This year’s Super Bowl halftime show was like no other. Two of the most famous Latinas in the world, J.Lo and Shakira, mesmerized the entire country with 15 minutes of sensual, embodied, powerful movement.
They expressed their talent, erotic energy and precisely orchestrated moves with unwavering confidence. They shook it and owned it while navigating an array of musical genres and got loud on their creatively crafted political messages that were heard around the world.
Now a debate whether this stunning performance was empowering or objectifying is in full force.
A feature in USA Today baited readers with the question: Was it empowering to watch two women of color over 40 performing in a provocative way? Or had we reverted back to a pre-#MeToo moment of objectifying women?
For me, it was gorgeous, and inspiring—and most of all—empowering.
It’s exactly my PleasureMuse approach to embodiment.
Yet many wondered how a woman--a mother no less—could dance on a pole in front of the world?
Pole dancing women have been demonized for years. Yet, as Sheila Kelly, the founder of S Factor pole dancing classes says, “There’s a deep connection between female physiology and vitality that gives women the opportunity to reclaim a core aspect to their nature previously buried in cultural and societal protocols.” This movement is truly about feminine empowerment that allows us to reconnect to our natural curves and who we are as women.
And, as my torn bicep tendon can attest, it’s also challenging and requires real athletic skill and upper body strength. When I took pole dancing classes at S-Factor, I loved every minute of it. I was in awe of the representation of different ages, sizes, ethnicities, and abilities. Even though I’m on a pole dancing sabbatical, I still indulge in sensual, sexy movement daily. And even was inspired to dance - sans pole- at my birthday party to one of my favorite rock songs (pictured below). I truly was able to surrender and let the music move and inspire my body.
Sensual dance fuels me, my creativity, my sense of aliveness, and who I am as a woman.
And I do this kind of movement with my female clients.
Sometimes my clients will say “I could never move like you, Dolly” or “I feel embarrassed to move this way.”
I’ve even had clients tell me “I don’t know if I can do that because I don’t consider myself that type of woman.”
Bingo. This last statement is part of the bigger (slut) shaming sentiment that likely pushed the buttons of the Super Bowl halftime critics.
As a culture, we are getting more and more disconnected from our bodies. And, as a result it could easily not feel safe to even witness what they perceived as an erotically charged J.Lo - Shakira whirlwind.
I get it. Truly.
I deal with it in my office weekly.
The difference is, my clients have come to me because they want to shift their relationship with their bodies. They want to feel more. They want to unwind shame. They recognize it as a habit that’s holding them back from experiencing more of life.
Whenever we explore sensual movement, my clients report an immediate feeling of connection to their bodies that they never felt before. Many don’t even know that their body can move this way until we try it.
Sometimes, their bodies don’t move at all. And that’s okay because they are breaking a habit. They’re releasing their body from a sort of invisible binding that’s made them feel locked or even repressed.
And with more “music tasting,” as my pole dancing teacher says, the music washes over them and begins to awaken their body. With more practice and focused attention, their body gets curious and moves more and more. Making them feel more free, more uninhibited.
These ideas about sensuality and sexual expression cause us to differentiate ourselves and brand each other as a certain kind of a woman. But sensual movement is really just a deep feminine trait, available within us all. Every one of us can access and unleash this powerful part of ourselves.
And when we choose to go there, as Shakira and J. Lo did, it’s not objectification. It’s a reclamation.
A colleague and mentor Pamela Madsen says it perfectly, “Erotically empowered women understand that our sexual energy is a source of power within us. The erotic becomes the energy that powers the most essential parts of a woman's life; and that's when she becomes a force of nature. And you can't control a force of nature.”
Shakira and J. Lo are erotically empowered women who used their music and movement to tell a story.
Unfortunately some people were blinded by their judgement of that “pole" and those writhing Latina hips, that they didn’t see the bigger picture of how Shakira and J.Lo blended their power, their skill set, their musical diversity and their political messages into a cross-cultural representation of what it is to be a woman.
As a Latina myself, I feel personally very grateful and patriotic to live in a country where we can dance and dress how we want. Where we can speak our political mind. Where we can define what kind of woman we want to be. When that seemed to be questioned, I felt a tightening contraction in my body that reminded me of John Lithgow’s character in Footloose as Reverend Shaw Moore who called dancing a sin.
