Archive | sensuality

Paris [from New England]

I went on vacation to Paris, my friends. It was amazing in a lot of ways. The food (!!), the art, the history, the cultural differences (some of which were awesome), and just getting out of town were all fabulous. I also learned a lot about myself because…wherever you go, there you are. It was a good trip in many ways. I’m still chewing on some of the inner work I chose to look at while I was there; I’ll post about that later. For now, just some fave photos.

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Of course, let us start with le Tour Eiffel. This was taken from next to the Museum of Architecture, which, not high on the list of most tourists, was actually really informative and interesting. They took casts of some of the important buildings in Paris (i.e. the upper reaches of Notre Dame) so that you can see the details up close.

The Eiffel Tower is enclosed (after the terrorist attack of 2015), so you have to get through security to go up, but it’s worth the time and effort. The science and architecture is amazing, as are the views.

 

Rooftop gardens seen from the Eiffel Tower.

 

A view from the Eiffel Tower, looking at Sacre Coeur church on the hill in the distance.

 

We opted to stay out of the Louvre (if you go, either plan to be there for three days, or pick what you want to visit beforehand and focus on that), and instead we visited the Musee D’Orsay. I had my fill of Impressionists (Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas); it was fantastic to see the paintings from my Humanities courses in real life. For me, the Art Nouveau section was the best, though. The skill of the crafting of that era always blows me away. I wept for the beauty of it.

 

We also visited one of the largest and most famous cemeteries in the city: Pere LaChaise. Many famous people are buried here, not the least of which is Oscar Wilde. The mausoleums were incredible. Rows and rows of tiny, ornate, gothic structures dedicated to the afterlife. It was beautiful and macabre, which I love.

 

 

There was even a famous broad from Boston there.

 

This is actually a fountain on the backside of the Museum of Architecture. There are a lot of fountains around Paris. Not all of them this grand.

 

The “Lock Bridge” is no longer, but that doesn’t mean lovers don’t find ways to keep up the tradition. We saw this on a walk along the Seine. (We also saw a couple fighting about their lock at another place. Ah, the City of Love.)

 

We did not visit Montmarte, an area well known for its artists and the location of the Moulin Rouge. But there was plenty of street art to keep us interested. We saw several works from Invader.

This was not the whole of our trip. There were other museums, boulangerie’s, many cafe’s, and lots of just walking around and noticing Paris. We stayed in a neighborhood called Les Lilas (The Lilacs) in a spare, well organized apartment inhabited by someone who won the French version of a Tony (called a ‘Moliere’) for her work in costumes. She had the most amazing library of fashion books. We learned how to ride the Metro – always wear your Resting Bitch Face, because nobody smiles (in fact, it would be considered flirting to smile at someone). I had one of the most tasty meals of my life and also a lime sorbet I will never forget.

Paris was a delight for the senses. I can see why they call it the City of Love, but it’s just a place where, if you are from out of town, you can be utterly stunned on a regular basis. Which is pretty cool. Paris was not necessarily a place I felt at home (in the way I do when we go to England), but it was most certainly worth our time and money and I will visit again. Paris changed small things in me; it was beautiful in every way.

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Love from the path,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Sunday Prayers

Hello, fellow spiritual travelers, my broken-but-working-on-it peeps. Life has been changing and things are delightfully good, and I’m so glad to be who I am, the age I am, and where I am (holy shit, yes!). And I am going to sink deep into this feeling, because it doesn’t come around often.

Where my heart is at these past few days…

 

“Tantra says sex is very deep because it is life. But you can be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons. Do not be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons, and then you will not feel that Tantra is dangerous. Then Tantra is life-transforming…

It has been asked, ‘what is the central subject matter of Tantra?’ The answer is you! You are the central subject matter of Tantra: what you are right now and what is hidden in you that can grow, what you are and what you can be. Right now you are a sex unit and unless this unit is understood deeply you cannot become a spirit, you cannot become a spiritual unit. Sexuality and spirituality are the two ends of one energy.”

Osho

| I’m not sure that I’d agree with all of this, because I believe our sexuality and spirituality nourish each other- that’s been my experience. But, yes, you are the central subject matter of Tantra. |

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“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.”

