Integrating Pleasure When Healing from Cancer with Faith Laux
Have you ever found yourself facing unexpected challenges in life, whether it be a difficult transition or an unexpected setback?
Today, I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to chat with Faith Laux, a remarkable individual who radiates positivity and serves as a sex, love, and relationship coach.
Her focus is on assisting clients in rediscovering their passion and intimacy, particularly during times of change.
In our conversation, she will share her personal journey of prioritizing pleasure and flourishing through cancer treatment.
"It’s not like because you have this big cataclysmic diagnosis that your sex drive just disappears. It changes. It transitions." - Faith Laux
"My mortality is so much closer to my awareness than it ever was, and that also means that my aliveness is so much closer, and who I authentically am has been able to just burn through, and I really do sort of feel this phoenix energy of, “Okay, that old Faith is gone. She’s gone, and this new Faith who feels shameless about who she is, what she wants, what her gifts are is here,” and it feels amazing." - Faith Laux
Complete transcript below.
In this episode you'll discover
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Faith Laux is a Somatic Sex, Love and Relationships coach. Her transformational coaching helps her clients reconnect to the wisdom, intuition and enchantment of their body so that they are empowered to thrive sexually. She helps her clients prioritize their pleasure and delight in their sexual energy. In May of 2022 she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Since then she has been adding pleasure as a healing modality alongside her treatments to help her thrive and enjoy life on an otherwise grueling journey. She has additional experience with shamanic healing and emotional empowerment which she weaves into her offerings.
Mother, artist, wife, former middle school Spanish teacher and adventurer Faith seeks to normalize the conversation around sexuality, cancer and desire.
To work with Faith 1:1: https://www.faithlaux.com/coaching
Follow Faith on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faithlaux/
Want more support from Amanda? Schedule a confidential 1-1 call with Amanda here.
In this 45 min call, we’re going to identify your #1 block to pleasure, why it’s showing up in the way it is, and what to do to turn it around.
After doing this work for almost a decade, I can quickly identify the patterns holding you back, and show you the steps to change it.
Permission to reach out even if it feels scary. Permission to reach out even if you aren’t even sure you want to do this work. Permission to reach out to explore if this is right for you, no strings or pushy sales tactics here.
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EPISODE 257: Faith Laux
[Fun, Empowering Music]
Amanda Testa: 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!
Hey, what’s up? It’s Amanda! If you're enjoying this pod, and you know you are ready to say yes to more pleasure, and you are just wanting to know, “How the hell do I do it,” well, you are in luck because as of now, we have spots available in The Pleasure Foundation which is my pleasure membership where twice a month you get an amazing practice that teaches you how to drop into your body, to become more connected to yourself, and to learn the art of sacred self-care. So, if this is something you're interested in, go to www.amandatesta.com/tpf (as in The Pleasure Foundation) and we will see you there!
Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast! Have you ever had those experiences in life where you have maybe been dealt a card that you weren't expecting or potentially just a transition that felt really challenging to digest? Today, I’m super thrilled because I am going to be talking with Faith Laux, and she is an amazing, amazing just bright light. She’s a sex, love, and relationship coach, and she specializes in helping people to kind of reclaim their erotic lives through transition, and she is gonna share a little bit more today about her own story of keeping pleasure at the forefront and finding a way to thrive going through cancer treatment.
And so, I am super thrilled to have Faith here today. I just adore her. I had the pleasure of meeting her because she was one of the students in the VITA training program that I got to just meet, and through the whole time when I was teaching and just feeling her showing up and her energy and just her power just exudes.
So, being in her presence just feels so electric and amazing. So, welcome, Faith! So glad to have you here.
Faith Laux: Thank you so much, Amanda. I love that intro. Yes!
Amanda Testa: And I’m curious, too, as we start, if there’s anything else that you want to say about yourself or that you want to add to the introduction.
Faith Laux: Yeah, well, I think you said it well. I support people through transitions. That really is it. I mean, to get a little bit more granular, I support new moms who are transitioning sort of out of the survival mode of learning how to parent a newborn and then sort of ready to reclaim their sexuality or redefine their sexuality in this new iteration of being a mother, and then the transition that I’ve recently gone through of what you said, this sort of unexpected news of, “Hey, you have stage four colon cancer.” “What?”
