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4 questions to help you create a soulful, intimate sex life

Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about helping people (especially women) connect to their sensuality, open-heartedly express their sexuality and experience the soulful intimacy that comes from embracing all of who we are.  

I believe that sexual intimacy can be a key that transforms our relationships and our whole lives if we embrace it consciously and with love.

That’s not to say that everyone’s sex life should look or be a particular way.  We all have different wants and desires around intimacy.

Unfortunately, our sex-phobic society and the rigid gender roles laid out for us by society constrict both men and women when it comes to sex.

As women, we’re not often encouraged to explore what really lights our fire.  We’re not encouraged to voice or even explore what we really want as society gives all kinds of labels to women who enjoy or have sex too much.

In my experience, we’re often focussed on what turns our partner on or we’re measuring ourselves against an idealised fantasy of what we think other people’s sex lives are like.  Or maybe we’re still acting out the unconscious beliefs passed on to us from society around what women want when it comes to sex.

Men are also constricted by the expectation that they should know everything about pleasing a partner, always be in control in bed and be ready for sexual encounters at any moment.

The more I hear people share about their sex lives, the more I realise that we are all different.  There are common threads of course, but there really is no ‘ideal’ and no ‘normal’.  There is no ideal number of times you should be intimate each week.  There is no position or act you should be aiming for.

In some ways, my sex life has become less adventurous over the years that I’ve been studying sexology and sexuality.  My wants around excitement and intimacy have changed as I’ve given myself more permission to be vulnerable and to embrace the soulful intimacy that really fills me up.  For many people I’ve worked with though, their experience has been the opposite.

It’s really about finding what works for you (and your partner if you’re in a relationship).

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When I suggest to couples that they talk about what it is they both want and like in regard to sex, I’m often met with resistance.  Everything from ‘that sounds a little boring’ to ‘doesn’t that kind of take away the passion and mystery?’ to ‘I could never talk to my partner about that’.

Actually, talking about what you want has the potential to bring passion and soulful intimacy to your sex life.

You may not always align in your wants and desires, but there is an incredible intimacy that comes from talking about what you want and deep closeness that comes from being sensitive to each others needs.  It can also lead to exciting possibilities that you may have thought wouldn’t interest your partner.

Even asking yourself just one of these questions can be powerful and transformative.

These are not questions to be asked once.  They’re questions to come back to, to talk about and explore on your own and with your partner.  Expect that what you want will change over time and give yourself permission to want what you want.

The questions below are essentially what I work through with individuals and couples in the course of therapy.  Helping a client to work out what they want, staying focussed on the motivational factors and working through blocks using practical steps. 


What do I want in regard to sex?

This alone is an incredibly powerful question, especially if you (like most of us) feel a little shy about sex, or if you’re been focussing on meeting your partner’s sexual needs.  Think about what you want it to look like, what you want included and how you want intimacy to feel.

What is motivating me?

It’s helpful to be clear on what’s driving us – find your ‘why’ in regard to sex and intimacy.  If we’re doing something to please our partner, it can lead to resentment.  Focus on the positive benefits that you want to receive, what are your positive emotional drivers?

What is holding me back (fears)?

If you’re really honest, what are the beliefs and emotions that are getting in the way?  Pay particular attention to your fears as they are often there under the surface.  Talking about these, or even writing them down can help them begin to shift, as once they’re brought into awareness, they’re no longer the boogey-man under the bed and you can take practical steps to move even further through them.

What can I do to get there?

What action could you take that would help you create the soulful intimate sex life you want?  It may be booking a weekend away, buying some new toys, educating yourself, or getting some support.  There are so many good resources available on sex at the moment.  A little bit of education can be transformative, a sex therapist can give you personalised support and advice and a tantra class can open up a whole new world.

Enjoy gorgeous, you deserve to have a sex life (and a life) that is satisfying, soulful and intimate.

Without blame, Love appears

I’ve been facing a tough lesson lately.  Goodness me, there are many times when I’ve wished I didn’t have to face this.  It’s really changed the way I see myself and my partner.

Actually, it’s changing my whole relationship.  

I wanted to share it with you, though in some ways, it’s still a struggle for me to put it into words.

