How does a couple bring back desire into their relationship, even when hopelessness has begun to set in? As this loving husband and wife learned, they had never been taught the fundamentals of their sensuality, let alone deliberately put attention on it together. Follow their journey in a series of blog posts. Sarah writes about what she learned by taking the online program Winning in the Bedroom and the transformative impact it had on their relationship.
I have always experienced my sexuality strongly. Since childhood, I have been aware of its presence within me. It has always been a wondrous force, something that has inspired art, desire, and beautiful union. At other times, it has also left me feeling yearning, seeking, and unfulfilled. As I go through time, I realize that my sexual nature is very near to my spirit. In fact, it is part of my spirit, an aspect of that intangible but deeply felt part of myself that feels nearest to God.
Three years ago I got pregnant with my daughter Karuna. As my body shifted and changed, so did my desire. It didn’t wane, but the fantasies I had always used to turn myself on no longer fit the body I was living in. How did a woman with a huge belly and a baby girl growing inside of her express her desire and seek fulfillment? Are pregnant women even sexy? What imprint was my desire and self-love making upon the child growing in my body (I decided early on that any imprint my self-love pressed into my baby was good. It came from a feeling of wonder and pleasure within me, so I figured it couldn’t hurt her). I was in new territory, and I had to seek out new fantasies to fit the terrain of my growing body.
After my daughter was born, my desire fluctuated wildly. Some moments I was incredibly turned on by the smallest thing my husband did, like taking my temperature to make sure I was healing up well. Little gestures like this moved my heart powerfully, and I would gasp with feeling and a need to show him love. Other times I felt completely flat and dead around sex.
Eventually my postpartum moods leveled out, and I fell into a relatively consistent state of fatigue, snappishness, and irritability. I felt the exhaustion and demands of new motherhood acutely. The daily grind and interrupted nights of sleep drained me of energy and desire.
I didn’t want sex, and I didn’t feel sexy. I wondered if those feelings would ever return. And I actually made peace with the possibility that they wouldn’t.
Fast forward to my daughter turning two. Her birthday falls in April, and as the flush of spring brought blossoms to trees and a vibrant green to the entire city of Seattle, I felt a deep, familiar yearning rising within me. It was sexual in nature, but it didn’t necessarily seek expression through my body. It was subtle and sacred, and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I’m still not sure. That ethereal life force continues to pulse within me in a way that feels natural and beautiful, and it has called me to this course.
Because my body has shifted back to its pre-pregnancy and nursing state and feels like my own again, my intentions around sex have changed. I have discovered that I need something different now, something more tied to my heart, and not concentrated solely on my body. I need words and kindness and attention to nurture the soil of my sensuality. I have no desire to rush through sex just to please someone else. That feels like a waste of time to me. I also recognize that time is a commodity that I don’t have much of, and I want to use it wisely.
One thing I have discovered over the years is that desire rarely starts at the skin level for me. It is connected to all of my senses, and perhaps most powerfully of all, has its origins in my mind.
When my curiosity is piqued and I feel desired and appreciated, my own desire leaps forth. When time has been taken to prepare a good meal, a bath has been drawn and soaked in, and kindness and interest shown in me, I will likely feel drawn to have sex. However, when sex is initiated after a long day, when both my husband and myself are laying in bed looking at our phones, I feel the opposite of attracted. My mind and body close, because the soil of my desire has not been prepared.
I’m not good at compartmentalizing sex. I recognize that its presence is felt on many levels of my being, and by tending to those many levels, satisfying sex becomes a likelier outcome. When touch is initiated before other loving gestures have been shown, it feels like a violation. My sensuality is a gateway to my sexuality, so nourishing my senses is part of the act of sex.
Inviting my husband to take this course with me was something I was never comfortable doing until now. But a beautiful recklessness has taken hold of me, and I suddenly feel like there is no time to waste.
If sexuality is an expression of spirit (and I experience it that way), then I must nurture it as such. I cannot go through the motions that used to constitute our sex life, but which do not call to me anymore. I cannot dive into a physical experience of sex if my mind and senses are not prepared. I cannot pretend to be turned on when I’m not.
I feel called to explore what it is that nourishes and invites my erotic self out, and put my attention there. That is what this course is for me. For much of my adult life, I gave my body to those who wanted it, and moved in ways that pleased them. I often didn’t know how to bring myself to orgasm with a partner, because it was so different from my own experiences of self-love. So I went along for the ride, sometimes enjoying it, and sometimes not. I’m almost forty now. I want to enjoy it. Time isn’t slowing down for anyone, including me.
It can be uncomfortable to have conversations about how to enliven your sex life.
It can feel dangerous to acknowledge that you are ready to grow and try new things. And it requires faith in a wise and loving universe to let go and engage in a course like this when you don’t know what the outcome may be. But I’m ready. The fear of change is not as great as my desire to live in truth, close to my heart. It reminds me of my favorite Anais Nin quote~ “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to blossom.”
So I am taking the risk to blossom, by inviting my husband into a new territory where we talk about sex, explore different ways of doing things, and find out if we still fit. I believe that we can and will.
The Welcomed Consensus has been clear from the beginning that they are not a ‘fix-it’ organization. They build on the gifts and wisdom you already possess to create bridges between two lovers. My husband and I have a rich foundation to draw from. We have known and loved each other for twenty years. We have developed trust, friendship, and humor in our relationship. As time goes on, we are better and better at communication. We have a beautiful daughter we adore, and a shared vision for a vibrant, happy future. We have much to build on.
I hope that we can use tools from this course to develop new points of connection to one another in relation to our innate eroticism. I hope that we can learn fresh skills for sensual touch that makes sex more enticing and enjoyable to us both. I hope that we can discover deeper aspects of one another that inspire celebration and wonder. And I am grateful to have guides such as Sheri and the Welcomed Consensus to help us along the way.
This blog post gives Sarah’s perspective as a student and sensual researcher while taking the online program with her husband Winning in the Bedroom.
Sarah Trudeau is a passionate writer and yoga instructor with a goal to create more in her life –“I am very enthusiastic about exploring, expanding, and awakening our sexual and sensual power as human beings, and the work I see the Welcomed Consensus DOing seems to fit right in with the path I’m on.”