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Female sexual dysfunction? Healing yoni massage

Female Sexual Dysfunction

  • Vaginal numbness
  • Primary and secondary anorgasmia
  • Situational anorgasmia
  • Vaginismus

All terms that describe a huge range of experiences with a diversity of causes: when women or people with vaginas, find their enjoyment of sex is impaired or limited.

Female sexual dysfunction

Female sexual dysfunction

Something like these words was my experience throughout my twenties. I am not sure which would have specifically applied to me: probably a combination of vaginal numbness and situational anorgasmia. That I couldn’t feel much pleasure or orgasm with a partner for most of a decade, felt so secret and so shameful, it never occurred to me at the time that there might be “official terms” to describe what was happening.

Yoni massage

Through tantra and enquiry into conscious sexuality (with some therapy along the way) this is no longer the whole of my sexual experience. I now know many different forms of pleasure and orgasm – ripples / waves / peak / multiple / ejaculatory – both with partners, and with myself. I also know meditative and orgasmic experiences from subtle bliss through to earthquakes, that have ripped apart any former sense of who I am and how I experience ‘reality’ – but that’s another article 🙂

*New* Healing Through Self Pleasuring – a Skype course>>

A large part of my journey here, was receiving healing yoni massage, which helped to restore an exquisite sensitivity by bringing awareness to what lay beneath the numbness. The intention of yoni massage is not necessarily pleasure, though pleasure may happen. But more deeply to allow and be with what is true in our sex and our being.

Through cultivating a loving inner receptivity and presence, we shift from an objectifying relationship that sees our sex as “other”. In this “other” relationship we may actually even resent this non functioning “thing” down below, that we don’t deeply inhabit or know. The intent of yoni massage is awakening a deep inner love affair, that seeks to know and welcome every aspect of our being, supported by the presence and skill of our guide.

Having moved through a healing process, I still at times drop out of my “erotic zone” and lose touch with my pleasure. That this happens does not feel so much like a shameful “dysfunction” as it did in my twenties. Instead in the spirit of this love affair – it is something I listen to, inspiring deeper enquiry into my being. I often find sexual pleasure is a good barometer for ascertaining how loving and truthful I am being with myself. A bit like the canary in the mine of 21st Century living*.

An essential conceptual shift needed for healing, is transmuting the idea – I have a sexual dysfunction – into an awareness that says: my sex is functioning to make me aware of something, which requires deeper and more loving attention from me.

If you are experiencing “sexual dysfunction” you could ask – what is your sex functioning to make you aware of? It might be past unacknowledged trauma, that is calling for your attention and some healing. Or it can be ancestral trauma that we may not even be aware of, family constellations>> can be a good method by which to explore this.  Or perhaps our sex is functioning to make us aware of factors in the present that need addressing – diet, health, emotional health, work life balance etc.

Read on for more links to exercises that can begin this process of deep listening, and about receiving healing yoni massage in London.

* An important caveat here is to be aware of the difference between a “dysfunction” and a healthy unproblematic asexuality. No sex doesn’t always equate with a problem. At times we might simply be channeling our life force energy into other things, such as our creativity, business, family, or intense forms of enquiry.

Anatomy of the clitoris

Female sexual dysfunction - Anatomy of the clitoris

Anatomy of the clitoris

Beyond individual histories there are huge social factors governing how we conceive of our sexuality, thus shaping our experience of it, the history of the anatomy of the clitoris being exemplar of this.

In 2005 The American Urological Association published a report by Dr. O’Connell on clitoral anatomy, through MRI scanning. The report stated “The anatomy of the clitoris has not been stable with time as would be expected. To a major extent its study has been dominated by social factors … Some recent anatomy textbooks omit a description of the clitoris. By comparison, pages are devoted to penile anatomy.”