And digesting that, integrating that news, and starting a healing journey towards my own health and recovery, you know, and weaving sexuality into that because it doesn't go away. It’s not like because you have this big cataclysmic diagnosis that your sex drive just disappears. It changes. It transitions. And so, I’ve been living in that transition for the past, gosh, eight or nine months at this point, and I’ve got a lot to share because it’s been actually a surprisingly wonderful journey, and I did not expect to be able to be at the tail end of my cancer treatment looking back and saying that.
Amanda Testa: I really want to just take a moment and reflect on how you digested that, right? This was an amazing experience that -- I think a lot of people don't have that experience, right? So, I’d love for you to share a little bit more about what were kind of some of the things that helped you as you got the diagnosis.
As you moved down this path, what were the things that really helped you to kind of embrace the journey versus be -- because a lot of times when these types of things happen, there are a lot of different ways people respond. So, I’m curious what was it for you that helped you to move through it in such a really inspiring way?
Faith Laux: Mm, so, I’ll just sort of kind of take you back. I experienced right around the beginning of when I started training through the VITA program, I started having this intense consistent abdominal pain, and it would come and go throughout the day, and I was just sort of perplexed by it, and I couldn't figure out why it was there, and it was there for, like, a year and a half. And until I went and I got a colonoscopy after doing nutritional changes and dietary shifts, “Maybe I’m allergic to something that I’m eating. Maybe my microbiome needs to be changed,” but nothing actually helped that I was doing.
And so, I got a colonoscopy in May of 2022 and thought that I would come out of that learning I have irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s or some digestive issue, and I did, but it was not what I expected.
The doctor was like, “I’m so sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer. There’s cancer in your colon,” and I was floored. I wasn't even afraid of that going into the colonoscopy. It wasn't on my radar in the slightest, and I don't have much experience with people in my family going through cancer, so it felt very out of left field. I’m this young 40-year-old woman who -- what the fuck? Like, what? What? And, you know, it’s an interesting experience to, then, kind of go into hyper speed with treatments and sort of the Western medicine. Sort of the image I have is like an assembly line. Now you're on the assembly line of cancer patient, and you get to decide are you gonna do chemo. You talk to your team. Are we gonna start with chemo? Are we gonna do radiation? Is there gonna be surgery?
I think that being on this really swift assembly line, those first few weeks are extremely challenging to psychologically reckon with this new being that has just entered your family. You know, it’s a new family member you didn't expect to have, and I wish that I had had the awareness and the permission to take a breath during that time and slow the assembly line down.
Now that I’m nine months into this journey, I’m really realizing, oh, I have autonomy in this. I am the one driving this bus. I get to decide when my chemo infusions are, if I need to wait a week. “Oh, my husband’s going to London? Okay, let’s postpone the next treatment until he gets back.” It’s not like I’m just surrendering to what the doctors say and recommend. It’s a co-created process.
And so, I think at the beginning there are so many emotions and so much grief and fear and uncertainty to be with that I think anybody going through something similar, I just want them to feel that sense of spaciousness, like take a moment. Take a lot of moments to slow down and process this emotionally. The cancer took years to develop in my body, and an extra week or two of settling before I make some decisions and do some things is fine. And, I mean, some cancers are more aggressive and invasive than mine, so that’s just something to name.
But I think that it’s been an interesting journey of, in the beginning, feeling like, “Oh, I’ve just got to do what they say. I’ve just got to do that next recommended thing,” and given that I didn't have much experience with it, I just battened down the hatches. I didn't accept new clients. I didn't know what was coming, you know?
I’m from Florida, and hurricanes hit Florida a lot, and so, I’m used to anticipating disaster and hedging risk, you know? Like, “What’s gonna come? I don't know. What should we do? Should we --.” And so, I kind of just locked everything down, and I canceled our trip to Costa Rica for the retreat. I thought, “Oh, my gosh. I’m gonna have surgery. I’ll be depleted. There’s no way I could do that. That’s ridiculous.” And so, I just kind of locked everything up, and over the course of time, I realized, “Oh, man, I don't need to have everything battened down. A) I’m not in control, and it’s okay for me to ask for help and be vulnerable, and B) I’m way stronger than I thought I was. So, I think a month and a half after surgery was plenty of time to be able to take a trip to Costa Rica and trust that I would get the help that I needed to lift the things that I shouldn't be lifting and go and take this time to really bask in the pleasure of being with all of these incredible women and just hour after hour, day after day, bathe in pleasure and in sexual healing. And that was my intention for the retreat was to sort of peel back the layers and see what’s actually real.
