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"If I Have All the Sex I REALLY Want, People Will Think I’m a Slut"

"If I Have All the Sex I REALLY Want, People Will Think I’m a Slut"

Here’s my interview with Nicole Halpern, creator of a new series of workshops called “Sex, Body, Love” that help women expand their sexuality.

Some background about Nicole.  For years, she has been leading workshops that help women feel more connected to their bodies and in charge of their sexuality.

After many years of practice and inquiry, it’s fascinating to see what Nicole is teaching women in her new workshops.

Comment below on this blog post if you have questions for me or Nicole.

==> What are the 3 most common limiting beliefs that prevent women from having all they can sexually?

==> What surprised you the most about what women REALLY want as you lead your workshops?

==> Describe what kind of sexual potential any women can enjoy.

==> You spent many years teaching at OneTaste, but are no longer affiliated with the organization, how did that experience influence you and how have you modified your teachings to meet the needs of your followers?

Q&A Starts Here

Nicole, what are the three most common limiting beliefs that women hold that prevent them from having all they can sexually?

Although there are probably as many different beliefs as there are women, we can reduce many of them to a few core fear-based beliefs.

One very common one is the fear that, as a woman, if I have all the sex I really want that people will think I’m a slut.

Many of us are all too familiar with the stark dichotomy that society presents us – either we’re whores or we’re virgins.

Another bedrock experience is the feeling of being objectified, of existing purely to please our male partner and not ourselves.

Finally, a third very limiting pattern is the shutting down of our sexual energy for fear of bringing unwanted attention on ourselves.

What surprised you the most about what women really wanted as you lead your workshops over the last several years?

What women really want is something I call “TA DAA”

It stands for Touch, Attention, Desire, Affection, Appreciation.

These are the baseline needs – the yearning for touch, for being seen attentively, truly and with care, the power to identify and express our desires, the urge for playful affection and for heartfelt appreciation.

Having these fundamental needs met doesn’t mean we abandon everything else and decide we don’t care about nice things anymore, but rather that our inner body is nourished enough that we no longer absolutely must have them.

We begin to relax in the freedom of knowing that beautiful things will enter and leave our lives, and we don’t have to hold on and possess all of them as if our life depended on it.

Describe what kind of sexual potential any women can enjoy.

Our birthright is to live from our hearts and from our turn-on. We are neither whores nor virgins, or, more accurately, we are both. Ta Daa!

Sometimes we want to be touched and stroked and lingered over, other times we cry inside for someone to spend more than a moment drinking us in and really feeling who we are.

We want the confidence and trust and safety to own our desires – even the scary ones, no, especially the scary ones- and to put those desires out to the world. We don’t have to keep them hidden anymore.

And then there is a place too for affection, for warmth, for playing with the joy and innocence of children. And finally appreciating, and being appreciated, for being all these things, and being a whole that is so much greater than the sum of the parts.

Walt Whitman was right — we are large, we do contain multitudes!

The sexually turned on woman embraces all these moods, can dance among them. Opening to both her sex and her heart, we open to the life in every moment and allow the energy within us to flow.

It has been my experience that the more freedom we give to our sexuality, the more we let our sexual nature to breathe and feel some sunlight, the more we open to receiving true intimacy in our lives, and to connecting with the depth and richness of each moment.

It doesn’t mean we are having physical sex all the time, but rather that the qualities that sex at its best brings out — opening to joy, sinking into sensation, surrendering to the language of the body — inform all of our experiences.

The fears we spoke of earlier, of appearing a slut, of being objectified, of bringing attention on ourselves, begin to lose their potency as we discover how good it feels to let the sex within us blossom. And we still can function in the world, setting boundaries, feeling vulnerable, getting disappointed, making mistakes. But now these things happen not with a sense of dread or pressure but with a sense of ease and lightness.

You spent many years teaching at OneTaste, but are no longer affiliated with the organization, how did that experience influence you and how have you modified your teachings to meet the needs of your followers?

When my sexuality began to awaken, I discovered a cloud of judgments stifling it. I remember being five years old, masturbating, rocking on my Charlies’ Angels lunchbox to orgasm, and feeling the mixture of pleasure, shame at the pleasure, and fear my parents would discover me. Or reading stories about prostitutes with a rush of forbidden fascination. I think many of us have stories like this.

