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Relationship Alive!

Neil Sattin interviews John Gottman, Sue Johnson, Harville Hendrix, Peter Levine, Stan Tatkin, Dick Schwartz, Katherine Woodward Thomas, Diana Richardson, Terry Real, Wendy Maltz - and many others - in his quest to dig deep into all the factors that keep a Relationship Alive and Thriving! Each week Neil brings you an in-depth interview with a relationship expert. Neil is an author and relationship coach who is enthusiastic and passionate about relationships and the nuts and bolts of what makes them last. You can find out more about Neil Sattin and the Relationship Alive podcast at http://www.neilsattin.com
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Now displaying: 2020
Mar 20, 2020

Sometimes all it takes is a simple adjustment to create a much deeper connection with another person. Today I'll offer you some obvious-but-not-so-obvious ways to foster intimacy - whether you're cooped up with another, or connecting digitally. In this episode I'm also sharing some of the ways that I create deep presence when I'm using video chat to communicate. Strategies you can always use that will come in handy as we social distance to slow the coronavirus pandemic. Simple stuff, with big results.

This week's episode is a follow-up to last week's episode about how to stay connected to yourself and others amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive.

This is your host, Neil Sattin.

I know, I know I said in last week's episode, that this week, there was gonna be an interview with a friend of mine who's a romance writer, and that interview is coming, but just not this week, so sorry to those of you who are excited for that interview. It will be coming.

I just decided that as a follow-up to last week's episode, Love in the Time of Coronavirus where I talked about some strategies for helping you take care of yourself, helping you take care of your relationship and if you're single, helping you date safely.

During the present moment - I wanted to follow up with a few quick tips for you to help you create intimate space no matter what your situation is. So if you are cooped up with your partner day in day out, because you're on lockdown, and on a strict social distancing regimen with everyone, except your immediate family or if you are dating and communicating digitally through apps and texting, and video chat, I wanted to give you a few hints to help you actually create intimacy no matter which of those settings you're dealing with, so that you can best get that sense of being connected with other people. And I know, I often say This is gonna be a really quick episode, or the other day, I sent an email out and I said This is gonna be a quick email. It ended up being a longer email.

I'm gonna do my best to make this fairly quick because, Hey, there's a lot going on in our lives right now and I'm gonna do my best to honor that for you.

However, before I dive into the meat or the tofu, of the episode, I want to do important things like first just to thank you if you have been contributing to relationship alive to help keep us going, I'm so appreciative of your support. This is a labor of love about love to hopefully help you have the most successful relationship or relationships that you can have, and so if you're finding the podcast to be beneficial for you on your journey or for people that you know and love, please consider a donation to keep us going.

Every little bit counts, and you can choose something that feels right for you if you visit neilsattin.com/support and you can also text the word "support" to the number 33444 and follow the instructions. And this week I'd like to thank Angie, David, Sylvia, Elyse, Drew, Marilyn, Lydia, Valerie, and Keerthi, thank you all so much for your contributions to relationship alive and Angie - Sorry, well we'll do the romance novel one soon... Okay, so... Also, I do have a free offering for you along with this podcast. If you're looking for ways to improve your communication with your partner or with people who are important to you, then download my guide, my free guide to the top three relationship communication, secrets - these are things that are fairly easy to put into practice and can really be a huge transforming factor when you're trying to talk about things that are challenging, when you're trying to communicate about something that's important, when you're feeling vulnerable - these action items will help you do that successfully to help you stay connected, no matter how challenging the topic. To download that, just visit neilsattin.com/relate or text the word "relate" to the number 33444 and follow the instructions.

And before we dive in, we do have a free Facebook group. The relationship alive community, where you can come and join others who listen to the show in a safe space to talk about relationships and get some support for yourself, so or support others. So hopefully I'll see you there, in the relationship alive community on Facebook.

If you're on my email list, which you will be if you've downloaded any of the show guides to the show or if you download the relationship communication tips that I just mentioned, you may see that I recently announced that I created some spots in my calendar to do one-off coaching. This isn't something that I do very frequently, but there's so much going on right now that I wanted to make myself available, so I'm offering it on a sliding scale, and I'll be sending out another reminder soon, so just hop on my list and you can get more information about that. If you need a little extra support, right now, I totally get it. Hey, I need a little extra support right now and I have been reaching out to the people that I count on: a therapist, close friends to get that little extra bit of support when I need it, 'cause none of us should be alone. So, if there isn't anyone in your life that you can count on, then consider signing up for a session 'cause I would love to be there to help support you.

Okay, all right, let's dive in. I'm just like, I have this image of just running for the water and taking a big dive in and that would feel really good right now, except I live in Maine, and it is cold and while I have some friends that I've seen jumping in the ocean on Facebook - I guess that is theoretically good for your immune system to take the cold plunge - I'm not gonna do that right now.

No, in fact I'm still recovering from the cold that I got a little over a week ago, which you may have heard me talk about briefly on the last episode of the show. So far, so good, everything seems okay. Of course, I cannot get tested because they're just aren't enough tests and thankfully, what I'm experiencing isn't severe enough to warrant a test, the way that they are doling them out right now, so I'm doing all right. I'm getting rest, drinking lots of water and I'm gonna be okay, and hopefully we all band together and we'll all get through this. Even though it's kind of a weird challenging time, let's just be honest. It is unlike anything any of us has ever probably dealt with before.

So that's just the reality, and I think that's why this felt so important to give you a few extra hints because we're all in the soup right now, and so it's super important to have as many little tricks as you can to stay connected and to be able to experience intimacy even if you have to keep your distance.

So the first thing that I wanted to talk about has to do with if you are in fact spending a lot of time cooped up with your partner, so you're in our relationship or this could be true even if it's not a love relationship, maybe it's your roommates or if you live with your family. There are a couple of possibilities, one is that it's so easy to be around each other all the time and still kind of be missing each other - to not really have those moments where you feel like you're really dropping in and connecting.

And on the flip side, maybe you're so busy that you're not taking the time to truly connect or maybe you're in each other's business all the time, but not in ways that are particularly connecting.

So here's the hint for those kinds of situations. The hint is to make a date with each other, to actually put time on the calendar and you might wanna do this on a daily basis to have a little check-in if that feels appropriate, or every other day, you gotta go with whatever feels right for you, but I invite you to designate a specific time where you will come together and just check in with a "Hey! How are you doing?"

And to give each other permission to be however you are. Maybe amidst all of this, you're doing totally fine. And if that's true, that's great. Relish that, that things are going a little crazy in the world, and I'm actually doing okay and having that strength or resilience that comes in handy when times get tough.

So the goal here is to celebrate whatever is, and if it's not something that you feel like celebrating exactly - like for instance, if you're NOT doing so great, well, take the word with a grain of salt, you don't have to "celebrate" it, but you can honor it - honor the challenge, honor the fear, honor the sadness or the heart break, honor the rage, and the anger, or honor the okay-ness - honor those moments of exhilaration where you feel like... "Wow, this... Maybe this is all we got, so let's enjoy it." I know yesterday I went out on a couple of really long walks in the sunshine. It's not sunny today, but it was yesterday, and I actually had moments of joy where I felt like I was just seeing the world so clearly, noticing the people around me and saying, "hello" from a safe distance of six feet and just appreciating life, so that those were really good moments for me.

And then I've had moments where I've been scared, I'm scared of what might happen to people that I care about, moreso that than myself, but honestly, I wanna keep living.

You know, I wanna get through this in one piece. So, yeah you gotta just deal with what is and check in with each other. If you're solo or single at this time, make an appointment to check in with yourself, maybe a couple of times during the day to just kind of step back from social media, from the news, from whatever it is you're doing and just check in with your body with your own state of being. This is something that I talked about in the last episode. Make it intentional though. And that way, if you're feeling, on the other side of those things, you were feeling like you're kind of obsessive about how you're feeling, then that's another advantage of setting a time. You have that dedicated time to check-in about your feelings, and then you can get on with your day.

So that's my hint for self and for being in relationship - to carve out time to be intentiona, l to honor each other, to really listen and acknowledge each other, and just to acknowledge if it's good. Awesome, that's good. If it's hard, Okay, it's hard - I hear you.

I'm gonna do a quick message from our sponsor for days episode and then I'm going to offer you some hints on digital intimacy so staying connected, and feeling like you're creating a good container of intimacy in digital communications, whether that be texting or using Zoom or Skype, or something like that, to do video chats.

But today's sponsor has been supporting the podcast for a little while now, I'm so appreciative.

And they are potentially another way for you to get the help that you need the support that you're looking for as you're creating that web of support that is so valuable that we talk about on the show all the time.

So this way that allows you to connect with a professional counselor in an online environment, that's safe and private and obviously respects social distancing, is today's sponsor. Better help with better help you can get help on your own time, and at your own pace. Along with scheduling video or phone sessions, you can also chat and text with your therapist, they are affordable and financial aid is available for those who qualify. So whether it's the current situation with Coronavirus or anxiety or depression or things going on in your relationship, whatever it is, definitely consider better help as a way to help you transform the places where you are stuck, and best of all, it's a truly affordable option because as a Relationship Alive listener, you get 10% off your first month with discount code, a live.

So why not? It started today?

Just go to better help dot com live simply fill out their questionnaire, which will help them assess your needs and get you matched with a counselor that you love, that's better. Help dot com alive, thanks better help.

Alright, I'm gonna keep my promise to you that this is gonna be quick. So let's talk about digital intimacy.

We'll start with texting.

When I was talking before about carving out time to communicate, I think that can be helpful for texting, as well so that you are not just texting off and on throughout your day or texting a bunch of people at once too... Sometimes texting works that way, where it's designed to be asynchronous - meaning you send a message to someone and they may or may not reply to you right away - so I get it, that's how it sometimes works. So this isn't a strict rule but if you get the sense that someone is there on the other end, and ready and willing to text with you then carve at that time, carve out five minutes, 10 minutes, and just focus your energy on texting with your friends and while you are waiting for the other person to text you back instead of checking social media, or going online, or to a your favorite blog or whatever it is, I invite you to just stay present, stay present, with the waiting, waiting, for their communication - breathe, get in touch with what's happening in your body and do your best to just stay focused on that communication with that person.

It makes a difference in not only feeling connected, but in their feeling your presence - especially if you're able to respond back really quickly, because you are giving that other person your full attention via text. That's my hint for texting.

Now, when it comes to video chats, there are a couple of things that I've found that are really helpful and I actually use these tips when I am doing sessions with people, 'cause at this point, almost all the sessions that I do are over Zoom or Skype.

And as you can imagine, it's really important for my clients to feel my presence to feel like we are creating an intimate space for those sessions to occur.

So there are a couple of ways that I like to do that that seemed to work well for me. And I invite you to experiment with them and see what works well for you.

The first thing is to close all your other apps, on your computer or on your phone. I guess if you're doing it on your phone, it's less of an issue because if you switch over to another app, they're gonna know. If you're in your computer, closing your browser closing everything else that's going so that you can give the other person your full attention. If you have a way of turning off your notifications on your computer or on your phone, that's good too, so that you're in a do-not-disturb mode, and you don't have little notifications popping up to disrupt your concentration or your presence. If you're on your computer, you might turn your phone over so that it's face down so that you don't have things on your phone lighting up your phone and distracting you. And the goal is for you to be as present as possible. Another thing I like to do is I like to keep my computer- I do most of my zooming via my computer - and I like to keep it in right in front of me, so whether it's on my desk, or it's on my lap on a board or something, I keep it in front of me, and I actually put my arms out and I put my arms on either side of the computer, almost like I'm holding whatever, whoever is on the other end. I'm holding the image of them on my computer screen, and I do that to create a physical container in the best way possible. That would be like if we were in-person, it would be like the same as us sitting directly opposite each other and me facing you squarely with my body, and giving you my full presence and eye contact, and you knowing that you have my full attention. So one way that I help myself do that and stay focused is by reaching my arms out in a natural way... And having them on either side of my computer as if I'm holding the person that I'm talking to.

Another thing that I like to do - I've been using full screen a little bit more lately. It seems like it's working okay, but a lot of the time, what I'll do is I'll actually switch to minimizing the view of the other person - not minimizing it, so it's off the screen, but getting the little mini version so that instead of their face taking up the whole screen, that's actually like a little tiny version, of them. And then I'll move that right up to under the camera or the webcam on my computer.

And that is one way that seems to be really helpful for the other person feeling like when I'm looking at them, that I'm actually looking at them. 'Cause of course this is all happening in a virtual space, right, I'm not really looking at them, I'm looking at a screen I'm looking at a picture of them and likewise, they're looking at a picture of me, but if I am looking right at where the camera is then that's the best chance that I've got of being able to make eye contact and being able to help the other person feel the presence of my gaze, and my attentiveness, as they're talking. So that's another little trick that I use from time to time and it's been really helpful. And lastly, when you're talking to another person, especially via video chat, I think it's really helpful to pay attention to your breathing. So how you are breathing and whether your breath is shallow, or whether it's deep - just noticing what's happening in you and then also noticing the breathing in the other person. So when does the person that you're talking to, take breaths, when do they exhale, when do they sigh. Paying attention to their breath also helps you just tune in to everything else that's going on with them, in general, with their body.

So you notice when the color of their skin changes, or when tension appears or disappears on their face.

There's something about tuning into the breath that really, I think, synchronizes us with another human in general. So I'm not saying that you should do that in a creepy way, where you're just mimicking another person's breathing pattern. But noticing it, I think does tend to bring us at least into some form of synchrony with the other person, and I think it creates a certain level of intimacy. It seems to work.

So those are the tricks. Other than that, you gotta just pay attention and be receptive and acknowledge what other people are saying. Acknowledge its impact on you. Notice where it lands in your body, and tell them about it. You wanna just follow good practices for presencing yourself as you show up there in virtual digital intimacy with the other person.

Okay, so those are my quick hits for the week. I have kept this under 30 minutes, we're at 26 minutes right now. I appreciate your being here with me this week and it's always good to share time and space with you, and I'm looking forward to being with you next week when I think it's gonna be my interview with my friend, Mara Wells, the romance writer, pretty sure. And I do look forward to being with you. And in the meantime, take care stay healthy, take this seriously and we'll all get through this, we'll get through it by sticking together and helping each other out.

So please let me know how I can support you.

You can always write to me. My email address is neilius at neilsattin.com.

Or if you have a question for the show, just record yourself, asking it and email that to questions at a relationship alive.com - Sending you so much love, and blessings, and I will be with again soon. Take care.

Mar 14, 2020

How is coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting you? What are the implications of "social distancing" on your relationship - especially if you're cooped up together for weeks at a time? Or if you're single, how can you still enjoy dating while staying safe? In this week's episode, you'll get some strategies for taking care of yourself amidst the epidemic, with practical advice for staying calm - connected - and HEALTHY - while we weather the storm...together. Plus a few (mostly relevant) thoughts on "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Sending so much love to you!

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

This episode is sponsored by Native Deodorant. Their products are filled with ingredients you can find in nature like coconut oil, which is an antimicrobial, shea butter to moisturize, and tapioca starch to absorb wetness. They don’t ever test on animals, they don’t use aluminum or any other scary chemical ingredients, and they’re so confident that you’ll like their deodorant that they offer free shipping - and returns. For 20% off your first purchase, visit http://www.nativedeodorant.com/alive and use promo code ALIVE during checkout.

Resources:

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript

Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive.

This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today, we're going to talk about a topic that's been on my mind lately and perhaps it's been on yours. We're gonna talk about how the coronavirus Covid-19... How that is impacting us in our own lives and in our relationships. So whether you are solo or dating or in a relationship, or just looking for a better way to take care of yourself, we're gonna talk about the impact of what is happening in our world, today on us.

And how do you stay centered and grounded and connected through all of that?

So that is what is in store for today. I had something else planned. But sometimes you gotta just go with what is right there in front of you, and if this isn't in front of you already, it probably will be soon hopefully, and not hopefully not in a dire way, but let's be real. This is a serious issue that we're facing here in our world today, and I wanna be here to help support you through that.

Now, you might be able to hear that my voice is a little congested I've been fighting a cold.

I'm pretty sure that it is not the novel Coronavirus. So fingers crossed, but I don't have all the symptoms so my healthcare provider tells me that I should just drink lots of fluids, get some rest and stay the course. So, well, of course, keep you posted on that one, on and I'm just gonna start by sending some love and care to you, today, hoping that this virus doesn't impact you, and that it also doesn't impact people that you love.

And of course, all in all. I don't want it to impact anyone, and it is going to, on some level, so we're confronted with a situation that's not unlike other things that come up in life, where there's a reality in front of us and we get to decide how we are going to respond to it, and how we're gonna let it impact us, and also it gives us a chance to discover yet, again, what is in our control and what is not, and to make the best of what is in our control.

So today I'll be discussing specific strategies with you to help you get through love in this time of coronavirus. Okay, first things first, if you find yourself in close quarters with people that you love and care about, because you're going through some proactive social distancing.

Or in some sort of quarantine situation then it is extremely helpful to know how to communicate well and how to stay connected, even if you're communicating about things that are challenging.

And I've put together my top three ways to do that and a free guide for you called my relationship communication secrets.

And you can download that by just visiting neilsattin.com/relate or by texting the word "relate" to the number 33444 and following the instructions and the guide is free.

So I definitely suggest that you grab it, that you put those things into practice, and I, we will be having the final version of my secrets of relationship communication course that's going to be coming out again very soon. So keep an eye out for that and you will get notified if you download the free guide.

Just so you know.

Also, it takes a village, in so many ways and it takes a village to keep relationship alive going and I've really appreciated your generous support of relationship alive - the podcast, our mission. This is an offering for you to help you have the most successful, amazing relationships possible and if you're finding the show to be having a positive impact in your life, please consider a donation to help ensure that we can continue. You can choose anything that feels right for you and every little bit counts.

So this week, I would like to thank Sarah Dave Kendra Michael Michele Joseph Rana Holly Marie Timothy and Kona thank you all so much for your generous, in most of those cases ongoing, support of Relationship Alive.

And if you would like to make a contribution, all you have to do is visit neilsattin.com/support or text the word support to the number 33444 and follow the instructions.

And speaking of support if you are looking for another way to expand the web of support that you have in your life, you can come join the relationship alive community on Facebook. It's free, and we are endeavoring to create a safe space for you to talk about your relationships, personal development and anything that impacts the ways that we connect with each other, the successes that we experience and the challenges as well.

So that's the relationship alive community on Facebook.

Okay, so let's dive in. And I'm being a little tongue-in-cheek with calling this episode, Love in the Time of Corona. It's obviously a reference to the novel Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And I read that book, way back in college.

Tell you the truth. I don't remember a lot about it, but I do remember that it covers the complexities of love and relationship, and long-term relationship, and there's a comparison between love and sickness. So there's this sense that we have that life is complicated and it's gonna be complicated no matter what. And the things that we sometimes think are true or easy or that we take for granted aren't always - Things are not always as they seem. And I think that was a central theme in the book, that there are things that you assume to be true, that actually end up not being true. And of course, it's a romantic novel that covers decades and decades of the lives of the two main protagonists. And the reason that I wanted to refer to it here is because we are in this position where we can't escape what is happening around us.

Whether you think it's all something that's being blown out of proportion or whether you think that it is something that may seriously impact you and the people that you love or whether you're just watching everything unfold, and waiting to see what is actually gonna happen, there's almost no way at this point that you can avoid the impacts of covid 19, the new Coronavirus on your life.

Big events are being cancelled, or postponed. At least, this has been a consideration for me because I'm working on doing my live show and bringing it to a major metropolitan area near you. And it's a little challenging to think about planning something like that, when there's so much uncertainty at the moment, about whether these large events are actually going to be happening.

So life is interesting right now and I have two young kids in school, I have a mother with a compromised immune system, I have a 97-year-old grandmother. So as I look at the landscape of life, there's a lot of ponder. And so, let's just cover some of the basics. This portion of the show is gonna be my public service announcement.

Essentially what we want to do is something that has been called flattening the curve. So maybe you've heard of that, and you know what I'm talking about, if you don't let me just tell you that what we are trying to do is slow the spread of this virus, by employing some measures that I'll be talking about in a moment, and the idea of slowing it is to, one, prevent our healthcare systems from being overwhelmed, like, is already happening in some parts of the world.

So, as much as possible, if we slow the spread of Corona then we are doing our part to help overall, the healthcare system, keep up with whatever demand this illness puts upon it, and of course also as long as we're able to delay the spread than our chances improve of a vaccine or a really effective treatment being discovered to help more people get through it.

So there are real practical reasons for doing this and it's important for all of us because even if you yourself feel like your immune system is fairly robust, and you're not worried about it, odds are that there are people, if not in your life, in the lives of people who are close to you who are at risk or could be impacted.

And so this really is one of those situations where it falls upon each of us to do our part for the greater good, so to not be cavalier about taking precautions and instead to do your part to flatten the curve to slow things down and to keep the coronavirus from reaching - if not yourself, or people you love, other people who are loved by people you know. So let's all pull together for this. That is my wish for you as you're listening.

And the things that we can do right now that we know of are relatively simple.

We can avoid really crowded spaces.

This is known as social distancing. So to spend more time, either in small groups or alone, if you have any signs of illness, to keep yourself away from other people until you know that you're in the clear... And of course, if things feel serious at all or like you are at risk, then definitely contact your doctor, and find a way to get tested, so that you can know what is going on and so you can take an appropriate course of action.

