For the Love of Sex

Sex. Sexy. Sexual. Sensual. Sultry. Erotic. Tantra. Pleasure. Aroused.

How do these words make you feel? Intrigued? Kinda turned on? Dirty? Angry? Disappointed? Happy? Ready to go and find your partner in the house and have a 30 minute naked wrestling match in whatever room he/she is in?

Whatever you are feeling - take note of that. Write it down, maybe come back to it, post blog. Some of you are going to click the ‘x’ out of this page and make some judgements about me and about the content in this blog. (Nameste to you. Love and light. Byeeeee.) You likely have some preconceived notions as to what you are going to read and I invite you to leave those at the top of this page and offer yourself an alternative option. Maybe just be open to receiving a new perspective. If you are still with me…let’s continue down. Doooown. Down. ;)

I had the honour of meeting my guest blog contributor via my work with ReFined Magazine. Cara Lee was one of our beautiful cover models in our summer issue of MODERN HEALERS. I knew immediately when I met her that she had a perspective on sex, sensuality and pleasure that I was drawn to. I wanted to learn more.

Now like many people - my understanding and education around sex was limited to school, partners I was with, mass media, unrealistic pornos (who can seriously keep a straight face during that sh*t, seriously?!) and the awkward talk my mother (bless Adella) had with me on the way to the airport as I boarded a plane to visit my first serious boyfriend while he was at University in Calgary. My mother grew up on a farm outside of Langenburg. Need I say more? (Mom, I love you - but you shouldn’t even be reading this, it’s too much for your small tiny ears to handle).

Growing up in a small city in Saskatchewan there was no tantra hippy love child that could fully bless us with the knowledge of truth - how powerful our bodies are, how meaningful and magical sex can truly be with someone you trust but first how necessary it is to understand your own body before you engage in that connective energy and dance. We instead had a middle aged white woman contracted by Sask Health sent to our Catholic high school to give us all the warm and fuzzy details about the HIV and cold sores down stairs. I think her name was Nancy or Sandra.   

Two important factors to note: though very open minded my views on relationships and sex have always leaned towards the conservative side. So basically I’ve been a prude vanilla for a large part of my life and it did not serve me well in and out of relationships. Casual sex? Not my jam - never has and never will be. While my main focus was for the most part ‘keeping my numbers down’ and only having sex with my potential husband I was often times left very unfulfilled in relationships - all aspects. I put the blame on my male partners for not pleasuring me in in every sense of the word. I basically walked into each relationship - threw a boat load of expectations, baggage and my own power/responsibility for me and said ‘swim or sink sucka’. Well I have no ring of my finger so clearly we all know how this story plays out. I don’t come with a life jacket or a manual so I’m learning this sh*t fresh too. POINT IS I was complaining - why weren’t they tending to my needs? Why did I feel like I was doing all the giving? Why wasn’t I getting what I needed? Truthfully I had no idea myself the answer to those questions so how could I possibly communicate those to my +1. Does this resonate with any of you? Self reflection is a real b*tch sometimes, isn’t it?!

(***Also note this does not exempt men from holding up their end of the bargain - it just means realizing and taking responsibility for your own sh*t while they recognize and handle their own. Remember, two people should come in as a whole into a relationship...not looking for someone to complete you but that's a whole other topic to discuss.***)

Fast forward to my meeting Cara for the first time - there are some moments in your life when you just know you were meant to be at a particular place, at that particular time with those particular humans. The Universe has a funny way of presenting me with some fiercely obvious resources - its like the world stops because, a f*cking spotlight zooms down from the skies with a neon sign that says “Hey b*tch - pay attention because this was request number 345,657 that you made and we just don’t want you to miss this one - ‘cause you’ve missed soooo many in the past” and then my brain clicks in and voosh reality hits and I pay attention. I was really tuning into the things she was talking about. Checked in, for sure.

During that time I was in another similar relationship situation. Happy but frustrated with my partner for not tending to my needs, feeling like something was missing in the way of energy connection but also having a sense that there was a missing link within myself. Like, I wasn’t connecting to me which was making it nearly impossible for my partner to click in with me and tune into what I needed from him. It was that nudge of knowing I don’t have all the answers that sparked my request to Cara - I wanted and NEEDED to have her as a guest contributor. I figured if I felt this way about me in my relationships - surely statistically speaking I better not be the only f*cking human with this problem. She’s making a career out this…one can only assume, right?!  

