I used to feel disgusted about sex and self-pleasuring, and would never talk about it. I had already started to explore self-pleasuring before entering the program, and so what I desired by joining was to deepen that exploration, and mostly, join a space where I could share with other women about it. I was also curious to learn about sex and relationships: for example, how to talk about pleasure and exploration with a partner.
And how did the program help with this?
Well, hearing from others who were so curious, or even proud about their sexual experiences, and doing the body-mind based processes, really helped me to understand and work through my blockages.
Could you share a bit more about what your blockages were?
Years of eating disorder eventually made me feel only disgust for my body, and even thinking about touching myself would create waves of repulsion and anxiety. I was so freaked out when it came to sex that I couldn’t undress in front of anyone, and at one point I didn’t have sex at all (not even self-pleasuring) for five years. I was very ashamed about that, too, which didn’t help.
So how are things different now?
Things are so different now. I came to think of self-pleasuring the same way I think about yoga, and it was so powerful for me to come up with that analogy in the first place. And so, with that lens, self-pleasuring becomes a practice : I learned to adapt it to the way I feel in the moment, so that it’s nourishing for my body. Sometimes there’s a spiritual vibe to it.
The biggest change of all might be that I am now the one advocating for self-pleasuring and talking openly about sex with many of my friends.
You've shared before that participating in the program also really helped you in your relationships, could you tell us more about that?
Yes it really helped. And also with communicating about sex. Near the end of the program I met a guy and I was so happy that I was able to be completely honest with him! I told him what I like and what I don’t like and asked him what feels good to him! Before I would have not felt comfortable to do that.
So what did you talk about?
We talked about condom use and oral sex. And I explained to him that 30 minutes of “foreplay” should not be an exception. And how for women it isn’t actually “foreplay” at all! He didn’t know much about female bodies and instead of being put off about what I was sharing he was actually fascinated and eager to learn!
And what about your experience of orgasm?
Before I had this very static idea of what orgasm was, the very masculine model of a peak and a drop, and thanks to the program I became more open to different experiences of orgasm. So now I am not frustrated and disappointed when I experience a build up and then the arousal reduces, for example. I try to cultivate a mindset of "Let’s see what happens today" instead of looking (and pushing) for a particular kind of pleasure, or sensation. A big impact of the program was to learn that pleasure can feel different every day, and also, that self-pleasuring can sometimes trigger the release of emotions.
Could you give us an example of something you discovered during your explorations?
I experienced an orgasm from stimulating my cervix! Before, I had no idea there was pleasure to be discovered there and I would have not been comfortable to even start to explore that area.
So considering how you would never talk about sex in the past, what motivated you to share about your experiences so openly during this event?
I consider it a feminist, and I would even say, a political issue. Considering everything that I’ve learned about female sexuality, I’m now convinced that the more we (women) educate ourselves, the more we talk openly about our pleasure and sexuality, the more we’ll be able to move towards much needed social change, around sexuality and relationships in general.
How did you find it to participate in a group program?
I did the program with one friend and it was really really great to have a close friend who was experiencing the program too, so that we could really talk about it in depth. Between the session we would discuss our “progress”, like: did you do this? How was that for you?
I also really liked when we did practices together. Doing the same practice at the same time, during the in-person workshops even in the same room, it changes the energy when we are all together breathing or visualizing. Like we just experienced with the previous exercise!
I was also quite surprised to see myself be willing to share very openly with women I barely knew. It’s always fun to validate something, if someone felt it in a similar way, but also great to hear some very different experiences. It really widened my perspective.
What message would you like everyone to leave with after hearing your story?
At the very beginning of my exploration, I was quite shocked to realize two things : one, that I knew more about male sexuality than my own ; and two, that I had always felt responsible for my partners’ pleasure, but again, not for my own. One of the most important things I learned, going through the program, is that my pleasure is mine : at its core it has nothing to do with any partner, at all. It has everything to do with how intimate, how connected I’m able to be with my own body, and that can be so many things, and so much more than just « sexual » : it can be fun, it can be relaxing, surprising, energizing. And that’s one thing I wish for all women (and all beings): slowly and compassionately cultivating their connection to their body.
So how do you feel about further exploring your sexuality now that you finished the program?
The program really increased my curiosity in further exploration. I feel I have lots of tools, really all the tools I need. And I know much better now what kind of practice I need in each moment, and that’s a big thing: to accept your reality and to know what you need right now.
This is a transcription of the story of one of the participants of the last round of our 6-month program, as she shared it during one of the live events of our free mini-course "the Anatomy of Pleasure".
Feeling inspired? Our 6-month program is an in-depth journey to explore your sexuality and deepen your connection to your mind, body, and others. It starts in May - and if you sign-up by the end of April 8th we'll send you a special bonus practice to get you started on your sexploration journey! Click here for more info or to sign up.
If you want to learn more about pleasure and female anatomy, join our free mini-course which includes a 20-minute illustrated video tour of the entire female genital universe, two practices and a compilation recording of the live events led by our sex and relationship coach on the 25th of March.