QUEER HERO: 7 WAYS TO HEAL FROM SEXUAL TRAUMA

In the wake of Jupiter’s transit through Scorpio, sexual trauma has been brought to light over and over again. In his latest “Queer Hero” column, survivor and healer Danny Brave shares 7 ways to process the deep pain and move from #Metoo to I AM … Photos by Tal Shpantzer 

Portrait of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

The #MeToo movement exploded onto social media on October 15th 2017, only four days after Scorpio’s transit into Jupiter (the sign of intimacy, sex, secrets, and power). The hashtag was created by Tarana Burke, the black woman whose brilliant activism started the movement all the way back in 2006. Her decade of advocacy reached mainstream awareness when Alyssa Milano tweeted #metoo in response to accusations of sexual assault & misconduct in Hollywood.

Whether or not we wanted to deal with it, molestation, rape, and sexual trauma was being brought to light over and over and over again. Some of us felt ready for this darkness to reveal itself so dramatically and intensely, while others of us felt ill-prepared for all of the undigested emotions and traumas that these women were bringing to the forefront of our consciousness.

With Jupiter still retrograding through Scorpio, and April marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month (S.A.A.M.), I have been reflecting on all that has transpired since the initiation of this powerful planetary movement … 

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Widening the sexual trauma narrative
The stories of who is sexually assaulting who are as varied as the number of people on earth. I know white cis gender men who have been assaulted by cis white women, and I have met men who were molested by their mothers as boys. Sexual violation has been perpetrated by gay men to other gay men, by queer POC to other queer POC, by fathers to girls who come out later in life as non-binary or trans men, by white people to black people and vice versa.

The list of race, gender, sexuality, body type, and age variable narratives continues, as is reflected by the statistics:

– 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime
– Of trans people of color: American Indian (65%), multiracial (59%), Middle Eastern (58%), and Black (53%) have experienced sexual assault
– American Indians are twice as likely to experience rape/sexual assault compared to all races
– 1 in 3 women experience sexual assault
– 1 in 10 men experience sexual assault
– 44% of lesbians experience rape
– 61% bisexual women experience rape
– 26% of gay men experience rape
– 37% of bisexual men experience rape

*Statistics are for the United States only, from the U.S. Trans Survey in 2015RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), and the National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey). 

And the effects are staggering. From persistent and debilitating anxiety and/or depression, to the shutdown of one’s sexuality, and a sense of complete worthlessness and suicidal thinking, the wake of this abuse’s devastation goes on and on.

For the sake of everyone’s healing, we must not confine this widespread epidemic to old stereotypes and the rigidity of the gender binary.

Portrait of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

7 ways to heal your sexual trauma …
To provide some solutions, below is a love letter—a list of tools, rituals and advice that have helped me and my clients reclaim our lives, sexuality, and bodies in the aftermath of sexual trauma …

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1//Make art. Whatever your creative medium, express it! You don’t have to show what you create to anyone at all (unless you want to!), you don’t have to be good at it, and you don’t have to spend much money (writing, for example, costs about $3 for a cheap notebook and pen). The purpose is just to get the energy moving.

Creativity is governed by the sacral chakra, located in the pelvis, genitals, and lower back, and connected to sexual energy. When you are being creative, you are helping to unearth, clear, uplift, and release some of the stagnant or painful energy that got planted there during moments of abuse.

If you are struggling with depression in particular, making art makes you active again. It puts the ball back in your court and helps you remember that life can be beautiful, and that it is okay to feel. Become the transmuter of your own pain through your creativity and I promise you catharsis will be there, and that this will eventually (if not immediately) lead to feeling better.

*Recommended:  The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

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2//Tell someone who makes you feel safe and who you know will believe you. One of my mentors taught me that the lips of the labia and the lips of the mouth have the same nerve endings—they are connected. What this means is that sexual trauma silences us; it makes us somehow incapable of voicing our truth, standing up for ourselves, and asking for our needs (emotional or otherwise) to be met.

Telling our deep dark truths to someone we can trust can be one of the most healing experiences. Here’s a loose structure to get you started:

1 – Contact the person you are going to meet and ask them, in your own words, if they will meet with you in person so that you can vent and get something really difficult off your chest.

