Archive | sensuality

simple sensuality

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been desiring some experiences in my life lately. Laughter, joy, ease, appreciation, and something I called ‘simple sensuality.’ When I wrote that, I was thinking about ‘simple’ sensuality as something that was opposite of normal? regular? complex? sensuality. But I have been playing with these labels and experiences in my head, and in real life, and I think I’ve got things from the wrong perspective.

‘Complex’ or ‘normal’ sensuality (as a thing that was in opposition to ‘simple’ sensuality) was the heavy, red, Lady Marmalade, lacy, layered, black lingerie kind of sensuality. The things we think of when the word ‘sexy’ is uttered. What modern culture defines as ‘sexuality’ and ‘sensuality.’

And in contrast to that, ‘simple’ sensuality was something lighter, easier. White sheets (just as sexy as black silk, btw), open windows, open spaces, light touches, not grinding but sliding against one another, unbuttoning soft cotton shirts, unzipping denim jeans. Just as pleasurable, but…different.

I’ve been playing with that for the last week or so and I’ve come to remember that these are not distinct or opposing experiences, they are flavors of the same thing. They are complimentary. They are simply colors on the wheel that is the entire rainbow. (Duh, Joanna, duh.)

I’ve also been very much guided by two quotes this week, as I’ve opened to fulfilling my own sensual needs and aligning with my desire (rather than fighting them):

“Any energy that you deny becomes a demon for you. It becomes your inner tormentor. And you don’t get rid of your demons. You embrace them. Not indulge them, but embrace them. And if you embrace them in a way I am talking about they no longer feel like demons. They are just energies that are available to you. They are just part of this whole spectrum of what it is to be conscious and alive and present. And everything becomes joined together back again. A mature emotional life if when all the different parts of yourself emotionally are joined back together. Nothing is put outside, nothing is denied, nothing is hidden. Nothing is unacknowledged. All brought together so that it can all come together.” – Adyashanti


“My life is my practice.

To join with myself as I am right here, right now, moment to moment.
To be in union with myself when I am happy and when I am angry.
To be in union with my wounded, imperfect heart. Even if it never heals all the way.
To let that be enough. 

To be here, to be human, to be able to practice, to be able to mess up and forget and start over and remember and do it all again the next hour or the next day.

That is my practice, our practice.

And in this thing called life, nothing is wasted. 
It is all part of the practice.”

– Mindy Scime

I am learning to enjoy my desire. To let go of attachments for outcomes (like, orgasm). It’s hard, honestly. I’m not used to it- letting such things live inside me without fulfilling them. Watching the desire to fulfill get so…passionate (and sometimes angry). Desire ain’t bad. Desire to fulfill can be problematic. So, I’m learning and practicing and seeing how it goes. It’s weird and uncomfortable because it’s new, but I can also definitely feel that it’s so much more useful and enjoyable than forcing it to be fulfilled in the way I want. Life sometimes has better plans for us than we do for ourselves. And there is a certain kind of fun to simply holding the hum of desire inside myself for as long as I can. It is not dissimilar to riding the wave of orgasmic energy (not the same, exactly, but not far off, either).


several trees in a backyard with spring blooms and fall leaves

The rain and the spring blossoms outside my window.


I am also feeding myself the simple sensuality I want so much.

Standing at the window and just enjoying how my neighbors’ cherry tree looks in blossom.
Being delighted by how my shirt folds and juxtaposes with my sweater.
I have a cold, so the feel of a cough drop in my mouth is a small surrender to pleasure.
Today’s rain. Just letting my soul fill up on watching it rain. So simple.
Getting to bed on time so I can curl up in my lover’s arms and fall asleep there.
The delight in a good, long drive with a great playlist.
Hugs. From anybody. The good kind. Close and warm and almost never-ending.
Doing two sets of perfect push-ups.
The joy of buying new books and waiting for them to arrive.
Dinner out with good friends and good food.
Two shots of silver tequila.
The badass daffodil in my yard that would not give up even when it was tossed by the wind.
Curling up in a chair and just listening to my life: the kids, the traffic, the sound of my husband’s bike wheels spinning.

