Connecting with Your Body to Fuel Desire

Wed, 12/09/2009 - 17:23
Submitted by Shula Melamed

I still can't stop thinking a about Daniel Berneger's piece in Sunday before last New York Times magazine "Women who want to want". Carlin covered the story in her blog earlier last week. This story has reminded me of themes I have been working with here in my blog. Specifically, the hunt for the erotic creature that women are searching for within themselves in their pole dance classes.

The Times article addresses the issue of low desire in women and the classification of the low desire as a disorder in a diagnostic manual used by psychologists and psychiatrists. In this story a psychologists named Laurie Brotto takes her clients through a mindful sensual exercise ostensibly to get help them fuel their desire. It seems that men need desire to be aroused and women need arousal to feel desire. So it seems that many women are not dysfunctional, or (so much) more difficult to please they are just different to please. A lot of this is informed not only from the biological but the social as well.

I really love this quote from a paper by two incredible women working in the field of sexuality research Deb Tolman and Lisa Diamond:

"By sending powerful messages that women do not have the same types of desires as men, culture (translated through institutions media and everyday talk) creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Women are, in effect, trained to discount their own bodily experiences of sexual desire because they lack the cultural basis to acknowledge and meaningfully interpret such feelings and experiences (Tolman & Diamond, p38-39)"

I don't necessarily agree that women have the same exact desires as men, but that the extent and strength of the desires women have are not honored in the way they could be. Could practices like Dr. Brotto's raisin eating exercise and the pole dance classes I studied be the steps in helping women connect to their bodies and subsequently their desire?

How do you connect to your body and to your desire? What would be your ideal exercise?