It's helpful to have a little stockpile of food and things so that you don't have to leave your house, if you can avoid it, and you don't wanna go overboard because we wanna make sure that there's enough to go around and it's likely that no matter what happens, grocery stores will be open and all of that. So the goal here is just to have enough to make sure that you're gonna be okay in your home and that you will have to leave as little as possible. And the purpose of doing that again is to slow the spread because sadly we can actually be carriers of Covid-19 without knowing it, without having any symptoms.

So if you're able to stay away from other people, for a couple of weeks, and that prevents you from catching something, or from inadvertently spreading something, then that is going to go a long way to helping our world beat this thing.

And then you've also probably heard, some of the basics. washing your hands frequently and not touching your face. Because the Covid-19 virus, it needs to get to your lungs and the way it does that is through your eyes, your nose or your mouth.

So if you keep your hands away for your face, and you wash your hands frequently, then you should be just fine or you will at least be doing the best that you can to prevent the spread of this illness. And at the moment we do not believe that wearing a mask is a very effective way of preventing yourself from getting the virus.

And people stockpiling masks is actually creating a problem in the health care industry because our doctors and nurses and first responders, don't have the masks that they need. So maybe you wanna have a couple on hand just in case but other than that, probably better to ensure that masks can get to where they're needed most with the people on the front lines of fighting this thing.

They do recommend that people who have the flu or have coronavirus that they wear a mask, and that is mainly to prevent or cut down on the chances of spreading the illness to other people. So, masks aren't a terribly effective way to keep yourself from getting it as far as we know, but they are a good way of not spreading it to other people.

Of course, if you are being diagnosed with this, then you are probably gonna be getting much more thorough advice than you're getting from me, and I'm not a doctor. So let me just be upfront that anything that I say here, I would love for you to take it with a grain of salt.

Please do your own research online if you need to. I've been doing a lot of reading on this topic, so I feel pretty confident in the recommendations that I'm making but I'm not a doctor.

So if you have any concerns at all, I recommend that you check with a doctor or check with the latest recommendations from your local health service, and hopefully all of our health services all over the world are being really proactive in getting that information out. Okay, so that's the public service announcement part but now let's get into the nitty gritty of why we're here, which is three-fold, really. One is how to help yourself with what is going on in the world and how to deal with potentially the anxiety or worry or fear that you're experiencing, if you are experiencing it or if you are in blissful ignorance. Maybe we should talk about that for just a moment or two more. So that's the first part. The second part is, I wanna talk about when you are in a close relationship with someone, so if you are home more or less, working from home or in self-quarantine or social distancing. With your partner, and your kids, 'cause potentially, they are home from school.

So then odds are, you are gonna be around each other a lot more than you are used to. And so we'll talk about some special considerations for that.

And finally, I want to talk about those few or those of us who are dating and who are not necessarily in a single love relationship, and the implications of what is going on on finding love, and developing love. So those are the three main bases, that I wanna cover today.

As usual we'll start with the self and self-care because that is so important for keeping your feet on the ground, keeping your wits about you and keeping your heart centered as you move through this time.

So I'm not gonna make any assumptions about what this has been like for you. I'll just say that for me, it's been noticeable. I told you a little bit about a few moments ago that my mother has a compromised immune system, my grandmother is 97. they are in groups that are statistically at very high risk for not only getting the coronavirus, but also it potentially killing them.

And that's scary for me, and I've spent a lot of time - the way that I tend to deal with uncertainty is through research, so reading and reading and reading, and that's partly how this podcast came to be because I had my own struggles in relationships that I had witnessed in my own relationships, and so I dove into the details, because that's what I do and I... My hope is that that is a benefit for you, but that doesn't mean that you have to do it, you may have your own way of coping. And I think the first thing is just to acknowledge that it's very possible that whatever your experience is, that you are, below at all, experiencing some stress, so whether that stress is anxiety and worry and fear or anger at people for blowing this way out of proportion or whatever it is, no matter how stressed you are, that stress is something worth confronting and doing something about, because stress suppresses our immune system for one thing. So the more that you you can confront your stress and bring yourself into balance, the better off you will be when it comes to just having a system that can fight whatever is going on in the world around you, whether that just be a cold or Coronavirus and it also is gonna help you show up better for other people in your life.

There's nothing like trying to interact with the world, or trying to move through a stressful situation or conflict with another person when you yourself are stressed and dysregulated, so there's never been a better time for you to establish a routine of checking in with yourself, how are you doing? And you could start with something with a broad strokes, like maybe every time you brush your teeth, which is perhaps two or three times a day you use that as an opportunity, a reminder that you should check in with yourself, and ask "How am I doing, what am I feeling right now, where do I notice that in my body?"

"Does it make sense? Does it make sense with everything that's going on in my life?" To start doing this as a way of regularly taking your emotional pulse so that you can have a sense of what's really happening with you, and what if anything needs to be addressed. If you notice that you are feeling something in particular - anxiety, fear, sadness, confusion, then it's worth taking an extra step in asking yourself "What is that the root of that?"

And is there something I can do like "what aspect of this can I control and what aspects of this can I not control?"

And of the aspects that you can control, then you might ask yourself, "Well, what can I do to improve that thing?"

So if you're feeling uncertain, then maybe there are things you can do to get more certainty. If you're feeling disconnected or you're alone, then what can you do to reach out and connect? If you're feeling nervous for another person in your life, then what can you do to reach out to them and tell them that you care about them?

Right? These are all just simple ways of being proactive around noticing your emotional state and taking care of yourself to hopefully bring yourself back into balance: noticing your breathing, noticing your physical state, your physiological state and letting that also indicate for you how you're doing, and if there's something that needs to be addressed.

So you might think that you're totally fine but if you check in with your body, you notice like, "Oh my heart's pounding or... Oh, I'm kinda sweaty."

Well, those might be signs of stress or something going on and if you do notice those things, then what can you do?

So can you just take a moment to breathe? Can you fix yourself a cup of tea?

Can you call a friend, someone that you care about and who cares about you?

Can you spend a little time with a pet, and just pet your dog or your cat or... My daughter really wants me to get her a little pigmy bunny. So I'm thinking about that. If you have a pigmy maybe spend a little time with your bunny just petting the bunny. I gotta think that that soft little bunny might help you calm down a little bit if you need that, and if you're feeling angry at whatever is happening in the world, then this is also a great time for you to look within and ask yourself, "What is it about this that's making you angry?"

What are the places where you feel like your power is being taken from you? Your system is responding with intelligence to that - your system is responding and saying "No. Take that power back. I'm angry."

Again, there will be aspects of this that you can impact and there will be things that you cannot impact but no matter what, getting to know yourself better, getting to know what's going on within you better and figuring out where you can be proactive to keep yourself regulated to move through and out of your stress, those are things that will help you, yourself in whatever is going on in the world and it will help you show up for the world and the other people around you, so that is taking care of yourself, also. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, take Elderberry, vitamin C, just whatever you can do to keep your immune system bolstered and ready along with keeping yourself calm.

So I do want to change gears a little bit and talk about the impact of Corona on our relationships and on our dating life.

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Okay, so let's get back to the next step in our conversation, which is about how Coronavirus is potentially gonna impact us in our relationships.

And there are few obvious ways when I mentioned already, which is the potential to be cooped up with people for a long period of time and just to be aware that in and of itself can cause stress and tension and then potentially, if anyone, you know, or as close to you get sick or if you get sick then that is another way that this could impact you.

So let's talk a little bit about just the stress of being cooped up with other people more than anything. I think our mantra today should be to be kind and generous with each other to be compassionate and understanding.

So if you find that someone else is getting snappy with you to remind yourself that they are probably going through some stress right now and to not take it personally as much as possible, and if you, yourself, are feeling irritable, or challenged by something that someone else is doing then you might even speak it out loud, just like, "Hey I just want you to know that I'm really stressed or I'm exhausted or this is really challenging for me, and so I know I'm being unpleasant" or "I know I'm being argumentative, or I know I'm snapping back at you, and I just want you to know that it's not personal, it's what's happening with me."

So as much as you can take responsibility for your state of mind and state of heart and state of being with the other people around you, that is one way to really help them feel connected to you and to your experience.

And you might check in with the others too like "Hey how are you doing? It's been five minutes since we've talked to each other."

"Can I just check in with you and see how you are?"

And if you are with loved ones and relatively safe and isolated then... And you've washed your hands, then it's probably totally fine for you to give each other back rubs or foot rubs and to be loving with each other as much as you can.

And if you've been going through a challenging time in your relationship, then this could be extra stressful for you. That seems obvious to me right now. There are those miraculous moments where times get tough and we band together and it helps us get past things that seem like a big deal, but when it comes right down to it, you realize that it's not such a big deal. So potentially, there are those kinds of things that are going on in your relationship, that are creating challenge and this helps you kinda put everything in perspective. That could be a good thing, and... this could also exacerbate things. So I invite you to just one to acknowledge that that is a possibility, if that is something that you're going through to recognize - Okay, things have been challenging, it might get more challenging and then you can develop a strategy for yourself - a plan around how to best safeguard yourself from it getting more challenging.

So if there are things that you know are particular triggers for you with this other person or ways that you trigger them, then you might take special care to not trigger the other person and to create safe boundaries around yourself, to keep your tender spots from being poked at and triggered as well.

You might also with your significant other, say something like, "Hey let's just acknowledge that things have been challenging between us and maybe we could agree to just put all of that aside right now and just band together for this, for what's happening in our world right now" - it's another possibility.

Generally, the best thing is for you to be open about your experience, and what concerns you. In fact, you might even say something to your partner, like "hey, things have been to tough with us, recently. I'm a little nervous about us being in the same space a lot because of what's going on in the world. Are you nervous about that?"

"Are there things do you think that we could do to help keep things light and spacious with us to help us be positive through all of this, and not make things worse?"

If you can enlist the other person and speak to the truth of what is, then that also increases your chances of getting through with flying colors, and I encourage you to do that as well and in the end, if you need to, I encourage you to take space and this can be a very useful strategy for everyone who is sharing space together: if you are sharing space to work out a system for when anyone can say, "Hey I need a time out for myself," and where that time out and space is granted so that you or the other person can have some moments alone to recharge.

And so, yeah, I encourage you to work those things out ahead of time, if possible, so that you're heading it off at the pass and you're being proactive, and that way those conversations will have happened so that you can make space for other more important conversations that may come up during all of this time.

Now, if you are single or solo let's move along, I guess. And of course, if you have specific questions around this stuff, you can always record yourself asking the question, and send it to me - the email addresses: questions@relationshipalive.com.

So, if you're single, or solo or dating like what do you do in your circumstances? Well, here, a few things that come to mind. The first is that there's potential for you to be extremely isolated, and that isn't necessarily healthy either. Being completely isolated will theoretically prevent you from getting the coronavirus. But it might be really psychologically challenging to be that isolated. So this is a time where I would encourage you to find ways to stay connected. There are great freeways... to drive your car on. But what I really mean is, there are great free... ways that you can stay connected with other people. If you have internet access or a phone, you can do a Google Hangout or FaceTime or Skype calls. I really love the video conferencing technologies. In fact, most of my clients that I see, and I see clients all over the world, we do that using Zoom or Skype, and I'm so used to it now that it really feels as though we are in the same room with each other. And so I encourage you to reach out to other people, to not just get isolated in your home, but to find ways to reach out and connect using technology, using whatever technology is available to you.

And if you don't have a phone and you don't have a computer, then of course I'm wondering how you're listening to this podcast, but you could always sit on your stoop outside - and if you're out in the fresh air or the odds are pretty good that you're not going to catch Coronavirus and that someone walking by would not catch it, from you or give it to you and you could just say "hello" to people who are walking by. Just be friendly and just ask people how they're doing, and you can point out.

"I don't wanna shake your hand, or give you a hug, but I just wanted to check in with people in the world and see how you are doing" and you may be surprised you might make someone's day, by simply saying, "Hey how are you? This is all pretty weird, isn't it, that we're going through?" Because most of us have never had to go through something like this in our lives, not all of us. So if you have gone through this, perhaps you even have expertise that you can lend to those of us who... For whom this is new and scary and confusing? This is a good time for you to speak up and lend your expertise to the occasion.

So, that's combating social isolation - even though we want to be doing social distancing. In order to flatten the curve.

Now, what about actual dating? Could you or should you be going out on dates in the current climate?

You know I'm inclined to say probably not right now, at least not until we really have a better sense of what is happening and really how Covid-19 spreads and we have consistent testing so that we really know for sure whether or not we are a carrier, someone else that we are going on on a date with... is a carrier.

It's not too unlike the conversations that you need to have around STDS before you have sex with someone. Hopefully, you are having a conversation that goes over your risk factors. "Have you been tested? Have you had anything before?"

"When was the last time you were tested? Have you had any risky behaviors?"

So when you go out on a date with someone and they say, "Oh well, I went to the whatever concert last night." Well, that might be a risk factor. So, the beautiful thing about this is that whatever you're doing to date, and I'm assuming that you're using technology of some sort at this point 'cause it's almost unavoidable in the modern dating landscape, then this becomes a great way to slow things down and really get to know other people.

So spending a little bit more time with your texting or chatting back and forth, your IMing, having a virtual date so you can use FaceTime, and make yourself a cup of tea and have the other person make themselves a cup of tea and you can sit down and sip tea and get to know each other just as if you were there in the coffee shop and I... One thing that's especially interesting about this is, with practice you can learn to really tune in to the other person, even though you're not there in the same space with them, you can really tune in and get a sense for who they are as a person.

And on top of that, even if you're not there in person with each other - think of all the times that when you've been in relationship if you have been in a relationship, how important it is to be able to communicate when you're not together, so whether that be through texting or talking on the phone or Skyping or whatever, it's actually helpful to know that that's a medium that you can operate in with your potential partner and what better way to know than by actually doing it, and doing it a lot and getting some good practice at it. So you may be having a little less sex than you used to, if you're a single person and you're out and about... But I think that overall, that is probably worth it, for your safety and your prospective partner's safety, unless you are absolutely positively sure that neither of you is that risk - in which case meet up and have fun. But I do encourage you to take advantage of the virtual spaces, and to take some risks around talking or hopping on a video call of some sort so that you can get to know someone more deeply without necessarily having to do it face-to-face, either at the coffee shop or in the bedroom. There will be a time for that, for sure.

And no matter what, taking the time to really get to know a person will help you make better choices than if you're going by chemistry alone because when you meet up with someone, and it feels really good and you connect with them right away, that doesn't always go so well, because you may not have done the due diligence required to ensure that someone is actually an appropriate partner for you. And gauging whether or not someone is appropriate for you to be dating is usually a much longer process that involves finding out a lot more about who they are and how they respond to you and how you respond to them.

And when you have all that dopamine and oxytocin flowing because you're just going to town in the bedroom, then it can seriously cloud your perception and your judgment.

So this is going to be a boon. I predict that there are gonna be all kinds of really strong relationships that emerge from this period of time when we were forced to spend a little bit more time apart and get to know each other a little better.

As always, I could talk about this for a long, long time, but I hope that whether you're single or in a relationship, or just thinking about how to maintain your own self-care during this time, that you've found something valuable in today's episode, and one thing you might wanna do is catch up on other podcast episodes or do some reading. And next week, we're gonna have a really fun interview with someone who's an old friend of mine actually, who is a romance author.

We're gonna talk about what we can learn from romance novels about love and relationships, and desire - and it may not surprise you to know that we can learn an awful lot!

So we have that conversation coming up next week, with Mara Wells. In the meantime, I am sending so much love and care and courage and calmness and health your way and just know that I am thinking of you and that we will all get through this, we will and I'm here for you... So thank you for spending this time with me today, and I look forward to you being with you again next week.

Take care.

And be safe.

Mar 5, 2020

What turns you on, and what turns you off? How do you get past the messages about sex that have been handed to you by others - to discover your own personal sexuality that emerges from within? How do you own your deepest desires - and then communicate them to your partner in a way that stands the best chance of having them be realized? In today’s episode, we’re having a return visit from Dr. Alexandra Solomon, author of the new book Taking Sexy Back: How to Own Your Sexuality and Create the Relationships You Want. Our conversation will help you take your intimacy to a whole new level, so that your relationships can be satisfying in and out of the bedroom.

And, as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. 

Join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it! 

Also - check out our first episode with Alexandra Solomon about her first book, Loving Bravely (Episode 142).

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources: 

Check out Alexandra Solomon's website

Read Alexandra Solomon’s latest book: Taking Sexy Back

Read Alexandra Solomon’s other book, Loving Bravely: 20 Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

www.neilsattin.com/sexy Visit to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Alexandra Solomon.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Let's talk some more about sex today, and I think it's really important, if for no other reason than the statistic that I'm pulling out of the book written by today's guest, that when you have a successful sex life with your partner, that accounts for say 15-20% of your overall happiness quotient. I'm sure I'm not using the exact term there, but when you have a dissatisfying sexual life with your partner, that can account for 50-75% of your dissatisfaction in your marriage, if I got that statistic right.

Neil Sattin: So, just think about that for a minute. If you're unhappy in the way that you're connecting sexually with your partner, or with your partners, then that's going to cause potentially a lot of distress for you. And what's at the root often of our dissatisfaction is the very foundation that we have, the way that we see ourselves as sexual beings, the way we operate in the world, the scripts that have been handed us and that we're enacting either consciously or unconsciously, or that we're trying to live up to, that can so often be a source of, not only unhappiness, but the sense of disconnection from who you actually are as a sexual being in the world, and that brings with it a whole host of things like shame or even just questions, self-judgment, and ultimately, potentially dissatisfaction in terms of your relationships.

Neil Sattin: So, let's tackle this head on and talk about how to reclaim and restructure who you are as a sexual being with today's esteemed guest. She's been with us on the show before, her name is Dr Alexandra Solomon, she's a professor at Northwestern and also a clinical psychologist who works with individuals and couples. Last time she was here, she was talking about her book, Loving Bravely, and if you wanna hear that episode, you can visit www.neilsattin.com/bravely and it is episode number 142, if you're just flipping through your podcast app. And she's here today to talk about her new book, which is called Taking Sexy Back: How to Own Your Sexuality and Create the Relationships You Want. It's a book written primarily for women and, at the same time, it has so much valuable stuff in it in terms of no matter where you are on the gender spectrum to reframe how you think about your sexuality and how you reclaim it for yourself.

Neil Sattin: As usual, we will have a transcript for today's episode. You can download it by visiting www.neilsattin.com/sexy. That one's not gonna be hard to remember. And as always, you can text the word passion to the number 33444 and follow the instructions. So let's dive right in, Alexandra Solomon. It's such a treat to have you back with us here on Relationship Alive.

Alexandra Solomon: It's so nice to be with you, thank you.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, let's talk... Let's just first unearth, there's something unusual about Taking Sexy Back, which is that you've taken the word sexy and you've made it a noun, and I'm wondering if you can explain what I'm even talking about and maybe explain your choice around that so that it will make sense as we move through this conversation.

Alexandra Solomon: Yes, so one of the first central ideas in this book is that there is a world of difference between being sexy and being sexual, so women have been taught and trained to either be sexy or to be afraid of being sexy, of being too sexy, not sexy enough, and that for women that word is oftentimes a question. Do you find me sexy? It's a question posed in the gaze of another, and when that is the lens through which one experiences one's sexuality, then sex becomes a performance, a sort of earning of that sense that you find me worthy, adequate, good, and it's different than being sexual. Sexual is a cultivation from the inside of my own connection with the erotic that I generate within me and then share with a partner. And so, in this book, we are taking sexy back, we're taking back the idea of sexy, and it becomes, as you said, a noun. So this book really is couple's therapy between the reader and her sexy, her sexuality, her sexual self. And the questions are: How well do you know that aspect of you? Do even know that is an aspect of you? What is that aspect of you wanting, yearning, in what ways is it hurting, and what needs to be kind of unearthed and processed? So, throughout the book, it is about really understanding and listening from within to that part of self that I think women are typically told really isn't theirs or shouldn't be looked at; good girls don't look at that. So, it's a reframing, and as you're saying, it's a reclamation, a taking back.

Neil Sattin: Right, and you talk about that being torn. And this is probably familiar for a lot of people who are listening, that you can be torn between wanting to really own your sexuality, but if you do that too much, then that also creates a shift potentially in how people see you, and so there's this burden of like how do you own your sexuality without it stigmatizing you?

Alexandra Solomon: Exactly, right. That sort of razor-thin line between being perceived as prudish and being, God forbid, slutty. So this sort of razor-thin line that, again, keeps a woman from connecting with herself. It becomes this sort of question of how am I being perceived. And the moment that's the focus, it cuts us off from being able to experience pleasure, experience mindfulness, articulate a boundary that is really from a place of truth rather than fear, and so then the entire possibility of cultivating a sex life that is healing, rewarding, connecting, uplifting, life-affirming is impossible 'cause there's no foundation to start from.

Neil Sattin: Right. Can you just talk for a minute about where this book was born from? And maybe the ways that you've seen women confront problems in terms of being disconnected from their sexuality? From their sexy? And what that process of reclamation looks like for them?

Alexandra Solomon: This book was born from a number of places. It was born from, I think, the way in which in my training as a licensed clinical psychologist and a couples therapist, I think the models that I was taught, were that when you're sitting with a couple, help them talk more nicely to each other, help them argue less, and then the sex will follow. You don't have to directly talk about sex. And there's a way in which that paradigm reinforced, I think, a message that I carried within me for a long time, that sex is not a polite topic. It really shouldn't be talked about or looked at, and if you're curious about it, something is wrong with you. So I think there were ways in which that message from my field kind of reinforced what I had done to myself my whole life, of just feeling like I'm feeling simultaneously fascinated by this entire world and topic, and then feeling like that wasn't really polite [chuckle] to be interested in or fascinated about. And so my own evolution of wanting to integrate love and sex within the work I do with couples, within my own life, and then just the work that I've done at Northwestern with graduate students and undergraduate students and being smacked again and again with my awareness of how inadequate sex education in our country is.

