(guest Blog by Beth Ostrander – Licensed Erotic Blueprint Coach™)
When I put the words sexuality and religion together, does something short circuit in you?
If you’re anything like me, and you were deeply affected by religion growing up, these two topics are at odds.
Have you suppressed your sexuality and pleasure because of religious belief systems? Do you find yourself hiding and feeling uncomfortable around your family because there’s a part of you that is not allowed to be seen?
Until this year, I dreaded going home for the holidays! I dreaded spending time with the people who loved me because I knew they didn’t love the REAL ME. The ME that doesn’t fit the mold.
The ME that enjoys sex! The ME that dares to speak about sex in public and the ME who is a Pleasure Coach!
This year is DIFFERENT!
For the first time, I don’t dread spending time with family. You see, I have been “Affected by Religion.” I grew up in a religious home. I worked with kids and youth in the church. I went to Bible College. I even married a Youth Pastor! Growing up in this religious context, I got the message loud and clear that sex is bad. I should not trust the desires of my body.
My Soulful and Sexual Journeys Intersected in Shame:
Growing up my body obviously felt pleasure yet my faith told me that I couldn’t trust it.
I began to diminish and hide my true desires, my true self. I even hid from myself. I didn’t dare let my family or faith community see the real me.
After being so shut down for so long, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. This was a dark place. I hardly knew what I wanted, I was in a job I had no passion for and I found life in general extremely challenging to cope with.
I felt intense fear and a general sense of frustration underneath the surface all of the time. I was disconnected from myself and from my husband. This resulted in a sexless marriage. Perhaps you can relate?
I hope not, but there are a lot of us out there suffering from this same disconnection. My awakening began after reading a book about orgasms and trying some of the meditation exercises.
To my surprise, I discovered I was very sexual, had my first orgasm at 38 and I started to come alive again!
The more I awoke to my sexual journey – the more I DREADED the holidays. How could I keep this version of me hidden? How could I explain my happiness and aliveness without talking about this?!
I felt oddly evangelistic with my Christian Evangelical family – about SEX!
Every year during the holidays, I was faced with shame about my awakening sexual journey AND an emptiness where my spiritual journey had once been. It was obvious to me how much RELIGION HAD STIFLED my sex life and my whole life.
SO WHAT MAKES THIS HOLIDAY DIFFERENT?
A beautiful re-uniting of my soulful and sexual journeys:
On my journey of sexual awakening, my passion for knowing more became unquenchable. I began reading, studying and attending workshops. Then I came across Jaiya and her work with the Erotic Blueprints™. This was the missing piece for me!
I was thrilled to find this simple yet rich system that explained pleasure without any shame attached! I decided to become certified to teach the Erotic Blueprints to my clients and off I went to Path to Passion in LA for my first LIVE event with Jaiya!
Two pivotal moments occurred for me at Path to Passion!
By the time I arrived at Path to Passion, I had spent months practicing Jaiya’s Pleasure First technique on a daily basis – listening to my body in a new way. This technique is simply a moment spent paying attention to your body. Finding out what your body wants and needs …and then giving it to your body.
This pausing and listening to my body sensations were like learning a lost language. I had shut down this capacity long, long ago!
During one of the Path to Passion morning sessions, I was practicing this Pleasure First technique while Jaiya and Ian were on stage. They began the Erotic Blueprint Stacking demonstration and they were in the process of removing some key articles of clothing when I had the first pivotal moment – a very big reaction of shame!
All I could think was: “What was I doing here”?! “Why was I training to be an Erotic Blueprint Coach”?!
My body froze up completely.
In the past, I would have either left the room or shut the feeling down. This time I knew this was a gift!
I took a breath and after listening to my body and following what it was wanting, much in the same way as Pleasure First, I experienced an incredible release of shame! Shame that had been experienced and stuck in my body for years.
My body felt so light! I had so much energy. I went for a run into the hills near the conference and that is what had me experience the second pivotal moment.
As I rested at the top of the hills, the great beauty around me became intensely obvious!
At that moment, I awoke to the fact that I had a deep capacity to experience beauty and love. This capacity had been taught and nurtured by my religion.
The lightbulb went on!
Religion had POSITIVELY affected me also! All those years hadn’t been a waste. Religion hadn’t ruined me! Yes, it had caused deep shame, but it had also taught me the deep capacity to experience beauty and love.
Ironically, religion had actually set me up to go very DEEP into Pleasure!
So, this holiday if you have been “Affected by Religion,” as I have been, I welcome you to look at ALL the ways religion may have affected you. Or perhaps how religion has affected your partner.
Both the negative AND the positive effects.
Allow the negative effects to rise to the surface and be released from being stuck in your body. Allow acceptance of these parts.
Practice Pleasure First and trust your body to release the shame. Much in the way your body knows how to heal a paper cut, it also knows how to release embodied shame!
Allow the positive effects of the reverence that can come with religious ritual and practice to show themselves to you.
Try observing what depth you have the capacity to experience as a result of your religious beliefs (even if you no longer hold those beliefs as your own).
Do you have a great capacity to appreciate beauty?
Do you have a deep longing and capacity for love and connection?
As you see both sides of how religion affected you, perhaps like me, you will see how you can convert your Religious Shame into Soulful Intimacy!
Beth Ostrander is an Erotic Blueprint™ Coach who supports individuals who grew up in religion to experience Pleasure without Shame in their sex life and in their entire life! You can visit her website at bethostrander.com or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/beth.ostrander.393.
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