In this interview, Alexandra Solomon PhD joins us to discuss her new book Taking Sexy Back : How To Own Your Sexuality & Create The Relationships You Want (New Harbinger, 2020)
Ready for a masterclass in intimate relationships? Join us in Dr. Solomon’s new online course Intimate Relationships 101
It’s time to flip the script and shift from sexualized to sexual. It’s time for women to construct their sexuality from the inside-out. Instead of awaiting or fearing the label, “you’re sexy,” it’s time to get to know “Your Sexy.” Your sexy is your sexuality – the unfolding story of your relationship to the erotic.
It is time to quiet the noise of the outside world so you can create, from the inside-out, a deeper connection to Your Sexy and reclaim that which has always been yours. Neither earned nor ordained by another, an inside-out experience of Your Sexy is about believing that your sexuality connects to and reflects your physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual self. By cultivating an inside-out experience of Your Sexy, you courageously step outside narrow gender roles and insist on nothing less than self-aware and empowered sexual experiences”Dr. Alexandra Solomon, Taking Sexy Back (New Harbinger, 2020)
This book is a beautiful and powerful guide on your erotic journey. When you are ready to begin exploring what your sexy feels like, let’s team up: Grab your copy of Taking Sexy Back and send us a screenshot on Instagram or via email and we’ll send you a coupon code for $50 off the Pleasure Mechanics course of your choice.
About Our Guest, Alexandra Solomon, PhD
Dr. Alexandra H. Solomon is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University and a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. She is the author of numerous articles and journal publications, as well as her two incredible books, Loving Bravely and Taking Sexy Back.
Ready for a masterclass in intimate relationships? Join us in Dr. Solomon’s new online course Intimate Relationships 101
TED Talk on Relational Self-Awareness from Dr. Alexandra Solomon
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Transcript for Podcast Episode #366: Interview with Dr. Alexandra Solomon
Podcast transcripts are generated with love by humans, and thus may not be 100% accurate. Time stamps are included so you can cross reference or jump to any point in the podcast episode above. THANKS to the members of our Pleasure Pod for helping make transcripts and the rest of our free offerings happen! If you love what we offer, find ways to show your love and dive deeper with us here: SHOW SOME LOVE
Chris Rose (00:00):
Welcome to Speaking of Sex with the Pleasure Mechanics. I’m Chris from pleasuremechanics.com, and on today’s episode we have a wonderful conversation to share with you with Dr. Alexandra Solomon about her new book, Taking Sexy Back, how to own your sexuality and create the relationships you want.
Chris Rose (00:24):
I loved this book. I love Dr. Solomon. She has been a leader in the field of marriage and family therapy for decades. She is on staff at Northwestern University where she teaches a huge seminar called Marriage 101 every year, and she has her own clinical practice. She has a woven so much wisdom into the pages of this book about how to own your own sexuality.
Chris Rose (00:52):
And you’ve heard us talk about this on the podcast, how to shift from a performance based model of sexuality to a deep sense of erotic embodiment where your sexuality is your own to inhabit, to create, to express and to share with others.
Chris Rose (01:13):
That’s what this book is all about. It is a beautifully crafted book. Check the show notes page because we have set up an offer for you. Grab your copy of this book. Send us a picture of the receipt, or of you holding the book via Instagram or email and we will send you back a coupon towards our online courses, multiple X your purchase price of the book, so you can be guided by this book and join us in our online community of erotic practice and be guided by us stroke by stroke, step-by-step as you learn new or erotic skills. Yes, check the show notes page for links to this book to Dr. Solomon’s brilliant Ted talk.
Chris Rose (01:56):
In this interview we talk all about or erotic self-awareness, how to inhabit our erotic bodies, and discover our inner truths and start listening to these inner voices. It’s a beautiful conversation. I hope you enjoy it. Come on over to pleasuremechanics.com where you will find our complete podcast archive, and join us at pleasuremechanics.com/free to get started with our free online courses and dive a little deeper with us.
Chris Rose (02:27):
We will be back with you next week with another episode of Speaking of Sex with the Pleasure Mechanics. Here is our interview with Dr. Alexandra Solomon about her new book, Taking Sexy Back. Yes, please. Here we go. Dr. Solomon, welcome to Speaking of Sex.
