Conscious Relating and Men's Sexuality with Dr. Ananya Harvey
Want to move from frustration to confidence in your relationship? If you’re looking to feel epic connection in your relationship, then grab your partner and tune into this episode! This week on the podcast you’ll discover the secret to bringing in more wildness and pleasure into your relationship, and what you’re doing wrong when it comes to making your woman happy. Men, listen in to this one for some gems on how to get your partner to truly open to you.
I’m talking with Ananya Harvey, PhD, Scientist and Shadow and Sexuality Coach for men, and founder of Bliss Science. After a successful 10-year career as an academic research chemist, she broke free of lab life to pursue experiments in consciousness.
Ananya spent 4+ years in full-time study and practice of Hatha Yoga, Kundalini, and Tantra in Asia before becoming a certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach with Layla Martin’s VITA coaching. She has pursued transformational work with Prem Baba & John Wineland + Kendra Cunov. She studies conscious communication with the Bay Area T-Group and is a long-term devotee of classical tantrik meditation and non-dual philosophy with Christopher Wallis and Paul Muller-Ortega.
In this episode you'll discover
Ananya’s life and work represent a bridge between disparate worlds: men and women, science and spiritual practice, the head and the heart. Her no-bullshit, Bliss Science approach to sex & relationships unites the material and spiritual at the heart through non-dual insight, embodiment practices, and modern science.
Ananya has worked with hundreds of men - CEOs and leaders in tech, finance, and consulting - to rekindle passion in sexless marriage, recover confidence post-divorce, heal from performance anxiety, and communicate skillfully with women.
Her offerings include: the Love, Sex, and Confidence course for Men; the Emotional Mastery program, for all genders; the Conscious Sex Fundamentals Workshops for Men and Women; and bespoke 1:1 coaching online.
Join her FB group HERE.
JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION ON THIS EPISODE AND MORE IN MY FREE FACEBOOK GROUP, FIND YOUR FEMININE FIRE HERE.
Amanda Testa (00:02):
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. Hello everyone. And welcome to the podcast. I am so excited today to have back to the podcast, my friend and colleague, she is such an amazing and talented coach and myriad of other things, Dr. Ananya Harvey! Welcome back Ananya. Hi, it's so good to see you again, Amanda. Yes. So Ananya is a shadow and sexuality coach and she's the founder of Bliss Science. She spent 10 plus years as an academic research chemist. Yes. And then she broke through the lab to pursue experiments in consciousness, so has been spending years studying a full-time study, Hatha yoga, Kundalini and Tantra in Asia before becoming a certified Sex and Relationship coach, as well as studying a lot of conscious communication and many things, but she has got so much wisdom to bring, and she kind of really represents this bridge between two disparate worlds, which I love this analogy that she shares around men and women science and spiritual practice, the head and the heart.
Amanda Testa (01:16):
And she has a very novel approach, which I appreciate. She really has worked with, you know, so many people specifically right now, she's really focusing on working with a lot of men. And she works has worked with hundreds of CEOs, leaders in tech, finance and consulting to rekindle passion in sexless marriages, recover confidence post divorce, heal from performance anxiety, and communicate skillfully with women. So I'm really excited to talk to Ananya today for numerous reasons. And number one, I really, you know, I have so many people ask me, well, I would love for my partner who, if they're male to work with someone who might that be <laugh>. So Dr. Ananya is amazing one as well as to kind of get an insight into men and sexuality. And so, and also if you feel like often there's communication issues or like breakdowns in your relationship, I always invite this podcast to perhaps be just a fun thing you could do together. It perhaps spark some conversation or a deeper insight. So perhaps if this is something you'd want to bring up, you can always say, Hey, tune into this podcast and let's talk about it. So welcome. Thank you so much. Yeah. And so, you know, we were talking before I hit record about how explaining is killing your relationship. And I really think this is such an amazing topic. So can you share more about that if you don't mind?