It’s about my defensiveness.  And the blame I’ve been placing on my partner.

I haven’t been quite fair on him.

I’ve been unfairly blaming him for how I feel.

 

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It’s really normal in relationships that we impact each other, that because we care so deeply about each other, we trigger deep emotions and patterns.  Often, it feels like we unconsciously choose partners who press our buttons perfectly.

Have you noticed that your partner seems to press your buttons perfectly too?

Really, it’s one of the great gifts of a deep relationship – that we show each other where we still have things to work on, emotions to move through, space to grow.  

Of course, it doesn’t always feel like a gift at the time.

It can feel incredible uncomfortable.  Horrible actually.

I can tell you, that when my deep buttons have been pushed, I’ve blamed my partner.  In that blame I’ve reacted defensively, withdrawn or with anger.

But here’s the thing…

If I didn’t have those buttons, he wouldn’t be able to push them.

If I felt fully clear in myself, if I deeply recognised the Love that is my true nature, I wouldn’t blame him for ‘making me feel’ like I’m not okay in some ways.  I wouldn’t become defensive for him pointing things out. In fact, I would be grateful that he’s letting me know how my behaviour or words impact him.

Even when he is being a bit of an idiot (which to be fair, is rarely and much less often that I have previously believed) instead of taking it as a personal attack on me, I would see that actually, it’s coming from a wounding within him.  A place that needs my love and compassion rather than my anger.  I wouldn’t take it personally, I wouldn’t become defensive.

Admittedly, I have been.  And probably still will at times.

Deeper and deeper I’m recognising that there’s a freedom and power in taking full responsibility for my emotional triggers.

When I take full responsibility and let go of blame, Love appears.

When we really see a pattern in ourselves or fully open to an emotion, it can move through us.  It doesn’t get stuck.  It doesn’t then play itself out in unconscious and often messy ways.

I’m learning, more deeply than I ever have before, to look inside myself when an emotion is triggered.  To notice what’s under it, to recognise the core emotion or belief that drives it.  To open to it, feel it and accept it, so that I can feel the Love that is underneath.  Then I can respond to my partner with Love also, rather than blame, defensiveness or anger.

Of course this doesn’t mean that we tolerate anything in a relationship.  It also doesn’t mean that we can’t still tell our partner how they are impacting us, or that we can’t leave a relationship when it just isn’t right for us.  From a place of taking full responsibility, we can make clear, strong choices.  Choices that are full of love and compassion, choices that help us both to grow.

Where in your relationship could you be taking more responsibility?

The sexiest thing a woman can do in the bedroom

This probably isn’t what you think.

I don’t have a complicated technique for you.

You don’t need to be able to touch your knee to your ear.

You don’t even need to be able to touch your toes.

It’s actually incredibly simple.  

Relationship tips for being sexy in bed

Your partner wants to see you enjoy yourself.

Seeing you feel pleasure in an incredible turn on for your partner.  Probably the biggest turn on.

Because pleasure is sexy.

Our partners want to please us.  They desperately want to please us.  It turns them on.  It makes them feel good.  When we’re both feeling pleasure, we feel connected.

What brings us pleasure can change day to day.  It can change moment to moment actually.

Our partners are not always mind readers, nor should they be expected to be.  We often put pressure on our partners to know what we like and what we need.  But it’s not all up to our partner.

We have a responsibility for our own pleasure too.

When we’re listening to our body, what will bring us pleasure is loud and clear.  Our body always knows what it wants and will always move towards pleasure.

We just have to practice listening.  

And being able to communicate what we’re hearing from our body is hot.

Like really hot.

The sexiest thing you can do in the bedroom is tell your partner what you want, to ask for what would bring you pleasure.

It’s vulnerable. It’s intimate.

It shows confidence. It shows trust.

It gives your partner the opportunity to really please you.  And it takes the pressure off them.

So take time to learn what you like.

Learn to listen to your body.

Explore your own body, experiment with different kinds of touch, explore all the different parts of you.  Our bodies are full of hidden pleasure spots, we just have to know how to find them.

Maybe even go to a women’s sensuality class to discover what the possibilities are.

Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself.

Give yourself permission to feel.

