|Posted by Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. on January 24, 2017 at 4:00 AM|
A couple of months ago I wrote my first blog on the topic of sacred sexuality. It was a blog that I was nervous to publish, but (to my surprise) it ended up receiving quite a bit of support. So I’ve decided to open the door a little more by sharing three basic practices that I’ve been using in these initial stages of my journey. This blog is written for women, but I think it’s important for men to read these words, too. Why? Because if your partner happens to be a woman, it will help you learn about her (and your) sacred sexual nature.
First I need you to know that the intention of these practices is NOT to boost your sex drive or give you 5-hour orgasms or help you perform magical tantric sex tricks for your partner. In fact, it could be argued that these practices have little to do with physical sexual intercourse at all. At it’s core, sacred sexuality is an inside job. In other words, it’s not about pleasing your partner or attracting the man/woman of your dreams. It’s about getting in touch with the sacred creative life force that exists within you (and within everything/everyone around you). No one owns your sexuality - not even your long-term romantic partner - and if you engage in these practices solely to please him/her then you’re missing the point. Your sexuality is sovereign - it is yours and yours alone - to be used how you see fit. In its most elemental form, your sexual energy is a vital aspect of your creative spark (and the creative spark of the universe).
When I say that your sexual energy is to be used as you see fit, I don’t mean that it’s ok to use sex in an unethical way. This is, in fact, the dark side of some teachings of sacred sexuality. We’ve all heard of ashrams and communities led by charismatic “gurus” who use sex to manipulate and control their followers. That’s not what I’m writing about here. I’m writing about using your sexual life force with integrity, in a clean, clear, authentic, direct way, to enhance your sense of aliveness as a woman and, if you choose to, enhance the aliveness of your partner(s) and the world.
Tapping into your feminine life-force is one of many ways that you can serve yourself and the world. Some people honour the sacred by becoming monks/nuns, or through prayer, or art, or singing, or dancing. If the practices that I share in this blog don’t resonate with you, drop them. On the other hand, if you’re intrigued and want to learn more, keep reading.
These tips are easy and straightforward, mainly because I want to make them accessible. I don’t want to share a bunch of “woo-woo” tactics that will send you running for the hills. However, I will say that these practices can open the door to woo-woo if you decide you want to go that route. But for now, let’s keep it simple.
Tip #1: Move Your Hips (Every Day)
Most women are taught to restrict the movement of their hips. This teaching is so subtle and insidious that we hold it at a subconscious level and rarely realize we’re acting it out in our daily lives. Here's an example. When walking down the street, it’s likely that you don’t sway your hips much from side to side. Why not? There are probably a multitude of reasons, but I believe one of them is that we don’t want to attract the “wrong type” of attention. We don’t want to look “too sexy,” or “slutty,” or provocative. I’m sure we’ve all come across a woman who was walking confidently, swaying her hips, perhaps dressed a tad provocatively - and assumed that she was out to get laid (or a bimbo, or superficial, or a prostitute). We try not to stare at her, but we want to stare at her. Why? Because she is reflecting back to us our natural sensuality and beauty as women.
The result of not exercising our full range of movement is that many women have a deep, chronic tightness in their hips / pelvic area. Some people call this “body armouring.” In a sense, we feel the need to protect this delicate area of our body, so we constrict it and shut it down. Most women have been violated in one way or another at some point in their lives. This violation can take the form of rape or sexual harassment or more “mundane” behaviours acted out by other people or even the media. At the very least, almost all of us have had the experience of a stranger touching us in an uninvited way (if you’ve ever spent time on a dance floor, this has definitely happened to you). Even when this touch doesn’t have malicious intent, it makes an energetic mark. Years of this type of touching can cause us to build up layer upon unconscious layer of body armour. Personally, I’ve been doing yoga for years, and my hips are one of the most flexible areas of my body, but I’ve realized that there’s a whole other layer of tightness underneath. It’s a subtle layer, built up from years - and perhaps lifetimes - of energetic contraction and constriction.