I have made a practice of not denying my desires. To say, “yes, I see you and feel you. You are welcome here.” I have also made a practice of purposefully stopping to notice, enjoy, and feed my soul on simple sensual pleasures. I think it’s working. I certainly feel less anxious and frustrated, and far more happy and fulfilled. It’s good, so far. [The astrologers tell me that Pluto is in retrograde and I may be challenged by my shadow in relationships…again. So, we’ll see what happens. Maybe there’s some new infatuation for me to fall into. The question is: will I need to?]

It’s Spring here and I am hopeful. And excited to see where my new practices take me. I can only hope it is towards more truth and health and love. And if this post sounds like something I’ve written about before, perhaps many times, just know that this is what learning looks like. Going over the same ground until it is part of our being- ingrained, embodied- that is the path of learning.

I hope you are all well, fellow travelers.
Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo





It’s been cold and snowy for the past couple of days here in Southern New England and I can’t help but to think about warm things. I don’t usually like to do that- it makes the cold that much worse by comparison- but even thinking about a nice, warm 40 degree day sounds awesome.

Thinking about proper warm, sunny days, like we get in the Summer, made me start thinking about sweating. I have, for a couple of years now, been fascinated by my own sweaty body. I like sweaty bodies in general- it means effort, exertion, making attempts at goals, heat, maybe sex, and some bodies smell fantastic when sweaty (I’m not one of them). Sweat also means warmth and movement and flexibility- equally sexy and fantastic as the other things.

So, I remain fascinated with sweat in general, and my sweat in particular. How it feels to have a workout where I am dripping with it (it feels rather badass- pushing my limits). How it feels to have the sweat cool on my skin. How it looks and feels sitting atop my skin- sometimes I notice every little bit, sometimes I am oblivious. The gorgeous feeling of being so entranced in my workout, or so dedicated to finishing what I’m doing, and the drops of sweat fall from my chin, nose, and and chest. Those drops are hard-earned and they feel like gold when I am warm and working my ass off.

I offer you a study in sweat.

::: ::: ::: :::


| The cure for anything is salt water: tears, sweat, or the sea. |


| Luck is the dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get. |


| There’s nothing better than working up a good sweat. |


| There’s something incredibly sexy about sand and sweat and dunes
photographed like women’s backs.  – Kristin Scott Thomas |


| Sweat! Sweat! Sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat!  – Zora Neale Hurston|


|By being an athlete, I have discovered so many other ways to express my beauty. Being a strong, fearless woman makes me feel beautiful. I love the way I look and feel when I am two hours into my training and my skin is glistening with sweat and my clothes are drenched because
I have given it all I’ve got.  – Laila Ali|


| the best sweat is a from a hot bath, though. |


G’night fellow travelers. May your sweat bring you joy.
Joanna :: xoxo




How does a sensualist celebrate Christmas?

She doesn’t! She celebrates Solstice. And we start the day with candlelight.



At our house we do a big celebration for Solstice because we’re not Christians. Taoist-Buddhist-Pagan eclectic mix is what we do here (although, I’ve been thinking about that, too- and probably need to reconsider what right I have to those traditions. But not today…)

One of the reasons we celebrate Solstice (both of them, and the Equinoxes) is our dedication to science, but also because they are the celebrations that our closest to the body. Before central heating, our bodies knew what season it was because of the changes in the light and the changes in temperature each season. Even now, I need more thyroid medication during the winter because my body is registering that it’s time to slow down, experience less light, and my metabolism responds accordingly. We’ve lost some of that physical connection with the seasons (okay, but we did gain Netflix, so it’s not all bad) but we can reconnect with it easily enough by connecting with the solstices and equinoxes. So, here we are.

Around here we relax during the day, letting the darkest day sink into our bones- because there is a natural desire to slow down during this time of year. We eat a candle-lit dinner to acknowledge and enjoy the dark. At dinner we will eat foods that remind us of the sun- sweet potatoes, orange cheese, oranges, fizzy drinks (I have no idea why that reminds me of the sun, just go with me on this), we make a ‘sunshine’ cake, and other items that make us feel happy amongst the dark.

We perform the ritual of letting dark things go. The winter Solstice is the time to let go of what no longer serves us- to unwind, untie, unlearn, and release that which is no longer needed. We write things on paper and burn them in a clay pot- and use the ashes to feed a new plant that we will love into the new year and into Spring.

It is also a time to honor the dark- because darkness is part of human nature, too. And without our fear, anger, frustration, sadness, and grief we are incomplete (what would we be if we were happy all the time?). So we also bless the darkness for holding balance in our lives.

