Tantra

The "Flexible" Marriage

Have you read Sex at Dawn which makes the case that we humans are at our core not monogamous creatures? That in many ways monogamy is a societal concept - imposed on us by religion and many other factors. I loved the book, but for me personally it's a big leap from there to being fully polyamorous or in an open marriage.

And yet my memoir, Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner is all about wanting more....and staying married.  My personal ethos keeps evolving, but the same question keeps being raised: So, how do you get more - and stay monogamous? Or how do you expand on monogamous but stay out of OKCupid?

Is there a solution outside of going from marriage to marriage in a serial monogamy routine that so many of us fall into because we need more on some level? Is there something in-between monogamy and full out polyarmory or open marriage? Right now this is a hot topic in the world of sexuality and relationship.

Is "Polyamory" the  new more accepted term for  "Open Marriage"? We are certainly hearing that term more and more and some are saying that it is next big sexual revolution. I am living something else - which I call the Monogamish Marriage. Which is a kind of  middle ground of sorts.

Sexuality and relationship is all about taking what works for you and your partner and leaving the rest. I love the idea of creating a sexuality and relationship that is all your own. But we can learn from what others are doing. And I do. All the time. When I first thought of the term "expanded monogamy" I thought that I had coined a new term. But a quick search on google turned up several references to expanded monogamy with different definitions. In my version of expanded monogamy - a couple sets the rules of sexual exploration that fit with their own set of personal boundaries that in my own rule book does not include taking a "traditional lover".

Now, you may ask me what what taking a "Traditional Lover" means.  I might answer. I might not!

In my take on expanded monogamy - I am not talking about what been called an "Open Marriage". My version has boundaries that may seem outside of the box for some - but for others may seem quite restrictive. What is agreeable to one couple may not be agreeable to another. In my story - Shameless - I realize that I created a form of expanded monogamy and developed with my husband a way for me to explore my sexuality that did not fit the traditional outline of monogamy but was not polygamy either.

We are also not so good at finding middle places in our society.  It feels like every day  people  ask me questions like "How did your husband feel about you going to a Tantra workshop?" or ""Did you husband get jealous of you working with hands on sexual healers?" What about your explorations of Bd/Sm? How does he feel about that? How does your husband feel about you work at Back to The Body: Sensuous Retreats For Women?   Does he approve? No matter where I am in the country - I am asked the same questions over and over again about my adventures into the underground world of sacred sexuality.

In my search for language - I am embracing the term expanded monogamy or being monogamISH and I would like to introduce it to you if you are unfamiliar with it. In my own expanded monogamous marriage - I have had  room to go to sexuality workshops that include me exploring my own sexuality with myself and with others within boundaries and usually in a supervised workshop setting. I am able to be playful in my sexuality - which keeps my own inner fire alive and my marriage intact. It has become essential to me to be able to explore who I am as an individual as well as in my marriage.

In my own expanded monogamous marriage - both my husband and I have had the space to work with sexological body workers who are there to support us on our own individual paths. We attended sexuality workshops -  which may include us working with sexual energy techniques like moving our breath with other people - or eye gazing. This is what inspired me to create Back to The Body. I wanted a safe place for all women no matter their marital status to have a place to come to explore their sexuality.

In my own expanded monogamish relationship, I explore Bd/Sm (think Fifty Shades of Grey) without my husband because he isn't interested in it, and it is a very important form of erotic expression for me.  That is "Untraditional" love that I speak about, in case you were wondering.

Having the space to explore and experiment with my sexuality within the boundaries of an expanded monogamy has supported my 30 year marriage into a place where both my husband and I are happy and has helped us keep the light burning in our own marriage bed. Having room to expand your sexuality and explore over time may turn a once sexless marriage into something else.

Creating some room in our relationships for turning up the heat on our sexuality does not have to mean leaving the marriage or sneaking around.  We simply have to bring this possibility out into the world.  I do not hide.  There is no shame.

