Today’s podcast is packed with fun and valuable information. If you have children you already know there is a distinct difference in the way little boys and little girls perceive their bodies. Those differences tend to remain stuck in our brains into adulthood. I will share insight as to why that is and how you may be missing some of the greatest pleasures in your life – sexual arousal. You might be aroused and not even know it. Your brain just needs to catch up to what your body is already doing – because it knows how. Let’s work together to fix that!
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A few weeks ago I heard a funny story. A friend of mine was sharing that she noticed her 4-year old son pushing down on his penis over and over. She asked him if he needed to use the bathroom, and he emphatically said “no” but that his penis was just too big and he was trying to push it down. His older brother quickly chimed in “oh yeah, I have that problem all the time!.” It was hilarious!
From the time men are just little boys, they are VERY aware of their penis. They touch it all the time. It’s there. It sticks out. It stands up straight. They aren’t afraid of touching it, handling it. They know it feels good. It’s just part of their body.
As boys grow, go through puberty, they begin to understand even more and in a more sexual way, how amazing their penis is and what it is capable of. Whether through masturbation, or completely unintentionally, they understand how their penis and their body handles arousal and how they feel pleasure.
I think most women can attest that we did NOT have the same experience when it comes to our own genitalia. Most of us weren’t even taught the proper names for our body parts (although I’m sure my husband, who grew up in a house with 4 brothers, heard many nicknames for their penises over the years.) We were told it was our vagina, va-jay-jay, hoohaw, privates, cookie. Very rarely were we told that the exterior part is our vulva, the interior part is our vagina. We have inner and outer labia. We also have a clitoris, who’s whole job is pleasure! No, I don’t think many of us were told this. Many women were told how gross their genitalia was. Shamed for it. Told NEVER to touch down there. I recently had an unmarried client come to me because she has such anxiety over touching herself to put in a tampon that she passes out! How was she ever going to have sex?
But it’s time for us to become not only aware of our genitalia, ladies, but truly understand our bodies and what arousal feels like for us and connect to the pleasure that we all deserve and our bodies were created for.
Not being aware we are aroused
So there was a study, where women were shown sexual imagery. While they were being show this, they were being monitored for physical arousal. After it was over, they had to answer questions about whether or not they were aroused. Most women reported little to no arousal from watching the sexual imagery, but their body said otherwise. The body showed signs of physical arousal, but they weren’t even aware of their arousal.
I think many women are so out of touch with their bodies and giving so much weight instead to the noise that is going on in their brains, that often they miss the signs that they actually are “in the mood.” This doesn’t tend to be as typical with men because with an erect penis they know they’re aroused. But with women not having something as a visual and clear as an erect penis we often don’t realize that our genitals are actually engorged, we are producing lubrication, and our nipples are erect. We just don’t recognize those physical signs in us.
There really is a gap between the physical and the mental. They don’t always go hand in hand. For instance, women have been known to be physically aroused during a sexual assault. Some even orgasm. Their body responds in a way that is completely contrary to what their mind is telling them. It almost seems like a cruel joke. Of course they didn’t want it. Of course they weren’t enjoying it. But their body responded in a way that was contrary to that. It’s biology.
As women, we have lots of stress and often feel overwhelmed. In order to cope, we separate ourselves from our emotions and become numb. We develop maladaptive coping mechanisms (which I call buffers) like overeating, endless scrolling through social media, shopping, and addictions to create disconnection from our life. To avoid feeling the negative emotions we don’t want to feel. But when we disconnect from life and our emotions, we also disconnect from our bodies.
There is also some false notion that as women, we are not entitled to pleasure. I know the word entitled kind of has a bad context these days. But the definition of entitled is:
“Believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges”
And I fully believe that women are inherently deserving of pleasure. But somewhere along the way, that entitlement was lost. So many women today believe that sex (and pleasure) is just for men and not for women. And it is our job to satisfy them, but not worry about our own satisfaction and pleasure. This myth has been perpetuated in literature and media and I think culturally within the church and society as well. Men are that they might have joy…but just men, right? With women’s rights and feminism, many women have learned how to say no to a lot of things, but we haven’t learned how to say YES to pleasure. We haven’t learned how to tune into our desire and what we want for ourselves. What our minds want. What our hearts want. And what our bodies want.
