love school with sumi: visions of sexual healing
"visions of where we are going are always out in front of us. as we attain one goal, a new one stretches ahead to draw us onward." - staci haines, healing sex: a mind-body approach to healing sexual trauma
in this moment of collective outrage, coverage, and consequence for sexual violence through both mainstream and social media, i find myself at my kitchen table writing three visions of my powerful sexual self.
this exercise is from staci haines' book (mentioned above) and can be found at the bottom of this post. haines suggests creating three visions instead of one because it "helps to get around the self-censors that tell us who we are 'allowed' to become sexually."
i want to share some of my visions here, given the chance that this exercise might feel right on time for you, too.
fyi - i procrastinated as i wrote these, which is how i knew i must write them (and that it's really important to me).
my therapist shared that the truths we wish to embody - like feeling lovable, feeling forgivable - is never a point in the future which we one day 'get to' or arrive at. we feel it by practicing it. day by day. my sexual healing is part earth, part me, part visions of the world we deserve. i am its steward.
"are you ready for your miracle?" - chance the rapper, "blessings (ft. ty dolla $ign, bj the chicago kid, anderson .paak, raury)" on coloring book
Vision one: My sexuality is an embodied power I carry. A soft power, maybe feminine, but it feels beyond any binary*. It fills out my face, my cheeks, and makes supple every part of my skin, from the inside. My sexuality comes from the source in me which knows I am already whole; have nothing to make up or prove. I feel at home in my sexual expression and curious to explore new depths with my partner. My sexuality enjoys being surprised by the things I like. It is steady and passionate. I have a sacred relationship with my shape. I feel sexy and fully inhabit myself often. I find my way to self-love when I feel like shrinking or concealing parts of me. Feeling turned on feels the way experiencing nature does. It’s a part of me and also feels much, much bigger.
"[let] go of what you think you know, to be present with what's changing." - adrienne maree brown and autumn brown, how to survive the end of the world podcast
Vision two: My sexuality is my own. I can feel it separate from any partner. I am self-activated. I am a curious switch. Teacher and teachable. My switchness makes me bolder in other parts of my life. It is a reminder that I belong to myself. It reflects how my relationships shape me and me them. My hands can softly surrender or they can be firm and deliberate. They knead dough and get tied up. I feel my outline when I'm with others and honor my edges. I feel regal, but in the way that wolves are. I feel my sexual yeses deeply. I enjoy the space between sex with a partner. I assert myself, in a disarmed and relaxed way. I trust myself more and my partner trusts me. I feel safe because I practice making my needs known.
"i acknowledge as my potential what i strongly admire in others." - david richo, how to be an adult
Vision three: Her presence is hard to define but you love to be around her. She is so herself it's an invitation for authenticity in others. She gives sexy new meanings. She's a womxn that feels like both a possibility and a friend. She gets scared, but fights for her right to a golden life anyway. She reveals herself but also enjoys going quiet. She likes to keep her sexuality close to herself and shares it with one person. She is fiercely committed to chosen family and is humbled by life's changes. She loves routine as much as she loves spontaneous sex which breaks it. She chooses truth and compassion more often than denial and appeasement.
*"Feminine leadership (not just women leaders, but leaders who shift our understanding of how power can be held)." - adrienne maree brown, emergent strategy: shaping change, changing worlds
"your powerful sexual self: who are you becoming?" exercise from chapter 18 in healing sex by staci haines:
"If you had three full lives to live, and each could express a different sexual self, what would those sexualities be? [...] Creating three visions can also help you notice patterns in your desires. You may find that there is one form of sexual expression that comes up repeatedly. This is a strong desire, one worth paying attention to.
Be creative and outrageous. Once you have created three visions, consider the following questions: In your visions of yourself, are you embodied? How do you embody your sexuality? How do you feel about your body? Who are your partner(s)? Is there a spiritual component to your sexuality? If so, what is it? What type of intensity do you like sexually? What kind of sex do you like? What are your powers and virtues? Does your sex life feed energy into other parts of your life?
"You can write about your new sexual self in a journal or create a collage or other art piece to depict it. The more creativity you bring to this exercise the better. Whatever medium you choose, create an external representation of your vision so that it can exist outside your own thoughts. Display your creation where you can see it regularly. This can help keep you oriented towards your dreams."