The Refinement of Desire

At first, you will think it is only because of him, this fire.

His beauty.
His exoticness.
His differences from all that seems mundane to you.

But that will only last for a split second.
Because you know, after all the years of work:

What we want in another has nothing to do with them.

What I want in another is only about what I feel I am missing in myself.

And so, you will begin to refine your desire.

It is not the wide, gorgeous sexual, physical fantasies you have.
No, desire is made of other things.
Other things you want. Other things you need.

It is being seen.
You wanted to be seen.
You wanted him to see you.

And so you begin to let yourself be seen.

By the grocery clerk; a little ‘hello’ with your eyes.
By the librarian; an honest smile.
By your dearest friends; your full laughter.
By your partner; this body, this way.

And finally, finally, you feel seen.
You feel welcome in your own eyes.
That space is full.

But then, desire.

You refine again.
This time for freedom.

Freedom to do what you want, when you want.
Freedom to call the shots in bed. Or the freedom not to.
Freedom to dance.
Freedom to choose.

And the place that needed freedom is free.
Full with freedom.

You will refine desire again and again.
For joy.
For touch. (Yes, especially for touch.)
For sexiness.
For connection.
For beauty.

And life gets better. Full. Different.

But then, desire.

And this time you know better.
You will not take the composite pieces; you want it all.

You will seek Life as your Lover.
This is a fulfillment that no human could ever compete with.
It’s so much better than him.

And you begin this dance with Life.
It does love you.
It presses you up against a wall and makes you tremble with pleasure.
It caresses you gently and whispers beautiful dreams and experiences in your ear.
It angers you. Passion.
You learn how to open to Life. To be touched by Life.
And Life touches you every where. Everywhere.


woman on a bed contemplating desire


You take up the Sacred Call of sensuality.
An ancient sisterhood only few have been called to in this era.
And it is the most alive you have ever felt.
Sexy. Sensual. Gorgeous. Real.

You know your desire is this.

Until, after visiting the watches, he wanders into your shop.
(Why did he visit? You’ll never know; never be able to ask. Boredom? Curiosity?
That lonely place deep inside?)

And there it is. Again.

He sees it, written all over the wall.
All over you.
And he is disgusted. Angered.

And so are you.

Because the truth is painfully clear: refinement does not work.
Refinement will not kill desire.
Refinement will not kill desire.

That’s what you had been hoping for all this time.

Now you know: desire cannot be killed.

It is the first emotion we feel.
Desire is that deep in our blood and bones.
The first cry is for skin.
A hearbeat.

And desire is the last thing we feel.
Just one more breath.
Just one more life.

Desire cannot be killed.

It can only be satisfied.
It can only be left to live.

You are frightened.
And angered.
And so upset that the Sacred Call is this.
You are humbled.
So humbled you do what you should have done long ago.
You know this is the only way out, much as you did not want it.

You give in to desire.

You lay yourself on its altar.
Trembling with hope.
Trembling with desire.
Unsure of the future.
And strikingly sure of what you want. Now.

Your mind opens all the gifts you so desperately wanted.
And they are beautiful.
And time shifts around you, filling in something from long, long ago.
You know the puzzle piece is finally fitting into place.
The perfect desire, just as it was, unrefined.

And finally, desire is satisfied.
She curls at your feet.

She has not asked for anything since.




The Body Prayer of Aphrodite

(or Beyonce, you pick.)

This beautiful video of women pole-dancing has been making its way around social media in my circles.

With good reason.
It is stunning.

The confidence, beauty, and artistry of each dancer- and the piece as a whole- are emotional and honest and gorgeous.

You can see in the comments of the dancers, in their bodies, and in their eyes that this is meaningful to them. It’s not just about being sexy or dancing sexy – it goes deeper. One woman writes as much, that pole dancing feeds her soul.

Some women in my circles have been brave enough to say that they would like to dance like this.

We want to move in gorgeous ways, many of us.

Ways that feel sexy and sensual and solid, all at once.
Ways that express a deeper wholeness of who we are.
Ways that connect us to ourselves.

We want to embody the qualities of Aphrodite – beauty, sex, sensuality, and self-confidence.

We want to pray that prayer and be transformed into another part of who we know we truly are as women.


I am a big believer that the divine creatures of old still show up in our modern world. Pop culture is just another way for the divine to crack through human reality.

(Other musings on this theme include the sacred Sufi teachings of Justin Bieber and the Britney-Christina-P!nk phases of womanhood.)

If there was a woman who personified Aphrodite in our modern age, I would say it is Beyonce. I’m sure this topic has been covered before by people far more intelligent than  I, so I won’t go on too much. But…

Beyonce (and before her, Elizabeth Taylor) personifies all those gorgeous qualities of femininity we associate with Aphrodite: beauty, talent, sex appeal, relational attraction, sensual movement, power, and self-confidence that many of us wish we could bring out more.

I like to imagine that the video of the pole dancers is exactly what it would have looked like in the courtyards of Aphrodite’s temples.