I know not everyone is ready to get their belly-dancing, salsa or pole dancing on. That’s ok.
But don’t disparage those of us who do.
However, when you feel like your body is stiff and locked, you can choose sensual, embodied movement to tap into and experience the power you hold in your body. It’s yours and waiting for you to get loud and claim it.
When you unlock that power (on your own terms) and own it as Shakira and J.Lo did, the possibilities are truly limitless.
Write a love note to yourself .... either from the perspective of your Higher Self or from the self that can see the forest beyond the trees to actually reflect to you all that you are, all that you have accomplished, and that you inspire in others.
It's helpful if you give your note to a friend or family member to mail to you in a few weeks. When you receive it after you have forgotten about it ... it's even more impactful.
I wrote this note to myself at my Back to the Body Retreat last September and received it in December. It was my favorite holiday card! I will start to do it on a regular basis in my journal and when a beautiful card inspires me. Because I'm worth it!
And so are you!
Share with me in my YES to use kind, loving words to ourselves this year. Let's hold ourselves up and shine bright in 2020. ❤️✨❤️
I feel like a stirring volcano rumbling inside with percolating heat firing all cylinders. My engine is warmed up, well-lubricated and ready for a long, meandering Sunday drive with the ability to not just handle fast turns, but to actually enjoy them!
I spent seven days at this incredible sensual retreat for women where I received erotic, nurturing, gratifying touch from male Sexolgical Bodyworkers. And shared tears and laughter during our sisterhood activities that warmed my heart. It was a retreat to indulge, to heal body image, to learn to truly surrender and receive, and to create a loop that keeps feeding itself.
It’s amazing how pleasure begets pleasure. I feel like I’m oozing creativity and sexuality.
Everything seems more meaningful. More beautiful. More sensational. More exciting.
No, I’m not taking any substances… it’s the circulating ménage à trois of my bliss hormones running its course though my blood and invigorating every single one of my cells.
I am choosing to FEEL what needs to be felt—instead of numbing out or altering the natural emotion and expression that’s there.
And what seems to be showing up is BEAUTY. RADIANCE. ACCEPTANCE. EMPOWERMENT.
Tension has evaporated.
I’ve found so many ways to fill myself—but this was NOT always the case. It’s an ongoing journey of search and discovery. We need to find ways to feed, nourish and care for ourselves. We need to continuously fill our cups.
It’s called PLEASURE. It’s called setting an INTENTION. It’s called doing your HOMEWORK. It’s called TAKING ACTION.
What are some ways that you can feed yourself? How can YOU fill yourself up ‘til your cup runneth over?
Until you can do some one-on-one sessions with me or get to a Back to the Body Retreat held all over the world year round, here is something YOU can do right now to take care of yourself and awaken your body - The Pleasure Muse version of the Lotus Lift Meditation.
Click here for step-by-step instructions. It’s the perfect thing to add to YOUR self-care journey.
Once I learned how to do this meditation, I was Lotus Lifting everywhere—in the hot springs, in the cold running river, in a field of sunflowers—even in the Zen Buddhist temple!
Whenever I needed 15 minutes to myself, I snuck away and Lotus Lifted! And, I’m doing it every morning now that I’m settling into our new home!
It’s about creating the pleasure you need to feed yourself, your life and your love. So much is possible when you take time for self-care.
Sit in a comfy cross-legged position on the floor in a private, quiet area. If necessary, sit on a pillow and lean back into a sturdy piece of furniture for more support.
Play meditative or empowering music (optional).
Close your eyes and deepen your breath.
Place your right hand in between your legs, cupping your vulva, just below your pubic bone. Place your left hand over your right hand to create more support and the ability to press in for more or less pressure.
As you press your hands onto your vulva, ROCK your torso back and forth. Adjust the pressure of your hands until you feel your genitals start to awaken, especially your clitoral structure.
Next, alter your position so your feet meet in the center as your legs butterfly out to the side. As you cup your vulva, flap your legs up and down to create a flapping butterfly movement that rocks your body.
The repeated rocking motion will help you sink into a meditative place, deepening your connection with your body. Do this for 60 seconds for up to 10 minutes.
