Monday, February 23, 2015

Four Habits That Signal Relationship Doom

Sara Mckeown

As someone who has long struggled with trying to be the “Valedictorian of Everything,” my ears pricked up when John Gottman was mentioned in one of my graduate counseling classes.

Gottman is famous for being able to predict with 98 percent accuracy—(98 percent! My birth control isn’t even that reliable!)—whether a couple will divorce or not.
In other words, he’s the Valedictorian of Couples’ Counseling.
I had to know more, not only because I wanted to be such a skilled clinician, but because I was curious whether my then relationship was doomed or not (it was, but that’s another story).
So, I dug into his research. And it turns out that after interviewing and following thousands of couples over many years, his results aren’t all that complicated (in theory).

He and his team discovered four conflict patterns that are strong predictors of the end of a relationship. “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” as they’re nicknamed include:


This is when a complaint is delivered as an attack. It makes someone right and someone wrong.
Why is this so bad?
One, it’s unproductive. And two, it adds fuel to the conflict fire. When we lead with what a lazy ass our partner is they’re likely to respond by pointing out what a lazy ass we are, which we’ll then criticize as being a total exaggeration and not at all right, which our partner will then criticize as… well, you get the point.
Using sentences that start with: “you always…,” “you never…,” “you’re a person who…,” “why are you so…” are signs this Horseman is present.
As a then “Valedictorian of Everything,” I was intimately familiar with the tactic. It was a favorite of mine, pointing out how wrong my partner was and how perfect I was. Score one for the Horsemen!


Using this tactic during disagreements is actually the strongest indicator of not only divorce, but of disease. It literally eats away at our partner and our relationship.
Contempt creates an air of superiority and undermines respect, a key factor in relationship success.
Insulting, name calling, mocking, sneering and eye rolling are all signs of contempt. And exactly what my boyfriend did when I started in with the criticism. Another point for the Horsemen!


This tactic prevents partners from working together. It places all the blame and responsibility on one party, creating a victim and perpetrator, which is not at all helpful when trying to hash out disagreements, because whether we want to admit it or not, it does in fact take two to tango.
Making excuses, cross-complaining (answering our partner’s complaint with a complaint), yes-butting, whining and repeating ourselves without listening to our partners are all tools of this Horseman.
And usually what I resorted to when the criticism escalated. Because clearly I was the victim, and if he just fixed his problems all would be well. Horseman: three. Sara: zero.


This is withdrawing from the relationship. Walking away, not responding, changing the subject and using the silent treatment are all in this Horseman’s arsenal.
While it may seem that we’re trying to be neutral when we use this tactic, the damage it inflicts is that of separation, disconnection, iciness and disapproval.
Which is what I felt when my boyfriend walked out and slammed the door, cutting off my criticism and defensiveness.
So, what was I do? We scored four out of four on the Apocalypse scale, clearly the end was near.
Or was it?

According to Gottman there are also habits we can cultivate to keep the Horseman at bay.

They include: being gentle when bringing up issues, taking responsibility for our part in the argument, wanting to learn more about our partner’s complaint and participating in the conversation.
I was not particularly interested in doing any of these at the time, because I couldn’t bring myself to use the most important skill. The skill that sends the Horseman fleeing when they show up, as they are apt to do in all relationships at some point, and that’s repairing.
Repairing the relationship means saying, “I’m sorry. I screwed up. Let’s talk about it.” It creates openness, vulnerability and a common shared story. It means not being the “Valedictorian of Everything,” but being the “Valedictorian of I’m Imperfect Let’s Work on this Together.”
This is lesson I’m still learning, and one my current partner often reminds me of while rolling his eyes.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

18 Ways Women Disconnect From Themselves

Falan Storm

Woman by Ocean

We live in a society where our relationship to things outside of ourselves seems far more important than our relationship to ourselves.