2 – Tell them exactly what you need from them afterwards. Is it a quick hug? To be held for a while? To say “I’m sorry that happened to you,” to say “thank you for telling me your story”? It can feel weird to make such a clear and specific requests, but people aren’t mind-readers, and our abuse stories are so intense that we often require a very specific type of support to feel just that: supported.

3 – Tell them your story and provide as many details as possible. I am talking about the date and time, who did it, the location of the abuse on your body, how you felt—the whole thing. If it makes it easier, you can write this out all out in advance. Notice the resistance to doing this and try to push through and speak your truth anyway.

4 – Set up something really lovely to do for yourself afterwards—something that makes you feel comforted, brings you back to the present moment, or brings you joy. Do you love to go see movies? To plant a garden? To paint? To go for a joy drive and blast music? After unleashing your powerful truth, make sure you engage with this activity for as long as it takes to get you back to the present moment.

*Recommended: Vagina by Naomi Wolf

Portrait of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

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3//Realize that what happened to you is NOT your fault. Something that tends to get built into the experience of sexual abuse is that we, on some level, caused or created it.

The mind of a child is more straightforward than the mind of an adult, and it does not understand that bad things that happen are not caused by them. If the abuse is being perpetrated by an adult to a child, the child knows that the parent is the one feeding and clothing them and therefore will do any and all mental gymnastics to repress, imagine, or self-blame the abuse away by taking on and in all of the pain and blame.

If you were an adult when the abuse happened to you, it’s still easy to think: “If I hadn’t been drunk, if I had been wearing something different …” If we are spiritually-inclined, we might even torture ourselves with spirituality and the law of attraction, asking ourselves ridiculous things such as: “Why did I create this experience? Maybe I wasn’t thinking positively enough … I wonder why I attracted this abuse?”

Why do we try to make something as awful as this our fault? The truth is simple: it is easier to blame ourselves and engage in self-hatred then it is to deal with the fact that what happened was not in our control and not our fault whatsoever. Doing this also prevents us from having to deal with the emotional reality of holding someone else accountable for their actions.

Hating ourselves or trying to make ourselves responsible for something we clearly didn’t cause or do is an incredibly effective defense mechanism to either defend the memory of our parents because we want to maintain a relationship with them, and/or to avoid holding the perpetrator fully accountable for the painful emotions associated.

It is because of this that I cannot stress enough: what happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault. What happened to you was not your fault.

It wasn’t.

And coming to terms with this is an all-too-necessary step that needs to happen before forgiveness and letting go (after all, if we don’t hold someone accountable to begin with, then what is there even to forgive?)

*Recommended: Repressed Memories by Renee FredricksonQueering Sexual Violence by Jennifer Patterson; Stacyann Chin’s powerful speech: Not my fault; Diana Oh’s incredible feminist art/activist installation My Lingerie Play (Especially Installation 3/10: “Even If You Found Me Like This”).

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4//Perform a releasing ritual. Ritual is a powerful way that we can find closure and healing for experiences and situations that seem impossible to ever gain closure from. By doing something physical, ritual provides a concrete moment that serves as a bridge for us to walk over and into the next phase of our lives.

Here are a couple of suggestions for releasing rituals that I have found to be incredibly powerful in healing my own sexual trauma:

1 – Write a letterto the person who did it (and don’t send it). I know, it’s intense. The thing is … if you have not done something like this already, it is likely that the thoughts and feelings you would communicate directly to this person are rolling around in your head and your body, anyway, and without an outlet.

What we are looking for here is catharsis and closure. It is not meant to be sent to the person, and that being said, it does not have to be respectful or kind in any way. Get it aaaaalllll out. And then, safely destroy it! Rip it up, or light it on fire. Afterwards, make sure you set yourself up with some really lovely after-care: a relaxing walk alone or with a friend, a gentle movie that makes you feel comforted, etc.

2 – Go somewhere in nature. Preferably a body of water (and especially the ocean). Take a stroll to find either a seashell or rock, and place it in your hand. With the object in your hand, charge it up with all of the feelings and experiences of the abuse, and all of the things that have happened as a result of it.

Take a moment to really feel all of that energy and pain moving through and out of your body and into the shell or rock. Then, THROW IT IN THE OCEAN! Boom: it’s done, it’s over. Give yourself some time to sit and have a leisurely walk or maybe even journal after you release this- again, with everything involving your recovery, taking the time for gentle after-care is important.