Dr. Solomon (02:46):
Thank you so much for having me on, Chris.
Chris Rose (02:49):
I’m so thrilled that you’re here. For those who are not aware of your work yet, can you introduce yourself in the work you do in this world?
Dr. Solomon (02:56):
Sure. My name is Dr. Alexandra Solomon. I have been working as a Clinical Psychologist and a faculty member at Northwestern for a couple of decades now. And so I spend some of my week doing therapy with individuals and couples, and then some of my week teaching and training, both graduate students who are studying to be marriage and family therapists as well as teaching undergraduate students. I do have a big relationship education course called Building Happy and Healthy … no, that’s not true, Building, Loving and Lasting Relationships, Marriage 101.
Dr. Solomon (03:37):
And then I’m going to spend the rest of my time really translating clinical tools, research tools to the general public, whether that’s through self help books that I write, or these conversations like I’m having with you. So that’s really, my work is, I call myself a woman on a bridge. I’m bridging all different clinical and research and academia and general public. And that’s my happy place.
Chris Rose (04:04):
And I am so thrilled to meet you on this bridge, Taking Sexy Back. Your new book arrived on my doorstep, and by page six, I was doing praise hands around the room, shouting to the rooftops with gratitude for this book that both honor the complexity of human sexuality, but then offered some clarity and some pathways forward and inward. And we’ll talk about that kind of inward step into our sexuality.
Chris Rose (04:35):
So your first book was very much relational, about loving bravely. How did you come to write this second book, and why, Taking Sexy Back? Why sexy and what does that word mean for you in this book and in this work that you do?
Dr. Solomon (04:51):
Right. So my first book, as you say it was called Loving Bravely. And it was, the sort of centerpiece of the work that I do, is helping people understand themselves in the context of intimate partnership. You know, intimate partnership, whether we are dating and falling in love, or whether we are in year 22 of our intimate partnership as I am with my husband, it’s really easy to focus on the other person, what they’re doing, what they’re not doing. That’s sort of the nature of intimate partnership, I think.
Dr. Solomon (05:30):
And so, Loving Bravely, as well as the work that I do in my classrooms and my clinical office is really taking people into themselves and understanding the lenses, the paradigms, the belief systems that we bring into intimate partnership and how that shapes how we experience. Right? This idea that perspective shapes perception, and that our willingness to look at the complexities we bring in, then helps us open to deeper intimacy, and since it has a kind of curiosity and self compassion.
Dr. Solomon (06:03):
And even in writing that book, I was aware that this entire world of sex was a place where all of that plays out with the volume cranked up even that much more loudly. Right? Because it’s where things get really naked and really tender and those beliefs are so entrenched. And so that was where that second book was born.
Dr. Solomon (06:27):
But it took me a while, because I think that there’s, I became really aware of all these splits. And one of the splits in my part of the world is that we have Couples Therapists and we have Sex Therapists. And so it took me a while to authorize myself to step into this domain, because I am a Couples Therapist who’s had many conversations over the years with my students and my clients.
Dr. Solomon (06:54):
But it took me a while to really feel like I could be authorized to write about the relational and the self aspects of sexuality. And I’m so glad that I did.
Chris Rose (07:05):
I’m so glad that you did too. As a sex educator, we’ve been hands deep in sexuality for this past decade, and this book resonated for us so deeply. So you nailed it. And I think what you nailed is this sense of sexuality, is so complex. It’s so multifaceted, and it is both deeply internal. We have this deeply individual relationship with our own sexuality and so much of our sexual experience is born from there. And yet it is also so relational.
Chris Rose (07:41):
Can you talk about what you call as relational self-awareness and this tension and dialogue between self and social, that as you said, is amplified on the sexual stage?
Dr. Solomon (07:53):
Right, right, right. So relational self awareness is exactly what we were saying before. It’s this idea that I need to understand who I am, and how I show up in my relationships. And if I’m not willing to do that, I’m going to be at risk of taking us again and again and again into the space of either blame or a space of shame.
Dr. Solomon (08:16):
So either I’m going to put our dynamics on you and make you wrong, have to get you to hold the bag, or I’m going to disappear from you, because I’m going to swirl down the tubes into shame, and really feel like I’m wrong and I’m broken and it’s my history and it’s my trauma that’s causing our problems.
