, no matter what you’re doing, no matter where you are, who you’re with or what you’re feeling, keep bringing your focus back to the physical sensation, observe every detail of the sensation, and breathe into it.

Pleasure is your birthright! Claim it now!

For a free meditation on how to focus your mind and breath on sensation to break your body’s shut-down pattern, just click here.

The 10-minute guided meditation below will help you to:

  • Get out of your head and into your senses
  • Increase the levels of pleasure you feel in your body
  • Interrupt yourself from shutting down either emotionally or physically
  • Train your mind to be in observer mode, instead of judgment mode
  • Biochemically open your nervous system, so that endorphins run freely from your body to your brain
  • Help to ground you in feeling emotionally and physically safe
  • Empower you to move through your emotions when you may feel anxious, self-conscious or frustrated during sexual intimacy

by // Comments Off on 6 Truths About Sensuality: Cracking the Code of Negative Body Image

Who Are You?

IMG_6130Squeezing out my essence onto a vision board for this blog… Identity sometimes feels solid and then suddenly unreal or ridiculous… I’ve been an actor, a lingerie designer, a landlady, an environmental advisor, a massage therapist, a poker club waitress, a real estate addict, a sensual meditation advocate, a middle child, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a wife, an ex-wife, but this blog is going to be just straight up ME. Just my voice in the world; how freeing… and terrifying, to not hide behind the importance of an identity!! All in the name of great pleasure, passion, beauty, love and happiness; of being raw, being real while siphoning from the well of beauty from the inside out. Who are you? Without your identity? Your roles? Your credits? Your accolades and achievements?

Who are you really? How do you tap into that? And how do you express it?


by // Comments Off on Who Are You?

What’s your Pleasure?

Meme12014 confirmed the following: There’s a plan much bigger than I can see… life zigs and zags… purpose gets lost and found… dreams are like accordions that stretch out wide, and then sometimes get very small… life feels ablaze with possibility, and sometimes panicked, like there’s just not enough time for everything. But, no matter what, the thing that never changes is passion for happiness. In 2014 receiving the generosity of friends was like fireworks that lit my passion. For 2015, I want make it my mission, my personal responsibility to return that kind of generosity—to muster up the most unexpected pleasures that I can offer.

What’s your pleasure for 2015?


by // Comments Off on What’s your Pleasure?

1 3 4 5 6