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A Lesson from Grandma’s Cookies: Guilt, Shame, and Disassociating From my Body

I bought a double chocolate Grandma’s cookie from a convenience store. Got in the car and mindlessly ate half a cookie when I realized – I wasn’t enjoying it. I barely even tasted it. Not because I don’t sometimes crave the taste of artificially flavored chocolate goodies (I do).

I stared at the remaining half of my cookie and realized: I felt guilty eating it. I didn’t even look at the ingredients because I knew it was full of crap I don’t normally eat – high fructose corn syrup, loads of preservatives, possibly titanium or silicon dioxide or baking soda laced with aluminum. I knew it would only make my candida (overgrowth of yeast in the intestines, causing vaginal yeast infections) worse. So even though I wanted it, bought and paid for it, when it came time to eat it – I disassociated from the experience because I felt bad.

Like many women, I used to struggle with my weight – going back and forth from a starving myself 85 pounds to binge eating my way to 135 or 140 (note: I’m only 5′). Learning about the fucked up food system, the effect of GMOs, HFC, and various toxins on the body, and how processed sugar creates yeast problems led to a huge change in my eating habits. I’m probably 95 pounds now, not because I want to be thin, but because that’s just where my body lands living on organic food (including goodies) and lots of vegetables. But I never let go of feeling guilty for eating what I want.

What does this have to do with sex?

I do the same freaking thing. It used to be every time I asked for something sexual and I got it, I’d become extremely anxious, disassociate, and not feel a thing. I felt I shouldn’t be having sex, wanting what I wanted, enjoying my body. I like to think I’m over these things, because I intellectually know better and do have some amazing experiences, but that old programming remains. When it starts feeling REALLY GOOD, my mind will often find a million and one reasons to stop it – I have to pee, I need a drink, I need to change positions, I’m out of breath, I need to put laundry into the dryer – it doesn’t matter whether its true or not. Its an excuse my mind uses to take me out of this pleasurable experience.

I’ve spent a ton of time and energy blaming my partners for my lackluster sexual experiences. But the most frustrating thing about it is – I realize now – no matter what they could have done (or what my husband currently does), it makes no fucking difference if MY autopilot response is to check out. That’s all me.

But the great thing is – its all me. I can change it.

I stared at my cookie and decided I was going to savor every bite of its artificial chocolately goodness. Okay, maybe I only savored a half of it. But it was a start.

Edited: May 14th, 2012

Shut the Fuck Up and Feel: Sex Advice For the Mind and Body

We’re so used to asking what’s wrong with our bodies, we miss the most important sex advice – when we free our minds, the body will follow.

In American culture, we believe we can think our way out of problems. We reason with our emotions and beliefs, sometimes battling, believing our logic is supreme. Yet nowhere is logic more absent than in sex, and our inflated heads so easily distract us from what’s happening in the now. Ev’Yan explains how this affected her sex life:

I’ve spent most of my erotic life in the chains of a restless brain.

Throughout the passionate act of sex, my mind traveled through hypothetical situations & trivial thoughts.

My half-finished to do list;?The expiration date on the soy milk I drank at breakfast;?How terrible the squeaking of the bed must sound to our neighbors;?The likelihood of one dying from three-day-old soy milk;?A random memory of me in middle school making structures out of toothpicks.

A thrust, lick, flick, or suck always managed to bring me back for a moment.

Why is my mind so overactive during sex?

That question only flooded more thoughts & visions into my head, making it so that I was oblivious to the intimacy happening to my body.

And through all of this, through all of the thinking & agonizing, was it any wonder that I found no enjoyment during sex?

Sex became an act solely for him, my partner, to get off, while I laid there helpless, my isolated body present but my mind elsewhere.

And when it was all over, I would roll over on my side, tears streaming down my cheeks, feeling defective.

My Out of Body, Into Mind tendency was likely spurred by my tumultuous relationship I had with sex, but I knew that it was comprised of something more, something that went deeper than the surface wounds of sexual trauma.

[Here I have to add - Sexual trauma goes much deeper than mere surface wounds.]

Why can’t I truly enjoy sex? What is wrong with me?

