This week at Trust Tending we’ll be nourishing trust around sensual and sexual evolution – that process of coming more sensually alive: more sexually vibrant (whether we’re having sex or not), more able to experience and sink into pleasure, more capable of blessing and appreciating our bodies-as-they-are and the bodies of those we love.
Some of us carry enough shame, woundings, or plain old naivete when it comes to sensuality that trying to evolve on this front on purpose feels scary and intimidating.
Others of us feel ready to open up to such growth, but aren’t sure where in the world to begin.
And some of us just haven’t thought a whole lot about sensuousness, but have rich inner soil ready for enlivening sensual seeds to be planted.
No matter where you find yourself (amidst these groups or beyond), I hope this week’s images and interviews feed your trust and give you greater capacity to move through and beyond your sensual fears.
Your body, with its infinite capacity for pleasure and its rich connections with your spirit, is sacred, and, I trust deeply, connected to the health of us all.
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Today Michele Lisenbury Christensen joins us to talk about the sensual evolution that led her to envision and create The Hot Love Revolution – a movement and a business on a mission to “help happy, well-loved women save the world”.
In Michele’s own words from her site:
I discovered Hot Love Revolution early this year and got such a jolt of YES!!! when I read its I Believe page that I wanted to shout it from rooftops. IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE, GO READ JUST THAT.
Michele is a potent force of trust-nourishment and I hope you’ll explore her site and soak in deeply what she shares below today.
Thanks so much for being here, Michele!…and thank you Kurt (Michele’s husband) for your huge role in this revolution, too!
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1. You write at The Hot Love Revolution about a significant change in trajectory that you and your husband made in your marriage a few years ago – a change in the direction of more passion, more spice, more deep fulfillment in your monogamy. What was your tipping point for that change? How did you come to take it so seriously? It seems much more common to feel the need for such a shift but never take a conscious plunge to make it happen.
More than a tipping point, I feel like we experienced a long process of the erosion of our capacity for denial. For many years, we had this relationship that was sort of nice (and unlike some of the people who come to me who have super-polite, tepid relationships, ours had its share of nastiness, too) and felt rooted in a shared spirituality and a deep friendship, but that just didn’t have a deep passion. I, more than he, knew I wanted that. I’d bring it up, and we’d “work on it” periodically and then go back to sleep. We were in the pattern you’re referring to: you want it, but you don’t do a lot to bring about the change. And we don’t, because it really does upset the apple cart to start flying into your no-fly zones, personally or within a relationship. You ARE entering the unknown.
But I think two things happened that helped us get critical mass after so many false starts on the intimacy front: I saw friends our age who, like us, had kids, start getting divorced. And along with my sadness for their families, I saw – this shocked me – my own envy. To start over, to have hope for a life with sensuality and passion and intensity. I saw that I wanted that at a bone-deep level. But there in my bones, too, was my profound love for Kurt and my desire to have those things WITH HIM. And we already had Cooper, and I very much want for him to be able to live with both of us as he grows.
TOTAL SIDEBAR: I have to say as a child of divorce: My experience is that happy parents – especially a happy mother – are far more important for a child than an intact family. I believe mamas have to do what it takes to be happy. AND I believe too many of us rush toward “being away from YOU (our current partner) is what will make me happy.” I think we do better to go for what I call “The Break-Up Effect” — you remember how life-changing it was to end a relationship, earlier in life, right? — while staying IN our relationship, if we’re with a good person who we care about and who cares about us.
… That said, there I was: craving heat, intensity, sensual self-expression. Devoted to my family. Wanting a new relationship, but wanting the same man I was already with.
The second thing that happened was that we discovered Orgasmic Meditation. It’s a practice that’s not sex and it’s not silent meditation in the traditional sense… It’s a stroking practice that has given me and Kurt a place to practice the way we want to be with each other and to take off the layers of frustration, resentment, avoidance, fear, overwhelm, and inertia that cloud most long-term sexual partnerships. We continue to practice 3-4 times a week and it continues to unfold for us.