I think that’s one of the biggest gifts of cancer that I’ve experienced is the opportunity to let go of any masks that I was wearing or postures that I was assuming that would get me the love from people or get me acceptance and belonging. It was like, “Oh, that doesn't matter. That’s not actually me, so I’m gonna let that go because death is now part of my family.” My mortality is so much closer to my awareness than it ever was, and that also means that my aliveness is so much closer, and who I authentically am has been able to just burn through, and I really do sort of feel this phoenix energy of, “Okay, that old Faith is gone. She’s gone, and this new Faith who feels shameless about who she is, what she wants, what her gifts are is here,” and it feels amazing.
Amanda Testa: I’m just gonna take a moment and celebrate the phoenix energy in you, and I recall -- so, Faith was just talking about a retreat. And so, at the culmination of the sex, love, and relationship coaching, we take the students to a retreat, and it’s in this amazing venue in Costa Rica. It’s gorgeous. And so, in teaching that retreat, it was amazing to just look at these hundred, beautiful, pussy-owners just reveling in their experience, and one of the things I remember about you, Faith, is just how you came into that with a mission to just experience whatever there was to experience, right? There wasn't necessarily expectation around it, but you were just, I remember, like, “I am here, and I’m gonna be fully here.”
Faith Laux: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And just watching you just continue to blossom through the week --
Faith Laux: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: -- was amazing to see.
Faith Laux: I mean, Amanda, I have to say I am a sexually fluent woman who mostly loves cock. That’s my delicious space. And with that being said, as I look back on my life, I think that week in Costa Rica was the happiest week of my life because I felt the most me. I felt like I could be the fullest, most luscious, silly, vivacious, sexual, safe, free woman that I am, and I juxtapose that with the comment about cock because there were no cocks present. There were no men on this retreat. We were just in this super feminine vortex, and at the same time, I felt so connected to my own life force energy and my own beauty of who I naturally am when I get to just devote time and attention to myself in this context.
Amanda Testa: I mean, what a gift. I think that’s one of the things I always feel in those environments when I’m teaching retreats like that or experiencing them is that there are not enough places in our world where we can be that freely accepted in our unique sexual expression, in who we truly are, in an environment that is safe, that is contained, that is celebrated.
Faith Laux: Mm-hmm.
Amanda Testa: And so, that’s the beauty, and this is why we are so passionate about bringing this work to the world.
Faith Laux: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: Because it is really life changing. It is life affirming. It is so incredible.
Faith Laux: It’s so healing to be surrounded by 100 women who love you exactly as you are, accept you as you are, and celebrate you as you are in this sort of very expansive, exploratory space.
Amanda Testa: I know one of the things you mentioned, too, is around how actively cultivating your community and getting support was the key thing for you during your treatment, and I’m wondering if you might share a little bit more about what you did to support yourself in that way.
Faith Laux: Mm-hmm. Well, it’s interesting. What comes up for me as you say that right now is shame, and I think that part of why this cancer chose to emerge in my body was shame (and sexual shame, to be specific) and feeling like I was not allowed to have what I actually desire. What I desire is not okay, and I think a lot of people who go through -- I mean, there’s so much sexual shame and unspoken truth that people walk around with all the time, and part of my healing journey was talking about it, exploring it. I think intuitively that’s why I picked this program, and I picked this new career because I knew that there was important healing for me to do on my own here, and then to be able to bestow to others. And I think that a lot of people that I’ve encountered who have cancer, I mean, they don't tell other people.
They go through it alone, and there’s a sense of shame that you have cancer or that you have to hide it, you know, and go through it alone or there’s something wrong with you.
And so, early on, around the time of my surgery in early June, everything was happening so quickly, and I had this urge to write an email to all of the friends and family that I wanted to be with me energetically on this journey and in the surgery, in particular. And I had very specific prayers that I wanted them to hold and pray, and so, I just kind of filled everybody in, and some people knew, from conversations that I’d had with them, what was going on, and other people had no idea that this was what was happening for me.
It was a very quick assembly line that got me from the colonoscopy and the diagnosis to the surgery. And the responses back that I got from that first email filling people in and requesting their support and love and prayers were incredible. I mean, people matched my vulnerability with their own, and I learned things about friends and family members that I never knew. Some of them had cancer themselves, and I never fucking knew or huge multi-year health issues that I never knew. And it was a gift to be able to share and then receive, and it just kind of deepend the ties that I have with the people that I love. And so, I kept writing the emails.