So after a jug of sangria, 2+ hours of discussion, a sh*t ton of laughs, multiple pee breaks for me (broke the seal to early - I know, rookie mistake) and a whole lot of "F*ck, I know nothing about my body..." moments happening in my head we (mostly I) agreed I needed Cara to create some content to get people thinking about sex, their bodies and pleasure in a new way. THE CORRECT WAY!

(***I just need to take a pause because I’m literally getting flash backs to sitting in a dimly lit auditorium in (the old) Sacred Heart High School in Yorkton, Saskatchewan as Nancy or Sandra or whatever the hell her name was - is standing in front of a projector screen with a horrible diagram of a ‘slippery slope’ and how fondling was in the NO ZONE. Like danger George Jetson because Chicken F*n Little is coming and gosh darn it the sky is falling. Good gawd. I’m okay now.***)

ANYWHO. We only know what we know and this is what I know for sure, as a single 30+ female I have had a taste of bad sex with long term partners. I have sustained droughts that left me seeing mirages of nuns and me as one of them - okay maybe not that extreme but I swear my hymen grew back. Let me tell you the havoc it wreaks on your mental, emotional and physical health. Mind. F*CKS. Seriously. BUT - if you are NOT in tune with your own pleasure and what feels good to you and have done THAT work, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. As well - a huge disservice to your partner. Who doesn’t want to have mind blowing sex where you are basically high-fiving angels because your that high (naturally). The kind of sex where your chakras are aligned with your mates’ (if I’ve lost you here - at chakras it’s okay google is your friend, I’ll wait for you to come back and join us) and you feel your aura glowing x 1000 because it’s a marathon of marathons. And you shouldn’t feel ashamed of that. Not a bit. I want that for all of my friends because I want that for me too!

SO WITHOUT further adieu…I welcome the lovely words of ....

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CaraLee Rast

LOVE UNLEASHED COACHING

Our society is plagued with this misperception that women’s interest in sex, pleasure, arousal and orgasm is just a watered-down version of men’s. Supposedly women think about sex less, don’t want to have it as often, and just don’t enjoy it as much as our male counterparts. I am here to call bullshit. But it is no wonder that we believe or think this way. In our culture we have been bombarded with information and products on how to help men have better sexual experiences, and ‘fix’ problems such as Erectile Dysfunction (ED) for well over 2 decades. Women’s pleasure along with enjoyment, and less than satisfactory experiences have been missing from the spotlight almost entirely. Until the last 8 years, products being advertised on main stream media for women’s sexual enjoyment has been virtually non-existent.

I am happy to report however that the common misconception that women don’t enjoy sex as much as our male counter parts is finally breaking down. Thanks in part to science and brave women breaking the silence and taboo around sexuality, we are getting the message across that female arousal & sexuality is VERY different than men’s. We are not the same, and just because men are aroused by, experience immense pleasure during, and are able to orgasm from penetrative sex, doesn’t mean that is how it always works for women. Our bodies are amazing and I can’t wait to teach women a little bit more about theirs!

The thing is erectile dysfunction is right out front and center (figuratively and literally). If it’s not long, strong, and hard that is a problem we can all readily see, and there is no pretending that a flaccid penis doesn’t affect sexual experience, pleasure, enjoyment, connection, or mood. And the fix we have found through pharmaceutical aids such as Viagra or its brother drugs like Cialis or Levitra, works as a vasodilator (opens up blood vessels), which increases blood flow, which is also necessary for women to have good sex, but then why isn’t there a little Pink Pill? It’s because male genitalia work like a hydraulic pump, so increased blood flow means the pump “gets pumped up” leaving men ready and rearing to go once the blood is flowing. Female genital response however, needs increased blood flow yes, but there is an array of other factors that come into play that are necessary for female sexual response and enjoyment that you can’t see with your eyes. For women, sexual response is a holistic, integrated, complex biological web of emotional, contextual, social, physiological and psychological cues and responses

If you have never heard of arousal concordance or arousal nonconcordance for that matter, you need to finish reading this blog, and then go grab this amazing book call “Come as you are” by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. and do some light readying. But just to give you some insight I would like to share this excerpt from her book (Pg. 193 to be exact) talking about a super interesting study done by sex researchers that shows us how they measure and define nonconcordance.

