By Kim Keller
The science is in! We now have quantifiable evidence that women are more confident, creative, and trusting of their own perception when dopamine levels are high, and dopamine levels are directly effected by sexual pleasure, satisfaction and activation. Regardless of whether this satisfaction comes from our own self-loving, or the loving of another, the chemical activation is the same.
In a time when people use drugs to reduce blood pressure, enhance sleep, elevate mood, reduce appetite, relieve pain or increase their feeling of well being, I was excited to learn that all of these things can be accomplished simply by improving our relationship to our most intimate selves…. our vagina. In a wonderful book by Naomi Wolf called Vagina: a New Biography, we follow Naomi as she digs deeply into the latest scientific research on female sexual response, and holds conversations with experts around the world. She tells her own personal story about her challenge with depression and loss of vitality which occurred after a pelvic nerve injury had blocked the vital pathway between her vagina, heart and brain. She found that feminine creativity, intelligence, self-esteem, and overall vitality and zest for life is directly connected to how we relate to our own vagina, and how we cultivate that precious pathway.
As an intimacy coach, I hear from women on a daily basis that many feel disconnected from their vaginas. There are a variety of reasons for this. While some women experience pain and discomfort with their vaginas, others will say they don’t think about it much. I often hear women who are past their years of reproduction say that the “sexy” part of their life is over, and they continue on “just fine without it.” Others are overwhelmed and/or preoccupied with modern life and can’t seem to find the time to tend to their vagina beyond hygiene and health care. And while, externally, this may all be true, internally there is a wealth of vitality and juiciness waiting to be reclaimed. The questions we now need to ask are “How do I heal the split?”, “How do I reclaim my own sexual/sensual nature?”, and “Where do I find more pleasure and vitality in my life?”
These questions aren’t for women only. Aware men who love women are asking similar questions. For example, “How can I, as a man, help my woman realize her fullest sexual expression and fulfillment, which I now know is necessary for her to be truly happy?” Vagina certainly has something to say about that too. There is a chapter dedicated to how men can utilize this information on female sexual response to improve both their partners life and their relationship. One simple discovery is “when a woman’s dopamine system is optimally activated, as it in in the anticipation of great sex, an effect heightened by her knowing what turns her on, letting herself think about it, and go get it—it strengthens her sense of focus and motivation levels and energizes her in setting goals.”
Exploring new ideas in lovemaking and intimacy, reading books together, attending intimacy workshops, and opening your heart to give and receive love are all ways to activate our bodies pleasure chemicals. Remember, relationship-care is as important as self-care.
Love Revolution has a host of books on the topic. My lover and I especially enjoyed reading aloud to each other, in our most erotic voices, She Comes First by Ian Kerner. Next on our list is to re-read, together, Tantric Quest (link) by Daniel Odier.
Mostly, stay curious, keep a beginners mind, offer and receive more non-sexual touch, schedule a therapeutic or sensual massage, and remember to appreciate and acknowledge yourself and/or your partner with grand regularity. One of my very favorite practices is to set aside a morning a week to wake slowly and gently with lots of touch, whispers and appreciation (partnered or NOT). And, above all else, honor your own sensual/sexual being by claiming your birthright to pleasure, joy and love.
Creator and Facilitator of Tending the Temple – Sacred Care of Yoni
A weekend workshop for women, May 25-27, 2018