*Recommended: She Let Go by Rev. Safire Rose (adjust pronouns accordingly, brave ones!)

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5//Adjust your sexual expression accordingly. While it may not be the case for everyone, it has been my own, and many of my clients’ experiences that sexual abuse tends to create a polarity of subsequent sexual expression: either way too much, or way too little (basically non-existent).

This is not an invitation to judge yourself, rather to become self aware of your sexuality and sexual patterns from a place of unconditional love. Remember, the extremity is not your fault (re-visit bullet point #3 if you’re beating yourself up).

*For my way too much-ers: Take a vow of celibacy for 3 months (it’s ok: you can still masturbate). During this time, when you do masturbate, take a few breaths and ask to connect to God/Spirit/the Universe (whichever term you prefer) through your sexual energy (and prepare to be blown away!!)

Make a list of 10 other ways to feel loved, outside of engaging in sexual activity with another person, and commit to exploring one of them each week during your temporary celibacy.

*For my non-existent/way too little-ers: Make it a non-negotiable commitment to exploring your sexual nature and opening up to sexual experiences on a bi-weekly basis, working up to sharing yourself with a consenting partner, if it feels right.

Also, dance. Yes, DANCE. Take dance classes that bring the energy down into the lower chakras: African dance, hip hop, pole dancing, etc. Get out of your comfort zone!

*Recommended: Why Mother Nature is the Ultimate Goddess of Love by Tirzah Shiya

Photo of Danny by Tal Shpantzer

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6//Invest in healing that is holistic and takes your body into account. We know that the conscious mind governs only 10-20% of the totality of our consciousness. Traditional psychotherapy is typically working with the 10-20% of the conscious mind to try to get to the 80-90% that’s less conscious. Unsurprisingly, I prefer methods that go straight to the 80-90%: reiki, shamanic healing, and meditation. You might also try sound healing, hypnotherapy, tapping, somatic experience, or any other mind-body practice you feel drawn to.

The site that is typically inflicted with a sexual trauma wound for women, trans men, and those assigned-female-at-birth is the vagina, or “yoni.” Mystics and shamans know this place to be the gateway to the universe, and the key to creation of life itself—not only human life as in childbirth, but also the creation of all things, such as personal dreams and manifestations.

In my personal shamanic healing practice, I use a tool called a shamanic extraction, which uses the intelligence of crystals to safely extract pain, fear, and any other energy intrusions that were inflicted on the individual’s yoni during the time of abuse out, followed by the channeling of reiki healing energy into the area. This allows the individual to have agency over their yoni, one of the deepest and most powerful tools for us to create our lives from this place- a place of health, clarity, and integrity.

Another incredibly effective tool I use is shamanic cord cutting, which is a powerful ritual in which we take the cord of energy that is usually still subconsciously or unconsciously connecting the client to their abuser via a vibration of pain, and we release it, and follow up by channeling reiki or healing energy into the area for deep healing.

*Recommended:  My one-on-one healing workMoon Mysteries by Nao Sims & Nikiah Seeds & Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend

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7//Connect with community. The patriarchy thrives off of separation. Pain and darkness prevail when we are in isolation. This is not normal or natural, and we need matriarchy now—a matriarchy that is for all genders, races, body types, and ages.

It is imperative that in your healing journey, you find some sort of community to join where you feel safe enough to be seen. It can be a shamanic community, a monthly women’s circle, AA, a hiking club—there are tons of things to do and join in this world, both in-person and online.

Don’t do this alone. You can’t do it alone. Other people need you and you need them, and that’s okay. My hope is that we start to live in a world where our emotional needs are no longer judged as being “needy.” We all need each other, and we all heal each other. So let’s do that.