Terry Tempest Williams

| This is how to have faith, and also to be alive. I think being alive is its own act of faith. |

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Life on Earth

Wild Horses

A Youth Written in Fire

| Snow Patrol’s new album is really different. And I like it. Gary Lightbody – former priest and current poet – hits some very deep places in his own psyche. It’s quite beautiful to listen to. |

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Images from my ‘beautiful’ board are inspiring me and keeping me grounded lately. Summer’s passion is finding it’s way into old frescoes and fields of poppies. When the humidity rests atop my skin, I pull my hair up from my neck, sweat with a smile in the shade, and dream of Paris in the Fall.

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Big love from this gorgeous, hot day and my happy heart,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Beer, Baths, and Bittersweet Memories

Sensuality, connection, and fun don’t have to be a grand, fancy soiree. The daily, easy sensualities are sometimes the most fun. Last week I was remembering a little fun thing my husband did for me back when we were dating, and I decided to re-create it.

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I saw my husband the first day on campus at Western Washington University in 1993. He was walking across Red Square with his then-girlfriend and I was walking in the opposite direction with my roommate as we headed to a training for on-campus work. Now, at that time, I was a ‘good, Christian girl’ and super excited to be living on my own. You can see my senior picture and a comparison of me then/now on this post. (Check out the bangs! And the henley! And the perm!)

That day, my husband was wearing a mohawk, 8 ear piercings, 2 nipple piercings, 10 tattoos, some mid-calf, black leather, steel-toed boots, a menacing black leather jacket, and a Timbuktu bag (very chic for cyclists in those days). My only thought when I saw him was, “College is going to be awesome.” I was ready for change.

In the next six weeks I had dates with 6 guys, and eventually settled on one, EWD. He and I were together for the next 2.5 years. We were good, honestly. For our age and what we knew of relationships, we were a genuinely good and healthy couple.

Looking back now, though, I see that something was happening in those years. I kept seeing my would-be husband at various places on campus. I always felt a thrill when I saw him, even as I was getting deeper with EWD and feeling certain that we would get married some day. (EWD made the one fatal mistake, though: he asked me to not grow anymore. Sorry, no can do.) The thing is, I knew, even as I was with EWD, that if my husband -then just a cute guy- asked me out, I would have said yes with every part of my being. All those years that I saw him and wanted him, I was laying down the energy of ‘long-term’ as my connection with him. At least, that’s how I see it today.

So, I broke up with EWD about four hours after my husband and I had our first date. (Yeah, a little overlap there. My bad. We both knew we were dead at that point, though- one of us had to officially call the death, and it was me.) Dating my husband was like all of the romantic movies I had ever seen. It felt awesome- giddy, joyful, telling the truth, sharing with each other, having fun, figuring out sex together, learning how to care for each other. We definitely started out as lovers and grew into best friends. We built our love with truth and that also gave us trust. We were also at that magical place where each of us was ready to tell the truth and work at building something; to speak the truth, to learn to fight well, to be open and supportive and work through the shit.

Okay! Enough musing on dating and love! The story!

One of our first dates had been at a bar where all the grad students hung out (he was doing his masters, I was still doing my bachelors), and he bought me the first beer I ever really liked. It was a peach (peche) Lambic. (This is a sweet beer, some call it ‘Kool-Aid’ beer – they wouldn’t be wrong. But it’s still one of only two beer types I’ll drink.) And he remembered this.

So, one night I went over to his place after work. We both worked at a nursing home in town and the work was grueling. There’s nothing quite like hefting 200 lb people out of and into beds for 8 hours to give you really great quads and biceps, though. Anyway, I drove over to his place after my shift, 11:30 at night, and he greeted me with a warm tub full of peach-smelling bubbles and a cold peach lambic. He gently undressed me, with a suitable but not naughty amount of kissing, and plopped me in the tub with a cold one. I felt cared for, seen, loved, wanted. His arms around me, having him sit next to me, relaxing in the hot water and enjoying the smell of the bubbles and the taste of the beer. It was exquisite. It cost him all of $6.

Sensuality + care + love can be simple. It can be remembering what someone likes and giving it to them again. It can be helping someone who’s worked hard to relax. It can just be spending time together, showing we care with our presence. He and I had a great conversation while I was in the tub and then we fell asleep on his twin bed (when you are young and in love, you will put up with some crazy shit, like regularly sleeping together on a twin bed). That whole evening is one I will always remember because it was so sensually delightful, but also full of love and care.