So, every week or so at the beginning I would give people an update because there were a lot of things changing over the course of a week when you have a massive abdominal surgery, and I was just checking in with them and kind of sending them pictures.
My husband wrote this beautiful song in the hospital as I was going through the surgery. He’s a musician, among many other things. He’s kind of a renaissance man. And I can remember him sitting next to me in the hospital room as I’m laying in bed and writing this song, and I’m like, “Can I hear it? Is it done?” “No, it’s not done.” “Okay, well, am I gonna cry when it is done?” He’s like, “Yeah, we’re both gonna cry. This is gonna be a lot.”
And when I heard the song for the first time, it starts with these beeps. You know, like the sound you hear in a hospital. And I was like, “Oh, that’s a good way to start it. That’s pretty authentic.” He was like, “This was the sound of your hospital room, and it matched the beat of the music that I picked,” and I was like, “Oh, my god,” and just listening to it and weeping and sharing that with the community, you know, this creative offering, and just keeping them -- I mean, it’s been kind of an email every two weeks at this point.
And now it’s a little bit longer of a cadence because I’m seven months into chemo, and there’s not as much new stuff to share, but I still do right to them, you know? And I updated them like, “Okay, my last chemo session is happening tomorrow, and I got a negative blood test with -- the skin microscopically perceives cancer in your body, and it was negative. And so, this is just one final nail in the coffin preventatively to move on and start the process of detoxing all of these harsh chemicals that are in my body.”
Yeah, being able to not feel ashamed to share what I’m going through. I just met a new mom at my daughter’s ballet class, and we set up a playdate for our girls, and I just was in a text message like, “Oh, I’ll probably be tired. This is the weekend after my final -- I’m doing chemo. This will be the drop period when the steroids and the anti-nausea meds wear off, and I’ll probably be tired.” And she: “Oh, my gosh! Can I help? Can I make you soup? I’m great at soup.” And I’m like, “Yes, I will accept your soup,” you know?
And that kind of generosity and connection only happens when we open up and we let people know what’s actually happening without a sense of shame or victimhood, and this is just what’s so. And so, I think that my invitation for anybody going through a similar situation is to let people know what you're going through and ask for exactly what would feel good.
Amanda Testa: Oh, and I’m curious -- let me just ask you this along those lines. How were you able to tune into what you needed, to what would feel good for you?
Faith Laux: Mm, I think it’s a moment-by-moment thing, you know? And sometimes it’s through conversation, like talking things through and having the space to reflect out loud and then come to realize, “Oh, I need more meal train support,” or, “Oh, I need more grief support. I need to get a session on the books with my coach so that I can weep and release and let this go.
And sometimes through writing. But there is, for me, an external factor of, “Am I writing or am I talking this through,” and through that, I can kind of get to what I need.
Amanda Testa: I think that is so key because it’s so easy to not tune into our needs, and sometimes it does take something kind of radical to shift that for people where you're like, “Oh, wait. Now I really do need to tune into what I need.”
Faith Laux: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: And be open for help, and you just mentioned grief. I would love if you would share a little bit more about how you befriended the grief process on your journey.
Faith Laux: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I mean, at the beginning, at the end of May, those first days after getting the diagnosis, it was intense, and I have a relationship with grief from before this that’s felt very, I would call it healthy in the sense that, “Welcome.
You're here. You're this cathartic, cleansing emotion that I get to allow to move through me and just wash away any and all things that are in its path.”
I think it’s a really healthy emotion to allow, you know, and to create space for. And it’s interesting because it can have different flavors as well, you know? Grief is not just like this one all-encompassing thing. It can be grief paired with joy and gratitude, grief paired with despair and hopelessness, you know? And those are two very different flavors of grief. And just allowing whatever is so to come forth, and not stopping it up or pretending like it’s not there or not feeling like we have permission to feel it. We do have permission to feel it. Head to the ground, feet on the earth, give it back, and let her metabolize it and convulse through you and out of you, and then in its wake, there’s space for something new to be born.
Amanda Testa: Mm, I love that visual of grief as just being cleansing, and also, it is what it is. Like you say, this is something you worked with a while because sometimes for people you might need a support, you might need a coach, you might need a therapist to be able to sit with the grief and to let it --
Faith Laux: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: -- let it do what it needs to do.
