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Send us your sexuality questions at info@loveashland.com. Include your age and gender with your questions, and we will answer them here as wisely as we can. Personal details will be kept private.

Your Sexual Mind, Body & Spirit

How to Overcome Sexual Shame

Feminine Vitality And Creativity Are Directly Linked To A Happy Vagina – It’s True!

Erectile “Dysfunction”

Anorgasmia

 “Premature” Ejaculation

 Painful Intercourse


Your Sexual Mind, Body & Spirit

by Mitchell Walzer, co-owner of Love Revolution

Sex can be defined in many ways beyond the heterosexual model of “insert body part A into body part B”, but in this article I’m broadly referring to erotic physical pleasure thatmay involve a partner(s) and genital contact, but does not have to.

Besides the momentary fun of it, sex is healthy for our mind, body, and even our spiritual connection. Just on the physical standpoint, studies consistently show that sex is good for you in a host of ways: it can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and reduce both pain and stress levels. It can even lower the risk of heart attacks and prostate cancer.

Sex is also good for our state of mind as it helps to regulate hormones, boosts our self-confidence, lowers stress, and acts as a natural antidepressant when it releases endorphins in the brain. This in turn reduces depression and pain.

“Oh God!”

When we choose to experience sex as a path of spiritual awakening, a sublime opening often happens. The world around us disappears and our spiritual essence opens, creating a sacred union with ourselves, our partner, and our higher power. For some people intentional love-making is deeply healing and profoundly transformative.

Sacred sexuality differs from “normal” sex in several ways. With normal sex, there’s usually a goal—a finish line so to speak, which is orgasm. Sacred sex, on the other hand, is more like a meditation as it has no such goal. This alone changes everything. Imagine if you are watching clouds on a spring day, laying on the grass in a peaceful place. Clearly there’s no goal (I’m going to find a bunny and a dolphin in this cloud). The experience itself is the objective. Now imagine you’re with a lover, connecting with a receptive, soft focus. Watch the moments of creation, like the clouds, pass through and between you and your partner.

To get a taste of spiritual sex, try this experiment: The next time you engage in sex, either alone or with another, when you feel your energy (pleasure) building, slow down or stop moving, take several slow, deep breaths and simply feel the energy, allowing it to move throughout your body, then notice how you feel and where the energy wants to go. You have just made first steps into the realm of sacred sexuality.

If you would like support with your process there are many skilled teachers in Ashland that can help you with your next step. Some are listed on our Resources page atLoveAshland.com and you can also check out the many books we carry at Love Revolution.
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PMPortraitHow to Overcome Sexual Shame

by Chris Maxwell Rose

There is an invisible force that affects all of us, in and out of the bedroom. It can disrupt your pleasure, limit your ideas of what is possible and hold you back from pursuing your true desires. This force goes by a deceptively simple name: shame.

Leading shame research Brené Brown makes a distinction between shame and guilt: “Based on my research and the research of other shame researchers, I believe that there is a profound difference between shame and guilt. I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort. I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”

If shame is about the fear of losing your worthiness and social connections, sexual shame is all about being deemed unlovable, unworthy of partnership and being branded abnormal. Sexual shame shows up in many different ways:

  • body shame (I am too fat, too thin, too ugly to be loved)
  • shame about being sexual (good girls don’t want sex, I’ll seem slutty, I’ll seem cheap)
  • shame about specific desires (if I ask for what I really desire my partner will think I’m weird, only perverts do that, it is abnormal)
  • shame about sex being sinful (this desire or action makes me bad and dirty in the eyes of God)

Sexual shame is a cultural force, rooted in thousands of years of sexual oppression. For generations, sexuality has been repressed by the church and state. The only permissible form of sex was reproductive intercourse. Women who were deemed too sexual were punished and locked up. Children were brutally punished for masturbating. Getting pregnant out of wedlock would mean being cast out of your family and social network. All of this is just one generation behind us, and in some parts of the world sexual oppression is still so insidious that women are killed for being accused of adultery. It is important not to underestimate the power of this history. We are all affected by this cultural legacy, no matter how liberated we believe ourselves to be.

