The Huddle Up

Connecting to your Desire: Simple practices you can add to your day to experience more turn-on throughout your life

Oct 1, 2023 | Sex & Relationships

Written by Michele Lisenbury Christensen - One Huddle Sex & Relationship Expert
Michele Lisenbury Christensen, One Huddle Sex and Relationship Expert

So many people think that desire is this mysterious thing that sort of shows up on its own early in relationship and then disappears when kids come along or after some number of years together, again mysteriously. But the truth is most women are silencing their desire in a number of ways throughout their day, disconnecting from their body, and it’s no wonder that libido goes silent. And women wind up feeling lukewarm about the sex they do have or they stop having it very often at all.

Let’s jump into a few questions.

Question one: How quickly do you move through your day? What parts of your life are slow?

It sometimes feels like “we don’t have enough time together,” or “I’m still in my head when we get to the bedroom,” and this is why I ask, “Well, where is there more than enough time? Where do you feel luxuriant? Where do you feel sort of like leaning back and slow in your day?” This is a big learning curve for me.

I have spent years digging into what in Japanese is called Yutori. So a picture, ikebana floral arrangement, you’ve got the blooms, and then around each of the blooms, there’s space. The arrangement is more about what’s not there than about what is there because it’s in that space that we can really see what’s there. So I’ve worked to build white space into my day, to build little times of transition that aren’t structured when I don’t know what I’m doing. To actually slow down and feel my sensations to be with my senses, the way that the light is playing over the trees outside my window, the scents of the Palo Santo and the candles in my office, the feeling of lotion as I rub it onto my hand. So this question shows me how much a woman builds receptive, slower embodied time into her day. And some of us diligently meditate every morning for half an hour and then pop out of our chairs. This is so me, you know, jump out of quiet time and into full tilt, and then don’t stop until we like drop into bed.

So this is an invitation to look at where you have those pockets and to begin to practice receiving it when life gives you an opportunity to pause, because that’s what helps us build the capacity when we are in an intimate space to turn within and attend to and notice what we like, what feels good, to let it land.

If we haven’t been doing that all day, it’s a long road from in our heads, moving a million miles a minute into turn on. Bodies take time to move through that space. But if we live a little closer to it, it’s easier to get there.

Question two, what do you do with your body’s signals?

The signal that you’re tired, the signal that you need to go to the bathroom, the signal that you need to like sneeze or cough. How attuned are you to your body’s urges other than sexual? When I’ve asked this of audiences, well, I’ve got hundreds or thousands of women in the room and I say, “How many of you wait sometimes hours to go pee?” and most women raise their hands that we might feel this urge, but we put productivity or what we were in the middle of, ahead of listening to our body and responding to it. Can you imagine if you did that to a child, you know, said, “Hang on, we got other stuff going on.” You know, eventually they would lose control of their bladder. But, it’s almost like a badge of courage for many women, a mark of pride that we can control our bladders for that long, long time. But, you know, you’re just clenching up and sort of numbing out, turning something off.

So listening to other signals like thirst, hunger, you need to use the bathroom, fatigue, little aches and pains and adjusting your ergonomics, going to the bathroom, taking a minute to breathe and stretch is a way of cultivating that relationship with your body and it’s yeses and nos. And if you’re a long way from listening to those cues, that’s a place you can begin. right inside the day you’re already having to deepen that relationship, come back to yourself.

Question three, how do you wake up?

So when a woman’s connected to her own pleasure and is right with her turn on, that usually causes her to start her days in ways that are pleasurable and that are intentional. She sets the tone for the kind of day that she wants first thing in the morning. She sets her alarm clock at whatever time she needs to to be able to front load meditation, pleasurable movement, prayer, a review of her vision, giving herself nourishing thoughts or affirmations, and often sharing pleasure with her partner first thing, or pleasuring herself right at the beginning of her day.

She infuses her day with sensations right from the start. And a woman who isn’t deliberate about doing those things, who starts her day willy nilly, starts her day with her phone, starts her day with her to-do list, is immediately on or waits and sort of lets her day start itself with children waking her up or other things coming at her will often feel jarred, not enthusiastic about the day.