At their most relaxed and natural state, women are receptive creatures. The act of physical sexual intercourse between a man and a woman provides a perfect example. Here's why. There is a completely different physicality and energy between penetrating versus being penetrated. Being penetrated can feel quite vulnerable, even in long-term, loving relationships. To be fully present for her male partner, a woman needs to be relaxed, open, and receptive. She needs to trust the intentions of the person who is about to penetrate her. At an energetic level, she is allowing her partner into the mystery and sacredness of her inner world. When her inner world is constricted (physically and/or energetically) it is difficult for her to open up to her partner and to her own divine sexual nature.
One easy way to get back in touch with your natural sexual energy is to move your hips every day. When I say “move your hips” I don’t necessarily mean exercising or doing yoga (although these are decent options if that’s what you feel most comfortable with to start). What I really mean is moving your hips in a way that would make your mother (or maybe grandmother) blush. You can do slow, sensual circles, you can “twerk,” you can writhe on the ground, you can belly dance. The exact movement doesn’t matter - as long as it helps you tap into your sensual energy.
I tend to do this in two main ways: while meditating and while dancing. In the past, when I meditated I sat very still and chastised myself for making even the most subtle of movements. These days my meditation involves a bit of sitting still mixed with moving my hips (while sitting). I move in slow circles and back and forth. I allow my back to arch and curl, and I allow my upper body to follow along. Sometimes I go to a private spot in my apartment, put on some sensual music, and move my hips some more. I allow my body to move freely in whatever way it wants/needs to move.
If it helps, you can imagine yourself as the most beautiful manifestation of femininity that the world has ever seen. You can imagine something that you long for, and dance as a devotion to your longing (watch this video by Anaiya Sophia for more on movement for longing). With these visualizations in mind, you won’t be able to resist moving your hips in the ways that they are meant to move as a woman.
What is the point of all this gyration? It’s to help unwind years of conditioning that have trained you to constrict and contain your natural feminine essence. Sacred sexuality isn’t about learning new tips or tricks, it’s about remembering who you really are. It’s about returning to your true sexual nature without guilt, without shame, and without other people’s opinions of what your sexuality should be. Moving and stretching your hips will help you release deep areas of physical tension (such as your psoas muscle, or “soul muscle” ) as well as emotional tension. So get moving! And when I say every day, I mean every. day. Move your hips even when you feel bloated or unsexy - just make the movements a little more gentle. As you regularly engage in this simple practice, you’ll probably start to notice more subtle forms of energy emanating from your hips and moving up your body - this is your subtle sexual life-force.
Tip #2: Prioritize Pleasure
We women have a nasty habit of over-giving to everyone else at the expense of ourselves. We take care of our partners, our children, and even our pets before thinking of taking a moment for us. In fact, we often feel guilty when we do things “just for us,” as if the universe (or friends, or family) are going to admonish us for being bad parents or bad spouses or simply being an all around selfish person. But as I say all the time, there is such a thing as good selfishness. When you take care of your own needs, you give yourself the energy to be there for others.
I know you’re busy. I am too. When I say “prioritize pleasure,” I don’t mean you need to take off for a solo vacation to Costa Rica (although that would be awesome!). What I mean is that you can start to fill your life with simple pleasures. Things that are quick and easy to do, but that make you feel good.
I bring simple pleasures into my life in a few different ways. Sometimes I buy myself flowers, or I take a bubble bath. I make sure that the products I use on my skin and hair are as healthy for my body (and the planet) as possible. I diffuse essential oils to make my work space feel like a spa. I buy high quality teas that I really enjoy. I’m a very scent-oriented person, so every morning after I shower I “anoint” my body with scents that inspire and suit me (my favourite has always been vanilla). I wear clothes that feel soft and comfortable on my skin. I listen to music while I work. I cook food that nourishes my body and soul. Note that this doesn’t mean I diet or that I’m vegan - sometimes my Soul wants me to drink green smoothies and eat tofu, and other times it wants me to drink red wine with steak followed by dark chocolate - so I listen and obey.