“A guy comes to the lab. You lead him into a quiet room, sit him down in a comfortable chair, and leave him alone in front of a television. He straps a “strain gauge” (which is exactly what it sounds like) to his penis, puts a tray over his lap, and takes hold of a dial that he can tune up and down to register his arousal (“I feel a little aroused,” “I feel a lot aroused,” etc.). Then he starts watching a variety of porn segments. Some of it is romantic, some violent, some features two men, some features two women, and some features a man and a woman. He rates his level of arousal on the dial as he watches, and the device on his penis measures his erection. Then you look at the data to see how much of a match there is between how aroused he felt – his “subjective arousal” – and how erect he got – his “genital response.” Result: there will be about a 50% overlap between his genital response and his subjective arousal. It’s far from a perfect 1-to-1 correlation, but in behavioral science it’s exciting to find a relationship that strong. It’s highly statistically significant.  For the most part, both our research subject and his penis will respond most to the porn that matches his sexual orientation: a gay man’s genitals respond most to porn featuring two men, and he’ll report the highest levels of arousal in response to it; a straight man’s genitals respond most to porn featuring a man and a woman or else two women, and he’ll report the highest level of arousal in response to it etc.

Now let’s run the same experiment with a woman. Put her in that quiet room, in that comfortable chair, and let her insert a vaginal photoplethysmograph (essentially a tiny flashlight that measures genital blood flow) and give her the tray and the dial and the variety of porn. Result: There will be about a 10% overlap between what her genitals are doing and what she dials in as her arousal. 10 percent. It turns out that there is no predictive relationship between how aroused she feels and how much her genitals respond – statistically insignificant.” So that is why there is no little pink pill, scientifically speaking that is.  

. It is not “all in our heads” but some of it most definitely is. As women, we often minimize, avoid, make excuses, are extremely uncomfortable to, and otherwise look for ways NOT to come right out and say to our partners “Something has changed” or “Babe, I’m not enjoying this right now” or “I am not really having an orgasm” or “This doesn’t feel good, and sometimes it even hurts” or “Sex with you is like checking another thing off my to do list, right beside watering the plants.” (All of which has been validated by research as actual and common experiences & thoughts women are having nowadays). And the reason women don’t come right out and say these often-difficult things to their partners, or themselves, are varied and plentiful.

In my work as a Sex, Love, Relationship Coach (SLRC) I have come to learn that it may be because women don’t want to hurt their partners feelings, or that they lack knowledge and information about their own bodies, or that they don’t have any other experience that is positive to draw on or compare it to. For others it is the cultural conditioning, shame, trauma, family traditions, religious upbringing, social embarrassment, or a lack of language that is preventing women from speaking up or addressing that there is a problem. There are many women who have been raised to believe that sex is for procreation only and may not have ever known or heard that sex can be enjoyable. Or that it is the man’s job to know how to give me an orgasm, because men are the ones obsessed with sex therefore should know everything. Or there is the common thread that if you enjoy sex as a woman then you are of dubious moral character, or there is something ‘wrong’ with you. (Which is totally ironic considering we have a part of our anatomy that is designed for nothing other than pleasure & sensation! The clitoris boasts a whopping 8,000 nerve endings compared to the head of a penis, which sits at about 4000 nerve endings, and is a multi tool used for sensation, penetration, ejaculation and urination).

There are literally so many things in our culture that has women turned-off and tuned-out of our bodies and our sexuality. So I invite you take a moment to think about the messages your received growing up, and to examine the sexual education you had; messages that were implicit (your mom never talking to you about your period or pleasure for example) or explicit (what we saw in the movies and mainstream media, and all the available porn on the internet). In your sex ed class did they ever even mention a woman’s pleasure, orgasm or even consent? Mine sure didn’t. There was a whole lot about how sex having will land you either pregnant or infected with an STI; your family and community will shame & judge you; no man will want to marry you; and you will be punished by God. Which from the standpoint of a SLRC is the making of a perfect storm to tie shame, guilt, unworthiness and disgust to feelings and thoughts about sex(uality). These feelings will haunt you and your sexual inclinations and explorations for the rest of your life - hiding away in the subconscious mind that ties us to patterns and belief systems that aren’t truly yours and have you shutting down inside your own body.