*Recommended:  If you’re located in NYC, sign up for my upcoming 6-week transformational community group HERE; also check out the Red Tent MovementMoon Club, and Meetup.com

HOLY F*CK: WHY SHIBARI BONDAGE IS THE ULTIMATE SURRENDER

In search of the deepest act of spiritual surrender, Alexandra Roxo gets bound and discovers boundlessness with the ancient art of Shibari bondage …

Shibari (Japanese Rope Bondage) can be erotic, intimate, loving, sexy, quiet or raucous, meditative, artistic, insightful, transformative—all depending on the people engaged and how they both feel at the moment” – Victoria Blue

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I am always on the hunt to find ways to get free, to go wild, to let loose, and to go deeper into myself. Over the last 15 years, my search to explore the depths of my sexuality and spirituality has taken me everywhere from witch camp in the woods of Oregon, to working as a dancer in a truck stop strip club in New Mexico, to banging a drum at a Rainbow Gathering in West Virginia, to an orgasmic meditation circle where I had my clit stroked by an old Indian man … and SO many other places and practices.  

Drugs. Sex. Spirit. Art. It’s been a lifetime of exploration that started the first time my mom pulled Louise Hay off the bookshelf when I was 7, and the first time I kissed a boy, and girl, at 8 … 

So for an explorer of depths who hasn’t left many stones unturned, I am always seeking something new to try and am always ready with a big fat YES! 

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WOMEN TYING WOMEN 
My next yes fell straight into my lap after my dear friend Kyp Malone (who played the “urban shaman” in my web series “Be Here Nowish,” and whom I consider a Yoda of sorts), took me to a dinner party, introduced me to a woman in the corner named Victoria Blue, and said “You two should talk.”  

It all remained a mystery until months later. I was on the bus back home from 3 days of steeping and soaking in the magical Orr Hot Springs of Northern California and I suddenly thought to myself: I want to be tied up. This was especially random after spending 3 days in a tub reading a book about Jesus’ mystical life. But the words were clear and from my heart.

I’d been tied up by lovers before and engaged in a fair amount of BDSM in sex, but I knew there was something more here that I wanted and I began to investigate the ancient form of Japanese bondage called Shibari. Whereas other types of BDSM include performed dominance or submission, or the giving and receiving of pain as practice, Shibari is a fine art. Comparing a “50 Shades” rope scene with Shibari would be like comparing an IKEA rug with one from a Moroccan souk. 

Interestingly, when I googled “Shibari LA” and the first thing to pop up was a workshop called “Women Tying Women” with none other than Kyp’s friend Victoria as teacher! The next day, the magic continued when I walked into my 5Rhythms class and a cute woman ran up to me, handed me a card, and said  “Come to ‘Women Tying Women!’ My friend Victoria Blue is teaching!“ “She has one private session left. Do you want it?’ 

FULL. BODY. YES! 

Victoria in a state of calm, suspended surrender

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GOING OFF LEASH 
So why did these words spring from my soul and why did I even want to be tied? Perhaps there is some past life witch healing there. But really, I think it’s because I crave deep surrender. And I crave deep catharsis.  And I long to become art as often as possible … 

How many places in your life can you TRULY surrender in? By surrender, I mean LOSE YOUR MIND. Let go of the reins. My friend Andi calls it “going off leash.” When you go “off leash” you slip into an altered state of ecstasy and sometimes agony and the mind goes quiet. Void.

Mind-blowing, expansive sex is a place one can find surrender. Meditation can be. Some good old fashioned tequila and a night of all night dancing with some MDMA licked from a tiny plastic bag in a Brooklyn bathroom worked in my late 20s. Plant medicine ceremonies too. Dance can be ecstatic and deep. But being tied up seemed like a depth of surrender and catharsis that my soul needed now.

Even though I’d been “off leash” many times, I was still nervous before going to see Victoria. Because not only was I going to be tied, I would also be suspended. Not like suspended from school—like suspended from the ceiling off a rope. Yes, this may conjure some morbid images of hanging corpses, but I thought of it like making myself into an ornate chandelier hanging as a centerpiece.

I told Victoria I wanted to be tied in a pose of expansion—heart opening, if possible. She quietly blindfolded me … 

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BOUND & BOUNDLESS 
I closed my eyes and Victoria began to play a German instrumental album that was integral to my sexual awakening in my early 20s. Out of all the music in the world she chose the goth band that the first person who ever tied me up used to play, and whom I had learned some of the most beautiful and fun things about sex at the age of 23. This moment of kismet softened my heart like butter, and as she tied me I felt myself starting to relax after being reminded of the divinity present.  

