Hiya Pinkies. As part of the research for writing my upcoming book What's Up Down There? Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, I had the pleasure to interview Regena Thomashauer of Mana Gena’s School of Womanly Arts. This Pink Goddess is the go-to queen of all things pleasure. For this interview, I took some of the questions gathered from friends, colleagues, and of course you Pinkies, to see what the founder of the Pleasure Revolution had to say. Below is just some of what we talked about. Enjoy, Pinkies, and a big, pleasure-radiating bow of gratitude to you, Mama Gena!
Some women seem like they just radiate sexy, but I’m not one of those women. How can I change that?
If you were born female, you are sexy. That’s the deal - you can’t do anything about it. You just are. You have all the equipment. It’s your birthright. How to step into the experience of that is a question of ownership. Like any inquiry, if you have a dusty old piano that nobody plays, there’s no music. But you can start one key at a time, just like a piano lesson. Then, you can slowly expand your skill set so you can own the symphony that you are.
There is a chapter in my book (Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts : Using the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World) titled “The Womanly Art of Owning Your Beauty.” Every woman is beautiful, but if you don’t believe it, you’ll never fully step into that beauty. Owning your beauty is an inside job. Owning your beauty is a practice. There are little tiny things that make the difference between a woman who feels hot and a woman who doesn’t. Even if I’m going to the gym, I’m going to put on lip gloss because it will change my experience of myself between home and the gym. I know that, so why would I decline those 4 seconds when I know it will make me feel more confident? Every woman has her own journey and is already equipped with tips and secret steps she will take to feel beautiful. Once you know what’s in your toolbox, it’s there for you to use anytime.
I don’t even know what turns me on. How can I get in touch with that?
Most women don’t know what turns us on. How could you learn? Did your mom pull you on her knee and say “puberty is coming, so we’re gonna learn what turns you on?” And you can’t leave it up to your boyfriend. Guys don’t know what turns on a woman. You can’t expect them to know about our bodies. Not only that, but we don’t have anywhere to go and study.
That’s why I write and teach what I do- to educate women about how to begin to learn about their relationship to pleasure. If you don’t know what pleasures you, you’ll never get in touch with your desires. Come to my classes, read my book, but in addition, it’s really key for a woman to just begin to do a little research on her own. Take the time to learn the difference between what it feels like to touch the palm of your hand vs. running your fingers across your belly or down the inside of your thigh. What parts of your pussy (that's my favorite word for it) feel good? What pressures might you enjoy? Without learning, you are unable to permit your lover to gratify you.
There’s a scene in the Julia Roberts movie Runaway Bride where someone asks her what kind of eggs she likes, but she doesn't know. When she dated a guy who liked scrambled eggs, she ate scrambled eggs. When he liked fried eggs, she ate hers fried. When he liked hard-boiled, she ate hard-boiled. In one scene, she finally lines them up and tastes them all, so she can make a decision, independent of any man.
A woman can definitely be seduced into running that kind of experiment with her own body. However, I find that it is even more powerful for women to begin to learn about their bodies and what pleasures them in community where they are able to give each other permission. There’s a way in which having a sister by your side gives you courage and inspiration where you might have lacked it. It’s important to have the support of a community of women.
I can’t even stand to say the word “vagina.” Everything about it grosses me out. How do you make peace with your vagina and stop feeling uneasy at the mere mention of the word?
It’s not just you. Every woman feels this way. We live in a vulva-unfamiliar culture.
We’ve been educated to feel secretive and to feel shame and humiliation, rather than appreciation. This is a piece of cultural inheritance that we’ve all been handed.
I have a slide show for the School of Womanly Arts of different pussies, and the associated “5 stages of pussy.” The first time a woman sees a photo of a naked vulva, the reaction is to feel nauseated, dizzy, grossed out, and uncomfortable. This is Stage 1. It’s universal.
Then I invite a woman to join me as a fellow researcher, put her researcher’s cap on and begin to look at this magnificent part of the body as if she’s a scientist- study the dimensions, the colorations, the configurations, the mesmerizing brilliance of the structure. Every woman’s pussy is this healthy, phenomenal ecosystem of creation- it’s a miraculous construct. When a woman begins to do some research, taking in the magnificent vista of the vulva and then supplementing this with education about the different parts- the clitoris, the inner lips, the outer lips- she can begin to make friends with her own vulva. This is Stage 2.
Stage 3 is the appreciative researcher. You start to notice that, for example, in this particular vulva, the clitoris is different. You accumulate more data, you have different visuals. You see the differences.
In Stage 4, you become the enthusiast, completely enamored by this miracle that woman is- even the fact that there’s an organ on the body whose sole purpose is pleasure.