Alexandra Solomon: And how my students are sitting in front of me and I would give a lecture in my Marriage 101 course about sex, and basically invite them into this idea that sex is simultaneously a behavior, it's a thing that we do, instead of erotically-charged behaviors, and it's also this really powerful gateway into some of the most profound longings and questions that we have as humans. And just even that notion was radical to many of my students who had only ever talked about sex as something that is dangerous, dirty, forbidden, fearful, or titillating, and really central, but not this sort of whole-hearted aspect of self and aspect of relationship, and so all of that kind of created this. And I think, also, the fact that we are living through this massive upheaval around gender and power with the Me Too Movement. And so I think it was this coming together of all of this where this book basically wouldn't leave me alone. [chuckle] Like, I felt like I chose to write Loving Bravely, and I felt like this book was like, "Are you ready now? Can we go now? Can you just... " And it became easier to just sit down and create the table of contents than it was to just keep forestalling it.

Neil Sattin: Right, right, but yeah...

[overlapping conversation]

Alexandra Solomon: It felt really urgent. It felt really urgent to me.

Neil Sattin: Yeah. And I think that's so true. I'm so glad your book was birthed and is... And by the time you're listening to this interview, it will be out. It's coming out February 2nd, Groundhog's Day of 2020. So you'll be able to get it. And yeah, it is such an important conversation because those scripts that have been handed to us around sexuality and the ways that our lack of education has gotten in the way, perhaps, of really getting in touch with who we are sexually, and not having a culturally accepted way of just exploring together 'cause so much sexuality has to happen behind closed doors and often in secret. We pretend it's not happening, but it's obviously happening. And so inviting the conversation into the public space, and one thing that I really love about your book, Taking Sexy Back, is that you explore all of these different dimensions of connecting into who you are as a sexual being. And each of those is a great gateway into understanding yourself in a new way, and then stepping forward into sexual connection with others with that new knowledge.

Alexandra Solomon: Yes, exactly, exactly. And it's not about, like there is... In the book we really are looking at, as you're saying, these scripts and these highly gendered scripts. And it's not about blaming or finger pointing or, God forbid, male bashing or any of that. It's not that at all. The ways in which we're given these gendered messages cut all of us off from living wholeheartedly and fully. I just couldn't tackle all of it in one book, but you could speak to this like as a boy and a man. Boys and men are given horrific messages around their own sexuality. And it's what drives me crazy about these dress code laws that schools are... Rules that schools will do. This idea that girls' shorts have to be this length and girls' tank tops straps have to be this width.

Alexandra Solomon: And one of the things it does is it reinforces this idea, this message to boys, that your sexuality is so dangerous and so out of control that the world has to be protected from you or from the power of your sexual energy, versus teaching boys that they, sure, erotic energy courses through you but here's how you ground it and here's how you harness it, and here's how you boundary it, and here's how you treat it with respect. And if those were the tools that we gave to boys... I think that's just... I don't know. I haven't grown up in this lifetime in the masculine, so I didn't have those messages, but I don't know what that does. And that was the early messages that you were given, was this fear of being perceived as creepy or dangerous. I just think it's all problematic and it keeps people coming... Whether it's male bodies or female bodies or one of each coming together, it keeps those bodies from coming together in a way where each person can feel integrated and ready to step into that space of intimacy and closeness.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, I mean that's why I think your book is a valuable resource for whoever on the... Wherever you are on the spectrum. I did find myself reading it and nodding for each chapter and being like, "Yeah, guys need this just as much." And that's been definitely a journey for me as an adult has been reclaiming my own desires, my end, and where those things emerge at different places on the spectrum as well. In what you were just describing, I was just thinking about, yeah, how men in many cases need to learn how to be in touch with their bodies and with receptivity in sex and really being attuned and because they're so conditioned to be pursuers and achievers throughout life, but definitely in the sexual realm as well. And for women, I think part of that reclaiming is also being willing to engage in seizing your desire and owning it and being willing to do that just like any guy would. And we're wrestling, of course, with what's culturally acceptable, back to the very first thing we were talking about. But how beautiful it can be when two people come together and each person owns who they are, what they want, what their fears are, what their desires are, what feels good, what doesn't feel good, and when they can do it in a way that doesn't judge the other. I mean, we all need that when we're in the bedroom.

Alexandra Solomon: That's right, that's right, that's right. And it makes sense that we have gotten stuck because the information has gotten stuck. One of the things that was so interesting in the research for the book was to look at this book couldn't have been written 20 years ago because we've had a burgeoning of science around female sexuality. So we, for years, remain willfully ignorant about female sexual anatomy even. So medical anatomy textbooks would blur out the clitoris and it wasn't fully mapped, fully imaged until really, really recently, like 20 years ago recently. So it was the clitoris was thought of as this little button when, in fact, it's this larger structure that extends deep into the body and the potential for pleasure is incredible. In fact, that's the only job that the clitoris has is pleasure. And so, what might be different if a woman came into her sexuality knowing that and honoring it, and what if then sexual scripts were built to really honor that part of a woman's body in a way that the traditional heterosexual script, which we as a culture have really held up one particular sex act, we've held up penetrative sex as the most sex in sort of this hierarchy of sex acts.

Alexandra Solomon: We learn it on the playground in elementary school, first base and second base and third base and home run. So this whole kind of script around how far you're trying to get and how far you're going with this goal being penetrative sex, which the research shows tends to not be the most orgasm producing part of the realm of sexual behaviors because it's not the most... It doesn't maximize clitoral stimulation potentially. For some women it does, for others it doesn't. But just this idea that if we only have one story line, what are we limiting for any of the bodies in the bedroom? As you're saying, men exploring receptivity and not having to be in charge and not having to perform and having their own... Being not so limited by the ideas of what they ought to be doing in the bedroom and... So just the opportunity to deconstruct all of that and challenge it and push back a little bit is really important and really healing.

Alexandra Solomon: And that's what we found. I had this amazing team of graduate students and undergraduate students with me as we were researching and writing, and we moved through a lot of sadness, a lot of anger at the limits that have been put on people's experiences. And then to connect the loop back to what you said in the beginning, that it affects our relationships. If we can't cultivate erotic connection in our intimate relationships, they're going to suffer. Having a really fun sex life kind of buffers a couple against the storms and the annoyances and the irritations of partnership.

Neil Sattin: Right, right. Just one thing that came up for me about that question of anatomy and how we've learned that. I did wanna mention for you listening, that way back, this is one of my earliest episodes, episode 23, we had Sheri Winston on the show, she wrote Women's Anatomy of Arousal. So that's another great doorway into this question of how does feminine sexuality work and also what is literally happening, like what parts are there to work with and to enjoy? So it's so important to increase your awareness of what's there and how it operates and to not be driven by old stories, like the love button, or what you see in porn, which is, again, occasionally informative, but it's not designed to be informative generally. So there are some genres of porn that are probably better for what we're talking about here. But that's probably not the majority of them at this moment. You'd have to seek it out, I would think. The feminist porn and...

Alexandra Solomon: Exactly, exactly. Right. At the back of the book, there's a resource guide and we did include some feminist, ethical, carefully curated erotic places for erotic materials. 'Cause, right. You're right. You can't paint it with a broad brush. But it's a very different era of erotic materials. We're living in free streaming 24/7 porn. And a lot of it isn't, as you're saying, created with intentionality in mind and really honoring the science of women's bodies, the realities of women's bodies. And that can be another then force of restriction, that it looks like I should like this behavior and I don't like this behavior. How do I reconcile that? And often times the way we reconcile it is thinking something's wrong with us. Feeling ashamed.

Neil Sattin: Right. You mentioned someone in your book that you were working with who really wanted to like hook-up culture. And she came to you with this mission of there's something going on. Like this culture surrounds me, and maybe would it be helpful if you explain what you mean by hook-up culture versus conscious, casual sex culture or all the different possibilities there. But you talk about how she was really unhappy and came to you wanting to figure out if there was a way to be happy in that world. So let's start there maybe.

Alexandra Solomon: Sure. So hook-up culture is a term that we associate oftentimes with college campuses and the idea that oftentimes physical intimacy, sexual intimacy comes first and then emotional intimacy is retrofitted, so that people are finding each other sexually. Oftentimes, hook-ups are alcohol-fueled, not a ton of communication. And there's a sense, there's sort of an aura or a sense or a feeling that you should like it. You should like that and you kinda have to like it. And in fact, it's the only pathway into intimate relationship. And so the student was... In the first book, we work with a name, connect, chose, process. So she's trying so hard to use this change process to make herself go from hating hook-ups. In fact, she would hook up with a guy at a party and then go home and wash her lips or anywhere he had touched her.

Alexandra Solomon: Just felt really dirty and awful. And so she was trying so hard to move, what she thought she needed to do is move through the discomfort, so she'd get good at this thing that in her mind, and I think in the minds of lots of young people, you should be good at, like you should be able to do this. The idea is that it is sexual liberation or it just is necessary, it's what you have to do. What I wanted her to do really was honor the wisdom of her body. Her body was communicating to her so clearly; feeling her lips were numb afterwards. The data could not be clearer that she was really overriding something powerful inside of her body. And in fact, the research around hook-up culture shows that young people are tolerating it, but not really reveling in it, not really deeply, deeply enjoying it. It just feels like it's a necessary pathway.

Alexandra Solomon: But I do make a distinction between hooking up and then conscious, casual sex, 'cause there are times in a person's life where that really might be a beautiful, healing, necessary time. But what it has to be founded with... Create a foundation of an understanding of where are our boundaries, what are we both interested in, what are we each available for. So a really lovely, conscious, casual, sexual experience needs to have that kind of co-created understanding of what's the space that we're entering into. And so we spend a lot of time in the book helping people just feel entitled to understanding their own motivation and distinguishing that and the choice of fear versus love. "I choose to hook up 'cause I'm afraid there's nothing else for me," or "I'm afraid I am weird if I don't like hooking up," versus love, "Choosing something 'cause I really want it. It feels great to me. It's a space of learning and healing and play and escape."

Neil Sattin: Right, right. I've enjoyed your framing of it in the book. At first it kinda jarred me. I was like, "Oh, no. You're taking a stand for love. Like sex has to be about love? What are you talking about, Alexandra?"

[chuckle]

Neil Sattin: But then, what you just explained, that if we're talking about the paradigm that we operate from and are we choosing things because we're afraid that if we say no to sex with this person in this moment, we're gonna suffer some consequence, versus being in a more love-centered place where you're focused on what brings you joy in the world and what enlivens you. Yeah, I would love for every single person to have those kinds of experiences be the foundation of how they connect with other people sexually.

Alexandra Solomon: Right, right.

Neil Sattin: Yeah.

Alexandra Solomon: And sometimes we don't know until we know. So in the book, we also talk about FGOs, which I call these fucking growth opportunities, where it's just like, "Oh, that is not my best pathway". Sometimes we have to do it in a way that leaves us feel... That's just... And so I think around sexuality, around this unfolding story of who we are sexually, there has to be a ton of self-compassion. Just a lot of gentleness about, "Okay, so that didn't work for me. What do I wanna learn from that and what do I want to know going forward?"

Neil Sattin: Right, right. Yeah, can we just give everyone in this moment the permission to make mistakes? And I'm making the little quotey things around "mistakes" because I think what you're pointing to is that most of these things aren't actual mistakes, they are opportunities that we have to learn about ourselves. And there is that aspect of sexuality where there are some things that you're only gonna learn relationally, you're only gonna learn it when you're with another person and experiencing something. It can't all happen... A lot can happen in the privacy of your room. But not all... Not all of it.

Alexandra Solomon: That's right. That's right.

Neil Sattin: So that being said, let's dive in a little bit to what can we do on our own? What are some of those gateways that we were talking about earlier? And physical, developmental, emotional, mental. So, I'm thinking of those pathways in so that everyone listening can have a sense of like, "Alright, how do I enter into this way of reclaiming who I am sexually?" What are some places to start?

Alexandra Solomon: Right. I think, so the reason that I organized the book the way that I did, with these seven different realms, is that we have different... We all have different journeys, we all have different places where we get locked up, so our work is to find areas where we feel blocked, constrained, where shame lives, where inhibition lives, where fear lives. And it might be different for different people, like on my team. So, one of the seven realms is spirituality. For some people, their early religious training, they receive shame loaded messages that can really, really get in the way of feeling permission to just be who you are, as you are. And so, for one member of my team, the work on that chapter was very, very powerful for her. She identified a lot of ways in which she was felt hurt by her early religious training, how it created shame inside of her. And for another gal, who grew up in China without any religion, it really didn't speak to her. She could kind of resonate with this idea of sex as being a spiritual experience, and being something that is sort of transcendent and can tap us into those big feelings of whatever, one-ness, and...

Neil Sattin: Yeah, union.

Alexandra Solomon: Connection to... Yeah, but that was... For her, that was more about nature rather than anything we had to do with a spirituality or a religion. So, but another chapter for her was really where she identified that her shame loaded stories lived. And so, there are these seven different realms where we may find some work that we need to do to kind of identify a block and then heal it. So, that was why we organized the book the way the way that we do, 'cause we're just... There's so much diversity in how we show up sexually and what's challenging for us. And I think for a lot of us, the chapter about physical was important because what's clear is sometimes body image stuff can get in the way. We're in, we've got a great partner, we have a partner who is ready to connect with us and create experiences that are pleasurable, and we end up locked in our own heads because we are very, very, very self-critical about our bodies. And that makes sense because there are entire industries that I built on selling us the idea that we are not thin enough, fit enough, whatever enough, and those messages come with us into the bedroom, especially when we're naked and exposed and feeling vulnerable. And so, that can... Those scripts in our... The tapes that play in our head about our hips, or our stomach, whatever it is, sort of body image ones can be a source of inhibition and can really block a sense that we're entitled to feeling good in the bodies that we live in.

Neil Sattin: So, let's just assume that almost everyone has something about their body that is like that for them. Where would we start? What kinds of questions would we ask? Or how would we get to the heart of the ways that we feel shame about our physical bodies and take some new steps around that?

Alexandra Solomon: I think it can be helpful to develop that kind of a critical eye towards realizing that these messages about our bodies are designed to make us feel insecure so that we buy a product or do a thing that we sort of then, when we just mind mindlessly internalize that message, we are perpetuating that whole cycle. So, there's a way in which a sort of a feminist consciousness can inoculate us against those messages so that when the thought comes up in our heads, we can let it go and come back to something that is more self-compassionate. I think mindfulness... So, the researcher who wrote the forward to the book, Dr. Lori Brotto was based in Canada, and she was really troubled by this finding that almost half of women, especially partnered women, struggle with low sexual desire, and she created a mindfulness training program. She simply taught women mindfulness skills and then invited them to use those skills in the bedroom. So, sometimes it's as simple as noticing the thought come up. "How do my hips look right now?" for example. And then just knowing, "Oh, that's a thought. That's a thought." And sort of letting it pass over and then coming back to sensation. So, mindfulness can be a really powerful tool towards helping us notice a troubling thought, and then let it go and come back to, "I'm entitled to this. I'm entitled to feeling good. I'm allowed to feel good in this body that I live in". And that can be a helpful shift.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, yeah and you're pointing to a degree of presence in the bedroom. I love how we keep talking about the bedroom, 'cause it could be the kitchen or the living room or a public park. Take precautions if there are cops around, be careful. But you have to be able to stay within you and to notice what's actually happening for you in a moment like that. So, maybe some of these things around body image are even easier, at least initially, privately, just in front of a mirror, which I think for some of us can also be challenging, to stand in front of a mirror naked and look at yourself and take in the whole picture.

Alexandra Solomon: Right, right. Yeah. And just... There's a way in which I think it's really helpful to grieve, to grieve that I have been doing this around my body for so many years. Or to feel really... Let ourselves feel really sad that the only way... There's a beautiful poem in the book by Holly Holden that is just basically an invitation to just being really gentle with our body, really honoring it as this physical home, the source of delight, of sensation, of connection, and I think that's a practice. My gosh, I think that's a practice and I don't think we're ever done. I think those old stories about how we should look, and then whatever we think we've figured out, we get a little older and the body changes. It's like this constant journey towards self love isn't done, but I think we can get... We can start to get savvier about noticing that I'm doing that to myself again.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, yeah, I have an interesting story about that. Something that happened with me recently, that's actually not about sex at all, but realizing a place where I had internalized some beliefs. I've spoken a bit on the show, off and on, about my own tendencies to be a little chaotic in terms of how I keep house. And I had this realization that every time I saw a pile of something, that I would have an internal message that would say, "There's something wrong with you." Just that pile means there's something wrong with you that you cannot keep your... And it might be a pile all of amazing books that I'm reading for the podcast, but the fact that it's there and these books aren't in my bookshelf or whatever it is. And what a difference it has made to me since realizing that, of seeing a pile and simply saying, "There's nothing wrong with you." Like, this pile doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you. And in fact, and I think this is the turn towards self-compassion, it's like, in fact, there's nothing wrong with you. Look at all these amazing books that you have to read, just to use that example.

Neil Sattin: So, being able to look in the mirror and look and see your hips, or whatever part of your body it is, and say, "Oh wow, I'm looking at this part of me and thinking there's something wrong with me." What is it like to just be like, "There's nothing wrong with you," and, "What is there to celebrate about this?" or "How can I embrace the part of me that's judging me, and offer that part some tenderness?" Like, oh, maybe there's even some grieving there. Not just in how we do it to ourselves, but this is who I am, and I'm not that person that I see on TV, or in the porn movie, or walking... My next door neighbor, whoever we're judging ourselves against. To be able to be like, "Okay, that's not me. And now, how do I turn to celebrate who I am and what I have to offer?"

Alexandra Solomon: Yeah, yep, yep. And this illusion that I will feel more, I will feel more X, I will feel more desirable, I will feel more competent if I lose five more pounds, if I have five fewer piles. This idea, we end up putting this idea that I'm gonna feel okay once I do that thing that's out there, and it's a road to nowhere. Every time I have held up one of those ideas for myself, I'm gonna feel better once this thing happens, I get there and it doesn't happen. I just come up with a new thing. It's a hamster wheel. And so, that is really radical and revolutionary, to just find a sense of wholeness right now, with the pile, with the curvy hips, [chuckle] whatever the thing is. It's just, find that sense of I am worthy as I am right now, because that's the only place, to circle back to sex, that's the only place from which we can feel entitled to pleasure. I can only feel entitled to pleasure if I... Allowing myself to feel okay is what then opens me to say, "Okay, I can be with my partner, and let my partner help me feel really good." Or put myself out there to find a partner that I can do that with. I can only... That's... And it's not... I don't know, it's not... It's just a practice, it's coming back to... I find it helpful to say, "That's my trauma, not my truth." When that stuff comes up, that's my trauma, that's my trauma telling me that I'm awful at this, or this is not enough, or this is... And then coming back, it's trauma, it's not truth.

Neil Sattin: Right, and those are glorious moments, really, when you see it happening. And so, when you've witnessed that for yourself, those are the golden opportunities. Maybe they're FGGOs, the fucking golden growth opportunities, like where it's happening right there and you get to see like, "Oh, I carry this with me." Or, "This is how I judge myself." Or, "This is how I choose partners who reinforce this negative belief system instead of partners who celebrate me." 'Cause how often does that happen, where we choose people who are unconsciously, probably, reinforcing the ways that we judge ourselves?

Alexandra Solomon: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's maybe an important piece, too, I think for women who are partnered with men, I think that men have... Men didn't... Any individual man didn't create these wounds. Hopefully, I think. In abusive relationships, certainly that does happen, but I think a man can be such a powerful ally to a woman, and so, I think that there is a piece about around some of this body image stuff or just that kind of affirmation of, "I'm just... I don't view you that way. I don't want... When I'm making love to you, I'm not... Just so you know that you may be doing this to yourself, but I'm not doing that to you." And that can be lovely. It can't be the whole thing, 'cause shame is about my relationship to me, but having a partner who is affirmative or who just even acknowledges, "That doesn't even cross my mind. I don't think about your body in that way when we're together," can just be a little icing on the cake. It can't be the whole thing. A man can't, any partner can't out-love, can't love us out of our shame, but a partner can certainly be with us and say, "Okay, I hear that you're doing that to yourself, but I don't do that to you, I don't treat you that way.

Alexandra Solomon: And there's something very powerful when it is in a heterosexual dyad, men who are willing to kind of bear witness to that. That's why I wrote a chapter at the end for an open letter to men whose partners have read this book, whether that's maybe male allies of or male partners, intimate partners, just about... It's hard, I think it's hard, as we kind of reset the balance around this painful historical patriarchal old stuff, as we try to heal that and reset the balance, there's a beautiful opportunity for men to step in as allies. They can't fix this, but they could certainly be allies.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, that chapter I think is a beautiful invitation to how to be curious, how to... And how to show up as an ally, instead of doing things unwittingly that are detrimental when you're faced with vulnerability. And I also like that it's an invitation, that chapter, to the kind of thing that we've been naming, which is that everyone probably has a place where they can come to understand themselves a little bit better in this way as well and to question what's been handed to them. So interesting, so much of this really is shame reduction in some ways, like unearthing those places and going through the process of getting rid of it. I wanna name... I was reminded of this when you were talking about religious perspectives on sex, and one thing that you mentioned in your book is a study that someone did. Justin, I don't know how you pronounce his last name, Lehmiller, is that?

Alexandra Solomon: Yes.