Dr. Ananya Harvey (02:25):
Yes. I would love to talk about that. So I've worked with a lot of men who really wanna feel closer to their female partners. So I mostly work with people in heterosexual relationships. And so I ask them about, well, what is your communication like with her? And usually when they're telling me about something that's happened recently, like maybe a little, a little argument or something, they'll say, you know, when she's telling me about what she's feeling or what's going on in her head, or she's having big emotions, I usually just say, babe, you know, you don't need to feel that way. Just think about, think about it this way. And they explain why, if she only understood the situation, the way that he did, she wouldn't feel what she was feeling. And that rationally, there was no need for her to be feeling that way.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (03:11):
So <laugh>, and that's totally understandable. I mean, I'm sure I did that in my relationships because I just didn't know there was any other way to communicate. But what this has the effect of doing is it's essentially telling your partner that it's invalidating how she's feeling, that you know better, you know, how she should be feeling that. And that's, you know, her emotions are too much for you and that she just needs to listen to your reason. And that you're right. So this will usually cause her to feel bad about herself, to think that maybe she's too much for you and to close down. I mean, it's also a hurt to the ego, to our pride when we're like, oh, am I just not understanding this situation? Right? Oh, I shouldn't be feeling this way. Why do I do this to myself? And that creates disconnection. She is not gonna want to open to you during sex. When you do that as a man, she's not gonna feel safe to be wild and messy and free and let go of control. Because if she has the thought, oh, he doesn't like my emotions or I'm too much for him, then, you know, wild and amazing sex becomes impossible. You just don't feel safe. Yeah.
Amanda Testa (04:17):
That is So hitting the nail in the head right there. It's interesting. Cause I think I once watched this YouTube video, you've probably seen it <laugh> and it's like, this woman literally has like a nail in her head. Have you seen that one? Yes. And she's like, oh, I've got such a headache. And her male partner is like, well, you have a nail in your head. Just pull the nail out. She's like, you don't ever listen to me. You don't understand what I'm feeling. He's like, yes, pull the nail out. Anyway. It's just so funny because it's exactly like that in a way. Right. Mm-hmm
Dr. Ananya Harvey (04:44):
<Affirmative> exactly. Yes.
Amanda Testa (04:46):
And so in those situations, what then is a better, not necessarily better, but what's a different way to approach that, to help your partner feel like seen and valued and accepted as they are.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (04:57):
Yes. So this is what I call empathic communication. And this is really a bit of a very clever relational move that instead of addressing head on what's going on, you go right to the heart of what she needs. It's kind of like ducking under a punch and going straight to really the meat of what's happening. And so all you need to do as a man when she's expressing some to you, even if the emotions are overwhelming to you and we can talk about how to ground yourself and resource yourself so that you can stay present with her, even if you're having a reaction in your body. But let's assume that you can do that. Then what you need to do is simply repeat back to her what you heard her say and say, all right, babe. So what I'm hearing you say is.dot, dot, and then ask her, is that right? Did I understand you Right? So you're not adding your own wisdom. You're not giving advice. You're not trying to fix the situation. You're not telling her, you know, better or reasoning with her. You're just being totally present and listening and trying to understand her. Yeah.
Amanda Testa (05:57):
And so I love that. How you call it going straight to the heart and like ducking under. Okay. So having that empathetic communication, are there any other, any other keys to that that you feel are important? Yeah.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (06:10):
So that's really the first step of a much bigger communication process that I teach my clients in one, on one in a, I also teach it in my men's course, love sex and confidence for men. That's an online course that I do once a year, but then once she feels totally understood, you know, the second part is to empathize with how she's feeling. So to say, oh, if I, now that I understand what's going on for you, I imagine you might feel frustrated. Or I imagine you, I might be feeling sad is that right. And again, ask her to confirm or to correct you and listen to what she says, cuz she might say, oh, you know what? I actually am feeling really sad. I didn't even realize it until you said that. And it's just a beautiful way to connect and feel understood. So that's step two then there's, you know, you can add more to it. Right.