The good news is that it is possible to free yourself from the invisible web of sexual shame that holds you back. It takes time and persistence, but the results are well worth it. Once you identify the ways that shame is holding you back you can start undoing it’s power over you and start feeling more authentic and free in your sex life. Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Identify The Shame Message And Where It Came From:

Maybe you have always wanted to be spanked but think it means you are a pervert. Maybe you don’t want your lover to see your naked thighs. Maybe you think wearing a sexy dress makes you look cheap. Whenever you notice a moment of shame, identify it for what it is. Notice the “if-then” connection. If you do a specific thing, then you will be judged, rejected or deemed unlovable. Anytime you feel this message holding you back, name it specifically and then think about where you learned this. Was it from culture at large? Your parents? Your church? A past lover? Name it and take a step back.

Step 2: Decide If You Agree:

Once you name the shame based message, you can decide if you authentically agree with it. Do you think desiring a sensual spanking makes you a bad person? Are your thighs so monstrous? Would you actually feel great in that sexy dress? Think about your own values and see where the shame fits into your own authentic beliefs. Most of the time, these messages aren’t our own beliefs but something we’ve inherited from an outside source. With this perspective, you can choose to shed the shame messages and become more authentic.

Step 3: Change The Story:

When you decide to shed the shame, you have to start changing the story you tell yourself. Next time you are confronted with a moment of shame, notice it and then tell yourself a more positive message. Instead of “don’t let him see your thighs” shift your internal monologue to “my body is beautiful and worthy of pleasure!” Instead of “If I wear this dress people will think I’m a slut” put on the dress and think “I love the way this dress makes me feel and I’m going to go to the party feeling confident!” It will take repetition to shift your emotional patterns, but it will happen over time. Think of it like flipping a switch in your brain to send your brain train down a different track. It may feel rusty and forced at first, but eventually it will become your natural response and you’ll feel shame loosening it’s grip.

Step 4: Notice Your Body:

As you go beyond your comfort limits and start embracing more authentic sexual expression, take a moment to check in and notice how your body feels. Get out of your head and into your hips! How does it feel to wear that flirty dress? What does it feel like to allow your lover’s hand glide along your sensitive thighs? Once you dare to ask your lover for a spanking, pay full attention to how it feels to receive your lover’s touch. Feel the pleasure that is available to you and let your physical sensations guide you towards what you enjoy and what you crave more of.

Step 5: Slay Social Shame:

In order for all of us to be free, we must change our sexual culture as a whole. Participate in this shift by refusing to shame others. Anytime you notice yourself judging someone or making a joke out of shaming another person, stop yourself. Call your friends out when they shame other people. Notice how often it happens: “I can’t believe that woman is dressed that way, what a whore.” or “He’s driving that Hummer to make up for his small dick” or “What kind of woman dates a younger man like that?” You’ll be amazed at how often these thoughts and conversations happen once you start to notice.

I often visualize shame as a spider web: nearly invisible, but ready to trap everything in it’s path. But like a spider web, once you snip away one thread it is weakened. A few more snips and it dissolves completely. Once you start noticing moments of sexual shame in your life, you can start taking action steps to dissolve the shame and find your more authentic sexual expression. The more of us who do this the better. Together, we can create a more sex-positive culture that is safer, happier and more pleasurable for us all.

To hear the podcast on the topic:

Original posting on The Pleasure Mechanics’ Site

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kim keller

Feminine Vitality And Creativity Are Directly Linked To A Happy Vagina – It’s True!

by Kim Keller

The science is in!  We now have quantifiable evidence that women are more confident, creative, and trusting of their own perception when dopamine levels are high, and dopamine levels are directly effected by sexual pleasure, satisfaction and activation.  Regardless of whether this satisfaction comes from our own self-loving, or the loving of another, the chemical activation is the same.

In a time when people use drugs to reduce blood pressure, enhance sleep, elevate mood, reduce appetite, relieve pain or increase their feeling of well being, I was excited to learn that all of these things can be accomplished simply by improving our relationship to our most intimate selves…. our vagina.