Dr. Solomon (08:35):
So relational self-awareness helps me hold onto what I call the golden equation of love, that my stuff plus your stuff equals our stuff. And that is true whether we are kind of debating whose turn it is to give the baby a bath, or whether we are talking about a discrepancy we’re bumping into around sexual desire.
Dr. Solomon (08:57):
But then the cultural piece comes in because if the problem we’re having is something around sexual desire and the challenges of negotiating sexuality over time in our partnership, we then bring in all the cultural loading. Right? Like what it means to have grown up in this world of ours.
Dr. Solomon (09:17):
It tends towards being so sex negative that we don’t have the tools we need to talk with care and vulnerability and honesty about what’s happening for us as sexual beings, which is where you spend your time and the work that you do, right, is helping people just kind of like look at how much shame we come by. We come by it really honestly, don’t we? It just is. We get this inheritance of negativity we didn’t ask for, but it is ours then to take a look at, and name and then process. And through that process, it allows us to choose something else, like to choose some voice around sex.
Chris Rose (10:00):
And with your guidance, you bring these values to the surface of this process. And I wrote down self awareness, self compassion and self discovery. Why is the call to self-compassion so important to you to kind of ring that bell over and over again for us, especially, in all mindful practice, but especially when we’re starting to look within and think about our own sexualities?
Dr. Solomon (10:29):
I want to go back and pull that thread that was about this word sexy, which we used in the title. I think so much about, women have, I think each of us, those of us who’ve been socialized in the feminine, we develop a particular relationship with that word sexy. And I think that’s a really interesting point of self inquiry for somebody, I think somebody who’s been socialized, whether in the masculine or the feminine, but I think especially given the messages in a system of patriarchy around women as objects, kind of unpacking, what have you internalized about that word? What is your relationship to that word?
Dr. Solomon (11:10):
And I think very often what we come to is a sense that it’s a question like, Do you find me sexy? And the idea that our value and our desirability around our sexuality is determined in the gaze of another, and that, that creates the conditions then for sex as a performance.
Dr. Solomon (11:31):
And then it kind of cuts us off from that experience of being sexual. Right? Of this idea that my sexuality is mine to determine and mine to construct and mine to explore. And in fact we can’t even get to, I don’t know how we could even be intimate with another unless we can really feel that sense of ownership, and that it has to be done with self compassion because so often we’ve internalized messages, especially around our bodies that are really, really harsh. You know, that our bodies, we have such narrow ideas in our culture of who gets to be proceed as desirable and who gets to decide what is and isn’t desirable. And so it has to be self compassion that we come back to again and again about our bodies as delicious and whole as they are, and that, that has to really guide this process.
Dr. Solomon (12:31):
I think one of the things, I had this wonderful team of graduate students and undergraduate students that was with me as we worked on this book. And I was really struck by how much we as a community were really moving through our own grief and anger and sadness as we would take a look at these different aspects of sexuality, and just how unfortunate it is that our sexuality has to oftentimes be like a reclamation, rather than something that we kind of grow up with ease and flow right from the get go.
Chris Rose (13:02):
Yeah. I was talking to a friend recently about intergenerational trauma, and when we were looking at the history of sexuality, of sexual pleasure, let alone bodies, how can we expect ourselves to be born with agency, with access to pleasure, let alone access to ecstasy of these expanded states we seek?
Chris Rose (13:25):
So this self-compassion is also this cultural compassion of, “Wow, this is a really new conversation about autonomy, about different relations between men and women, between people of all sexualities, allowing sexual expression to even be part of the cultural conversation, is all really new.” And when we bring compassion to this conversation, it gives us much more space.
Dr. Solomon (13:52):
Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then that really big wide lens of like the big historical lens, it’s a bridge, right? To go from that big historical lens to me and my bedroom, but that is so important because it does shape it and it’s a reminder again that I didn’t ask for all of this cultural loading.
Dr. Solomon (14:12):
I carry stuff that really, really isn’t mine. It’s been transmitted again and again and again and it lives in me now and it’s mine to massage, transform shed, but it has to start from that place of like, “Okay, I didn’t ask for this.”