We pride ourselves on our families, our jobs, our labels and our outward expressions in the world. Not only do these matter, but they can often be sincere expressions of who we really are.
However, for most women our connection with ourselves often comes last, if it even exists at all. As we wake up each morning and catapult ourselves into the busyness of our days, we carry very little regard for the many ways we disconnect from ourselves.
Our connection with ourselves best serves as the foundation of our lives, with all else extending from there. We are the source from which our own life unfurls from.
The following are 18 ways many of us dampen, cut off and even destroy a connection with ourselves. My guess is that we are all on this list somewhere, my hope is that by reflecting on ourselves we will begin to transform the disconnection into a connection.
1) Being everywhere but here. 
Presence is that thing we don’t often use even though it’s always available to us. Worry, fear, and our projection of the future tends to disconnect us from the experience we are having right now. Come back as often as you can by simply saying, “this moment.”
2) Our relationship to our body.
The body in which you exist is beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, it is sacred. Many of us have been disassociated with our bodies or associated only in a painful way. Sometimes we can feel as though our bodies are letting us down. But more likely we are letting our bodies down, by undervaluing our body or obsessing over it. Embodiment is the connection. Live within your body.
3) Being a spinster with sleep.
Sleeping is a daily gift of restoration and our time of dreams. We must make our sleeping hours sacred, giving ourselves just what we need to wake rested each morning.
4) Making food a fool.
Rushing food, under eating, over-stuffing, following the “best” way to eat. etc. Food is very simply our fuel. When we fill our gas tanks we don’t put $1 in there because we’re worried the car will be too heavy, and we don’t keep filling the tank until the gas flows over because we are trying to soothe and distract the car from its feelings.
I’m not trying to sincerely compare our bodies to a car; I’m just making the point that we are far more complex than a vehicle—we have a spirit, emotions and a worth that can’t be destroyed. Food is fuel to help our bodies both survive and thrive. The food our body requests may not look like the diet we think we need to eat. It looks like giving our bodies what they need. It looks like hydrating completely. It looks like eating just what you need to feel satisfied. And it looks like leaving rigid behind.
5) Missing the importance of menstruation.
Our menstrual cycles are incredible revealers of our health, our moods and our burdens. Our relationship with menstruation can reveal our relationship with our bodies. Our cycles are cyclical gifts to help us rest, restore and release each month. Learning to appreciate this mini rhythm of nature that lives inside of us can do wonders for connecting us to ourselves.
6) Hormonal birth control.
Our bodies, when hormonally balanced, are a biological beauty. Taking artificial hormones each day to trick our bodies into pregnancy does such tremendous damage to our body’s wisdom. It creates an artificial atmosphere, hides the symptoms that reveal imbalance and damages the natural rhythm of a woman’s body.
7) Trying to prove our worth.

Worth is inherent. There is no one to prove anything to. We really are enough exactly as we are.

8) Prioritizing things that are not important to us.
Walk through your day in your mind. So much of it is filled with the tidyings and necessaries of life—so much so that we often don’t get to the things that are most important to us. What’s interesting is that if we start our days with what is most important, then we often store up excess energy that can easily and lovingly guide us through our day as we tend to the more mundane tasks of life.
9) Not being smart with our smartphones.
We have addicted ourselves to these mini computers that we never leave at home, never turn off, and sleep with next to our beds. For most people, their smartphone is the very first thing and the very last thing they look at each day. We are so fascinated with other people’s lives that we forget to connect with our own. First place to smarten up? No phones in our bedrooms!
10) Being way too hard on ourselves.
Watch, for one day, and notice how many times we tell ourselves we could have done something better, faster, wiser or sooner, or that we should have done something.
11) Not giving ourselves what we need.
For most women, we come last. We meet the needs of everyone else and if we have anything left over we guiltily share it with ourselves. Not such a great equation.
12) Interrupting intuition.

Let go. Let go. Let go. Controlling cuts off that part of ourselves that communicates with our inner knowing.