Neil Sattin: Yeah. About the kinds of fantasies that people tend to have. And these are fantasies that people have no matter what their upbringing is though as I name them it will be obvious like why they might cause some conflicts for people, but I wanna name these so that you know that other people are thinking about this kind of thing, so you don't have to feel bad.

Alexandra Solomon: 95%, sorry. 95% of people. So he found... The first thing he found is that 95% of people had sexual fantasies. So it is normal to have sexual fantasies. Okay, go.

Neil Sattin: Okay. So the first one is multi-partner sex, like threesomes and orgies. The second is power, control and rough sex. The third is novelty, adventure, and variety, like things you've never tried, unique settings, having sex in public. The fourth is taboo and forbidden sex, like watching people have sex, licking someone's feet, having people watch you. The fifth is sharing partners and non-monogamous relationships. These are the top five. It took us all the way to number six to get passion and romance fantasy. So that's down toward the bottom of the list, and then we have erotic flexibility, like gender-bending and cross-dressing. And this is no matter who you are, that people are having fantasies like this. So I hope in hearing this list you realize like, "Oh my God, there's so much that we are not talking about," and why I think it's so important to have this space to talk about these things. Yeah, go ahead.

Alexandra Solomon: And just to kind of... There's this both and of our erotic imaginations are potentially really wild, broad, deep, expansive and we may in our lives not inhabit all that breadth and width. So those are two... That's a both and. That we can be expansive and show up with one partner. So maybe our fantasies become things we translate into real life and maybe not. But just the ability to tolerate, "Wow, my sexuality is really big and wide and curious." That's a piece of healing, rather than shutting it down, 'cause the moment we start to shut things down and quarantine them off, that's when things get scary. That's when we're more at risk of acting out if we can't tolerate our own complexity, we are far more likely to act out.

Neil Sattin: Right. So you're talking about creating a space where having those fantasies is okay. Like where and even if so... There's a difference, I think, in talking to your partner, let's say, and saying, "Oh I have this fantasy about someone else being in the bedroom with us." There's a difference between saying that and being like... And having your partner say like, "Oh really, tell me more about that, and what might that be like, and let's explore that." and to be received in a very non-judgmental way versus coming to your partner and saying, "I have this fantasy about having someone else with us in the bedroom, and his name is Raul, and I have his phone number, and I'm expecting him to come over tonight." So there, which in itself may not be a bad thing, but I'm just trying to point out here that there's a whole spectrum of what's possible in terms of how we accept each other, we accept ourselves then accept each other relationally, and create a space for those things to be alive because just naming something like that might fuel your completely monogamous sexual relationship with your long-term partner, where there's never gonna be a third person involved, but the fact that you've been accepted in that way, that your fantasy has been accepted, will be potentially so energizing for you rather than feeling like you have to keep things in the shadows.

Alexandra Solomon: Beautiful. Yeah, I think that's a great example...

Neil Sattin: Or that the fact that you have it is somehow gonna threaten the connection that you have, which is, I think, another piece of how you communicate about fantasies in ways that are non-threatening to each other.

Alexandra Solomon: Well, even just the example that you gave, the Raul example, it confronts... Sometimes we talk about toxic monogamy. This idea that we have monogamy has certainly been put... Sexual monogamy has been put out there as the norm. And sort of again in a hierarchical way, as the best way to love and be loved. And sometimes it goes so far that it's like any attraction, any fantasy that doesn't involve your partner is a slight against your partner. Then there's a way in which that paradigm is so narrow it makes all this stuff feel so dangerous and so threatening versus just a bit of expansiveness as you're saying. Just saying, this energizes me. Okay, then who knows where it goes from there, but just naming it and having a partner who doesn't need to go into that toxic monogamy space of like, "Oh my God, if my partner has any erotic energy that isn't directed solely to me all of the time, it means we are doomed. It means I suck, it means we're broken, it means we are doomed." That's just way too much pressure.

Neil Sattin: Oh my God, I wanna do a whole episode on toxic monogamy. But in lieu of doing that, what would you suggest for partners where that is happening, where they're unable to broach that topic without it igniting some sort of rupture in their connection.

Alexandra Solomon: Right. In the book, I talk about some ways that couples can... And I think talking about sex can be really hard. And if you've been together, especially if you've been together for a long time and you haven't talked about it, it can be really hard to find a way in, and I think that's a lot of couples' struggle. So it's really, it's normal. And given our conversation today, it's understandable. How would we ever know how to talk about sex? We certainly aren't taught that in school and we're... Anyway, so it makes sense why a couple may struggle talk about sex, but there may be some scaffolding. So, I give a list of examples I have collected over the years. I met a couple who talks about sex by putting puppets on their hands and the puppets talk about sex, so they put a bit of space between themselves and this conversation by using puppets. Or something like a book or a sexy scene in a movie, can be maybe a starting point. I'm always happy to have people put this on me. I don't know, I'm reading this book or listening to this podcast, and they were talking about this. And that can be nice, sort of a neutral sort of third-party way in. And to just have it be framed as starting with, "I love us. I love us. I love what we're about. I love who we are. I love what we're going. I'm all in on this mission and I want... And I'm interested in this because I love us, because I'm excited to expand us."

Alexandra Solomon: So, that really... So, foregrounding the positivity and the commitment and the excitement, I think is also really helpful. And then, just being able to name when we're on the receiving end, like, "Ooh, ouch, okay, I have this urge to get defensive. I have this urge to tell myself a story that you're really saying that you're not happy with me and that I'm not enough for you." And just sometimes just naming that can be like, "Okay, good, I hear you're doing that. Let's put that off to the side. Can we put that in the corner and just keep going, 'cause I'm not saying that?" And sometimes it has to happen in a therapist's office. Sometimes, and I think that's a really legit reason to go to therapy. When I have a couple that's coming in after years and years of erotic neglect, I often think to myself, "I wish they had felt able to come in sooner and unpack this sooner." 'Cause that's a really legitimate question. It's really legitimate to say that long-term sexual monogamy is challenging. Long-term... Just being sexual is challenging. Long-term sexual monogamy is challenging, and it makes sense that there can be dry spells and breakdowns and miscommunication, and sometimes having somebody else there for the conversation is helpful.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, yeah. So, totally agree with you there. And then just to circle back on that. So, there's naming and owning the importance of the connection. So, if you're the person who wants to bring something to your partner, saying, "You're important to me, and I'm bringing this to you because we are important to me." And then, you also named for a partner who's feeling reactive, to be able to name that and to recognize, "Wow, I'm hearing this and I'm being reactive." And so, that will... Hopefully, the act of bringing attention to it, hopefully that can also be held non-judgementally too. Like, it's okay that you are... That this is edgy for you to hear about this. There's something in that, "It's okay." You're okay for having this fantasy. I'm okay for having this reaction. We're gonna be okay. We're gonna navigate this together with this assumption that we'll get through, we'll be okay. There may be work for the reactive partner in examining their own self-worth issues, and doing that dance between being able to hear something like that without it going to the core of who they are or whether they feel like they're being accepted or loved by their partner. So much there.

Alexandra Solomon: There's so much there. And with the thinking about the example of if the question is around, this idea of bringing in a third person or somebody who watches, it may... An interesting place to go is to ask what is it about that that's so stimulating for you? What's so intriguing about that? So that's interesting, that's a more interesting question than when will it happen or who should it be. And maybe it happens and maybe it never happens, but to start way, way, way back at the beginning, about tell me more, like we said. Tell me more about how that stimulates you. What's so exciting about that? What is the kind of juice there within that narrative? Who do you get to be in that story? Who am I in that story? Understanding and being curious about the charge, the yearning, just that curiosity may be enough to kind of satisfy it and play with that energy, versus actually bringing in a third person. And who knows? We can separate the outcome from the process, and the process may be one that's very enlivening and engaging, separate and apart from whatever happens in real life with the actual fantasy.

Neil Sattin: Right, right. The purpose of a fantasy isn't necessarily that it has to happen.

Alexandra Solomon: Right, right.

Neil Sattin: There's something that just crossed my mind that I'm hoping you can shed some light on, 'cause it jumped out at me when I was... And it was back in this part about fantasies. I love the puppets thing, by the way. There was something you named there, which was couples talking about themselves in the third person. That was one I hadn't heard before, but I really... She really enjoys it when you do this, and he feels really vulnerable in this moment, just as a way of getting that enough of that distance, but it also feels like it could be really fun and cool to be narrating what's happening as it's happening. Yeah, I don't know, I like that.

Alexandra Solomon: Totally, absolutely. Right, right, right.

Neil Sattin: So, the fantasy thing was... 'Cause we're talking about reclaiming your sexuality and that an important piece of that is reclaiming it so that it comes from the inside out, as you named at the very beginning, so that your sexuality isn't developing in relation to how other people see you and how other people think of you, and I lost the page, so I'm not gonna be able to read it exactly, but there was this category of fantasy that was about being seen and appreciated and... Right, oh, here it is. Object of desire's self-consiousness, and I'm interested in this, the dance between it actually is really compelling to be the object of someone's desire, which in a way is about how you're being seen and noticing that you're being seen, but without having your desirability be based on how people see you. Do you see where it's...

[laughter]

Alexandra Solomon: It's so complicated.

Neil Sattin: Yeah.

Alexandra Solomon: Yeah, so the object of desire is this idea that... And the research has found that this is something that is more compelling, more stimulating for women than for men, but the idea that somebody sees me as desirable spikes my desire. Being wanted spikes my desire. And it helps me... It is about helping me tap into me. I just did an IGTV video about this. So last weekend, I was heading home from the gym, and I texted my husband and I said, "Will you go shopping with me today?" And it was so clear to me what I was wanting. So, this book launch, I want a couple of new dresses, and I know how I want to feel at these upcoming events. And so, I certainly could have gone shopping myself, obviously, and I have. But the idea of him being in the dressing room, down the hall, I go try something on, I come down the hall and show him. And it's not even about him saying thumbs up or thumbs down or him saying, "You look beautiful." It's about him holding space while I feel beautiful.

Alexandra Solomon: It's a subtle but important difference. What I was saying is, "Can you be the bass note? Can you hold a steady bass note while I do this thing that I do," where I play in different colors, different textures. And I find pathways into my own sense of my own experience of my beauty, my aliveness, but will you be with me while that happens. It's a really subtle difference. And it's an important pathway for me, and for a lot of women as the research shows, to connection to the erotic is this idea that, basically, you're watching me feel into my own erotic self, my own alive self. I think sometimes it could feel transactional. I'm asking for him to do something for me, but it's not transactional, it's just an invitation to connection. This is for me, what I know about me is this for me is powerfully connecting. Will you join me in that?

Neil Sattin: Yeah, so there's something in there of really how you know yourself and you know that this is gonna be something that's going to really feel good, that will bring you pleasure and... Yeah, so knowing yourself in that way, being able to communicate it. What are you gonna say? I saw you.

Alexandra Solomon: Well, just that it's been this way... Todd and I've been together forever, but I have memories of... I love to dance. Dance is a humongous part of me, and he hates it. So, there would be times at parties where literally I'd be like "Can you just stand on the dance floor?" I would use him like a prop. He would just stand there, and I would dance around him. I'm just "I just need you with me while I do this thing." It really is good for both of us. It's good for both of us because I get to feel the way that I know I want to feel to show up with you, to feel close to you. It's just fun. It's just such a part of our... And I think that's part of it, too, is that now in year whatever of our relationship, these kinds of things, him going shopping with me, also has that circular sense that it reminds me and reminds us of how we used to be and who we used to be. We used to shop together a lot when I was from a suburb in Detroit and he lived in Chicago, and I would come visit him, and we would go shopping on Michigan Avenue. I'd never been to Chicago, so it also had this element of reminiscing, which is also really good for couples, to tap into who they used to be. That's very connecting and intimacy provoking, inspiring.

Neil Sattin: Well, Alexandra, one of the many things that I appreciate about you and your work is how well you bring together so many different writers and thinkers and put it all together in a way that's really practical. And just like Loving Bravely was a very practical book, Taking Sexy Back is another great example of how you pull all these things together, and it becomes a very useful manual for diving in. So, I hope that you listening that you've gotten a taste of that and just how much practical information is here along with ways of talking about sexuality that illuminate the challenges that we face. So much of that is seeing like, "Oh, right, this is a challenge. This is shame that I carry with me, this is a story that I carry with me, this is how my partner and I are missing each other." Having awareness of that. You do such a great job of illuminating that for the reader. Something I really appreciated. And in what you were just talking about, I was thinking about how we identify what we like and what we don't like. And you bring up Emily Nagoski's work around the dual... What's it again, the Dual?

Alexandra Solomon: The Dual Control Model.

Neil Sattin: Right. So, there are those things that excite us. Go ahead.

Alexandra Solomon: Yeah, just that. That our sexual desire functions with an accelerator and a break. So as you were gonna say, things that excite us and things that shut us down.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, so what you were just offering is, I think, a great example of that, or at least that's how it showed up for me, like, "Oh, right, this is Alexandra knowing this gets me going," and inviting Todd your husband into the dance with you.

Alexandra Solomon: That's right. Versus playing yahtzee which is gonna just slam my break real hard.

[laughter]

Alexandra Solomon: Playing yahtzee, doing anything that's competitive with him really, really shuts me down. Now, for another person, that might be incredibly connecting and gets them going, to be competitive, to be... I just know for myself, no. Hard no.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, so interesting.

Alexandra Solomon: It's so idiosyncratic and that's why the whole thing about sexual self-awareness, really understanding ourselves, is so vital and so valuable.

Neil Sattin: Well, Alexandra Solomon, thank you so much for being with us here today. Your book, Taking Sexy Back: How to Own Your Sexuality and Create the Relationships You Want, is a valuable addition to anyone's self-growth or relationship growth library. And if you want a transcript of today's episode, there's so much that we've talked about, you can visit neilsattin.com/sexy or text the word PASSION to the number 33444. And also, if you wanna find out more about Alexandra and her work, you can visit dralexandrasolomon.com, where you can find out all about her, what she's doing, where she's speaking. Yeah. And it sounds like you're on Instagram as well. What's your Instagram handle?

Alexandra Solomon: Dr.alexandra.solomon.

Neil Sattin: Okay, great. I haven't really figured out how to play in that world, so I'm glad you are doing it.

Alexandra Solomon: Oh, it is a world.

[laughter]

Alexandra Solomon: It's a world.

Neil Sattin: Thank you so much for being here with me today, Alexandra.

Alexandra Solomon: Thank you, Neil.

Neil Sattin: Okay.

Feb 22, 2020

It can be easy to avoid being judgmental with people that aren't close to you, but what do you do when you feel yourself getting critical or testing the people with whom you're the most vulnerable? How do you shift from judging back to connection? How do you deal with the pain that you might uncover when you own the fears at the heart of being judgmental? And what are some realistic expectations to have around the process of grieving? In this week's episode I answer YOUR questions as a followup to a few of our earlier episodes.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

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Resources:

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Feb 14, 2020

How do we heal ourselves, our relationships, and the world we live in - all at once? How has our society created rifts within us (and between us) that get in the way of fulfilling relationships? With indigenous wisdom that has been handed down over thousands of years, today’s guest will help you heal the splits in your life and develop deeper integrity. Her name is Sherri Mitchell, and she is the author of “Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change”. A member of the Penobscot Nation, Sherri has also been actively involved with indigenous rights and environmental justice for more than 25 years. Instead of turning a blind eye to the ways that our cultural legacy gets in the way of connection and healing, today we will walk together down a practical path of truth, healing, and spirit.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

With Real Roses that Last a Year, Venus Et Fleur offers luxurious, bespoke arrangements that will be a reminder of your thoughtfulness long after the day you give them. Visit VenusETFleur.com/ALIVE and enter promo code ALIVE for complimentary shipping in the US thru 2/29 at 11:59 pm EST.

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Resources:

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Visit this episode's page on our website - https://www.neilsattin.com/sacred to download the transcript of this episode with Sherri Mitchell. Or text "PASSION" to 33444.

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

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Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. I like to bring in all kinds of ways to help us heal and grow and to take on the issues that impact us most, both in our lives, just as humans on this planet and particularly in our closest relationships with our partners. And, I'm often looking for new or different ways or in this case of what we're going to talk about today, ways that have been with us as humans for thousands of years. And there's something powerful in that. There's something powerful in the wisdom that's come down through generations and generations of connection to spirit, connection to life, connection to love, connection to wisdom. And within us being able to heal the ways that we ourselves have been brought into a culture that asks us to do one thing, like, for instance, fall in love and marry someone and and be happy with them for the rest of our days. But in the end, doesn't offer a lot in the ways of really how to do that successfully. And in fact, it could be that at the very root of how we learn to exist in this world. There are some core elements that are getting in our way. So. For today's conversation, I have a very special guest who I found out about through Peter Levine in a conversation one day, when I was asking him about whose work does he find or did he find to be really powerful. And that might be a great guest for the show. And as luck would have it, the person that he suggested lives right here in the same state where I live in Maine. And she is the author of the recent book "Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit Based Change." Her name is Sherri Mitchell and she is a member of the Penobscot tribe here in Maine. And she is also a distinguished lawyer and humanitarian and has been working for years in the fields of international human rights. And she has several projects that are helping to heal the world at large and in the process to heal the relationships that we experience with each other and all of the divisions that are happening in the world right now and within ourselves, as well. 

Neil Sattin: So if you want to get a transcript of today's episode, then you can visit Neil-Sattin-dot-com-slash-sacred. Or as always, you can text the word passion to the number 3-3-4-4-4 and follow the instructions. And those instructions for downloading the transcript are fairly simple. You know, enter your name and email address. Today, we're going to tap into a deeper set of instructions. A deeper set of instructions that are here to help us thrive and change the way that we live. 

Neil Sattin: So, Sherri Mitchell, thank you so much for being here with us today on Relationship Alive. 

Sherri Mitchell: Thank you for having me, Neil. 

Neil Sattin: I'm wondering if we could start with that sense of kind of where we are right now. That was something that really struck me in reading your book. Right off the bat, this description of how the experience that we're born into kind of sets us up for division from each other. I'm wondering if we can start there with this sense of the ways that that Western society is perpetuating a sense of division that is alienating us from each other and from ways of actually healing as a society. 

Sherri Mitchell: I think it's more than just contemporary society. This is something that has been conditioned into us, embedded into our thinking for millennia, that we have at least two millennia of real belief in separation and this idea that difference is dangerous and that oneness means homogenization. And so, when we're coming together and we're approaching one another, there's this inbred fear that we carry with us into those encounters. And the discomfort that we're feeling is something that we've also been taught not to experience, not to be able to be at peace with our discomfort. Any type of discomfort or pain, we're conditioned to deflect it, suppress it, project it, medicate it, avoided it all costs. And so that prevents us from really sinking into the discomfort that naturally arises when we come together because of this conditioning and prevents us from moving through the masks and the walls that have been created for us by others and handed down to us as this epigenetic inheritance within our DNA and our blood memory. And in order to be able to really address that and override it, we have to really become intimate with it. And that requires us to overcome a great deal of conditioning and ingrained thinking about how we view ourselves in the larger context of life. And so, you know,it's not a simple task of just realizing that the idea that difference is dangerous is inherently wrong. The idea that oneness and sameness are not equal. It's it's not just overcoming those ideas. It's overcoming impulses that arise within our limbic system that make us feel that we are in danger. That there's some threat to our lives being posed to us when we're facing this discomfort. And so we have to be able to work through all of those things and have a greater understanding of those things so that we can move forward into a path of healing that legitimately gets us to the place where that healing can occur. 

Sherri Mitchell: You know, one of the things that I have been quoted as saying is that we can't demand anything of others or even of ourselves, if we're unwilling to create the world in which that thing that we're asking for can be made available to us. And so it's really about creating a world where that healing can actually take place. In that world that we have to create is one that is filled with understanding and awareness of where we've been and how we got here. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah, and yeah. There's so much to unpack in what you were just saying. So I'm just kind to like sitting there in the in the midst of all that and feeling the power of, yeah, just how ingrained some of these responses are and also how they're not things that you would necessarily notice because they're just kind of what arise from, well, it almost feels naturally. But I say that and at the same time, I know that the experience, for instance, of children is is very different. So even a child who's carrying the lineage of trauma, let's say, through their genes, in their DNA. You know, for me, when I think about my legacy, there's this legacy of worry that that seems to have come from my forbearers. And I'm doing my part to heal that worry and learn to trust life. But the children, at least the young children that I know, they seem to get it in a different way. The interconnectedness that we that we actually are a part of. So somewhere along the way, the learning happens or the learning meets the legacy. 

Sherri Mitchell: Right. 

Neil Sattin: And we have to unravel that somehow. 

Sherri Mitchell: Mm hmm. Yeah. I have a story from when my son was small. He's a grown man now. And when he was three years old, getting ready to go to a community gathering and I was putting his native regalia on him, you know, and I had mine on and we were getting ready to go out the door. And I asked him, "Do you want to see herself?" And he excitedly said he wanted to see himself. And he was, you know, three years old at the time. We didn't have cable in the house. I was very, very careful about what I allowed him to ingest in that way. And we lived in a tribal community. So he was growing up in a very strong native family, surrounded by native people. At that time, and when he looked at himself in the mirror, he started to cry. 

Sherri Mitchell: And I asked him what's wrong, and he said, "I don't want to be in Indian, and they always kill the Indians."

Neil Sattin: Wow. 