She bound me tight, hands up and open, back arched up, heart to the sky, one leg extended, and one folded. I let the ropes hold me. They were tight. Not soft and sweet. I began to turn into pliable flesh with no other option but letting go. I was like an infant. Helpless. Paralyzed almost. But the more and more I was tied, the more and more relaxed I felt. Like someone was caring for my soul.  

Then she hoisted me up and I lay back, being held only by this rope around my waist, floating in the air. The whole of my weight resting on one piece of rope. Completely bound. Angelic even. And that’s when the full surrender and deep catharsis began … 

Tears streamed down. Then they broke into deep, deep sobs from some place inside me that I had never met before. And moans of pain mixed with joy. Of release. Of heartache and heartbreak. I hung there. The pain escalated until the discomfort quieted the mind in the most nurturing way. The only thing possible to do was breathe.

I sobbed and breathed until I reached that edge that I have loved to flirt with for so many years. I whispered to her: “I’m at my limit” with tears streaming down my face and my chest. And then, ever so gently, Victoria pulled me down. She stroked my head and told me that I stayed up there a very long time and that I was very strong. As she pulled the ropes off me, my body felt lighter and freer than it had in ages. I felt my consciousness move into every cell. I could breathe into corners where breath hadn’t touched. I felt alive.

Victoria and @sophiashibari

Discover more about Victoria’s private sessions and group classes HERE, and join she and I this October for a two day overnight retreat in Topanga that will bring together Shibari, Shadow Work, Storytelling, and Sexual Healing. If you’re interested in this deep work, add your name HERE and we’ll send out applications and full retreat info in a few weeks. 

HOLY F*CK: HOW HEARTBREAK CAN BE THE MOST POWERFUL MEDICINE

When Love is our teacher heartbreak can be the most powerful medicine, says Alexandra Roxo in her latest Holy F*ck column…

So maybe just maybe some mega shit has been hitting the fan during this Venus Retrograde? Or perhaps it’s minor pieces of shit for you. Little annoying pieces of shit you thought were gone…but are still stinking up the place? Perhaps it’s around romantic love, rejection, partnership. Or perhaps self love, worth, value.

Chances are you’ve been stung. But guess what??! This means your heart is open—that it’s accessible, soft, tender, growing, reshaping, adapting, expanding. THIS IS A GOOD THING. Heartbreak can be the most powerful medicine.

Committing to living with an open heart it is not an easy road. It can mean letting your heart break and break and break, but each time it breaks it swells and becomes bigger and messier and wider and has the capacity to hold more.

This is the way of Love. (Cue Rumi.)

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CRUCIFIED BY LOVE  

Love has always been my personal teacher of choice. When I was 20 and all my friends had gurus, I was secretly writing the words “AHEM PREMA” (I am divine love) on my hand and telling folks, “Love is my guru!” I’ve been obsessed with Love for as long as I can remember. I’ve been in Love MANY times and rejected MANY times more, and still I keep on going for it.

How do I define Love?
Love is that which we were made from and that which we will return to. The primordial ooze in us. The ever present God-Goddess sparkle living in each cell. Which we feel when we”fall” in Love. Really what I believe happens is that this “falling” is us OPENING to the Love that already exists within us. What if you could feel that without an other person? This is what I’m talking about!!

And because I also never quit being curious and doing things that scare me, I signed up for a two-day intensive last week called “The Yoga of Intimacy” with Londin Angel Winters and Justin Patrick Pierce (who also may be the hottest couple on the planet. Major #RelationshipGoals.)

Arriving at a beautiful inn in Topanga I prepared myself to be “crucified by Love.” (My ideal Saturday!) Standing across from a man whose name I didn’t know, who wasn’t “my type,” I let Love show me where I was guarded. And I let it make me feel safe enough to pull down the walls and completely open to said stranger.

I looked into his eyes and cried. I shared my depths. And it felt as powerful as an Ayauasca ceremony. If not more powerful! With eyes open and locked onto someone else’s, instead of eyes closed solo-style like in plant journeys, I couldn’t escape my demons or pain or shut down or dissociate. Justin said it perfectly … “If you think ayahuasca is crazy, try love.”

I could literally NOT form a sentence afterwards. As a writer and wordsmith I was kinda freaked out by the temporary mush in my brain. But I was assured that this meant I had surrendered to the pure-as-hell-delicious Shakti/Divine Feminine energy that resides outside the mind.