If we have the room to experiment and expand our own sexuality without shame - I believe that more people would not feel like they have to leave their primary relationships. We just may need more room to breathe. It's about creating sexual agreements that work for each partnership - and allowing each other the room to grow without ditching your lives.

 

You Are Half Water

I have always had this thing about water. Perhaps it is the Tantra metaphors about the feminine and the masculine that got me. The feminine is often described as "a river" and the masculine "the banks". I really got that. I was the wild river flowing, and I always felt like my feminine was in full force when it was held and contained by strong banks. I like to say that if the banks weren't strong when my river was rising - that the water would flood small villages and hurt unsuspecting people. I felt like I needed that - and I noticed that when my energy was flowing and contained that my creativity went way up. I was happier. But if I'm dependent on the banks (the masculine) as an outside force (not a part of myself that I learned to source),  and the banks are not showing up - life can get pretty tricky for a river. I just came across this passage from author Margaret Atwood and this is what she has to say about water:

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

I love this passage. What a different perspective than the one that I had been holding about water.

I think I like this one better. And the banks? I still like them. But we all have an inner feminine and masculine in our own bodies. Lately, I have be resourcing my own banks a bit more. And the creativity has been flowing because it's true what Margaret says about water - it's patient and nothing in the end will stop water from where it wants to go. And water can do this without resistance - just by flowing.

So what is stopping your flow? What is your story about it?

You are half water. If there's an obstacle go around it.

Loving you from here,

Pamela

Will I Be Safe? Exploring Hands on Sexual Healing

I talk to literally hundreds of women that are exploring cutting edge humanistic sex therapy, somatic sex education or more simply stated - hands on sexual healing and exploration. The number one question is "Will I be safe?". That's the most complicated question to answer, because there isn't a straight forward response! What does being safe mean to you? Of course you will not be harmed in any kind of physical or emotional way. That is the hope whenever we see a professional holistic practitioner that we trust with our care. But safe? A part of me wants to answer..."Of course not! And isn't that the point?" Is that why you are truly showing up? Or are you showing up to push your boundaries and comfort zones? To feel things that you have only read about in books? To explore and heal places that perhaps you could not get to through pills, shakes, and Dr. Oz?

Going deeper into your body and mind can be really challenging. Sometimes, it can really make you feel uncomfortable because you are touching all kinds of new and old feelings. So, no, you will not be safe from any of that. Sometimes, you may feel like you want to run away. That is a challenge any time that we want more in our lives. It's about digging in, and getting terribly real with ourselves. That's what hands on therapy provides.

It's an opportunity to explore your sexuality, desires, and body image in a way that is all about you.

Step-by-stiletto step, it can feel exciting, eye opening, earnest, pleasure filled, and magical. On your journey you will be flipping the switch on your erotic engine in ways that you never thought was possible. That’s the powerhouse motor fueled by sexual energy that propels every aspect of a woman’s life--sexual pleasure, relationships (from mother-daughter to lover to her own body), education and even success in business.

Safe? Will I be safe?

Well, it all starts with you. Your body. Your humble vagina and your precious pelvis. Every woman’s got one. The problem is it’s only the rare woman who knows how to access and use its magic powers for self-transformation.

That's what hands on, somatic practice is offering. An opportunity to explore this place in yourself and learn how. The goal is to power up, rediscover or perhaps to find for the first time that hotbed of energy and harness it to unleash each woman’s full potential.

Do you want to feel integrated, powerful, sensuous and seen? Do you want to look at your sexuality through a different lens then you ever have before? What if sex is not just there for attracting men, orgasms or making babies? And what if you could have all that and the secret sauce too if you wanted it?