We’ve done so many good things for our love, but when I look at the ‘tipping point’ – what helped us do enough, consistently enough, to build the bonfire that warms us today? It’s having a practice together.
2. What were some of the beliefs you had before that shift that have changed because of your conscious attention to the hotness of your marriage?
OLD BELIEF: It’s disloyal to be attracted to other people.
NEW BELIEF: It’s natural to be attracted to different qualities in different people.
You may choose to act on that attraction. I choose to bring those attractions back to my committed partnership and look at ways to be the woman I think those qualities in a man would help me be, and to ask Kurt to play with ways he can explore the qualities I saw, for himself.
OLD BELIEF: Long-term relationship invariably suffers from entropy. Boredom and less-exciting sex is natural.
NEW BELIEF: Dust and mold are natural. Natural don’t gotta mean “normal” in my house! We can have relationships that are new every day.
Excitement can build on variety and not-knowing (like it does at the beginning of a relationship) or upon familiarity and discovering new things with the same person. That’s what we’re up to now.
OLD BELIEF: There’s something egotistical, shallow, vapid about focusing on sex when you’re pushin’ 40 and a mom of littles like I am. Grow up!
NEW BELIEF: Sensuality is a lifelong need for all of us. And an orgasmic mama is a happy mama is a nourishing mama.
Our world needs a next generation raised by people who are vibrantly alive, who have really GONE FOR IT in their lives. That’s what we’re trying to be for our kids: devoted to them, but also to the highest vision of what we can create individually and as a couple.
3. Many of my readers, like you, are still in the thick of life with young kids. What have you learned about that particular season that might address some common fears and frustrations people have around being sexual beings and sexual partners in the midst of it?
Funny. I was answering that last question without having read this one. Glad it’s relevant for your readers (grin).
Well, let me normalize the experience of having your libido utterly macerated by childbirth and parenting. This year, even after a highly sensual pregnancy and lovely birth… Kurt and I were practicing together, but I was in NO WAY interested in intercourse for many weeks after I had Mira. And that’s with the spotlight straight on that connection! So I’ll start with that: it’s normal.
Second, though: there’s a way to be really powerfully generous with your partner (as distinct from being resentfully or dutifully submissive) and engaging in play together that one of you might not be motivated for but that the other might NEED. And finding that ability to want what you don’t crave is the key to not having long dry spells punctuated by disappointment, rejection, shame, and resentment. Keep the sensuality flowing, even if it has to be in a new way.
I’ve learned that date night is key: if we’re not talking and being together as grownups when we’re awake, we are going to fall asleep when we get to bed. I’ve learned that bedtime, for mommies and daddies, is a rough time for sex. You’re so wiped! So mid-day, or afternoon while the kids are with a sitter, or early morning… Just don’t give your sex the dregs of your energy, or it won’t get any energy at all!
And I’ve learned that a mama is a sexual being in a very different way than a maiden is, just a few months earlier. Our bodies change, we’re sharing them with our fetus and then with our breastfeeding little person… It dramatically changes what we desire and how we want to share ourselves. I’ve learned that staying connected to my partner requires staying in deep conversation with myself and with him about what I want now and what I’ve got to give and how we can explore this new terrain with curiosity and joy, rather than with fatigue and frustration.
4. For those of us inspired by your work and revolution but unsure where to start to join it and make shifts in our own romantic relationships, can you give us a couple suggestions?
My newsletter is the best place to start. It’ll get you new videos from me a couple of times a month, links to my newest blog posts, and early registration bonuses for upcoming programs for women and men.
And if you want to jump into something right away, the Hot Love Makeover is a 28-day program for women to unilaterally make-over the sensation and passion in their relationships and lives. It starts July 8th.
Thanks again for being here, Michele!
And readers: Got questions for Michele? She’s happy to answer them in comments below!