13) Not following the rhythms of nature.
As women we are intricately connected to the rhythms of nature. As mentioned above, menstruation is a monthly expression of that rhythm in our body. Spending time outdoors is critical to ground us and connect us with the vastness of our existence. Get outside to connect with the messages nature will give you and the energy she will fill you with.
14) People pleasing.
Look at the calendar and to-do list for the week and notice how many things are on there to please someone else. Make adjustments and fill those spots with a few things to please yourself.
15) Perfectionism.
Sigh. The biggest and most challenging disconnection we battle. It feeds many of the other things listed here. It is soul sucking, anxiety inducing, and the quickest way to live a life half-assed.
16) Staying too safe.
We get so comfortable with the way life is and settle in deep to the safety of being there. This has no choice but to stunt and drown dreams—often the very things we’d hear an urging to do if we were connected with ourselves.
17) Seeking balance.
Balance is a fallacy. You cannot find it because it doesn’t exist. At least not in the sense we are seeking it. We cannot, nor ever will be able to, give an equal amount of time to all the things that are important to us. Life is much more complex and beautiful than that. We must live life so fully that giving equally to it all doesn’t matter because we give so completely to what matters at the moment.
18) Limiting joy.
Too many of us are not making time for the thing that most lights us up. Why does joy get put last?  Because we are so disconnected with ourselves we don’t realize the value, the importance and the sacredness of ourselves and how necessary joy truly is to our well-being.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Man's Letter: A married man's secret tears. ~ Steve Horsman

The Man’s letter: A married man’s secret tears. ~ Steve Horsmon

Do you know why romance and sensuality novels for women are so popular?

Short answer: the authors know exactly how to give women that feeling.
That feeling has many facets and she loves them all. She tingles with the flirtatiousness of the conversation. She blushes at the boldness and sensual innuendo. She craves the unapologetic desire. She wants to be “taken” by her man. The sexual polarity and tension has her on pins and needles of pleasure. She is aching for the climactic release from this torture.
And he doesn’t quite get it. He can read the same passage and have a lukewarm response.
Sure, it’s a little titillating. But it’s not the kind of “romance” language he has told me he is longing for.
He is a long-time, married man who is just dying to star in a different scene.
Just as he struggles to understand her emotional reaction to those scenes written for her, she can also be clueless about his deepest desires. And it’s not a sex scene.
To him, it seems she just doesn’t understand (or doesn’t care?) why reading this scene will almost always bring a tear to his eye and a lump in his throat.
More than anything, he wants that feeling, and only she has the power to supply that.

The Romance Story That Can Make Men Cry

“They were finally alone. He had been looking forward to doing this for months and she finally agreed to a getaway for just the two of them. The kids were with grandma and they will finally have a chance to reconnect as a man and woman—not as dad and mom.
“Their truck was cruising west on the hot desert highway into a beautiful sunset as one of their favorite songs from high school came on the radio. They both started humming the song and broke into the chorus at the exact same time. They both laughed and smiled without talking as the song ended. After another few miles, she gently reached across the top of the bench seat and her hand her found the back of his head. Her fingers rolled and massaged through his hair as she delivered the most loving half-scratch, half-massage treatment he hadn’t felt in a long time.
“He caught her looking at him out of the side of his eye and said, ‘What’s that look for?’
“She kept eye contact and grinned as she said, ‘This was such a good plan. I’m so happy you’re my man. Thank you for making me go on this trip. We both need this, don’t we?’
“As they pulled into town that night, he realized he had not even noticed the last 100 miles. While his truck found its own way, he had been traveling on Cloud Nine.”
Remember, the leading man in this story has been married for 14 years, has three kids aged 13, 11 and nine, and he lives in a rat race of work, relatives, friends, home maintenance, and weekend soccer tournaments.
Sure, his sex life could be better. He wishes it was better. He has even looked at some real porn. But that’s not what he longs for in his heart. It isn’t the loss of sexual intimacy that causes the tear and the lump to form. It’s the loss of his emotional and sensual connection with his only romantic partner in life. He craves her presence, respect and trust. She is the only woman who has the power to lift him up and make him want to conquer the world for her.
Yet he feels that she no longer wants to be that woman for him. She gives herself and her energy to just about anyone but him. And it makes him sad. It makes him fearful of his future. The sadness and fear show up in his life as anger.