(Can you imagine??? How lush…)

We all want to be goddesses.


The lucky thing is, this video shows us how to be just that.

Dance, my loves.

Dance is the body prayer of Aphrodite.

Do you need a pole? No.
Do you need fancy black clothing? No. (But, if you’ve got it…by all means…)
Do you need a light-filled room? No.

If you want to feel like a luscious goddess, complete with sexiness, sensuality, and va-va-va-voom confidence, you only need music, a few feet of space, and a little teaspoon of permission.

I would also suggest that you be alone.

In order to let yourself be wild and luscious and goddess-y, you need to feel most yourself. Be of yourself. Dance for yourself. You need to find your own way.

To prepare:

What songs bring out the best you?
What music makes you wanna go slow and slink across the floor?
What songs make you feel whole, sexy, confident?
If you had a pole, what music would you use to burn the house down?

Go grab some of that and get your Beyonce on.

Give it a few minutes and your goddess self will show up.
Notice how the goddess wants to move.
Give yourself permission to go there.

Let those arms undulate.
Let those hips swing wide.
Let that butt take up space.
Lift those gorgeous breasts.
Swirl that neck.
Run your hands along your ribs and down your hips.

The goddess within will enliven and delight you.
And she will bring you confidence and joy.
And she will make your eyes shine and your body pulse.

And whatever bit of Aphrodite is in you will come alive.
And you will see your goddess self.




Red. Delicious.

This is another tattoo story.

It explains this beauty.

Snake, tree, and Eve tattoo, full-color about sexual and spiritual opening


Six years ago my libido changed.
It went straight through the roof.

I felt like the stereotypical 18 year-old boy: thinking about sex all the time, wanting as much as I could get.

My poor husband was overwhelmed.

And so was I.

No one ever told me this could happen to a woman. There were no stories in my family, in my schooling, or in my culture about this upswing in desire.

I gave it a name: The Sex Surge.
And I figured out that it was a hormonal shift.
(Google it if you want to know more!)

But I did not know what to do about it or how to make sense of it.

All the stories I had grown up with about women and sex were about chastity, low desire, and dissatisfaction with men.

No one told me we could be lust-filled and lust-driven.
And want to nail anything in pants.

Certainly no one, no story, told me this might be a good thing. That huge desire could make your life better. For me, with no understanding or context, it felt like a burden.




For the next six years I worked with the desire (a desire which sometimes did not include my husband- okay, I had fantasies, deep ones, about Other People). There was lots of shame, guilt, and fear about my body, its desires, my sex, and wanting orgasm.

But then I found resources.


All about women and desire.

Suddenly, I wasn’t a freak.

I found out there were temples in India (5,000 years ago) where women who wanted to learn or share the sexual arts could do that. They sometimes trained young men in sexual pleasure (!!!).

[I could not imagine a more perfect match! Sex Surge ladies with all their wisdom and knowledge paired with hot-to-trot young dudes. How (fucking) brilliant!]

After I started to understand that there was nothing wrong with my sex, my needs, my desires, my body. Once I felt safe that I wasn’t weird…well, then I started exploring.

I found new definitions of orgasm.
I found sacred sex practices that helped me manage my libido and enjoy it.
I explored sensual tools and experiences.
I surrendered to pleasure and desire.
I asked for what I wanted: touch, kissing, sacred moments, wild moments.

I also took apart the stories I had heard about women and desire and began to reconstruct them.

That journey and those stories are what this tattoo is about.

The woman is Lilith, Eve, and the Oracle at Delphi.

Lilith because she was the first wife of Adam; not made from his flesh. She leapt over the walls of Eden and made her own way in the world. She fed her desires. I needed her freedom and self-assurance.

Eve because I wanted to see her story – of eating the apple – for what it was: a woman who hungered to know more. In my story she is friends with the snake, with sex. They do not ‘fall’ into sin – they open into joy.

The Oracle at Delphi because she was an initiator into the Mysteries – an ancient school where women learned sexual and spiritual practices for expanding consciousness. It was said that if you were ‘bitten by the snake’ you could enter the school (‘snake’ being a euphemism for sex). I needed a story where sex was an entrance into the sacred, a story where sex was welcomed instead of condemned.

The tree. Well, I love trees. It is part of the Eve myth, so it was easy to include. It is also about strength and growth- we must have roots in order to fly.

The snake. Mmmm, yes, the snake. The eternal symbol for knowledge and sex. The Sex Surge pushed me to learn more about sex. And learn I did – more than I ever wanted, in some cases. The snake is also the symbol of our dark side. For a long time my sex and desire were my dark side. No longer.




This story was not an easy path. I had to overcome a lot of fear about myself as a sexual person. I had to let go of some repression. I had to ask for what I wanted (even when I didn’t think I could have it – that is some scary shit, okay?). I had to be honest with my husband about my fantasies and desires. There were rough spots.

But I’m better for them. I know more about myself. I know that all of me is sacred.

I have tasted the apple, the red-colored, sex and sensuality of myself.
And it is delicious.

