Embracing the full complexity of your sexual self - including desire, fantasy, and even some of the areas that can feel confusing can help you have a more fulfilling sexual life. Join us for this week's episode with Julie and Gina focusing on understanding your own erotic template and exploring yours with a partner.
On a more holistic sexual conversation -
“Often we limit our sexual possibility because we just focus on 'I like this or I don't like this' like an on/off switch with a binary rather than an orchestra of possibilities that make us unique individual erotic people.”
"So what this is about is looking at the bigger picture of what creates willingness or openness." "Yes, and building anticipation... Sometimes thinking about it and building it up for it is way more erotic than just seeing a naked person in front of you. There are all these moving parts and everybody is a little different if you allow yourself to explore these pieces."
"Sometimes the erotic template can be really raunchy and dirty and sometimes it's really tender... It's more about exploring where I've come from, where I've been, where I am and where I want to go."
On erotic fantasy -
"Fantasy plays into this as well. And a lot of the people I work with feel nervous to talk about fantasy because sometimes the things we fantasize about are not things we want to experience in real life. They're not safe in the confines of our relationships or personal safety. But if we look at and deconstruct fantasy too, sometimes it's not about the specific act we're imagining but it's about the energy. It's about surrender, control, power. It's about taboo. It's exploring all these pieces which I might say, "if I don't want to experience it's not part of my erotic template, but it is because it's really erotic and sexy and I might explore it by myself or if I really trust the person I'm with I might as them to explore with me."
On embracing your less mainstream desires -
"Sometimes specific kinks get wired in based on something we experienced when we were young and we're trying to shift it when we grow up."
"Owning what's in your erotic template is a really important self-empowerment practice for people. We can have a lot of shame about our desires. 'There's this thing I'm interested in, am I a pervert? Is there something wrong? Am I not a feminist? Am I a sex addict?' And we have to unpack that. It is okay for you to be fantasizing about or desiring all kinds of things. All kinds of things. When things start to impact other people we want to be really careful about the boundaries about how we behave that can impact on other people. But you get to fantasize about whatever you want to. Coming to own that I have this fantasy or dream or piece of my history coming up and it doesn't mean there's something wrong with me, it just is part of me can help people feel so much more sexually empowered."
"Dwelling too much in the 'why am I this way' can sometimes stoke the fires of shame."
"There is a super common fantasy about being raped. I don't know anyone who wants to have that happen in real life. When I talk with people about this they're like "this is horrible, what's wrong with me?" And it's like no, sometimes a fantasy is something that would shock us in real life or make us feel humiliated in real life and we don't often explore the areas that can be really erotic if you're using them in a way that's really safe."
Using these guided questions to open up a more complete conversation about your sexual template from Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson: Create a how-to manual for your partner about what you want sexually.
If you wrote out a Brief Guide for the Lover of ________ and inserted your name, what would you put in it? Basic directions might include answers to the following:
Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
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Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
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