So what if you were taught that your body was beautiful? What if you were told that it is a wonderful, powerful portal of magic and intuition. That your menstrual cycle isn’t just about Shark Week or PMS. That you actually have 4 different and unique stages that help you enter into flow states that can help harness your creativity, productivity, and confidence. What if someone had told you that your pleasure mattered, and that you should know what pleasure feels like, with and from yourself before having sex with a boy. Not because it is wrong or dirty, but because your body is a beautiful complicated vessel that will allow you to experience so much joy & love, confidence & creativity. What if you were told that it is important that you find this connection with yourself because it will make being able to communicate with whomever you choose to have sex with, one of the most beautiful and amazing experiences of your life that will flood your body with activated dopamine.

Why is dopamine so essential for women you might be asking, well an exert from Naomi Wolf’s book Vagina sums it up perfectly! “Dopamine is the ultimate feminist chemical in the female brain. When a woman’s dopamine system is optimally activated – as it is in the anticipation of great sex, an effect heightened by a woman’s knowing what turns her on, letting herself think about it, and letting herself go get it – it strengthens her sense of focus and motivation levels and energizes her in setting goals. All those effects are involved with dopamine activation. It is accurate to say that if you activate your dopamine system in seeking out great sex, as a woman, your brain can take those heightened capabilities of energy and focus into other areas of your life and into other endeavours. But this heightened superpower, this self-potential, is dependent on reward: on getting what you want. If, as a woman, you are frustrated sexually, and, even worse, aroused but denied release, your dopamine system eventually diminishes in anticipation of sex; you eventually lose access to the positive energy that you might otherwise have had both in sex and also subsequently, to take elsewhere in your life.”  

So it is fair to say that pleasure is a source of power. Pleasure gives us a sense of grounding and nourishment for our nervous system - its is like a calming, warm fuzzy blanket wrapping around our bodies. Pleasure literally helps women to glow and radiate from the inside out with confidence, creativity, and love. A thought for you to consider, is that women’s disempowerment politically, socially, & economically is highly correlated to the disempowerment of our sexuality and pleasure? ‘Good’ women in societies eyes were disconnected from their power and sexuality thanks to patriarchy & purity culture, and they ended up being disempowered in so many other domains of their life. ‘Bad’ women were allowed to use their sexuality and own their pleasure, but they were so heavily shamed and criticized and were ostracized from society, forced to live in the nights shadow’s, which is also a way to keep us disempowered. Be chaste and pure so you’ll belong, or own it and burn to the ground, your choice. But really, did our ancestors have a choice?

This is what I would like to share with women, that today we do have a choice, a choice to take ownership & pride in our sexuality as a part of the evolution and revolution we are needing and going through in the world. Pleasure is an area of health that we need to reclaim. It’s not just for your partner, or to fit in with the status quo. Your pleasure is a source of empowerment, physiologically, mentally, energetically, emotionally. And that goes the same for men. When you feel complete and whole, connected to your body, your pleasure, your sexuality, and your turn on you will feel powerful. And the most amazing thing about pleasure is that it cannot co-exist with shame, fear, guilt, anger, bitterness, stress or rage. Practicing pleasure and connecting to your body is practicing living outside of all those things, learning how to release them and anchor into the present moment. It is a good for you as vegetable, exercise, sleep and breathing. I repeat you will feel powerful!

Powerful enough to ask for what you want in a relationship, to communicate so that you feel heard, and not like you’re taken for granted or walked all over. Powerful enough to ask for that raise at work that you know you deserve. Powerful enough to run a marathon or stick to lifestyle changes. Powerful enough to travel around the world. Powerful enough to teach and guide your man into helping your have an orgasm before he does. Powerful enough to make lasting changes in our society. Powerful enough to silence self doubt and bravely show up to give your gifts to the world. The orgasms are really just an added benefit!

With Love & Lusciousness,

 

CaraLee Rast

Love Unleashed Coaching

306-262-2219

www.loveunleashed.ca

IG: @cararast

FB: @cara.loveunleashed

 

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