One of the more challenging things for many people when it comes to sex is to find out what really turns them on after having removed all of their shame and judgment. The next big step is to then state their desires aloud to themselves and to their intimate partners. It is easier said than done because it requires time, patience and dedication.
Recently, one of my sex coaching clients, Vicky, started our session by exclaiming "Holy shit. I think it's actually revolutionary what I'm doing. I am practicing being sexual. I can now actually use the word 'sex' without feeling self-conscious or guilty. I am finding my sexual voice. And damn, it does take practice!"
Vicky has been practicing what is often referred to as "Orgasmic Yoga" which, in reality, is not about yoga or orgasms! It's really just another name for developing a core erotic practice.
She has been on a 30-day practice schedule of working solo with her own body; exploring it on a physical and emotional level. Orgasmic Yoga is a pleasurable, intimate and transformative discipline that is practiced while sexually aroused. The goal is to develop or reclaim erotic capacities. Some individuals practice it to reawaken the awesome feelings in their body. Others practice it to discover those feelings for the first time.
Taking the time to participate in a mindful, planned solo erotic practice allows the individual to focus on what is substantial in their sexuality rather than what is superficial.
Vicky has also been working to identify her peak erotic experiences in order to understand what gives her authentic sexual pleasure. The desired result is to give herself the ability to better communicate her sexual needs to herself and to her partner. This takes guts, and it takes time. It can feel like a radical step to actually practice being sexual. But Vicky, like the countless women and men that I work with, have decided they really want to own their own sexuality; that it's their time.
"I attended a music workshop recently where we explored the idea of stepping out and dipping our toes into fear. This was about trying on new ways to use our voices, and about performing. It was all new to me, for I am not a performer at all, and while I sing in a community choir, I sing very quietly. I enjoy learning and I feel safe as long as I am surrounded by a group of stronger singers. I imagined the choir as my comfort zone, where I could participate without having to step out into the fear of performing solo.
"But this is not really a comfort zone at all, as I learned during the workshop. My comfort zone is what I know and explore about my own voice. What can it do? What is its range? Where is the heart of the music I love? The only way to discover it is through practice. And more practice. The comfort zone is here, in my own voice. And once I know my own voice, then I can step out into the unknown, fearful places where I can challenge myself to change and expand and share my voice with others.
"It was in choir that I made the connection between our sex coaching and choir.
"I had always thought that my sexual comfort zone was a very confined space, where I would not be challenged, where my partner would be 'fine' with the status quo of our intimate life. I thought the best I could ever hope for was to somehow get better at it, so I could please him better. I thought I wanted the comprehensive 'how-to' manual, but even if there was such a thing, I was too embarrassed and shy to look at it.
"But that's not the comfort zone, is it? What I am learning is that it starts with me. I get to discover my own self as a sexual being, finally, in my mid-fifties! I have to learn to name what my own heart and mind and body want. I need to discover for the first time how sex works for me. I need to come to my senses. It's a bit of a paradox. It's scary to be discovering my own comfort zone. And if this is scary, what will it be like to step out of it?"
A Beginner's Guide to Orgasmic Yoga Practice:
From Joseph Kramer, Ph.D, Founder of Orgasmic Yoga: "At its core, Orgasmic Yoga invites embodied, mindful self-accountability. The self-directed practice sessions involve breathing, savoring, sound, movement, touch, placement of attention, and awareness of intention.
"Erotic practice sessions weave together the heart and genitals. This alone is a profound reason to commit to practice. Orgasmic Yoga often produces a state of arousal that is free of fantasy, unfinished emotional business, religious dogma, cultural caveats and habitual sexual behaviors. In this erotic trance state, an individual becomes aware of the body as a source of wisdom, happiness and freedom. Thus, the intent of Orgasmic Yoga practice is the practice."
Every Orgasmic Yoga session includes the following:
A statement of intention(s) at the beginning.
A clear beginning and ending time.
A session structure, outline or choreography.
One or more minutes of Kegels.
Conscious breathing patterns.
Movement, stretching, and/or dancing.
Sounds, moans and laughter.
Quiet for the last five minutes of each session.
Reflection and note-taking after each session.
Full body self touch including genitals.
Use of toys or vibrators.
Specially chosen music.
"An integral part of Orgasmic Yoga is to savor and reflect upon the experience after you have completed each day's practice. It is crucial that you rest quietly for at least five minutes at the end of your session, to simply be and breathe. We suggest that you then reflect on your experience in a journal or with a friend or lover," says Joseph Kramer.
Clearing the space in your life to learn your own sexual voice can change how you understand, express and enjoy your sexually. It can also enliven your sexual expression with your loved ones. It's one of the gifts that you can give yourself.