Pleasure Possibilities Part 3

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Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer, cancer and romance, breast cancer and love, sexuality and intimacy after breast cancer

Continuing with pearls of pleasure, today’s pearl for opening to more pleasure and love involves a late night love adventure. It’s worth missing a few of those 40 winks for this special surprise…

Wake him up. Nudge her from the shelter of sleep. Pull them gently from bed, outside, to where the moon hangs low to the ground. Take them out where the air is cold and crisp, bundled in warm clothing. “Why?” he says, tugging on a sweater and shoes. “What are we doing?” she asks as you pull the door shut behind her.

“To see the sky,” is the answer. Walk to the backyard or get in the car and drive for as long as it takes. Go where there’s not much artificial light. In the night, when it is quiet and so dark, and the stars fill the sky with their endless abundance. And the moonlight casts shadows beneath its light.

This. This is the present moment. To be here, to see this, to share these moments. Look at the stars, too many to count. Warp your arms around your sweetheart and let the enormity of the universe fill you with love, pleasure and possibility. Give the enormity of your love. Abandon sleep and know that the night sky is given as gift and grace to you both.

Let the endlessness of the sky, moon and stars remind you of mystery and miracles. Love is a miracle and it can come at any moment. All we need to do is open to it because it’s all around us and in us all the time. Let the sky help you to remember. Let it help you remember to be in your body and to delight in the experiences of all your senses as you take it all in ~

  • Feel the cold air on your cheeks and eyelids
  • Hear the night sounds ~ the birds, the breeze, perhaps some animals
  • Open your mouth and taste the air and notice how it feels on your lips and tongue
  • See how the world looks in the dark of the night as you stand with your beloved
  • Notice any scents ~ are there pine trees nearby, or a hint of salt in the air by the ocean?
  • If you’re out in the snow, make a snow angel, or a sand angel if you’re at the beach!

What does the love and pleasure feel like on this night? What memories will you keep to remind you of this adventure? How will you keep your heart and spirit open to love and pleasure?

Think of more ways that you can surprise your sweetheart with love adventures, and take the adventures!

© 2014 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.

For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of The Pink Fund, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisers or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for The Pink Fund without compensation.

Presence and Mindfulness

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As you become more internally integrated between you heart, mind, body and sexuality, you will probably also be more present with yourself and with others. To be present is also to be mindful. By that I mean that you are willing to cultivate the practice of taming the ever-scampering thoughts that run through your mind every minute of every day, by focusing on what’s in your immediate experience.

The average person thinks about 60,000 thoughts a day and about 5-10% of those thoughts are conscious. The remaining 90-95 % are the unconscious thought that really run the show. Most people think things are just the way they are and that’s the way life is. They don’t realize that working with presence, mindfulness and thoughts is a key to freedom.

How to take yourself on in this way? A great place is with our senses. Our 5 senses ~ sight, sounds, smell, taste and touch ~ are portals to the present moment. Next time you’re watching a sunset or looking at your lover’s face, really look at it. Make contact with the full essence of your being as if you’ve never seen the sun or those eyes before, and notice what happens in your body. Smell the nape of his neck, her hair and skin, and take in the effect this has on your pleasure and arousal systems. Listen to the sounds of pleasure as you stroke your lover’s face, see how their expression changes and feel their body relax. Taste their tongue and then your tongues mingle with one another, focusing only on that sensation.

Focusing on the pleasure in your body is a mindfulness practice and it’s designed to give you permission to experience your own pleasure. Really tune in as you sense through your body and see if you can also integrate sight, sound, smell and taste along with touch. The key to presence and mindfulness is to not be ruled by those pesky thoughts that want to intrude. You might say aloud or to yourself, “Thank you for sharing. I’m experiencing pleasure in the present moment.” And then consciously bring your attention back to the sensations. What you are seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting or touching brings you into the presence, the eternal now.

Here are a few practices to help you use your senses to be present and mindful:

  • When you eat your next meal, do it in silence. See, smell and Taste each morsel of food as you bring it to your mouth and gently chew it. Don’t chew your thoughts. Savor each swallow before you go on to the next one.
  • Sit quietly with your lover with eyes open and gaze at them. Really see them and put your attention on your senses as you gaze ~ listen to their breathing and yours, smell the unique aroma of them, hold their hand and feel their skin, look into the center of their eye. As you sit with them, take them in ans savor every sensation in each moment.

Share with us what you notice, what you learn and how that feels to you. We can all learn from each other and be present with each other in profound ways.

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of The Pink Fund, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisers or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for The Pink Fund without compensation.

You Are So Beautiful…

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Remember that song Joe Cocker sang, “You are so beautiful to me…”? It’s one of my all-time favorite romantic songs. Some of the other lines are, “You’re everything I hoped for, everything I dreamed…”

The other day this song was playing in my head and I was inspired to stand in front of the mirror and sing it to myself. I belted it out just like Joe Cocker ~ well, not quite ~ as I was looking into my eyes. Something inside melted and a new love connection with me formed.  Since then, every time I look into my eyes those words come to mind. I’m in love with me.