Your pleasure is a gift to your partner.

Your pleasure is actually a gift to the whole world.

And for the record – asking you partner how you can most please them right now is pretty damn sexy too.

Helping women discover their sensual pleasure and share their divine feminine energy is something I am incredibly passionate about, which is why right now I’m offering Soulful Bedroom Goddess Workshops in Sydney and Brisbane.  

If you’re in Sydney or Brisbane, I would love you to join us for a night of fun, learning, laughter and discovery. In a safe, supportive and fully clothed workshop, we’ll explore Tantra, the divine feminine, sensuality and pleasure for the modern woman.

Get the full details for Sydney Soulful Bedroom Goddess here.
Get the full details for Brisbane Soulful Bedroom Goddess here.

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Sex Ed we all SHOULD have been taught but weren’t

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The Sex Ed. I got at school was really pretty inadequate.

I’ve come to conclude that the sex education most of us got was pretty inadequate really.

From school I learned that the best way to avoid STIs and pregnancy was abstinence.  It’s true, but actually that didn’t teach me a whole lot about sex – except not to have it!

Most of the useful stuff I learned came from Dolly magazine and my friend Clare’s older sister.

We all understand how the mechanics of how everything works – but sex is more than a mechanical experience.  At least it has the potential to be.

Sex has the potential to be enjoyable, pleasurable, sensual, intimate, loving and spiritual.

When I discovered Tantra Yoga, I suddenly realised there was a lot more to sex than I’d been told.
In my early work as a sex surrogate, I saw how important sex could be to our overall happiness, well-being and our relationships, so I spent years studying it (like at actual university) – and there’s still something new I learn each day.

I’ve found in working with couples to help them experience deeper intimacy, bring more fun and passion to the bedroom and overcome any bedroom challenges, that a bit of ‘real sex education’ goes a long way.

So here’s the sex education we all SHOULD have been taught, but probably weren’t.

 

Your PLEASURE is important

Really, I don’t think anyone told me that my pleasure was important.

I knew that sex was supposed to feel good, but no one ever told me what to do when it didn’t.

When I learned to follow my own pleasure and discovered Tantric techniques that really helped expand my pleasure, my whole world changed.  My relationships took on a whole new depth and I felt more open and confident in myself.

In our society, we often feel guilt for feeling pleasure in bed, but giving ourselves permission to experience pleasure can change our whole life for the better.

Consent – you can say no at anytime

I was told that I could say no, but I was never told how guilty I would feel at times because I didn’t want to share myself with someone.

No one told me that I would sometimes reach a point in being intimate with someone that I would feel like I couldn’t say no, or that I’d worry that I was hurting someone’s feelings because I wasn’t in the mood that day.

Saying ‘yes’ when we are feeling ‘no’ can lead to resentment in the relationship, lower self confidence and diminish the intimacy and beauty of sex with your partner.  Being willing to say ‘no’ when you mean ‘no’, and saying ‘yes’ when you mean ‘yes’ will enhance your intimacy and enjoyment over the long term.

Women enjoy sex too

There’s a huge myth out there that men are more sexual than women.

It began years ago – before we realised that women had a clitoris and we were still treating women for ‘hysteria,’ and continued through the the 60s when women’s pleasure was seen as less important than men’s.

It’s just not true.

Sex and the City and 50 Shades of Grey have thankfully reflected changing attitudes in western culture, showing that women enjoy sex too. Thank you Samantha!

Foreplay should last for at least 15 minutes

Yes – at least 15 minutes.

Foreplay is vital to a woman’s enjoyment of sex.  Inadequate time spent in foreplay is the biggest contributing factor to women not reaching orgasm and can lead to women feeling pain during sex.

There’s so many exciting possibilities here!

I promise you’ll enjoy it.

We can enjoy sex as we age

Another huge myth:  Our sex drives wane as we age, especially for women.

Our sex drives change (due to hormonal changes amongst other things) when we have children and when we’re in a long term relationship, but healthy happy sex lives (and drives) can and are often enjoyed into older age.

In long term relationships our sex lives (like our relationships) will change, but they can remain satisfying, intimate and loving well into our 80s and 90s.

