I'm a sex educator who gets to work with mostly "enlightened women." Women who are in some way already on their way to empowering their lives and connecting to their sexuality. And way too many of them are showing up at sexuality retreats and into private sex coaching practices talking about this feeling that their vagina is angry at them; turned off, disconnected and numb. These women want to feel connected to their entire body, turned on and alive. Instead they are sad, confused and trying to understand why their vagina - the core of the sexual essence has not only turned off - but feels pissed off.
The lack of acceptance that far too many woman have for her own vagina and the lack of knowledge about the incredible potential of embodying the creative life force energy these spaces hold, continues to disturb me as I encounter this all over the world. The practices that I teach are all about leading, guiding, and loving women back to this place of empowerment, pleasure and creation in their bodies. Once women can reconnect to their bodies, it is a total game changer. Everything can shift -- their sexual expression, love life and even their financial picture.
How did we become a universal culture of vagina shaming with the result being that women numb out and disconnect from their genitals and pelvic bowl?
We Use Vagina as an Insult
When some folks want to degrade someone they call them a "Pussy." "Don't be a pussy!" What is the dirtiest word you can think of? It may very well be "Cunt." Both words mean vagina. Got the message yet? If you want to curse at someone, you throw an offensive, dirty, and nothing-worse-in-the-world word at them that simply means "Vagina." Young girls grow up with that message and learn it in the school yard. Their vagina is a dirty, bad word.
Vaginas are Funny Looking
I have recently sat with over 80 women from everywhere from Boulder, Colorado to Johannesburg, South Africa and spoke with them about their vagina. Almost every woman felt insecure about how their vagina/vulva looked. Few had seen another adult woman's vulva except for in porn or erotica magazines where a woman's genitals are photo shopped to look a particular way. When we began the conversation around their vagina many shared their fears that in some way their vagina was deformed or especially ugly. They worried about keeping their vagina "clean" and "groomed."
They worried if their vagina was damaged in some way. Few of these very bright and educated women had ever been engaged in a conversation where vaginas and vulvas were talked about in a beautiful way. They had no idea of the different sizes, colors and shapes that were possible and all completely normal. No one ever told these women that their vagina was powerful and extraordinary and what a hearty relationship with their genitals could bring to their lives.
We did an exercise where the women were able to simply see each other's vulvas and the entire room changed. When women found out that their vagina was "normal" and not funny looking, the happiness and relief became palpable. Women became empowered. All of a sudden, vaginas were no longer ugly, but rather beautiful because they could see what other women looked like. Women cannot access the healing and powerful aspects of their bodies until they can claim them, see them as normal and love them.
Vaginas are Seen as Receptors -- Not Creators
It's hard for a woman to embrace the idea that her vagina is powerful when society views the vagina simply as a passive receiving tool for the penis. The message to women is that they are not in control of their vagina. The vagina does not create, but rather it's simply there to receive. Women are told truly awful things about their vaginas from a very young age. They are shamed about sexual desire, looking at themselves or touching themselves. We are taught to hide our menstruation and that we smell. Vaginas are passive, except for pushing out babies. Vaginas exist for someone else's desire, not our own pleasure.
Every woman needs to take this journey back to reclaiming themselves.
It's my belief that as we come into knowing our sacredness and releasing the shame of our bodies, that's when the true shift can happen for women in all aspects of their lives. I have seen it again and again.
What if mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers understood and held the pelvic bowl and the vagina in themselves as not only sacred and holy but also as a place for calling in grace. What could happen in our smaller communities of women and, through them, the world.
I'm often asked to talk about what happens in the body scientifically when women learn to re-connect to their own feminine portals and allow themselves to receive pleasure.
Do we have studies about what happens to women when they heal, transform, and learn to use their vagina and pelvic bowl as a source of creation through pleasure? What happens when vaginas are engaged as manifestors rather than passive tools for someone else's pleasure?
Honestly, there is not much out there in regards to studies. Pharmaceutical companies that fund most of the studies are not that interested in pleasure as a tool of healing or what happens for women when they are empowered in all of their body. There is no pill to sell. So there is very little research outside of the reports from the women and the professionals that work with them about what happens when we release the cellular memories of shame and trauma that so many women hold in this doorway to their souls.
But what I can share from the thousands of women that my colleagues and I have worked with is the extraordinary shift that can occur for women when they learn how to channel their arousal energy into creation energy. What we do know is that orgasmic pleasure heals and reduces pain in women.
Oxytocin, a natural chemical in the body that surges before and during climax, gets some of the credit, along with a couple of other compounds like endorphins. According to a study by Beverly Whipple, professor emeritus at Rutgers University, when women masturbated to orgasm "the pain tolerance threshold and pain detection threshold increased significantly by 74.6 percent and 106.7 percent respectively."
Fingers have also been pointed at Brené Brown, who also has done a lot of work in this area. Brown has talked about the effects of shame on impeding one's ability to live whole-heartedly. One could easily apply the "shame" theory of living a wholehearted life with a woman's experience with her sexuality and her relationship with her vagina.
It's not really such a big stretch as shame is often experienced around our bodies, gender, menstruation, body image, breast size or breast loss through illness, and the look, color and size of our inner and outer labia.
Women are not being given the opportunity in a collective universal way to receive this information and to actually embody it en masse. There are too few of us doing this work with women safely, honorably, and somatically to see a real current change.
The work is still one by one, and in small groups around the globe where we can teach women to embody and understand the magic and beauty of their own portal. Women need to be given this knowledge and the tools to practice loving and accessing our inner pharmacy in our pelvic bowl every day.
It is through this portal that I truly believe that women can change their lives and effect the world around them.
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