Faith Laux: There is something really powerful about grieving in relationship --
Amanda Testa: Mm-hmm.
Faith Laux: -- and not grieving by yourself. I think that when someone can hold a strong safe container for you to just melt into, fuck. There is not much better than that, Amanda.
Amanda Testa: Right. I do know. Yes, ah. So, I want to shift gears a little bit because one of the things I love about your journey is you really allow sexual pleasure to be part of your healing medicine, and I would love if you would share a little bit more about that, how your sexuality changed, how you were able to stay committed to yourself in that way. Tell me a little bit about that if you don't mind.
Faith Laux: Yeah, well, I’ll take you back to the beach in Costa Rica where we did our sex magic practice, sort of our culminating collective experience, and as we’re circulating the energy through our bodies and really envisioning, for me, what I was holding in my mind was this six-month chemo journey that was about to begin when I returned to The States and picturing, “What do I want those six months to be?” Oh, and I just got this download of, “Oh, these six months are gonna be devoted to pleasure. I just want my days to be dripping in pleasure, in beauty, in creativity, in connection,” and I just had this goddess vibe. It was like if it’s not full of the goddess of beauty and sensuality and aliveness and deliciousness, then it’s not gonna come into my path. I’m not letting it in.
And so, I just was, like, painting. I see making beautiful paintings and adorning the walls of our house with beauty. I see welcoming in beautiful clothes with colors and textures that just make me feel so delicious. I see inviting friends over to have wonderful conversations with. And then sexual pleasure.
I didn't know what was coming down the pike in the regard because I know that chemo can really fuck with your bodily systems, and it has fucked with my bodily systems. I’m in a medically-induced menopause. I haven't bled for, god, months and months. And so, just kind of acknowledging, “Oh, okay, my body’s different.” Oh, there was a period of time where my orgasm was like just not, not nearby, not in this solar system. It was just elusive and way out there, and I had to work so hard to climax, and then things shift and change.
And so, another element of this whole journey and experience for me has been claiming my sexual desires shamelessly, and I think that that’s part of why the meaning that I’ve created for this experience goes back, let’s see, to a period of time before the coaching program started, before the pain started.
I was the mom of a one-year-old, and we were coming out of the thick of that first year of surviving being new parents, and our sexuality was pretty non-existent. I mean, it would happen occasionally, but it was not thriving, and I think that’s normal and natural for a lot of people, you know? That’s sort of the you get to recreate and rediscover what your sexuality looks like as a couple and as an individual when you're at that kind of stage. And when I stopped breastfeeding, my libido returned with a vengeance, and it was like, “All right, babe! Let’s do it! Let’s do all the things!”
And all the things, for me, in that moment was like, “Ooh, I want a threesome with another man and my husband. I want this to happen. That would be delicious!” And I brought it to my husband. I was like, “Would you like to do this? I’m, like, really turned on by this. I love this opportunity. Ah, I just want that,” and he was like a hard no. He was very not interested, and I felt very shut down and ashamed of that desire like, “Oh, that can't be. That can't exist. There’s something wrong with me.”
And over the course of studying -- I mean, but it was a catalyzing turning point for us as a couple. He was like, “No, I don't want another person. That’s a no. But I am open to studying sexuality with you, and I am open to bringing new teachers into our life that will help us learn and grow in this area,” and that’s how I met Layla Martin, actually. A friend introduced me to her, and so, from there, was this sort of healing journey of coming to acknowledge, “Oh, I’m kinky. I like the taboo. I’m turned on by that. That’s part of who I am, sexually, and I haven't really given myself permission to be that.”
So, that throughline has been present this whole time, and being able to come back from Costa Rica and be like, “It feels like on that trip I burned away any residual shame that I had over my desires and over the fact that they were different from my husband’s.” And so, I came back, and I was like, “I get that you're not into this, and that is totally fine. I am, and this is what I like, and this is what I want, and it’s gonna be really interesting for us to figure out how to negotiate both of us getting our needs met, but I’m not gonna hide. I’m not going to feel embarrassed or shy or ashamed about who I am, what I like, and what I want. This is me.”
And so, for me, in this experience, it’s been this sort of burning away of shame and welcoming my kinky side to have the space to breathe and learning about kink.
