Its an especially potent time to write about sexual power. In my journey to being a fully embodied woman, this has been a huge piece. Pretty central because it’s led me directly to the work I do that lights me UP so fully. To me, sex is natural and powerful and all around us. The metaphors are all around. From crystals, trees, conch shells, flowers, fruit, soft rolling hills…the sexual nature of the human body is reflected everywhere in sacred geometrical patterns.
My Journey to Sexual Power
I ran into this photo recently at the studio of the photographer I work for. An important part of my embodiment journey has been in front of the camera. As a broke graduate student I began modeling as a side gig. From nude figure drawing to costume photoshoots as you see to the left, I traversed the land of embodying different parts of myself and being witnessed by people who saw the human form and expression as art, sacred, and beautiful. When I first read about nude modeling, I knew that I needed to step into it as a way to help me heal my self-hating patterns around my body image.
It was rough in the beginning. When I first started, I was still in a place of hating on my body and shitting on myself. It was pretty painful to go through a three-hour modeling session with shame, guilt, and hatred of my body going on internally while I was doing my best to offer something to the artists. It was miserable and I decided it had to stop. Over time, this internal pain started to shift to power, playful, pleasure, confidence, and mystery. I should also note that I was doing this modeling work intensively (sometimes 4 times per week) while I was in a deep therapeutic journey with a therapist, doing a lot of focused embodiment practices, and reading everything I could find on healing the womanhood journey.
Shame & Taboo
The reaction I got from people when I shared these parts of myself was wild! Some of what came toward me were intense. That’s the nature of working with the shadow. When we play with anything taboo, we open the door for others’ unfinished business. Society, family, teachers, partners, coaches…whoever. We all get messages that certain parts of ourselves are not welcome, too much, wrong, dirty, blah blah. That begins the shut-down process where we start to put away certain aspects of ourselves from young ages in order to fit in, please others, stay safe, etc. Or we react and embody ONLY this part of ourselves out of rebellion. Fragmentation (where we become a person who has a ton of little boxes around all the parts of ourselves) around sexuality is one of the biggest themes I work with because it is such a shadowy part of this culture (porn, assault, conversion therapy, etc).
Permission To Be A Sexual Being
This is a huge part of the work I do. It’s basic. The most basic things are often the most impactful. By allowing someone to be a full human being, their magic begins to come online in the place of the shut-down. On the embodiment level, sexuality is about pleasure pathways in the body. If we know these networks in ourselves, we can learn to be the master of them. We know when to unleash them, who to share them with, and what our boundaries are.
When I work with people and pleasure or “sexual energy” starts to come online in their body, a lot of things can happen. It is SO common for people to go immediately into shame and thinking they’ve done something wrong. Other emotions that come up are guilt, fear, anger, and rage. Anything that was imprinted early on in the bodily system, anything that hasn’t been released or integrated, will show itself. From the comments we heard about our bodily functions to the way we look to the nature of intimacy and sexual acts. Owning our sexual power means addressing all of these imprints inside of us and allowing our patterns of wholeness, pleasure, connection, and trust in ourselves to show up in their place. It’s a kind of re-wiring and it’s full of repair and healing. Letting them speak to the reality of what’s happening, such as “I feel warm, tingly, and nourished. This is pleasure and it is all mine. It is for me. I like it. This is good for me. I trust myself and I know my body” re-patterns the system.
As we release sexualized shame, guilt, and fear we open to trust, love, and health.
I have to mention boundaries. Sexual and pelvic boundaries are not something the culture teaches. Unfortunately, this culture teaches fear, shame, abuse of power, hyper-sexual behavior, trauma cycles of repeat abuse, and everything in between. The boundaries we have with ourselves and the ones we have with others are paramount to our health. Navigating this terrain is a MUST in my mind if we want to journey toward our fullness because sex is a part of our being. It’s not all that we are, but it is a vital part of our life-force.
** There is a lot of work in the field of sexuality that looks (to me) like it’s lacking boundaries and in my world that is a problem. I’m not going to write a whole article on that here but I have to say: teachers who have sex with their students under the label of “sexual transformation / liberation” when it’s actually a non-consensual or altered-state induced power-play…BARF. No. Absolutely no. This is abuse of power and it’s a problem.
Embodying and playing with archetypes is a powerful exploration. This particular photoshoot above was many years ago, a “Goth Glamour” theme where my shadow was fully welcomed and wanted. The destructive, all-engulfing unapologetic goth bride! She is a bad-ass. Curious about archetypes? These inquiries can be re-visited over and over as your life & body changes:
– learn about the archetypes. Archetypal energy is something that is universal, that has certain qualities and properties that can be found all over the world (example that everyone loves: the all-devouring, destructive Goddess Kali, who embodies pure sexual energy, cycles of creation & death, and the wholeness of the Universal play, she is the one who destroys in order for life to continue)
– there are many femme sexual archetypes (slut, whore, virgin, maiden, wild woman, mother, priestess, Queen, crone, vixen, goddess, siren, seductress, and more)
– find the ones that are home base for you, the energies that you feel are comfortable and natural to you
– find the ones that are a push, edge, or unfamiliar to you. Whether it’s from repulsion, shame, intimidation, or simple lack of knowledge about the energy the archetype represents
– journey inside of yourself with the range of the archetypes. Journal, envision, invite each of these into your being as you are willing
– take responsibility for yourself, your feelings, choices, and behaviors. Taking responsibility for ourselves is part of embodying archetypes (for example, it is not ok for someone to be a chaotic abusive mess to their children and partner and then say “it’s just my Kali energy coming out”)….if we know these parts of ourselves, we can connect with them and heal instead of letting them rule our behavior through acting on every little impulse
Most importantly…have fun! Like what you’ve read? Write to me! Leave your comments here, with love and devotion, Alicia