Women can have different kinds of orgasms

Yes, really.

It’s not that one is better than the other, it’s just that each has its own unique ‘flavour‘ and offers a different way of feeling pleasure.

With a little understanding of our body and the right techniques, we can learn to experience them all.

Self-pleasure can be a beautiful part of your sex life

Self pleasure is not a substitute for ‘the real thing,’  and it’s not something we should be ashamed of.  It’s normal, natural and enjoyable.

It’s also damn important for getting to know what we enjoy, thus being able to communicate that with a partner, and it can be an incredibly intimate, sexy part of love-making with a partner.

5 Quick & Easy Ways to Take Care of Yourself Today

This week I’ve been supporting an incredible group of women through Week 2 of my online Soulful Bedroom Goddess program.  This module is all about growing the love and compassion we have for ourselves.  It’s so important that I really felt it needed it’s own module in the program.

It’s also something that we can really overlook as women with busy lives – especially heart-centered women out to make a difference in the world.

We can find kindness and gentleness for others, but sometimes the person we most struggle to find it for is the person we’re closest to: ourselves.

Self-love and self-care are vital to our health, happiness, productivity AND our relationships.  

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There is a famous Buddhist saying that says “May all beings be happy and well.”

My Zen teacher told me last week that there came a point in his life where he realised that ‘all beings’ had to include himself as well.

Hearing that struck a chord with me – if I want women to live happier lives, I must make sure I’m doing whatever I can to make sure I’m happy too.  That simply must include taking care of myself.

Taking care of ourselves isn’t a luxury, it’s something we simply must do – for ourselves and those around us.  Here’s why:

  • We can actually give more to those around us when our own cup is full.
  • Our creativity can flow when we give ourselves just a little more space.
  • Seriously, something happens to our nervous system when we’re stressed and anxious.  One – that’s bad for our health.  Two – we’re much more likely to snap at our partners and children when we haven’t been taking care of ourselves.

Here are some quick and easy things to do to take care of yourself right now:


1.   Let go of perfection.

Aim for progress, aim for love – not for perfect.  

Striving for perfection puts unnecessary pressure on us (don’t we have enough already?!) and can stop us seeing the beauty that is already here.

The house doesn’t need to look perfect, dinner doesn’t need to be perfect, whatever you’re working on right now doesn’t need to be perfect.

It’s your love shining through that makes things beautiful, nourishing and valuable – so find that.

2. Give it up to the Universe.

You don’t have to do this on your own.  You are supported in more ways that you realise.

When it’s right, it will be right.  If something is stuck, if you feel overwhelmed, trust that it will happen when the time is right.

Give it up to the Universe.  Everything is happening exactly as it needs to.

3. Don’t listen to your ‘mean girl’.

As the gorgeous Melissa Ambrosini would say.  Really, this means to be kind to yourself.  If you notice that you’re giving yourself a hard time, that your thoughts are judgmental or self-critical – know that you don’t have to follow them, you don’t have to listen.

Take some deep breaths and feel your heart.


4.  Try this Self Love Meditation.

This 10 minute meditation is absolutely worth your time, especially if you can find love and compassion for everyone else and struggle to give it to yourself.

Click here or on the picture below to watch.

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Meditation is so freaking good for you!  AND I promise – for all of you who will tell me that ‘you don’t have the time to meditate’ – meditation will actually give you more time in your day, because you’ll be thinking clearer and be more productive!

Not into sitting still meditation?  Go for a walk, do yoga or put your head phones on and dance!

 

Now tell me in the comments below:

How are you going to take care of yourself today?

6 things I wish I’d known about my body when I was 19

My body and I have certainly been on a journey together these past 31 years.

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From partying through Europe as a backpacker, learning what not to eat in Turkey, discovering Tantra Yoga to surviving a tropical fever while living in the jungle of Costa Rica – we’ve been through a lot.

It didn’t come easily, but I’m grateful for the love and connection I’ve learned to have with my body.

I’m grateful for what I’ve learned about how my body actually functions – my studies of Tantra and modern sexology have certainly had a lot to offer there.

Being ‘in my body’, loving it and understanding it has changed my life.

