What is Sexual Self Awareness?
What does it mean to be sexually self aware? Tune into this week's episode as I talk with Dr. Alexandra Solomon about how to own your sexuality and create the relationships you want.
In this episode you'll discover
Dr. Alexandra Solomon is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University, a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, and a passionate believer in the life-changing power of love.
Find her new book, Taking Sexy Back, How to Own Your Sexuality & Create the Relationships You Want HERE.In her book, she offers a powerful and holistic approach to help you reclaim your sexuality, communicate your desires, draw boundaries, be safe, and build the satisfying relationships you truly want. Follow her on Insta or FB, and check out her website here.
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Amanda: 00:01 Hello and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire Podcast. I am your host Amanda Testa. I am a Sex Love and Relationship coach and in this podcast my guests and I talk sex, love and relationships and everything that lights you up from the inside out. Welcome.
Amanda: 00:20 Today we are going to be diving into sexual self awareness and taking sexy back, and what that really means and I am so excited today to be talking to Dr. Alexandra Solomon. She is a clinical assistant professor in the department of psychology at Northwestern University, a licensed clinical therapist at the Family Institute at Northwestern and a passionate believer in the life changing power of love. And she has just written an amazing new book called Taking Sexy Back. I'm so thrilled to dive into today. So welcome and thank you so much for being here today.
Alexandra: 00:52 Thanks Amanda for having me on. I'm excited to talk to you.
Amanda: 00:55 Yes. So I'd love to kind of just start with what you know, inspired you to write this book. Really what kind of led you, you know, you've, this is your second book. And so yeah, tell me a little bit more about that.
Speaker 3: 01:06 Yes. You know, it's so funny. So being my second book, I now have a point of comparison and I feel like my first book I chose to write, I chose to write Loving Bravely. I feel like this book chose to be written by me. And it's sort of sounds strange to say, but there was a threshold I crossed where I was spending more energy suppressing what this book was communicating to me. That, and it just was like, okay, fine, we'll just proceed and I will just listen to you and what you are wanting to say. So that was a really different kind of entry point into the, the really intense experience that any writing journey is for, you know, for a writer.
Amanda: 01:45 Right. And I love how, you know, it just needed to be written through you
Alexandra: 01:50 And it, you know, I think that the bigger backstory is that I've been a couples therapist and a relationship educator for two decades now and I do that, you know, so I'm like, as you said, a couples therapist and I teach an undergraduate relationship course at Northwestern, I train graduate students and then I translate all of that to the general public in different ways. And what I was really struck by is how, how much are conversations about love? We'll put things like conflict and communication in the foreground and the erotic in the background. And I had gotten feedback over the years, especially from my students about, you know, and when we look at how we all come up, like sort of the ethos that we all come up in around sexuality, it's very sex negative or it's a lot of silence or it's a lot of messages that are really fear loaded.
Alexandra: 02:41 And so over the years I would, my college students would say to me like, this is a really different way of talking about sex. Like what we're doing in your class is talking about sex in a really different way. One of my male students said to me last year, the year before, like this is the first time I've talked about sex where it isn't like paired, you know, sex and disease or sex and danger and that he was really aware of how much those two had really been paired for him. And when we do that, we are limiting, right? What's what's possible and we're moving through the world with a lot of shame. It's a completely understandable as you know and the work that you do
Amanda: 03:14 Well, because so much of our sex education is so based in fear and there's not a lot of sex positivity or, well, thankfully that's starting to slowly change, but really kind of understanding that sex can be more than just sex. And so I kind of want to dive into that because I know, I love how you call it self-aware sex. And so I'd love if you share a little bit more about what that term means.