There are lots of ways that you can bring simple pleasures into your life, even if you have limited time and/or a tight budget. Hey, masturbation is free and can be done pretty quickly if need be! Seriously though, one of your simple pleasures could be to give yourself an orgasm a few times per week, or even every day (read this article for a hilarious take on the potential importance of women orgasming every day). Whatever your simple pleasures are, try to make sure they’re things that are simply for you - no one else. So for example, you might think that one way to introduce a simple pleasure is to spend more time reading to your son because it’s something you enjoy doing. This is all fine and good (yes, read more with your son!) but you need to invest time and energy into pleasurable things that are really just for you. Get a pedicure or a massage, or give yourself 5 minutes to enjoy your coffee uninterrupted.
You can take this practice a step further by paying attention to what would feel most pleasurable in any given moment - even during difficult moments. As Jennifer Posada often says, even crying on the floor feels better with a pillow. This practice helps you develop of form of “pleasure-based mindfulness.” In other words, you tune into the present moment and see what would feel most pleasurable for you right now. And now. And now. Maybe your office chair is bothering your back and you need to lower it. Maybe you need to close your eyes for 5 seconds to give yourself a break from the glare of your computer screen. Maybe you need to take a deep breath.
The point of this pleasure-seeking is to acknowledge the pursuit of pleasure as a spiritual, and sacred, practice. As women, we are built for pleasure. Seriously. Your clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings that have no other known purpose aside from bringing you pleasure. As a woman, when you fill your pleasure meter, you become radiant. You also become better able to serve others because your well is full. Pleasure puts you in touch with your deep creative potential and opens you up to possibility.
Tip #3: Get To Know Yourself “Down There”
Women receive very mixed messages about their pussies. (Note that I’ve chosen to use the word “pussy” here in the way that Mama Gena uses it in her book Pussy: A Reclamation). On the one hand, we’re taught that our pussies are ugly. We’re told they’re hairy, smelly, bloody, and generally confusing. Compared to the (relatively) straightforward penis, our pussies are mysterious. There are too many folds of skin, too many hidden aspects, too much unknown, so it’s easier to just ignore the whole thing. We’re taught to hide our pussies and to not pay attention to what our pussies want out of fear of being labeled slutty.
On the other hand, we’re surrounded by pussy all day, every day, mostly through advertising and media. We’re bombarded with hyper-sexual images of women all the time, but we aren’t allowed to be these women (because that would be slutty). Over centuries, people have murdered and fought wars over wanting pussies, but on some level many of us think that our own unique pussy is gross.
My invitation to you is this: get to know (and hopefully love) your pussy. If you’re the more practical, scientific type, you can start by getting to know your anatomy. Do you know (like, really know) where your clitoris is? How about the difference between your clitoral hood and your clitoral head? What about your cervix? Your vulva? Labia? Vagina? Grab a hand mirror and take a look at yourself down there. Or spend a little extra time with your pussy in the shower. There are even websites that can help you learn more about your anatomy and pleasure, check out OMGYES for example.
At first this might seem weird. You might even get grossed out or feel self-critical. If this happens, remind yourself that the jewel between your legs is a coveted treasure - a treasure that men (and women) have yearned for over lifetimes. Pussies around the world have inspired poetry, war, and devotion beyond measure. So start giving your pussy the love that she deserves!
Another practical step (if you’re pre-menopausal) is to start tracking your monthly cycles. There are apps to help with this (I use one called Lunacycle). Women aren't taught to pay much attention to the 28-day cycle that we go through each month. On the contrary, we're encouraged to "push through" any bad moods, irritability, headaches, tiredness, and cramps so that we can be productive members of society. We're taught to "suck it up" and basically ignore the fact that we are women. But the truth of the matter is that our hormones go through pretty significant changes each week, and by acknowledging these changes we can help ourselves go with the flow of life instead of pushing against it. As Dr. Christiane Northrup describes:
“The menstrual cycle is the most basic, earthy cycle we have. Our blood is our connection to the archetypal feminine. The macrocosmic cycles of nature, the waxing and waning, the ebb and flow of the tides and the changes of the seasons, are reflected on a smaller scale in the menstrual cycle of the individual female body. The monthly ripening of an egg and subsequent pregnancy or release of menstrual blood mirror the process of creation as it occurs not only in nature, unconsciously, but in human endeavor. In many cultures, the menstrual cycle has been viewed as sacred.”
