At my coaching practice Electric Woman, my job is to help women better understand themselves, to be clear on what lights them up and have the confidence to get it.
Sex is a common area I hear women talk about not getting what they want - whether it be the partner they desire, or the connection, or the orgasm, many women are left deeply unsatisfied during and after sex. I've been taught to take responsibility for my experiences in life, and this is the approach I take with clients, to get curious around the block to their lack of sexual satisfaction.
After talking with hundreds of women about this, it seems that many of us focus on our partner's pleasure over the pleasure and intimacy with ourselves. We can lose our desires in what we think our partner wants. These women report that they often don't know what feels good and it's also clear many of us feel in some way undeserving of receiving. And if this is happening inside the bedroom, it's pretty likely it's happening in other areas of our lives.
Last week, I was on a call with a client who said: "I feel empty and frustrated when I have sex." When I asked her why she felt like this, she tried to make a joke of it, "Sex is yet another thing on the list. I need to 'put out' so my husband won't complain he isn't getting any when he goes down the pub" and along came the tears of frustration.
This woman has just moved her young family to a new country, started a new career, supporting her husband in his new role and is, quite frankly, tired. Her attitude to sex, she revealed, is that her husband's desires come first, like everything else on her list. She comes last (pun definitely intended) if at all. It's clear she loves her husband but can't muster the voice to get clear about - and ask for what she wants. When I asked her the simple yet often most difficult question: What do you want? She took a while, and then said: "For him to hold me". She took a deep sigh of relief as if that would be the best thing in the world right now.
I had a chime of resonance as she spoke. Over the past few months, I've been feeling depleted and lacking desire for sex and have got into the habit of not asking for what I want. Having also just moved countries and getting my life set up in Los Angeles, productivity and the to-do list has come before sex - the computer screen in bed, the planning for the next day all made me feel less desiring of sex and connection. Not connecting to my desire has a real impact on other areas of my life. I drop into the motions of 'eat, work, sleep, repeat' and gradually start to feel more unhappy, less connected to myself, I have way less fun and life starts to feel like a struggle.
In my private coaching and workshops, I encourage clients to journal about their blocks and desires as a self-care practice, so I took my own medicine and started to journal about my relationship to my sexual pleasure. Out came a tirade of emotions and feelings about my lack of sexual desire, how I feel depleted and felt pressure (self-inflicted) to perform. I wrote about the sad truth about just how much of my life I'd given to pleasuring others before myself because of an underlying belief that I didn't deserve it because I wasn't pretty or slim enough to have good sex and actually enjoy it.
I then switched pace and asked myself, what do I want? And I felt myself getting suddenly more turned on as my writing started to heat up, I wrote about what it would feel like to be more receptive to pleasure, not just in sex but in life, through food, through how I move and treat my body, through what I wear. I wrote about the sensual, playful and intimate sex I wanted to have, I wanted to OM more (Orgasmic meditation) and much more came pouring out as I opened my desire floodgates. It wasn't simply about sex, it was about asking for whatever I wanted in that moment.
I would never been so uncensored in my journal if I knew anyone would read it, this is for me and me alone. Yet something made me leave my journal open on the breakfast table.
The next morning, I got a thoughtful letter from my husband, along the lines of 'Darling I will give you everything you want, you just need to tell me and be brave to ask.' Oh god, he read my journal. I was embarrassed, relieved and so deeply touched to hear his response. He now knew what I wanted and was encouraging me to keep asking.
We continued this truth telling later that day when we discussed my journal writing. I felt seen and heard and started to feel a huge desire for him. The tenderness of our truth was a big turn on.
'Being seen, truly seen, and not being judged or shamed in that space, is the biggest aphrodisiac there is in life. However, the onus of responsibility is on each person to connect to the part of themselves that believes they have a right to experience pleasure in life and the courage to ask for it.' Hannah Abend
When I focussed on my desire, it created more energy in me the result was a very honest conversation with my husband, which we were both craving.
Getting in touch with the inner voice of our sexual desires is an opportunity to learn more deeply about what we need. And something I would encourage each woman to get to know if she wants a life where she gets to experience more pleasure. And if she can leave her journal out on the breakfast table all the better!
"Female sexual pleasure serves as a medium of female self knowledge and hopefulness: female creativity and courage: female focus and initiative: female bliss and transcendence: and as a medium of sensibility that feels very much like freedom". Naomi Wolf, Vagina
Helping women access the voice of their desire and sexual confidence is a big part of the work I do and I believe, it's the gateway to so much of our joy, creativity and aliveness. Find out more about Nikki and her work with women and sexual desire at www.electricwoman.com/your-sexual-woman