The Truth Behind His Anger

Anger of this type is a secondary emotion. It is a reaction to the thoughts of what he believes he has lost and of the fear of where he thinks he will wind up.
The dream of “happily ever after” for most men includes the idea of a long-term, committed, romantic and sexual relationship with a woman who shares his values and desire to maintain a healthy, trusting, respectful, and intimate relationship. The dream is full of good feelings, supportive words and loving actions.
For many men, it feels like this dream is dying right in front of him and there is no way to stop it.
Can he be more supportive? Can he be more caring and sensitive? Can he take more responsibility for planning and getting things done? Yep.
He’s been working hard at being better. He wants to be a man that he can be proud of. He wants a woman who is outwardly proud of him and openly appreciates him.
Most days all he needs to keep working is a good head scratch and a loving vote of confidence.
What is she thinking and what should he do?

A Woman Responds:  Letter to my Past & Future Lover. ~ Grace Cooley

Why can’t we touch you in affection right now? Why does it take so long for us to open up to you again, to have sex again?
It all boils down to trust and safety. These are major needs for women.

Why We Don’t Trust You (Yet)

Reason One:  Safety
Please keep in mind that from birth, girls are taught not to trust men. We are all taught, at a very young age, about how to dress and not dress, how to act and not act, where to walk at night, when it is okay to walk alone and when not, don’t “lure” men. Don’t trust men.
To make my point: I knew a young man years ago who was a cross-dresser, taking hormones and considering sex-change surgery. When dressed as a female, he very much looked like a very attractive woman. One night while walking home alone dressed as a woman, he was sexually harassed from across the street by a group of men. They followed him for more than a block, threatening to rape him. Thankfully, they finally gave up and left.
This had certainly never happened to him as a male. He told me it was the most frightened he had ever been in his young life. He had never had to think about whether he was walking alone or not, never thought about having to plan his clothes and his walking route differently because he was a woman. This is something, unfortunately, that all women have to think about on so many levels—safety. This is in the “DNA” of every female.
I want to be very clear. I am not saying that every man is inherently violent or unsafe. I am also not saying that it’s okay for a woman to see herself as a victim of society. I am saying that in our world, out of necessity, women are taught about their personal safety. It is the world we live in. To women, touch not accompanied by emotional safety is scary.
Reason Two:  We Need you to be Strong in your Masculine Energy
We need you to be consistent. We need you to be your own man, to stick to your N.U.T.s. We need you to be impeccable with your word. If you tell us you are going to do something, we need you to do that. If you can’t follow through, we need you to tell us as soon as you know that—even about things that seem small to you. Or not only will we lose respect for you, we will begin to feel unsafe with you.
And without that safety, we are closed to you—and often even to ourselves. We are waiting for you to offer us strong, directed, safe, Masculine energy. We need to know that you are in it for the long haul, that when we open up and let you see this Pandora’s Box of emotions, you are going to stand strong and not retreat.
David Deida puts it this way: “…if you don’t trust your man because he is undirected, scattered, ambiguous or otherwise weak in his masculine energy, this will undercut your relationship, reducing your passion, your sexual attraction and your trust of each other.”
Reason Three:  History
It is not that we don’t want to touch you. We know it’s important. We’re afraid to touch you in affection, because we have seen in the past that you take that as a green light to sex. We don’t feel safe enough yet to have sex. We do not want to send you mixed messages.
When you keep touching us before we trust you enough for that and if you continue interpreting our simple affectionate touches as a sexual green light, you erode the trust even further. In fact, you risk destroying any new trust that might have recently been established.
Please take sex off the table.
Don’t get me wrong, we women love attention, touch and sex! That simple hand on the small of our back as we walk through a door tells us wonderful volumes about your love and respect for us, your desire for us. We women want and crave that too and will always want more of it—unless we are not feeling emotionally safe, unless we feel, even subconsciously, that we cannot trust you for some reason.
And are you only putting effort into the relationship when you think we’re leaving you? Some women don’t want to open up and “let down their guard,” because they know that if they do, you will stop being affectionate, or stop putting effort into connecting with us as soon as you think we have decided to stay.
One woman tells me, “I’m afraid to give in, because every time I do, he becomes an emotional child again and stops doing all the lovely things he was doing to woo me. He starts ignoring me again and taking me and the relationship for granted.”