I spend time with all the holiday things that bring me sensual pleasure.

Sarah McLachlan’s Wintersong album – truly full of adult holiday feelings

Harry Connick Jr.’s  Songs I Heard – not Christmas-based but reworking childhood favorites

The Muppets singing “Little Saint Nick” – because you need Animal grinding it out, okay?

“Stop the Cavalry” by The Cory Band – which is a weird but enjoyable anti-war/nuke protest song. But it sounds like Christmas.

And my ‘put it on repeat’ favorite: “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses.

[I will tell you, I got super sick of Christmas music the other day and had to put on some Van Halen, Rush, and Aerosmith. So, raise your glass for sensuality and 80s rock this Solstice.]


I will drink my favorite tea. (Once you have British tea, you can never go back. Buy it here.)  Lots of sugar, lots of cream.



I’ll read favorite books.

Sections from David Copperfield. Because in AP English (waytoomanyyearsago) we read it in December and I can never go without it now.

A children’s book my grandmother gave me when I was diagnosed with diabetes (36 years ago!) called “Joel Schick’s Christmas Present” which is a re-telling of the 12 Days of Christmas, except with strange creatures. Creatures that eat the decorations. And once you sing it in your head with the new words, you will have trouble remembering the old ones.



Something from Toot & Puddle, a quieting favorite when my kids were small.



I will put my children to bed, snuggling with my daughter as the twinkly lights hang quietly in her room. My son simply wants hugs these days. I will feel my body against their’s, remembering when they were small enough to fit into my arms.


I’ll curl up in my favorite sweater and jeans and watch Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas (which no one but me loves) and The Family Stone, with a bowl of popcorn. [Except I lied. Tonight is the opening of Season 4 of Peaky Blinders on Netflix. And I am going to watch and fall in love with Tommy Shelby and his intelligent, graceful violence once again. He is so fucking delicious.]


I feed myself what I most need on this day, with a special awareness of the dark, of its gifts, and of the promise of coming light. And Solstice will be the calmest day of my year.




moving forward using all my breath

moving forward, using all my breath/
making love to you was never second best.

| I Melt With You |
Modern English

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I have been writing letters and emails about sex and desire and sensuality and letting the data slosh around in my head this week and a ‘memory’ came up on Facebook that made me stop and realize how far I’ve come, how much I’ve learned since I started this blog.

The post, which I had written a year ago, said,
“I am not a sensualist for the feather and bone people.
I am a sensualist for people who like holodecks and math jokes.”

It’s true.

I’m a nerd. A geek. A weirdo.
I like science jokes. And math jokes. And clever word jokes (especially double entendre!). And digging deeply into whatever topic is currently grabbing my attention.

I’m curious.
And I like to have my curiosity satisfied.
Curiosity is my only appetite, really. And it has lead me to so many interesting places.
And those places have helped me learn so much about myself, my life, my sexuality, and my sensuality.

::: ::: ::: :::

I know that when I stared this blog it was a place for me to process what was happening as a result of the Sex Surge. My libido was high, I didn’t know what to do with it except have sex, and I wasn’t getting enough of that. So, I took that creative energy (because sex is, at its essence, creativity) and started creating things here. [Kinda sad, kinda glad to be out of that phase, tbh.]

Gradually that morphed into re-creating myself by focusing on sensuality. Which started with learning what sensuality even meant. And then learning to pull apart sexuality and sensuality (they aren’t the same, but we treat them as if they were) and starting to live with an awareness of my sensuality (even, or especially, when I wasn’t naked).

You can see one example in this 3-part series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

What I realized this week is that I’ve made a lot of progress in the last few years. I know my sensuality even with my clothes on- the thing that felt so out of reach in Part 3 is actually here.

I’m no longer afraid of my sensuality.
I’m no longer afraid of my sexual desire/s.
I’m no longer afraid of my own intensity. (Lots of people are, though, which is fine. You do you.)
I’m no longer afraid of living sensually on a daily basis.
I know a lot about sexual pleasure.
I know a lot more about sensual pleasure.