Here’s the really interesting part of this ~ since this happened, lots of friends are asking me things like:

  • Did you get your hair cut?
  • New make-up? You look radiant!
  • What have you been up to lately? You look fabulous!
  • Have you been honeymooning?

My answer is the same to all: I’m in love, with me! It feels so good, and now I’m really getting what it means to know that what we think is what we become.

We started talking about this last week when I invited you to begin to change some of your judgmental thoughts into positive thoughts. Let’s take it a step farther this week…

What is one of your favorite love songs? Maybe it’s “You Are So Beautiful”, maybe it’s something else. Stand in front of the mirror and sing the love song to you. Sing it loud, sing it true, and sing it like you’re a rock star. Look into your eyes as you sing and notice what your heart feels like.  Get beyond any thoughts that you can’t hold a tune, because that’s not what this is about. It’s about you falling in love with you. Sing it as often as you like, at least once a day while looking into your eyes in the mirror. Then sing it in your car as you drive to work. Sing yourself to sleep. Greet yourself in the morning with your love song.

I know, this may sound hokey to you. Try it anyway. There’s a way that music gets into our psyche differently than speaking words. Somehow it gets deeper in and makes a bigger impression.

In my research about the elements of being sexy, self-love and acceptance are high on the list, much higher than physical appearance. Confidence and being comfortable in our own skin are signs of self-love. Why not sing your way to loving you and feeling sexy?

I’d love to know what your love song is and how this experiment goes with you!

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.

For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of The Pink Fund, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisers or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for The Pink Fund without compensation.

Confuaion

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Last week we explored resistance. Sometimes resistance stems from confusion so we’ll examine this now…

Intimacy and sexuality can get confusing when breast cancer comes into the equation. Lots of women say that their intimate and sexual life wasn’t all that great before diagnosis and treatment. Afterwards it can feel like such an ordeal that it’s hardly worth it, or it’s now confusing how to navigate this terrain without a road map.

It’s easy to feel confused about emotions, boundaries, satisfaction, attraction, libido, body function and arousal, to name a few. These can all change dramatically. And the confusion can trigger lots of feelings including anger, judgment, fear and sadness.

A powerful and positive viewpoint for all of this, or whatever you may be feeling, is to see confusion as a doorway to inspire curiosity. It’s possible to expand our definitions, experiences and dreams about intimacy and sexuality if you’re willing to be curious. How so?

Begin by asking yourself some questions. Here’s one way to experiment with this:

  • Make some time for you, maybe a few hours on a weekend or an evening. Make yourself a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine, sit in a comfy chair with your journal, and light a candle or put on some background music. In other words, make this a date with you to be curious about you.
  • As you settle in, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and relax. Call on your compassion and curiosity, and trust that you’ll get just what you need from this time.
  • Ask yourself these questions and write down whatever comes to mind, without editing or judging what you write. Just let it flow.

~  How do I feel about my body? Do I know that I’m beautiful and attractive?

~  What can I do to love and accept my body as it is now? Mirror practices? Buy some pretty lingerie? Have a massage? See a therapist or counselor? Something else?

~ What is attractive about my body? What would my dearest friends say about my body?

~ Am I willing to explore and learn about my body and what brings me pleasure now? How might I do that?

~ Do I understand eroticism and what that means for me? What stimulates feelings of eroticism for me? Reading erotica? Imagining scenes or adventures? Finding and activating my inner          Aphrodite or other goddess archetype?

~ Do I need to learn more about intimacy and sexuality? How can I do that? Books? Support group? Sex educator or therapist? Advice from friends? Talking with my partner?

  • Are there other questions that occur to you as you explore your thoughts, feelings and needs? If so, write them down and write about what comes to you.

After you’ve explored these questions, read what you’ve written. Look through the eyes of curiosity and look for threads or places where you need something. Once you reveal the roots of your confusion you can begin to understand yourself better and open doorways into discovering new ways to experience pleasure, love, intimacy and sexual play.

I’d love to know what you discover and if you have questions about this. Please write so we can be sister explorers in this new land of discovery!

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.

For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of The Pink Fund, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisers or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for The Pink Fund without compensation.

Resistance

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Recently I taught at a local cancer center about Rekindling Desire, Intimacy and Romance After Cancer. Over the course of 12 hours together, we explored many threads that weave into the tapestry of intimacy, romance and desire ~ self-love, acceptance, forgiveness, beliefs and mindset, sexiness, beauty, tenderness, hope, laughter, creativity, physiology and more. Desire and intimacy have so many more nuances than how our body works now that cancer is in the picture. And many of us focus on the mechanics and the outcome, thinking that’s where we need to put our attention.