 

Photo by Abigail Lynn on Unsplash

 

Two weekends ago, my beloved was away with our son. He’d had a long-ass weekend of driving and camping and when he got home Sunday night, he was dead tired. When he got home, I stuck him in the shower and put him to bed. It reminded me of the night with the peach lambic, so I went to the liquor store and got him one the next day. We laughed as we drank it and remembered that night. (Although, there was no peche lambic. Only frambois. Alas…  Also, word to the wise, don’t drink the cherry. It really tastes awful.) We remembered the sensuality and our youth and we looked at the long path to today; it was a joy, honestly.

That night with the peach Lambic happened almost exactly 22 years ago. Truly a lifetime ago. We are different people now, yet we are also the same. I sometimes feel bittersweet that we won’t have that memory again, or that the years continue to roll by. But I am also entirely glad for where we are now- making new sensual memories in our new house (I’ll tell you about the one with vodka later!) and I’m realizing that 22 years from now, we’ll be re-living the memories we make today with a smile, too. Sensuality, care, and love can be really simple and sweet- and I’m reminded of how important those moments are to the building of long-lasting love.

Big love from memory lane,
Joanna :: xoxo

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For a week or so, I got this ad on Facebook for a film called “The Dating Experiment” and it was about people trying to date in the modern era. I haven’t watched it yet, but I found it fascinating that young people (even into their 30s) don’t know how to date. In my day, dating was the only way you got to sex. Even if it was a one-night stand, you had to endure an actual date before you fumbled into somebody’s apartment or car or dark corner and got it on. You had to date to get anywhere, romantically or sexually. Times have changed!

If you want to know what dating in the 1990s was like, catch these three films. They definitely reflect my experience as a middle class, white woman of that time. (Also, one of the things I find really difficult for people in their 20s these days is that pop culture does not have a lot of supportive messages for long-term relationships. Like, I’m glad we’ve exposed the darkness and difficulty of relationships, and having boundaries and stuff, but Dan Fogelberg (Longer), Bread (Baby I’m A Want You), Breathe (Hands to Heaven), Terence Trent D’Arby (Sign Your Name), Depeche Mode (Somebody), Sinead O’Connor (Nothing Compares 2 U- my entire freshman year of high school revolved around a boy I loved and this damn song), and the like- they all taught me what falling in love felt like and how to conceive of and live inside a long-term partnership. I think that’s missing these days- the hope and joy of falling in love and working to make it work.)

Say Anything
People have said that Lloyd Dobler was a stalker, but no. He was a 19 year-old boy in 1989 and he was doing the best he could for the times. I would still pick his enthusiastic, unsure, genuine kind of loving over a lot of other dudes any day of the week and twice on Sundays. He was trying his best and he loved Diane so much. I still listen to the soundtrack. (“Maybe the world is a blur of food and sex and spectacle and we’re all just hurtling towards an acropolis… in which case, it’s not your fault.” He was brilliant, our Lloyd.)

Singles
Set in Seattle, so it’s dope for that reason alone. Also, you’ll see the original grave for Jimi Hendrix in my old hometown (there is an awful, gawdy version there now). But it’s a real look at what we were doing and thinking in 1993 about dating and being in relationships- all kinds of relationships. Also an exquisite soundtrack from the original ‘alternative rock’ years.

Sliding Doors
Gwyneth Paltrow’s life is both drastically changed, but also not, in this film about the difference a few seconds can make in someone’s life. (It’s also one of the reasons I take a long ass time to make some decisions.) It’s great in the way that Groundhog’s Day is great. But also, it’s the dating and falling in love and handling it well thing. Not a great soundtrack, but a damn funny character- the best friend of Gerry (one of the main male characters who cannot decide between his girlfriend and his mistress; the best friend is a true delight).

From the time-traveling machine that is my head and heart- Joanna

 

 

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Summer Solstice :: Sensual Treasures

[[ There are so many things I want to write about right now. I have posts about beer + baths, the sensuality of safety and the sin of beliefs sitting in my head. They will find their way out. I’ve been so angry and full of despair these past few days, so I am sitting on my bed writing this instead. With a packet of Pez and a Mike’s Hard Lemonade at my side (because there is a part of me that is still 12 with the ability to buy alcohol). I am also remembering that today is a very special day our house {personal thing} and I am delving into the joy of that to keep my spirit afloat. I hope you are well, fellow travelers.]]