Sensuality looks different for each person. I’m an introvert, so my outward sensuality is quiet, if you see me in ‘regular’ life. I share my ideas, perspectives, and experiences here, and that can look like I’m brash or loud about my sexuality and sensuality, but I share openly here because this is a safe place to say such things. (Strangely enough, I can say whatever I want on this blog- in a totally public forum- and if anyone doesn’t like it, they are free to say so- or to leave!- but I don’t have to interact with them. Which is to say, I don’t have to read my comments section so I can say whatever the fuck I want and let any consequences go.)

My inward sensuality is really the key place where I have grown. If you take the time to get to know me, I will gradually peel my layers away (it takes time and I have to trust, which I’m not great at), and share my sensuality with you. (Which has zero to do with getting naked physically.) My inward sensuality is the place where I feel most alive- where I am most aware of all my senses and desires and enjoying each bit of life as it comes. There are 100 different kinds of orgasms and my inward sensuality is where I experience most of them. This inward place keeps me nourished spiritually- filled with the beauty of this Earth and this life.

::: ::: ::: :::

‘Making love to life’ was my mantra for the first few years into the journey of sensuality. I wanted to interact, intimately, with what Life had to offer. I wanted to seduce it and be seduced by it. I wanted to feel everything, to travel every emotion. I wanted to ask for exactly what I wanted and see how it was given to me.

This path looked like:
naming my prayers on a regular basis
being the Wild Heart
discovering that lust is not a problem
naming who I wanted to become and becoming her

And opening to my sensuality, learning from it, has been the path. Making love to life was never second best. I’ve learned a lot- and I’m so grateful for what I know. But I’m also curious about what is still out there to be learned. Curiouser and curiouser.

And so, if you find that you need the services of a sensualist- to help you bring more life to your life- I’m here. And I’ll make sex metaphors using Lord of the Rings or Star Wars references (seriously, let’s talk about how full body orgasm is similar to when Merry and Pippin set off the dragon firework, cuz that’s a thing). And probably a math joke. And pop culture. And myths. And some savage double entendre once we get going. But I know what I’m talking about now…and I’m here to help.

Big love, fellow travelers,
Joanna :: xoxo





if you deserve
mine will flow from my arms to yours
no effort, no asking.
but, if there is none
you feel wind instead.
that my spirit already
senses that
when you smell sweetness
begin harvesting blades in your hands.

– kindness is a form of intelligence

| nayyirah waheed |

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This is what it
is to be wild
Wild is the strange
pull and
whispering wisdom.
its the gentle nudge and
the forceful ache. It is
your truth, passed down
from the ancients, and the
very stream of life
in your blood. Wild
is the soul where passion
and creativity reside,
and the quickening
of your heart. Wild
is what is real, and
wild is your home.

| Victoria Erickson |

::: ::: ::: :::

Tantra is one of the most important secrets ever discovered. But it is very delicate because it is the greatest art. To paint is easy, to create poetry is easy, but to create a communion with the energy of the other, a dancing communion, is the greatest and most difficult art to learn.

| Osho |

{{ i do enjoy practicing, though. }}

::: ::: ::: :::

At the peak of our stuckness, we habitually long for a sign that will stand out and call to us. We desire a signal or confirmation of the next right step or choice.

We long for inspiration and desire to return to our lives, when we feel desperate and depleted in the mundane.

The richness we crave lies in our ordinary, everyday lives. Cultivating awareness in each moment invites the possibility for deeper experience.

Intention and conscious alertness in our daily tasks, invites space for the aliveness we miss. Noticing details provided by our senses, being with the moment, and switching perspectives can all incite a magical spark.

| Gina Angelini |

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Take me past
the guarded place
in you
where confusion
covers itself
in unrelenting confidence
then marches on
in lively steps.
Take off the facade
let it fall away
into nowhere
Turn around and face me
I search the infinite depth
where beyond all entrenchments
I find your thirst
to be met
and understood
the sadness in your bones,
the want of your silent cries
to be heard
and be known-
abiding within those
unseen landscapes
is a world of precious
Let me touch where
the battle wounds
lie quietly healing-
Buried beneath
an armored sheath
rests a lifetime of love
and loneliness,
blame and triumph,
honor and defeat.
Within this blended web
of scars and treasures,
glistening with honey,
there you are-
I found you,
beneath the soldiers plated heart.
So loosen the knots around my own
see all its agony bared and mending
and in between each open space
we’ll breathe upon the frailty.
All the wishful longings to be had
bring to me yours
as I meet you there with mine.

| Susan Frybort |  Hope is a Traveler