Amanda Testa (06:56):
And I know, I think when you have that ability to connect with one another and feel understood and accepted, it does create, like you said earlier, that ability to be able to fully surrender and open yourself sexually as well. Right? Because if you don't feel even safe enough to express yourself, then of course you're not going to allow yourself to get into a state where you maybe lose control of that because you want to be free and surrendered and primal or whatever, call mm-hmm <affirmative> calls to you in this <laugh>.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (07:27):
Yeah. Yes, yes. And you know, when a man can show up this way for his partners, then she starts to see him as part of the same team. You know like we're in this together. Yeah. He's helping me go deeper into myself, understand my heart. And he really cares about how I'm feeling. So then she will want to talk to you more. She'll want to open to you more cuz then she'll feel safe like that It's okay to be who she is and you won't try to talk her out of it.
Amanda Testa (07:55):
Oh. And so I love that so much. I think like you say like feeling in it together. I don't know where I read this, but I think it's so important. Like when you think about when you're in a partnership it's like it's me and you versus the problem. Yeah. Versus me versus you <laugh> yes. Right? Yes. It makes such a huge difference when you can have that reframe. It's not easy all the time for sure. But creating that. It does create a feeling of safety. I'm wondering too, what else you might share to help? Because I do feel like this can benefit anyone, is creating that emotional safety with your partner.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (08:28):
Yes. So a lot of men come to me and they ask, how can I, you know, turn my partner on more? How can I seduce her more? And I usually say, well, how are you helping her feel, you know, emotionally and psychological, safe around you. And this is usually something men have not ever been taught or considered or known how to do. And what this means is that, I mean, emotional safety simply means that she can express how she's feeling to you and you're not going to judge her or criticize her. And this doesn't mean that she gets to be abusive towards you. That's the extreme end. No, you still need to have self respect and boundaries on both ends of the relationship. Yeah. But you know, so many times we've been taught that emotions are weak. That reason is what we want and we are, and men, especially, but women do it too are, are suppressing their emotional world.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (09:23):
And so when we see emotions come up in someone else, because I mean, all we know how to do is to judge them or to try to get rid of them. There's also something else that's going on for men here, which is, there is sometimes a subconscious fear Men have that If they don't keep their partner happy all the time, then she won't want to have sex with them. So when she's expressing anger or sadness or disappointment or something difficult, it can be it's, it's terrifying on a primal level to a man. Yeah. And becasue men haven't had any education around how to deal with emotions and because they so long to be desired by their woman, then they just try to shut it down so fast and get her back to happy any way they can. And it's not done out of malice it's done out of, you know, love and wanting things to be good. Yeah.
Amanda Testa (10:16):
I really appreciate you sharing that perspective cuz it is true. And I think something else that can happen, and this might be a little deeper than we'll dive into here. But oftentimes if one partner is very reactive, then you know, it also can be childhood things coming up. Right. If you had a parent or caregiver who was reactive or like overly had a lot of big emotions that were scary to you as a child, sometimes that can like trigger that same type of thing too. So also kind of being aware of what's coming up when you are in these experiences, right? Yes.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (10:45):
That's a really good point. So definitely you need to give yourself an education on how our nervous systems work and how to be in relationship. We don't get this education and it destroying our ability to have intimacy <laugh> so you guys, you need to approach this just like a nerdy scientific research project. Okay. Because there's lots of really cool stuff out there about how our bodies work, how nervous systems work, how emotions work, how communication works. It's so interesting. Like how bonding hormones work. There's nothing shameful or weird or weak about studying relating. It's super fascinating. And if you really wanna get your needs met, really take it on as a research project. Your relationship, of course, I'm a researcher in my background by training. So I, I love researching this stuff, but you need to find a way to make yourself excited about learning, how to relate.