Alexandra: 03:36 Yes, so the big umbrella here is relational self-awareness. So my, the kind of like compass North and all of the work that I do is inviting people into awareness of what relationships, especially here we're talking about intimate relationships, what they stir awaken within them, right? We know that that is, it's really easy and intimate relationships to get locked into either a blaming stance right where I am. It's really easy for me to talk about how if you would be different, this would go differently or it's really easy to feel as if I'm the one screwing it all up, right? That's the sort of the blame sequence or that sort of like shame spiral and it's really easy to get locked into that like linear way of thinking. So Loving Bravely is really, that was sort of my first effort at fleshing out a more systemic way of looking at relational patterns as well as looking at how powerfully we bring in all of the roles and messages that we grew up with. We just bring them into our intimate partnerships and so what we're doing in this new book is just tightening up the lens and looking at, okay, how does, like what is the story that lives inside of you about sexuality? And it's basically the book is kind of couples therapy for the reader. The relationship between the reader and their sexual self and even that's kind of a radical idea potentially is like, I have a sexuality that is mine. Of course is sex is a thing that I either do, or don't do like or don't like want or don't want. It's a different way, a different entry point right around like what is the relationship between me and my sexual self?
Amanda: 05:14 I love that so much because I think like you mentioned earlier, so many people when they think about sex, they just think our sexuality, they think about just the act of sex, but it's so much deeper than that. I love how in your book you really kind of go into more detail about that. You know, it's an inside out versus an outside in thing. So I love if you would share a little bit more about that because you know, really kind of talking the difference between sex and sexuality, sexualized, you know, and be sexual and all those terms. Because I think sometimes people get those all confused or just don't really kind of understand how the lay of the land is with regards to sexuality.
Alexandra: 05:47 Right, right, right, right. I so this, this book was written definitely with like female socialization much more in the foreground, right? Like it's, it's, the research has that the places where that like very rigid gender role conditioning plays out most powerfully is around sex dating intimacy, right. The messaging around women are, men are women, should men should. And so even for people who now live in a space that is beyond a gender binary, nearly everybody had a chapter of their life where they were completely inundated with messages about sex that were based on the body they lived in. And without awareness, we are just kind of like acting out this idea that like whatever a nice girl shouldn't or good girls don't or it's greedy to ask for whatever. So in this book we're really honing in on what are those messages that you internalize? What's that outside in conception that you have of your sexuality based on what your church told you, your family told you, your school told you, pornography told you. Because we have been swallowing those messages and they've shaped how we experience ourselves and they limit what's possible for us. And so this process is like where are you blocked? Where would you mind to find your flow? Right. And reestablish a bit more possibility. Flexibility. And so that's what the book does. It's like journey through these different arenas where you might not even know because, because it just is girls, you know, women, fake orgasms, like that is a capital T truth because that was what the world told me. That's what I saw in pornography. That's what I believed. That's just what happens. So I don't even know to question that because it's just, it's just ubiquitous. It don't even, the idea of even questioning, wait, why do I fake orgasms? What does about what story does that reflect that lives within me and do I want that story? What's, how am I shift that story?
Amanda: 07:38 Yeah, I think that's powerful. And you know, we could talk, we could go and deep around like the patriarchy and how that affects us in sexuality. I always say this too because you know, even in leadership you see so many less women, CEOs and even I will go to these conferences where super successful women are up on the stage. It's still something I feel like you can tell. I feel like you can tell women who are really embracing their full sexuality as a realm of their whole versus those that are not. And I think about with men too, because if they had been , raised their whole lives being told their penises were, they didn't even have a name for it, you know, they would probably have a lot less confidence. I mean I really think it goes very deeply as you know as well.