Chris Rose (14:29):
Thank you for that. Can we go back to this piece about shifting from performative sex into more of an experiential sex, a sex that you can show up for with your whole being? You do such a beautiful job shifting this language from, “You are sexy, to you’re sexy,” a sexy you can claim as your own.
Chris Rose (14:53):
Can you talk a little bit about why that process is so important in one’s life, and what are the after effects, like how does going on this journey change and transform other arenas of our life? What is that connection?
Dr. Solomon (15:11):
We had a book event on Saturday and there was a gal in line and she came up with her book to have me sign it. And she wanted me to sign it for her daughter who’s 24. And she said, “My daughter is just so lost right now. She’s having such a hard time deciding and getting clear on any aspect of her life, and I hope this book serves her.”
Dr. Solomon (15:34):
And it was like this light bulb moment for me where I was like, “Oh, I get it. No, this book is about sex, but it’s also about holding onto all of the parts of who we are as people, and the more we can do that, feel kind of whole on the inside and that all that we are in communication with all the aspects of ourselves, that just helps us understand what’s a yes, and what’s a no.”
Dr. Solomon (16:00):
What am I choosing from the energy of love? I’m choosing this because I want this. I’m choosing this because it speaks to me. I’m choosing this because I’m curious about it versus those choices we make from the energy of fear. I’m choosing this because I feel like I should. I’m choosing this because I’m scared if I don’t do it now, it’s never going to happen again.
Dr. Solomon (16:22):
And I think so often those of us who’ve been socialized in the feminine, everybody else’s voices get really loud. Right? And so I think we can realize how much we’re driven by that energy of fear. Like, “I really should. I really should go to the gym. I really should have sex with my partner. I really should, say yes to this new job or whatever.”
Dr. Solomon (16:44):
And that, that’s different than pausing and noticing the different pulls that are happening on the inside. And so to be able to bring that distinction of fear versus love into the sexual arena is also really important. Because, I think, when we talk about these generations of conditioning, that sex for women is a duty. It is a duty that we perform.
Dr. Solomon (17:18):
And then now in the era and this moment in time, I think with so much of there certainly are beautifully feminist produced erotica that I know you talk about and celebrate and support, but a lot of what we see in pornography kind of replicates that, right? It’s sex as a performance for somebody else. But then how do we come back to, “Okay, what are the conditions where I would want to choose a sexual experience, and how would I know?”
Dr. Solomon (17:49):
We even have, if I’m giving a workshop or speaking to people, especially who are dating and looking for intimate partnership, they will say, “Is it okay to have sex on the first date or how long do I wait to have sex,” as if I could give them any answer to that. But it makes sense. It makes sense that’s posed as a question, because it’s predicated upon this idea that somebody else needs to tell me, because it’s really, really radical to consider that I might figure out what are the conditions.
Dr. Solomon (18:16):
That’s a mind shift to be like, “I can’t ever ask somebody else when should you have sex, because I own my sexuality and I have to figure out for myself what are the conditions in which I want to open myself to a partner in that way?”
Chris Rose (18:32):
Yes. Do you think that impulse to want to be on script, to want to be normal, to know how other people are doing it and do it that way, has to do with sexuality’s connection to kinship and belonging?
Chris Rose (18:48):
What is this piece of us that, we each kind of have our internal sexual landscape and yet we want to fit in and belong, and not, there’s part of sexual shame tells us, “If they know what I truly want, they won’t love me anymore.” Where does that voice come from?
Dr. Solomon (19:09):
Yeah. I think it is. Right. There’s something and a fear that somehow I am different and that’s scary, right? That I need someone to give me the rules and the parameters and the boundaries, because I’m kind of afraid of how unruly my sexuality might be if it was unleashed. So just please tell me where the guardrails are.
Dr. Solomon (19:34):
I think it’s some of both of that, right? And I think that’s the nature of slut-shaming isn’t it? This idea that we would otherwise marginalize and silence women especially, who are perceived as just outside of the bounds, and that to be outside of the bounds is to risk being put off to one side and shunned. I think it’s maybe some of both.
Dr. Solomon (20:04):
The external piece is, “I need to know what the lines are because I don’t want you guys to exclude me.” And then the interior piece, “Maybe, I usually know what the lines are, because if I really let myself go here, I may start to live without any lines.” Like a fear of if I don’t manage my own sexual appetite, it might be really, really unruly.