There’s a whole kink community that I did not know existed! That’s fabulous, you know? And there are ways to play in that realm that are not sexual. And so, we’ve been talking, and I’ve been kind of asking, “Well, would it be okay to do some impact play with other people in a non-sexual way? Is that okay?” “Yeah, that’s okay.” “Oh, my gosh!” So, I’m just making these new friends and connections in this world that feel like, “Oh, it’s like a homecoming!” And that’s my particular flavor. Some people are kinky, and some people are not, and that’s fine. There’s no right way to do it, but that has been sort of the flavor that it’s taken for me is just doing the next right thing like, “Oh, I’d like to experience rope play and Shibari to see if I like it. Oh, turns out that I do. Great! Let’s do some fire play. Ah, I like that too!” And then being able to talk about it honestly and openly with my husband and not feel like it’s something that I need to hide or be ashamed of. I feel like I’m living my best life, and he’s along for the ride in the way that feels right for him, and it feels wonderful.
Amanda Testa: I think it’s amazing when you can find that ability to be so connected to your desires in that way and be able to shamelessly talk about it because I think that is so healing for people, both individually and in relationships, when you can truly know what you want and be able to speak it because there are so many ways to get your needs met, right? And when you start to talk about it, then you can start to get creative. You can start to discover, “Yeah, what is my erotic blueprint? What is my nature? What do I want to explore? What do I want to get turned on by,” and when you have that ability to play in so many different ways and to find what that is for you, everyone is unique, and everyone is different, and how you can work together with your partner around that as well, then you have an infinity amount of things to play and try, which can be super exciting when you're thinking about, especially in a monogamous, long-term relationship, how you keep it hot and steamy and exciting and keep that connection.
Faith Laux: Mm-hmm, yeah. Well said. I agree. I think that it can be very challenging for couples to do exactly what you said --
Amanda Testa: Yeah.
Faith Laux: -- just name our desires, especially when we know that the other person isn't into the same thing, and it’s okay. We can be different.
Amanda Testa: Yeah.
Faith Laux: We can talk about this.
Amanda Testa: And I think, too, around that is sometimes, again, you might need help from an outside person, like a coach or a therapist, because one of the things -- even you mentioned it happened to you. You had this great idea. You were all excited. Your partner said no, and then you felt shut down. There are ways to have those conversations where there’s no wrong answer, right? And then the more you talk about it -- because immediately someone’s shame might come up maybe like, “Nope,” but then the more you talk about it and the more you get comfortable with each other, then those edges soften, and then you're like, “Well, yeah, I would be open to trying this, that, and the other.” And there can still be hard nos, but that gives you the opportunity to talk. “These things are a yes. These things are a maybe. These things are a no.”
Faith Laux: Mm-hmm.
Amanda Testa: And that always evolves as you do and as your relationship does depending on the season you're in and all the things, right?
Faith Laux: Yeah, absolutely.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, and speaking to that, I would love if you would maybe just share a little bit because, obviously, in the season of after having a kid -- I mean, having small kids, having a relationship, moving through your treatment. What are some of the things that you did to stay connected with your partner during that time, especially if you weren’t feeling maybe so erotically charged, or what were the things that really helped you to stay connected through it all?
Faith Laux: Mm.
Amanda Testa: Because, again, not only do you have small kids, but all the other things that are just challenging in general.
Faith Laux: Right. It’s true. Right. A five-year-old, and full-time jobs, and a long-term relationship with somebody you've been with for a very long time, that in and of itself is a lot to work out, and then you add cancer on top, and you're like, “What the fuck? Okay, phew! Strap in, guys. Here we go!”
You know, it’s interesting, with that question, the first thing that comes to me is acknowledging the times over the past nine months when we have not been very connected, when we have felt very distant and like roommates, and that sense of loneliness, you know? Also mammalian loneliness, you know? Like, “Wow, we haven't touched much in the past week or two or three.” And my animal, the animal that is my body and my human and my human animal is craving contact and craving touch and just kind of acknowledging, “We haven't snuggled. We haven't cuddled. We haven't fucked. We haven't done anything,” you know? We’ve been in these vortexes that, for some reason, we haven't intended for them to vortex together and overlap physically.