Amanda Testa (11:38):
I Just really wish this was taught in schools. It needs to be, I mean, I have to say, thankfully, my daughter she's in fourth grade now, but in kindergarten they actually even taught them body mapping, which I thought was huge because this is like kind of understanding what's happening in your body, what your sensations are, all these things. This is part of that learning. But, and it's okay if you don't know what we're talking about because you can learn. But I love how you say, you know, just to view it as relating is a beautiful skill and you can use it in any facet of your life, which is why I think oftentimes men, a lot of times are conditioned. Like they need to know all the answers and they need to already have, have these things. And so by not knowing that means there's something wrong with them, but it's nothing.
Amanda Testa (12:17):
It's just nothing we've been taught. Like we have never been taught these things and it is no wonder, so many people struggle. And so many relationships fail and people can't move past challenges often because we've never been taught how to do that. Right. And we are, and we are in a place now where, you know, and you can open up to this learning that it does benefit every area of your life because you can have a better relationship with not only your partner, your children, your business relationships. I mean, it really is huge. The ripple effect it can have.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (12:44):
Oh yes, yes. This changes the way. I mean, a lot of men come to work with me and they say, I want it to be a better lover, but this is making me a better person. It has impacted how present I can be for my kids. It's impacted how well I get along with my colleagues at work and how good of a manager I am. I mean, so this is really important stuff. And I will say also it, it is so true that men are conditioned to think you have to always be right. You have to have all the answers. It's not okay to not know or to engage a process of learning. But this is actually one of the fundamental rights is to exist, to need things, to engage a process of learning. And one thing I wanna say is that I had a couple come to me recently and the woman was doing a lot of personal development work and the man was fairly recalcitrant.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (13:28):
He had a very scientific mind like me. And so, you know, I just talked to him about stuff and I gave him a book to read about embodying different archetypes and playing with energy in how he related to his woman. And at first he was like, I, he told me he was very resistant and he didn't wanna read it at all, but it only took one chapter and he had been skeptical and just stubborn. It would not, was not willing to go there. One chapter, he came back. He was like, why didn anybody tell me this 20 years ago, this is so much fun. And that's the thing also. It's actually fun when you start knowing how to dance with each other relationally. Ah, yeah. What's
Amanda Testa (14:07):
The book do if you don't mind me asking,
Dr. Ananya Harvey (14:09):
Oh, it's Open Her by Karen Brody. I believe. Yeah. That is a good
Amanda Testa (14:13):
Book. I love it. I think too.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (14:17):
Yeah, please. Okay. So the other point you were making about sometimes in a relationship, it's bringing up wounds from childhood and it's really overwhelming. I wanna speak to that for a moment. So if you're a man and interacting with your woman, when she's anything besides happy is just really, really overwhelming. Like it's cripplingly you inside the fear is so intense or you're seeing red or you just can't, it's just really hard to bear. That's okay. Be gentle with yourself. You're not weak. What I want you to know is sometimes this brings up wounds from childhood that are super intense, and this is common for all of us. At some point we'll need to confront those, but when that's happening to you, that's when you need to get a third person to help you do the healing work together. There's a lot of this work you can do on your own, but when it's that intense, then you definitely need to seek outside help.
Amanda Testa (15:05):
Yes. So important. And I think too, oftentimes we don't often realize how we trigger one another. I mean we can, but it's sometimes when you have that just third party, it can be so supportive and help heal so many things. You know, one of the things that I feel like we were talking about earlier that think is important to name too, is that, you know, oftentimes we see people because they either want more, more intimacy with their partner and they feel like their partner is not, is not open to that. Or they want to feel less shut down and all these things. And so, you know, a lot of what we've been talking about are some, some really key foundational pieces to be able to have that right. Being able to feel safe and communicating with one another, being able to learn skills, to be together and to learn how to relate as well. As you know, I think I'd be curious to know a lot of times what men actually want and why they have a hard time speaking it, if you wouldn't mind sharing more about that. Oh
Dr. Ananya Harvey (16:02):
Yeah. That's a great question. So, you know, a lot of men, they are just really, really, really longing to please their woman come to me and they say nothing else matters, especially in sex only if she is happy. If she orgasms, if she has pleasure, you know, I really, really wanna be a good lover for her. And I just think that is such a sweet desire, you know, <laugh> and they struggle a lot with worrying during sex. Worrying that, you know, they're a good enough lover that their performance is good and they struggle to say that they think it's not okay to reveal themselves like, Hey, I'm actually anxious right now. I'm worried you think that I'm not good enough for you? Or sometimes when men do say that to their female partners, their partners shut them down. Their partners are not kind. So because unless women have done their own work too, we've also been trained to be pretty critical of men. Yeah.
