When I began coaching women to help them relieve vulvodynia, anxiety, and other pelvic pain it was a pretty radical to be a “pelvic pain relief coach,” and even more radical to include female pleasure in my mind body approach to relieving pelvic pain.
To be honest, I was a little nervous about it, but I decided to trust my gut.
I wasn’t sure encouraging female pleasure would help, and I wasn’t sure if women in pain would be able to or want to focus on pleasure. But pleasure had been a pivotal piece of my own pain relief journey so I decided to trust my intuition and include it.
I dedicated one week of my very first offering of the Healing Female Pain Program, almost 12 years ago, to exploring pleasure of all kinds.
The participants in that program loved the focus on female pleasure. They soaked it up like sponges, and wanted more.
I was blown away!
Not only were women who were suffering with pelvic and sexual pain open to the idea of adding more pleasure into their lives. They were excited about it. It was their favorite part of the course, and it seemed to be making the biggest difference in their lives and healing, by far.
So the next time I taught the Healing Female Pain Program I expanded the pleasure piece to two weeks and added in more about sensual and sexual female pleasure.
And again, the participants loved it. The focus on pleasure was helping them heal their relationship with their body and relieve pain. In fact, by the end of that second course they were asking me to make pleasure a bigger part of the next program.
Their lives were changing, and mine was too right along with them.
At that point I began receiving regular requests to teach a full course on female pleasure and sexuality, along with new coaching clients who wanted to focus solely on pleasure.
What I was discovering, as I was teaching and coaching around female pleasure, was that women (including myself) had been existing in what I can only describe as a “pleasure desert,” and that that was contributing to health issues of all kinds.
Somehow, half of the population had been convinced that pleasure for themselves was bad and selfish. And worse, they had no idea that they were operating from that belief.
Huh? How can that be?
Of course when it came to sensual pleasure, not only were they discovering beliefs that it was bad and selfish, but that it was also deeply shameful.
Something was really wrong with this picture.
How were we, as women, convinced that one of the most beautiful parts of ourselves was wrong?
Of course it doesn’t take too much digging into our not-so-distant past to understand the roots of this — including shame and fear based religious education, fear based sex education, media portrayals of intimacy and women’s bodies, and non-existent education on female sexual pleasure.
Which is probably why it took me a full seven years to actually offer a course on female pleasure and sexuality — even with women regularly checking in and asking me when I would do it.
My first Reclaim Your Sexual Self course filled with two emails.
Which leads me to something else I’ve discovered, which is that focusing on pleasure brings women together in a way nothing else does.
In that first group, women who had been experiencing pain for years began enjoying sex and self-pleasure again, women who were uncomfortable even talking about sex or self pleasure began feeling more at home in their own body and in love with themselves (and their sexual self), and women had orgasms for the first time ever.
And all of this from slowing down, creating a safe space, sharing with each other, and taking baby steps to be present with their body and pleasure.
What I have witnessed over the past 12 years really is magical.
Not only have women been open to the idea of reclaiming pleasure of all kinds, it has been a powerfully healing experience.
I have seen that as women we are desparately in need of spaces where we can share (and celebrate) with each other — about our experiences and challenges in bringing female pleasure back into the center of our lives.
Pleasure is consistently my clients’ favorite part of the pain relief process, and it has quickly become my favorite topic to teach about, not only because it is so effective but also because it is fun.
Where did we get the idea that healing (or anything important) can’t be fun?
If you’re struggling with chronic pain or anxiety, including chronic pelvic or sexual pain, that is sucking the pleasure and joy out of everything you do, you probably know that you need to be nourished by pleasure. You just may not have a clue where to start.
You are not alone.
From what I’ve seen, I believe that this self-imposed female pleasure desert we are living in is contributing to astronomical rates of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain in women.
So when I tell you that pleasure is an essential nutrient you need every day to relieve pain and reclaim your wellbeing, I am not joking around.
In fact, I am 100% confident that nothing can flip the switch on chronic pain or anxiety like beginning to incorporate pleasure into your life.
If you’re thinking that this may not be possible for you because you’re in too much pain, too old, too tired, or too broken… I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
The truth is that you can bring more pleasure into your life, and you can start now one baby step at a time.
You really can’t afford to wait, and here’s why.
When you are only focused on pain or on fixing what’s not working in your body or your life, the pleasure pathways in your brain and nervous system literally begin to atrophy. This makes it continually more difficult to feel pleasure.
The good news is that like pain pathways, pleasure pathways in your brain and nervous system can also be built up with repetition. This problem is reversible.
Pleasure is your golden ticket to healing your body quickly.
The truth is that when we experience pleasure, our body is flooded with health-enhancing chemicals, like nitric oxide, beta-endorphin (a natural painkiller), serotonin, and dopamine.
Pleasure increases blood flow and enhances parasympathetic nervous system tone which relaxes your muscles.
Female pleasure doesn’t have to be sexual, and it doesn’t have to be big.
It can be very simple moments that include things like slowing down and breathing, pleasurable thoughts, movement, touch, taste, sounds or smells.
Just begin making pleasure (any pleasure) a part of your life, wherever you are, in whatever way works for you, right now.
Lie in the sun, take a dance break (even if it’s lying down), read something for the fun of it, or just give yourself some time to revel in rest.
Making time for pleasure will heal your body and change your life.
And you 100% deserve that, despite what anyone else thinks or has taught you to believe.
If you’d like support and community getting started… the 2022 Reclaim Your Sexual Self Program is open for registration now! I would love to have you in the group. Learn more and register!