Do you want to turn women 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 months ago and it still stays with me. These women couldn't stop 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.
Yesterday I went to a breakfast sponsored by Zestra which is a woman's arousal gel that I have written about before. They had all of these sexperts at the breakfast there to talk to us writers, bloggers and reporters about female arousal, sexuality, desire and orgasm. I love that - so I went. During a presentation - one of the sexperts quoted a survey that stated when women were given the choice between sex and a massage - they picked the massage! The study results got the desired response - everyone laughed and groaned. But not me. First of all - I hated the question - I mean why do we have to pick between two incredibly pleasurable activities - and then have the answer be used as a commentary? But I knew why the study was done - and I knew the answer before it was given that women would pick the massage over sex - and that the sexperts were using that answer to show the sorry state of female sexuality. But really - no disrespect intended here - neither the survey makers or the sexperts really got it. But I did. I don't mean to be bratty here - but I simply didn't draw the same conclusions.
I understood why the women picked massage as their first choice - and it had nothing to do at all with the sorry state of female sexuality. The answer was all about being sex positive - not sex negative! We just have to be willing to open up our minds a little bit about what constitutes a sensuous and satisfying embodied activity! What was missing from the understanding of the survey makers - and perhaps even from the sexperts who used this study as an example of women not wanting sex - was that massage - even traditional massage - is a very sensuous and pleasurable activity that allows us to feel touch for a very extended amount of time without doing anything back! The most traditional of massage experiences allows women to go deeply into their bodies - and receive sensuous pleasure - that is all about them!
Most women don't get the opportunity to do this. To simply - get naked, lie on a table and allow someone to touch them in a non erotic - yet sensuous safe way that gives pleasure for an extended amount of time. It is positively delicious - and for many women - this experience is not as available as traditional sex. So of course they picked massage over sex in the ill conceived survey. Women are not stupid!
It was a funny coincidence - but yesterday I also received an incredible massage and I was again reminded of the spectacular healing and delicious pleasure that can happen on the massage table. Yes - pleasure - pure and simple. Healing pleasure. And in my mind - in my experience - pleasure is not only healing - it is transformational.
It had been a long time since I had climbed aboard a massage table and simply - magnificently - divinely - received one way healing touch. Oh - I have made lots of reasons why I haven't gone. There is the money - the time - and the fact that every once in a while - even I - the great SHAMELESS wonder has moments of body shame. So I deny myself what I know to be one of the most healing, restorative, regenerative , and pleasurable activities that I can think of - and that is receiving a massage.
But John Ellsworth, an old friend and one of the most talented massage therapists I know - offered me a massage as an early birthday present. I almost didn't go - after all - I am a very busy lady! I have so much to do! There are families to build in my fertility work, blogs to write and a book to promote! There are dinners to cook - and an apartment to clean! I could go all day and not finish all of the things that I need to do. But I stopped - and I went after work - and it was such an important reminder that receiving massage is one of the most important things that I can make time for to keep myself ticking.
I know that there can be a lot of discomfort in recognizing and having a massage - something that we pay for - as something other than a therapeutic activity that we engage in because we have a bad back - or a pulled shoulder - or as a way for us to keep our muscles in shape as athletes. Not many people are willing to say that they embrace massage as a way to give themselves pleasure. We are a pleasure denied society - that talks about pleasure a lot - and then puts a lot of taboos around it. And anything that has nudity, touch and possibly money involved in it - we have to put lots and lots of boundaries around - so that other people will know that we are engaging in the activity for "medical purposes".
We don't want anyone to think - that possibly we are doing this for pleasure's sake only!
So let me help out on this one. Pleasure is important. Pleasure can change your life. Sensuous pleasure is healing and feels great! Traditional non-erotic massage is an incredible tool for getting reconnected with the power of pleasure that we can all have in our own bodies - and yes - if it helps you justify the experience - it is healing! And we don't have to do anything to receive this but show up and climb on the table.
I left John's studio feeling transformed after 90 minutes of pure pleasure that didn't involve sex - but was just as delicious.
Thank you John for the reminder - and the women in the study were no dummies!