Emily Negoski talks about the core goal of her book, Come as You Are, to help people live with more confidence and joy. Toward the end of the book, while talking about why she wrote the book, she says this, “In a way it is a small goal. I’m not trying to cure cancer or solve the climate crisis or build peace in the middle east. I’m just trying to help people live with confidence and joy inside their bodies. And maybe, just maybe, if enough people are able to achieve this, we can ultimately live in a world where everyone’s sexual autonomy is respected.
Do I think that living with more confidence and joy and respecting everyone’s sexual autonomy could play a role in preventing cancer, solving the climate crisis, or building world peace? Yes, actually. But that’s another story.”
What I love about Emily, her research, and her book is that it is about vanquishing from women and men, hundreds of years of myths and bad information about female sexuality, and providing current up to date physiological, psychological, neurobiological, relational, sociological and sexual information about the variability and magnificence of the female sexual response. There is so much in this book that strips away the years of objectification and sexual shame women receive as they grow up in American culture. Throughout the book women can see that they are normal – no matter how their body responds. They come to see the enormous variability in the female sexual response cycle and how intricate the brain and meaning system is to the sexual experience. They see how their sexuality is theirs and theirs alone, before it is shared with anyone else, should they decide. They see that it is there to bring them confidence and joy, pleasure and connection, first. No apology. It is liberating, delightful, powerful, breathtaking, relieving, and enlightening. I want everyone, men and women, to know the information in this book. Moreover – I continue to wish we as a culture understood, how much healthier we would be, if we took our sexual health, and thus our ability to relate intimately to each other, seriously.
Sacred Sexual Touch … the one place where shame can melt away …
One thing I have come to believe, because I have seen it over and over again, is how powerfully healing intentional, loving, mindful, intimate touch can be. More than any form of talk therapy, if I have a couple who loves each other, and is willing to come to a couple’s intimacy retreat, we can, through mindful intimate touch, heal wounds, wipe away shame, and restore that sense of loving safe attachment to them again. This happens through a mysterious neurobiological, spiritual, integrated process, when through vulnerability each comes to each other with an open, courageous heart, willing to be loved, willing to love, aware of how much they have invested, aware of how much is at stake, tapping into how much they love the other, tapping into their generosity of heart and spirit, and letting go to the mysterious universal power in loving sacred sexual healing. This is all demonstrated through the eyes, through intimate intentional mindful deliberate guided sacred touch practices, and the sharing of this sacred pleasure together. I don’t know that we fully understand why this is so powerfully healing. Only that it is. It takes profound courage – no doubt – but couples do it time after time in our couples retreats.
It has also been observed and written about for thousands of years in the practice of Tantra.
Whether alone or in relationship, our sexuality has the potential to be a transformative gift of immeasurable power. It can melt away stress, shame, connect us deeply to our bodies, our God, and to our most innermost being, all at the same time. And if we are partnered, we can be ushered into a dancing of spirits that is beyond words.
NEW BOOK BY DR SELLERS COMING IN MAY 2017 FROM ROUTLEDGE PRESS
Sex, God & the Conservative Church – Erasing Shame from Sexual Intimacy
Synopsis: This book is the first of its kind written to help people of faith who have experienced religious sexual shame. This shame and trauma comes as an inadvertent byproduct of the sex-negative sexual ethic of conservative religion. Based on ten years of research, it explains what happened in the formation of the Christian church and how American culture can compound the problem. It goes on to reveal a sex-positive ancient Hebrew story that was buried in Christian history and the sex-positive gospel ethic that was never developed. Finally it offers a four step model for healing religious sexual shame, and actual touch and non-touch exercises to bring healing and intimacy into a person’s life. The book is appropriate for clients, patients, therapists, clergy, physicians, and those who train sociology students, therapists, sex therapists, clergy or primary care physicians. It also is a text that would function well in a book group or study group and for those who want to explore the impact of religious sexual shame and those who want to heal or help someone else to heal. It is sensitive to those who grew up in conservative church environments, while simultaneously providing adequate information for the provider that may not be familiar with that culture.