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99 HEARTBREAKS & I DON’T WANT TO SOLVE THEM

At the workshop, I also had to go on a practice dinner date with an older doctor from Beverly Hills who talked like I imagine Freud would have sounded. I did NOT wanna get vulnerable with him but I did, and I broke into tears across the dinner table as I revealed to him my deepest desires. He was beyond grateful that I showed him my Heart.

As I cried and told him of all the times I had broken my heart, he said “At the end of your life would you rather have loved and had your heart broken 99 times and on the 100th found someone special, than hidden your heart and not loved at all?” It was true. And all 99 times of heartbreak are heart opening and “special” in my book.

Two days at this intensive rocked me to my core. It was SO terrifying to let go and let Love do its thing. Yet I felt more delicious than I had in ages.

SO HOW CAN YOU WORK WITH LOVE’S MEDICINE? 

When Love becomes a skill and a medicine, you can hang out with a close friend and feel deeply nourished and fed when you leave them, like you just got 10 hugs and a bowl of soup from your Grandma.

Or you and your Lover can be in a constant state of divine communion, and one glance feels like 1,000 gourmet raw chocolates for your soul.

A solo Love practice means at a stop light in the car you can feel the depths of Love swimming through your body and yoni, and you have the power to release a warm honey glow throughout your body that feels like you are cumming. Try walking into a meeting from that place!

Here’s how to start … 

– Love and be loved. Identify the 5 ways you feel most Love(d). I do this with all my clients. Perhaps it’s petting your cat. Or watching your fave film. Meditating. Chanting to Goddess. Get to know the direct path to your Heart, if you don’t already, and start feeling the Love vibes often by using those tools.

– Connect to humans/animals. The internet doesn’t count unless you are one-on-one on Skype with someone. IRL is the best way to go. Make this a priority. It is the remedy against overeating, loneliness, indulging in bad habits, overworking … I’m talking real connection! Even one solid hug and “Good Morning” from a roomie is something.

– Let your heart get naked. This is where you get vulnerable. If you can practice this daily, you’ll either deepen your already existing partnerships or tenderize the nest of your heart to get it ready to let love in. Call a new friend and share something intimate. Write a poem and share it online. Ask someone for help. Practice vulnerability and practice receiving some Love. (Like let the guy at Trader Joe’s help you to your car already!)

– Feel, feel, feel. Sounds obvious, right? But how often do you feel your feelings in the moment? Practice vocalizing your pain. Frustration. Sadness. As you’re experiencing it. Let yourself feel the depths of your yearning/your rage/your sadness/your joy DAILY.

– Daydream. Do a little bit of daydreaming each day. Imagine your lover caressing your neck. Imagine your lover giving you that “I wanna fuck you” look across the room at a crowded party. If this sounds cheesy to you then work on the vulnerability of your heart.

Whether you are in partnership or flying solo, you can play with Love every day. You can become more and more conscious of living in your full beauty and radiance and sexiness the more and more you release the fear of getting hurt. You can just open. The pain becomes part of your practice too and, trust me, you even start to love that! WHAAA?!!! Can it be?!!! Yeeeep.

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Londin & Justin’s next intensive is September 16-17th, and I’ll def be there crying and loving and embodying all the Shakti I can, Goddess willing. You can discover more about them and their work Londinangelwinters.com

HOLY F*CK: RECLAIM YOUR SEXUAL POWER & HELP HEAL THE WORLD

Reclaiming your sexual power and potential is part of the collective awakening happening now. And it’s never too late, says Alexandra RoxoPortraits: Alexandra Herstik

I’ve taken a few months off from really diving into topics of sex, eroticism, and partnership here in my column. Why? I must admit, I’ve been distracted by politics and found myself thinking: “How can I dare talk about sex, as the world is seemingly in dire need of discourse about so many other things?!”

Well, as my passion for sharing about love and sex wandered around my brain like a disenfranchised child with no home, who else but Sigmund Freud swooped in to validate it—and shove it back into the world!

Freud said that sexual repression is the chief psychological problem of humankind, and the root of many crimes, illness, war and woe. As if I need a dead white man to remind me of something I already knew! But I did. Touché Dr Freud, touché.

