Authentic Intimacy

Jul 11, 2017

It’s time to talk about sex.


Let me explain…

When you begin to transition into alignment

you begin to notice all the ways that you have been saying things, doing things, agreeing to things and believing things that are not authentically you.  It doesn’t take long before you can lose where you end and the expectations, beliefs and preferences of others begin.


Enter stage left:  patriarchy, porn culture, and the hypersexualization and objectification of women.


We are surrounded by – no, bombarded by message about how we, as women, *should* be in our intimate partnerships.  Women should be sexy, sexy looks like this, women should want lots of sex, sexy means wanting sex, women’s bodies should look like this, we should work really hard to make our bodies look like that, we should strive to please our partners (see also: every issue of Cosmopolitan).  Let me go on:  lingerie is sexy, sex looks like it does in pornography, sex sounds like this (*no grunting*), good sex is (fill in the blank here), women should enjoy (__fill in the blank__), it’s weird if you enjoy (__fill in the blank__).

You get the gist, right? 

These messages, when it comes to alignment, are really tricky.  Women who may intellectually know differently are made to believe that the safety and security of what might very well be their most important life relationship is at risk if they don’t play along.  Or they are made to believe that they will never get or keep the important life relationship they desire if they don’t play along.

It is incredibly scary to think that our need for belonging and love in an intimate relationship is at risk if we don’t listen to the messages we’ve been told, not wanting sex or being sexy in the way that society tells us we should.

And you know what?

I’m fucking done with it.


Because playing this game, so steeped in patriarchy and female deference, is keeping us small and powerless.  It does not honour women’s ways of being and knowing in the world.


In the past few months I’ve convened two women’s circles to talk about Authentic Intimacy.


The question on the table was:  what would your intimate relationships look like if they were authentic?  If you were to detach from the overculture’s perspective on what women’s sexuality would look like, what would happen?

The conversations that ensued were intense, lean-forward-in-your-chair, juicy, intimate, pass-the-Kleenex kind of conversations.

I think for many of us, these conversations sparked a revelation.  Perhaps, maybe, the beginning of a personal revolution.

Women talked about how broken they have felt when their sexuality looked different than that which we are made to believe is *good* and *healthy* and *sexy.*  When they wanted less, or more, or none, or this way, not that way.

Women felt broken for expressing their sexual preferences.

And so many women talked about adhering to norms around sexuality and intimacy, despite the way they really felt about these norms.

It led to a conversation around consent and body autonomy.  Women, especially in married partnerships, felt as though their body also belonged to their partner in some way.  We talked about boob and butt-grabs that can feel predatory or possessive, and how it felt hard to say “No.  You need to ask me before you touch my body,” because that’s not sexy.

We talked about women’s cycles, and how we are not hardwired to desire intimacy 24 / 7, but that there are natural times when we desire more, and when we need to turn inward and attend to the sacredness of our monthly cycling.  It felt revelatory to acknowledge that society is so often asking us to be on in a way that literally contradicts evolutionary biology.

We talked about the challenges that motherhood represented for some of us.  Becoming a mother gave our bodies a different, undeniably powerful function that had nothing to do with the objectification that so many of us had experienced previous to motherhood.  Meeting the physical needs of our children – nursing, snuggles, playing horsey – also pushed up against the edges of our physical autonomy in a way that made it hard to also share our physical bodies with an intimate partner.


We started to dismantle the *shoulds* and the unfounded assumptions that we all had about our intimate lives, and began to ponder what felt authentic to each of us.


It felt relieving, like the weight of the expectations we held for ourselves and others hold for us were suddenly lifted, and we could finally see Truth.  Claiming physical autonomy and authenticity was deeply empowering for many of us.

It made me realize what is possible in trusting circle of women, and highlighted the need for us to continue circling up and talking about our experience of the world.  We strengthen each other when we create community in this way.


Let’s keep the conversation going…


What is your experience of authentic intimacy?

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!