The past several years have been an incredible journey for me. Transformation is inevitable when you start to dig around in all your softest spots and darkest places.
One of the most difficult realizations I've had about myself is just how hard it is for me to use my voice. I silence myself a lot.
Looking back, it's no wonder past relationships left me feeling exhausted and resentful. I rarely spoke up, always rushing to fix things for others, never prioritizing my own needs. In fact, even now I struggle to find the words for my needs sometimes.
It's different for each of us. For me, setting boundaries feels like I'm taking up too much space. And as a fat person, I've been conditioned to take up as little space as possible to offset my physical size. It's a mind fuck, to be sure.
But many of us have these mechanisms of taking up less space because we feel unworthy of love or are afraid of being alone or worry that if we actually draw a line in the sand and say "this is me" that people won't be able to handle us.
The paradox is that the clearer we are with our needs and boundaries, the more we set ourselves and our partners up for success. If you aren't sure where the edges of the sandbox are, it's difficult to surrender and trust that you're on the same page.
Though our language is full of beautiful words that sound like poems and terrifying words that evoke powerful feelings, the two most powerful words that we have at our disposal are yes and no.
Sadly, most of us don’t use those words in a way that serves our soul. There are countless ways that we silence ourselves or water down our experiences: social obligations, guilt, insecurity, a mindset full of lack and fear, shame, family dynamics, community expectations, peer pressure, our own internalized judgment.
Why is this important and how can we begin to find and strengthen our voice?
When you give yourself permission to get crystal clear about your yes and your no, especially in the context of your sexual self, things begin to shift.
Too often we consider a maybe a yes.
Too often we default to yes when we’re on the fence, when we’re ambivalent, when we’re kind of interested but not entirely sure. And each time we do this, we send the message that our boundaries aren’t important, and we end up losing ourselves in the process.
Too often we want to say no, but we make excuses, we over apologize, we try to soften it with lots of flowery language that leaves people confused or thinking you really mean yes. We anticipate the other person’s feelings and try to control for it by changing our own answers.
But here’s the thing.
You are not responsible for someone else’s experience or feelings (and this can be SO hard to embrace if you're a people pleaser). You can be kind and say a simple, “No.”
It’s on them how they deal with it.
Because “No.” is a complete sentence. No doesn’t require an explanation. No doesn’t need to be defended.
When you say no to something, you are really saying yes to yourself.
Imagine you are feeling really sexy and turned on. You want a night of raw, hot, sweaty sex. When you ask your partner if they want to join in the fun, they kind of shrug and say “I guess.”
Once you’re in the bedroom, they only half show up. There’s no energy. No fire. You start to feel resentment because it feels lonely each time they check out, and the night ends in either a fight or silence.
Put another way, has an experience ever been improved by someone showing up who really doesn’t want to be there and then complains or drags their feet the whole time?
Wouldn’t you prefer that person stay home so all of the rest of you can enjoy the fireworks or the parade or the day at the park?
Start saying no when you’re anything other than an enthusiastic yes. A fuck yes, in fact.
And guess what?
You can be an enthusiastic yes about stuff that sucks. You can say, “Hell yes, I want us to talk about that last fight because as uncomfortable and awkward as it will be, I know we can work through this.”
Don’t second guess your yes, either. If you want to put on lingerie and dance around the house, do it. If you want a threesome, ask for it. If you want to re-enact a scene from that movie Secretary, make it happen.
No one ever owes you sex or physical affection, but that shouldn't stop you from asking for it and getting creative in ways to meet your own needs in a way that respects everyone involved.
Your yes and your no are literally what define you.
When you don’t honor your boundaries - in life and in the bedroom - it leads to confusion, mixed messages, hurt feelings, resentment, and you compromise the potential for your own pleasure and joy.
What have you not been saying yes to out of fear? What you have not been saying no to because you’re worried of hurting someone’s feelings?
Pick one thing this week where you can say “no” without explaining yourself and “yes” to something that feels juicy.
The amazing thing is even if it’s a dinner date or an appointment with your business, each time you honor your voice, you strengthen your sexual self, too.
The stronger your boundaries are, the more space you have to play. So, get clear on what you do and don’t want and then ask for those things.
Pleasure and joy are your birthright, but only if you’re willing to totally own your own experience.
Work with me
Wondering how to find your voice and use it in bed? That's what I do.
From one-on-one coaching to my Sex is a Social Skill group calls and DIY workbooks, there are a number of ways we can work together to help you find what you're looking for.