Only a certain handful of people will ever make it to Stage 5- rapture over the breathtaking overwhelming beauty of this sacred and phenomenal part of the body. You become like an artist, who with every stroke of their brush- are in complete rapture of the subject, as demonstrated by the artist Courbet was when he painted L'Origine du Monde.
I feel uncomfortable with all things sexual and get all wigged out whenever it seems inevitable. What’s my problem and how can I relax during sex?
You don’t have a problem about sex. Your problem is about communication. Talk to your partner about the things that make you uncomfortable and only move at the speed of your level of comfort. Whenever we take on a new activity, there can be a sense of awkwardness. One remedy for awkwardness is just confessing your awkwardness, and then it goes away. If you talk, you make space for yourself to get comfortable. Take all the time in the world to do what it takes to become comfortable, and then the experience can become comfortable. People feel like we’re supposed to know what to do from the beginning. The first time you kiss a boy, you expect that you should already have a PhD in kissing. Just slow down. Nice and easy does it.
As I get older, I feel like the fresh young mining village that was my vagina years ago has become an old closed down mining town. Is that all in my head? How can I change it?
A woman’s relationship to her vulva is absolutely completely in the eye of the beholder. If you look at that part of your body as if it’s elegant, luscious, phenomenal, you would have a completely different experience of your sensuality. But as women, we’re not given good role models when it comes to how to fall in love with your pussy. We’re told that this part of our body is not beautiful and will get us into trouble. We’re not taught about the exquisite, rapturous sacred nature of that part of our body that is the pleasure center and the source of life.
The “Womanly Art of Sensual Pleasure” chapter of my book speaks to this. A woman who owns her pussy, owns her life. If you don’t feel good about your pussy, you don’t feel good about your life. And if you feel fantastic about your pussy, you feel fantastic about your life. It’s an opportunity not only to own your own beauty, but to learn the journey and the experience of each of the pussy’s 8,000 nerve endings and how that informs your being. If 8,000 desires, decision and dreams are not about pleasure, then you’re not really living what it means to be a woman. The key is to be guided by the physiology and to pay attention to the song that your body wants to sing with you. Learn the poetry that your body wants to whisper in your ear. Open yourself to pleasure and rapture. It will transform you.
The genital tissue is elastic and luscious and responsive for your entire life. You can continue to expand sensually for your whole life. It’s very good to put the key in your own ignition and then you can invite passengers. Women are obligated to do an enormous amount of discovery and self exploration. Once you know how to dance, you can have a good ride on the dance floor.
I wish I felt like Samantha when it comes to my sex, but really I'm more of a Charlotte. How can I improve my sexual confidence?
To improve sexual confidence, recognize that where you are is the perfect launching spot for expanding in whatever direction you desires. Then, communicate from wherever you are. There’s nothing more appealing to a partner than when you say, “Hey, I’m a little shy but I’m so interested in having a rockin' sex life. I’m so interested in expanding and learning everything you know about sexuality.” Come to a sexual encounter with real interest, real curiosity, and an interest in investing in your own sexual education. It’s such a pleasure to explore – your partner’s experiences, Tantra, workshops in expanded orgasm, etc. The people who take workshops in sensuality are brilliant- they know there’s more to learn, and they’re putting themselves in the position of uncovering new experiences.
The best partner is interested in learning. When you find a partner who thinks they know everything, it’s the worst. Really, it’s a shared exploration. That’s what intimacy is all about. Samantha may have a longer resume but it doesn’t mean that Charlotte doesn’t have a better time in the sack, as long as she’s willing to be where she’s at and communicate about it.
How can mothers help their daughters to love and accept their bodies?
Every mother could teach her daughter the correct terminology for her body. Many moms teach their daughters “down there,” or “pee pee” or “wee wee.” They don’t connect a little girl to the power or the privilege of being a woman. I think that it’s really key to teach a little girl that she has a vulva. What you can see is not a vagina - it’s a vulva. The roots of the word "vagina" mean "sheath for a sword." But your sexual organs are more than a sheath for a sword. Your vulva is what you can see, and it's beautiful in its own right. The best thing a mom can do is feel great about her own body and her own sexuality. Mom has to rock the word “woman” in the way she lives her life and then teach her daughter the proper terminology and encourage her exploration.
So, Pinkies, are you blown away or what? And this is just the half of it. Check out Mama Gena’s website, book, and courses to Own your Womanhood and unlock the powerful, miraculous being you are. And of course stay tuned for What’s Up Down There, where all of Mama Gena’s pearls of wisdom will be put to use in my quest to demystify the female body.
Walking with you in sisterhood,
Lissa & Regina
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