Alexandra: 08:20 Well, and I mean to just extend that, I think we are having a bit more conversation in the workplace about you know, we bring our full selves to work, right? Whether we want to or not. Our sexual self comes into our offices with us it. But the only way we talk about that is like in terms of like human resources, trainings about sex, you know, sexual harassment. And thank God in this "me too" era, we are having more critical conversations about intersections of power and gender and rape culture. And all of this is so important to unearth. But now like, okay, so what if we, how do we actually ground our sexual self? Right? So the sexual self comes into work, but it's grounded. It's not like quaranined off with like big danger tape because we know whatever we put in the corner and shame, we just energize, righ? We give it more energy, we give it more power to come out and really unhealthy ways. So what does a full embracing of I am a sexual being. I am at work, therefore this part comes forward. This part hangs back. But I don't need to kind of chop myself into bits. And that's, that's how we create a healthier, I think a healthier work environment. And as you're saying, a bit more of a full bodied leadership, right? For women leaders to be able to really connect with like these feminine sources of knowing feminine sources of energy. It's very powerful and it's something we've been ever taught to do,. In fact, we've been shamed for doing that. Right. It's very risky.
Amanda: 09:47 That's so true. And that's why I think so many women do hold back also because of fear of what might happen or you know, it's just that cultural environment that we've been shrouded in our entire lives. But I love that now we have the opportunity to really educate ourselves and learn more about how to use this part of ourselves as part of the whole. And really, you know, I love how you say too, and I totally agree. You know, it's way more than just the physical act of sex. It's really about accessing all these different aspects of who we are. Our creativity and our aliveness, and all these things. And so I really love how in your book, you know, you have the beautiful map of really kind of like the seven layers, if you will, of sexuality. So will you share a little bit more about that if you don't mind?
Alexandra: 10:28 Yes. So that, well one of my favorite things about this book was was was commissioning art. I had never in my life, you know, worked with an artist to create, to take my left brain way of thinking about this stuff and have her translate it into something that's very right brain and creative. And even that, you know, I grew up in the ivory tower, right? I have been Northwestern trained, I have been an academic. I have walked that walk like I know those rules. And so in some ways feels even like an expansion, a risk to say actually I'm going to create a book that has art in it that's really like round and soft and feminine art in it. Because I want, mostly it's because I want my reader to feel really invited, right? Like this is, I want her to feel connected, invited, and held. And so I wanted to like make sure that there's lots of different ways that I'm communicating. Like, we're in this together. This is really hard. You have stuff that lives inside of you that you didn't, you didn't ask for. So that even like that sort of allowing there to be a fullness of art as we move through these seven layers, which basically the seven layers are right, these different realms as a cultural realm, this sort of mental or mind, there's emotion, there's the physical realm, spiritual relationship realm. Oh. And then the developmental realm. So these are just, they're actually, they're just mirrors for my clinical work. Like the way that I've been trained as a clinician way I work as a clinician is through an integrative approach. So I'm basically sitting with my client or my couple and I'm looking at what are the domains where where things are blocked, where there's blockage, where there is constraint, where there's limits, and then how do we work on that. So in, so in that way, the map is an expansion of, or a reflection of how I think about our lives, which is we need to look at these different, like the idea that there is health within us, but the health gets blocked. And so how do we locate the block and lift the block is how I work as a clinician. So my book ended up being a reflection of that. We're blocked in different ways. Like for example, the spiritual chapter. So I had this great team of graduate and undergraduate students writing with me. And so the spiritual chapter, so I had one, one of the gals on my team that chapter like really struck her, right because she was raised in a Catholic family, went to Catholic church. And so she had a lot, like the relationship between she and her sexuality was triangulated with her relationship with God. You know, like those things were just really tied together. I had another student who grew up in mainland China and didn't have, she didn't grow up with any kind of spiritual life. So that chapter was like cool, like she could got it, but it wasn't a place where she needed to really unpack or heal. You know, her big meaningful work was in a different chapter of the book.
Amanda: 13:15 Yeah, that makes sense. And I love how you said, I just want to re phrase this because I think it's so key as that we all have that original blueprint of health that wants to express. So it's like realizing that there's nothing broken about you. It's just like all those blockages, like you say, they get put on us and sometimes we just need help figuring out how to unblock those.