In a wonderful book by Naomi Wolf called Vagina: a New Biography, we follow Naomi as she digs deeply into the latest scientific research on female sexual response,  and holds conversations with experts around the world.  She tells her own personal story about her challenge with depression and loss of vitality which occurred after a pelvic nerve injury had blocked the vital pathway between her vagina, heart and brain.  She found that feminine creativity, intelligence, self-esteem, and overall vitality and zest for life is directly connected to how we relate to our own vagina, and how we cultivate that precious pathway.

As an intimacy coach I hear from women on a daily basis that many feel disconnected from their vagina. There are a variety of reasons for this.  While some women experience pain and discomfort with their vagina, others will say they don’t think about it much.  I often hear women who are past their years of reproduction say that the “sexy” part of their life is over, and they continue on “just fine without it”.  Others are overwhelmed and/or preoccupied with modern life and can’t seem to find the time to tend to their vagina beyond hygiene and health care. And while, externally, this may all be true, internally there is a wealth of vitality and juiciness waiting to be reclaimed.

The questions we now need to ask are  “How do I heal the split?”, “How do I reclaim my own sexual/sensual nature?”, and “Where do I find more pleasure and vitality in my life?”.  These questions aren’t for women only. Aware men who love women are asking similar questions.  For example, “How can I, as a man, help my woman realize her fullest sexual expression and fulfillment, which I now know is necessary for her to be truly happy?”.  Vagina certainly has something to say about that too. There is a chapter dedicated to how men can utilize this information on female sexual response to improve both their partners life and their relationship.

One simple discovery is “when a woman’s dopamine system is optimally activated, as it is in the anticipation of great sex, an effect heightened by her knowing what turns her on, letting herself think about it, and go get it – it strengthens her sense of focus and motivation levels and energizes her in setting goals.”Exploring new ideas in lovemaking and intimacy, reading books together, attending intimacy workshops, and opening your heart to give and receive love are all ways to activate our body’s pleasure chemicals.  Remember, relationship-care is as important as self-care.

Love Revolution has choice books on the topic.  My lover and I especially enjoyed reading aloud to each other, in our most erotic voices, She Comes First by Ian Kerner.  Next on our list is to re-read, together, Tantric Quest by Daniel Odier.

Here in Ashland there are a variety of intimacy building opportunities.  Soon there will be a Directory page [now live] on Loveashland.com consisting of a list of local tantric educators, intimacy coaches, massage therapists and more.  Be sure to keep an eye on our Event Calendar for juicy workshops.  And mostly, stay curious, keep a beginners mind, offer and receive more non-sexual touch, schedule a therapeutic or sensual massage, and remember to appreciate and acknowledge yourself and/or your partner with grand regularity.

One of my very favorite practices is to set aside a morning a week to wake slowly and gently with lots of touch, whispers and appreciation (partnered or NOT).  And, above all else, honor your own sensual/sexual being by claiming your birthright to pleasure, joy and love.

Kim Keller

www.kimrosekeller.com

Creator and Facilitator of:

Tending the Temple – Sacred Care of Yoni,  a weekend workshop for women

Yoni Yoga, jade egg practice for women. Shop eggs.
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Q & A with the Morningstars

by Howard W Morningstar, MD and Rabbi Sue Morningstar

Erectile “Dysfunction”

Q: I’ve been having trouble keeping my erection lately, so I went to my doctor for advice. She said “You’re 53 years old! What do you expect?” And then she wrote me a prescription for Viagra ™. I’m afraid to try it because I don’t like to take any drugs. What else can I do?

A: A healthy erection arises when your active masculine ‘Shiva’ energy is aroused by receptive feminine ‘Shakti’ energy. This polarity motivates the entire creative force of the universe. You are not alone: almost every man experiences erectile difficulties at some point in his life. In fact, this is one of the most common questions we’re asked about in our medical practice, by both men and their partners. Your doctor’s comment about your age reflects the truth that male virility naturally decreases with age. However, most healthy men remain virile and sexually potent into their 80s and beyond. The common myth that “male potency peaks at around age 18” is complete nonsense.

