Let’s face it – even though sex is everywhere these days, most of us are not comfortable talking openly about our sexuality and desire. And this is not necessarily because we’re shy or we self-censor. When it comes right down to it, free-expression about the sex you have or want to have is still incredibly taboo in most cultures across the globe.
Yet, a healthy, expressive sex life is an essential part of a healthy, expressive life!
To help me start a conversation about sex, I’ve invited my friend and Sexual Empowerment Coach, Amy Jo Goddard, to share her thoughts with us in this week’s article.
So much of Amy Jo’s work is about encouraging people to say what they desire. Often times, the desires we keep secret are the ones that hold the greatest potential to bring us the kind of fulfillment and satisfaction we seek. It takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable to say what you want out loud. Yet, when you find your voice, you’ll have a better chance at finding your pleasure.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR SEXUAL VOICE BY AMY JO GODDARD
I’ve struck a chord with my dialogue on “Finding the Sexual Voice.” Some people feel like their sexual voice is stifled, and always has been. Others are completely out of touch with it. And, many want to know how they can shift their sexual voice to authentically get their needs met. In any case, to understand the sexual voice, we first have to break it down.
The sexual voice is two-fold: We all have an internal voice and an external voice.
Your internal sexual voice is the way you talk to yourself about your sexuality, the way you treat your body, the way you think and what you think when you are having sex, the stories you have believed and continue to tell yourself about sexuality, your desirability and your sexual life and desires.
In my Women’s Sexual Empowerment program we focus on the sexual story and herstory in our first weekend retreat and we do a powerful exercise that allows us to look at our collective sexual story. It opens us up to seeing what kinds of stories women are carrying, how they are viewing themselves and defining who they are, and what they have held onto. It’s so powerful. I wish everyone could have that experience because it can allow us to see that we are not alone, that others have had similar experiences or stories about themselves and we can develop a deep compassion for ourselves when we are witnessed in our stories.
Your internal story is what you carry around with you all the time. It’s the way you frame your sexuality and what happens to you inside. There are always embedded beliefs in the sexual story we carry internally. Things like, “It’s not normal that I don’t have orgasms, there must be something wrong with me.” Or “I’m not attractive enough/sexy enough/sexual enough/exciting, etc.” Or “I’ll never heal from my sexual abuse.” Or “I’m too old for sex…”
Hopefully we have positive beliefs about our sexuality that we carry: “I am totally lovable.” “I’m capable of amazing orgasms and pleasure and I feel good about my lack of inhibition.” “I love my body and it’s abilities.” “I’m a sexually desirable creature.”
Your internal voice impacts how you feel in your body, in your relationships, how present you are in sex, how much you enjoy your sexuality, how inhibited you are, and how you express your sexuality on a daily basis. It is essential that you do some work around your internal voice, stories and beliefs so that you can have a healthy outlook and framework for your sexual life.
Your external voice is how you talk about your sexuality and your body, how you flirt and approach people, how you put yourself out there, how you ask for what you want, and express your desire.
Your external voice will mirror some of the internal stories and your internal voice. Your level of positivity or negativity about sex, your insecurities, your frustrations, your healthy view of yourself, and your confidence all stem from that internal voice and are expressed verbally, emotionally and energetically.
Most people get really stuck in finding their external sexual voice for a variety of reasons. I can remember when I was younger the way a frog would get stuck in my throat when I wanted to express something in a sexual situation. If I wanted to make a request or ask for an adjustment it could feel like the hardest thing to do. I know many people struggle to tell a partner they want something different or to offer any instruction because then maybe their partner will get discouraged or think they are doing it wrong, or maybe it will hurt their feelings.
There are many ways the external voice shows up during sex. How do you communicate in the moment? How do you ask for what you want when you are in the throws of it? How do you shift gears? How do you make inviting requests?