Chris Rose (20:23):
And what do you say to that fear? Because we do hear this of, “If I trust my pleasure, if I go towards pleasure, if I let pleasure be my measure, then I’ll become an out of the control hedonist and nothing else will matter.” And yet you and I both know as professionals, as mothers, there is a way to integrate this and actually allow sexuality to become fuel for the rest of our lives and not a distraction. How do we play that game?
Dr. Solomon (20:50):
Right. My gosh, I just had a conversation recently with a woman who is really struggling in her intimate partnership. She was just really bored and checked out of their erotic connection. And in our conversation she flashed on this memory that she hadn’t thought about in years, of being 17 with her boyfriend at the time, in a sexual experience and just lost in her pleasure. And she squirted with her orgasm and he shamed her. And maybe he shamed her because he’s a really, gnarly dude. But maybe he shamed her because he had really inadequate sex education, and was very confused about what was happening.
Dr. Solomon (21:34):
But regardless, his kind of freak out gave her the message that, “Your sexuality, if it is not tamed is going to freak everybody out.” So it was something that she had just really put away. She hadn’t consciously thought about that, but it was a piece of her that she had locked down, maybe in part because of, but likely in part because of that memory of just, “If I really let myself go, the other person is going to be grossed out or disturbed.”
Dr. Solomon (22:06):
And so I think sometimes it starts there, right, with our early like those conversations we might have with our 16, 17, 18 year old selves or our 12 year old selves, whatever. Like, kind of going back to the beginning of how did I relate to my early experiences of my sexuality? How did the people around me relate to that? Was I told that it was really dangerous?
Dr. Solomon (22:33):
Because you’re right, that as we move into adulthood, it is for us to cultivate and honor because it does become fuel, and the erotic is our life force and it’s our creativity. It’s our aliveness and so there is a shift from fearing it to trusting it
Chris Rose (22:59):
And this sense of trust, internal trust, trusting our felt senses is something we develop over time with practice. What are some of your favorite practices that you do either with clients or that you suggest in your courses to help us develop internal felt sense and a trust of our felt sense.?
Dr. Solomon (23:24):
Well, one practice I think, is noticing our stress level and what is blocking self care. I think that it’s really easy to go kind of full tilt all the time in letting ourselves get exhausted and depleted and the tie between our sexual desire and stress is really strong. Right? For many of us, stress acts as a break.
Dr. Solomon (23:56):
If we think about the sort of Emily Nagoski accelerator and brake model for sexual desire and our stress level is going to act as a break. And it may be that we have stories in our head that, “That’s okay, it’s okay to put sex in the back burner because we must be accomplishing and doing, and one more this and one more that, and one more hour.” And I think there is certainly a reality to that, that we live in time of deep income inequality, and many of us are needing to work extreme hours in order to ensure that we are taking care of our needs and our family’s needs. But just noticing, what are the ways that we may be adding to that and kind of going above and beyond being driven by this sense that like our work is our worth.
Dr. Solomon (24:50):
I know that I’m certainly guilty of getting into this, of kind of compromising and sacrificing the things that I know nourish me. Exercise and sleep and good food and spending time on all of those things are what creates the conditions for me to feel like I have access and permission to also support my sexuality and my erotic health and connection.
Dr. Solomon (25:18):
So that’s some of those, like really basic foundational things that we may not think affect us in the bedroom, but I think they really, really do.
Chris Rose (25:24):
And then I always encourage, if we notice the after effect, the after glow of even something as simple as a slightly prolonged shower, a walk with your partner to talk things out. If we notice and install as we’ve been talking about the effects of this, and then thank ourselves, have an internal sense of gratitude of, “I’m really grateful to have taken that time and I’m noticing the effects,” it kind of self motivates further practice.
Dr. Solomon (25:57):
I was just working with the couple on this recently where she really was asking for more connection with her partner as a way of helping them move into an erotic space. And I think that her partner was hearing her saying that he had to be quote unquote, like a good boy in order to kind of earn access to her, and it became this real rift in their relationship.
Dr. Solomon (26:23):
And I think that what she was really trying to say is, “This is how I nourish connection with you, and connection with myself and so let’s work together to create the conditions where my erotic self can come forward more.” It’s not like, “You need to earn access to me.” It really is like, “This is what I know to be true about my connection to my desire, and will you come with me and support this with me?”
