I am writing this blog while on the treadmill at the gym. Not really writing because I’m doing a talk to text on my phone. I’m sure the gal to the left of me thinks I’m a bit silly talking to myself. But really, I’m imagining you on the treadmill to my right and talking to you about how we are feeling about our bodies.
With the first day of summer just recently behind us, I know the sweaters are likely being shoved into the bottom drawers and the shorts and dresses are out front and center. Which also means you and your body is a bit more front and center. You’re more exposed and when us women are more exposed and not able to hide behind that cozy favorite sweater, there’s more vulnerability in showing our bodies. And this can cause our body consciousness to go on high alert.
Feeling more exposed when you may not be feeling so confident about yourself can have a blocking effect on your inner Miss Desire. Not feeling good about your body = not feeling confident = your sexual self not feeling so confident. What does this all add up to? Your inner Miss Desire is going to feel that her desire gas tank is low. So let’s fill that tank up!
Step One: Check Your Mindset
How’s your mind overall? Is your internal world full of thoughts like “I feel good!” and “I like my body!”? Or is it filled with “ugh my stomach is big”, “I look awful!” or “gah, I’m not like that gal on TV!”? If it’s the latter then your Miss Desire is going to feel the negative effects. She’s going to hear those thoughts, look at the bedroom and then look at you like “girl, I don’t think so!”. This is because your sexual desire is sensitive to the variables around you, like the negative thoughts about your body, the medication you are taking, or that recent fight with your partner which is something we will talk more about next week.
If you want to help your inner Miss Desire feel the motivation to be intimate and close to your partner then you want to make sure that negative thoughts aren’t weighing her down. This is like asking her to jump up when holding a 50-pound bag. Sure she might kinda sorta be able to but it’ll be a struggle. I know, easier said than done to eliminate the negative ambush in your mind. But what you focus on will be where your energy feeds into.
I remember hearing this analogy once about feeding the right kind of dog. And you know I love analogies! The idea is when you feed will keep coming back to you. So think about it, if you feed a mean dog then that’s the dog that will keep coming back to you. If you feed the positive, happy dog then that’s the dog that will keep coming back to you. So if you focus on your body not being where you want it to be then you are feeding into that negative direction If you focus on healthy, positive thoughts then you will be guiding yourself in that direction. I don’t know about you but I prefer the happy tail wagging pup direction.
If your negative voices inside are pretty loud and drowning out your positive, inner voice that wants to cheer you on to feel good, healthy and confident, then it’s helpful to surround yourself with positive messages so your mind can’t help but hear them. You can change the background on your phone to have an empowering message, write a motivating mantra on a note and stick in where you see it: on the visor of your car, on your computer, your mirror you get ready at in the morning. Also, you can use your phone to set a reminder to tell yourself something good because you can’t rely on that negative voice inside to want to remind you. As you continue to add these positive messages into your mind, the neural pathway in your brain will get stronger and stronger and that negative pathway will become the road less traveled.
Step Two: Check Your Actions
If you aren’t feeling good and healthy, you need to get honest with yourself and take a look at what actions you are doing. Are you taking actions that feed into an unhealthy you? Such as ordering pizza and beer as I used to on my date night at Old Chicago? Or are you taking actions that feed into a healthy, feeling good and all confident you? This can include how you move your body, what food you’re eating, and what you are doing to help your mind like meditation or journaling.
What’s awesome is what your body does will help lead your mind in that direction. This is especially true for us women whose sexual desire is predominantly a responsive desire. Part of what’s important about understanding your desire is knowing that if you wait for the motivating thoughts to pop in before you take action you may be waiting a long time. Instead, getting your body moving in the right direction can then trigger your mind to hop on board.
Let me give you an example of the body in motion bringing the mind along to. A while ago when I went on a run and had inspiration for the blog on how people pleasing sabotages intimacy, there was a part of me that was throwing a gosh darn temper tantrum about not wanting to go workout. I allowed this part of me to have its tantrum and then picked what I could say yes to because moving was what was going to happen. So I could say yes to walking around the block and this one step (I’ll talk more about this below), allowed me to move in the right direction and actually once I got my body moving my mind was on board and I ran 5 miles. That’s the power of action. This power of action not only applies to your sexual self in that starting to get the touches you need first can then cue your mind to get on board, but it also applies to other actions in your life including those around feeling good in your body.
Step Three: Check Your Expectations
Expectations are a big N.O. to your desire. When you have expectations around anything from sexual performance, to what is “good enough” when it comes to intimacy and how your body looks, etc. then your body will get flooded with anxiety and your mind will also flip to the negative. And remember from step one that this is what we are trying to avoid. Having high expectations is like asking yourself that as you are building confidence in your body, and as a result helping your inner desire, that you need to hit the gym for 2 hours every day.
Now, as much as I would love to see you on the treadmill next to me consistently, expecting yourself to show up with that intensity every day and do these action steps with crazy high expectations is only going to cripple you. Often this can happen if you are looking for things to change quickly but this quick fix trap isn’t sustainable. Remember, we want sustainable because that’s what helps things last. You don’t need to move forward at Superman speeds, you just need to move forward. So instead of diving in all high-expectation like, I want you to focus on just one thing. The INTENTIONAL INTIMACY mindset is all about taking small action steps that are sustainable so that you create consistency, which helps you to continue easily down the road of intimacy.
What can you focus on? I’m a big fan of setting an intention for the day for the different spheres of my life including my health. And making it also bite-sized. Translation: doable. And allowing yourself to accept that it is enough. Instead of getting caught in the all-or-nothing thinking of its 2 hours at the gym or nothing. Explore the middle and ask yourself what you can say yes to. Yes, my running example above started with a yes to a mini walk but this isn’t always the case. Today before I finished up with some edits on this post, my yes was 20 minutes of at-home yoga. The idea of going to the gym or even on a run felt like too big of a bite to me. So my yes was 20 minutes of yoga. And not the intense kind, but the stretch-and-get-kisses-from-my-pups-as-I’m-sitting-on-the-floor-reaching-for-my-toes-kind. Keeping it small and simple is still enough as long as it’s in the right direction.
And on the last note, as you are building that confidence around your body by focusing on your mind, your actions and your expectations I want you to remember that you are not a supermodel. Nor do you have to be a wonderful sexual being. Not once in my years of work did I ever hear from the men in a couple that they wish their partner was like Beyonce or Giselle. What they want is just more of you. So drop the negative mindset and expectation that says “I have to be like that” and instead be you. Focus on being healthy and feeling good and that is what matters. As you feed into these positives then your inner Miss Desire is going to be all the more willing to come out and play.