Updated: May 25
The Sarah Everard case has stirred up a lot of debate about men's sexual violence towards women and what is needed for women to feel safe.
In a week, where I've been focussing on the theme Safe To Be Sexual, it's an unfortunate co-incidence, but one that invites a deeper look.
I've been teaching to this topic for many years, but it came back around for consideration after my feature interview with The Sun, in which I talk about how much I enjoy sex, "despite" being 56.
A woman - of any age - enjoying sex shouldn't be considered newsworthy.
I mean, FFS, we are DESIGNED FOR INFINITE MULTI-ORGASMIC PLEASURE !
But what happened after that feature revealed a lot.
I was inundated with messages (and a few attempted calls) from random men. Mostly of the "Hi sexy" variety. But also including offensive comments and a dick pic.
And in equal measure flooded with messages of appreciation and admiration from women, saying how beautiful and inspiring I am.
What a contrast.
In all my years of teaching sexual awakening and embodied awareness to women, what I repeatedly hear is their profound longing to feel both sexually liberated and fully in touch with their embodied pleasure.
Which is what they see in me.
But then they share all the factors getting in the way of that.
Prior experience of unwanted attention, sexual objectification or abuse is a big one.
"I want to be like you" they say, "but I'm afraid I'd attract unwanted attention if I embrace and embody my sexuality."
I'd estimate that between a quarter to one third of the women in every circle I've held, has experienced sexual assault or abuse.
A guesstimate, that more refined statistics bear out (see below), as we can assume that many such events never get reported.
For myself, I've experienced a lifetime of all of the above: from being flashed at by an old man in the park, when I was 9, to cat-calls and lewd comments before I'd even started menstruating, to multiple indecent exposures and gropes, sexual assault and attempted rape.
This was not because I've got Page 3 curves, am especially stunning or was dressed in any way to allure. Not that any of that should be an excuse!
It was simply because I was a female in a public space.
Can you imagine what it does to a woman's sense of self, when this is her every-day experience?
To be consistently bombarded with uninvited, unwelcome commentary, physical appraisal and lewd suggestion?
To be anxious of possible attack every time she walks down a quiet alley or is making her way home at night?
To flinch and tense up every time fast, heavy footsteps come up behind her, whatever the time of day?
And then to receive the reflection that perhaps she was "asking for it", should have dressed differently or avoided that route?
This instils in her the belief that she is guilty, shameful and provocative simply for being a woman.
That she is responsible for his unchecked and invasive desire.
That she is not safe.
All of which, of course, shuts her body and desire down hard and cold. And this is when she's not actually been assaulted!
If THAT has occurred, then her yoni, heart and nervous system will be traumatised.
In fact there’s one feminine empowerment expert, Dr Valerie Klein, who argues that we’re ALL traumatised simply as a result of growing up in the patriarchy.
Yet still we yearn to embrace and embody our most lascivious self, because that is our true nature.
And somewhere inside a part of us knows, that to connect with that sacred sensual feminine essence is to re-member our divinity, our power, our wisdom and beauty, as well as our awesome spiritual gifts.
Our heart, body and soul long for that.
To open and blossom into the radiance, majesty and ecstasy we carry within.
The prospect of sharing that with a man of honour and presence has us swooning.
But for that to happen, we have to feel SAFE.
Safe to walk the streets.
Safe to smile.
Safe to dress, dance and express as we please.
Safe to open our heart.
Safe to open our yoni.
Safe to feel.
Safe to reveal.
Safe to let go.
Safe to fall apart.
Contrary to what some might imagine, in the sexual awakening work I facilitate with women, a significant part of it isn't *sexy*.
We go deep into the wounds and traumas that are held in the body, we excavate beliefs, we make peace with our masculine.
We undo the impact of growing up in a world, where it either wasn't safe or we were taught early on to primp and pimp ourselves to be of value; sensing that men want our sex, when all we’ve ever wanted is their heart.