Dr. Solomon (26:48):
Because you’re saying like that walk together is about just celebrating like, “Okay, this is what we can do to support us, to support connection,” that then for some of us, it’s the connection that then opens the door to the erotic.
Chris Rose (27:07):
That’s such a beautiful story too of how by developing a more internal sense of our sexuality, we have so much more to bring to potential partners, to our longterm relationships. That Venn diagram gets so much richer and brighter as we go inside and discover what’s there.
Chris Rose (27:27):
Will you say one thing more about, we’ve, a few times in this conversation, both of us are saying, when you drop inside, when you go inside, scan inside, what are we feeling for there? How would you guide someone who’s new to this? What am I doing when I am feeling inside?
Dr. Solomon (27:50):
It is the stepping away and turning attention inward and quieting down the thoughts. So it’s, I often start with just some deep breaths, in through my nose and out through my mouth and a scan of sort of, I go top to bottom, sort of like top to bottom. Where am I holding tension?
Dr. Solomon (28:15):
And just getting into those five senses and quieting down the thoughts, what the Buddhist would call, sort of like that monkey brain, right, where we’re kind of scrolling from this to this, to this, to this and slowing that process down. Because when we do that we notice that we are having thoughts, versus we are the thoughts. And then it sometimes is, especially around this no, the way that I feel when there’s a no, I’m not saying is I feel it in my gut.
Dr. Solomon (28:49):
But different people may hold their unspoken no in different places. It may be in their chest, like a tightness in the chest. For me, it feels like a twist kind of in my gut, and it’s sort of then, sometimes asking, “Okay, so hello twist in the gut. What are you holding? What do you want me to know?” Kind of asking our body, like I think we imagine that we are these top-down creatures that our thoughts drive the whole thing, and that checking in that body scan, that paying attention to where the tension is, is going from the body wisdom up.
Dr. Solomon (29:27):
And then we’re asking, “What is this tightness in my chest telling me? What does it want to say?” So it’s kind of that listening from the more base level of the body and then attending to that, and allowing that to be a source of information versus the idea that we have to think our way through a decision or a challenge.
Chris Rose (29:54):
Thank you so much. That was really beautiful. And it reminds us that our feelings, we can feel the feelings of our feelings. And so when a no is present, what does that feel like, versus a yes? We can do so much of this through fantasy alone, engaging the imagination and then checking in the body, or in small moments out in the world as we notice we gain literacy. And these voices get louder, I think, is one thing people need to hear because sometimes it’s like, “well I don’t feel anything.”
Chris Rose (30:24):
And it’s a process. It’s a practice to trust these voices, to hear them. And as you said, to quiet the external noise so we can hear. And what would you say to those who, when we’re choosing to focus on our own experience, instead of finding pleasure or curiosity, even we start finding numbness or sadness or grief welling up? How do we ride that edge of allowing these feelings, feeling the feelings, but also kind of keeping ourselves regulated?
Dr. Solomon (31:02):
Right, right, right. I had a message a couple of months ago from a woman who had survived a sexual trauma in her childhood. And she shared a story with me that was just so sacred, and so precious for her to let me know about, that she had gone through a process of prosecuting her abuser. And she said that the day of the sentencing she came home and she masturbated and she wept.
Dr. Solomon (31:32):
And it was a really, really powerfully healing experience for her. It brings tears to my eyes as I even say it out loud to you right now. And that, we do have these stories I think of which emotions we’re allowed to pair with pleasure. And for her, that was such a moment of reclamation and healing, right, was to pair her own experience of bringing herself pleasure, and reminding herself that trauma doesn’t break us.
Dr. Solomon (32:00):
It may disconnect us. It doesn’t break us, and that she could have pleasure and sadness and grief all in the same place and that, that wouldn’t mean that that was all going to be together in that space forever. But in that moment it was.
Chris Rose (32:16):
Dr. Solomon (32:17):
And so I think it is right that we want to be mindful, to think about a bell shaped curve and be in some sort of sweet space. Right? And that we can give ourselves permission that if there’s a lot coming up for me, I can slow down, I can pause, I can stop. But I can also just kind of stay present to it and trust that emotions have a timestamp, right? They are like waves. They will rise and they will fall.