Amanda Testa (17:01):
The criticism. Right. And that is such a shut quickest way to shut things down, right. From our perspective, that criticism is just like a, such a fast way to shut down.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (17:12):
Yep. And so what are really longing for is to, to feel safe in making love to their woman, that they can maybe not perform up to their own standards and that she won't criticize them or make fun of them, that she won't close down. They really wanna be able to have like, to be real and to have that deep connection with her. So this is the thing they don't usually say is that for men, sex is about the deepest connection they ever experience in life. It's about love, you know, it's about the freedom to bring their full self. And I think women really, most of the time think that for men's sex is just about this physical act. And so women can be very dismissive of men's desire and the men never sat down their woman and said, look, this is what sex means to me. This is what it does for me and my heart. And for us, I mean, it just means the world to them.
Amanda Testa (18:08):
Yeah. I just, I think that is such a great question to ponder with one another, right? Like what does it mean to your heart? I mean, that's so huge. I'm curious. You know, one of the things you mentioned earlier is that how much men want to be desired? Like how much they want to be desired. I feel like everybody really wants that. Right. That feeling of being desired. And I'm wondering what are some ways to, to feel that or to make them feel desired. Right. I think first of all, a making sure that you are connected to that in yourself, you know, how to connect to your desire, but also how to make your partner feel desired. Mm
Dr. Ananya Harvey (18:40):
Yes. So I mean, they really want their woman to initiate sex and they really want to be fully received by her. They want her to know pleasure and to experience it with him, it's a bit of a conundrum because when I talk to women about this, I know women universally say, oh my God, I felt like a human pin cushion. And he had just this needy energy, just groping at me all the time. And here I am not sleeping and feeding the baby and working and cleaning the house. So why would I ever want sex? It's one of the biggest difficulties of our modern life. And I think it's a bigger conversation, but I mean, for me, I think just the nuclear family is not set up to support parents to support a healthy sexual life. And women are taught that sex is shameful and it's gross and it's just a duty for the man. So why would we ever cultivate that side of ourselves?
Amanda Testa (19:31):
Yeah. I mean, it's such a different thing when women do their own work on connecting with their own sexuality and really the expansiveness that is possible and also just creating that space for play. Right. I really do feel like sex is a play for adults, right. Just that environment of intimacy and being together in this way, that is so deep and pure in a lot of ways. Right. And so kind of reframing it from something you feel like just another to do to something you actually look forward to. I mean, and I do believe you're right. Like the way that our culture is set up is not conducive to that. And you know, I really feel like that there's so much invisible labor often that the human givers take on which most of the time is the woman partner often. But because there is, there's just so much to be done. And I think often everyone feels like there's a million things on their plates. So what then do they do in these situations? <Laugh> what do we do? I, I mean, I got some ideas and I'd love to hear your ideas.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (20:25):
Yeah. So, you know, I chose a very different path in life, full disclosure. Like I chose not to have children in, to study sex and relating from a, a different framework cuz I, I just, so I haven't struggled with that in the nuclear family, but I can tell you what I see for myself, which is that sex is a gift. It's, it's an opportunity to feel amazing. And you know, I cannot imagine seeing it as a chore actually, because it makes me feel so good in my body. And then I'm able to show up with love and with happiness and full of energy for the rest of the people in my life. There's a photographer who takes pictures of women. Before, during and after orgasm and the, before pictures, they're kind of like, oh, they look kind of sad, you know, <laugh> and then during their faces are all scrunched up and you know, or they're looking up and then after they're universally glowing and happy and giggly <laugh> and I'm like, is there a way you could, you know, reframe sex as this gift that you can have from your man, from your partner that he gives you or you know, that you do for each other to take each other to this space of like relaxation and to de-stres and openness, what do you think?