There is a larger conversation that must happen around sex, and when you establish it with a partner, it becomes much easier to offer this kind of feedback: talking about what is working and what is not, talking about new desires and wishes, and discussing how to improve or build your sexual relationship.
Nothing builds deeper and more meaningful intimacy than learning to talk about sex in a way that feels empowered, exciting and fun. And even when it’s hard, it brings you closer. This is why I work with people so much on how to have these conversations and how to set up their sexual relationships for success and intimacy.
Now that you understand the dichotomy of the sexual voice, you can start to notice your patterns and responses within each aspect, and gather tools to break through to your authentic, empowered sexual voice.
As a Sexual Empowerment expert and thought leader, Amy Jo Goddard has guided thousands of people towards the wholeness and fulfillment they want, sexually and in other aspects of their lives. She earned her Master’s degree in Human Sexuality Education from New York University and has 20 years of experience in the sexuality field. As a renowned speaker and teacher, Amy Jo travels to colleges, communities, and conferences teaching classes and offering keynotes that help people to connect the dots around sexuality and money, expand their creativity, grow their confidence and learn to be bigger in their relationships, in business, and in the world.
She delivered her TEDx talk “Owning Your Sexual Power” in March, 2014 in Napa Valley, was named one of GO! Magazin’s “100 Women We Love” in 2010 and one of Kinkly’s ”100 Sex Blogging Superheros” in 2013.
Amy Jo is also the author of the upcoming book, WOMAN ON FIRE: 9 Elements to Wake Up Your Erotic Energy, Personal Power and Sexual Intelligence.
I am not on top of the latest and greatest news the way that some people seem to be. I have a tendency to get things a little later than hot off the presses. However, I happened to watch the Bruce Jenner interview pretty much as soon as it was available. It was a fluke really. While I am very concerned with equality for and understanding of all types of issues especially those related to gender, I was relatively oblivious to all of the press. Yup, that is the truth. I don’t watch reality TV and my consumption of media is low.
The night of this interview I was looking for a something to watch on Hulu and I stumbled on this interview. After watching 10 minutes of it, I knew I needed to bring it to my coaching training program, which was having an intensive the next day. There was so much in that interview that made for rich discussion when working with people. But, what struck me more than anything was that it reminded me that people –all of us—struggle with knowing and being our full selves and that this challenge causes us so much pain.
We can’t be happy if we do not truly accept ourselves. But, what does true self-acceptance look like? Let me see if I can put it into some more concrete terms.
You are either OK with who you are or you are not. You are either on your own side or you are not. And, what this feels like, when you accept yourself, could almost be described as weightlessness.
If you wonder whether you accept yourself ask yourself these questions:
If you answer “no” or are not certain, try some exercises taken from my book Real Answers to help you work on fully accepting yourself:
Powerful questions: With these next statements, you have the opportunity to become more aware of any areas of your life where it will benefit you to come to terms, as well as what you might be afraid of.
Complete these statements about yourself:
Speak your truth: One of the ways we can move into a deeper level of acceptance is to speak the truth about our lives, making it more real. This increased sense of reality just naturally works to increase our acceptance of what was. For example, I have an event in my life where I had a fight with a close friend of mine. After this fight, I begin to slip into some story around it. For example, my friend was really unfair or my friend overreacted. You can see that these are judgments, and as I was mentioning before, judgments are about the mask. If, instead, I am able to state the data about what happened, this is the actual sensory information. In other words, “What I saw was …,” “What I felt was …,” “What I experienced was …” If I am able to break down the information as truthfully as possible, I will begin to see the situation for what it is.
Talk to someone who was there: This is why personal growth groups and therapy groups work really well. If someone has gone through a similar experience―or, as is the case sometimes with family members, the same experience―sharing that experience with someone who can understand helps us accept that experience. We come to know that this is what truly happened and these are the effects it had. As I was saying earlier in this book, when people go through a trauma, they often minimize the effects or don’t recognize the effects. They do not see that what happened to them directly affects their life. For example, that their depression is related to the trauma or that their angry outbursts are related to the trauma. It is education, which allows us to see all these experiences connect inside of us―how we live them out. This is another example of how we can use acceptance to help with our awareness.