For an easy to grasp visualisation of the full anatomy of the clitoris watch this brilliant video with Betty Dodson>>

And depressingly it can seem that we are even going backwards in this regard. Recently the UK government introduced legislation limiting what could be shown in British pornography. The list of things banned includes vaginal ejaculation. In case you can’t grasp the implications of this, can you imagine male / penis ejaculation being banned? For more information read The UK pornography law: a scientific perspective >>

Causes of Female sexual dysfunction

When we experience a loss or absence of pleasure, there maybe many potential causes, and it may take a combination of approaches in order to rediscover the fullness of our pleasure. Ways we might begin to understand just what it is we need to give our deeper attention to include:

  • Conventional western medical advice to rule out the causes that its able to identify, a place to begin NHS Female sexual dysfunction >>
  • The Sexual advice association >> also has a range of advice leaflets
  • Talking therapy as appropriate, especially where there has been trauma or abuse, you might consult the College of sexual and relationship therapists >>
  • Looking at the conditioning and concepts we have inherited around sex
  • Learning how to cultivate a loving presence and deeper love for ourselves, and to listen deeply to our body / being
  • Looking at how we are taking care of ourselves through physical exercise and enjoyment
  • A look out our general habits such as nutrition, hydration, smoking or caffeine,
  • Looking at stress factors in our environment
  • Looking at our relationship(s) and how we show up in them
  • Looking at how we connect with and communicate our desires (or not…)
  • And looking more broadly at our sense of spirit, creativity, aliveness, joy and meaning in life

The latter eight points are themes that may be addressed in my sessions, along with healing yoni massage, and other Tantra and conscious sexuality teachings which may help transform an experience of FSD.

But, when we have been around all the different teachers (as I did), consulted all the different experts – then we come home. By that I mean in the end we find we are at home, with ourselves or with our partners, having sex. And more important than sessions, workshops or therapy or anything else at all – is what we do in these moments.

In this article I want to share one simple massage & meditation teaching I have evolved, from many received – that I have found very useful both for myself, and individuals & couples who come to work with me. I have found this teaching particularly helpful in connecting people back up with sensation, when a feeling of numbness or absence is experienced in the genitals of either men or women.

Female sexual dysfunction – healing through tantra:

*New* – Healing through Self Pleasuring – a Skype course>>

Step 1 – arriving at and accepting a depth conceptualisation and experience of our sex as it is.

Often we are so drawn by ideas of how we would like our sex to be or behave, that we don’t stop to enquire in depth how it actually is. This has to be our starting point. Being deeply present to our sex – our genitals – as they are is the only place to begin. For practical ways to do this read my other article Awakening sexual pleasure >>

If we are experiencing some kind of vaginal numbness, the experience can feel like an absence. Like there is nothing there, no sensation, no feeling, no energy, nothing. But, if we drop more deeply into how our sex is through the practices outlined in my other article – we will find that this absence will have a shape / quality / texture to it.

In sessions people describe this absence to me in many different ways. Here are some –

  • Like a small potted plant on a TV in the living room
  • Like a hot dry desert
  • Like a heavy damp mist
  • Like a small frightened child

But the basic principle, is that though it might seem “not much” is happening – i.e. there is an absence of pleasure – that it is safe to assume that within the “not much” there will actually be a lot going on. And our first step is to become deeply acquainted with what that is.

Step 2: having come to a deeper sense of what is, then finding then what is really needed:

The peak orgasm model

Masters human sexual response model

Masters human sexual response model

Generally we have an idea of orgasm in our culture, as an arc of building pleasure that reaches a peak and then releases. The nature of this arc – rather like climbing a mountain, tends to invite an approach of trying, coming near, turning up the volume of our trying, almost there, try a little bit harder harder till – YESSSSS! – finally, we have reached the peak and come down again…

Recognise that pattern?

The peak orgasm model – deeply present in our cultural and collective representations of sex – tends to dictate the rhythm and pacing of our sexual experiences. And we will touch or act in ways whether consciously or unconsciously, designed to chase that shape. Because it is what we collectively conceive sex to be.