Sherri Mitchell: At three years old. Wow. And it broke my heart. And my mind is reeling. Where did he get this idea? We're not watching John Wayne in our living room. You know, there he's certainly not surrounded by an ideology that I could pinpoint in any way that would give him this idea that he was a target because of his identity. And yet at three years old, he had somehow absorbed this idea and was able to articulate it back to me. This understanding that indigenous people are targeted for death. And you know that that was the point in time for me where I really started to look into more deeply the ways that we form ideas, the ways that we formulate our sense of safety in the world, how we develop our sense of belonging. And probably 15 years later, I ended up working for the civil rights division of the Maine Attorney General's Office as an educator. And one of the stories that came forward during one of these sessions was of two women, one of whom was at the playground with her, her child and her child, was two or three years old the time. And a mother who was a little person, whose child was also a little person, came walking up to the swim swing set and her child became inconsolable. She was terrified of them. And the mother was horrified. She kept trying to make it OK, make it OK. And she could tell that the other mother was feeling really uncomfortable and that it was hurtful for her. And she was horrified to think, where would my child get this idea that these other human beings, who look different than than we do, might be dangerous to her? And there was there was no immediate explanation for that belief that this child was acting out of. 

Sherri Mitchell: Then there was another mother who was a black woman who said that when her child started daycare, they had had a similar reaction to another black child who had darker skin than that they did. And so somehow this child saw the darker skinned black child as being a danger to them. And so we have this this belief within us because our... for all of our cleverness, and there's air quotes around this advancement, we still haven't, you know, been able to deal with the part of our primitive brain that recognizes differences as danger. We're still responding to some of these challenges that come before us in the world. Certainly where we're dealing with a higher level of stress than perhaps we have and in a very, very long time. Certainly not throughout history, because we've had much more stressful times in our past. But as a species anyway. But we we're dealing with a degree of stress, where we're getting stressful impulses presented to us throughout the day, time and time and time again, trauma across the globe, playing out on our screens in real time before our eyes. And we don't have the mechanisms within our brain to be able to distinguish the difference between, you know, some of those things and being confronted with a saber tooth tiger. 

Neil Sattin: Right. 

Sherri Mitchell: Because we're still in that place. And so, you know, we have to start to purposely evolve our consciousness purposely work with these impulses, because people just say, "I don't know, I just have a feeling in my gut that that this, you know, that this person isn't trustworthy." And I remember that there was a lot of talk about that going on when Obama was running for president. And politics aside, what I think of Obama, what anybody else thinks of Obama, you know, isn't part of the discussion. But it was interesting to me to see that there were a lot of people who couldn't point to any one thing they didn't like about him. They just said there's just something about him that makes me feel that I can't trust him or makes me feel unsafe. And when I when I posed the question, do you think it could be that he's a black man? They immediately scoffed at that idea. But we have had this history of leaders that look a specific way, you know, these middle to elderly, white men who have become the image of acceptability for leadership. And then when people start coming along, that challenge, that image, we experience some of this cognitive dissonance where we can't we can't reconcile what we're seeing, the difference in what we're seeing with what we've learned to be identified with as safe. 

Sherri Mitchell: And so we're being confronted rapidfire right now with all kinds of things that don't meet the imagery that we have been taught to believe is the safe norm. We're experiencing that in regard to gender fluidity, for instance. We're experiencing that with a real change in the fabric of what leadership looks like, with the most diverse Congress being elected in the history of the country. Right. You know, there's there are all kinds of all kinds of things that are cropping up. And the backlash against that is deepening some of the trenches within our minds that are related to this embedded thinking. 

Neil Sattin: Right. Yeah. And I mean, I'm also reflecting on relationships where the way that they tend to unfold, you fall in love and falling in love, whatever differences you notice in a person, we tend to find them charming or kind of gloss over them, and the initial phase of of relationship is about finding all the ways that you're the same. And then the reckoning starts to happen when you realize how different you are and where so many people are unequipped to navigate this terrain of, wow, you are different, and that feels dangerous to me the way that really different for me. And so it can happen in those really intimate interpersonal spaces as well as on the political or global scale like you're describing. And for me, it makes me wonder like, well, go ahead. Yeah. 

Sherri Mitchell: Well, I was just going to say it can be as simple as a difference between how we wash the dishes, right? 

Neil Sattin: Right. Yeah. Yeah. I mean you hear the stories all the time of like, you know, that's not how the dishes go in the dishwasher. You know, if you have a dishwasher, I don't have one. But yeah, it's hilarious. But those things aren't so hilarious when you're trapped in the middle of it and you feel like a life with the person who's in front of you is going to be one where you where you are truly in danger. And so you're responding from that place. So whether it's in your home or we're walking down the street, it gets me really curious about now that we've identified that there is something deep within us that recoils in some way from what we perceive as a division between us and another. What do you know about how to how to bridge that gap in a way that that brings that brings connection back? 

Sherri Mitchell: I think that the first step, as it is with so many things, is just acknowledging that there is a problem with our thinking and realizing that we don't have to follow the dictates of all of the voices in our heads. One of the one of the things that came to my attention years ago, was this realization that I had this belief that things should be done a certain way. And one of the most common phrases in my family was, why are you doing it like that? And you know, and if you couldn't explain why you were doing it the way that you were doing it, then you were discredited. 

Sherri Mitchell: And so, it became this this kind of this defensive mechanism that developed within me towards defending my way of doing things that caused problems in the relationship that I was in, because it hadn't occurred to me that other ways might be equally as valid and that they did not pose a threat to my identity or sense of value and worth in the world. And so learning to recognize that we have these ways of being that actually inhibit us from sharing intimacy with those that we want to be close to, even when we have a strong desire to be in close, intimate relationship with someone. All of these different ideas, I call them masks are preventing us from actually seeing the face of our beloved. And so the first the first part of that process is, is recognizing that we have these masks that are impeding our ability to see clearly the world that we know exists beyond our illusion. And so if we can first start to recognize that there are obstacles in our way that are preventing us from seeing clearly and begin to explore and examine them, not in a way that punishes, not in a way that pokes and prods, not in a way that tries to fix or resolve, but just in a way that allows us to understand more fully the processes by which we come to our conclusions. Then we can begin the process. Step two of engaging, those beliefs and ideas and applying our critical thinking and applying our core values. What do we really want to bring forward into our relationship with this person? Do we want to be able to give them full acceptance? Well, if we do? Then we need to really be fully accepting of ourselves first. How can we sit with and engage these processes that are rising up within us that are going to make us very uncomfortable? And just be there in the presence of those thoughts and ideas without having to respond to them? How can we be with our discomfort without having to immediately try to fix it or apply some balm to it? Projected outward, once we can learn that there is a safe place for us to be, with all of the things that make up who we are, then we can begin to make space for sitting with someone else in that same space. That true level of deep acceptance. And once we get to that place, how we load the dishwasher or whether we have a dishwasher becomes irrelevant. Right? We are able to see something much deeper in them because we understand the complexity within ourselves and that these automatic responses aren't a reflection of who we are. They're a reflection of how we've been taught to behave. And there's a very big distinction there between the two. And so, you know, we really have to engage this process of getting to know ourselves more deeply. And driving down the road, I can see something on the side of the road and a thought will automatically pop into my head. And I can attribute that thought to specific relative. Right? And I can say, OK, thank you, Uncle so-and-so, thanks for sharing. I'm gonna choose to see this differently in this moment. That's a process that we all have to go through and it requires us to be willing to show up in the moment that we're in with an awareness and to have a really heavy pause. You know, that's one of the challenges I think for us is that, there's so much rapidity, there's so much lack of time given to our our responses these days that it becomes a challenge. One of the things that I write about in the book is this concept of Indian time. 

Neil Sattin: Right. So fascinating to me. Yeah. 

Sherri Mitchell:Yeah. That's become kind of this cliche for being late, right? Oh, I'm running on Indian time and I used that excuse one time when I was in my in my early 20s and my grandfather sat me down and said, "How you're using this term is a misrepresentation of its true meaning. That what Indian time really is about is about taking the time to sit with something, you know, sit in circles, see it from all sides, really understand it before you make a decision. It's about making the time and taking the time to make a good decision and to make an informed decision." We don't do that with ourselves. We don't take the time or make the time to sit down and to understand ourselves fully and to understand the moment that we're in fully and to recognize the different voices that are coming in that might be informing us at that time, and then critically thinking about which information do I want to bring forward. We don't give ourselves that pause for that moment to to be able to do that. And so, I've talked to a lot of people who have wanted to sit with and learn from different indigenous elders that I'm connected to, and one of the first things that I explained to them is that there is absolutely no need to fill the silence with chatter, there's no need to fill the space with something that you can just let that space remain empty, and be patient for what will rise up, because there is a longer pause ratio for a lot of these indigenous elders than there is in the common way that we speak. And our tendency is that as soon as the other person stops talking, we have to fill that space with something. So as soon as the question is posed, we have to automatically give a response. If we can give ourselves a longer pause ratio between the inquiry and the answer, we can begin to give ourselves space, to really start consciously greeting the moment that we're in and, you know, that's a challenge for us because of the speed at which society is moving right now. 

Neil Sattin: Right. You're, for one thing, making me super self-conscious about not just jumping in with another question in this moment. But I was reflecting, too, on how even in podcast and and you have a podcast, right? "Love and Revolution Radio," are you still doing that? 

Sherri Mitchell: We're not still doing that. We stopped a little over a year ago. We took a pause. My co-host was was going through a challenging health crisis. And then we were both, you know, really, really super busy. And we're trying to figure out a way that we could continue to do it. So it's on pause for now. We may pick it back up down the road, but for now, it's we're on sabbatical. 

Neil Sattin: Got it. OK. Are our older episodes available for people to listen to? 

Sherri Mitchell: Oh, yeah. There are hundreds of episodes in the archives that people can listen to. 

Neil Sattin: Great. And the reason I brought it up was I was thinking about how the trend in podcast editing is to edit out all of the spaces. I think it's to maybe help people consume more content more quickly. And I like the first time my editor did that to one of my conversations, I was like. "Umm. It doesn't sound right." And so to me, that preserving that space is super important. But to really put it in perspective. I'm wondering if you could share your a little bit of your story around, because this is the part that really was fascinating to me was this sense of things can sometimes take a long time. And you mention the dreams that you kept having and not knowing if it was a sign of something that you were supposed to do in this lifetime or if you were simply meant to hold the story and that and pass it onto the next generation. And as I was reading that, I was just thinking about how different that is from I think the the more conventional perspective, which is kind of like I need to do something now, like it's up to me to effect change in this world or it's up to me to whatever it is, versus like, no, this could be I could just be a steward of this idea for someone else to carry when the time is right. 

Sherri Mitchell: Yeah. So the story you're talking about relates to one of our prophecies. And I had been having a dream since I was a small child so I was about four years old, this recurring dream about being in this place where runners were sent out in every direction through this mound space and these underground tunnels and and people from all over the world came and, a seed was brought up at the end by the elders that I was asked to go and retrieve. And that seed was the seed of the origins of our relationship. And so when I started in my 20s, when I started telling the elders about that dream, you know, I had been having that dream at that point in time for close to 20 years. And they said, well, that dream is connected to the prophecy of the reopening of the eastern doorway. The eastern doorway is where creation sits. And those things that are created under that eastern doorway then grow and move to the west, which is the gateway through which life leaves this earth. And so the relationships that were formed here under this eastern doorway, this spiritual gateway between the indigenous peoples and the newcomers, was forged in blood. And so that seed was damaged and it was toxic. And the dream was a reflection of that. In that, you know, there was a time that was going to come when we would have to come back under that eastern doorway to heal that seed of that relationship that had begun and to make new sacred contracts with one another, new sacred agreements with one another as human beings to live in a different way, in relationship to one another, and then to also live in in a different way, in relationship to the rest of life. So, I had that dream, as you said, for 43 years before anything ever came of it. And I had talked to the elders about it, and they had confirmed that  this is what this was connected to. And I brought it up again, you know, five years, 10 years and, I asked, when are we going to hold the ceremony that this prophecy talks about, because we've got some real problems going on here in the world that need to be addressed in relation to how we're relating to one another, how we're engaging one another, and the elders in the way that they do just said, "Oh well, they'll let us know when it's time." And so that went on for a long period of time. And then one of the clan mothers from my territory pulled me aside one day after ceremony and said, "You know, I've been thinking about this dream." And she said, "Sometimes she said it's not for us to act on." She said, maybe you're just meant to be the keeper of that story. And what I want you to do is when you go out and do that, because I was working with indigenous spiritual elders from all over the world at that point, she said, "What I want you to do is every time you go to be with these spiritual elders in their territories, whenever you're in a ceremony with them, I want you to tell them that story. And keep that story alive and make sure that you're telling it to our young people, too, so that they can keep passing that story on." And so that's what I did and I did that for. A long period of time, and then in 2016, I got a phone call from one of the elders from the South that I had been working with for more than 20 years, and he said to me, "That dream that you told us about came up in our ceremony this past weekend. And I think that there's there's something coming up in connection to that. So you might want to talk to your people." Right after that, I got another call from another elder from the West who said the same thing. Who said, "We would do the ceremony this past weekend. And that dream that you told us about when you're here came up in that ceremony with a couple of people. And I think you need to tell your people about that." And then I got a call from another grandmother who was in the North who said, "I had a dream last night that you were telling me again that story about your dream." And, then I told her about the other two calls that I had received. And she said, "Yeah, it's time to sit down with your people and talk about that." So I called my clan mothers and some of the hereditary chiefs from our region, the spiritual leaders. And we got together and talked about it and they said, "Yeah, we've been getting signs as well that now it's time.". 

Sherri Mitchell: So, you know, 43 years after I started having that dream I got this instruction from my elders, because I asked them, "Well, when are you going to do the ceremony?" And they laughed at me and they said, "No, you're going to do the ceremony and we're going to support you. And what you're gonna do is you're going to invite all the elders, the indigenous spiritual elders that you've worked with over the past 20 years, 25 years, to come and support you and to be here with us for this gathering." So that's what that's what happened. And they came, and we had people from six continents that came to share in this ceremony with us. And it's a 21 year ceremony that goes to all of the directions. And, the fourth year for the ceremony is gonna be this coming summer here in our territory. And before it travels to the south. And so it's grown every single year where people from all over the world are coming to sit with us in ceremony to heal their relationships with one another as human beings and to heal their relationship with Mother Earth and the rest of creation. And it's just become this incredibly beautiful thing to witness. I feel like I'm just standing in the doorway of it and and watching it unfold. It has a life of its own. And so, that's an example of just being patient with the information that's coming in, that there may not be an immediacy to the response to it. It may be that the story is building and being created within you. And so, that's why the last chapter of the book talks about what does it mean for us to be living in a time of prophecy? What are our roles as witnesses to prophecy? Is it just this passive spectator type event or are we meant to meaningfully engage with the prophecies that are unfolding around us? And how do we know when the time is right? To to do that? And I think that, what we've learned to do with some of the information that's coming in for us is we've learned to do something symbolic around it, rather than actually diving in deeper and being clear about what the right movement is. We just do something even if it's not the right thing, because we have this immense need to keep moving. And what ends up happening is that we have these large scale symbolic gestures that occur that don't really deal with healing on a deep level, the root of the issues that are being discussed. 

Neil Sattin: Right. Right.  I mean, just hearing you describe this process is so moving to me.  And I find myself wondering, you know, as we as we kind of sit in a moment of indecision or we're being really impacted and and trying to take in, you know, the fact that we might be looking at the world or at a particular situation through a mask that we're wearing, from your perspective, how do we invite the the the deeper knowing and also be able to recognize it when it arrives?

Sherri Mitchell:Well, I think that one of the things that is most important that I wrote about in the book is about really coming to know the teacher within, because we tend to be led so easily by the opinions of others who we hold in high esteem. And so my advice to people is to really take the time to cultivate a relationship with that teacher within, the one who holds your highest level of truth. The one that is most aligned with your deepest and purest itself. And then no matter what you're given for advice from another, you know, whether it be me or some other figure that people hold in esteem, they're able to process that through, this knowing that lives deep within us to gauge whether or not it's in alignment with their highest truth. And so I think that that that question is somewhat subjective depending on what one's deepest truth may be. For me, that process is about being able to allow our style ourselves to be still allow ourselves to learn when we're hearing the voice of truth within us and when we're hearing a prerecorded message of somebody else's ideas. Right? So it all kind of comes back to the same thing. And being able to open up the space within us. So, we have one of our creation stories, which is not in this book, it's gonna be in the second book, he follow up book, "Sacred Laws," talks about the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine. And so the sacred masculine is this pool of energy, this pool of matter, unrealized potential, that just sits there stable waiting and is not animated and brought into form until the sacred feminine speaks into it and creates vibration and frequency that create the form that emerges. And so that feminine interior, divine, creative, intuitive knowing is what speaks into form the physical manifestations that we create out in the world, and it's that dance between the masculine and feminine and being able to realize that we all have that exact thing within us. We have that that pool of possibility, that field of matter, that masculine action oriented activity out in the physical world element that's waiting within us to be formed. And the division that we've created between the voice of the sacred feminine and the movement of the sacred masculine has created a rift in the forms that are being created. So we have this real imbalanced creation that is moving out into our physical reality because we haven't learned to heal that rift between the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine within us. And when we are able to do that, then we hear the heart based wisdom, the intuitive guidance of that sacred feminine. And it guides us to create the forms and the movement out in the physical world that are going to be a balanced representation of wholeness from within us. And so if we want to be able to really get in that space where we know that what we're creating, what we're moving out in the physical world, is a true representation of our highest knowing and heart based wisdom.We have to be able to heal that that division between the sacred masculine and the sacred feminine within us. And so that process of engaging that teacher within introduces us lovingly to those aspects of ourselves that have been divided, that have been fragmented off, that have been broken down into commodified salable parts and that prevent us from emerging as whole beings in the world today, which we're needed as whole beings in the world today. That's how we offer our gifts to the world. What we were born for exists within our wholeness. And so if we want to be able to realize the purpose that we were born for, we have to be able to emerge as whole human beings. And, you know, part of that process is healing the division between our body and our spirit, healing the division between our sacred masculine and our sacred feminine, healing the division between our higher truth and the ideas that have been embedded into our into our ways of being. And so all of that healing has to take place in order for us to be able to show up in the world in the ways that we were meant for. And so that's how that process unfolds for me. That's how I see it. But like I said, that's you know, that's something that people have to arrive at that place in their own ways and with their own understandings. 

Neil Sattin: That was such a beautiful way of also like summing up so many things that we've touched on in this conversation. I'm wondering if we have time for one more question before you go? 

Sherri Mitchell: Sure. 

Neil Sattin: I'm curious about when you find that you are someone who is engaged in this process of connecting with your inner teacher and confronting the masks that you're wearing and operating from this place of how do I heal the divisions, how do I create this wholeness? How do you hold yourself in relationship to people who maybe aren't going through that process for themselves? And, you know, obviously that's possible again in the world at large. And often this comes up in relationships, right?Where someone is kind of the growth focused person and the other person just kind of has their head down and and doesn't care or doesn't care to engage in that way?

Sherri Mitchell: Yeah, I think it's a challenge at times to do that. And a conversation that I had with my ex-husband one day while I was making dinner and he was standing on the other side of the counter from me as I was chopping up vegetables and we were talking about something. And he was just standing there looking at me dumbfounded. And, you know, we had been together for quite a long time at this point in time. And I asked him, "What's what's wrong?" And he said, "I just realized that this isn't a phase, like you really do want to save the world. And I just want to live in it." And and I said, "Well, somebody has to make sure you have a good place to live." And, you know, then we just went back to cooking dinner. But that that moment was the beginning of the end of our relationship, because there was a level of simplicity, a level of detachment that he felt most comfortable in that I would never feel comfortable in, because I was this voracious seeker of truth that, you know, I came I came in with a fire that drove me to seek levels of truth on many different fronts. You know, spiritually, socially, in regard to justice. All of these issues that were really feeding this fire within me that I had been born with because that was what I was born for. And we were able to sit down together and to acknowledge that we wanted very different things for our lives going forward. And that the pathway leading into the future for us was not a pathway that merged any longer, that these pathways were were divergent, but we were able to sit in ceremony together and lovingly untangle the ties that we had made to one another and to wish each other well on that pathway that we would each be traveling into the future with love and respect for one another. That doesn't mean that whenever you get to these places of division that you have to separate from the ones that you love.But sometimes the greatest act of love that we can offer someone is to just accept who they are, and where they are, to allow them to continue to flourish into who they are becoming. And we can do that with them, in relationship with them, in close proximity, or we can do that with them, in relationship with them, with some physical separation. And only the individuals who are involved in that moment in time together can decide. Do we do this? Is it a continued act of love for us to continue to walk this pathway together? Because we again, where we're filled with all of these ideas of what we're supposed to do. Who we're supposed to be. What it's supposed to look like for us. And when that doesn't resonate with our truth, we find ourselves in constant conflict. So we have to get to a place where we're doing that meaningful work in a way that aligns with our deepest truth. And in order to get to that deepest truth, we have to move through all of the filters and the tapes that we've been carrying with us, that tell us who we're supposed to be, you know, who I feel I was meant to be in the world, is not a person that could have sacrificed their own dreams in order to fulfill somebody else's need at that moment in time. And the love that that other person had for me was such that they did not want to restrict who I was becoming in order to make them feel safe in the world. And and so, you know, we have to be able to hold ourselves, I think, to that that moment of fire. And try to see each other with eyes of of real love. Like, is this person that I see before me, someone that I am capable of giving absolute acceptance to, regardless of what that means to me? Am I allowing this person to become who they are choosing to become in a way that is meaningful and in alignment with their own truth? Or am I trying to restrict them based on my own fear? Am I capable of dealing with my fear in this moment and allowing them to become while allowing myself to become as well without running away? Right? So there's this element of running away that we do that is not about consciously thinking about how can I best love this person in this moment, in truth? 