Alexandra: 13:34 Is that how you think about your work with your
Amanda: 13:36 I do. I truly, because I do feel like, you know, I think we do have that, I like to call it original essence within us that really wants us to flourish and thrive. But I like how you know, like you say, everyone has different experiences and there's different things that maybe they want to work through or where their blocks are. So I really think that's what's such a beautiful thing about your book as a tool for healing and just understanding because it's so clearly laid out. And I do agree it, even reading it, I felt so held. I love the illustrations. So I think it's just so, it makes it feel very safe and doable to go about this work, which can be like you say, very challenging and bring up so much.
Alexandra: 14:13 Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and the other thing is that, you know, with anything when, when I'm talking about self-awareness or this, you know, self-work, it can't possibly be a one and done because whatever we think we got figured out when we were 25 and single, it's going to look very different when we're 45 and the mother of children, you know, or I'm 65 and an a, you know, different, whole, different relationship with body, with energy, with giving, having any apps to give, you know, kind of permission. I think that comes with, you know, aging and whatever. But whatever that journey to kind of like relate to it as a journey, right? That there isn't really a done point. There's just noticing, you know, this used to be easy and now it's hard or this used to be hard and now it's easy or this didn't really crossed my mind and now it's very present for me. So I think that's, I think sometimes people think that like I have to just do this work and then eat done, you know, or it's a problem to be solved versus it's kind of an ongoing unfolding. I love how you share that cause I think, you know, it is a practice of just the journey. Like you say, there is no end point. And I think sometimes people can get frustrated. They're like, Oh well I've dealt with this and why has this still going on? But realizing, you know, there's just different layers that are ready to be integrated and knowing that the easier you can accept that life is a journey in general. You have lifetime. At one of my recent gals, I interviewed IsA Herrera, she said this and I loved it. You know, we have lifetime access to our bodies. You have lifetime access. There's no rush.I think that's just something I loved pointing that out too. So thank you for sharing that.
Alexandra: 15:47 That's so sweet. Well I love it. If this was happening in a conversation about body, it's like even that's a radical idea, isn't it? Like the lifetime access to this body that we live in and what a difference position that is. Like it's a position of like honor in relation to our bodies versus, I think so often, I mean I know from the time I was eight years old, my relationship with my body was that it was something that needed to be managed, right? I was dieting at eight years old. So my first experience of my physicality was that it was at risk of being out of control and it needed to be maintained and managed. And that's a very different template, right? To just be like this, I get to have the experience of living in this body and unfolding. Why.
Amanda: 16:30 Yeah, I know I can relate to that experience. And I have a seven year old. So you know, I think like you say when kids come along you have different realizations to maybe things that were your life at those ages. Yeah. So you know, once you kind of get a better understanding and self awareness around sexuality, I'm curious how you feel like that, you know, leads to more fulfilling relationships because it's also tied together. Can you share a little bit more around that?
Alexandra: 16:56 So in the book, you know, we didn't, we made no presumptions about the relationship status of the reader. Right? So there is a way in which it's sort of separate and apart from whether or not one is partnered or not partnered and still where we are vis-a-vis our sexuality is certainly shaped by our relationship status. So what somebody who is in year 20 of a sexually monogamous relationship reading this book is going to have a different experience than somebody who's in the dating world reading this book, you know, and I guess one if like the idea of sort of questioning why is it this way? Like I had this aha moment where I was talking with the graduate student and she had a question and her question started with like, you know the, you know, the sex that you have to have when you're single and looking for a partner and it's like really lousy and then it gets better once you're in a relationship. And that was like the premise, the like that wasn't the question, right? That was the premise or the question about that. And we just kind of pause and like, you know, hit rewind on the tape and kind of unpacked that. Like what is like, you know, whose, whose story is that that a woman must endure a single woman, a dating woman, a woman looking for partnership, must endure lousy sex in order to cross the threshold into a place where she could have good sex. Like that's a presumption that I want us to be able to invite questioning around. It doesn't have to be that way and why. And you know, and what else might be possible, but it makes total sense how we end up with those sorts of paradigms. When we had this idea that women give, women give sex to get love and men give love to get sex, you know, whatever those like ridiculous binary stereotypic notions are. That's how those ideas come to come to be. And we just kind of ended up like internalizing them and then acting them out unquestioningly, even therapists.