We need to become more imaginative and listening with our touch, to meet what is, rather than touching to go somewhere we believe we should be.  Much of how we behave in our sexual encounters, whether alone or with another, is informed by this unconscious assumption of how sex is.

This isn’t how sex is at all, it is how it CAN BE… but this is just one possible map of many.

It can be good to look (as I have) at different teachings to offer different conceptualisations. Everything from tantra, OM meditation, Daoist sexual practices, Quodoshka to name but a few, can help us come up with new ways of conceptualising and experiencing our sexual pleasure. But I notice (myself guilty of this at times too!) that having learned another map, we then think “yes, this is it!”. We assume that because this map seems to work better than the last one, that it is the absolute truth. But it isn’t – it’s just another map, one that opens us to an experience different to the one that we had before.

What I really LOVE are maps that offer a framework to guide us to a new experience, but that are loose enough so that the destination reached is unique to each experiencer.  Maps that do not dictate what happens, but create the conditions that invite us to find something new ourselves. And that something new can keep growing and evolving with us, changing each day organically with our mood, our menstrual cycle, how much or little time we have available for an experience, whether we are alone, or with one or more lovers.

5 rhythms dance if you know it, is such a map. Inspired by 5 rhythms, I created a map of touch for meeting our genitals and (full body) arousal that uses the elements as a guide. The map evolved from many teachings I have received, and is intended to offer alternative possibilities that heartily include, but are not limited to, the climb / peak / descend orgasm experience.

Step 3 – expanding how we touch and play!

Tantra4tigers Elements massage teaching

Tantra4tigers 4 elements massage teaching

Tantra4tigers elements massage teaching

So – let us return to the visualisation of our vaginal numbness, as a small child who has frozen with fear.

I am using this example as just one way of understanding how unconsciously held peak orgasm maps, may distance us from how things actually are. But in any case, if we are to step into a full and powerful adult expression, being intimately acquainted with how our inner child is – most importantly does s/he feel safe and held? – is a good place to begin.

In the peak orgasm scenario, we tend to use ever increasing sensation and effort in order to get to the top. Or perhaps we go the other way and drop out altogether, tired of trying and never reaching the top. Either way we are inappropriately dragging that child (the part that has numbed out) up a mountain instead of asking what she needs, or abandoning her altogether. We can use the elements to conceptualise and create a different approach, one that might be more in keeping with what she needs.

Or with however we have found ourselves to be when enquiring deeply into the numbness.

Each element describes a way we ourselves (or a partner) can touch our whole body and genitals in order to connect with the “what is” we discovered in step one. Each element is also a meditation on a different aspect of our being, so that we have chance to hear more of ourselves, than the limited conceptualisations of sex we have accepted as reality.

Water

Yoni massage London - elements - water

Yoni massage London – elements – water

Water reminds us that we are feeling, intuitive and sensual beings. It invites us to notice where we have frozen, buried, detached from or held back the flow of our emotional states. It invites us open to deeper feeling and sensual flow.

How this might look in a session – I may flow oil over yoni (the vulva), and stroke her one hand flowing endlessly after the other. I may do just this and nothing else. I call it stroking the pussy 🙂 – a title that invites us as the giver (or if giving to ourselves) to let go of an aim. We aren’t doing anything, we have no goal, we are just hanging out comfortably stroking – the cat may purrrrrr, but that is not our aim.

In this touch I will also focus on intending a feeling state to flow from my heart through my hands. This may be comfort, love, safety – whatever it is that I intuit (or the receiver tells me) yoni is calling for. Again coming back to the wounded child, rather than dragging her off to face that peak again, we are just hanging out in a comfortable way, inviting opening and flow back into her being, and listening to how she is feeling.

Once offering this invitation to “emotions flowing” touch in a session, an image arose within me of the recipient feeling really free and happy walking across open moors. I focused all my attention on the feelings generated by this image, and imagined them flowing through my hands into the receiver.