The Proverbial Bottom Line

Most women are afraid to open their hearts again to their man, because the only thing worse than getting our hearts broken by someone new, is getting it broken by the same man over and over again. It is too painful. (Read: We love you.)
We’re thinking things like: What if he really can’t (or won’t) stand in his Masculine energy for us? What if he can’t be impeccable with his life and his word? What if we open this huge dam holding back all these scary emotions, and he can’t handle all this emotion, all this anger, this fear, the doubt?
To try and open up before we feel safe enough and trust you enough to do that, feels like a self-betrayal. It feels like we are not taking care of ourselves, like we are compromising ourselves. Like we are just giving in to please you. We know that is not how you really want to connect with us. It is not how we want to connect with you.

The Solution

Please be patient with us and don’t take it personally. We are working on our stuff, our blocks to opening to you. If we compromise our own safety by having sex with you before we are ready, you would lose respect for us on a very deep level. We would lose respect for ourselves—and for you.
We know you’re sad, fearful and angry. So are we. We know it took two to get us to this scary place. It is going to take two to get us back to trust, safety and love.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

6 Ways To Have Radically Intimate Sex

Zoe Kors

“Sometimes I get real lonely sleeping with you.” ~ Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase

We want intimacy and avoid sex. Or we fear intimacy and crave sex.

There is a pervasive confusion about sex and intimacy. We use the words interchangeably, but purely physical intimacy stops way short of a meaningful experience or a sustainable connection. The more we focus on the physicality of sex—how we look, what we wear, toys and techniques—the further we get from true intimacy.
Here are my six suggestions for having radically intimate sex.
1. Shhhhh: No Talking
Often when we think of intimacy, we think about the sharing of secrets. There is something intimate about verbalizing our innermost thoughts and desires—especially when it comes to sex. However, as alluring as fantasy can be, by its very definition, it’s a way of escaping reality. And we tend to hide behind our words, using conversation as a means of avoiding vulnerability. We tell people who we are instead of showing them.

True intimacy with a lover happens in the silent moments of presence and connectedness between words.

Practice #1: Set a specific time to meet in the bedroom without speaking a single word. Spend an hour together, not talking, before any physical intimacy begins. Show up clean—physically and emotionally. This is an opportunity to let our stories fall away—as individuals and as a couple—making room for a deep, non-verbal, energetic connection.
2. Make It Anti-Climactic: No Orgasm
When Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination” he meant that when we focus on getting to a particular goal, we miss value in the moments along the way. And so it is with sex. There are reports that women can have 11 different kinds of orgasms. From the time men are boys, they are fascinated with ejaculating (it’s a built-in, biological preoccupation on which the survival of the species depends!). We have misunderstood the destination of sex to be orgasm, and by doing so, robbed ourselves of some potentially powerful opportunities for both pleasure and intimacy.
Practice #2: Agree upfront to forgo reaching orgasm. Take the possibility completely off the table, for both of you. By doing so, you provide space to be present and find appreciation of each moment for the pleasure and connection it brings, without distraction. Take turns bringing each other close and backing off. Notice the powerful bond created as you hold each other on the brink of ecstasy.
3. Like a Lava Lamp: Slow It Way Down
We live in a fast-paced, over-stimulating, 140-character-status-update kind of world. As a culture, we are usually focused on “doing” rather than “being.” Because we juggle so many responsibilities, sex tends to become just another thing on the “To Do List.”