Amanda: 18:46 Right. Well and I think like with any relationship, it starts with the relationship with yourself, you know? And so that's part of it.
Alexandra: 18:56 Yes. I think that, I think some of this work can be done in the context of a really beautiful intimate partnership, but there are pieces of this work that may need to be done. Just on her own. Like I think especially in the book we write, I wrote pretty openly about masturbation and that's a topic that we don't, maybe we're talking about, you know, a bit more now than we used to. Certainly. I, in my clinical training was never really talked about. A sex therapist though are very sex therapists do a beautiful job of talking about the role of masturbation, especially for women, especially for those who survived trauma. Like just to be able to establish presence with one's own body, just to be able to explore and experience, touch and kind of follow sensation. There may need to be some time where even in a loving relationship, you know, one says one partner like, I need you to back up. I need you to back up. I need some time and space to just ground myself in me. That way I know how to invite you in.
Amanda: 19:59 I see that a lot. I work with a lot of couples in longterm relationships and I think something that, that will happen there. You know, maybe they've been having sex a certain way all these years and when you finally tune into your body, like, I don't like that. And I've said yes when I've met no way too many times. Yeah. And, and so, you know, you need some time to like re reboot yourself in a way.
Alexandra: 20:19 I love that reboot is very neutral, right? It's not a, you know, I don't need to be fixed. I don't need, you didn't do anything wrong. I just need to reboot. And I think part of the challenge with a heterosexual script, if we're talking about a woman's journey and her partner is a man, if her realization is I've said yes when I really met no, it's really hard for him to hear that. It's really understandable how that could spike defensiveness, right? Because no man wants to experience as creepy or predatory or dangerous or taking advantage of the woman he loves. And so we, I wrote a chapter in this book towards the end for men because I want, I know that when you make a change in one part of a system, it shakes up the whole system, right? We know that we are, and a couple is a little ecology at the system.
Alexandra: 21:09 And so if she's like, Holy shit, I have been thinking about orgasms or agreeing to stuff that doesn't feel good, or I have this thing I actually kind of want to explore, I want her partner to be able to hold that space without defensiveness because he also grew up in this same Stu. And he also was given all kinds of messages about his performance and you know, and how much his sense of worth hinges upon whether he's received by a woman, whether he gives a woman an orgasm, all this kind of stuff that's problematic on his end. But if we're bringing her challenges to the foreground, I want him to be able to bear witness to that rather than, yeah, but you didn't, you never, why don't you, you know?
Amanda: 21:51 Yeah. And I wouldn't, I wouldn't necessarily say saying that's flat out to your partner, but you know, just kind of when you have that realization about yourself. But I do feel, you know, like just kind of jumping back a moment to the masturbation and I, I love the term of self-pleasure around that because you know, I think for so many people out there that again, there's a lot of shame around that. So just kind of, I love how in the book you call it, you know, a couples therapy for you and your vulva or just like re-establish and like, what is my anatomy? Like really learning about it because so many women aren't even familiar with their own anatomy and that's understandable. But a lot of we're just not. And so just even taking that time to understand what's happening, like really becoming familiar with your body on all ways and like what you like and what feels good, so you can then share that with your partners. So, and I'm curious too, because in your opinion, you know, what kind of things do you think help women, you know, communicate that or make these decisions around their sexuality about what feels good and how to communicate that with their partner?