Neil Sattin: Right. 

Sherri Mitchell: AndI think that place right there is the juicy bit of life. Can we sit with the discomfort that we're feeling? Can we deal with our ego? Can we deal with our fear and our need to control? Can we just get to that spot of of real love and acceptance? And then from that place, looking at each other without having to fix or to change or to judge or explain, choose to accept each other in that moment. And cycle forward into whatever future it is that we're holding the dream of within us together, or if it's a more loving act to allow our paths to diverge at that point in time. And I don't think that people do that. I think that people, you know, people throw around this this term, "conscious uncoupling," right now. And I think that there's an element of beauty in that. That we don't always have to be what somebody else wants us to be and still be demonstrating acts of love, that sometimes it's an act of love to say, "I'm sorry that this conflict exists between us. I'm, you know, going to stand here firmly in my own truth and I'm going to lovingly accept what comes up for you in this moment. And hopefully you can look at me with some loving acceptance about what's coming up for me in this moment, and we can make space for each other to be uncomfortable and then to settle in to the real baseline love that we have for one another, and be able to discuss this in a way that allows us to both become the most whole versions of ourselves and to make a decision in that moment on what's best for us." 

Neil Sattin: Mm hmm. Yeah, I'm right there with you. And I think that that's such an important element of moving the paradigm of relationship in a more whole direction than than the ways that, you know, historically the way that we've bound ourselves to each other without really thought of everything that you just named, the way that that's creating challenges for people that don't necessarily need to need to be perpetuated.

Sherri Mitchell: Yeah. 

Neil Sattin: So yes. The way that you know, I had the Gottmans here in Maine recently, John and Julie Gottman, for a live version of my show here in Portland. And as I was sitting with them, I had this thought, which is that so much of the energy that we've put into how to make relationships work, how to help people succeed in relationships has like been based on this presupposition that longevity is somehow the marker of success in a relationship. And so if you take that as a given, then from that point unfold, all of these things that are about like fostering longevity. That, the lens changes a little bit when you're looking at it from a place of who am I, who am I meant to be when I get past what I've been told I should be? And who are you meant to be? And how can we love each other in that? And how can we make choices? Sometimes really challenging choices, but be rooted in that love for each other, even when it represents a divergence or an acknowledgement of some core differences?

Sherri Mitchell: Yeah, I think what tends to happen is that people let go of and sacrifice pieces of themselves in order to achieve that goal of longevity. That is the social standard of success. Andone of the things that I do in one of my trauma workshops is I give participants a meditation to have them go into each relationship that they have and ask themselves what aspects of myself have I had to give up in order to be in relationship with this person? What dreams of mine have I let go in order to be in relationship with this person? What parts of myself have had to be suppressed in order to make this this person happy? And then to look at the way that that giving away of aspects of themselves has actually led to a lot of the problems that rise up in the relationship because you're no longer the person that that other person thought you were, but you're also no longer the person that you know yourself to be. So you're in conflict continuously. And so we've we've been raised under this capitalist system that leads us to believe that we are either a consumer or a commodity. And so,we are constantly looking for ways to sell ourselves, whether that be to our friends, to our families, to our faith communities, to our employers, to our potential partners. We look for the aspects of ourselves that we believe are going to be most saleable to that other that we want to be in relationship with.

Sherri Mitchell: Or, that we want to create this sense of inclusivity and belonging with and we sacrifice the aspects of ourselves that we don't feel line up. And in doing so, we never, ever know if we in and of ourselves are lovable because we're only putting forward an image that we believe will be acceptable to whoever that other is. And so the aspects of ourselves that we hide become cloaked in shame and in fear that if they escape, we're no longer going to be lovable because we've made this contractual agreement on a spiritual level to only show this aspect of ourselves that we feel it's going to be acceptable. And so, you know, when we're in that situation, which is a majority of the world, we don't know if we, the wholeness of who we are, is truly lovable. And so we live in constant fear of losing the love that we have put forward conditionally. We've put ourselves forward to be loved conditionally rather than unconditionally. And so we have to have the courage to bring forward all aspects of ourselves. And it's so cliched at this point in time, right?. But the courage that's required to be able to do that is phenomenal. It's phenomenal because we all need a sense of belonging, connectivity, inclusivity and the threat of losing that registers in our primitive brain as being ostracized at a time when our connectivity was absolutely crucial for our physical survival. And so it wasn't very long ago that when somebody was ostracized or moved beyond the pale. Right, that that they were no longer guaranteed safety. Right. Because they didn't have the safety of the group. And so we actually recognized that in our bodies. This  fear of not belonging, this fear of not being included, is equated with actual death in our physiology, the way that our body chemically responds to it. And so we have to be willing to work with that system so that we can evolve it, so that we can consciously evolve it into realizing what is the real threat here? The real threat is death to our whole selves, death to own truth, in order to barter for acceptability. That's conditional. And can we have the courage to move beyond that? Can we have the courage to show up with all of our our parts available to be seen, and see if we can be accepted as we are? That's the real dance that we have with ourselves in order to be able to have truly intimate, truly loving relationships with others. 

Neil Sattin: Well, what you're talking about is something that's impacted me personally very recently, so I'm really taking that all in very deeply. And I think my wish for all of you listening is that you feel inspired to be courageous in this absolutely essential and cliche way of discovering who you are and being willing to offer that courageously in the world. 

Neil Sattin: Sherri Mitchell, it's been such a pleasure to talk with you today. Your book, "Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit Based Change" is so full of good stuff. We've only really scratched the surface today. So, I definitely recommend checking the book out. And I'm excited to hear that there's another one in the works. When's that due to come out? Do you have a sense or? 

Sherri Mitchell: I'm not sure if it'll be out in 2020 or early 2021. I'm hoping it'll be out by the end of 2020. 

Neil Sattin: Got it. Well, that's definitely something to look forward to. I hope we can have you back on the show to talk about it. 

Sherri Mitchell: That would be wonderful. 

Neil Sattin: And if people want to find out more about you, what's the best way for them to do that? 

Sherri Mitchell: They can go to my website, sacred-instructions-dot-life, or they can follow me on social media. My public Facebook page is Facebook-dot-com-slash-sacred-instructions. And I do have Instagram, but I'm terrible about social media. I need to have somebody come along. I've accepted that about myself. 

Neil Sattin: Same. 

Sherri Mitchell: Yeah, you know, that's just not the thing that I do well. And so I'm constantly searching for the technology person who can help to deal with that aspect of my life. But I do my best. 

Neil Sattin: Well, hopefully you can call that person in. So that people can, you know, watch your life from the outside and hopefully come and participate through, I mean, it sounds like you're offering workshops and the ceremonies that you're hosting. Sounds so powerful. And again, if you want to get a transcript of today's episode, just visit Neil-Sattin-dot-com-slash-sacred or text the word "passion" to the number 3-3-4-4,-4. Sherri Mitchell, your native name. I'm going to just invite you to say it means she who brings the light. And I definitely feel like you've been bringing the light today to to me, into our listeners. 

Sherri Mitchell: Thank you. So we'd say in our language, the words that I offer for all my relatives and my name in my language, Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset.

Neil Sattin: Thank you so much. So good to meet you and be with you today. 

Sherri Mitchell: Yeah, you too. Thank you so much, Neil. 

Feb 7, 2020

How do you heal after a breakup or divorce? Whether you’re going through a breakup now, have been through a breakup and still have some cleanup work to do, or...well...maybe you will be going through a breakup at some point in the future...this episode is for you. No matter which way you slice it - the ending of a relationship can be challenging. There are a lot of "right" ways to heal your heart - and some wrong ways. My goal is to keep you from making common post-breakup mistakes so that you don't make it any harder on yourself than it has to be - and we'll dispel some myths along the way. 

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

With Real Roses that Last a Year, Venus Et Fleur offers luxurious, bespoke arrangements that will be a reminder of your thoughtfulness long after the day you give them. Visit VenusETFleur.com/ALIVE and enter promo code ALIVE for complimentary shipping in the US thru 2/29 at 11:59 pm EST.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Check out this episode with Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of Conscious Uncoupling, about transforming core negative beliefs.

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Jan 24, 2020

Do you judge others or yourself harshly? How do you get past the judgment to a place where you can see a situation clearly, set appropriate boundaries, and change things for the better? In this week's episode, we're going to cover what to do when your occasionally judgmental nature gets in the way of positive connections with others - or yourself. You'll get some hints about what to do when others are judging you. And you'll discover the difference between being discerning and being judgmental.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

With Real Roses that Last a Year, Venus Et Fleur offers luxurious, bespoke arrangements that will be a reminder of your thoughtfulness long after the day you give them. Visit VenusETFleur.com/ALIVE and enter promo code ALIVE for complimentary shipping in the US thru 2/29 at 11:59 pm EST.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Jan 16, 2020

What turns you on - and what turns you off? Once you know your erotic blueprint type, it’s so much easier to have the kind of intimacy that you most deeply desire.  And when you hit a snag in the sexual sphere of your relationship, it could be that you and your partner haven’t quite learned each other’s erotic languages - leading to sexual miscommunication. Never mind the love languages - it’s the Erotic Blueprint type that matters in the sexual domain! This week’s episode features Ian Ferguson, who played an instrumental role in creating the Erotic Blueprint methodology with his partner Jaiya. You’ll learn the 5 Erotic Blueprint types, how to figure out what you are, and how to tackle differences that you and your partner might have in how you express yourselves in your most intimate moments.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

This episode is also sponsored by Native Deodorant. Their products are filled with ingredients you can find in nature like coconut oil, which is an antimicrobial, shea butter to moisturize, and tapioca starch to absorb wetness. They don’t ever test on animals, they don’t use aluminum or any other scary chemical ingredients, and they’re so confident that you’ll like their deodorant that they offer free shipping - and returns. For 20% off your first purchase, visit http://www.nativedeodorant.com/alive and use promo code ALIVE during checkout.

Resources:

Take the Erotic Blueprint Type quiz to find out your Erotic Blueprint Type: https://www.eroticbreakthrough.com/alive

Visit Jaiya’s main website

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide - perfect help for handling conflict…

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

www.neilsattin.com/erotic Visit to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Ian Ferguson.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. We have covered in more than 200 episodes all kinds of conversations detailing the nuances of having an amazing relationship. We've talked about communication. We've talked about overcoming problems and obstacles and healing trauma and being present. And we have, of course, also talked about sex and the erotic. And it's important to dive into this topic, I think, a little bit more deeply than I have in the past. 

Neil Sattin: Early on, I wanted to bring voices to you representing different kinds of sexuality, different ways of exploring sexuality that were more oriented towards slow sex or tantra. We talked to Diana Richardson. We talked to Margot Anand. And now, what I'd love to do is to open this conversation up further to the idea that there are actually different kinds of erotic types that we inhabit. And in order to have this conversation, which will, I think, help you really get to know yourself better in the sexual and erotic realm and also get to know your partner, if you're partnered or partners, or if you're out dating as a way of diagnosing what's happening with the people that you meet and getting a sense of where you're compatible, where you're not, and where there's learning and curiosity that opens up for you. It's fascinating. I had a friend who sent this link to me randomly not that long ago, and it was to the work of Jaiya. And I had actually heard of Jaiya's work, but I hadn't really honestly paid any attention to what she was doing. And. But there's something about this link spoke to me and I decided to take her quiz and listen to her on another podcast. And, I was fascinated. I learned so much about myself and about things that were happening in my own life. And I knew that I wanted to bring this work to you. So for today, we have our esteemed guest, Ian Ferguson, who is Jaiya's partner in business and in life and who is also responsible for the development of what we're going to be talking about today, which is your erotic blueprint -- the the thing that makes up who you are sexually and erotically and what turns you on, what turns you off. And we're going to dive deep into that topic with Ian. 

Neil Sattin: If you are interested in getting a transcript of today's episode. You can visit Neil-Sattin-dot-com-slash-erotic. Or as always, you can text the word passion to the number 3-3-4-4-4, and follow the instructions along with being Jaiya's partner in business and life. Ian is also the co-founder of their company and he is a master instructor of the erotic blueprints methodology. And he's also someone who does a lot of conscious dance stuff, which I've talked about on the show over and over again. We finally have someone here who actually does the very thing that I'm talking about. So I'm really excited to have Ian here with us to talk about your erotic blueprints. And Ian, welcome to the show. 

Ian Ferguson: Thank you. As a great intro. I just love all the seeds that you're planting about communication and learning and really using these kinds of tools to have a deeper understanding of ourselves and how we communicate with others about them. So, I love that intro. Thank you for that. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah, you're welcome. You're welcome. And I think that, you know, we talked about this a little bit before I hit record. It's so important, especially when you're dealing with any system that gives you some information about you by telling you like, oh, you're an ENFP or you're a Scorpio or you're a number four in the Enneagram, whatever it is, it's challenging for people sometimes to break the mold of what they discover about themselves. So, I want this to be a conversation that allows people, and I know you're right here with me to tap in to curiosity about their type and also to like push the edges of the box that they find themselves in, and in fact, to unbox themselves and to stretch themselves. 

Ian Ferguson: Perfect. Yeah. We often say about the erotic blueprints, which we'll be talking about in more detail here, that when you discover your primary erotic blueprint type, it's actually showing you more where you're limited than where your resourced. Because there's this whole range, there's a smorgasbord of opportunity erotically in the world of pleasure available to all of us. And many of us are accessing but a very small piece of that smorgasbord. You know, we're eating the, you know, the beautiful strawberry when there's chocolate and truffles and steak and, you know, a beautiful garden of vegetables at our fingertips. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah. And this reminds me probably for obvious reasons to you, a lot of the love languages. 

Ian Ferguson: Yes. 

Neil Sattin: And, when I have been introducing people to your work, just friends of mine or or acquaintances, I've drawn that analogy:"It's kind of like the love languages, but for sex and the erotic." But one of the things that I think is so challenging about the love languages is that people sometimes find out what their primary love language or you're supposed to find out your primary two love languages. And then they just kind of stop there. And then, if they take it a little bit further, they figure out what their partners love languages are. And then hopefully they really learn to speak each other's languages. But in the end, where I always come down to is I don't think there's anyone who doesn't appreciate or have the capacity to appreciate all those love languages. And so I'm curious, before we dive into like the specifics of the blueprints, do you do you feel like that's true for them, that there's an evolution towards kind of being multilingual across the love languages, that's just like natural if we allow ourselves to be open or what do you find? 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah, I think that that's the ideal almost of any of these typing systems, is that it's not just about understanding your first primary access, the place where you're most resourced. It is a way of articulating and speaking to all of the other types of people that there are out there, all the other types of eroticism. 

Ian Ferguson: One of the things that I just love about our community in particular is that often in the realms of sexuality, when you're in this stage, you're curious, you're adventurous, you're looking to expand into something new or there's parts of sexuality you're hearing about and you don't have any idea what they are, say, in the kinky realm or around Tantra. The communities tend to be kind of siloed. They're brilliant. There are many brilliant communities that deal with all of these forms of sexuality. But when you want to find a find out about kink, you end up walking over into the kink realm, when you want to find out about energetic or tantric sex, you walk over into Tantra and they're very different communities. And one of the things that the blueprints have allowed us to do is to speak to the full range of eroticism and bring all of those people essentially under one roof.

Ian Ferguson: So, you know, we'll see this in our community, even in my own relationship, where, you know, somebody who is an energetic, they have a kinky partner and they have no real way to merge or meet. And if the energetic is going to take the kinky person to their energetic Tantra class, that kinky person may actually be totally turned off. They won't have a deeper understanding, it just won't appeal to them and vise versa. The kinky person taking their energetic partner to the kink environment may find themselves contracted and re-traumatized, or they just don't understand what's going on in that community. Whereas in a community where all the languages are being spoken to, there's an opportunity for people to see a multitude of people operating with a variety of these erotic blueprint types under one roof. And to start to have a way to bridge the gap and create inclusiveness for all of those communities to be able to have a conversation together. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah. When I imagine being in that community, I imagine what it would be like to be with someone who was or to be just like having a conversation with someone where my type is just as valuable as theirs is. And that was something that for me was so eye opening. Even in just taking your quiz, which by the way, if you visit erotic-breakthrough-dot-com-slash-alive, you can take the quiz that helps you diagnose what type you are. So, that's always fun, to take another quiz online. So you should definitely go check that out. 

Neil Sattin: But, I took this quiz and what I found was that, it really helped normalize some things that I was experiencing that I thought were maybe... bad. That I had judgment about in myself and, we'll get further into this. But one, I actually have a lot of the different types in me. I'm the shapeshifter type which we'll get to, but I'm very strong in energetic. And so it was really easy for me and I mentioned I had a lot of probably very energetic oriented people here on the show. And you talk about one of the shadows of the energetic being kind of downplaying other kinds of sexuality. And I think I was doing that for the other kinds that live within me. So, it was really wild to take the test and to accept myself in a new way, as well as to have that language to bring to other people. 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah. One of the things I get most touched by in responses that we get from like you're sharing, even people who just take the quiz, even if that's the only step that they've taken, we will get emails from people or at workshops that we're teaching. I'll get stopped by the attendees who will, with tears in their eyes, just talk about, "Wow, now I don't feel alone. I thought that I was weird or messed up or, you know, crazy." You know, like the energetic type is one of the blueprint types. And for the energetic, energetics are often a highly sensitive, they're very aware, their empath, They're connected to their environment. And the types of orgasm that are available to an energetic can sometimes look quite strange to somebody who doesn't have access to that type of orgasm because they'll be releasing kundalini energy or having kriyas. So, those will show up as a sort of muscular spasms in the body. So especially in the case of cock-bodied humans who tend to be stereotyped into the sexual blueprint, many of the male body people, cock-body people will all of a sudden feel seen and heard for the first time because they've been putting on a mask of being a sexual when their entire system is geared towards being an energetic. 

Ian Ferguson: And then you also spoke to the hierarchical. I think we're probably going to start confusing people too much if we keep talking about the types without getting into what they are. But you did mention in terms of the energetic, there can be sort of a hierarchical viewpoint of the energetic. That energetics tend to be associated with spirituality, connected to sex. So a sexual act for many energetics needs to fall into the realm of being a spiritual event. And they may have judgment or look down on this as a shadow aspect to the energetic, may look down on people who might be a sexual type or kinky type, as that form of erotic expression is not spiritual to them. So these are all interesting distinctions of all of the five blueprint types that we've uncovered. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah. Where we're dancing around a little bit. But let's, as you suggested, kind of dive in and detail each one a little bit more. We've spent some time on the energetics. So maybe let's flesh that one out a little bit more and then we'll kind of move through the others that we've chatted about already. 

Ian Ferguson: Perfect. Perfect. Yeah. So the energetic is turned on by: anticipation, tease, space. They're very sensitive, energetically sensitive, environmentally sensitive, often emotionally sensitive. And this is the super power of the energetic type. They have the ability to be in an orgasmic state without even being touched. The breeze that blows across the hairs on their arm could send them into orgasm. A connection to themselves or the environment in some sort of spiritual connection could put them into an orgasmic state or into actual orgasm. So this is an amazing superpower for the energetic as well as on the flip side, can be a bit of the shadow or the challenge for the energetic. Because of that hypersensitivity, if somebody moves too fast, too quick and goes too deeply into the space of an energetic, it can turn into, overwhelm and shut down, so that the all the systems for the energetic will get overwhelmed. And they may actually be completely turned off or flatline in their turn on because the space has been collapsed. 

Ian Ferguson: So if you're listening to me talking about this and let's say you have that experience of you're about to kiss somebody and there's all of this energy and all of this turn on happening as you're approaching the kiss, maybe teasing out the kiss a little bit. And for you, when you actually kiss, the energy or the eroticism, the turn on goes down significantly or maybe completely collapses, that might speak to you being an energetic type. 

Neil Sattin: Got it. Got it. And I think you also mentioned in one of your guides about energetics being able to respond to someone's hands being placed just above their body. So like not even literally touching them, but just being in their energetic fields. 

Ian Ferguson: Yes. So this is this is the fascinating thing and also something that if you are if this is not something you have access to at this point and your lover does, it can be quite a bizarre experience. You know, I didn't really have any access to this energetic turn on when I was first partnered with Jaiya. She's highly energetic. She's trained herself to be even more energetic than I think she naturally was. And she would have kriyas. I could put my hand above her body and she would be reacting to that without me even touching. And because she's a teacher of sexuality and because of the type of relationship we have, I could witness her in energetic connection with other people and see these really huge expressions, these physical manifestations of her orgasm when a person was, you know, a foot away, even 10 feet away. And at first I would look at this and to be honest, I was like, "Oh, what is this? Woo, woo. You know, B.S." I was like, "This is just people performing in there. They're making this stuff up." And it took me... Because, I tend to be a skeptic before I accept something. Even after I accept something, I'm still have some skepticism about it. But the the thing around the energetic is first I started to have my own experiences with it. And then I had a couple of trainings around something called Network Spinal Analysis, which is a form of chiropractic where they sometimes touch your body. But a lot of the work is done off of your body in energetic fields. And I had a couple of masters that I did a deep, deep workshop with Christine and John Amaral, and they basically blew open my energetic receptivity. And after that weekend, all the sudden was able to tap into something that really looked pretty mysterious, if not completely inauthentic, before I tapped into it myself. And now I'm like, oh, it's now it's it is interwoven in my eroticism. It is interwoven, actually, and just sort of how I approach my day to day life. 

Neil Sattin: Wow, wow. What a transformation. 