Part of the reason we do this is because it’s what we know, or at least what we think we know or think we should know. When we peel back a layer or two and really look, we see that we didn’t learn early on what the true nature of intimacy and sexuality can be. Instead, we’ve learned that it’s all about getting turned on, getting our partner turned on (if we have a partner) and then having an orgasm.  Orgasm has somehow become the gold standard in measuring our intimate and sexual life. And many of us feel inadequate when that doesn’t happen; think there’s something wrong with us or our partner; or fall into resignation and judgment. All of this has a huge impact on our self-esteem, sense of attractiveness and desirability, and our libido.

Rather than face this, we come up with all kinds of resistance. It’s not surprising ~ who would want to engage in this risky process? When you pressure yourself to have sex it’s much more difficult to relax and let your body open and respond. And having satisfying sex requires relaxation and opening.

What to do???

For starters, take orgasm off the table, at least for now. Take intercourse off the table, at least for now. Slow down, breathe, and give yourself some slack ~ reduce the pressure to perform. Think about your definition of intimacy and see if you can expand it to include the heart, emotions, spirit and your entire body. Most of us want to feel seen, loved and accepted for who we are, as we are. When we feel these things, it creates intimacy. There are lots of ways to have these experiences that don’t involve intercourse and orgasm.

Here’s a simple exercise to try:

  • Sit facing your partner and hold hands as you look into each other’s eyes and take a few deep breaths to connect and relax.
  • One of you asks your sweetheart, “How can I love you more, Honey?” Be curious and listen to what they say. It may be a word or phrase or a sentence or two. When they finish the thought say, “Thank you.”  Take a breath, look into their eyes and ask again, “How can I love you more, my love?” Again, listen and really receive what they say, as if you were listening through your heart. Your beloved is telling you how they feel loved by you. Pay attention.
  • When you answer the question, say the first thing that pops into your head without editing it. You may be surprised at what comes out of your mouth. Feel what it feels like to be asked and to be fully received as your sweetheart asks and listens to you.
  • After 3 or 4 times of asking the question, switch so that the one who was asking now becomes the one to respond to the question. Follow the same format.
  • You can do this in a few minutes. Jot down a few notes about what was said so you can remember. Then each day, pick something from the list and give it to your sweetheart with as much love and generosity as you can. Ask if they feel loved. Listen to what they say.
  • If you are single, ask yourself how you can love you more, and listen to what you want and need. Then give these things to yourself with as much love and generosity as you can. Take yourself on a date and love you up.

By doing this exercise, you may find that it’s easy to give and receive love in many ways, and that romance begins to shine more brightly.  You may also discover that your resistance to intimacy begins to melt away.

 

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.

For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of The Pink Fund, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisers or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for The Pink Fund without compensation.

Rituals

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Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” says that we create rituals to be a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma. We all need places of ritual safekeeping so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around in every moment or be totally defined by them.

Think of some of the common rituals we have for big events ~ around birth, death, marriage, coming of age and so on. There’s a comfort we find in them and there is often intensity and deep feelings with these rituals. Rituals are a container for our deepest feelings and thoughts ~ it’s like a beautiful chest that holds our psychic burdens and provides spiritual sustenance. And yet, a ritual can become empty of feeling because we’re not paying attention to it or it no longer serves its function.

Relationships are often full of ineffective rituals as we try to dump our daily or long-term stress into, or draw meaningful support from, relationships that just can’t contain the intensity. This is one reason why cancer can put such stress on relationships. We simply can’t continue with the same-old, same-old ways of relating because we and our lives are so changed by cancer.

This can be the opportunity to create new rituals, to add to those daily rituals that do help us to feel safe ~ including meals, exercise, bathing and grooming, connecting on social media. These rhythms and rituals can help us feel less anxious. And we need to add to them to help with the inundation of stimulation we receive on a cellular level when cancer is in our life. When we are this deeply shaken, we can creatively and consciously create rituals as part of our support structure.

Some such rituals might include attending a cancer support group, cultivating a regular spiritual practice, joining a community. We can also create a life ritual that reflects our deeper search for meaning and use it to replenish our spirit and our love relationship.

Like two martial artists who bow to each other in greeting, you and your partner can enhance your intimate and sexual life with rituals. As you contemplate what to create that will support you, here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you invite your partner into intimate time with candles, soft music, or a bath?
  • What would it be like if you both shared from your heart about your intentions for your intimate and sensual/sexual experience?
  • How would it feel to go for a walk in the moonlight, holding hands, breathing in the night air as you contemplate getting into bed for intimacy?
  • What would it be like to have a weekly date for intimacy and sexuality, special sensual time just for the two of you? Or just for you if you are single? What rituals would have you feel adored?

I invite you to think about how you can change routines into rituals, especially in the areas of intimacy, sensuality and sexuality. If you’re willing to share your inspiration and rituals here, please do so.

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.

For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of The Pink Fund, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisers or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for The Pink Fund without compensation.

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