Alexandra: 22:50 Right, right, right, right. Well, one thing, one thing we know is that mindfulness is really helpful, right? When we talk, you cannot, you literally can not go to a therapy conference any longer without there being something about mindfulness, mindfulness and couples, mindfulness and eating disorders. You know, all of this and it's, it is beautiful. And I think sometimes we act like we're all cute and clever here in the West when in fact mindfulness is thousands and thousands of years old. But the researcher who wrote the forward to this book, Dr. Lori Brado, who is based in British Columbia, you know, she, she was really troubled by the fact that when you look at population studies, about half of women, especially women who are 30, 40, 50, sixties, especially those who are partnered like the prevalence of underactive, a hypo sexual desire disorder, like low desire, low sexual desire is just rampant about half of women.
Alexandra: 23:44 Struggle with desire. And that's, that can be about lots and lots of different things. But one of the things she was wondering is about these stories that we bring into the bedroom with us and the the degree to which they affect our ability to just be in the moment. And so she did it. She created a mindfulness training program for women and taught them how to, how to use their senses in the moment and noticing when, right? Like the cloud comes in about good girls don't, or the cloud comes in about, you know, thought about my hips or this is taking too long, or what is he thinking? Or I do, I smell okay or dah, dah, dah, dah. And then noticing and then returning back to the sensation. And her results are really powerful. I know increased desire, increased arousal and more lubrication, more orgasms like these, the findings were really clear about how tied together our minds and our bodies are and into these scripts. And these tapes are old so we may not even know when they are playing inside of our heads, but they may very well be kind of compromising our ability to just allow.
Amanda: 24:54 Yes to that. I totally agree. A hundred percent a hundred percent yeah.
Alexandra: 24:58 What are the practices that you love to help women with this piece?
Amanda: 25:01 Well, it just like that. One of the first things that I like to teach them is about sensuality and tapping into their five senses. That mindfulness like you say is a huge part of it. I honestly feel like our society is so, in my opinion, our society really forces us to be in this state of hyper arousal all the time. And so that's why at the end of the day people want to, you know, numb with Netflix or drink wine or whatever it is just to be able to come back down into like some window where they feel like they can just be. And so I feel like part of our culture, at least here where I am in the States, you know, is around kind of learning what it feels like to just even be in your body. We've forgotten what that is like because our culture is so go, go driven, driven and women, we have so many things that we have, you know, often on our plates.
Amanda: 25:43 I mean I work mostly with women, but I think men feel this way too. And that's a big, that's another big stressor when you both have all these things weighing you down, stresses of work, stresses of parenting, stresses of family, stresses of life, you know, maybe taking care of if you're a caregiver for an elderly parent or a partner or anything like that. So we're so weighted down with all the stress. It's no wonder you can't connect right now. I think a big part of it is unwinding that stress. And I know you love Dr. Emily Nagoski, who I love as well and I just love her work, and her newest book, Burnout, talks a lot about that. So I do think the first step is unwinding the stress a little bit and that mindfulness is so huge.
Alexandra: 26:20 I was just reading Emily's book this morning.
Speaker 2: 26:23 That's good. I love that book. Yeah, I think that's, so that's, I think that's one of the first steps is like, and then connecting to what they want and to their desires. I mean, I think that's hard for both men and women is like really connecting to what it is they truly want and realizing it doesn't have to be big grandiose things, but just taking that time to attune to what you need in the moment and offer that to yourself. It's such a huge starting point.
Alexandra: 26:45 Absolutely. Yup. Yup. Yeah. And I think it's so easy for women. I think what I think the challenges for men may be a bit different, but I think if we're talking about women and as you're listing off sort of the, all these caregiving demands, it's really easy then for sex to feel like another caregiving demand. That's another thing I have to do for somebody else to, to sort of check it off my list. And that's a huge desire killer. And so, and that's a subtle shift, right? Towards imagining sexual connection, erotic connection as being something that's for me, restorative to me. And so it has, if that's going to be the storyline that I get on, it has to be that I then feel empowered to create a kind of sexual experience that is going to feel good for me. Right. Cause there's just, there's just no like you can't get over that hump unless you know that.