Rushing through the “doing of sex” does not encourage the “being” of intimacy.

Practice #3: Create a bubble of time and space to climb into together. Do whatever it takes to enable getting lost in your own world together. Make a conscious decision not to rush. Let energy flow between  you like a lava lamp. Moving verrrrry slowly, savor each moment of sensation and allow intimacy to rise.
Whether it’s your first time together, or you’ve been having sex for 30 years, giving your body to your lover is a gift. To receive your partner’s body is a privilege. Don’t let modesty or habit stop you from honoring this generous exchange.
Practice #4: This practice is most comfortable done with the lights dimmed or by candlelight. Undress each other by taking turns removing one article of clothing at a time. As each piece comes off, gently kiss the part of the body revealed in gratitude.
5. In and Out: Breathe Life Into It
It is a technique in meditation to turn the focus from thoughts to the breath. In Tantra, partners will “match breath” as a way of forming an energetic connection that is not based on the giving and receiving of physical pleasure.
Practice #5: Begin in a simple embrace. Spend a few minutes slowing and synchronizing your breath. Silently negotiate a rhythm that is comfortable for both of you. Pause at the top of each inhale and at the bottom of each exhale, creating a moment of mutual stillness. Breathing together is facilitated by cooperation and consideration for each other. Try to maintain this collaboration as sex unfolds.
6. Windows to the Soul: Eye Gazing
Eye contact is a distinct point of connection. Yet, it is common to keep one’s eyes closed during sex. Extended eye contact reveals vulnerability, and so it can be a powerful facilitator of intimacy.
Practice #6: Sit on the floor facing each other and gaze into each other’s eyes without looking away for 20 minutes. Shifting from eye to eye helps sustain the gaze. Maintain eye contact as much as possible as sex unfolds. Play with looking into each other’s eyes all the way through orgasm. It is nearly impossible to climax with open eyes (like sneezing).

Gazing into your lover’s eyes at the moment of release just might be the very definition of intimacy.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ready to bring something new to your sex life?

Ready to bring something new to your sex life?

Robyn Vogel
Wondering where the playfulness has gone from lovemaking, the deep intimate sharing in the bedroom, the pleasure you used to feel in your body?
Energetic sex (or energy-based sex) is a little known secret that I have recently discovered. Yes, it is something you need to learn from a teacher, or a book, but I thought it would be interesting to share what it is because just reading about it can bring something to your love-making that perhaps you don’t even know you are missing.
Energetic sex is not the practice of having sex with lots of acrobatics or jumping all over the bed and twisting yourselves up into pretzels to penetrate. Quite the opposite: energetic sex is the subtle practice of harnessing your inner feminine or inner masculine (not gender specific) and using your energy body to communicate with your partners’ energy body. Imagine that outside of your physical body you have an invisible energy body. Now imagine your energy bodies making love.
Energetic and Intimate RelationshipThis mysterious and deep practice is one that assists us in healing the inner masculine and inner feminine aspects of ourselves. To put this simply, we all have masculine parts and we all have feminine parts. What is very clear to me is that the inner masculine and feminine aspects (and in psychotherapy we call it our Internal Family or “parts”) need to be in a healthy balanced relationship internally before we are able to create a healthy sustainable relationship externally.
We truly cannot give what we do not have. So for those that are seeking partnership and feel like it eludes you; or for those of you in relationships that are not meeting your needs or your days are filled with resentment and strife, the place to look is inside (and I am not saying that what your partner is doing/saying is not triggering you.)
This deep spiritual practice and a psychological healing will powerfully support you in generating a beautiful alive relationship on the outside and a peaceful feeling on the inside.
Cuddle Party Facilitator, Monique Darling says, “Regardless of what belief system you subscribe to, our bodies are giving off signals. These cues and clues can be read and tracked with practice, especially during sex! Engaging these subtle and powerful energies, and interacting with them in a focused state, can make for a deeply transformative experience.”