Dr. Solomon (32:45):
And that when there’s trauma, I think one of the important skills that survivors of trauma learn is when am I present, when am I absent. Right? Sort of dissociation. What does the dissociation feel like to me? And, knowing how to bring ourselves back to a place of safety when we feel ourselves beginning to dissociate.
Dr. Solomon (33:12):
And so that would be, I think, like we talk about that in the book, that allowing ourselves to pause a sexual experience, whether it’s by ourselves or with a partner, as we notice ourselves dissociating because dissociation is a coping tool. It was at some point in time an incredibly important coping tool.
Dr. Solomon (33:34):
And that in our healing, what we can say to ourselves is, “Sweet darling, love me. I feel you slipping away and you don’t need to. I can make you safe in this moment.” Right. So treating that dissociation as that part of us, that’s saying, “It’s too much for me.”
Dr. Solomon (33:52):
Okay. So then we can stop. Then we stop for now. And that’s okay. And I hear you that I think for those of us who are doing a bit more of the self help and distant healing through books, through courses, I think we do need to be talking about trauma and being aware that there’s always always a space for therapy, right? Like, in face to face, old school organic therapy, psychotherapy with a clinician who’s trained to support healing trauma.
Dr. Solomon (34:23):
So I think both those things, I think that therapy on its own, probably isn’t enough for trauma recovery. I think all these different pieces, there’s lots of elements, and that survivors of trauma can really make use of on their journeys.
Dr. Solomon (34:39):
And so we don’t have to say that it’s only one way or the other, but I hear you that I try to be really thoughtful also when I’m in these conversations or writing a self help book that it’s different than therapy.
Chris Rose (34:50):
Yeah. Thank you for that. The book is full of self-reflections and practices and ways of engaging with ourselves. To discover who we are as sexual beings, what is one question you want everyone or you invite everyone to pause and ask of themselves?
Dr. Solomon (35:13):
Well, one that I really like is, “What is the no that I am needing to say, that I haven’t said?” Like what is, I think especially for those of us, we’ve been talking a lot about those who’ve been socialized in the feminine, where we feel driven by sort of obligation and responsibility, and what is the quiet no, that is kind of hanging out in the corner that is I’m asking for my attention.
Dr. Solomon (35:41):
That’s one question, I think that can be just an important way of asking it, kinda scanning on the inside, and where is a place where maybe I’m letting my boundary be a bit looser, that is good for my health and is good for the health of whatever the relationship, and how might there be a no that would would serve everybody a bit better?
Chris Rose (36:01):
Your book is such a beautiful guide in that discernment process and is really, I think a rich practice guide. There’s so much within these pages, so you can engage with the ideas, but then also take the time, drop into your own life, and engage these ideas with your own body and see what emerges for you.
Chris Rose (36:22):
So thank you for putting together this resource guide. It is a really beautiful offering. Thank you so much for your work. Thank you so much for your work.
Dr. Solomon (36:30):
Thank you so much. Thank you for making the space that you make, to allow these conversations to happen. I think it’s so, so, so important. And a podcast is just such a nice way to be able to listen in, gain some knowledge in a way that’s really nonthreatening and safe. So thank you for the work that you do.
Chris Rose (36:49):
One image I love is couples will listen to the same episode, while walking through the city streets together. So they have kind of the same audio scape and can exchange knowing glances or send each other notes as they listen to episodes. And this is all about having the conversation. So whether you’re reading the book, engaging in the podcast or engaging in our online courses, this conversation happens over time.
Chris Rose (37:14):
Look in the show notes page, we have a special offer. If you buy Dr. Solomon’s new book and send us a quick screenshot, we will send you a coupon code for the online course of your choice, so you can engage these practices in our online practice community together with other pleasure seekers from all around the world.
Chris Rose (37:33):
Thank you so much, Dr. Solomon, for joining us on Speaking of Sex with the Pleasure Mechanics.
Dr. Solomon (37:38):
Thank you for having me.
Chris Rose (37:39):
Check the show notes page for more from Dr. Solomon, and we will have another episode for you next week on Speaking of Sex with the Pleasure Mechanics. Cheers.