You can also experiment with keeping yours legs and torso still as you move your pelvic floor in small circles while your hands are still placed over your vulva. Move in one direction and then reverse. This can be added to create heightened sensation and/or to move your body to the beat of any music that you might be playing.
If you are inspired to dance or stretch during this routine, please do! Just periodically bring your hands back to your vulva to reconnect with the rocking motion of your torso and/or legs while you indulge in deep, elongated breaths.
This Butterfly Lotus Lift is inspired by the teachings of Pamela Madsen at her Back to the Body Retreat. When we did it at the retreat, it was with a partner, leaning back to back.
I adapted the Lotus Lift Meditation and gave it my Pleasure Muse stamp of approval by adding in my own butterfly spin based on how my body likes to move —incorporating music, movement and optional dance at the end. Listen to your body and adjust the movements as you need.
If I were to poll 100 sexy people—whether dating, in a long-term relationship, playing the field, or awakening to their own vibrant, sexual selves—how many of them would you bet step into a sexual experience seeking … Disconnected Sex? I’ve yet to meet one person who went into a romantic relationship fantasizing about how deliciously disconnected the sex would end up. Yet, I hear about it a LOT! Who hasn’t been there at some point, right?
You know how it goes… sex begins to feel routine, like a means to an end. It isn’t as fun as it used to be. Your partner doesn’t seem so “present” anymore and thoughts are consumed by what needs to get done later that day. Maybe you’ve stopped feeling comfortable in your own skin—or just feeling a bit numbed out.
These are the typical issues that I repeatedly hear from clients, and they speak volumes to the overarching crisis I call DISCONNECTED SEX.
So, what exactly is Disconnected Sex? I define it as a lack of authentic, vulnerable and embodied presence during a sexual experience or the intimate moments leading up to it—most often, heavily fueled by the fear of being fully seen and deeply discovered.
“Whoa, Dolly! You’re placing a pretty tall order in some sensitive terrain, here.” You might be thinking. “I’ve only just met you and you want me to be authentic, vulnerable AND embodied? ... I don’t even share my most intimate thoughts with my lovers!”
Exactly! And therein lies the rub!
When it comes to Sex—despite how prominently placed in advertisements, movies and pop culture—when we’re pressed to speak about it, share our most intimate desires or its relevance in our lives, we seem to shut down. We think, “Oh, that’s private.” So I ask, “Private for whom?” This is where my work has proven to be so successful for individuals and couples.
So, if you’re tired of the insecurity and complacency that’s come from allowing disconnected sex to become the status quo, I have a standing invitation for you! Dig deeper by reflecting on the possibility that you may be keeping your most private thoughts, feelings and sensations not only from your partner, but from yourself as well…..and I am here to help!
Not quite sure if you’re having disconnected sex? Here are just a few of the signs to consider:
Have you ever heard the saying, “Wherever you go, there you are?” It’s the very same with sex, and it’s not going to fix itself. We place so much pressure on our partners (or turn towards drugs or alcohol) to elicit our wild side and help us loosen up. Even my clients with a plethora of partners still feel a yearning, an insatiated craving for something that’s…missing.
No matter how many partners you try, how many positions or locations you try out, connection can begin to deteriorate, because your own inner landscape and erotic nature is covered up with a casual façade that says you’ve got things handled, when in reality, you fear that your vulnerable parts that you’ve carefully covered up or perhaps have yet to discover yourself, will be unraveled, judged and rejected. You might blame the feelings of disconnection on your partner, but it starts within yourself.
Through my work with clients, I have found the path to discovering and preserving true conscious connection is by taking inventory of your INTENTION at the beginning of any erotic situation. Some questions to ask yourself:
It’s only during this intention evaluation and then in your intention setting, that you can begin to shift your paradigm from doing sex to being with it fully (whether in a solo or partnered situation).
Of course we want partners who validate us, who share in our passion for life and connection, BUT ultimately, others reflect what we believe to be true about ourselves. One of my favorite children’s books, Going on A Bear Hunt, says it best, “You can’t go under it, you can’t go around it, you can’t go over it, you have to go through it.” Yes, my friend, it’s time to turn the focus on yourself, to take inventory of how you’re showing up, and evaluate what’s stopping you from relating with yourself on a deeper level.
Becoming aware of INTENTION is step one to unraveling the crisis of disconnected sex. With measured and clear intentions, you can proceed to the next steps that bring hot, ravenous, luscious and satisfied erotic connections.