Alexandra: 27:36 It's like, I'm going to go to this place and I know it's going to feel good because my partner and I are really both invested in creating experiences that feel good. So it's not, you know, this one of the things that was challenging about the book and about this conversation, and I never want a woman to feel like this is all a me thing. Like she has to get her side of the street figured out. It has to be in the context of a larger conversation with her partner. Right? There's no such thing as her sexual problem. Every problem that a couple has around sex is a couple of problems, there's always a way to language it into that. And if she's, if she's figuring out the things that she needs in order to kind of activate her accelerator, like in order to help her shed the mother role and shed the caregiving role and be like, okay, I am a sexual goddess. Like, let's go there. If she is figuring out those things that work, that help her, I want her partner to be a co-creator in that. Right? Like I want her partner to be like, okay, so if we know that whatever me handling bath time helps you make that shift, I'm all over bath time and that's becomes a co-creative process. It's not, it can't be all hers to figure out because then it's just like another, then sex becomes another domain where she feels like she's not measuring up.
Amanda: 28:47 Yes. Oh my gosh. Yes. Yeah. And you know, and on that note, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts because oftentimes, you know, say one partner really wants to make an effort in this area and the other partner's not as supportive. What would you say in those situations?
Alexandra: 29:03 I think that, so first of all, I really want, I would want to really normalize that desire discrepancies are the most common sexual problem that couples have. Right? Because it makes total sense, the idea that both people are going to want the same thing at the same time all the time. Doesn't make any sense. But what happens when we get locked into the higher desire partner and the lower desire partner and then the narratives kind of take over from there in a way that's problematic and that keeps the system stuck because the only thing we can see is either you should ask for it less or you should want it more and that's just not, sex is a tug of war and a sort of set of like transactions rather than just the hard, beautiful work of a different kind of question. Right.
Alexandra: 29:50 Which is what do we each want and need in order to cultivate this? Sometimes I think it's helpful, like I think the practice of like just like scheduling sex. I think that can be a really neutralizing practice. It's not everything, but I think it can be one thing that just sort of neutralizes it that we know we put in our calendar is that this is when it's going to happen and so therefore we're both lining up our energies and taking care of our sides of the streets and we're holding that space for us. And that can really neutralize the sort of like you never initiate or it's never a good time or the house has to get cleaned before we do it or whatever those things are getting in the way. I think that can be something that is helpful and almost a kind of, I dunno it just to kind of not, I try to avoid the word foreplay cause foreplay implies that like all leading up to penetration, but I don't mean that, I mean foreplay just in terms of like setting the stage for us to be sexual together however that looks, but kind of like Oh foreplay then that we are both aware that we've agreed to this and so we're protecting our energy so that we're interested in available.
Amanda: 30:55 I like that protecting her energy. Cause I think sometimes, like you say, especially when you have a lot going on, you kind of need it a little mental space to kind of like get yourself, take care of your energy so you can show up present. Yup. All right. And so if you know like 10:00 PM on a Thursday, you're totally depleted. It's probably not the best time to schedule it. When is a good time maybe you know, and get creative on childcare or whatnot. So you can find times that actually you're conscious.
Alexandra: 31:20 Yes. Right? Yeah. And yeah, it's so easy to make it the last thing of the day and just busting through ideas about that. It has to be nighttime. Well, could it be right in the middle of the day? Like would that be a possibility the kids are at school or you know, whatever. There's not right. We haven't waited until everything else is complete. So the, all those little, those kinds of beliefs that end up being limiting. And then sometimes it is, we said we were going to do it now and I just can't. And then saying that out loud. Right. Like I, we said we would and I can't. And let's, you know, here's my plan about when we're gonna reschedule for right. Cause we should never enter a sexual experience when your no is really loud and clear to bypass that. That doesn't neither serves your partner and nor you. Right. That space between like I'm willing like I'm neutral and I'm willing to be, you know, to unfold and to grow into this even though I'm not like actively horny right now. Like that's very different than I am a no, but I will bypass my no in order to not have a fight with you.