 

Photo by Max LaRochelle on Unsplash

 

Happy Summer Solstice to my Northern hemisphere peeps! (And Happy Winter Solstice to my Southern hemisphere peeps!) Today is the longest day of the year- the day with the most light. Which means it is also the day before we begin turning towards the dark again. I always find this kind of strange because summer seems so full of light, and yet we are losing 7 minutes of it each day as the summer meanders along. Human perception is so weird sometimes. In any case, these are the things I’m looking forward to enjoying this summer. [And here’s the list of what I was hoping to enjoy at the Spring Equinox.]

the first jump into a cold pool
late nights by the fire with friends
popsicles (orange!)
the blessing of central air
the smell of tanned skin + salty hair
chubby babies in swim diapers
nights so hot you sleep with no covers
the taste of salty skin, the smell of his sweat
the scent of campfire smoke in hair
s’mores
laying back, closing your eyes, and feeling the heat of the sun on your skin
walks on the beach
library days
adventures with the kids
the sweet anticipation of The Big Vacation
the sting of burnt skin in the shower (I burned the shit out of my shoulders this week)
the feel of cold, cold water down your throat, on your skin, after hard work
sitting under the trees, listening
watching the crew team from my friend’s house on the water
sparklers
the feeling of wrapping up in a towel at night because that’s all you’ve got
drive-in theaters
how the heat smells
sweet corn (with lime juice and salt)
the first cool wind in August
ripe strawberries (and real whipped cream)

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What sensual pleasures are you waiting to enjoy this summer, fellow travelers? Today is the doorway to summer fun- run through it like it’s 95 degrees and the sprinkler is on full blast.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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The Spiritual Side of Oral Sex

 

[This was originally a completely different post. It has been edited and re-worked because I liked this content the best and wanted to say more about it than the original post did. xoxo -J]

I read these two great articles this week:

How To Eat Pussy: A Magical Guide for Evolved People

How To Suck Dick: A Guide for the Awakened Mind

The articles give good advice, but I couldn’t help thinking, “Everyone likes it a little bit different, and that’s what you’ve got to pay attention to.” I’ve also been getting a recurring ad/article on Facebook that asks what women are thinking when they’re going down on a guy. To be honest, I don’t think you should be thinking anything other than, “Is he enjoying this?” and “Am I enjoying this?” If you’re not thinking those things, maybe you shouldn’t be going down on someone.

Oral sex is probably one of the most vulnerable types of sex because: teeth. Teeth that could really do damage to your most sensitive bits. You need trust to have oral sex with someone. But it’s also the most creative sex, I think. Maybe I just like being creative, but that’s one of the reasons I think it’s so much fun. What will delight my lover today? What new thing can I do to elicit a moan, a thrust, a biting of the lip?

Have I talked about this before here? My preference for using the tongue and fingers to give and receive sexual and sensual pleasure? They are super fun. Lips + tongues + fingers + hands can provide so many different kinds of pressure + texture + sensation. I have also only met two women who get off entirely from penetration. TWO. So, yeah, hands, fingers, tongues are dope during sex. Lick, suck, pop, twist, flick, go slow, speed up, moan, laugh, use the tips, flatten the tongue, have enough trust to experiment. Listen to what your lover likes, and not just with your ears.

[Generally, female sex writers don’t talk about their preferences because the problematic-admirers tend to come out and start telling you they think it would be great if you’d do that to them, how they’ve been thinking of it, etc. (Go away, creepers. The only person I go down on is someone I trust and want to have a good time with. Creepers and problematic peeps are not on that list because you’re not trustworthy. I will not shame or judge your sexual desires; I will definitely judge how trustworthy you are with my mind and body.) So, yeah, I enjoy both giving and receiving the pleasures of oral sex.]

The spiritual side of oral sex is that it’s about darkness and pleasure. We’re told not to put our mouths on ‘dirty’ things, and for most of us, we were instructed that our genitals were ‘dirty.’ Symbolically, it’s an deeply rebellious thing to put what is ‘dirty’ in the place that nourishes us.