And his theory reminded me that it’s okay to continue sharing about love, sex and partnerships—even in a time when ICE raids are being done to innocent people, families are being separated and deported, and the whole structure of a country that felt like it was moving towards progress is being threatened.

Because this includes LOVE and SEX.

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THE SEXUAL LANDSCAPE YOU WERE BORN INTO

Let’s take a very brief tour of history. Some say that we once lived in a “partnership” society, where people co-existed in some states of harmony. This shifted into a “dominator” society. Have you seen the movie or read the book “Mists of Avalon?” In the book there is a battle between the “old” religion—a religion honoring nature, The Goddess, the many faces of the Divine—and the “new” religion, a religion honoring ONE man.

Pantheistic to monotheistic. This shift changed everything for humanity. When the Goddess religion/pantheistic religions went out, so did our connection to nature, to ecstatic states, to sex, to the Feminine. By denying sex we denied nature! As Terrence McKenna said in his book Food of the Gods: “The dark night of the soul for planet Earth began.”

The “Wild Woman” (seen as a reflection of nature herself) was then sought to be tamed. We saw the literal possession of women. Burning of witches. Corsets. Chastity belts. Women’s rights being taken away in many many cultures. The polarization of “the virgin” and “the whore.” And this, my dears, is what YOU were born into.

Fair enough, in this country we got it about the LEAST bad—we are able to vote, get an abortion, wear what we want. BUT this also created a dichotomy that can be VERY confusing.

You were told you can speak up and be you. But you must also be sweet and pretty and skinny. You were told it was slutty to enjoy lots of sex. But you were told also “Claim your sexuality!” You were told you could wear what you want. But when you wore it you were treated differently. At least when it was scandalous to show an ankle it was very clear. ANKLE = SLUT. Now the dial is all over the place.

If you were born into any religion that is monotheistic and patriarchal then whether you want to accept it or not, you probs have internalized all kinds of sexual repression with a side of shame, and a dash of guilt on top. (If you somehow escaped all this then…GODDESS BLESS!)

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SO, HOW THE HELL DO WE MOVE BEYOND THIS?

It’s going to take a lot more work. See my piece from last year about “Sexual Healing” for a refresh and jump start.

The biggest thing we can do is keep QUESTIONING. Everything. In sex. Redefining our experiences as our own. Making our own rules. Reclaiming what is our human right.

FOR EXAMPLE. Perhaps by society’s standards it’s not acceptable to sob uncontrollably during sex. HOWEVER, the energy of sex is MAD powerful, and when used to it’s full conscious potential can be a shamanic experience. So, if you are having conscious deep deep sex, and start releasing trauma or shame or guilt from your body you will probably sob. This can cause more shame because we’ve been taught that’s not okay.

My first girlfriend was a shamanic mover of energy and she knew it. The orgasms I had with her moved massive amounts of shame I had internalized growing up in the Christian south, out of my body. She held space for me. Made me feel safe enough to completely release into my body and use the energy of sex for deep healing. Sometimes that meant opening further and further when I thought I couldn’t anymore, but she helped me keep going, much like in a plant medicine ceremony, or even running a marathon. The altered state that one enters during sex can be a place where so much work can take place.

So how do you allow yourself to let go enough to work with the energy of sex, or even love or partnership, for healing and ecstasy?

HOW TO LITERALLY RECLAIM YOUR SEXUAL POWER

Create a conscious container. By container I mean a defined space. Whether you are coming together just for sex or also for a certain amount of time weekly for sexual exploration define the rules, the terms. How long? What do we do if someone wants to scream or cry?

Communication! If you want to have a soul sob with a deep cervical orgasm you have to make sure your partner can “hold” you through it. Instead of saying, “Hey babe. What’s wrong? Don’t cry,” educate them to hold the space for you, and say instead: “I’m here. Let it out. Stay with it. I love you.”

When you release some of the pain in your body that’s hidden deep within your cervix or womb of COURSE there will be tears, shouting, laughing—ALL OF IT! But you will feel so much lighter and freer afterwards if you let those emotions come out and you don’t hold them in. Not worrying about what you may look like or sound like. Instead, being like a raging river, embodying Kali, embodying Venus, the rivers of Oshun, the energy of a storm, the energy of the ocean. She is never ashamed for her moods and needs. She just IS.

