We are born to love and feel safe inside of ourselves and with others, emotionally and physically, but for many this journey has been rocky and complicated. Some of us experience the process of early bonding as filled with more confusion and pain than love. Many of us have created layers of protection in childhood to keep our vulnerable and innocent hearts safe. I’m one of those people, and my journey to bond, trust and surrender into love has been an ongoing experiment and exploration. My sexuality has been a key pathway for healing and integration. Sexual relationships open the door to attach in ways that we don’t with our non-sexual connections. Sexual relationships can often mirror patterns from childhood when our dependence on our primary attachment figures was essential for our survival.
I want talk about attachment because it’s vulnerable and it touches our foundational beliefs about love and safety. Being educated about why we do what we do to bond builds awareness, self-compassion and a greater perspective into our relationship triggers. Studying attachment is rich terrain for healing and integrating personal patterns of anxiety, control, and self-protection. Many behaviors associated with our attachment template can be the drivers of self-hatred, jealousy, controlling others, withdrawal, blame and judgment. My desire is to normalize, and bring awareness to our basic need to attach and experience secure connection. We all need to know that we belong and that we’re part of the whole. We all need safe places to feel seen, loved and held, no matter how messy and unbuttoned we are.
The conditioning you experienced as a child sounds so intensely annihilating and painful. Your bravery to share this vulnerably has moved me to tears. The early imprints that you inherited from your family system laid some deep tracks in your psyche. I can empathize and relate to the trauma imprints of feeling used and unworthy. Based on your experience, you learned to distrust relationships as a nourishing safe harbor and instead experienced them as a war zone of expectations, demands, and criticism.
Boundary-setting is an important self-care practice. Establishing clear boundaries is necessary to maintain evolutionary, authentic, consensual, and respectful relationships in all domains of life. Boundaries are a form of power. They empower us to express our needs in relationship, whether that’s in our relationship to ourselves or others. Boundaries also offer us a forum to negotiate, using our authentic voice to stand in solidarity with our inner value system.
I don’t believe that a successful relationship requires our partner to feel and believe the same as us. However, I do feel that we need to have enough shared reality when it comes to our core values and purpose in partnership to grow into our greatest potential together. This shared relational ground is what helps us make our differences digestible and opens the door to growth and transformation. When we feel like we’re suddenly not growing together, it’s a good time to take inventory.
Have you ever wondered what your fantasies reveal about your deeper self? What if our fantasies, sexual and non-sexual, are powerful doorways to make conscious what we actually long for beneath the surface of our daily life? In addition to our biological impulse to procreate and experience pleasure, we come to sex to fulfill a need to feel something specific. Today, I’m going to offer you various entry points to study your fantasy life. And if you think “I don’t fantasize,” stay with me, because you may not realize the ways in which you do fantasize every day.
If we don’t pay attention to our needs and disappointments, we miss opportunities to deepen intimacy with ourselves and our partners. Yet, these topics are riddled with shame. At the root of our human experience, we all want to know we matter, that we belong and that we are lovable and enough just as we are. Much of our patterned sexual behavior is based on our earliest sexual experiences. What we learn early on drives how we show up as adults in all parts of our lives, including in bed. Our conditioning can be transformed with self-awareness, self compassion, and a safe and loving environment of experimentation, mindfulness and spaciousness.
The answer is simple in theory. The application of theory is a lifetime journey of practice, self-compassion, fierce honesty and discipline. To unwind our conditioning it to let go of the ways we’ve identified with our roles (healer, teacher, parent, business executive) as well as who we think we should be to belong and feel enough (a loyal person, a kind person, the one in charge, smart, successful, athletic, etc.) To expose the ways in which we habitually react out of fear (control), withdrawn from love (protect), or override our authentic needs (comply) to maintain connection.
There are times in life when we are maxed out, brain-fogged and spinning like a top with anxiety and narrating stories of the difficult things that might happen as a result of the challenge or uncertainty in front of us. This is the grit of being a primal animal wired with safety and threat signals. We are driven not just by physical survival of food, water and shelter, but also by emotional and psychological survival. We share a universal, basic need to belong, to contribute, and to know we’re loved and that we matter. Any threat to these basic needs can cause stress and overwhelm.