10 Energetic Sex Practices to get you started:

1.  Sit face-to-face and look into each others’ eyes.
2. Breathe in and out together.
3.  Whether you believe it or not, know that you have an energetic body outside of your physical body.
4.  Monitor the cues to arousal that you feel – what do you notice when you feel excited about something?  Turned on?
5.  Breathe alternating inhaling and exhaling (one of you breathes in, while the other breathes out.)  Get close and do this.
6. Imagine, without touching, that your partner is moving towards being inside you.
7.  Alternatively, imagine without touching, that you want to be inside your partner.
8.  Decide who will receive (feminine aspect) and who will give (masculine aspect.)
9.  Feel what it feels like to embrace only one aspect of yourself fully.
10.  Sit with your partner and allow yourself to make love without touching.
There is more pleasure available to you than you realize.  Learning and practicing using the subtle energies in your body will open up your capacity for play, healing, deep intimacy and a divine connection that you may be longing for.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Body Orgasmic: 7 Ways to Great Sex

Shasta Townsend

black and white lovemaking

Yoga practice helps us feel better in body, mind and spirit but what if it also offered access to a deep, blissful, connected state through sex?

There are millions of women practicing yoga around the globe. We stretch, sweat and strengthen ourselves so we may be more radiant, powerful and beautiful on and off the yoga mat. Women have embraced Yoga as an empowerment tool (and I salute our male yogis too) but there is one final area yet to be embraced—our sexuality and our power as sexual beings.
Yoga may have changed your life in a myriad of ways but has it changed your sex life? The time is ripe to extend our practice from body beautiful to body orgasmic—great yoga on the mat leads to great joy on the mattress.
This article is not intended to be a dissertation on the power of sexuality but rather a joyful offering of how your yoga practice can help you experience ananda (bliss) through sex.

7. Know me, know my body.

Yoga increases your awareness of your body. You begin to know your body in new and wonderful ways which means you can know what is nourishing, strengthening and affirming for your body on the mat and on the mattress.
I remember a friend in university telling me she had no sense of where her body was most of the time and during sex she felt like a disconnected head.  Needless to say her level of body connection and therefore pleasure was non-existent. A relationship with your body is one of the most important steps to great sex.
The next time you are in Triangle Pose, ask yourself where your body really is in space. Notice exactly what feels good and what feels uncomfortable. Begin to know your body deeply so it may tell you what you truly need to feel fabulous.

6. The gateway drug.

Which brings us to a deep truth—great yoga and great sex is not just about technique but about a deep connection to presence. Presence can be described as that radiant life force or Divine power within us.
Remember a time you felt so alive in your practice; your body was a gateway to calm, beauty, sensuality and the Divinity within you. Your body is your tool for awakening. Embrace it. I guarantee this gateway will be one of the most euphoric drugs available to you—your own body.

5. Slow down baby.

Speaking of presence, yoga contributes to great sex because it teaches us to slow down. When we are rushing through our life, our practice and foreplay all with a sense of urgency to get it done we miss the deeper radiance within us as well an opportunity to make a deep connection with our self and our partner.
The average lov making session is less than seven minutes. I take longer to drink a cup of coffee!
What’s the rush? Perhaps it’s our addiction to “busy.” Remember you created your to-do list so you can decide what’s on it. Would you rather be busy or “get busy” with your lover? Perhaps joy, celebration and connection could be at the top of your list as you slow down and embrace joy.

