Archive | sensuality

How To Grow A Sex Goddess

 

 

This is a picture of me last Friday. I am wearing my favorite, favorite outfit ever. That sweater is from 1992 (it’s 26 years old!). I bought it with my hard earned junior-in-high-school dollars; it was $35 from The Gap and I still love it deeply. My comfiest jeans and my meanest black boots round out the ensemble.

I look like a soccer mom. I know.
(I’m hoping that will turn a few of you completely off me, honestly.)

These last couple of weeks have been part of ‘Scorpio season’ – a time when we’re sort of naturally drawn (or pressed) to reviewing relationships, boundaries, mistakes, etc. During this phase I’ve been thinking about things I said to someone about my body this time last year. I was honest: the boobs have breastfed two babies, they now reside more on the ground floor than the upper levels like they used to. There are stretch marks on my stomach (again with the babies). I’ve got cellulite and fat pockets that are plenty full. I’m not any kind of model material.

But as I was reflecting on what I said last year I realized that just because a person’s body meets certain social standards (or, rather, unreachable social standards) doesn’t have anything to do with how good they are at loving that body, or loving other people with their body. So, while I might have a very basic mom bod, I know how to use it far better than a lot of women who still have perky boobs and no stretch marks.

I know how to stretch anticipation just a little bit further…just so it drives a person wild with desire.

I know how to use my lips to soften your skin, all over. A playful tongue and teeth, too.

I know how make a sacred prayer of unbuttoning your shirt, letting the tips of my fingers brush against your skin like whispered mantra.

I know what brings me pleasure, and I’m open to exploring more.

I know how to listen to your moans and sighs and what they tell me about your desires; what to do more of, again and again and again.

I know how to wrap myself around you so our heat burns slow and sweet.

I know how to experiment, gently, and find the path to your deepest pleasure. And I know how to gently guide you towards giving me mine.

I know when to hold you down and when to let you roll me over and hold me steady as we sink into each other.

I know how to touch and tease and rub different places on your body so you understand that there are levels and layers of pleasure.

I know how make my breasts and nipples the kind of weapons you’ll beg to be killed by.
(You can ask my husband.)

I know when to drag my skin against yours and when to press into you. When to create more heat and when to cool you off.

Again, and always, I know how to listen to your entire body.

So, while I may look like a soccer mom, and while my body will never be in a lingerie magazine, I am good at sex in a way that someone with a traditionally beautiful body may never be. I didn’t give myself nearly enough credit last year; I’m a sex goddess.

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I haven’t always been a sex goddess. But I am beginning to understand what it takes to re-create yourself into one.

First and foremost, a woman has to know and trust her body. This is the hardest fucking thing in the world for modern women, if you ask me. Women are taught, from day one, to distrust our bodies. To only know them enough to deal with them; never to love, respect, and enjoy them. To display them for the pleasure of others, but only rarely for ourselves. I learned to trust my body in a strange way: I have Type 1 diabetes. I had to learn to listen to my body from the age of six. When I had a low blood sugar and felt faint or weak, I had to understand what was happening, trust it, listen to it, and take care of it. Diabetes has given me many strange blessings, but this is the top of the list- the ability to listen to and know my body.

I know that having a sense of safety is also foundational for a woman to become a sex goddess. Part of that is feeling a sense of safety in her own body. Again, a woman may have to unweave many stories society tells her about her body for her to feel safe inside it. If she feels that her body has betrayed her in some way, she will also have to overcome this to feel safe. A woman also has to feel safe with her partner. That has been the key ingredient for me and my sexual exploration/development: I feel entirely safe with my partner. He is generous, kind, supportive, and communicative every time we get down to it. I am never afraid that he will mock or hurt me or be distant. In places where women don’t necessarily feel safe with their partner, they will often extend their own sense of safety to include their partner. This isn’t the same as having a safe partner and thereby having double the safety. It’s more like stretching one size of safety to fit two people- it’s thin, even if it works.

A woman must also accept her own desires if she’s going to be sex goddess. This took me a long time to figure out and feel in my body. And the thing is, it’s very different for each woman. For some women, admitting that they want sex in a car or prefer masturbation is a big step in their self-acceptance. For others, admitting that they prefer submission or rope play (or water play or whatever else you find exceptionally kinky) is the big leap. For me it was admitting that FFM fantasies were not just fantasies. (Which is to say: I identify as more than a little bisexual these days.) But it’s in accepting our desires (even if they are just fantasies!) that we create the space that allows for experimentation. Because when we accept our desires, we are often pushing past boundaries- and that skill of pushing past boundaries helps us be open to other boundaries that are worth testing for ourselves, our partner, and as a couple.

That skill of pushing boundaries is one of the ‘higher end’ skills in becoming a sex goddess, I think. Because being a sex goddess is very much about pleasure- both mine and my partner’s- and I have had to learn to push past my self-imposed pleasure limits and allow more, receive more pleasure. Once you learn to hang out in the flow of orgasm for an extra 15 seconds, you can do that over and over again until you’re having rather long orgasmic experiences (this will literally blow the top of your skull off, at some point, but in the best way possible). It’s in pushing past our boundaries that we can find some amazing sexual experiences. This does not negate or override the need for safety, however.

A sex goddess also just has to plain like sex and be interested in learning more. This is not all women and that is okay. There is absolutely no shame in being a woman who is not interested in sex, doesn’t like it, or doesn’t want to explore. Sometimes there are medical reasons for this (hypothyroidism, low estrogen, low testosterone, a lot of medications have lowered libido as a side-effect), partner-related reasons for this (maybe he doesn’t do it for you anymore, or maybe he puts too much pressure on you- totally get why sex would not be fun!), and/or personal reasons for this (kids are small, work is heavy, the apartment has thin walls). And sometimes a woman just says, “Hey, this is my life, and that’s not what’s important to me.” All of these things are perfectly fine. But if a woman isn’t interested, being a sex goddess is probably not going to happen for her. And that’s totally okay.

There are other essential items for a woman to grow into a sex goddess. She has to have a supportive, communicative, kind, respectful partner who is also willing to explore himself, his desires, his emotional and sexual landscape (or hers, or theirs, depending on who is in the bedroom!). She has to have a safe place to explore (personally, I need to have a warm room) and a safe place to talk about things later- maybe days or weeks later. Emotional processing is definitely a foundational aspect of growing into a sex goddess. And there has to be room for the dance of growth- going a few steps forward, taking a step back sometimes, but continuing with trust, respect, and communication.

One last thing I want to say is that while I am definitely a sex goddess in the bedroom, I’m not all that outwardly sexual. Like, I don’t wear revealing clothes on the regular- I do wear things that make me feel great (like a 26 year-old sweater). I think that when a woman is turned on in her outer life as well as her sexual life there is something different about her energy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to translate into wearing sexy clothes or high heels or whatever is prescribed for ‘sexy’ women in our society. I don’t need to express it outwardly to feel happy or to be connected to my sexuality (or, another way to look at it is: my sweater is sexy to me, so you’ll have to dig that vibe if you want into my bed).

That’s what I know, my friends. I know the path that has lead me to being a sex goddess has been one of growth- it’s had beautiful moments and difficult moments. But it has been utterly worth it. I really love myself at a new level than I did a year ago (or ten years ago!) and I’m so grateful for this imperfect body and all the pleasure it gives me.

Get out there today and enjoy your body, fellow travelers. It’s a gift to be alive.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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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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