Read the rest of Dr. Northrup’s blog for more details, but here’s a super quick summary of some of the aspects of our cycles. When we’re ovulating we tend to feel sexy and energetic, when we’re pre-menstrual we get irritated by people/situations that push our boundaries, and when we’re menstrual we need to give ourselves time to rest. While you might not be able to take three days off work every time you menstruate, you can do small things to make your life more comfortable during this phase, like preparing meals in advance or wearing comfortable clothing (even dress pants can be comfortable if you find the right pair!).
I’ve started paying attention to my cycle in a few ways. Every morning I meditate in front of an “altar” of items that are personally meaningful to me. I change the items each week to honour the current phase of my cycle and to remind myself to pay attention to my cyclical nature. I track my cycle using an app that helps me see the phases of my cycle in relation to the current phase of the moon. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the moon goes through a 28-day cycle each month (just like women), and others agree. Paying attention to my body in this way has helped me be gentle on myself when I need to be, and tap into my natural energy when it’s highest. If you want to learn more about the importance of your cycle, check out Shakti Malan’s course on Entering the Wisdom of Women’s Sexual Cycles and Alisa Vitti’s work.
Getting to know the practical aspects of your pussy is all fine and good, but you can take this even further. As Mama Gena suggests, you can start talking to your pussy. Take a quick look at her in the mirror before you hop in the shower and say, “Good morning, gorgeous!” Let me tell you from experience that this is going to feel weird, and you might start to question your sanity. But there is something about acknowledging the existence of your pussy that feels so good. It’s as if by acknowledging her existence, you are righting an ancient wrong that has taught you to ignore her.
You can go even further by asking her questions and “listening” to what she has to say. In addition to having “gut instincts,” I’ve come to realize that we women also have “pussy instincts.” It can take some time to remember these instincts (the practices above will help) but eventually you’ll start to notice her “voice.”
You can try it right now. Do a couple of the practices that I listed in Tip #1 and #2. Then think about a situation in your life that you are unsure about, and ask your pussy a question about the situation. Place your hand on (or hover it over) your pussy. Take a few deep breaths and see if you can tap into her energy. Her response might come as a feeling in your heart or your stomach. Or you might actually hear some sort of voice. Or an idea or image might suddenly pop into your head. Or she might motivate you to write her answer in your journal. Don’t panic if you don’t get a response - our pussies are generally shy from years of us ignoring them. Be gentle with yourself and eventually you will start to feel/hear her. Yes, this last bit is a tad woo-woo, but I couldn’t resist
Bringing It All Together
In this blog I’ve done my best to give you a few easy techniques you can start implementing today to begin tapping into your sacred sexuality as a woman. These tips might seem simple, but they’re powerful. Moving your hips, prioritizing pleasure, and getting to know your pussy will open new doors for you if you practice consistently. Again, I’m not saying you’re going to become a better lover or have mind-blowing orgasms (although this is possible). The reality is that your partner might not even notice a difference in you - at least not at first. But eventually, if they are tuned into you enough, they will start to sense something going on beneath the surface. They might not be able to name it, but they will feel it. At that point, you can choose to engage them in your journey, or continue to fly solo for as long as you see fit. It’s up to you.
In the meantime, if you’re interested I encourage you to learn more about this topic. A few teachers who have inspired me in this area are Shakti Malan, Jennifer Posada, Mama Gena, and Anaiya Sophia. I would also love to hear from you! What have your experiences been with sacred sexuality? Have you tried any of the tips above? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below.