As I’ve been working on my new e-course and book on desire/libido, two words keep reappearing: vulnerability and surrender. When I say these words to women, the reaction is often physical… visceral. I can actually see the recoil, the grimace, the eye rolling.
I have to admit, both words also give me an instinctive ‘ick’ reaction.
A big ‘no’. And maybe a ‘oh hell no’.
For some women, these words feel like a mandate, a death sentence into the abyss. And more ….danger. Extreme danger.
For others, it feels submissive. Submissive in the most negative way. Bowing down, losing power, losing control, losing self.
And if a woman has ever experienced trauma and she’s come out on the other side vowing ‘never again’, the concept of surrender can be an immediate call for defense. A war cry.
I’ve asked women to word associate with ‘surrender’— their answers are almost always negative and voiced with a negative tone — powerless, submissive, helpless, unprotected, vulnerable, scared, no, fuck that, weak, annoying.
And I get it. Some of those words are my first reaction too.
But that’s just my FIRST reaction. I consciously move to focusing on the amazing parts of vulnerability and surrender. I KNOW better now after my research professionally and personally.
I know that the way to true connection and pleasure is through vulnerability and surrender. I know my greatest joys outside the bedroom and ecstasy inside the bedroom is through the concept of surrender.
But it isn’t my first instinct.
I’ve experienced trauma, I’ve experienced negative things when being vulnerable and surrendering. I haven’t forgotten those times—they felt terrible.
After several experiences like that or a lifetime of it, walls build, armor strengths and the journey to joy, pleasure and connection is filled with many obstacles to overcome and for some it halts bringing joy and pleasure to a stand still.
And these obstacles play out in the bedroom.
It isn’t an easy or quick process to remove the obstacles or to navigate around them. I’ve had to work to get there. It takes less effort now than it did years ago, but it remains a present tension. I’ve accepted this.
I’m not afraid of the obstacles. I notice them.
Sometimes I see they are red flags and help me avert future trauma or negative experiences. Other times, I realize they are old stories that aren’t relevant in my current circumstances and don’t serve me. So I thank them for the lessons and I am grateful for what I’ve learned because of them but I move around them and focus on the truth of my current ‘now’ and don’t let them keep me from experiencing pleasure and connection in my life now.
I want connection. I want pleasure. And you do too.
I’m not embarrassed to share that, I proudly own it and I acknowledge that in some parts of my lives that was easier than others. This will be the same for you too. It is normal for this to wax and wane but we aren’t taught this. We are taught something is wrong or wrong within us.
Then there was another key realization that changed things for me dramatically to get to this point as well.
It is this:
Surrender is the ACT of letting go of control.
The danger or ick in ‘surrender’ isn’t in the act of letting go-it is in the LOSS of control.
When I’ve been in a relationship with myself and with others where I could CHOOSE to let go, I flourished. When I felt safe, when I felt supported, when I felt an equal, when I felt heard, when I believed my partner wanted me to be happy and connected and filled with joy and pleasure, I could choose to let go.
To be vulnerable. To surrender. Inside and outside the bedroom.
When I was in situations or relationships where I had a loss of control, this is where vulnerability and surrender darkened.
There are multiple perspectives of surrender and vulnerability. Our survivor instinct and methods tell us there is only one.
When I understood this. Really understood this at a cellular level things changed for me. Wow. IMMEASURABLY.
With vulnerability comes the opportunity for true authenticity – for sharing our true essence with another. With vulnerability we are given a chance to connect within ourselves and with others on a deep level. With surrender comes the ability to unleash great passion, to receive immense pleasure, to give great joy.
YOU define all of those terms. You define what surrender and vulnerability means. As well as passion and connection and all the other wonderful things.
Inside and outside the bedroom. It is important to experience both vulnerability and surrender outside the bedroom in order to embrace them inside the bedroom.
Next in my journey, I discovered an important trio: surrender, vulnerability, and safety.
For most women, when I work with them and break down social constructs and history of sexual experiences and messages, I find that SAFETY has a really high correlation to pleasure, to surrender, to connection. And context is crucial.
This safety context involves how safe she feels:
- In a situation (is the door locked and the kids asleep, are her surroundings familiar or pleasing, has she had a say in the where and when)
- With the person (is she liking her partner at the moment or is she harboring resentment from a fight that isn’t resolved, is this person connecting with her on a level she is seeking)
- Within herself (is she feeling connected with her body, her health, her emotional well being, spiritually)
- With her consent of sexual activity (does she have a history of trauma that is being triggered, does she have a say in what behavior she is engaging in and does she believe she can voice a desired behavior or stop behavior with this partner, is he using a condom without it being an issue, does she know what it is like to be with a partner who honors consent and communication and wants to engage in mutually pleasing behaviors)
When a woman feels safe, she is much more open to pleasure, to connection and to sexual activity.
Here is my graphic:
CC Dr. Juliana Morris
To break it down to the most simple terms:
** If you want to have wonderful sex with a woman and for it to be passionate and mind blowing for both of you, figure out what makes HER feel safe, ask her, ask her again, keep asking (because it can and will change), provide it with a good and generous heart and celebrate it. Know yourself —be authentic and communicate. Honor vulnerability and surrender in both of your lives and within both of you before, during and after the experience.
** If you are a woman and you want to be sexually connected—start with yourself. Once you find connection within yourself and if you want to share it with others, communicate it, ask for it, know your values, set boundaries, communicate, and when you find the sweet spot within yourself and with another, choose to let go. Choose to surrender to what feels right to you. Choose to invite in joy and connection, pleasure and safety. Choose the positives of vulnerability and surrender. Ask your partner what is safe to him or her. Find strength in vulnerability and surrender and then celebrate that shit. You earned it! xoxo, Dr. Juliana