Amanda: 32:19 Right. That's big. And I think too as well, like you say, you know, sex is more than just, you know, penis, in vagina or however that could look. It's more than penetration and there's so many ways you can define it. So like having that mindset of broadening your definition of what that looks like and really I think like you say you more, you set up those dates and honor one another's true impulses and really boundaries. Then the more it's fun and the more you want to do it right, because we're just not designed to go to somewhere where it's painful. If there is always an argument then it's not going to be something that you're looking forward to.
Alexandra: 32:53 That's right. That's right. Well yeah, that's reason number 315 about why it's important to shake up that idea that sex is, you know, we, it's like the first base, second base, third base home run. They're like, we have that script in our heads and so it's sort of, if that's the idea, like it doesn't count unless it's penetration. It just, it just creates sometimes too big of a mountain to climb. And so can it be like, I'm not available for penetration. I'm really up for massage and seeing what happens or what, you know, however that looks.
Amanda: 33:23 Yeah. So I just, I am so thrilled and all your wisdom. Thank you so much. And I, I'm going to let everyone know where they can find the book in a moment. But before I do, I'd love to just have you tap in if there's any last words you really want to make sure that the listeners hear today or any maybe questions that you wish that I would've asked that I did not ask.
Alexandra: 33:42 I nothing is really on the tip of my tongue except that I think we highlighted that this is, you know, this is unfolding and it doesn't have to be, there isn't whatever idea we have in our heads of who we should be sexually. I want us to just invite like a letting go of that and to know that desire rises and falls and that we, I think sometimes we make our, we make the fall kind of more scary by adding the story of like, what's wrong with me and I'm broken and it's gone for good and a bit more trust and self-compassion can sort of change then the relationship we have with the quote unquote problem and it can open up new pathways then for what we want to do about it. And just that part of like saying to a partner, like, I am really struggling with sexual desire right now.
Alexandra: 34:30 Like just saying that can be, so just can change the whole way it feels right. Because what happens is if my desire is low, I feel embarrassed about that. I feel scared about that. I feel like I can't talk about it. My partner is going to be afraid and my partner is going to be judgmental and my partners going to be disappointed. The more I can't say it, the bigger it grows inside of me. The bigger the distance grows between my partner and I. And so even just that piece, like, damn, I am just, sex is really on the back burner. I'm really struggling with desire right now. Even just that is an invitation to intimacy.
Amanda: 35:05 Well, thank you so much again for being a guest, Alexandra, and I would love it too if you could share where everyone can find more about you.
Alexandra: 35:12 Yes. The easiest way to find more about me is my website, dr.alexandrasolomon.com. I'm really active on social media, especially Instagram and Facebook and yeah, so the, the website has lots of access to different resources and obviously links to the book where to find the book, all that, all that good stuff.
Amanda: 35:32 Yes. Well, thank you so much again and again. Her book is out now, it's such a beautiful book and if you are curious to learn more, you're just going to discover lots of gems inside. So, again, it's called Taking Sexy Back, which I love that title. So thank you again and for everyone listening, thank you for tuning in, and we'll see you next week.
Alexandra: 35:52 Thank you, Amanda.
Amanda: 35:56 Thank you.
New Speaker: 35:56 So much for listening to the find your feminine fire podcast. This is your host, Amanda Testa. And if you have felt a calling while listening to this podcast to take this work to a deeper level, this is your golden invitation to reach out. You can contact me at www.amandatesta.com/activate. We can have a heart to heart to discuss more about how this work can transform your life. You can also join us on Facebook In my free group, Find your Feminine Fire Group, and if you've enjoyed this podcast, please share with your friends. Go to iTunes and give me a five star rating and a rave review so I can connect with other amazing listeners like yourself. Thank you so much for being a part of the community.