Women’s Body Wisdom and Pleasure Coach, Gabriella Espinosa writes about the importance of owning your pleasure in midlife.
Many of us journey through womanhood being in service to others, putting ourselves last, blurring our boundaries, suppressing or ignoring our desires and simply feeling our pleasure doesn’t matter. Then hormonal changes come along, libido wanes, our bodies change and we disconnect from pleasure altogether.
We arrive at midlife and ask, “Who am I as a sensual and sexual being?”
Many of us feel we need permission to prioritise our pleasure because it feels selfish or indulgent. The truth is when pleasure matters to YOU everyone around you benefits.
When you choose to own your pleasure for yourself and make a habit of inviting it into your daily life you begin to show up as a sensually alive and sexually confident woman.
Pleasure is Always Present
Do you know that amidst the stress, fatigue or overwhelm you may be feeling because of hormones shifting, change and uncertainty in the world, it is still possible to experience pleasure? Our bodies are wired to feel good just as they are without pushing, striving or aiming for results.
Prioritising pleasure is not selfish or indulgent – it is what makes you human. When you make space to experience pleasure you expand your capacity to feel more of it and this has a beautiful rippling effect into other areas of your life.
Expanding the Concept of Pleasure
To begin, it’s really helpful to expand our concept of pleasure. Look for what brings you joy, what lights you up and puts a smile on your face? Ask yourself, “What makes me feel alive and vibrant?” It could be pausing for a cup of your favourite tea, walks in nature, dancing, good food – it doesn’t matter. What matters is bringing mindfulness to the things that bring you pleasure, so you can consciously cultivate more of it.
What is one thing you can do today to prioritise your pleasure? For some inspiration access a free copy of my Awaken Pleasure Checklist here.
This is not about making self-care a burdensome ticking exercise. It’s about creating a practice of making time to connect to your body, your breath and opening yourself to sensation on every level so you can experience greater pleasure, joy, intimacy with yourself and the world around you. It all starts with you taking time for yourself daily in small ways and basking in the simple pleasure of what arises for you when you do this. Where in your body do you feel that softening or that spark? How can you keep that feeling alive as you go about your day?
The Breath that Moves You
Regular breathwork can be particularly transformative in soothing and relaxing your nervous system. Breathwork tapers the release of stress hormones, nurtures emotional wellbeing and presence. Being more present improves your focus and concentration, and helps you feel confident and empowered. Noticing the sensations your body experiences when breathing can also be a gateway to noticing other sensations of wellbeing or pleasure that you may have been numbing. Try the following Paced Breathing practice to invite relaxation:
Sit upright on a chair or your bed
Begin to inhale deeply and softly through your nose on a count of 4.
Exhale slowly and gradually release the breath through the nostrils on a count of 8. Slowing the pace of your breath: 1 breath for every 12 seconds. Making the out-breath longer than the in-breath.
Repeat 5 to 7 breaths for the next minute staying with the practice for 5-10 minutes.
At the end of your practice pause to notice how you feel.
Repeat 2-3 times throughout your day.
Move Your Body
Navigating change and uncertainty can take its toll on our nervous system when we are being asked to hold so much for ourselves and others. Movement is a powerful way to release emotional and physical tension and bring aliveness to areas we have ignored or forgotten. Moving, dancing, shaking liberates stuck energy and gets things moving to welcome in pleasure.
Start with feeling your feet on the ground and observe how you are feeling in the moment. Keeping your feet grounded, begin moving your body in an unstructured way, swaying your hips or moving them in a circular pattern, undulating your spine or waist. Feel which areas in your body need some extra movement, stretching or shaking out. See if you can gradually release tension from these areas by relaxing and imagining the tension flowing through your body, down your legs and out your feet into the ground.
Welcoming Rest and Relaxation
Welcoming rest is the reset button that returns you to the basics of pleasure and allows you to recover from poor sleep or a busy week. It cultivates an inner environment of safety and self-love – being present to what your needs are and tending to them. From this place you can choose how to best use your energy. It can take up to twenty minutes for your nervous system to shift to rest and restore mode. Make rest a muscle that you gradually nourish and strengthen creating small pockets of time – even five minutes at the start, middle and end of your day
When you choose to prioritise your pleasure in simple ways it expands your capacity to feel more of it. This has a beautiful rippling effect on the relationship with yourself and others.
It all starts with you getting to know yourself more intimately so you know what lights you up. Working with embodiment practices and sensory exploration through breath, touch, sound and relaxation, we learn to peel back the layers of stress and overdoing so we get to feel more, get out of our heads and get more into our bodies.
When pleasure matters to YOU everyone from the boardroom to the bedroom will support you in prioritising your pleasure, however that feels and looks to you. So in case you need to hear this today, Your Pleasure Matters.
Gabriella Espinosa is the founder of Women’s Body Wisdom and is passionate about empowering women to own their pleasure, power and purpose in midlife. Follow Gabriella on Instagram @gabriellaespinosa. To find out about her upcoming online program Awakening Pathways to Pleasure, have a look here.
Photo Credit: Felicia Reed Photography