Is it my partner? No, he’s incredibly attentive.?Is it insecurity? No more than it usually is.?Is it the feng shui of the room? Perhaps…

On the surface, there seemed to be nothing needing to be solved, except my ineptitude in sexual intimacy.

So I tried harder.

When in the throes of passion, I moaned & writhed like a hysterical woman. I used dirty words within hollow, cheap commandments. I lit candles, wore lacy bustiers, & smoothed warming, silicone-filled lubricant all over my vulva.

I read every kind of “101 Sex Positions to WOW Him Tonight!” articles in Cosmopolitan. I researched the proper direction one’s bed should face in a bedroom if they wish to have their room more aligned to their sexual energy. I even took up pole dancing was a way to try to “fix” my sexual deficiency by doing.

I did all of these things with careful diligence, & still I found no real satisfaction in sex.

And I didn’t find real, sumptuous, I-don’t-want-to-move-an-inch satisfaction in sex until I went out of my mind.

We have a tendency to approach sex like a science, when it really is an art. Sex is meant to be raw & a little disorganized. Sex is meant to be felt.

Sensations & intimacy make sexual expression what it is, not tantric positions or high-speed vibrating dildos (though those things can aid in the enjoyment of the act itself).

Your systematic brain has no place in an act so unscripted.

Life is kind of like that, too.

When we are wrapped up in the thoughts in our minds — our worries, our fears, our insecurities, our jealousies — we are merely existing.

We hear, but are not listening. We see, but are not beholding. We touch, but are not feeling. We are here, but are not present.

The richness & vastness of life becomes wasted on our restless, logical minds.

If you want to have succulent sex, be present.?
If you want to live a succulent life, be present.

In your experiences. In your relationships. In your body.

Resist the impulse to pile on information, products, activities, & ideals to seemingly fix what you think is broken.

You are not broken.

Your body knows exactly what to do innately.

Just be.
//
My challenge to you: Get out of your mind & into your body. Take the pressure of orgasm out of the equation for an evening, & lose yourself in the movements of your hips & the sensations in your genitals. The orgasm is not as important as your ability feel. Breathe.

Treat sex with a lightness; have no expectations, other than some luscious skin-to-skin contact. Be silent, be still. See where the rhythm of your body wants to take you. Trust that, not some cockeyed sex positions in a cheesy $5 magazine.

And when you feel yourself slipping into the trance of a restless mind, remember: You don’t have to listen.

Edited: February 20th, 2012

Feeling Sexual Arousal

I used to treat sexual arousal like I did going to the bathroom. It was a physiological alarm – DO SOMETHING, fast. I didn’t savor the feeling or what could come of it. Just like running to the potty with a full bladder, I wanted that feeling OUT of my body as soon as possible.

I’m starting to notice desire in my body – of different degrees, desires, directions. Earlier, I meditated listening to Taylore Ashlie’s Opening to Abundance CD. Her soothing voice perfectly accompanies the jingly jangly background music. She leads the listener in breathing through various parts of the body, up and down the 7 chakras. Now, I don’t know what I think about the whole chakra thing – I’m still feeling that one out. But I don’t need to believe there are 7 energy centers in the body to feel something when I focus on each part. Taylore teaches to draw sexual energy (of the 1st and 2nd chakras – perineum and genitals) up the body while visualizing what you desire in life more broadly. Sexual energy is creative energy – its what creates life, and can thus be drawn upon to create in all aspects of life.

After I finished the meditation, I felt more aware of my pussy than when I’d begun. I felt a slight tinge of arousal. I observed what happened in my mind and body at this moment — a big part of me wanted to masturbate to shut that feeling down. I felt my mind pulled in two directions – one side was pleased with the meditation and wanted to move on to the other plans I had for the day. I wasn’t in the mood to play. The other side of my mind wanted to control my body, as if my brain couldn’t function while feeling any degree of sexual desire.

I laid there for a moment, observing myself. I knew if I masturbated I wouldn’t enjoy it. I’d be trying to get it done, and that’s no fun, even if it does end in orgasm. So I got up and walked out of the room. Its awareness that gives us choice.

Its okay to feel sexual desire. In fact, that tinge of arousal is probably the energy Taylore is referring to. It got me writing about my experience now, didn’t it?

Edited: December 7th, 2011