Your body, mind and spirit must coordinate multiple factors to create a healthy sustained erection. First, you feel the pull of Shakti’s attractive polarity. Next, your brain sends a cascade of hormonal and neurological signals to your heart and genitals to increase blood flow to and inhibit outflow from the penis. This causes engorgement of the penis and the hard penetrating erection needed for intercourse and fertility. Anything that interrupts these pathways will cause your erection to waver and soften.

Erectile difficulties often reflect core identity issues of shame, masculinity and fear of aging. Your masculine identity is profoundly tied to your virility and erectile ability. Our language reflects this: To “testify” literally means to “swear by one’s testicles”. Before Viagra™ was introduced in 1998 this was a taboo subject. We can thank pharmaceutical companies’ marketing for making male erection an accepted topic of conversation.

First, you and your health care provider should investigate and correct possible medical issues contributing to the problem, including vascular and neurologic disease, diabetes, spinal cord issues and hormonal imbalance or testosterone deficiencies. Many prescription and recreational drugs, especially alcohol, blood pressure medicine and anti-depressants can also inhibit erectile function. It’s also important to recognize that not all practitioners are comfortable discussing sexuality, which may explain your doctor’s reflex prescribing of a “pill for the ill”.

On the emotional level: Are you attracted to your partner? Does your partner ‘light your fire’? What can you do to increase the polarity and attraction between you?

On the physical level, do you experience spontaneous nocturnal erections? If you do, this probably indicates that your hormonal, vascular and neurologic pathways are intact, and that the problem is most likely emotion based.

How is your libido in general? If it’s diminished, you may have testosterone deficiency. This common problem can often be corrected by stimulating your body’s natural production of testosterone by improving your aerobic fitness, reducing harmful emotional stress, and eating a well-balanced diet with lots of healthy protein, essential fatty acids and trace minerals. Herbs and supplements such as maca, ginseng and arginine may be helpful. Even patented drugs such as Viagra™ have appropriate use and value as they inhibit blood flow out of the penis once your erection is established.

Whatever is causing your problem, here are some practical ideas that can enhance your sexual experience. When your erection wavers stay connected with your partner! Don’t get lost in feelings of separation, inadequacy and shame. Gaze deeply into your partner’s eyes, breathe together and express your love and devotion. Stay inside your partner even when you are soft. Your “soft on” is just as sensitive as your hard on. It’s the yin (receptive) aspect of your yang (expressive) identity, and allows you to absorb feminine essence through your penis. Pleasure your partner with your fingers, mouth and other erotic parts until she gets turned on. Her arousal will recall your Shiva energy and restore your erection.

Focus on presence and connection rather than goal orientation and climax. It’s important to go with the natural ebb and flow of your shared erotic pleasure. Kabbalist wisdom teaches that the white spaces between the letters reveal life’s deepest mysteries. So it is also in the enlightenment found in the magical, still moments between thrusts. Healthy sexuality blends giving and receiving, action and stillness into luscious cycles of divine delight. So may it be for you and for all lovers everywhere.

morningstars.jpg1Howard W Morningstar, MD, is a family physician, herbalist and tantra educator.  Rabbi Sue Morningstar is a midwife, women’s health nurse practitioner and spiritual counselor.  The Morningstars, lovers for 40 years, combine over 60 years of professional experience in holistic medicine at Morningstar Healing Arts, their Ashland, Oregon family practice and healing center.     

This information is not a substitute for personalized medical care. Please consult your healthcare provider before acting on any of the information presented here.
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Q & A with the Morningstars

by Howard W Morningstar, MD and Rabbi Sue Morningstar

Anorgasmia

Q: I’m a 29 years old and I’ve never had an orgasm.  I have the kind of body that men desire and women envy. I’ve had loving relationships with wonderful men, and have gotten really good at faking it. Everyone says I am beautiful and attractive, but they don’t know that I’m dead down there. I want to have an orgasm before I turn 30!