And so, I think, for us what’s been helpful is having sort of taking-stock conversations where we’ll just sit together after our daughter’s asleep, and sometimes we’ll put a timer on the phone, and he’ll get five minutes or ten minutes. It depends on how long it’s been since we’ve really connected, but we’ll just get present, and we’ll check in with each other and flow in a space where if he’s talking, I’m just listening, and it’s not my job to respond or have any answers or solutions. I’m just listening. And then it’s my turn to share, and I don't often know where that kind of open sharing will go, but it’s often very rich, and stuff emerges that you don't expect, and in those kinds of conversations is when I would notice, “Oh, my gosh. I just want to be close to you, and I miss hugs and touches.
I’ve got friends who taught me a while back about what they call tender time, and it was just naked cuddling in bed at the beginning and end of the day, and they did it very intentionally.
As I’m talking to you right now I’m like, “Oh, we haven't had tender time in a while. I should probably talk to him about that and put that back on the menu,” you know? But it really does require conscious effort. I think that often when we’re in these long-term relationships, it’s easy for distance to develop between two people. So, having these times to check-in. Especially again with young children, who has the time and energy for this? Well, people who make the time and choose to devote the energy and attention to their couple, and it is possible. You just kind of have to intend it. And it’s helpful when both people are on board to do it.
Amanda Testa: For sure. I love that, tender time. That’s just so lovely. I mean, I’ve heard it called something else, but I love the words tender time, and what I think is so beautiful about it is just that intimacy, the vulnerability, but also the lack of expectation.
Faith Laux: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: It’s just like, “We’re just gonna lay here naked.”
Faith Laux: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: So, it just makes me feel at ease. There’s just gonna be connection.
Faith Laux: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: It doesn't have to be penetration. It doesn't have to be anything but just to be together in that vulnerable way is so awesome.
Faith Laux: Yeah.
Amanda Testa: I love that.
Faith Laux: Yeah, yeah. You know, and a lot of us are sitting behind computers all day, and we’re not touching other mammals, other humans, you know? And we are animals! And we are social, and we like touch.
Amanda Testa: Yeah!
Faith Laux: So, get it in. Ask for it. Make space for it because it matters, and it really fills our cup in ways that we might not even be conscious of.
Amanda Testa: Yeah, so true. Oh my gosh, Faith. I could just keep talking with you, but I know we’re wrapping it up here shortly. So, I’d love if there are any last words that you would like to share or if there was a question that I didn't ask that you wish that I would have asked?
Faith Laux: Hmm, yeah, well, I just feel grateful to be having this conversation with you on the eve of my final chemo treatment, you know, and being able to reflect back on this journey and kind of harvest some of the wisdom. And I think what I’m walking away with is a real sense of gratitude for this experience that my body has chosen to put me through because it’s brought me closer to who I actually am, and it’s forced me to reckon with the ways in which I’ve been inauthentic in my life and done the things that I think I need to do in order to be loved and accepted but that don't really actually feel like who I am, and this has been a real wake-up call like, “Oh, oh, I’m gonna die!” It might be today. It might be tomorrow. It might be in, I don't know, 40 years. So, if I’m gonna die, and death is my new companion, then how do I want to live and what really matters to me? “Oh, okay, let me get really clear on that, and then just do it and live it.”
And so, it’s been ultimately a gift, and I’m grateful for the journey that I’ve been on and the ways that I’ve been able to ask for support clearly, get it from all over the place, and kind of emerge as this fiery, authentic, powerful, shameless phoenix who can ask for what she wants and get it and inspire others along the way.
Amanda Testa: I love it so much. Well, thank you so much again, Faith, for being here. And for those of you listening who want to connect to Faith, will you share where they can find you, all that good stuff?
Faith Laux: Yeah, absolutely. So, I share quite a bit on Instagram @faithlaux, and my website is www.faithlaux.com, and I would love to connect with anybody who feels resonant with this experience and wants some support in this way because it’s a journey, and, I mean, it’s helpful when you get support, when you get good support along the way. So, that’s where you can find me.
Amanda Testa: Beautiful and thank you again for being here. It’s so good to connect with you again and see you.
Faith Laux: Likewise. Thank you for having me! I feel really honored and blessed.
Amanda Testa: Yes, yes. And thank you all for listening, and we will look forward to seeing you next time!
Thank you for listening to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast! If you loved this episode, please go ahead and forward it right now to someone who you know would love it, and if you’ve not yet had a chance to leave us a rave review on Apple Podcasts, please make sure you rate and review if you enjoyed the podcast as well as make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week!
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