Ian Ferguson: For sure. 

Neil Sattin: I am so fascinated and tempted to go down that road a little bit more. But before we do, let's jump to the next to the next type and we'll probably circle back around to these. But just so everyone knows, loosely, how do you define a type like what is what are the kinds of things that, "OK, I'm this kind of type. So that means that I have these kinds of physical experiences, these kinds of emotional experiences, these particular kinds of turn offs, these particular kinds of turn ons." 

Ian Ferguson: Yes. So the turn ons or the superpowers of the blueprints are the positives or the things where you're going to have the easiest, fastest access to arousal to turn it on, to connection. And that defines often your access point or the positive blueprint that you may be. And then there are the shadow aspects of each blueprint type and you can have the full positive of this, full super powers of one blueprint type and have the shadows of a completely other type, and not have the turn on our shadow of those same types. I hope that made sense, what I just said. 

Ian Ferguson: But the shadows are the things that are basically the brakes to your turn on. And Emily Nagasaki in her book "Come As You Are," talks about a bunch of research where, it is actually the brakes in people's sexuality, the things that put a stop to it that inhibit their ability to access pleasure or drop into expansion or discovery or a deeper understanding of their own turn ons and the shadow parts, that's what we talk about when we're talking about the shadow parts of the blueprints, those pieces that just shut it down for you. And it's bad, I think this land's better as I go through each blueprint type talking about the superpowers and the shadows of each one. So I can just jump into the sensual if you'd like?

Neil Sattin: Sure. And just as a mention for you listening, Emily Nagasaki, whom in just mentioned, she was on the show Episode 123. So, if you want to hear here, Emily, it's a fascinating work. So, definitely check that out.  

Ian Ferguson: She's awesome. She is so articulate about all of this stuff. So, yes, I would recommend your listeners. Go listen to Emily talk about that or read or pick up her book. Yeah. So the sensual type, the sensual type is, was one of my primary types I say "was" because I would say that I've really moved more into a shapeshifter in terms of my, all the superpowers that I've got going on. But the sensual is the type that brings artistry to sexuality. They are turned on by all of the senses being ignited. And that means that you can have an orgasm from eating that perfectly juicy, incredible strawberry. The sensuals will often when they're eating, they're the ones will be moaning they'll be like: "Mm... oh! Hmm!" And, you know, you can tell a shapeshifter often, by the way, that they dress, they'll wear textures and layers and often be perhaps touching themselves. 

Neil Sattin: You mean a sensual? 

Ian Ferguson: What did I just say? 

Neil Sattin: You said shapeshifter. 

Ian Ferguson: Oh, shapeshifter. Yeah. Sorry. A sensual will often be touching themselves. And one of their superpowers is the fully embodied orgasm. They'll find the orgasm all over their body in their own crevices of their arms, and their legs, uh, really, really fulfilling and rich. And a big difference between the energetic and the sensual, the energetic really gets turned on by that space, by the anticipation of the collapsing of the space without collapsing it. The sensual tends to want to get really snuggly and cuddly and tight and close in with their partner. So you can see where those two types might have a little challenge relating because one wants closeness, the other wants distance. 

Ian Ferguson: The shadows of the sensual. Would be that there, those same things that can turn them on can become complete red flags and become very distracting. A sensual can get very lost in their head and have a hard time accessing their pleasure because they can't get relaxed, they can't drop into the space. So let's say the lights are too bright or the music is the wrong song or too loud. They've got bills to pay or a call that they didn't return, there's socks on the floor. All of these things can lead to intense distraction of the sensual. And when the sensual is not connected to their body, they can't drop into their eroticism. So. You know, often what we'll say is that the sensual needs to relax to have sex. 

Neil Sattin: Got it. Got it. And one thing I'm curious about is language, as well. And you talk about the different ways that we actually use words and our voices and how that can have an impact based on the erotic type that you that you are. So how might that be different between an energetic and a sensual person? 

Ian Ferguson: Well, there's so many aspects of speaking the blueprints, you know, I'll probably talk about this a little bit later, but we, in more detail, but we talk about once you learn your blueprint and you learn the sort of basics of what turn you on, turn you off, the next step there is to be able to learn to speak, feed, heal and expand your blueprints. So one of those pieces is what you're pointing to, which is being able to speak the blueprint. And in speaking the blueprint, that's the full range of what it means to speak. So that can be the words that you use. That can be the body language that you have associated to your eroticism. What turns you on in that realm, and a congruency between, say, vocal tone and your energy and your presence. So between these two types of the energetic and sensual, the energetic, a light energetic. So let me we can get into so many wonderful distinctions about all of these blueprints. But, there's light-energetic, and there's the dark-energetic. The light-energetic when speaking or being spoken to is potentially going to have a little bit of a loftier, lighter tone, maybe a little bit of lilting, but not crazy melodic, tends to be smooth and something that is gonna be flowing not staccato. 

Neil Sattin: This is so hilarious. I'm thinking of Marianne Williamson. While you're.... 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah, that's perfect. 

Neil Sattin: But honestly, I think even like Diana Richardson, who's been on the show, you can hear that in her voice, for sure. 

Ian Ferguson: Yes. And they might choose the language of, "I feel so connected to you. I feel that we've been really connected through time. And this feels like a universal connection. And my heart is so, it would be so open to you if we could just spend some time being present with each other." So absolute presence, clarity of intention. And they'll often talk about the cosmic. Energetic may also use their hands in sort of flowing patterns when they're expressing themselves. And then alternately, a sensual they may have very expressive, and they may get into very you know, they may may use tone and like really get into the richness of their voice and how they express and they'll talk about, "Oh, this is just so juicy and delicious. What we're talking about, I just love, you know, they'll point to colors and oh, the beautiful day outside and the trees are so green. So they'll notice all of those sensory elements and often be framing things in the language of the senses. 

Neil Sattin: Great. Yeah. 

Ian Ferguson: Yep. So we can we can pull out little elements of that as we talk about the other blueprint types as well. 

Neil Sattin: Awesome. Let's let's proceed to the next one. Yeah. 

Ian Ferguson:So the sexual. That is sort of the zone where our society focuses advertising what sort of put out front and center often in music. It's the stereotype of what sex should be. And the sexual is one of the more simple. They they just bring the fun. And by simple I don't mean there's not depth. I just mean that they don't overcomplicate the process of sex. It's about genitals, it's about orgasm. It's about, you know, fucking and coming and all of the the great things that just are raw, pure sex. They're gonna be attracted to the physical, though, in terms of the body language of sexual may be the type of person you're talking to and they're gonna be scanning your body up and down more than meeting you in the eyes. It's just that that sort of limbic animalistic turn on and they're their superpower is that simplistic. They can go from zero to 60 in zero seconds flat, as long as they have certainty, like, "OK, that's what this is about. We're gonna get down to it. I know I'm going to have the orgasm." It's kind of like if everybody has an orgasm, then it's all good. We succeeded. Yay! And in contrast to the sensual, the sexual often needs to have sex in order to relax. Whereas you heard me say before, the sensual needs to relax in order to have sex. So there was some point here that popped into my head about the sexual... and I'm forgetting it. 

Neil Sattin: Well, maybe it'll come back to you. But what you just said, I'm curious about kind of the gendered nature of particularly sensual versus sexual.  Do you find that it's a male bodied versus female bodied thing or not? Because that's kind of the classic example. Right? Like, the guy just wants to go straight to having sex and the woman needs time to, like chill out and and and really be relaxed and in her body. And in a lot of cases, that's true. 

Ian Ferguson: Yes. 

Neil Sattin: So what do you find in the as you've worked with, you know, hundreds and hundreds of people around this? 

Ian Ferguson:So, yeah. Genitals are not just the descriptor or the diagnostic for telling us what our primary blueprint type is. We've had, I think over one hundred and fifty thousand people take the quiz at this point.

Neil Sattin:Great.

Ian Ferguson:And there is a light correlation to gender or genitals in terms of what we stereotypically think. But there is a large population of energetic cock-body people, you know, walking around the planet. There are a lot of men like myself who are sensual. So, gender is not really the deciding factor on any significant level of what blueprint type you are.

Neil Sattin: OK, great. Good to know. I mean, I knew that, but I. But I wanted everyone to know that. 

Ian Ferguson: And I also want to say something here, too, that is really important: if you are not experiencing any of the ecstatic states or the sort of forms of sexuality or the ease of access to your eroticism that we're speaking about here, there is nothing wrong with you. You're not broken. You are not wrong. Our deeper philosophy is that there's actually nothing to fix. It's really about creating an access to who you are first and foremost. So you accept yourself so that you can honor who you are, where you are, and that then opens up the opportunity to explore and find out other aspects of who you are. If you want to. So none of these are like, if you want them, great. If you want these heightened connections to your eroticism or your orgasm. Fantastic. If it's not your thing. Fantastic. Again, nobody's wrong, broken, and there's nothing to fix. 

Neil Sattin: Got it. Yeah. That's that's one of the things that for me, I think was so freeing. Even in just taking the quiz was was that feeling of like, 'Oh, I'm I'm OK, just as how I am.' There was no aspect of the results of the quiz that said, here's where you're damaged or here's how you shouldn't be. So I appreciate that a lot. 

Ian Ferguson: You know, and this is also something that that's what it was. And it's kind of ties back in again. Within the realm of therapy around sex or sex therapy, there is often the... putting of sex into the place of aberrant behavior or, you know, diagnosing things in the form, there's a word that's escaping my mind right now. But associating different behaviors to, you know, the quote unquote, unhealthy. 

Neil Sattin: Right pathologizing. 

Ian Ferguson: Pathologizing sexuality in a lot of the literature within that the that psychologists and therapists study, really only refers to sexuality in the frame of pathology. So that is, and there are amazing sex therapists out there. And we have erotic blueprint coaches who are teaching our methodology where we're just, and these things have been changing in the DSM, where, you know, Kinky was a pathology, I think not even 10 years ago. And that has now been taken out of the DSM as a pathology. Sothings are shifting. And part of our work is the intent to accelerate that path towards acceptance that we are erotic beings. We are very diverse erotic beings. And the problems tend to come more when we're shoving these aspects of ourselves in the closet and siloing ourselves and feeling lost and alone with no ability to articulate who we are and who these natural instincts and being able to funnel them in a way that we're creating consciousness around them and that they're happening with consent, that we understand how to declare boundaries, we understand what consent really means. And that we have agency in our own eroticism. So it's very important to us to normalize consensual sexual behavior in all of its forms. 

Neil Sattin: Right. And I like the ability to bring consciousness to all of those forms. So I think typically one might think, for instance, of the sexual type as not a conscious type of sexuality, but in fact, if you bring consciousness to it and your awareness of how you are turned on by sight and sound and sexual language and very like, visceral sexual related things, then you are actually bringing a level of awareness that allows you to evolve when, how you how you approach that with other people and how your boundaries and edges bump up against someone else's. 

Ian Ferguson: Yes, exactly. Love it. 

Neil Sattin: All right. Let's go to the next one. So we've done an energetic, sensual, sexual and now? 

Ian Ferguson: Well, there would be kinky next. But with the sexual, we get to talk a little bit about the shadow aspect. 

Neil Sattin: Right. Right. Thank you. 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah. So one of the shadow aspects is this part of the sexual that tends to look to: "This is what sex is, and why is everybody making it so complicated?" So they can get this short sighted or single focused and sort of miss out on that smorgasbord of availability. And the shadow is often more an interrupter for the partner of a sexual, than it might be for the sexual themselves because there there could be just as a lack of awareness or even an acceptance that there's more on the table, more on offer. There may be different ways of communicating about eroticism and turn on than just getting right to the act of sex and orgasm. And, you know, and genitals so that that can be a shadow aspect. Another shadow aspect of the sexual, what we'll notice in some of our clients is that sometimes for the sexual they, this isn't true universally, but sometimes there will be being caught in an adolescent sexuality and we'll uncover that, perhaps they were shamed very distinctly or told that their sexuality or turn on was bad. So they at a very young age or have stuck it in the closet and they've never been felt safe to express themselves in their overt turn on by genitals and sex and the desire for it. So they will have certain behaviors that are just kind of unconscious around their sexuality. Where they may be less aware of a partner while they're engaged with that partner. The partner becomes objectified and feels objectified. So this is... This always feel a little challenging to talk about with a sexual because it sounds like a potentially like a judgment. But as you and I have been talking about, it's really just about bringing a new awareness to these things and being able to accept where we're at and then be able to expand out of that to give ourselves the acceptance so that then we can say we can actually get our eyes above the above the horizon and see more of what's possible. The sexual also, this isn't so much a shadow aspect, but the sexual... sex is kind of like like air and water. It is  a necessity for a sexual. It is what has them feel connected to themselves, alive, dropped in. So a sexual who is getting plenty of sex and really feeling satisfied on that front is going gonna tend to be much more effective at work and in their other relationships. They're just going to feel like they're together. They got it handled and they can go out and conquer the world. On the flip side, a sexual who is not getting their sexual needs fed and fulfilled, they can really feel atrophied and starved and sometimes unseen in their relationship because there they are looking for acceptance for that intensity of desire that they have in their eroticism. 

Neil Sattin: I'm curious, as you talk about this, what you offer couples where let's say someone who's a sensual or an energetic, is with a sexual. And it feels like typically the way I might have approached something like that is to encourage the sexual person to really learn the sensual language, learn the energetic language. How do you help people who are more sensually oriented, who need the slowness, who need to relax in order to have sex? How do you help them meet a sexual person who wants that, like visceral, quick, rapid thing? 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah. So that is that is an incredible question. And of course, one that the answers can often be very individual. And you know,one of the other things that we say quite often is that we wish to bust the myth of sexual incompatibility. That we are not sexually incompatible. We simply do not know how to speak each other's language of turn on. And that is particularly apparent in the pair up that you mentioned here when you're talking about an energetic with a sexual. And oddly enough, you know, that's we'll see a lot of that pairing, this sort of like opposites attract. And if you look at the core of the opposite attracts piece. It has to do with these recognizing in someone else these unlived or untapped aspects of vitality that we don't understand. We may look at and you know, if we have, if we're in the pheromonal soup and we're in love with that person, those, if I'm a sexual, and I'm getting turned on by an energetic, in the first flush of relationship, it may be like, oh, my God, this person is so amazing. They're so unique. I love these pieces of themselves. And then as the limerence period wears off, that initial six to two years and we fall back into our natural primary blueprint, then that's when the divergence happens and we start to see the sexual gets frustrated by the energetics need. The energetic has felt that their boundaries have been crossed or they haven't spoken up for themselves and they've been trying to live and satisfy their sexual while completely crossing their own boundaries to do so. And then resentments build up. And without the language of the blueprints, there's no recognition of like, oh, this is just our types speaking. And now there's an opportunity to bridge the gap and discover where we can meet each other. 

Ian Ferguson: So, there are a lot of ways that we go about bridging this gap in the work that we do. You know, one of the things that I mentioned earlier is we've got the speak, feed, heal and expand. And expanding into other blueprints is a big thing of what we teach, and how you can work to bridge the gap if you find yourself in a relationship where you are in opposing blueprints. Another another way that we'll work with people is to find where there is synergy. So we've got something that we use called the sex communication checklist. And it's a whole bunch of sexual practices broken down by blueprint type where you can say, "Yes, I'm interested in that. Mmm, I'm a maybe or I'm curious about that. And here are my no-ways." And we'll encourage our couples or people who are in poly relationships or whatever your relationship configuration is, or if you're dating, we even encourage people who are, you know, getting to that stage in their their dating life to share the sex communication checklist with their partner. And you fill it out separately... 

Neil Sattin: You mean on the first date?

Ian Ferguson: Yeah, well, for us, we kind of do that. So Jaiya and I will do that kind of thing with somebody that we're interested in, because that's the way we want to have our conversations, just like, Boom. Here it is. For others, you know, you may wait your second, third, fourth, 10th date. Just it's really your comfort level. But, you know, the advice is to go and fill those things, those forms out separately and then come back and compare and contrast. So you'll find just in those areas where you're both a total yes. Then you'll find areas where you might have been a yes and there are willing to or vise versa. You're willing to. And they were a full yes. Those are other areas where you can play. 

Ian Ferguson: And then there's the no-ways, which you know, those, the no-ways can change over time. But when you're in the first flush of really starting to articulate where you do connect.My recommendation is to not push on the no-ways to just get curious about them, because sometimes there's misunderstandings about what those know ways really mean, especially when it comes to zones of eroticism like kinky and energetic, where some of the language is not so obvious and projections and stereotypes may come in and have somebody judge what they think it means when somebody wants to do something like breath play or knife play. So getting curious about what that means if you've got a hard no-way but your partners a hell-yes to someplace where you don't meet up starting to ask questions. Well, what do you mean by that? What would that provide to you if we did play that way? What if you know what turns you on about that? So you start to open up a dialog of empathy with your partner about what it provides for them. And that's actually a third thing that I would talk about, which is actually a primary aspect of any great communication, which is essentially curiosity first. So the moment there's a trigger of the moment, there's a misunderstanding, the moment that something arises where there's discomfort or contraction, taking a breath, taking a moment and getting curious. What you mean by that? Was that mean to you? What pleasure would that provide? Why is it important to you? Instead of going into whatever our preconceptions may be, because we may be wildly off in in whatever caused us to contract or pull away or not hear our partner and their desires and needs? 

Neil Sattin: Yeah. Yeah. So there are so many different things that have come up for me over the course of what you're just saying, and I'm going to try to distill it. So one was the way that... Because you mentioned consent and boundaries as being so important and, so how do you encourage curiosity while at the same time honoring boundaries? You know, I'm thinking like, let's just take an example just to like, make it concrete. 

Ian Ferguson: Sure. 

Neil Sattin: And we'll we'll use this, like problems situation. So you've got a sexual person who's just like: "I just want you like when, I get home from work, what would be amazing is you if you just went down on me. And that would feel amazing to me." And their energetic partner is like, "Oh, my God. Like, that's the last thing I want to do when you get home from work. I need space. I need to like feel out how your how your energy is before I'm willing to..." Right? So an energetic person might say, "Well, I have a boundary and that's my boundary. I'm not gonna to I mean..." Especially an energetic person. Right. Because they're all about the space where the sexual person is just like, "No, come over here and like. Touch me. Do me." You know, in some way. 

Ian Ferguson: "Yeah. Let's get to it!"

Neil Sattin: Yeah. So how would you... I think it's easy to kind of go in the inverse way where you talk to the sexual person and be like, "You just gotta learn to be patient and enjoy the anticipation." Right? But let's be fair here. And so that's one thing. And, I want to just place that in the context of... my guess, which is that what comes up when a lot of people take your quiz and find out these things about themselves erotically, is that you get the relief, the sense of, oh, that's who I am, or that's so freeing to have learned that about myself and to learn that and to guess that about my partner. But then, there's the pain of recognition like, oh, this is this is maybe also at the heart of some of the ways that we haven't been working so well. You know, we got through the limerence stage and we've been in this place of tension and discomfort. So it makes me think about what you mentioned about the need for healing. And so it feels like those two things need to coexist, because if you're dealing with this hypothetical energetic and sexual couple, if that's been going on for any length of time, there's going to need to be a context of healing that allows them to even step into that space. 

Ian Ferguson: Sure. Boy. One thing that's amazing about this conversation in general is how kaleidoscopic it is as we open one topic, then it starts to thread into all of the other areas. 

Neil Sattin: I know, and we still have two more types to talk about.

Ian Ferguson: Exactly. So the. OK, so one thing is that it is going to be just as difficult, sometimes, more difficult for the sexual, to put the brakes on what they need and want. And often that shows up in that they have been feeling unfed, like their libido is through the roof. They'd be having sex three times a day, while their energetic partner needs the connection. The space maybe rarely opens to full on intercourse and eroticism in a way that both people are are really feeling satisfied. So, we're dealing with opposing blueprints and we're dealing with what appears from the outside to look like potentially an unbridgeable gap. And in that space, the curiosity piece is vital. Let's take it from the energetics perspective and their sexual partners just said this to them: "This is really how I want it. I want you to go down on me the moment I come in the door." And from the energetic perspective, you could be saying, first acknowledging, "Thank you for letting me know that. I'd love to be able to provide that for you. And it's going to take some growth, I think, for me to get there. And I would like to know one, what it provides for you? Like, how does that make you feel?" So that as it is the energetic asking that question, can I start to bridge the gap and create an empathetic bridge of really understanding how their partner gets fed? And sometimes, even just really opening up the dialog so that  anybody in a relationship can be fully seen will take the pressure down several inches of: "It's gotta look this way. I've gotta, when I come home, we've got to be able to take my pants down and you gotta go down on me. That's the only way it's gonna be." So allowing for it to be seen and heard and say, "God, I really want that for you. I want that for us. And I'm scared because.." and getting into personal vulnerability. "I'm scared in it as well, because I want to provide that for you. And I think if I do that, I'm going to actually contract and feel less close to you. So I want to figure out a way to do this. But I really want to figure out a way to do that, so it works for both of us. Are you willing to explore and figure out how we can do that?"

Ian Ferguson: So, then that leads into the exploration and in deeper curiosity and starting to find a way. So we're getting some synergy here, hopefully between two people with willingness. That's a primary need inside a relationship, a willingness to try and meet each other and see each other and then starting to play with what we think it's supposed to look like. 