If you look at sex as expansion beyond the “get in and get off” vibe we’ve been taught by movies and TV our whole lives, you will see it has massive healing potential to clear through chakras and move blocks—while increasing your radiance and attraction levels in a major way! It’s a super power and that’s why it has been repressed and controlled for so long.

If you think back to how you “learned” sex it was probably mostly through media. Women “sound” like this or that. They make these faces during sex. They lay on the bed in this or that way. What if that was all learned behavior and in order to reclaim your full sexual potential you get to go on the journey of FINDING OUT what your natural sexual state is?

What faces you make. What sounds. Maybe you sing when you cum! Or make low guttural grunts. Maybe you sob uncontrollably for A YEAR as you release shame from your body. Does that mean something is wrong with you? NO. HELL NO. Maybe you find your fantasy and realize you like to be flogged or spanked. Does that mean something is wrong with you? NOPE.

It’s a choice. You make the choice to embody Bridget Jones. Or Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Or Carrie in Sex and the City. Or…Venus emerging from the ocean. Kali emerging from a fire. Persephone diving into the Underworld and coming back renewed. You choose.

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RE-WRITE THE SEX SCRIPT

Here are some practical ways to begin to rewrite some of your sexual programming…

– Be Curious! Read books. Listen to podcasts. Don’t be ashamed if you want to learn about polyamory. Or multiple orgasms. Or whatever the hell you’re into. Nothing is too strange. Nothing is too weird. As you begin to delve, protect your little seed of curiosity before sharing with everyone. You don’t need anyone’s opinions about your desire to learn about 1950’s Occult Sex Parties or prostate massage. It’s your exploration. Keep it sacred.

– Look at your demons. Your shadows. Your shames. Have you engaged in healing around your sexual history? Chances are your first sexual experiences were rather “unconscious,” maybe with alcohol attached and not centered around heart opening and connecting. And if not, well, kudos to you! (Mine were pretty dope with candles and a fountain and fairy lights and soft music and eye gazing even when I was a preteen cause I was #BornThisWay. But then I’ve also had about 100 that were NOT like that at all…) If you feel you have work to do around love and sex then start journaling about your programming, stories, traumas. Engage in conversations. Do the healing work with a coach or in a group.

– Create the space to explore. If you’re in partnership then consciously communicate with your partner about wanting to make the sex more conscious and expansive, and work to bust through some of the cultural norms together. Perhaps this means engaging in some connecting work before sex. Eye gazing. Doing some tantric breath. Giving each other space to hear fantasies without judgement. That means if your lover says “I’m turned on by watching horses fuck” you have to listen and hold space for that and not be like “EW!” immediately. Trust is very important when opening in this way. If you’re solo then start getting in there and doing your own exploration work with your self. Learn your fantasies. What feels good and what doesn’t.

– Be aware of your words. Stories you perpetuate with your words which can cast magical spells. Sometimes I catch myself talking like Samantha from SATC and I stop myself. Some of that languaging and programming is NOT conscious at all. Sure, it’s fun, but it’s creating a reality that I picked up from TV. Not my own heart.

– Question everything. This can be fun! “Do I actually like to wax my puss? Or do I do it cause someone told me to?” Hmm well for me honestly I think it’s the later. “Do I actually like lingerie and Agent Provocateur?” Resounding YES for me on that one! “Where is my sexuality at on the Kinsey scale?”

– Talk to your friends. THIS IS HARD. One time when I brought up the transcendental power of fisting to catapult you into an altered state in a car of women there was RADIO SILENCE. It was awkward. But without discussion things continue to be taboo Unspeakable. Hidden away in dark corners. So moving past that awkward silence with some laughter and humility is enough to open the floodgates. Before you know it someone will be sharing how they once used a cucumber as a dildo and you won’t feel alone.

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If you want to work with a group on this, I’m doing a monthly HOLY F*CK workshop starting on the New Moon of 2.26!  This is a little different than the salon I did last year as this is deeper work, and enough to keep you busy exploring and reprogramming and rewiring your sex energy until the next month’s workshop! Sign up HERE. And as always I do one on one mentorships and coaching sessions which you can book HERE.