A: First of all, it’s great that you’ve asked for help. That’s the most important step in solving this problem. And, it’s good to know that you are not alone. Primary anorgasmia, that is, never experiencing orgasm, affects over 10 million women in the United States. While anorgasmia is not a dangerous condition, it can be an important quality of life issue, since sexual pleasure is a fundamental part of what makes us human.

A variety of medical issues can inhibit orgasm. These include hormonal imbalances, neurologic diseases, spinal cord injuries, pelvic trauma and medication use, such as antidepressants and narcotics. But we most often find that primary anorgasmia is rooted in early emotional wounding. Were you were raised to believe that sex is dirty or sinful? Were you shamed as a young girl for touching yourself and feeling pleasure? Were you molested or raped early in your sexual awakening?  Perhaps challenging
experiences with even well intended but inept partners have led you down a slippery slope of sexual frustration. If you’ve learned to associate sex with fear and pain it will be difficult for you to relax and open to pleasure.  You need to feel physically and emotionally safe before you can fully surrender to your orgasmic energy.

Treatment might include counseling, hypnotherapy, kundalini yoga or other energy healing modalities to remove old obstacles and address current issues such as depression, anxiety, grief or feelings of guilt. We may also prescribe bio-identical hormones, or recommend sensitizing creams and perhaps hands on healing with a trained daka or dakini.

Many women find it’s easier at first to learn to orgasm with a solo self-pleasuring ritual. Create a sacred, private and comfortable space where you feel relaxed and free.  Approach yourself as your own perfect lover, using soft lighting, music, candles and favorite scents to create an erotic ambiance. Explore yourself playfully and joyfully, at first without any particular goal or direction in mind! Be present to whatever sensations and emotions arise. Use whatever enhances your experience: natural lubricants, sex toys, wands, vibrators, water play, erotic books and movies. It’s fine to indulge in kinky fantasies or watch porn if that’s what turns you on, just be aware of pornography’s negative stereotypes and unrealistic expectations.
Be patient, persistent and playful. Make your sexual awakening a priority: Energy follows intention. Be kind to yourself and don’t feel pressured. Once you’ve achieved orgasm on your own, share your newfound knowledge with your partner. Discover what works best for you; most women rarely climax from the stimulation of intercourse alone.  Orgasmic ecstasy is our birthright. We are designed for sexual pleasure. Otherwise, why endow the clitoris with 8000 nerve endings solely for delight? Expect that your personal sexual evolution will continue to unfold throughout your life, and that your orgasmic potential will expand as you grow as a sexual being. In orgasm we merge with the divine. We expand our consciousness in union with the Infinite One.

“In the garden of the senses lies the pathway to the spirit.” (found on the garden gate at California School of Herbal Studies, Forestville, CA)
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Q & A with the Morningstars

style=”text-align: left;”>”Premature” Ejaculation

by Howard W Morningstar, MD and Rabbi Sue Morningstar

Q: I’m 23 years old, and in love with the most beautiful and loving woman ever. The problem is that whenever we have intercourse I get so excited that I come right away, sometimes even before I enter her. She always says that it’s OK, but I feel like a total failure as a lover! Can you help me?

A: Premature ejaculation is a very common problem that affects up to a third of all men. The International Society for Sexual Medicine defines it as “ejaculation which always or nearly always occurs prior to or within one minute from the beginning of intercourse”. You’ve already taken your first step to success by asking for help. And besides, “success” as a lover isn’t determined simply by when you ejaculate.

The next step is to identify your problem’s personal and unique root causes, which can be psychological, medical, or structural. You can realize your full potential as a lover by healing these old wounds. As the goddess Hygeia says: “The wound reveals the cure”.

Psychological wounding around sex is the most common cause of premature ejaculation. If it’s always been an issue, you may be stuck in old patterns of sexual shame and guilt. For example, a boy who is shamed and punished when he is caught masturbating may grow up feeling unworthy and guilty about feeling sexual pleasure, and therefore climax as soon as possible while making love.