4. Getting my sexy back.

Curvy YogiWithin a year of starting yoga I went from a size 14 to a size 6 and felt sexier than ever before. I am not suggesting in anyway that body size should indicate how women feel about themselves. I know size 20+ women who are some of the sexiest women on the planet. Self-deprivation, eating disorders and feeling worthless because we aren’t toothpicks is not what it’s about.
Skinny does not equate to sexy. However, all women know that when you don’t feel attractive you don’t feel turned on. Yoga helps balance our weight, our hormones and the way we feel about ourselves.
Now at a happy size eight I am not the skinniest woman in the room, nor do I need to be. I embrace my curves and feel confident in my skin which allows me to be confident and embracing in the bedroom as well.

3. Shameless.

Although we have come a long way baby we still carry a lot of shame about our bodies and sexuality. I think of myself as a free, alive and radiant woman but still remember a university party and the guy who called me a “slut” because I would not sleep with him, but had slept with his friend. I know this is a clear example of jerk-dom combined with a ridiculous premise but I also still feel the remnants of the shame of this experience.
Liking sex and wanting it for myself and not as a servant to men’s desires made me a “slut” in his eyes and made me question myself.
Women who are overt sexual beings in our society are often seen as “whores” so we lock our sexuality away to fit the good girl or virgin archetype. This compartmentalizing is not only extremely damaging as we deny ourselves, but also why we struggle as a culture for holism on our planet today.
Yoga is a tool that reminds us that all truly is one. We are the radiant sexual Goddess and the innocent girl. We do not need to sacrifice any part of our self or feel shameful as all is beautiful in the eyes of the Divine.
As I freed up my shame about my robust sexuality I felt a new confidence grow in myself. This allowed me to feel more fearless and therefore less protective and defensive, which in turn opened up a new depth of intimacy and joy in my relationship with my husband, which meant even better sex.

2. Saying yes to joy.

In ancient Yoga philosophy, kama, defined as pleasure, joy and desire was a high principle. It was one of the four highest goals of life along with service. As humanity embraced a punishing God and viewed life as suffering and the body as dirty, we moved away from the philosophy of life as a gift and saw detachment, self-denial and suffering as holy.
Tantric teachings remind us that we are here to experience joy in this life and in this body. Even current neuroscience confirms that the human brain is wired for connection, freedom and celebration. Your right hemisphere is all about the party—joy is your natural state! Yoga helps us experience and remember our joy.
Remember the euphoria you experienced after a great Yoga class? You were glowing with possibility and all was beautiful in the world. Your heart was open and you could not stop smiling. Stepping into our joy is one of the most powerful tools of healing available on this planet today.
Sex can also be a great source of joy if we embrace it as such. Part of this is letting go of our shame, fear and denial but also to see ourselves, our bodies and our union with another as a source of what we are here to experience—joy! So next time you say yes to sex, think of it as a way to say yes to kama.

1. I bow to you gorgeous one.

Yoga reminds us to honor each other. When we bow and offer a Namaste we are literally bowing to the Divine in each other. Our sexual union can also be a way of honoring the Divine in our selves and our partner. How do you honor your partner? How do you think about your lover? Do you seek the Divine within them?
I have been married for nearly 10 years and I still have amazing sex and yes, with my husband. Not only am I still in love with my husband, I am also extremely attracted to him. Why did this attraction last? Well, I look for things to appreciate, to love and to honor. I purposefully choose to get turned on about him rather than to think about the things that annoy me. Moreover I honor the Divine in him and seek to affirm it in and out of the bedroom. I see him as the Divine in gorgeous form.
In Yoga philosophy our Ishta Devata is the Divine in beloved form. My husband is a powerful living breathing emanation of the Divine to me as I am to him. Who would not want to have sex with a god?
It’s time for us to embrace our sacred sexual current and free ourselves to experience ananda (bliss) on our mat and on our mattress.