One of the things I really love about oral sex is that you have to be really hungry for the other person- you must want to have all of them, to eat and taste and enjoy all of who and what they are. ‘Eating’ not in the sense of devouring someone and leaving nothing of them behind, but rather of finding nourishment (joy, energy, fulfillment) in them. So oral sex is about enjoying the totality and the darkness of our lover inside us, being willing to do dark things in order to have the entirety of someone.

It’s also dark because oral sex is entirely about pleasure; oral sex is not procreative sex. Oral sex that doesn’t end with ejaculate in a vagina is another rebellious act: we are only doing it for the pure pleasure of it. Oral sex is one of the first sexual taboos we break (perhaps even before having penetrative sex, if you’re heterosexual). And I think it’s one of the best, because it truly opens up our sexual world beyond the traditional (read: Christian) notions of what sex can or should be. (Obviously, there are other religious paths that limit sexual interactions, but this is the one I’m most familiar with.)

And I know I talk a lot here about having big sexual experiences- full-body orgasms, minutes-long orgasms, super slow kisses, sensual pleasures- but they really are not the end-all, be-all of sexual experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love them all and would not go back to tiny orgasms, but good sex is about mutual pleasure. And that doesn’t always look like a giant “O.”

I used to follow this guy who helped men with relationships (because, I wondered what dudes say to dudes) and he said that one thing you should do to ‘catch a man’ was give him oral sex, on your knees, and look up at him. And all I could think was, “Most dudes just want a decent BJ and someone they feel safe enough to tell the truth to.” I don’t want to ‘catch’ a man ever, first of all, but also not one who is so easily swayed by a particular blow job position and doesn’t care about how involved his heart is. Mutual pleasure is what makes a long-term relationship great. I do not believe that ‘the relationship is only as good as the sex,’ I do believe that good sex comes from a good relationship. It’s not a ‘chicken-egg’ deal, it’s a ‘mutually serving and supporting’ deal.

And then, today, I listened to one of my favorite dude relationship coaches, Jayson Gaddis. (Totally a dude’s dude, totally has his shit together on relationships.) And he was talking about how sex is “a vulnerable, tender, intimate place to learn about myself.” (Not just what positions you like, but who you are as a person.) Yes. All of that. That’s what good, enjoyable, long-term sex and relationships are built from.

[He also talked some amazing stuff about men who want to move from the ‘Frat Boy’ stage, where a dude tends to run from his problems (this stage can last a lifetime for some men), to the ‘Warrior’ stage, where a dude begins to face himself and work at what he wants so he earns it. So interesting, so important (and so many chicks want a Warrior). He talked about the three issues that destroy a man’s sex life and relationships, and how to get over them. If you want to know more about these particular topics, check his course “Relational and Sexual Warriorship for Men.” I cannot recommend his work highly enough if you want to feel strong in your self, your relationships, and sex. Pay the money. Do the work. It will get you the sex and relationships you want.]

Mutual pleasure is more important than amazing orgasms, okay? One of the wonderful things Jayson Gaddis talks about is learning to trust your cock (go look up the article on his site). It is the same thing for women who feel sexual and expressive- we have learned to trust our body and our pussy (or whatever you call yours!). Listening to our genitals, our deepest sexual and sensual self is just as much about entering the ‘dark’ as oral sex is. Daring to listen to our cock or pussy is trusting our own body, which traditional religious paths tell us not to do. For women, our pussy tells us when something isn’t right, and when something isn’t right, the sex is no fun. It’s about mutual pleasure. Even in Tantra that’s the goal. It’s the union of energy. How do you suppose energies unite? They unite when there is a space that is safe, trusting, and open for the giving and receiving of pleasure.

Also, and I will say this until dudes get it: make your girl come first. Your cock can bounce back from deflation on a hair-trigger. Her clitoris cannot. Take the time to fill all of it up with sensation, keep touching her clit until her orgasm is done (don’t stop touching once it starts! stay with her and her orgasm!), and gently touch her clit and vulva until she’s all the way done (it’s a super-sensitive time, but also bring her down gently, you know?). You will have a grateful, satiated woman ready to give you the same treatment.

There are a thousand ways to have pleasurable sex- some of the most pleasurable are what we once considered ‘dark,’ like oral sex. Pleasurable sex may involve a long-term partner, or not. It may involve an orgasm, or not. But the more you put pleasure and mutual safety and joy as the goal, (so you can explore the ‘dark’ if you wish) the more exciting, delicious, and satisfying your sex will be.

Big love from here,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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