Changing women’s relationships with their bodies is a now part of my work as a Relationship Therapist and Sexologist. I teach women about their bodies every single day and I’m rewarded by seeing their lives changed for the better too.

This is what I wish I’d know about my body when I was 19:

1.  My body has deeper wisdom than my mind.

My mind and my body aren’t always in agreement, but I’ve learned that my body has wisdom that should be trusted.

‘Gut feeling’ doesn’t quite capture the depth of this wisdom – if I really stop and feel it talks to me in other ways as well. My body tells me things through feelings on my skin, tightness, illness, tiredness, by feeling heavy or feeling light, by feeling open or closed.

This wisdom sometimes doesn’t make sense to my mind, but I’ve learned there’s incredible value in listening to it.

 

2.  It’s never too late to say no.

I wish I’d known, really known when I was 19 that I decide who touches my body, when and where. I wish I’d understood that it’s never too late to say no. Saying no doesn’t make me insensitive or ‘a tease’. I never owe anyone anything when it comes to sharing my body. I don’t need to have a reason that it doesn’t feel right, I don’t need to worry about hurting someone’s feelings. I can just say no.

 

3.  My body is always on my side – always.

Realising this changed how I treated my body forever. I stopped pushing my body in ways that weren’t healthy. I’ve stopped seeing my body as something to use and abuse.

I’ve learned to listen, to pay attention to what my body is telling me through pain and tiredness. If my skin is breaking out, it’s my body telling me that something I’m eating isn’t agreeing with me. If I’m struggling to get out of bed, it’s usually my body telling me that I’m not heading in the right direction.

What can feel like my body holding me back is actually my body telling me something important.

 

4.  Every body is uniquely beautiful.

I spent decades of my life disliking the way my body looked. My journey with Tantra Yoga in my mid twenties finally taught me how to love my body. I felt more confident, I felt happier, I had better relationships.

As I began to love my body, I had this reflected from the outside world too. I realised that it is not how I look, but how I feel about myself that makes me sexy and attractive to others.

 

5.  It’s okay to allow my body pleasure.

Enjoying my body is nothing to be ashamed of.

For many years I held myself back in bed, worried about what someone would think of me if I enjoyed myself ‘too much’. Gratefully, I’ve learned that what my lovers want most if for me to really enjoy myself.

Whether it’s food, sex or laughing out loud, I don’t need to hold myself back. Life is short it’s here to be enjoyed. My body is here to be enjoyed too.

 

6.  My body knows exactly what it wants – I just need to learn to listen.

My body knows what it wants and it will always move towards pleasure if I listen to it. I don’t need to follow a learn special techniques in the bedroom, I just need to learn to listen to my body – and have the courage to follow it.

 

What have you come to appreciate most about your body?

Can a great sex life make you happier?

Obviously as a Relationship Therapist and Sexologist, a lot of my work involves sex (talking about sex – not actually doing it – that would be a whole different job altogether!)

Very often, I get asked ‘but is sex really that important?!’

I certainly know people (including myself) who have gone long periods of time without sex and remain perfectly happy.

I know that some relationships remain happy and strong without sex.

In my own relationship, my partner and I whole heartedly agree that sex isn’t what makes our relationship great – rather it’s our great relationship that makes our love-making so enjoyable, intimate and loving.  

We also agree that our passionate, loving, satisfying sex life nourishes our relationship and our open discussions around sex and desires helps us feel closer and more connected to each other.  

Young couple in love, Attractive man and woman enjoying romantic evening on the beach, Holding hands watching the sunset

 

A recent study has shown that more sex doesn’t necessarily make people happier.

What this study failed to take into account was the enjoyment, comfort and quality of the sex they were having.  Participants were ordered to double the amount of sex they were having.

‘Obligation sex’ is rarely a way to make either party happy.

However, being generous with our partner, feeling connected to them and feeling emotional satisfaction from sex has been shown over and over again to make us happier.

When I was 24, I began working with men experiencing sexual dysfunction.  Seeing the impact that living with sexual dysfunction had on the lives and happiness of these men surprised and astounded me and changed the course of my life forever.  

