March 21, 2018

Focusing on Pleasure and Your Relationship with You


During the month of February I invited you into a daily practice of loving you ~ discovering ways to love you and treat you well. This month we’ll focus on your erotic relationship with you. So many women tell me that their sexual life wasn’t all that great before cancer came into the picture, and that now it hardly seems worth the effort.

Eroticism is much more than sex, at least sex that’s defined as penetrative genital sex, or intercourse. Eroticism encompasses more than libido, desire and intercourse. It involves the mind, the physical senses and being tuned in to the energy that’s all around us

The wiring can get crossed with cancer in the mix. As our bodies change during and after treatment, self esteem and acceptance can plummet. When we feel unattractive, we feel neither sexy nor desirable. We can pressure ourselves to get back into the swing of things sexually and ignore what our body is telling us in an attempt to feel like we did before. It’s complicated!

Dr. Meredith Chivers, a noted psychology professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario who specializes in female sexuality, indicates just how complex desire can be. In her own words, Dr. Chivers found that, “Women are apparently disassociated from their bodies and have greater difficulty than men in connecting their own erotic responses to what they are actually feeling or desiring.” In other words, women’s genitals and brains operate on different tracks when it comes to sexuality.

Let’s look through the lens of eroticism and see what it takes to come back to association with our bodies and brains and to experience erotic pleasure. Sound good? This may feel like risky territory ~ I hope this is new ground and that it inspires you even if it’s a bit uncomfortable. Here we go!

The root of the word “erotic” is Eros, which is Greek for desire, specifically that which can inspire sexual desire. It also has to do with the contemplation of the aesthetics of sexual desire, sensuality and romantic love.  This quality can be found in any art form including painting, sculpture, photography, drama, dance, music, literature or film.

Stop and think about erotic art, and what is sensual to you? Do Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings evoke erotic thoughts or feelings in you? Her bold images of flowers, which are the genitals of a plant, are filled with lush colors and shapes, curves and sensual flows. Or do other artists evoke erotic thoughts or feelings in you?

This week, spend some time with various art forms ~ go to a museum or a film, listen to music, read some literature, whatever appeals to you. Make it a point to experiment with different forms of art to notice, which appeal to you the most.  Let yourself be moved, or not, by these experiences and what begins to move inside you.

Pleasure involves all of our senses and it may not come directly from what we typically think of as sexual. Let your senses open and experience in new ways this week. And please share your experiences with us so that we can all be erotically inspired.

© 2014 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
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This blog is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.