We have this mentality that “good girls don’t…” We don’t want sex. We don’t want pleasure. We need to override those messages and listen to our heart and our body and what it’s telling us. Our body is divine and it was created by our Heavenly Parents with these feelings, and passions, and urges. Not as a way to just tempt us and leave us hanging, but to experience pleasure in the way it was intended. Our bodies were designed to experience pleasure for our benefit.
To find out what our body, mind, heart, and spirit really want, it might be uncomfortable. But we also have a false notion within the church that if something feels uncomfortable that it must be sinful or wrong, and that’s just not true. Any type of growth is uncomfortable. So we need to be willing to lean into it and feel the discomfort and grow to become who we were created to be.
To have a full life, we must experience all of the emotions. This is why Eve partook of the fruit in the Garden of Eden. I think we forget that she wanted the joy and sadness. The pleasure and the pain. But so often we think that we are not supposed to be too happy or have too much pleasure. But what is too much? Having the “eat, drink and be merry” attitude probably isn’t the right one. But seeking pleasure and joy through making love to your spouse? Yeah, I think that’s exactly what our Heavenly Parents would want for us.
If you believe that God and spirituality is in everything, why can’t you believe that it’s in sex too? Why can’t it be in adventurous, playful, erotic, carnal sex with your spouse? We were designed by our Heavenly Parents to be this way and they didn’t design us this way so that we would have to fight against it our entire life. They didn’t design us this way so that we would turn it off to be more like them. They designed us this way because they know that this is how it’s supposed to be and that’s how it’s good and right and worth it. Sex is supposed to be fun and pleasurable for both parties!
If we believe in love, we believe that it encompasses every aspect of our life. Our emotions, our thoughts, our actions, our spirits, our spirituality. How can we best expressed that love in the body that was spiritually created for us?
Sometimes we get caught up in the notion that it needs to be the right kind of sex in order for it to be sanctioned by God. It can only be missionary sex with man on top where neither one of you are having too much fun. Or sex should only be for the creation of children and when we HAVE to give in to our physical bodies for a release.
When I think of our Heavenly Parents, I think that both of them are good at giving and receiving pleasure and love for their mutual benefit. And I think that they want that for us too.
There are three common blocks to pleasure.
- Not being present – this block involves being stuck in your head during pleasure. There is often a feeling of being undeserving of pleasure, which limits your ability to fully drop into your body and experience what is actually happening.
- I come last – This is where you put everyone ahead of taking care of yourself. You are so busy taking care of everyone but yourself and you don’t prioritize your own needs and pleasure. You literally come last…if you come at all. When you are constantly fulfilling the roll of caretaker, it’s really not possible to make the switch into the roll of the receiver.
- Body image challenges – I think this one most women can relate too. If you have any emotional or mental discomfort around your body it can be really difficult getting into a sensual space.
Reconnecting to our pleasure
So, if you have disconnected yourself from pleasure, it’s time to get you reconnected to it.
- Examine your thoughts: you need to examine your current beliefs about pleasure and the idea of you experiencing it. When you think about pleasure, what comes to mind?
- One of my clients said that pleasure is not something for God-fearing women. It’s very hedonistic. And yeah, if that’s all you care about, probably not a good thing. When I think of hedonism, I envision orgy parties and people prioritizing pleasure over anything else in their life. But wanting to experience pleasure when you are connecting with your eternal companion is very different than going around having sex with anyone who will do it with you. Balance.
- You also need to spend time thinking about how you view yourself and your body.
- In Episode 111, I talked about the importance of writing things down to help you process through your thoughts. This would be an excellent idea when examining your thoughts around yourself, pleasure, and sex.
- Connect with your body: you’ve got to figure out where and how you personally experience pleasure. What feels good for you? Is it a massage? Is it scratching your back? Is it sucking on your ear lobe or gently running a hand up your inner thigh? All of us are different.
- If you don’t have it already – I suggest you download my Roadmap To Personal Pleasure (linked above and below). This will guide you through lots of different exercises and body parts to figure out how you personally experience pleasure.
- Find other things that bring you pleasure. You can find pleasure in lots of different things. Yes, physical pleasure is amazing and awesome, but find pleasure in other areas of your life.
- Going for a walk
- Taking a bath
- Playing games with your family
- Laying on the beach
- Reading a book
- Smelling flowers
- Getting your hair brushed.
What brings you pleasure?