Marion, 42, had been single for a while. She had a number of relationships when she was younger and couldn’t figure out why they didn’t work. When opportunities came along and someone wanted to get closer to her she ‘contracted’. She shared:
“I never take them [opportunities] because I was always too scared. Too scared to be hurt, too scared of it going wrong, I always thought it was too much hassle, I thought I was better on my own…And when I look back now it’s because I wasn’t communicating anything at all – nothing…I think somewhere along the line I learnt not to communicate what I wanted. And that’s why most of my relationships ended because I just walked away because I’d just had enough. What I wasn’t doing was saying ‘Hi, this is me, this is what I want’. So the s&x always got really boring really quickly, it felt like a chore, I just got bored. I just thought why am I here – I’ll just leave.
I think a lot of that is just because I was too scared to be honest. As I left it, it got harder and harder to do as I got older. It got harder to say ‘I like you’. It was easier that no-one ever saw those feelings inside me. There were plenty of missed opportunities over the years – I can think about them now – I did everything in my power to make it seem that I didn’t like them. I was just tired of shutting the opportunities off and just allowing the opportunities to come to pass and that’s definitely something you’ve helped me move through.”
A man came into her world who was persistent and she decided to try as she was tired of missing these opportunities. Marion shares how her journey started with me and how it shifted:
“When I started [working with me] I felt like I wanted this to help my relationships, I wanted to have great sex and it’s shifted completely … it feels like it’s now about my development, it’s about what’s good for me and that’s just not from a sexual capacity, it’s from a whole life capacity…the space where I can talk about the things I wouldn’t normally say gives you the chance to look at the little areas that you’re not happy with. It lets you shine a light on the place that you have a longing for but you don’t know how to handle it. You’ve helped me handle that place and realise actually it’s OK, it’s alright, whatever it is.
The fact that I haven’t done this for a long time and I felt that as I was older I should know so much more, whereas now I feel like I’m at the beginning, just beginning to learn. And I guess it’s just the way that you’ve made me think and reflect in between sessions on how little I put my pleasure at the front. I think that’s one of the things that you made me realise quite early on, and how much I want that for my own life.”
Another significant shift was that she stopped focusing all her attention on her partners pleasure:
“I love the way that I’ve had that shift whereby I’m stopping focusing on someone else…When you’re in physical contact with someone and all your brain is doing is ‘does he like this?, ‘does he like me?’, all those kinds of things, to be able to shift and go actually ‘am I here?’, ‘am I enjoying this?’, ‘what is this doing for me?’ Actually, ’it is all about me’ is quite huge.
I now believe that pleasure for me is possible but in a way that I didn’t realise it would be. My pleasure is hugely important and it’s becoming the only thing that is important which is quite strange. I’m creating boundaries as to what’s acceptable and I’ve never done that before, not in a relationship. It’s always been I’ll go along with most things whereas now it’s like actually – no, it is important that I’m here and it is important that I’m enjoying it and it is important that I learn more of that.”
Marion was used to experiencing sexual pleasure the same way every time and she saw how her pleasure changes and how what she wants changes depending on how she feels, whether she’s tired or energised and for that to be ok. Also, how the same thing she experiences can be different every time. She shares:
“I realise that difference can be so subtle, as you’re different every time – you can do the same thing but bring a different energy to it or just knowing that you’ve never done this actual moment ever before brings a fresh perspective and energy to it from last time.
I know that sex doesn’t need to be ‘boom, boom, boom’. The penis massage – that concept blew my mind. Why have we got these pre-conceived ideas on what things should be like?”
I asked Marion what she was particularly proud of from our work and she shared:
“I think I’m proud about the fact that I’m just beginning to discover my body, even simple things like a self-pleasure practice – now I’ve been masturbating for years but I’d never done it anywhere like the way that you showed me and the things like the breast massage – there’s a real pleasure in that. It’s almost as if you’ve been carrying this body but have just not paid any attention to it…Massaging my vagina just sounded hilarious, yet I love going for a massage, it’s one of my favourite pastimes. I realised there’s a whole part of my body that I knew nothing about.
And it’s quite vulnerable work, going into yourself, trying to figure out what you like, which I find quite hard – what I actually like versus what I think I should be doing, and I found separating those two quite hard but I do feel like I’m getting to a place where I’m realising this. I am starting to be aware of my body and ‘I like that’ or ‘ I don’t like that’ so that for me has been huge. And that came about from self-practice, that’s nothing to do with anyone else, which is probably why it’s so striking.
The most valuable thing for me is not being afraid to touch my own body and not being afraid at least to just explore it, and it makes me excited going forward to see what it can be capable of as I integrate this more into my life and my life with a partner…You opened the door to something that I haven’t touched for nearly twenty years.”
So much more shifted in Marion’s life. Her concept of relationships changed. She used to have an idea of how love ‘should’ look and she realised that there is no ‘should’ and that she can create a relationship that works for her. She ran a family business and this changed how she ran her team, how she communicated and set boundaries. I asked what else had changed in her life as a result of our working together. She shared:
“Just looking at the chances that I’ve taken this year, I just wouldn’t have done them. I wouldn’t have moved to a different city, I’ve done that. And like my studies, I’ve been saying for years that now is not the right time, but there’s never a right time. You know, I went for it, I went for things I just wouldn’t have gone for. And I’m thinking more about who I am, what I put out into the world and how I look, which is something I’ve never really thought about before… And I have done that this year. It’s about putting me first. My whole life has changed. I put myself first – what do I want my life to be, how do I have more pleasure, how can I be happier? It’s wonderful. What I’ve learnt will change more in the future – it’s a starting point. What can I achieve with this? It’s limitless.”