I’m about to teach a series of workshops titled Owning Sexuality, and it’s got me thinking what a big task I have ahead of me. Do any of us do a good job of really owning our sexuality? I think not. If you grew up anything like me, sex was something that happened in movies and gets twittered about in Cosmo, but it certainly wasn’t something I was supposed to think about, much less OWN. I figured out that my parents had sex from time to time. After all, I learned where babies came from, and after discovering that my parents periodically locked the bedroom door, I put two and two together. But it certainly wasn’t something I was supposed to do with my cute high school boyfriend. Or even my hot college honey. I was supposed to wait until I was married, then lock the door and get it on.
Well….uh hmm…it didn’t quite happen that way. Which means- no surprise- I grew up feeling ashamed and guilty about my sexual feelings. Then I got married, and suddenly I felt overwhelmed with the whole virgin/whore thing. How was I supposed to be the cashmere-sweater-wearing, future-mother-of-my-husband’s-children one moment and the slutty kitten in the bedroom the next? The cashmere sweater followed me into the bedroom, and my body reacted by shutting down. When my husband wanted to have sex, my yoni shut him out. Which lead to PAIN. And EMBARASSMENT. And SHAME. After many unhappy sexual experiences and ultimately, divorce, I realized something had to change. It was time to OWN my sexuality.
It hasn’t been easy. All those years of childhood programming take years to undo. And then the trauma that followed after my sexual difficulties with my first husband took more years to heal. But now, at almost forty, I feel like I’m finally coming into my own (no pun intended).
I am not alone in my struggles. My patients share their challenges, which vary from decreased libido to painful sex to difficulty achieving orgasm to a simple sense of sexual dissatisfaction. Some struggle with sexual identity, others long to express themselves in partnership but haven’t found the right person. For all the hype we hear in the media, you’d think sex would be a whole lot easier- and much more fun. But we have the power within us to change this. Much can be done.
I just moved to Marin County in the San Francisco Bay area, and I’ve got to say, as a gynecologist, this is one of the sex-friendliest cities I’ve ever been. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been meeting women who genuinely aim to dialogue, heal, and support women in their quest for sexual balance, happiness, and fulfillment. Take Christine Arylo of www.letsgirltalk.com, who invited me to participate in her podcast, “Yapping With Yoni: Get Connected to the Woman Inside You." Here’s a woman inviting all women to actually talk to each other about sex and vaginas and all that other stuff we like to push under the rug. So kudos to Christine for opening a dialogue. Let’s girl talk!
Then I discovered Dr. Rachel Abrams in Santa Cruz, the author of The Multi-Orgasmic Woman (as well as the Multi-Orgasmic Man and the Multi-Orgasmic Couple). She is a physician, as well as the medical director of the Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine and Chi Center, and my friends at Esalen love her. People have been telling me we must meet for almost a year, and we’ve finally connected (at least virtually). I just read her books and am so happy to know that others are out there talking about sex. A kindred spirit, for sure.
And then there’s Chrystal Bougon, Chief Toy Officer and Pleasure Coach of Bliss Connection, a company that aims to introduce women to just the right sexual toy, while supporting their sexuality in other ways. Talk about good vibrations!
Frankly, I’m just happy to know people are dialoguing about it up here. Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, would be proud.
To continue to open the lines of communication, I’m leading a series of conversations about Attaining Sexual Nirvana by Owning Sexuality at Clear Center of Health, starting February 11, 2009 from 7-8:30pm and continuing every Wednesday until March 4. Together, we’re going to talk, write, and open our hearts and minds to maximizing our passion potential. I suspect we’ll also laugh, cry, and talk a bit about gynecology. Hopefully, we’ll meet new friends, let go of some hang-ups, and get energized to reclaim what should be our birthright.
So if you’re in the Bay area, join us and get the gift you really want for Valentine’s Day, and own your sexuality.
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