At the end of the session the receiver said “I feel great, really free just like I feel when walking out in nature – only the feeling of freedom is in my sex!” – I hadn’t said anything about the image I had seen, or the feeling tone I had intended through my touch. There was no need to, what we think and feel when we touch – whether consciously or not – will on some level be perceived and felt by the receiver.

Earth

Yoni massage London - elements - earth

Yoni massage London – elements – earth

Earth reminds us of embodiment and grounding  in our physical being. Think structure, muscles and bones . Its a remembering of our flesh and the processes of our body: lungs breathing, heart beating, gut digesting, intestines shitting etc. Its also an invitation to breathe our way back into our bodies, when through trauma or fear we may have vacated them.

When intending to touch with an earth quality in my session, I switch my focus to give deep attention to the structures underlying the skin. I feel the earthiness of my own body and being, as well as of that which I am touching.

In earth we explore a conceptualisation of what’s deep inside beyond the skin, slowly investigating through fingertips and holding in each area, till each area is clearly known and experienced. As we touch and hold, we may find that what we first perceived as numbness becomes heat, or pain, or grief waiting to be released.

Sometimes I might simply hold and gently rock the frame of the body, at the sacrum, pelvic bone, or ribs. You don’t need to be a massage expert to touch in this way. Though study will probably help you feel more confident, the quality of presence, focused attention and intention is far more important.

To return to the image of the wounded child – do we need training to know how to rock and comfort a child who is distressed? No, we just do it. And if we let go of the peak orgasm chase, and listen deeply to how we actually are, we will often find that we know exactly what is needed.

Air

Healin yoni massage - air

Yoni massage London – elements – air

Air reminds us of the soul or breath of life. It reminds us that we are more than this physical form: we are energy bodies with more space than matter in each of our cells. We are vibrations talking to one another, just as multiple violin strings hum in resonance. And we are also our thoughts, conceptualisations, imagination and fantasy.

Air as touch, is feather light. It can be great for re-sensitising our receptivity all over, when we have desensitized through chasing the peak orgasm. A feather light touch across the whole body can be very sensual, in order to be so we will need to deeply listen and breathe into the lightness of sensation.

Additionally in air, we might explore enjoyment of sexual energy that is aroused through just our breath as in the Firebreath practice (see below for resources). Where we have become stuck in fixed patterns in our physical form, it might be easiest first to contact our pleasure in the unlimited forms of our energy body. In energy orgasm practice for instance, we may experience waves of orgasm fully clothed as someone moves the energy through our aura or light body (see links at the end if you are not sure what this is).

In the world of neotantra – thoughts or “mind” are often seen as the enemy. In my shamanic teachings though, the mind has a place just like everything else, on the wheel. In the element of air we address the unseen beyond the physical, so might also explore what conceptualisations or images of eroticism limit us, and which expand us.

Take porn for example, there are a cluster of ethical porn makers out there now exploring new conceptualisations of our sex – Gala Vanting for instance and her Slow Porn Revolution >>

Understanding and expanding the ways we conceptualise our sex, can enable us to creatively weave endlessly expanding new narratives – birthed from no other teaching than curiosity and creativity following our enjoyment.

Fire

Yoni massage London - elements - fire

Yoni massage London – elements – fire

Fire reminds us that we are passionate sexy beings, alive with purpose. Awakening heat, turning up the temperature, finding our creative sparks, our vitality – allowing ourselves to be outrageously sexy…  Also allowing ourselves also to be really clear, focused and definite, burning through that which limits us to forge something new.

In terms of touch, fire tends to be more vigorous and deliberately arousing. In tantra, we let go of an arguably patriarchal peak orgasm model, to explore a model of opening that tends to get ascribed to the feminine (though anyone of any gender can experience it). This opening is more slow and organic – it has a naturally opening quality like the petals of a flower opening to the sun.