I saw young men with so much to offer become withdrawn because of their dysfunction.  They lost confidence in other areas of their lives and some had even turned to drugs and alcohol as a way of dealing with their dysfunction.

I realised that the quality and happiness of our sex lives really can effect our whole lives.

And it’s not just with men.  I’ve seen it with my female clients too.

  • I’ve seen how embracing their sexual selves helps women feel more confident out of the bedroom too.  One woman I worked with told me she spoke up more in the board room as she was learning to express her self sexually.
  • Having enjoyable, satisfying intimacy makes their relationships happier – and they can finally let go of the guilt and tension around the frequency of intimacy.
  • Allowing ourselves to experience pleasure in the bedroom spills over into life outside the bedroom too.  As women we’re notorious for not giving to ourselves – when we embrace pleasure, we live with more joy and passion. 
  • And yes, the feel-good chemical cocktail released in the brain when we have sex, just might have something to do with it too!

More sex alone isn’t the answer to more happiness, but discovering soulful sensuality and open-hearted sexual intimacy is life-changing in the best possible way.

Enjoying ourselves, letting go of shame, embracing our femininity and feeling more connected to our partner can be so nourishing and energising.

Sex is deeply vulnerable, it’s an opportunity to open ourselves to a partner, to share ourselves, to give and to really be seen.

Enjoyable, intimate sex can add to the richness of our life, the intimacy and connection of our relationship, help us feel more confident, open, loving – and yes, all of that can make us happier.  

 

If you’re ready for a more enjoyable sex life and deeper intimacy in your relationship, now is the time to take action.

Bedroom Confidence a 30 day online course for women to learn to love sex, be confident, feel pleasure and discover soulful intimacy begins on May 25.

Learn more here.

Why every woman needs to look at her Vulva at least once in her life.

Have you ever looked at your lady parts?

I know this isn’t a question you get asked every day. It’s actually highly likely that you’ve never been asked this question at all.

I’m asking because I asked a client this week. We’re working on her struggles to reach orgasm.

What on earth does looking at your lady garden have to do with reaching orgasm? For some women, nothing. For others, everything.

It’s not just about looking at our vajayjays – it’s about the relationship we have with our most private, womanly parts.

While men get to see their bits regularly, for women, it isn’t so easy – our jade chamber is tucked away – certainly my flexibility doesn’t allow me to see it without the use of a mirror. Many women I’ve spoken to – both as clients as friends – have told me they’ve never seen themselves ‘down there’. And some of them are adamant that they never will.

Increasingly women are seeing their vulvas in pornography, though porn shows us quite a skewed view of women’s genitals – shaved, tucked in and all rather uniform.

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As a result many of us just don’t know what normal is. Many women that I’ve worked with in my practice have felt like there’s something wrong with them – that perhaps they don’t look normal or they smell funny.

The impact of all this cultural shame and secrecy is that this self-consciousness carries itself over into the bedroom. We can feel embarrassed, we can feel uncomfortable with our lover getting up close and personal with our genitals. This discomfort can show up as us not really letting go in the bedroom, not allowing ourselves to fully experience pleasure.

It also means that we might not even really know and understand our own body – and how it can give us pleasure. The vagina truly is a complex work of art, full of moving parts. Seeing how it all fits together, can give us more opportunity for exploration and understanding.

I have truly seen women’s lives changed by looking at their vulvas.

In my work I often use a number of books that celebrate the diversity of women’s genitalia which alone is transformative. Shame of difference, worry about normal falls away when we realise the diversity of normal. Some of my clients have even changed their minds about wanting their genitals surgically altered after seeing honest, real portraits of vulvas.

Home play is where we see the biggest impact though. For many women, seeing their vulvas in full detail for the first time changes their relationship with their body and their sexuality.

Yes, it sometimes brings up uncomfortable feelings, but in seeing those deeply held emotions and beliefs they can be transformed. In my experience the positive benefits far outweigh any discomfort.

It’s no longer a mysterious, far away place.

We can see the beauty.

We can find acceptance.

We can discover appreciation, fondness, even love.

In bringing ourselves to look at our vulva, we can embrace it, let go of shame and learn to fully enjoy it.

Are you ready to peek into your lady garden?
What do you feel when you look at it?  
What’s your reaction?  