I often ask women, “What’s the sound that your alarm clock makes? What do, what noise do you use to wake yourself up?” Because my nervous system hates me an alarm, you know, not waking up to that kind of noise. Makes a huge difference in my whole day. And I even had my husband get a Fitbit watch so that his wrist wakes him up by shaking rather than his alarm. Sometimes his alarm goes off first, sometimes mine does, so now I usually wake to him making me tea. I can sometimes hear him in the kitchen or I wake up organically because we’ve eliminated those things that send my nervous system into a kind of a fear reaction state. So just check, you know, does the beginning of your day clench up your sphincters or does it have you in a relaxed, even if you’re very intentional and engaged, does it put you into your highest state?

Question four, How do you put yourself to bed?

A woman who’s connected to her turn-on and her pleasure may or may not have an orgasm or four as her sleeping pill, but she also doesn’t push herself in ways that are numbing and disembodied.

So many women I’ve worked with use wine or marijuana or T H C to wind down at night, their nightly glass or two is the most pleasurable thing that they have to look forward to. They never have to tell the wine what they want. They never get frustrated with it or resentful toward it. But that as a bedtime practice is sedating quite literally. So I’m not opposed to wine or on any kind of soapbox here, but what I’m saying is when we’re connected to our turn-on and our pleasure, we use substances and medicinals in deliberate ways rather than as medication as, as a way to knock ourselves out, at the end of the day, we learn to wind ourselves down and to go into the down the receptive state, the submissive space.

Other bedtime practices that I’ve seen that don’t contribute to a woman’s aliveness and pleasure and her sensitivity include binge-watching until we fall asleep, falling asleep with children, neglecting our own mindful bedtime routine, neglecting the connection with our partner in the evening using sleep as an escape or going to bed lonely because your partner stays up later than you do, and then you don’t say, “I’d love to be tucked into bed. I’d love for us to connect before I go to sleep. By all means, you go on with your evening after I go to sleep, but come be with me for a bit when I go to bed.” Cultivating that connection in that way tends to keep women more connected to themselves and then keep them more connected to their partner as well.

So, question five: what are you wearing?

I’m kidding. But that’s sort of a, a proxy for, tell me about how you dress and how your clothes make you feel. What are you wearing right now and what do you feel like in it? You know, I’m in joggers and a sweatshirt today, but it is a little off the shoulder and the colors that I choose and the textures and the shapes, you know, it’s not just any sweatshirt and it feels fantastic. So that combination of sexy and relaxed, sensual and easy is fabulous for me. And like, I’m not wearing makeup today, but I did a little lip cuz that feels good. So it’s really not about the stereotypical, like, “Do you dress in sexy ways? If you are sexy, you will feel better” because it’s all so subjective.

And what really matters is how you feel. How do your clothes, how does your hair, how does your adornment, your jewelry, your makeup, or not-makeup, all your routines make you feel, and are you feeling them? You know, I know a lot of women who have a really, they’ve got it down, they’ve got their routine, they look like a million bucks, but they don’t feel it. They’re not using that morning time to celebrate their gorgeousness. So that’s the question is, do you treat you like the exquisite queen you are? And can you feel that? Does it leave you joyful in your body? And in your essence, like, “I get to be me. I get to, live as this creature today.”

Because that’s possible and it doesn’t actually even take more time. It’s just a different place of being with it. And if you’re not feeling turn on, if you don’t know what you want, you don’t want what your partner wants. This is a clue, as to an on-ramp to have more of that. So another note on that. Dressing sexy. You know, we’ve, we’ve gotten a lot of messaging and conditioning about how we’re supposed to dress. And so on the one hand you may feel like, oh, to be sexy, I would have to show more cleavage or more leg, or I would have to be a different shape or size. Not true.

Sexy is a presence. It’s how we feel inside ourselves. Are you aware of yourself as a sensual creature? And sexy starts with these other senses, smell, and taste and you know, how intimate are we with all the sensations throughout our day, for our whole body and our whole sensory and energetic system.

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