Bringing acceptance into your personal experience will radically change the way you approach almost every aspect of your life and ultimately will bring a lot of benefit to the world.
Like this topic and want to learn more? Join me for Real Answers Radio this Thursday, May 14th at 12pm EST. Real Answers airs live and your questions are always welcome! Tune in here
Knowing what you want is only part of the process in living the life that you dream of. The transformation really begins when you can start to translate what you want into radical honesty in each moment – honesty with yourself and with everyone in your life.
Once we have connected to our deeper self or core, it is only then that we are even able to access our own truth. Otherwise, “our truth” is nothing more than our egos petulant desires. When we are connected to this deep truth it gives us signs and signals about what is and is not in alignment with us. Our job is just to listen to these signals and act accordingly. When we do, our life become infinitely more fulfilled.
One of the best cues that we have about whether we are living our truth is our emotional state. However, to find truth from our emotions they need to be about the current moment and not based off of reliving something that happened in the past. This is another reason why we need to be clear about our stories so that we can tell the difference between them and our in-the-moment experience. When we are aware of the feeling of liking something it is in alignment with our deeper truth. When we are aware of our feelings of discomfort it tells us that something is off, that we are somehow not in alignment with our deeper truth.
The most important part of all of this is listening –listening to yourself and then adjusting when what you are doing is not in alignment with your deep truth.
The challenge here is that when we speak our truth it may bring us loss. We see that loss and our ego might say that we have made a bad choice -that there is a penalty for living your truth. This is not really the case. For example, when you speak your needs in relationships you risk not having them met. When you are honest with yourself about your work not being satisfying, you may realize that its time to look for new work. The power of your truth is that when you speak it and live it, transformation really does happen and at times that means letting go of the old so that you can have what your are really desiring.
This week on Real Answers radio I will be speaking about the power of your truth to change everything around you. Learn how to speak and share your heart with the world even when it is challenging and tap into the profound strength that comes from this practice.
After taking my son to start his first year of college in North Carolina, I came home to Providence with a little ache in my heart to have him gone. I was also tired from a couple of days travel and activities and was looking forward to a good nights sleep in my own bed.
My cat, Althea, had different plans. She was not happy that I had left her at home so she woke me up at 7am by breaking glasses. I am serious. She broke two glasses!
You should know that I had someone stay at the house with her for most of the time that I was gone. She was well cared for, even entertained, but for her that did not matter. She did not get what she felt entitled to.
So, she gave me the cat version of the middle finger.
She is now sleeping soundly on her chair like nothing ever happened. So what is the moral of the story?
No matter how hard you try, the people who love you may get angry if they don’t get what they want.
Why is this important? Think about choices have you made to avoid making others upset. Or how often have you doubted your direction because you made others upset? Or, even, how often have you not expressed your pleasure or displeasure to avoid upsetting others?
Next question is: How much do you think this effects your success and fulfillment?
You can’t create success or fulfillment if you pay too much attention to every whim and mood of the people around you. I am not saying not to care. In fact, the central focus of my life and work is about caring more. If we shut down and turn off we are not going to like ourselves or our work. But, we do need to learn to care about the right things.
The right things are:
Did I do the best I could?
Did I act in a way that is in line with my values?
Did I stay true to my intention?
We also need to determine when a negative reaction is a sign that we are letting go of what no longer serves us or when it is a sign that we are going in the wrong direction. Sometimes the frustration of another person can be a reason to jump to the conclusion that “it is a sign” you are going in the wrong direction.
Really, It is a moment to check in with yourself.
How do you feel about what you are doing and where you are heading? If you feel good when you think about your direction then keep going things are just shifting around you. If you don’t feel good about your direction then really pause to take in the feedback. See how it can help inform you about your next steps.