 

PS.  Have you heard?  It’s here: Bedroom Confidence: A 30 day online course for women to learn to love sex, feel confidence and pleasure in bed and experience soulful intimacy.

Find out more here.

5 Ways To Work On Your Relationship – Even If Your Partner Isn’t Interested

Even the best relationships can feel like hard work sometimes. They’re rewarding yes, but goodness they can require patience, persistence and skill to stay happy, harmonious and connected.

If we’re lucky, our partner is willing to ride the ups and downs with us, sharing the love and joy and sticking with us through the hurt and frustration. If we’re really lucky, our partner is willing to do as much as we are to make our relationship the best it can be.

But what do you do when it feels like your partner isn’t making an effort?

  • Maybe your partner thinks things are fine just as they are.
  • Maybe your partner isn’t great at talking and keeps ‘putting his head in the sand’ when it comes to challenges.
  • Maybe, you keep agreeing that you need to ‘do something’ but it never seems to happen.

In relationships it’s not unusual for one person to be more interested in looking at the issues that are arising in the relationship, than the other. In my experience, one partner can often feel criticised or judged when all you’re trying to do is get things out into the open and make things better. Although getting help to improve your relationship is common and beneficial, some people can feel uncomfortable or like something is wrong with them for seeking help.

Even if it seems like your partner isn’t making the same effort you are, you still have the opportunity – and the power – to make your relationship happier, more connected and loving.

Great relationships start with ourselves.

Your actions, your love, your effort can make a big difference to your relationship – even if it feels like your partner isn’t as open to ‘working on things’ are you are.

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Here’s what you can do to make your relationship more connected and loving:

1. Take responsibility for your own emotions

It’s easy to blame our partner for making us feel certain negative emotions, but the truth is our emotions are our responsibility.

We can’t blame someone else for how we feel.

Yes, someone else can do or say something that triggers these emotions to come out, but we feel emotions because of thoughts or beliefs that are inside of us.

When we are willing to fully feel, embody and accept the emotions within us, the entire situation in which they arose can lose its ‘charge’. For example, I realise that sometimes underneath my feeling anger towards my partner is a feeling of not being good enough. If I didn’t have a deep belief of not being good enough – I wouldn’t have anger triggered in me. When I can see and accept that, I stop being angry towards him.

Taking responsibility means you can allow yourself to be vulnerable and no longer blame your partner for what you are feeling. In taking responsibility for your emotions, you’re less likely to react and more likely to act in a way that builds a harmonious connection between you.

2. Refuse to continue the cycles

Couples in therapy often tell me they often have the same arguments over and over again. This is because they are stuck in a habitual cycle.

Our behaviour triggers a reaction in our partner which in turn triggers a reaction in us – and vice-versa. When we’re not conscious of what’s going on, we continue to repeat these cycles.

Recognising these patterns and changing your behaviour breaks the cycle. When you choose to act differently, you give your partner an opportunity to react differently also.

Even simply stopping in a moment of emotion, be it anger, sadness or hurt, can open up a space for both you and your partner where mutual understanding can arise naturally.

3. Consider what might be going on for your partner

A person’s behaviour always makes sense when we understand more about what is going on under the surface for them. When we consider what may be happening for someone else, we’re more able to treat them compassionately.

Take some time to consider what might be going on for your partner. Consider their childhood and how their early emotional development may affect how they manage situations now. Consider if they have something going on at work, or with their family that may be causing them stress. Consider how they may be interpreting your actions or behaviours.

And have compassion for what might be happening for them that even they may not be aware of.

4. Check your communication

Much of my work as a Relationship Therapist is helping couples understand each other better. The words and tone we use make a big difference to how someone listening to us responds.

Often we think we’re being clear, but our partner may hear something different to what we’re actually saying. Changing the way we say something can make a big difference to how our partner hears us.

Of course if we have emotion behind what we’re saying, it may come out a little less clear than we’d like. Acknowledging and accepting your own emotions before you speak can also help with this. If we say something with underlying anger, blame or defensiveness our partner is unlikely to be very open to listening. But if we have first been willing to see and feel our core emotions, our tone and words will be much easier for our partner to hear.