This tattoo is a story about how I have opened into a greater sense of my sexual self, how I have found sacred and holy places in sex, and how desire must be set free.

It is about my growth as a woman and as a sexual being. It is about awakening to the truth that my sex (all of it) is sacred.

And so is yours.




Cataloguing the Cold :: Sensual

It has been snowing for weeks here in New England. Most of us are sick of it. We are impatiently waiting for The Great Thaw.

I do not like the cold (I have circulatory problems), but I am also tired of hating it. I wanted to remember what I like about the cold (because in August, cold is delicious).

The Sensual Catalog of Cold Delights

A cold beer after yard work
The first snow on my face
The spray of apple just behind my teeth as I bite down
Joyfully cold lips of my snow-flinging daughter on my heated cheek
The heavy, black sound of snowstorms at night (knowing we are safe and warm)

The brace of cold as I leave the shower in June
A cool washcloth on my feverish head
The slow slide of drops from the melting icicle
Dropping into the cool lake water
Chocolate chip mint ice cream

winter snowy beach with summer-like sunset by Kristin Statser Emmett

Winter beach, summer sky.   Kristin Statser Emmett. 2015.


A very cold shower in mid-August
The moment between day clothes and pajamas
The shock to my skin when he pulls back the covers (and then blankets me with his body)
His tongue in my mouth, after the whiskey
His determined shoveling, to keep us safe

The soft, white cool of fans rippling air across our bodies
Ocean sand under my feet, playing tag with the waves
The feel of his cold hand under my shirt and how my nipples awaken
Pulling cold water into my mouth as I sweat and run
The one white snowflake on the red wool mitten




That ‘someone.’

I should have posted this before Valentine’s Day- but I just like this idea. So, I’m posting it now. No fucks given.



There is an interesting phenomenon in songs from many different eras and genres: the ‘someone’ song.

This archetypal song describes an anonymous ‘someone’ or ‘somebody’ but with features and qualities so clear, we know the lyricist is describing a very particular person.

It’s a genre I’m drawn to because of the mystery and the clarity combined.

We’ve all had (or have) a someone, and these songs express both the universality of that wanting state and the uniqueness of their somebody.

We start off with the famous Depeche Mode song, Somebody.

“I want somebody to share,
share the rest of my life
know my innermost thoughts,
and my intimate details…

She will listen to me
when I want to speak
about the world we live in
and life in general.

Though my views may be wrong
they may even be perverted
she’ll hear me out
and won’t easily be converted…”

‘Somebody,’ Depeche Mode

I think we can be quite sure Martin Gore has already met the woman he is describing in this song. Perhaps not, perhaps she does remain imaginary, but this is not just ‘any woman’ he is seeking. She is special.


“Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you, too
Don’t forget me, I beg, I remember you said
Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead..”

‘Someone Like You,’ Adele

Adele is looking for something slightly different- for someone like you. I admire Adele’s honesty, but we know…the generic someone will never equal the particular ‘you.’ You’re it for her. And her heart still bleeds for you, so beautifully.

Bryan Adams may be the most honest of the bunch. He knows what he’s looking for: a connection.

“I need somebody,
somebody like you.
Everybody needs somebody.
Hey, what about you?”

‘Somebody,’ Bryan Adams

He’s not particular about who might help him make that connection- hey, what about you? He’s willing to go through the whole room to find it. I think the ‘who’ actually doesn’t matter to Mr. Adams, which is different. He’s looking for that particular spark- the look in the eyes that makes the difference.

My favorite of this type of song, is, by far, “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. They step into the original trap, too, though: their ‘somebody‘ isn’t just somebody.

“You know that I could use somebody
Someone like you and all you know and how you speak…

Off in the night, while you live it up, I’m off to sleep
Waging wars to shape the poet and the beat
I hope it’s gonna make you notice…
Someone like me…”

– ‘Use Somebody,‘ by Kings of Leon

Perhaps I love this song because it is so clearly about a particular person. Someone the lyricist is obviously in love with and yearning for.And he adds a different wish to his lyrics: I hope you want someone like me.

Unlike Adele’s song, I like to think there is actually a snowballs’ chance the Kings of Leon guy might get his someone. Possibility remains. And that’s both exciting and lovely.

(I so hope it won’t become another link in the Worldwide Network of Unrequited Love.)


I can’t really tell you what attracts me about this species of song. Perhaps it is the veil so clear we can see right through. You speak of mystery, but there is none: we know who you want.

It is the space between the fingertip of the lover and
the skin of the beloved
where there is intensity, but no pressure.

Not yet touching.
A gorgeous, powder keg of a space.
Sensuality, yearning, and possibility.


a finger running along the naked arm of the beloved; not quite touching in love


Yes, that is why I like this type of song.
Possibility, sensuality, and yearning, all rolled into one.

I want you to be that someone. I want to touch you.


Desire has strange ways. The yearning for another has plagued every human since the beginning of time. These songs help us touch that yearning, and stay in contact with that someone. That particular someone.