Amanda Testa (21:40):
I mean, I agree. I think it's often just getting creative with getting creative with how you find time together. So cuz sometimes it can be hard, especially depending if your kids are really little or if at the age where they're older and they're always around and then they never give you alone time. Right. There's always different challenges. So I think it's getting creative on how to make time for each other, whether that is when they're at school, you know, I love an afternoon play date with my husband. Those are the best or rounding up a neighbor or a friend in, or a trusted caregiver and like taking turns, watching each other's kids or you know, taking a night away. My husband and I did that last week and it was like a miracle. It was so funny. I saw my neighbor when I was coming home. She's like, she's got a facial. I was like, no, but I had some good orgasms and that counts <laugh> right. Because that's just the best. And I do feel like it's because so many people just aren't taught how to have good sex. And I feel like it's such an important thing because it can be so amazing. I think the reason people aren't realizing that is cuz they've not had that kind of experience yet. They haven't yet had the kind of sex that's amazing. And it's possible for anyone cuz a learned skill. Yes.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (22:48):
Yes. I didn't like sex either through my whole twenties until I had that experience when it was amazing. And you know, as Katherine Rowland documented in her book, The Pleasure Gap, it's not that women don't like sex often. They don't like the sex that's on offer because it's not good. And again, men, this is not your fault. How are you supposed to know the only models we give you are abstinence education or porn. So I'm not anti porn, but it's just, you know, if that's the only thing, you know, so that's why a lot of men come to me and I'm like, okay, this is how you become a conscious lover. This is how you become the kind of lover that, and I, and I had this happen recently where you know, there was a man who learned to do pussyy massage and his partner. She wasn't too sure about it, but after he did it for her once and she had amazing orgasms, then even though she almost never initiates, she woke him up the next night when he was sleeping and asked him for sex, you know? So it just takes a little, little shifting of how you show up. Yeah. And it can be
Amanda Testa (23:52):
Really good for her. And I mean, I think the beautiful thing is that I think that's what it's. So when you can take that on together as like a, a growing opportunity in a couple, because oftentimes I work with people who have been together a really long time and they love each other or there's a good foundation, but there's just not that spark. And oftentimes when it comes to doing the work, there's all, there's usually more there than just the spark missing because it is sometimes, you know, like resentments pile up and all the things. And it's like really learning how to create a new experience together where you can just leave those kind of things in the past, create something new because oftentimes that's kind of the best way to move forward. I think there's a great book too, that I, I read called Fair Play, by Eve Rodsky around redistributing household responsibilities, more evenly.
Amanda Testa (24:36):
And I think those are, I mean like any, I don't know. I feel like sometimes that's an important thing to look at. So you always have to just see for yourself, like what is it that is seeing in the way of connection. And I listen to, to a beautiful podcast the other day with Brene Brown on her new book. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> but I just love a lot of the research cuz again, research research. Right. And she was talking about, I think maybe it was John Gotlib who was talking about every moment that you have an opportunity for connection or betrayal of trust in a way if they're trying to build trust. So it's like, if you see your partner and there's a moment to connect and you choose to ignore it, you're kind of like betraying that connection. Or if you choose to take that moment of presence, it can be huge for both parties. Right. Cuz I think that was a really beautiful eye opening thing. Like yes. Where can I look at those opportunities that I'm missing? Or where am I betraying connection? Mm-Hmm <affirmative> in my own experience. Right?
Dr. Ananya Harvey (25:25):
Yeah. Beautiful know someone said a foreplay is everything that happens outside of sex, you know <laugh> so I talk to men and I'm like, oh, so when was the last time you courted her? And they'll say, oh, before we got married and I'm like, okay, this is where we need to start, you know? Right. Keep be holding her with those eyes of adoration and you know, bring her flower or put your hand on the smile of her back and tell her that you love her without it meaning you need to have sex later that night just for the pure joy of admiring her feminine beauty.