Feminine ways of leading are often ridiculed and diminished, even by those of us who want to embody them! This is the impact of conditioned beliefs and world views of reality. The good news, is that these outdated scripts can all be rewritten. I’ve been on a beautiful and gritty ride as I unravel the stronghold these beliefs have had on my freedom to wholeheartedly express myself and come out of hiding.
I like this question because upon contemplation I realize that the experience, need and definition of emotional intimacy is diverse and so very personal. The book “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, is one of many avenues to begin this exploration. He suggests there are five areas in which emotional intimacy is built. He suggests that most people lean towards one or two as their primary melting point into emotional connection. However, I was coaching an executive months back and we discovered that her love language is Play.
When couples begin to domesticate often the erotic charge can shift and sequence through diminishing cycles. And, from my experience, what also happens is that differences in communication, attachment styles, emotional availability and so on can fog our sexual desire channel too. It’s a natural place for our mind to wander when we are hungry for something that is not present. The mind is designed to fantasize and point us towards our deeper needs.
I have been enjoying a rich life as a leadership consultant and executive coach. It’s deeply satisfying and inspiring to participate in a catalytic movement with leaders who want to access their presence and wisdom as the foundation from which they create and lead. I recently took a significant professional (and personal) leap when I launched my new business, Your Erotic Nature. I’m passionate about this because I know what becomes possible when we know how to access our creative life force of erotic aliveness.
To be fully in touch with our “self” is a dynamic and ever-evolving journey. There is no end point to self-discovery and embodiment. The system in which we create and operate in with our partners, and all the people in our lives, is a manifestation of how we operate within ourselves. No two connections are alike because each person brings their own operating system and beliefs about how a relationship engages and sustains itself.
For much of my life I was caught in the web of what I call, ‘The Self-Improvement Campaign’. This ‘campaign’ is the false notion that somehow we are deficient. Therefore, in order to be happy, successful and belong we have to improve ourselves. In the process we compare ourselves to others and the ideas of who we think we should be. What we end up feeling is a disconnect on the inside. The effort to try and improve ourselves feeds the belief that there is something wrong with us in the first place. This belief is simply untrue. The only obstacle we’re bumping into is our belief about ‘who we are’ and how life ‘should’ be.
Have you ever stayed in a relationship (romantic, work-related or friendship) that didn’t match what you desire in partnership, hoping that it would change because you saw the potential? What happens when we fall in love with the ‘potential’ of someone and forget to pay attention to the reality of the relationship dynamic? In the early stages of lust & fantasy we see what we want to see. Sometimes we even overlook red flags. It’s natural to do this but often an arduous process to unwind when the bubble of our fantasy bursts.
We are in a pivotal time of awakening, change, and growth on this planet. This is the time to reclaim your power, integrity, and authentic sexual expression. Unlocking the cage starts with being aware of the beliefs, thoughts, emotional patterns, and behaviors that create shame or “stuckness.”
If your path was anything like mine, you’ve likely encountered a series of trapdoors and confusing messages along the way. Living in our modern-day culture means we’ve all experienced some degree of repression of our vibrant erotic nature and sexual desire. Here is a few highlights from my journey of losing and reclaiming my sexual-erotic power. Join me for a walk down memory lane.
The following is the story of my journey, including the teachers who have initiated me and reminded me of who I am. I am deeply grateful for the power of their love, presence and wisdom. Challenges and obstacles are often the medicine that initiates growth and transformation.
We all hope to experience pleasure and nourishing connection with our lovers. But many of us aren’t taught how to set boundaries, ask for what we desire, or track and attune to our internal experience (or our partner’s). Embodied sexuality is the full expression of your sexuality through your senses, mind, fantasies, heart, and presence of being.
Erotic energy is mysterious and provocative, a shapeshifting conduit for healing, creativity, and emergent potential. To know your erotic self is to be fully present to the inner landscape of your direct experience. When you’re in a flow state of juicy open-hearted connection, you transmit a quality of aliveness that nourishes your whole self and everyone around you.