It’s easy to hide because I could go strong for months on end, and then have a “crash” and need to recoup for a week or two. And lately, I could only go strong for a few weeks before I needed my solitude to rest for as long as it took. I have all sorts of remedies, magic tonics, drawers full of high quality vitamins. I have been to a gazillion doctors, both medical and naturopathic. I have learned from both. But this is only part of the solution.
Why am I sharing this not-so-sexy topic with you? Because your health matters. Your self-esteem matters. The butterflies you feel in your belly matter. If you IGNORE, Sshh, or NUMB out even the most subtle aches and pains or quiet the voices in your head, you are essentially telling your body it doesn’t matter. And whether you realize it, this influences your confidence, decreases your pleasure potential, squeezes the life out of your intimate relationships, and negatively affects your sex drive. Have I got your attention?
On my recent health sabbatical, I got clear that there needs to be balance between body, mind and soul for true health to be present. And the way to access this harmonious trinity is through embodiment. That’s right, Healthcare Begins with Embodiment.
When you read my website, the word “embodiment” gets used a lot. I can’t help it … as a “somatic” practitioner, I’m all about the body! I’ve become an expert at what feels good to my body, what I can eat and how I best digest. I have learned how my body is most comforted, how it likes to moves, and what turns me on. And because I consider myself a student of life, I tend to my mind’s needs for stimulation and inspiration that keep me learning, reading and discovering! As a teacher and practitioner of “boundaries,” it wasn’t until I got quiet and noticed the chain of events that happened time and again that triggered my health crashes , that I realized my “energetic (soul) boundaries” were the weak link. My connection with soul was being left out of my embodiment practice because I was ignoring my inner voice and intuition on countless occasions.
On my quest to balance mind, body and soul, I checked into the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego. My goal was to quiet my mind, rebuild my body with nutrient rich food, and begin a practice of connecting with my soul. I wore a “silent” badge for the week so I could minimize outside influences and not take on anyone else’s stuff. It was symbolic of my new found boundary to put my needs before the needs of others. This was me time. Time to clear the clutter and develop a deeper awareness to better hear my soul needs.
I promise to get into boundaries in a future blog, but the take-away I want you to have right now is the importance of nourishing, loving, and refueling all aspects that make us uniquely human: Mind, Body, and Soul. And the way to do that is to develop a strong practice of embodiment. Not surprisingly, when embodiment is not present, our fuel runs low. When all cylinders aren’t firing, it will most certainly affect the libido. The need to sometimes take a break from sexy time is real and in many cases, it’s what’s needed. But if it becomes acute, it's a sign that there’s a bigger problem that needs your attention.
I’m pleased to say that on the last night of my retreat, I reviewed all that I had discovered, let go of, and created. I felt realigned, but I I had a sense that something was still missing. So I asked my “higher self"... what else needed tending to on my healing journey? And then I got a twinge and a pulse in-between my legs. Yes. You read that correctly. My Soul connected with my Body to encourage me to re-ignite my erotic pilot light. And my Mind knows that when the pelvic floor beckons, we are on the right path!
It was literally the cherry on the sundae , the perfect climax to the end of my week, and a savory sample to what balancing our holy trinity looks, feels, and sounds like.
Don’t wait until your aches, pains, and voices get so loud that your body organizes itself in a way that only a devastating doctor diagnosis will stop you in your tracks. Instead, take two shots of embodiment and begin taking inventory of your mind, body, soul connection. And remember, when you feel a pelvic floor pulse that needs quenching, you are on the right track!
Before you can answer, how do you define malnourishment?
It could be that you are going to sleep feeling hungry. That you don’t know what true nourishment is so you are filling up on empty calories trying to satisfy a craving that just won’t go away. Or could it be that your appetite has diminished, regardless of your physical size, and your body stops feeling, responding, or even caring. You are numbed out.
If that’s the case, how often are you getting fed? Once a day, once a week? Once a month, or every once in awhile? Are you eating alone? Or perhaps secretly binge eating? Maybe you’re giving your portion up to feed someone else’s needs, and you are left feeling empty, literally and figuratively.