Amanda Testa (25:57):
Yeah. I think that is a beautiful thing to consider. Right. How can I date my partner? Yeah. Because sometimes when I feel like things are in a really big rut, I'll just ask Mark if I can be his girlfriend,
Dr. Ananya Harvey (26:10):
I love that you two do that. You two are such an amazing example. <Laugh>
Amanda Testa (26:15):
Cause it's so much more fun. I was like, can I be your girlfriend? <Laugh>
Dr. Ananya Harvey (26:18):
Right. Or can we go on a first date together? <Laugh>
Amanda Testa (26:21):
But, and I think sometimes it's fun. Like you are mentioning an open her but just playing with archetypes in different personas because you do get, I mean sometimes especially in long term relationships, you can get stuck in these roles. And even just as a busy mom, I can feel like that sometimes. And just like, Ugh. And so I just wanna like put on a different persona and it is such a refreshing experience often. <Laugh>
Amanda Testa (26:43):
Yes. I love that you're speaking to that and that you're willing to do the work. I know even you are, you are the busy mom, but you're like, no, I wanna feel better. So I'm gonna do this work too. It's not just for him. It's for me. I mean, and you know, cuz you actually Ananya actually coached Mark and I, and she's an amazing relationship coach, but I mean, because like everyone, we have our own problem and things, but we just really work to do our best to work through them. And I think that's all we can do because you know, if you, no, nobody comes into this without challenges. Right. We all have our own experiences, our own things We bring individually and together. And so I feel like it should just be an important, like just working out, like, like to taking care of yourself, taking care of your body, you gotta nourish anything. You want to be healthy. Yes. Including your relationship.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (27:28):
Yeah. And to talk about expectations around sex before you commit to a monogamous lifelong partnership. Yeah. Because otherwise it's really, really hard when the sex goes away and the desire goes away and there's no openness to talk about it. It really hurts. And I see the loneliness and frustration and men come sideways in, you know, hiring, you know, online cam girls or, you know, getting their needs met secretly in other ways. And then just the connection between the parents dies completely. And it's not a helpful model to have that for your children. But I wanted to talk about also like the idea of can, can I be your girlfriend? I recommend that in sex too, you know? So to approach sex, a lot of us come unconsciously to sex from a performance model. And men tell me this all the time.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (28:19):
They don't think it's okay to stop or to slow down or to take breaks, or they even say like, if I try to do something different, she gets upset with me. She only wants me to do this one thing and see if you can approach your sex life as if you're playing together, you know, like in a sandbox, even you're trying different things, it's okay to sort of make a mistake and something crumbles for a minute and to have these eyes as of an Explorer or like you're dating each other again so that it's not about how well you perform as a man or as a woman, but it's about how much fun can you have together. And that's moving to the pleasure model from the performance model is just following the fun and the flow and the pleasure and trying different things and giving each other permission, get it wrong or for something to feel awkward for a minute, but <laugh>, but then you can get kind of fixated on like I have to have this many orgasms as the goal and don't get me wrong.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (29:15):
Orgasms are great. However, there's also a sacred model of sex where kind of orgasms are a side benefit. But what you're practicing together is dissolving into conscious into oneness. And this is more like the NeoTantric view, the spiritual view of sex. And it's like, how much can I bear my soul to you? How deeply can I see into your eyes and in your heart, how much can I surrender and how can we hold each other in emotional and psychological safety, meaning whatever you're feeling, whatever you're expressing, I'm gonna hold you in it. If you're crying, if you need to scream, like I'm, we're gonna be there for each other to just go as deep into this as we can. And that's a whole other level of sex and it makes it so much more interesting. In My opinion to have the flexibility to play on that whole spectrum.