5. See someone on your own

Evidence shows that seeing a therapist or coach by yourself can make a big difference to your relationship. Here’s why:

  • Therapy gives you support so that you can show up more fully and generously for your partner.
  • It helps you see more clearly and deeply is going on for you and helps you take responsibility for your own emotions
  • Good therapy helps you find better ways of communicating with your partner so that discussions don’t turn into arguments.
  • Good therapy supports you in being independently happy and confident, which can really help your partner too.

Your partner may be more willing to work on your relationship with you (and perhaps even attend therapy) if they can begin to feel that your relationship is becoming more harmonious and loving due to the effort that you’re putting in.

If you think therapy might be beneficial for you or your relationship, you can find out more about what it involves here. And if you’re wondering how to approach your partner about getting help, you’ll really benefit from this blog post.

 

How I Learned to Love My Body

Hey there lovely, I want to share a personal story with you today. I’m going to tell you about some feelings that I have always tended to keep to myself. But I want to share them with you today because I know that many of you will relate, and some of you may even benefit from hearing what I learned on my journey.

You might not know from seeing my pictures, but I have a skin disease called Vitiligo. It leaves big white patches on my skin – all over my arms, legs and body. The gorgeous model Chantelle Brown-Young has it too. See her in the picture?

 

 

But when I was growing up, there was no famous model with the same disease as me, there was no one who looked a little different gracing the cover of magazines or showing up on runways.

I never thought of myself as beautiful.

Back when I was a kid, I was just plain old different. I would get teased for my white patches, or people would stare or be really really curious about it, all of which of course cause me to feel incredibly uncomfortable and ashamed.

I dreaded summer because I would have to show more skin and my ‘regular colouring’ would become tanned making the white patches (caused by lack of pigment in the skin) stand out even more.

I felt like the ugly duckling and wondered how anyone would ever love or be attracted to me.

I tried a whole bunch of things to make vitiligo go away. When they didn’t work, I tried to cover it up with clothing and once disastrously with fake tan. Needless to say, that didn’t work either. I prayed that a successful treatment would soon be found.

I continued to feel uncomfortable about my body into my early 20s.

And then something happened.

I ‘discovered’ Tantra yoga.

Tantra Yoga is a very old and gorgeous form of yoga. Tantra’s core teachings are really about being ‘present’, being ‘in your body’ and using sexual energy for spiritual growth.

One of the by-products of Tantra is that your body becomes incredibly sensitive – and as a result you can feel more pleasure (particularly during sex).

When I discovered Tantra, my relationship with my body really began to change. My body suddenly felt SO good. How could I dislike something that gave me so much pleasure?

I began to appreciate my body. And appreciation led to love.

Another thing that Tantra teaches is absolute acceptance of what is and that everything is created by the Divine. Actually, Tantra doesn’t just teach that everything is created by God, it teaches that everything is God – there is nothing that can exist outside of the Divine whole.

So then, I reasoned, my body had to be a creation of the Divine also.

After practicing Tantra in a park one day, I was drawn to look at the trees. I noticed how different they all are – and yet they were all beautiful to me. I realised the same was true for my body. It was different from others, but was still beautiful.

Not only did I begin to feel love and appreciation for my body, I began to see the beauty in it too.

Then something interesting happened.

Suddenly people wouldn’t ask awkward questions anymore, they would share their appreciation and wonder at something so uniquely beautiful.

As I began to love my body, I had this reflected from the outside world too.

I realised that it is not how I look, but how I feel about myself that makes me sexy and attractive to others.

My skin didn’t change, but the way I felt about it changed. And that changed my experience.

When I hear people now tell me they don’t feel attractive or that they will feel attractive again ‘once they lose 5 or 10 kilos’, I feel sad for them.

To this day I still have big white patches on my skin – I could have spent my whole life feeling unattractive and hating my body. I’m grateful that I found a way to love myself and my body exactly as I am.

I know that my journey to loving my own body allows me to help others love their body too.

It is possible to love your body exactly as it is right now.

It’s possible to feel sexy without changing a thing about how you look.

You can love your body at any size, shape or colour.

You are beautiful. You are a perfect creation of the Divine.