In this case, consider working with a dakini (a Tantric sexual healer) to release these harmful patterns and replace them with an appreciation of sex as a divine blessing. Your treatment plan may also include intimacy coaching, individual or couples counseling, hypnosis, acupuncture, biofeedback and emotional freedom technique (EFT).

If the problem began with a new relationship, look closely at the dynamics of the relationship. Are you feeling performance anxiety, such as fear of losing your erection? Are you experiencing poor self-image? Are you having difficulty communicating? Remember: “The wound reveals the cure”.

Medical causes of premature ejaculation include prostate problems, urinary and sexually transmitted infections, neurological illnesses, hormonal imbalances and medication side effects. Physical causes include congenital abnormalities, injury from trauma and damage from surgery. Treatment of these causes may involve starting or stopping medications, external desensitizing creams, antibiotics or hormone therapy.

While it’s best to find healing at the deepest levels of heart, mind, body and spirit, in the meantime, here are some practical tips for delaying ejaculation: Focus intensely on your lover’s arousal during foreplay. Use two condoms or a desensitizing cream. Enjoy intercourse with your lover on top. Be still as she lowers herself onto you, and allow her to control the pace of movement. Stay energetically connected through eye gazing and synchronized breathing. Feel the subtleties of mutual pleasure in each moment. Let her know when you’re getting close to orgasm so she can return to stillness. You and your partner can also learn “squeeze-release” techniques to head off unwanted ejaculations. And don’t worry if you ejaculate too soon. Stay inside her and eye gaze deeply. When you are ready, gradually build up the energy again. You’re very likely to last a lot longer the second time around.

Savor your lovemaking as a sacred blessing of love and generosity. Learn to harness Kundalini, the powerful creative energy that flows through all beings. Study Tantric or Daoist sexual techniques to become adept at delaying, intensifying and prolonging orgasm. Through these ancient wisdom traditions we transcend our ordinary selves and awaken as divine sexual beings, one with the One. When we see the divine in our lover, we experience heaven right here on earth.
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Q & A with the Morningstars

  • Painful Intercourse

by Howard W Morningstar, MD and Rabbi Sue Morningstar

Q: “I’m 55 years old and have been in a wonderful relationship for 13 years. Since menopause, intercourse has become more and more painful for me. My partner and I have found other ways to satisfy each other, but we really want to enjoy intercourse again! What can we do?”

A: This is a common problem, and the good news is that it’s usually pretty easy to fix. In fact, we’ve found that many women enjoy the best sex of their lives after menopause! Menopause is a time of huge internal and external changes for all women. Even though some of these changes can be challenging, there’s also the potential for tremendous growth as we come into our fullness as mature wise women. It’s important to honor and nourish these opportunities.

After menopause your estrogen levels drop, causing your vaginal walls to become thin and more fragile. Your natural lubrication may also decrease, making these delicate walls even more sensitive to friction.

It’s important for you and your partner to take enough time in stimulating and connecting foreplay for you to become fully lubricated and aroused before penetration. Set your lovemaking stage for beauty and sacred connection, with candles, music, scents, eye gazing, kissing and erotic massage. Express your love and gratitude for each other and for the blessing of this union. Slowly and lovingly enjoy each level of increasing arousal. Wait until you are ready, and only then ask your partner to gently and very slowly begin caressing your genitals. Some men may be ready for intercourse within two or three minutes, but many lovers don’t realize that it takes most women more than 20 minutes of focused foreplay until they are fully aroused and ready for penetration.

Experiment with a variety of natural lubricants (we prefer  100% extra virgin coconut oil) and vary your sexual positions to see what works best for you. Direct your partner to enter you slowly and with reverence.  Once he is inside you, ask for gentle, subtle pelvic rocking movements until you’re ready to enjoy vigorous thrusts.  Remember, it’s about the connection, not just the anatomy.

It’s also important to exercise regularly, and to tone up your pelvic floor muscles with focused Kegels, graduated vaginal weights or a jade egg practice. Be sure to drink lots of water and eat a healthy, balanced diet, rich in essential fatty acids. Your health care provider may also recommend specific herbs, supplements, or bioidentical hormones.
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