Amanda Testa (30:05):
I love that it is so true because even I always feel there's always deeper levels and more you can open, right? Because you think you get to a certain surrender state, but then realizing, oh but, there's deeper. I bet I can go deeper <laugh> and feeling safe enough to do it. And so it's like build all of that. That's why everything builds on one another, because you can't just immediately go into like these deep states, if you don't feel safe to, to do that. And so, and I think, and even too, in my own experience, just realizing, I thought I was pretty open and with my husband, but realizing like, oh, I really, my heart is very closed. And, and I have having those experiences of like, I thought I was open, but I wasn't. And the difference of like really opening.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (30:48):
Hmm. Oh, I wanna hear more about that someday soon.
Amanda Testa (30:51):
So good. <Laugh> so good. Yes.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (30:54):
Yeah. And, and so how you can do this on a practical level is maybe one of you wants to try a new way of having sex and let's say you.re the woman and you're like, oh no, I I'm worried I have too much cellulite or you know, that you won't like me from that angle or whatever it is. And to be able to say that to him, you know, and then for him to kiss you or caress you and compliment you in a certain way for him to be able to hold your insecurity and be like, I hear that. And to me, you're a goddess, right? So those little moments of insecurity to speak them, to be vulnerable, to hold each other through that. And then you can go a step deeper.
Amanda Testa (31:30):
Yeah. I love that. I think another fun thing, you can always do a dry run literally, which I sometimes joke, like, just keep your clothes on and have a dry run of it. I like see how that feels. Cause sometimes that just, you know, it's, it's a very vulnerable space and like being, building that safety to be really naked and vulnerable sometimes maybe start with the truck with your clothes on, if you'd right. <Laugh> I love that performance to pleasure to sacred model because I think, I just think that's such a beautiful way to view it. Thank you so much for all this amazingness. I'm wondering if there's any, you know, if there's maybe any question that you wished I'd asked that I didn't ask or, or anything else that you wanna make sure to bring mm-hmm <affirmative>.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (32:09):
I think what I see a lot is really that sex is so important to our wellbeing and, and feeling connected and desired is, is really, really important to men. And I wonder what it would be like for women to hold that in the same importance or why. I mean, it makes sense, you know, because we have the big responsibility of bearing and raising the children. But I think that's the question I sit with a lot is like, why is it put aside for half of the population? You know, the beauty and the importance of sex and something I wanted to add is if you're a man and you're working on self-regulation in the face of intense emotion, you know, if that's a totally new territory for you, I am start a program in February called emotional mastery. That's all about, yeah. Emotional intelligence, self-regulation understanding the subconscious and also practicing this empathic communication practice. I was going over in the beginning and it's actually open to all genders. This course it's my only all gender course, but men love it. They come in. They're like I had no idea There were so much science underneath how we deal with our emotions using our body. Yeah.
Amanda Testa (33:24):
So, well, that sounds thrilling. I'd love to hear, you know, where everyone can find out more about you and where they can connect with you. Let everyone know.
Dr. Ananya Harvey (33:31):
Yes. So my website is Ananaharvey.com. You can and follow me on firstname.lastname@example.org. That's speaking to my background as a PhD chemist and then my training as a Tantra teacher. And those are the best ways to get ahold of me. Oh, you can also join my BLISS science group on Facebook, where I post free lots of free videos, free content. And you'll be the first to know about the programs I offer when you're in my group too.
Amanda Testa (33:59):
Thank you so much Ananya for being here and for everyone listening, I will make sure to put in the show notes where you can connect with her and learn more about all the programs offered under Bliss science. So thank you all for being here. And again, if you enjoy this episode, you know, invite your partner to listen with you because I really do feel like, this is such important work to do together. Thank you. Yes, goodbye. Everyone. I'll see you next week.
Thank you so much for listening to the find your feminine fire podcast. This is your host Amanda test. 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. I invite you to reach out. You can contact me at amandatesta.com/activate and 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 at Find Your Feminine Fire Group. And if you've enjoy this podcast, please share with friends, go to iTunes and give me a five star rating and a raving review. So I can connect with other amazing listeners like yourself. Thank you so much for being a part of the community.