Ian Ferguson: So, you know, a specific example with the energetic may be, you know, "You're away at work all day. I don't really have any idea where you're at. I don't know what you're gonna be like when you come in the door. And if you're full of stress and anxiety, I pick it up immediately. And, I just feel tension and I don't feel comfortable feeling close to you. So why don't we try that throughout the day, you'll send me a text giving me where you are emotionally and giving me a piece of, telling me some way that you love me." So it's an energetic foreplay so that there's a sense of connection while the person's away at work. And it's not this immediate leap into just genital based sex, but they have some connection. "And when you come in the door for a week, let's try where or for the next two weeks we'll try it. We'll do this and I'll I'll go down on you shortly after you come home from work. But what I want to try to get there is, I'd like five minutes of eye gazing and breathing together. And then I'll go down on you." So starting to get into basically the science of your turn on and your partner's turn on and finding ways where you can bridge the gap and, there's no compromise. One of our mentors, Kelly Bryson, who wrote the book. "Don't Be Nice. Be Real." has a beautiful phrase I love, which is compromise is resentment, 50/50. So the whole book is about nonviolent communication. And the real gift of nonviolent communication, from my perspective, is the ability to find such a deep sense of empathy with the other that you find synergy such that you can figure out how you can meet each other's needs willingly without any compromise and get really creative about how you get to that solution. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah, I want that for all of you listening. I want you to that experience. So just as a reminder, if you want to take the quiz to figure out what kind of type you are and you and you get a nice breakdown of what percentage you are of all the types. And we still have two more to talk about. You can visit erotic-breakthrough-dot-com-slash alive. We will have a transcript of this conversation at Neil-Sattin-dot.com-slash-erotic, which will also have links to Ian and Jaiya's sites, so you can get more information that way. And you guys, do you have have a course, right, that's not only walks people through this stuff, but also helps them go through all these stages that you were talking about expanding into each other's blueprints, and feeding themselves. And they're obviously this is such a rich conversation, so what is the course that you offer people? 

Ian Ferguson: So we have a number of ways that we dive into this material. But the sort of the the entrance point is the erotic blueprint breakthrough course. And that is an online course. Along with it comes the opportunity to be part of our online community, our online membership group for three months as a bonus, just to kind of dip your toe in there. And the blueprint course is a very deep dive into the blueprints, because the blueprints, as you may be picking up, are not just simply about a sort of surface level idea of what you're erotic blueprint type is, but the blueprints are the core, your core erotic blueprints, what stage of sexuality you're in, where you are with the four pathways to sexual health and pleasure. These are all aspects of our sexuality. And we're really looking at sexuality as a 360 degree, you know, kaleidoscope of who you are, where you are in your life, what your aspirations are in your sexuality. And the blueprint course walks you through that process of really dialing in through games like fun ways to discover what your blueprint type is because you can take the quiz and that's your mind answering the questions. But when you get in your body, you may get different answers. You may open up in ways that you do you didn't that are a surprise, like oh! An example of that is a lot of people will take the quiz and the written portion of something related to kinky or even their predisposition to maybe have judgments about the selves around kink or shame around their kinky desires, may have them answering those questions either a little more carefully or kind of avoiding the thing that might turn them on, or may not just even relate to them because it's not a physical experience. But when you start doing things like our A-B game or the body mapping, which are games that we lead you through, then you start to get a real sense of your pleasure map. And these are great things to do with a partner, with somebody you're dating or a long term relationship to start to map each other's pleasure and start to really get a vocabulary and a way to articulate all your needs. So you can get them fed and fulfilled in relationship. And then there's the health and wellness aspect of our sexuality. Our hormonal health, our biochemical health, our bio energetic health and our emotional health. And this is another aspect inside of the blueprint course where I had spoken earlier about the healing portion around this, where we dive into those aspects, those things that may be putting the brakes on your sexuality, that may have you stopping yourself at that edge of where you really want to explore, where you really want to open up. There's a number of factors that go into really being able to to have a well rounded, vital vitality around your eroticism. 

Neil Sattin: So in other words. It's a super comprehensive course, where you would get a lot probably out of going through it. And if you take the quiz, then Ian and Jaiya will make you aware of how to how to get the course and when they launch it and when it's available for you. 

Ian Ferguson: For sure. 

Neil Sattin: Definitely, check that out. 

Ian Ferguson: Thanks for boiling that down.. 

Neil Sattin: Quick side note you have. You have definitely a hard stop at 2:30 your time? 

Ian Ferguson: It could go a little longer. 

Neil Sattin: Okay. I'm just eyeballing the clock and I want to honor your time. And thank you. We have two more to do. 

Neil Sattin: So and then you also do some live events to write for. 

Ian Ferguson: Yes, for. So every year we do something called Paths to Passion. That's that's sort of our entry level workshop where we introduce you to blueprints on a deeper level. This last year in October, we just do it once a year, we had 540 people at this event. It is just a beautiful way to drop in, start to get familiar a bit with our community and some of our coaches. And that's awesome. Our other workshops basically require you to have done that first workshop or at least have gone through the erotic blueprint breakthrough course, because we at each level of workshop that we offer, we go a little deeper, we get a bit more experiential with what we're doing. Again, everything at our live workshops is all very consent based and based on, you know, respecting people's boundaries and not doing anything to coerce anyone to do anything they don't want to do. The Path to Passion Workshop is, you know, I call it PG-13 because we definitely use racy language, we are talking about sex, but it's a clothes on, you know, there are immersive practices that are part of it, but it's all pretty digestible even from somebody who may be completely new to in diving into their own sexual exploration. 

Neil Sattin: Got it. Yeah, I could imagine being excited about something like that. Being really nervous about something like that. 

Ian Ferguson: Sure. We have people who just say that they're terrified to come Paths to Passion and pretty universally, on the flip side of that, they're just like, "Oh, wow, you've just normalized a conversation that I've had so much tension about my entire life. And I felt so safe in your community, in your environment. I felt taken care of." And, you know, more often than not, and the majority of people who come to that event come out with a stronger sense of their accepting themselves. Accepting the conversation and feeling comfortable, many times, for the first time to even claim what they want, who they are, and expressing a willingness to go after it. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah. That was exactly the word that was coming to me. Like fostering that willingness for themselves and in the way that they understand others too. 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah, for sure. 

Neil Sattin: Okay. So for all those people out there who are like when are they going to talk about the other two types? 

Ian Ferguson: That's it. We're using the energetic tease to hold out and have you want it really badly. A little bit of kink in not letting, not giving you what you desire. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah. Let's transition to the kinky type. 

Ian Ferguson: Cool. So kinky actually ends up being my primary blueprint. It is my fastest path to arousal. The kinky world is a vast, vast world. And simply put, we think of kinky as whatever is taboo for you. And that may run counter to the stereotype that people witness and see, even from movies like "50 Shades of Grey," where often it's the edgier aspects of kink that are that are labeled as kink or seen as kink. The leather. The dungeons. The whips and chains. Pain. These aspects of kink. And they are, they are part of the world of kink. But there are only one segment of it. So whatever taboo, whatever is taboo for you. For example, Jaiya had some clients in her practice who had been married for 40 years. They went to the same restaurant every Tuesday night, then every Thursday night, they would have sex and they would only have sex in missionary position. So when they started coaching with Jaiya and they started exploring having sex doggy style or doing oral sex, these things which may be very vanilla to your listeners or just most of your listeners, that was really edgy, hugely taboo and carried all of this thrill. So that was kinky for them. Whereas for others, kinky may mean, you know, intense submission scenes or intense rope tying and knife play, could even be hooks. You know, it can get very, very, very intense. And further, we break down kink into two different categories. We think about the psychological kink, which deals more with power games, power play, control and surrender from a not so much like the constriction and bondage in that version, but more somebody giving their power or submitting to the person who is in control of the scene. Psychological games. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah, something like come over here, you know. Face the wall. 

Ian Ferguson: Yes. Yeah. Get on your knees. 

Neil Sattin: Like that sort of thing. Yeah.

Ian Ferguson:  That sort of thing. Or you have to hold these paperclips on your fingertips with your arms outstretched and if you drop when you're gonna get a punishment. So that would be as a psychological predicament game. And then we have the physiological or the physical which tends to be more the spankings, the canings, the constriction. I'm a big fan of constriction as part of one of my turn ons. So it's more just the physical aspects of it. And you can be both. I'm certainly both psychological and physiological kink, kind of blended together. And the superpowers of the kink also, they're wildly creative. Other superpowers of the kink would be often in conscious kink, which I would recommend you practice highly conscious kink and highly safe kink if you're interested in this realm of exploration. The one of the superpowers is also the creation of the scene, creating really clear boundaries, creating really clear consent conversations and creating arousal and turn on by really setting up those scenes and scenarios with such clarity and holding those containers really powerfully. Other superpowers for the kinky, kind of like the energetic is, you can have orgasms without even being touched. So one example is a friend of ours did a scene with someone where they tied her all up. They tied her to a really powerful music speaker. Cranking like heavy metal music, and they gave the impression by shutting a door that they had left her alone in that room and so she was in this state of of fear, surrender all of these endorphins running in her system. And from her telling, she was left there for hours. That could have been 30 minutes and it felt like hours. But then the dom came in and slammed the door really hard. And she had the most insane orgasm, squirting orgasm that she'd ever had in her life. And he didn't touch her at all. So, that's an incredible super power of the kinky, as well as being able to go into what's called subspace. And that is that sort of endorphin rush where you completely surrender to sensation. And so it can often I mean, for me, the couple of times of I've accessed it, it's essentially same thing to me as reaching highly spiritual states through tantric sex or meditation. you go into a oneness state where you have surrendered identity, you've surrendered any sense of time or space, and it's for many people in the kink community, it's sort of the Valhalla. It's the thing you're seeking when you're doing this kind of scene work. 

Neil Sattin: Got it. 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah. And shadow aspects of the kinky would be one of the biggest ones is shame. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah. 

Ian Ferguson: So deep, deep shame. What's wrong with me? Why am I like this? As Jaiya and I, we use our personal life as a petri dish of experimentation. And that's where we've gotten so many of the games and techniques and things that we're that we teach is that we've played with this stuff in our own lives. And one of the ways that we dove really deeply into the realm of kink, kinky was a zero on Jaiya's blueprint quiz. And it was a, I don't remember what that percentage was was like, forty seven percent on mine. It was my primary blueprint. So here Jaiya and I in our relationship went through a three year period of deep disconnection. I mean, we were, we were almost done well. And she was an energetic sexual and I was sensual kinky. We were completely on opposite ends of the spectrum and we didn't realize it because Jaiya hadn't downloaded the blueprints yet. They were starting to come into play and she was trying, she was coming home from strip classes and doing cat pounces and trying to turn me on in a sexual blueprint. While we're in this period of time and I, my sensual was kind of like looking for that closeness and connection and down regulation while she was jumping in with, "I need sex, I don't want sex and approaching me from a sexual viewpoint." And we were just missing each other entirely, feeling unseen, unheard. Jaiya was crying herself to sleep at night. And I was you know, my confidence was just dropping through the floor. And in that state I was pulling back and not giving her my presence. So we were really headed towards the end of our relationship until this stuff started to get dialed in, of like, "Oh, that's who you are. Erotically. Wow. Okay. Now I can start to learn how to speak that." Or, when you come on to me in that way, I know what it means as opposed to thinking you're just imposing what you want on me. And I'm a tool of your turn on that kind of thing. 

Neil Sattin: Yeah. I think in the interview I heard with Jaiya. She spoke a little bit about that and her journey from well, she was writing a book on kink, right? Did that come first? Like she got the book deal. And she's like, "Alright, now I've got to figure this out."

Ian Ferguson: Yeah. We had done we had gone into some stuff that we teach that really started to heal our relationship, which is actively putting ourselves in sex life challenges where we're taking on a form of exploration and setting it on a calendar and making a date to explore in that way. And that was one of the big beginnings of the healings inside of our relationship. And also diving into the kink realm, which you're exactly right. Jaiya got the book deal to do the book on Kink and then had to do a bunch of research because you didn't know anything about it. And we dove into a 40-40 experiment where for 40 days, Jaiya dominated me and I was submissive. We took ten days off and then I dominated her for 40 days and she was submissive. And during those days, we were studying with kink experts in the bondage realm and the psychological kink realm in all sorts of areas of kink to really get a full understanding what the world was about. And that's when... like, I knew I was kinky and I thought it was a little bit of light bondage and some, you know, gender play and things like that. But the level and depth of my kink fully came into fruition when we started diving into this 40-40 experiment. I had no idea how much of a turn on it was for me and sort of how deep it went in my erotic map. And nor did Jaiya. So this whole aspect of my eroticism wasn't even being seen or honored by both of us. And one of the things I kept asking, you know, 30 days in to my being submissive to Jaiya, was like, "Why does this stuff turn me on?" I mean, there's this assumption or this this prejudice to think that kink is born out of people who were abused or have some dysfunction. And I had no sexual abuse. I had none of these things associated to that. So I'm ike, what is this about?! And one of our kink teachers during this kept hearing me ask the question. They said, "Stop asking the question, just enjoy yourself." It was just like a breath of relief of like, Oh, yeah, right. It doesn't have to mean anything. It's just what turns me on and I can play with it. And as long as I'm playing with it safely and consensually, it's a beautiful exploration. 

Neil Sattin: And was there anything in particular that you recall, Jaiya doing that helped her with what I imagine might have been challenging as primarily an energetic, which is her judgment around it? 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah. So there are a bunch of trigger things for Jaiya in the realm of kink. One was how far out my edges were because she couldn't find them. So, you know, there's in kink play. You'll set a scene, you'll begin the scene, you'll end the scene. And there's something often called aftercare, where in most circumstances, from my knowledge, the aftercare is usually guided towards having the submissive come back to their body and feel comfortable and connected because they've often gone through a very intense experience. Well, a Dom can also go through a very intense experience because they're holding the container for any number of you know edgy sexual explorations. For Jaiya, who is energetic, you know, when she first started doing kink, she would and was getting trained by a kink master, she would give somebody a spanking and she smacked their ass and then she'd go: "Are you okay? Are you breathing?" And the submissive would look up at her with like anger in their eyes, like, what are you doing? And so the kink person was like, no, that is not it at all. They're signed up for this. This is what they've agreed to. This is what they want. It's not going to check in with them after, you know, everything that you do. The time for that is in aftercare, after the scene is over. So anyway, we would do these scenes and Jaiya would be, you know, going pretty deeply into anything from, you know, we'd be playing with caning one session, we'd be playing with really derogatory language in another session, and usually we come out the other other end of the scene and she'd say, "I need some cuddling, I need some aftercare." So I come out like, "Oh, my God, that was great. We could've gone so much further!" And with no need for aftercare because I was just in a state of turn on and fun and arousal. So aftercare was a big thing, when I was dominating Jaiya, we started to uncover some of the aspects of her trauma inside of that container and we got a kink friendly therapist and we took their advice and we incorporated what they were telling us to do inside of our kink scenes. So we didn't put a stop to our exploration, we just put new boundaries in containers. So like we were playing with gagging her and because she needed her to have her voice, we took gagging off of the play because there were things that would happen if she had her eyes closed, we took blindfolding out of the erotic container so that she could have agency, so she could have her voice. And it's often said about kink that kink is not therapy, but it can be therapeutic and done in the right ways and with the right consent, with the right establishment of the container and with safety, it often can be a way even for people who have had trauma in their past or been abused to reclaim agency in a situation where, you know, when it happened to them earlier in their life, they had no agency. It was being dominated and taken advantage of without having any control. 

Neil Sattin: Well, we are definitely going to have to have the conscious kink episode, because I can tell there's lots to talk about there in particular. Yeah. Wild. But I appreciate your, I mean, it's obvious considering what we're here to talk about. But just your ability to share in the personal aspects of that journey and what you and Jaiya experienced, I think with any of these things, it's so easy listening to kind of idealize or project onto you like, "Well that must have been so freeing!" And to miss the ways that it was challenging or the fact that you guys were nearly done before you, you really started that exploration. So... 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah, yeah. For sure. Thank you for that. Yeah. Yeah. So let me just dive into the shapeshifter, so we don't miss any of the blueprints. 

Neil Sattin: Yes. 

Ian Ferguson: So the shapeshifter is the sort of like tends to be the most sophisticated of all the blueprint types. And the shapeshifter is turned on by all of the blueprint types. They are, you know, you may lead with a primary. So I've I've ventured pretty much into shape shifter category where I can be turned on by all of the positives of every blueprint type. But my leads, my primaries are still gonna be kinky and sensual. Those are the things they're going to allow me to get to arousal and then we can bring in the energetic and the sexual and very those things. So, one of the superpowers of the shapeshifter is that they are turned on by all of it. A shapeshifter who is matured in their erotic exploration can be the ultimate lover because they can shapeshift to please any of the blueprint types. So they have all the skills, they have all the turn ons and they have access to all of those super powers. 

Ian Ferguson: The shapeshifter, like an energetic shapeshifter, can be almost like the Stradivarius violin of eroticism because they have such an access to energy and what's happening in a space and so much aliveness in their body. And then they have all of the other pieces of turn on available to them. So very, very fine instrument, the energetic shapeshifter. 

Ian Ferguson: The shadow side of the shapeshifter are often being starved and feeling starved because they are shapeshifting to feed other their blueprint types. They're not feeling fed, they're not claiming their own desires. 

Ian Ferguson: A shape shapeshifter may have shut down their sexuality because they've been told you're too much, you're too big, you want too much, you're too loud. So I'll give freedom to all the shape shifters who are listening to this. You are not too much. You're not too loud. The people, unfortunately, that you've been playing with just either don't understand you or can't play at the level to which you desire to play. So you've got a beautiful instrument, you've got beautiful access, incredible range in your eroticism. Another challenge for a shapeshifter, we almost refer to this as a sixth blueprint type, which is a shapeshifter can have the shadow aspects of all of the types. And that can be really challenging because at every turn there's something that could be the break to your arousal, an energetic interruption, a sensual interruption, kinky shame, you know, feeling shut down, shut down as a sexual. All of those things can weigh on the shapeshifter in and close off their eroticism. So a shapeshifter, another key indicator of a shapeshifter to me is somebody who really loves to play in extended play. They have a voracious appetite for more and more and more with some shape shifters. You could be playing for three, four hours and be like, are you done yet again? And they're like, "We're just getting started. Don't go away." Yeah.

Neil Sattin: Yeah. So there might be some training involved, some endurance training for people who are matched with the shape shifters. 

Ian Ferguson: Yes. Yeah. And you know, as ways to play with a shapeshifter where you can incorporate toys, toys are really good thing to bring in with shapeshifter play. You can also. It does it can get very octopus pussy and kind of like your limbs are all over the place with trying to really feed a shapeshifter fully. If you're just it's a one-on-one partnership. But you can bring in vibrators or, you know, panty vibrators or butt plugs. You can use, you can tie the shapeshifter down and to incorporate the kink while you're bringing in other sensory play with scratchy nails or some kind of choking or light, energetic touch. It's just, there's so much to play with. And another indicator of the shapeshifter is that they can take tons of divergent sensory input all at once. 

Neil Sattin: Mmhmm. 

Ian Ferguson: You know, somebody who might have a couple of the blueprint types, like a kinky sensual like myself. And if I didn't have my energetic and I didn't have my sexual expanded, and you started to incorporate sexual or energetic inside of a container where were playing with sensual kink. I could get overwhelmed or annoyed and and it'll be a shut down for me. Whereas the shapeshifter is like "Bring it on. I want more. Yes. Throw in the energetic. Yes. Throw in the sensual." And it may be more about how you stack the blueprints for a shapeshifter. Then it is about them getting overwhelmed. They may never get overwhelmed as long as you weave them in in a way that really turns them on. 

Neil Sattin: Got it. So that's all about the games and ways of discovering which ones work, which ways of stimulating and diving deeper into that sexual sphere, work well together for that particular person. 

Ian Ferguson: Yeah, we call it the blueprint stack. It's a bonus thing that we offer as well as part of the blueprint course. And so when you know your stack, you know the kind of waves, the first access point and how you can build on each blueprint level. So when somebody takes the quiz, make sure when you take that quiz that you check out the Web page that pops up right when you get your answers, you'll see as you scroll down, you'll see your blueprint types in percentages and you can take a screenshot of that. So you have it for your records. You'll get an email that should have that same breakdown in it as well. But you'll often your primary blueprint is the entrance point. So for me, it'd be kinky. That is a surefire way to get me dropped in, turned on. Then it might be weaving in some sensual so I get some more relaxation and connection and then you can play energetic mixed with kink with me and really heighten the turn on because there's this anticipation and you're not giving me the satisfaction of the orgasm. And then you can weave back some kink and really extend the waves of pleasure and extend the lovemaking session. And then sort of capping off for me would be the sexual where we're going right for it and we're headed towards orgasm and ejaculation. And yay! You've had an amazing sexual experience!

Neil Sattin: That feels like a great place to end this conversation. Ian Ferguson, you've been so generous with your time and your wisdom. And I hope that you are all feeling expanded like I am right now. Clearly, we could just keep expanding. And like you said, the kaleidoscopic effects of this conversation, there's just such a rich journey for us to go on. So, again, if you want to take the quiz, erotic-breakthrough-dot-com-slash-alive. If you go to Neil-Sattin-dot-com-slash-erotic, you can download the transcript from this conversation and get links to Ian and Jaiya's sites. And Ian it's just been such a pleasure to chat with you. And I'm really just in such appreciation of the work that you and Jaiya are doing in the world. It's powerful stuff. 

Ian Ferguson: Mm hmm. Thank you, Neil. And deep gratitude to you for inviting me onto the show. This is still a challenging topic to breach and really have people talk openly about. So you're on the frontier with me and I'm grateful to have your partnership. 

Neil Sattin: It's so great to share this space with you. 

Ian Ferguson: Thank you. 

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