“I feel that I’m in the midst of a sexual revolution – uncovering 25 years worth of conditioning, letting go of old stories, and exploring new ways of relating to myself and others.“
What does sexuality, sensuality, and pleasure mean to you?
To me, it’s what it means to be human. We were born to experience pleasure in all its forms, whether that is alone or with others. It is our birth right to feel good, to feel everything! There are so many misconceptions around sexuality, sensuality, and pleasure. So many outdated stories and beliefs that shape how we relate to ourselves and others. It’s thought that sexuality and sensuality are dangerous, that by giving into pleasure we are venturing into the darkness. But pleasure can be found in the light. It’s a portal that takes you deeper into yourself. It’s a doorway to endless possibilities. It’s pure magic.
“It’s a portal that takes you deeper into yourself. It’s a doorway to endless possibilities. It’s pure magic.”
Growing up, was the common narrative one that supported your sexual curiosity + expression, or one that modeled repression + shame? How did that impact you?
I felt that I connected to my sexuality at a young age, but for some reason knew that I should keep it a secret. That I should feel shame for the things I thought and felt, and if anyone found out they definitely wouldn’t understand. As I grew older I continued to be secretive, and even when sex began to be a popular topic of conversation amongst friends I still knew it wasn’t safe to share everything. There was still so much shame around feeling pleasure and exploring my sexuality, and if I were to venture outside the bounds of societal standards then I would be outcast.
“There was still so much shame around feeling pleasure and exploring my sexuality”
What were the primary belief systems you adopted about sexuality, sensuality, and pleasure?
- Monogamy is the only way
- Sex is sacred, not something you should just ‘give away’
- You don’t deserve to feel good
- Women please men, not the other way around
- The less people you connect with the purer you are
- Loving your physical body makes you self-centred and arrogant
How did these beliefs/stories impact your relationship to sex, self pleasure + sensuality AND other areas of your life? (relationships, career, self love etc)
I held myself back and over thought every choice I was making in relation to pleasure. I might’ve been making the choices, but it wasn’t me who was directing them – it was every story, belief, and piece of conditioning that was stuck in my subconscious. I could no longer hear the voice of my desires, in fact, I don’t think I’d ever heard them. Even when I entered into relationships I didn’t know what I wanted, what I liked, or what I should do. I was so concerned with pleasing the person I was with that I never truly thought about myself. I never spoke up and asked for what I wanted because I didn’t believe I had a right as a woman. Instead I’d just lie there and take it, along with every mans word about how my body looked and felt. Their truth became mine.
In what ways (if any) did you experience shame or guilt around sex and pleasure?
My friends and I used to compare numbers of sexual partners, and I distinctly remember the sense of relief I felt when I realised that mine wasn’t the highest, or the shame that overcame me when mine was a little too high. It’s like I had to made excuses for my choices, that I had to prove why I shouldn’t be labelled a slut. That it was ok if they were long-term partners, but not if they were one-night stands. I was obsessed with the numbers and statistics of my sex life, trying to keep them neat, orderly, and inline with current trends. I’d feel proud of myself when men were shocked at how few people I’d slept with, or riddled with shame when they looked at me with judgemental eyes. In order to prove that I was good enough for their love and affection, I needed prove that I was pure. I did this by squashing my desires and suppressing any ounce of self-love that I had.
“My friends and I used to compare numbers of sexual partners, and I distinctly remember the sense of relief I felt when I realised that mine wasn’t the highest, or the shame that overcame me when mine was a little too high.”
What are your beliefs now about sexuality, sensuality, expression, and pleasure?
I feel that I’m in the midst of a sexual revolution – uncovering 25 years worth of conditioning, letting go of old stories, and exploring new ways of relating to myself and others. Pleasure is my new pleasure. Every day is a new experience, another day to learn and explore what pleasure is and how I can find it. Even though I have worked to release a lot of the shame I have carried for so long, I still continue to get stuck in old stories and come face to face with layer upon layer of shame and guilt. The difference now, however, is that I have the tools to look at these stories through a lens of compassion and am able to navigate the shame spirals without being consumed by them. This path has also led me to a community of like-minded souls with whom I feel safe to share, explore, and learn with. I truly feel that by connecting to my sensuality and sexuality I have allowed myself to access an abundant amount of pleasure in every area of my life!