Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be writing an article on feminine sensuality. In my childhood, sensuality - if it had ever been verbalised - would have been a bad word. Thankfully there wasn't much risk of that happening 🙂 .
I didn't know what it meant really, but I was sure it had something to do with sex and in the Catholic Ireland of my youth, there was no good in that. It was Kate Bush's wonderful track The Sensual World that introduced to my awareness another viewpoint on feminine sensuality.
But even if her audio tape cooed tirelessly in the rented accommodation of my first year at University, my analysis of that feminine sensuality - and even her lyrics - was safely cursory. And remained that way for a long time.
It was my fertility challenges that forced me to explore more deeply the subject of feminine sensuality - mine. Although I didn't necessarily realise that at the time. But the inspiration for this post and video below came from one of the wonderful women in our tribe who asked me the following:
Please comment, Deirdre, on the link between the feminine and sensuality.
Before I share a story from our dinner table, let's look first at what sensuality actually means according to the Oxford dictionary. Because it offers insight into why so many of us have felt disconnected from our feminine sensuality.
The primary meaning, according to Oxford, is 'the enjoyment, expression, or pursuit of physical, especially sexual, pleasure'. It comes from the Latin word 'sensualis' which means "endowed with feeling, sensitive".
While sensuality began life referring to the breadth of feeling and being sensitive, over time this expanse was whittled down considerably so that it eventually became 'especially sexual'.
Why so? Because men have been in power and making the rules. With little respect for the physical body (as opposed to the mind) and none at all for feminine emotions, the importance of experiencing the senses and pleasure more broadly - in vision, touch, smell, taste, hearing - began to peter out.
But the straw that breaks this sensual camel's back is the following. Alongside the perpetual adoration of the mind, reason and logic that has dominated globally, trots a quiet commitment to fulfil the sexual desires of the masculine. And it is the union of these two patriarchal preferences that has informed the change in the meaning of sensuality - and made it primary sexual.
It is in this atmosphere that our understanding of feminine sensuality has emerged with the result that many of us, like myself, grew up with the idea that sensuality and sex are one and the same practically.
I love that you are seeking to know more about your feminine sensuality because in doing that you are immediately moving away from the grip of patriarchy. But, more importantly perhaps, your wanting to learn more about feminine sensuality will reconnect you with your Creative Feminine™ power. Because your senses and sensuality are part and parcel of your full, creative expression.
By Engaging the Feminine® and coming to understand your feminine sensuality, you are taking the next step in your personal evolution as a woman. And contributing to our beautiful collective evolution too.
I suppose that is what provoked an argument at our dinner table during the week. Allow me to set the scene: my beau, myself and our two daughters were enjoying our evening meal together.
At least the females involved were enjoying it. Their dad was preoccupied. For the most part, he is a very open, tolerant person but it irks him when people eat with their fingers. Even though his angst is obvious, I continue to use my fingers (I love to be able to touch my food) and he never says anything about that (verbally 🙂 ).
But he cannot hold himself back when it comes to the girls. It's like as if all he can see are dirty fingers and the child who owns them disappears. We have had many discussions around this and his logical argument is that they will get oil and grease on everything. He has a good point.
This time though it felt really important to shed a stronger light on what was really going on. On the surface it seemed like a debate between etiquette/ proper education and unhygienic/ignorant behaviour. That alone has been a strict teacher over the centuries.
But the deeper truth is that - even if it is unconscious now for the most part - it stems from a place that has been hell bent on preventing female empowerment. The Creative Feminine® shows up through our feelings and senses.
And by insisting that we behave well instead of tuning into our personal preferences and pleasure, we preserve her patriarchal place. In the background, ineffective and dependent. So this time, I explained that it was part of their sensual exploration and very important for them as females. I never articulated it this way to him before and I have a feeling it registered somewhere with him.
Either way, it registered with the girls. And the important thing for me was that I was reclaiming, out loud for the three of us, feminine sensuality for our own pleasure -first.
(Update since writing this post: The conversation continued over a few days but it was when I explained how deeply disempowering it is that females learn about our feminine sensuality by pleasing me men - that he got it. And announced that eating with fingers is good as long as the girls clean them before they leave the table!).
Your sensuality in deeply connected to your feminine power. To the point that you cannot know your true creative power without first becoming intimate with her. But without deliberately intending to befriend her, the chances are that you will continue giving your power to patriarchy - so strong is the download.
(This story highlights his conditioning, but many times I have discovered myself trying to enforce patriarchal rules in some way or another. Because I grew up in patriarchy too. This is journey for us all.) What follows below are the 3 most important tips for developing our feminine sensuality. In the video, I dive more deeply into those tips.
(1) Remember that any doubt or judgement you have around your sensuality, whether you have any, whether it is appropriate or not comes from the patriarchal download. And patriarchy does not understand the feminine or her role in the creative process. Recalling this will free you to begin to explore it more.
(2) Listen To Your Female Body. The body has been seen as the enemy of patriarchal productivity and progress. This mindset has encouraged habits such as maintaining uncomfortable positions. Not granting ourselves that visit to the loo and not taking a break to stretch or nourish ourselves properly. But discomfort and the desire to move and feel satisfied are part of your feminine sensuality and guidance.
Each time you choose work/progress/getting things done in favour of taking even a tiny break, you kowtow again to patriarchy. And deny the wisdom of the feminine from showing up in your creative process - in the very powerful way she can.
(3) Focus On What Gives You Pleasure. Give yourself time to focus more and more on what does bring you sensual pleasure. Even in a very broad way. For example, do you enjoy the feeling of fresh, clean sheets? I love, as winter approaches, to start wrapping up in my jackets and scarves and feeling coziness around me, gazing endlessly into the fire or surrendering to the deep embrace of quietude.
How your feminine sensuality wants to be expressed will be unique to you. And perfect for you. Your feminine holds dearly your deepest desires and is always leading you in that direction. But not in the linear way that patriarchy values.
By listening to your body and diving into sensual pleasures, no matter how small, you fuel your creativity. You give space for the feminine to show up in your creative process. In your fertility. And you re-align with one of the great truths on planet earth: Co-creation is a combination of the masculine and the feminine. Enjoy!