Naomi Wolf has taken on the subject of the vagina-heart-brain circuit in her inevitably controversial treatise and NY Times bestseller, “Vagina: A New Biography.” Though it’s met wild adulation and bitter criticism, the message is compelling. When the circuit, a dopamine-oxytocin-opiate loop in physiological terms, is intact and uninterrupted, women are in a state of genuine well-being: capable, confident and sexy. When that loop is disrupted, severed, shamed or abused women numb out. They get depressed, anxious, have low libido and dare I say it, suffer “hysteria.” While Wolf’s analysis may be bitterly contested by some, her understanding and defense of the genital-brain connection is one that we've studied and established empirically.

What she didn’t explain in any great detail is how to acknowledge and complete that circuit so that we women are steadily charged, activated, open to and ready for life. That’s what this is all about.

Will you be safe? Is perhaps forever changed safe?

Yes....you will be safe in the deepest sense of the world. And you will also be busted open, and alive like you have never been in your entire life.

Do you want to know more? Contact me for a free "Curious Critter" session. Just send an email to Pamela@beingshameless.com and put "Curious Critter" in the subject line!

Desire is Real Female Orgasm!

I just spent a weekend at a Tantra Workshop - we were all women - with only one man present (insider tip for men - if you want to meet women - get interested in Tantra!).I observed myself in this group of women and this one man -  and I hit up again against a little known truth about women and sexual desire.Do you want to turn us on? Then you had better know our dirty little secret...it's what makes so many of us women feel sexy and raises our libidos about ten degrees. It's the feeling of being desired! Marta Meana said it best when she said that for most women "Desire is the real female orgasm". As women, we want to be the most desired fruit in the salad. We want our significant other - or simply admiring eyes to reflect back to us their desire for us - and this gives us more pleasure that most of us would like to admit to. It's not very politically correct now - is it? Well - here's a new flash for you - sexuality is not politically correct! I don't know about you - but I want to be swept off my feet by a suitor that just cannot breathe without me. Oh come on. You want it too! You know it's true. And if it's really, really, really isn't true for you as a woman - it is true for countless others. Why do you think romance novels are so popular? It's girl porn! It's where we get to read about the damsel being desired - courted - whisked away against her will - because his desire for her is so intense that he just must have her! And that turns on our feminine soul in such a hot deep place that the heroine falls in love. The end. This story is told again and again - marketed directly to women - to our core fantasy - and purchased in truck loads by countless women in countless Walmarts across the country every day. And yet - we are bashful about it. Aren't we? The question that I pose is why don't we us women simply cop to the fantasy? My theory is because it embarrasses us. We feel shame in having any desire that does not include us being in control at all times. We want to be feminists - and self sufficient. We don't want to "Need" men (or female lovers) - or look to the outside world for approval. It's not what we have been taught to want. But sexuality and desire - didn't read the play book. The way our desire works in as encoded in our DNA as the color of our eyes. So what happens to us as women when we no longer "feel seen" as sexual beings. What if weight gain, aging, or even disability makes us feel invisible to those outside eyes? What happens then to our female sexuality? What happens if we hate ourselves so deeply because of life events such as experiencing infertility or cancer that we turn in completely and switch off our sexuality button - so that nobody will see us anymore? Oh yeah - you know what I am talking about. Big ugly shapeless sweat shirts to name one stereotypical piece of female sexual camouflage. But it's true - we do it. We hide in so many ways. We make it so that no one could desire us - and that fulfills the prophecy that we are not desirable. I watched Geneen Roth on Oprah again yesterday - and it opened with women talking about how they self loathed. It is a vicious cycle - of self hating - not being willing to be seen - and there fore not being seen. That shuts us down - and creates a host of problems for us.

What kind of problems? Well how about low libido, depression, anxiety anger, sadness and all kinds of self abuse in the form of overeating and abuse of other substances as we try to feed something we can't name inside of us. I don't think that any of this can truly be cured in the form of a pink pill for women. It's so much deeper for us. For us - Desire is the Female Orgasm - and we have to return to a place in our selves first where we can learn to receive pleasure. Once we can decide that we are worthy of that first step - miracles can happen.