I’ve got it … you are saving your calories for a special occasion. For a special dinner and night out on the town. And lo and behold, you arrive dressed to impress to your favorite restaurant and you order the same meal that you had last time. The same meal you have every time. It’s safe. It’s predictable. It’s good. But after awhile, it starts to loose its pizazz. You think about trying something else, but you’d rather tolerate what you know than go into uncharted territory.
Whether you are eating fast food or certified organic, most of us are sexually malnourished in one way or another. And that, my friends, is a sad state of affairs. Even for those of you who feel confident in your sexual conquests and prowess, there are things that you don’t know you don’t know. There are flavors and spices and ways of combining ingredients that turn your ordinary meals into foodgasms!
Don’t get me wrong… I love my comfort food. We are creatures of habit and routines make us feel safe. But if our routines mean we are prioritizing complacency over intimacy, and surviving over living, then I urge, plead and beg you to honestly assess if you are getting what you need in all areas of your life. Specifically: How do your sexual and intimate experiences (or lack thereof) contribute to or take away from a well-nourished life?
My work as a sexual educator and intimacy coach introduces the spices that you didn’t know existed. But before we can set the table to experience a new recipe, we might need to tend the soil, pull out the weeds, remineralize, and create a healthier environment so we can grow what pleases us most.
Discovering what we have the taste for and what our bodies need is an adventure, and it can be fun. I know you have done the best you can with what you’ve been taught or picked up along the way. And if you are still reading this, then I know you are curious. I know you are starting to evaluate if you are saving your calories for a rainy day or considering repositioning your garden to a place where the the radiant Vitamin D sunshine can nourish and grow the seeds you decide to plant. to give you the true nourishment you deserve.
Don’t let yourself starve anymore. Stop eating empty calories.
Let the Pleasure Muse be your Vitamin D.
New Moons. New Journeys. New career as a Sex and Relationship Coach & Educator.
If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m always recreating myself based on what’s developmentally appropriate for my stage in life. After high school, I went to Boston University and embellished upon my love for media and cultural identity. This took me to live in New York City for nearly ten years, working in news and then feeling like I wanted to make a bigger contribution to the developing confidence of young Hispanic Americans who grew up like me, acculturated and learning and using a second language to better navigate life. So it was a great honor to become part of the development team for Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer just after completing my master’s degree in Education, helping to develop Dora’s Latina identity and the educational curriculum. After 100 episodes, I moved to LA with my then actor husband. I shifted focus from children’s media to help launch SiTV, an English language multicultural cable network that become a second family to me, producing and developing hundreds of hours of original programming with friends that are still near and dear. Upon entering my current marriage, I never thought I would not become a biological mother. I’m fortunate to call myself a step-mom, but major health issues in my late 30s had me turn to holistic care, taking a break from TV producing, and needing to slow down. I opened a health coaching and colon hydrotherapy spa where I learned a great deal about my nurturing interpersonal skills and ability to hold safe space for people. Jason and I had to face the fact that having a baby was not in our cards. It was a crushing experience? and I had to learn to deal with the disappointment. So me being me, and being in-love with learning and expanding, I said, "Well, if we aren’t going to use sex for procreation, what else can we learn about it that can continue to evolve and heighten our already amazing marriage?" So … for the last few years, I have been studying and embarking upon yet another new journey as Sex and Relationship Educator. I have traveled and studied with the best of the best. Jason has enjoyed the homework and I have thoroughly enjoyed making a difference in people’s lives in such a short time. I have been building a private practice where I help couples, women, and men with intimacy expansion, unblocking challenges, healing past hurts / trauma, and shaking up stagnation. I don’t call it a sexual revolution; I call it a sexual evolution … evolving our comfort zones to get the real sex education none of us truly received or have had too much shame or embarrassment to seek help with, or to admit that we even need help. It was supposed to be something we just knew and/ or modeled based on media presentations, or tolerated based on expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I realize we all have natural abilities …. But what I’ve been working on will move you from fast food to fine dining. From tolerating to tantalizing. From shame to pleasure. From insecurity to exuberant self-expression.
With this new moon and recent Spring equinox … baby … I’m here to tell you about the birds and the bees! There it is … I’m out of the closet ... I’m a Sex and Relationship Coach and Educator, aka The Pleasure Muse, committed that my clients (and my husband) relish in love, intimacy and perpetual fireworks!