Because this worked so well for overcoming my own vaginal numbness, there was a time I took this model as a Gospel that EVERYone with a vagina should experience. However if we look at Quodoushka teachings, they describe another map of 9 different types of vagina. One of these types – the Wolf woman – opens to her sexual energy in a firey way, preferring strong clitoral stimulation, hard and fast penetration. So if you fiddle around attempting to subtly open her petals – well you probably won’t be meeting her where s/he is at :-)[i]

So in fire we might celebrate fucking. Or perhaps we play with turning up the sensation with a flogger, dripping hot wax, exploring our erotic fantasies. Coming back to types of massage, vigorously rubbing flat palms of the hands to create heat – on the sacrum is a good place – is another altogether different way to explore fire if  the other forms suggested don’t float your boat. Or you can turn up the sensation through wringing, slapping, biting… you might explore holding your hands as claws, and with a purr or a growl draw your nails slowly slowly over the body, this can be delicious – yum!

Spirit

Yoni massage, presence above all else informs the quality of our touch

Yoni massage, presence above all else informs the quality of our touch

If we imagine the elements sitting in a circle, what we might call spirit, or presence lies at the centre of them all. This place of stillness, witnessing presence, emptiness or void, of God. Or perhaps it is a stillness that arises in you when contemplating the universe, a mathematical formulae, a piano piece, forest or a flower.

More important than anything you DO in a sensual experience or massage (whether with yourself or another) is your capacity simply to be. This is particularly so in intimate yoni massage. And when receiving healing yoni massage, having a meditation practice supporting your capacity to become the witnessing presence, can support you to remain anchored and in the moment through whatever arises.

The storms of our tears, laughter, rage, and orgasmic joy – will only flow so long as we are prepared and ready to welcome and witness ALL that arises, without judging or censoring, according to how we believe things should be.

In summary – and further study:

There are a myriad of ways to play with each element. This is just a map drawing together many things I have experienced in different teachings, as a way of seeing how they sit together. If you want to know more – come and see me for a yoni massage session in London, and other related Tantra and conscious sexuality teachings 🙂

Or if you prefer a male practitioner of healing yoni massage: if you are based in London do check out Tantric Healing Massage >> whom I thoroughly recommend. I had one year of receiving monthly yoni massages – this was a huge part of my healing journey. I have also seen a number of international practitioners for one off sessions, check out my own training bio >> for leads.

Or (because I really want everyone to know about this stuff whether they see me or someone or no-one!) here are links to just a few of the teachings and teachers that inspired each element:

Water: For a  demonstration of flowing watery sensual touch, you might explore Taoist sensual massage, here is a DVD by Dirk Leisenfeld >>

Earth: If you don’t feel confident in touch that explores the structures and forms of the body, have a look at deep tissue massage techniques – there are plenty of videos available for free on You tube.

Air: To learn about orgasms just through breath, watch this video by Barbara Carelles >> and here is a handout saying how! How to have a breath and energy orgasm >>  I learned about pure energy orgasms with Andrew Barns >>, see him demo the energy orgasm here >>

Fire: For getting conscious with Kink check out this video archive online Kinkacademy>>

Or discover your Vagina and Penis type in The sexual practices of the Quodoushka>> by Amara Charles

Most of all, have fun exploring, finding what is true for YOU, and beginning from there!

Namaste x

Postscript: parts of this article have been quoted in raw attraction magazine in an article by Beverliy Lalyta>> well worth a read!

[i] It’s interesting to note that the Quodoshka vagina types, evolved in native American culture, are partially defined by the distance of the clit from the vaginal opening. Western studies in woman’s pleasure are catching up with these teachings, and also looking at this distance between the clit and vaginal opening, and the different ways that this influences women’s pleasure.

Unfortunately our western viewpoint tends to conclude “pleasure is easier for some and harder for others” rather than seeing that limited our conceptualisations of sex create a desperately narrow “normal” that large swathes simply don’t fit. The Quodoushka teachings have a broader invitation to meet and celebrate the beauty of variety and difference.

But still it’s interesting, read a Dailymail article here The Clitoris hold the key to female pleasure >> or for the original report listing see here Clitoral size and location in relation to sexual function using pelvic MRI>>

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