Do you think that your own desires are selfish? Most of us women do. We’ve been taught this by well meaning people either explicitly or implicitly. While our desires are not more important than anyone else’s, they are AS IMPORTANT as anyone else’s, including our husband’s, our children’s, or anyone else in our lives. Listen to this episode to see how life changing it can be when we start to look at how being selfish sometimes is actually a good thing.
Last week we talked about reclaiming our desire and eros energy. And the way that you do that is start prioritizing your wants, your desires, your needs. Now, the thing that comes up for many women with this, is that to prioritize ourselves above others feels very selfish, and so we don’t. We don’t make ourselves a priority and we put everyone else’s wants, desires, and needs ahead of our own. And by doing so, we lose our energy and zest for life, as well as losing our desire for sex.
Today I want to talk about this belief system that we have around selfishness. Where it comes from and what it creates for us in our lives and in our sexual relationships.
How do we typically define selfishness? If someone calls us selfish, it’s usually taken as an insult. It’s meant as a rebuke. If you look up “selfish” in the dictionary, you’ll find a definition something like this:
“a person who lacks consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.” (Oxford Dictionary)
“Caring only about what you want or need without any thought for the needs or wishes of other people” (Cambridge Dictionary)
So, to be selfish is to be anywhere on the spectrum between being thoughtless and a criminal.
In Ayn Rand’s book The Virtue of Selfishness she says that “the word “selfishness” is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is one of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends…and pursues nothing but the gratification of the endless whims of any immediate moment…Yet, the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word selfishness is: concern with one’s own interests. This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.”
She goes on to say that “It is commonly believed that morality demands we choose between sacrificing other people to ourselves (which is deemed “selfish” and therefore immoral) and sacrificing our own values to satisfy others’ needs (which is deemed unselfish and therefore moral).” (AynRand.org)
So, given societies definition that selfishness is synonymous with evil and having concerns for one’s own interest is immoral, it’s no wonder, especially as women that we have been cultured to believe that in order to be a “good woman” a good wife, mother, church member, member of society, we must not be selfish.
Like so many things, I think selfishness exists on a spectrum. At one end you have the immoral person who could care less about society and individuals around him. At the other end of the spectrum is someone who rarely, if ever, thinks about their own needs, wants, and desires, and becomes self-sacrificing to their own detriment.
I remember seeing a video put out by the church (and I will link it in the show notes) called You Never Know How Much Good You Do. It’s a video of a woman who was excited to meet her cousin who she hadn’t seen in a long time for a couple of hours while she had a layover at the airport. But one thing after another happened to get in the way of this. A neighbor needed her to watch her kids. A family needed a meal brought in. Kids forgot to do their school project. By the end of the day she had spent her entire day in the service of others, which sounds like a good and noble thing, but at the detriment of what she truly wanted for herself. At the end of the video this woman was frustrated and sad at what had happened to her day, with good reason in my opinion. But then you get the voice over message at what a noble woman she is. Putting her on a pedestal for her sacrifices. Now, I get that all of those things are inherently good things. But when we sacrifice what is truly important to us consistently or because we believe that our desires don’t matter as much as others, we are going to end up angry, frustrated, and resenting those around us and our life.
I want you to think about what messages you were given that taught you that others wants, needs, and desires should come before yours. Here are a few examples:
- Dress modestly so boys don’t have bad thoughts
- The highest calling is in the home, as a mother
- That a mission and education were important only if you didn’t have the opportunity to get married
- That you needed to defer your career for your husband’s education and career
Any of those sounds familiar? I thought so.
Here’s some more:
- Men are the sexual ones
- Men have sexual needs and it is our responsibility, as a good wife, to keep them happy.
- If we don’t satisfy them sexually, they are more likely to stray or watch pornography
- It’s not ok to have strong emotions
- You are responsible for others emotions
- It’s your job to keep those around you comfortable
Again..most of these can be good things individually sometimes. But when you put them all together it causes problems.
Through all of these things we were taught that having our own desires was wrong and that it was our job to align our lives with our husbands and not pursue our own desires. That is what a good woman does. Sacrifice ourselves for everyone else. To not be selfish.
These are the messages that were taught (by well meaning good people) either explicitly or implicitly. All of these messages taught us that in order to be a good wife, a good mother, a good woman, that our desires, wants, and needs don’t matter as much as those around us. So we become the opposite of selfish and become self-sacrificing. Sacrificing every little bit of ourselves for others until there is nothing left. Empty. Eros energy is gone. And often our own desires are so completely forgotten that when I ask women in my program to write down some of their desires (and I don’t even just mean sexual ones, I just mean desires in general) they can’t think of any.
Now, many times when I talk about this, I get some backlash because what I am saying is misconstrued. So let me be clear…I am not saying that a woman’s desires, YOUR desires, are more important than anyone else’s. No, that would be selfish. What I am saying is that your desires are JUST AS IMPORTANT as everyone else’s. Your wants and desires are just as important as your husbands. They are just as important as your children’s.
But, no one is going to give them to you. No one is going to hand you what you want and desire. Because they’ve all been trained to see you and your wants and desires as less important than theirs. You have to learn how to be strong enough in yourself to realize what you want and stand up for it in your relationships. This is one of the greatest things I teach women in my program, how to have that better relationship with yourself so you can get what you want and desire while strengthening your marriage and other relationships at the same time. This isn’t about you getting what you want and no one else does. It’s about everyone getting most of what they want to help us all have the energy of life.
Now, let’s take this into the bedroom. When you’ve been giving your husband sex for years because he needs it and he’s the sexual one and you are just doing your wifely duty, it’s no wonder you don’t like it and don’t have a desire for it because it’s something else you have to give and something else that has been taken from you. You have to tap into your desires. Figure out how sex can be FOR you (and not just for him), because it really can be. Women actually have a higher capacity for sexuality than men. When you quit doing it just for him and learn how great it can be for you, and understand that you deserve pleasure and joy and happiness through your body and your sexuality just like he does, it can change everything. You get that Eros energy back.
Now most men I know want their wife to love sex as much as they do. While you are figuring this out, frequency might go down some, but hopefully the quality goes up, and then both go up. So it takes some figuring out. Because we are so used to being the giver, it’s really hard for most women to sit back and relax and let their husband pleasure them for as long as it takes to come to orgasm. We’ve always looked at sexuality from the lens of man, so anything longer than 5-10 minutes seems excessive. That discomfort comes into play that “if I take this long I’m being selfish.” No ma’am! You are worth whatever amount of time it takes. This is one of the hardest things for women to do because it is so out of character, but it is so, so important! Watch how much your brain protests. This is all that conditioning we’ve been talking about. Just keep reminding yourself that you have been sacrificing yourself for so long, it’s your turn. And of course you will make sure your husband gets his too, but you take all the time you need my friend!
So, when certain people call me selfish, I am not insulted. I know that they just have a different belief system than I do about what makes a good woman. I am a woman who is strong and powerful with so much Eros energy. I make sure I am getting what I want in my life, in my family, in my career, and in the bedroom. And I also make sure everyone else does too. But if it comes down to a conflict, I carefully weigh out all the options and decide which one feels the best to me in all aspects. Sometimes that means putting myself first and sometimes that means putting someone else first from a place of love and with no resentment.
If you want that for yourself, come join me in my Embrace You Elite Society. Let’s get that Eros energy back.