I felt all this desire, this energy, that I didn’t know what to do with, this hunger that never felt satisfied. And I criticized myself for the urges I experienced. My desires did not fit my identity of a nice Jewish girl from New York. I grew up on lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan , went to private school and summer camp in Maine, and spent Saturdays at Bloomingdale’s with my mom but my sexual self stayed isolated, private. It wasn’t something one talked about!

And in the absence of sunlight, lots of murkiness grew up around it – was it OK? was it normal? what did it mean? what if it overwhelms me? can I trust it? what does it want?

I felt shame at wondering what it would be like to kiss another woman or to even want the amount of sex that I really wanted. Even just looking at my genitals, having them seen, wondering if they were normal, all was a source of embarrassment for me.

I can feel my own vulnerability now, writing this. I gradually “moved into” my desire. It was like moving into a new house. It took time to get settled, to feel at home, to relax and let my guard down. But gradually I saw that my shame was unjust and unnecessary.

My judgments were a layer I was adding because I thought I was supposed to. I came to realize all these layers were optional -I could choose to add them or not. Just as important, these judgments were not reflecting the actual physical sensations — the felt experience, in the body — that my desire was manifesting.

I learned to accept my desires as being perfect, just as they were, and embrace all them, sexual and non-sexual, moment by moment. I found myself not holding myself back any more in my relationships with others. And the fire of the turn-on in my genitals started to warm and soften my heart.

I became a more loving person. Opening my heart was a painful process, and it started with me being honest and acknowledging that my heart was closed. I felt the pain of liking someone and not having the feeling returned, and crying for what seemed like a very long time. It finally created the release my heart was asking for.

My defenses started to drop, my protective shield fell away, and I allowed myself to be more vulnerable. One Taste was a great place for me to free my sexuality and explore my shadow side. We used to joke about it being a monastery. I lived in the temple for four years and very rarely left.

I am learning the difference between making things work in a spiritual laboratory and making them work in the real world.. the real world is where everyone lives… and that is where my work is now.

What I wanted when I left two years ago, and what a lot of my work now is about, is bringing my experiences there into the world,  as well as teaching women how to have more love in their life – especially for themselves. I knew the value of what I learned at OneTaste would be revealed, not within the walls of the cloister, but in  day-to-day life in the real world, and in the creation of a world which supported women to freely express all of their desires, sexual and nonsexual.

So I have been working on a way for women to feel free sexually and pursue their work in the world, to integrate all these aspects we spoke of before- how to embrace our sexual and sensual nature and be the dynamic powerful and whole women we were born to be.

One of my clients captured the beginning stages of this process quite beautifully, “I feel like I am on an edge of a new world and I’ve just opened a door to an empty room that I’ve never been in before, and I can fill it however I want.”

And to learn how to not merely survive, but thrive in a culture that is more masculine in nature. I’ve found very few women who lead from both their sex and their heart, and that is what I want to create, leading with the strength and the passion that comes from not denying either our sex or our heart but saying yes to both of them.

When we open our sex, we open up to our power as well. The two are bundled together. Questions come up: Are we a victim in our life or a perpetrator? Do we set our own boundaries or have them set for us? Do we strive to align our inner values and desires with our outer world, or do we accept being out of sync in our relationships?

The more we can release our shame and judgment around our sex, the more we can know and accept who we really are. And, in turn, we need other peoples’ approval less and less. We learn how to love- not only others, but ourselves. This is where the true power lies- it is not bestowed by others, it cannot be taken away, we don’t have to hoard it or fear losing it. It resides in the knowledge of living from the truth of our own experience, and the integrity that comes from wanting to share that with the world.

On a practical level, my work is now geared towards the suburban mom, the yoga and meditation student, as well as professionals in the corporate world. Women who are successful in their work, or have a body-based and spiritual practice but maybe not much of a conscious sexuality practice. My work is less about proficiency in the “doing” mode (masculine functioning in a sense) and more about discovering what it’s like to step into a “being” mode of allowing and tuning in to our emotional pulse.

My approach is geared especially for women, as it is a gentle, soft and nurturing path. I started by leading women-only workshops and short retreats so a safe and non-threatening space could be provided.

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Contact Nicole at sexbodylove at gmail.com

Nicole’s Facebook Page (Like her, please!)

2 Comments

  1. Your words here are the first that really touch my reality – currently I’m struggling with grief over all lost opportunities to love – now I’m short on time, no longer young and raging to express long-repressed energies – the waste of it all is crushing.
    Do you publish your workshops ? I do not reside in USA.

  2. What do you offer women who live in another country?

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