I is for Introspection

It is important to know your own body. To discover what turns you on. Self pleasuring is extremely important for a sexually fulfilling life.

For me, introspection means time to go within. To spend time with oneself.

It also means taking time to explore yourself sexually.

It is important to know your own body. To discover what turns you on. Self pleasuring is extremely important for a sexually fulfilling life. It is essential to know your own body. To discover your own erogenous zones. What turns you on? What gives you satisfaction?

Have you taken time to explore your own body?

If not, please do! Set some time aside to explore yourself. Take as much time as you need…

Take time for yourself

Too many times we rely on others to give us pleasure. Especially sexually. But first, it is important to know ourselves. And to take responsibility to be our own pleasure makers. It is called self empowerment. Sexual empowerment is to know what you like and get it.

We are powerful sexual beings. But many times that power is suppressed. In this era it is so important for us to take back our power. To awaken our sexual energy so we can use it for our own pleasure. To use that sexual energy for our own gain is a very powerful energy.

Introspection is also about taking time for yourself, quiet time. Time out. Do you do that? Do you take time out of your busy life for yourself? A nice hot bath. Time to meditate? To go for a walk? As you schedule time for work, school meetings, social gatherings, it is also important to take time for yourself. To schedule time for you.

Pay attention to your emotional reactions

Introspection also includes a willingness to look inside when things get tough. When you are faced with a situation that brings up big feelings, strong emotions. To look within and see where those emotions sit in your body. To focus in and see where those feelings come from. Are they really realistic and valid?

I remember when my partner asked me to marry him. I freaked out. My emotional response was really strong. I know from many years of personal growth seminars and work on myself that when something happens that brings up a really strong reaction then it is important to take time and look at where that reaction comes from. Is it real. Is it valid. Is it realistic? Or is the reaction based on your parental, societal, or religious upbringing?

Communicate those emotions with others and yourself

When I took time to really analyze my reaction to making a lifetime commitment to this person who loved and adored me, the image of me having my wings clipped, chained to the kitchen sink, ironing my partner's underpants was not really a realistic reality.

This man, in no way wanted to restrict my freedom. He was attracted to me as a sexual, uninhibited, free spirit. He didn’t want to change that. He loved that. When I took time to go within I realized that my reaction was based on my upbringing and the reality of my mother. She was a model and very flirtatious, gave up her career and dedicated her life to my father and to raising a family and being the best wife and mother.

My reaction was my response to the possibility that I, as a sexually free being, would limit myself if I made a commitment to one man. The deeper I looked I realized that this man did not want me to limit myself. He adored who I was sexually and didn’t want to change that. He wanted to be there for me, be my rock, encourage me to be all I could be.

It took an hour or so, by myself, looking within, to realize that my reaction was not founded on reality. I cried. I screamed. I watched myself react. Then when I really looked within it was clear that this man did not intend to limit me, but rather wanted to honor me and commit to me and us.

Take a close look at all your relationships

Over the last 22 years that has proven to be true. Never, has he attempted to limit me. He has always been there to encourage me and empower me to be all of me. I feel very blessed.

Look at your relationships. To yourself and your loved ones. Do you encourage them to be all they can be? Is there something you feel is missing? Is that something you can create with your loved one or is it something you can fill with someone else?

It is a lot to expect one person to provide everything you need physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

I wrote a book called Soul Sex, a sexual adventure about a New Zealand girl traveling the world in search of sexual enlightenment. She travels to 12 different countries and explores sexual activities with many different people. Ultimately, she found one person who did meet all of her physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. But the reality is that it is very difficult to find one person who does that. Rather than destroy a relationship or end a long term marriage, sometimes it is important to look at what your relationship does give you and what it doesn’t.

Learn to listen to yourself

Many people I work with love certain things in their relationship - their children, their careers, their homes - but many times they feel there is something missing. I love it when couples are willing to look at what is missing and work out ways to fill those gaps.

More often than not, there is something sexually they would like to explore.

Monogamy, in my opinion, is not natural. We, as human beings, are not designed to be monogamous. To make a commitment of the heart is potentially a monogamous choice, but to be sexually monogamous is not natural (more on Monogamy under M!)

That is why so many thousands of people all over the world are attracted to this sexually open lifestyle. That is why you are in this lifestyle. That is why I am in this lifestyle, and am busy as a sexologist focusing on helping couples and individuals open up to more sexually.

Thousands of couples and individuals enjoy lifestyle vacations to resorts and on cruises that cater to people in the lifestyle. It can sometimes be a challenge, but also incredibly satisfying to open up yourself and your relationship. But it is also important to take time for you. To take a break from the lifestyle. To regroup to talk about your feelings with your partner. To vary things up. But mostly to reconnect with yourself. 
 Next is J for Joy…

Dr. Shelley

Originally from New Zealand, now based in Las Vegas, Dr Shelley has a PhD specializing in human sexuality and in particular open relationships and polyamory. She is the author of Soul Sex, and the Anti-Aging & Health Benefits of Sex. Dr Shelley teaches small group intensives, workshops and has been working with couples and individuals for 20 years focusing on making the world more sexually joyful. She is excited to share her latest writings Dr Shelley's A-Z of Sex.
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