I see so many women who are afraid.
When they sit down in their sex therapy process with me and say that they feel shy awkward and inhibited about sex, at some point, I naturally ask:
What’s the scariest thing that could happen in sex?
They pause. They think. Often they say:
Well, I don’t know.
We did a little deeper and brainstorm –
could it be this happening?
could it be that happening?
could it be a fear of being rejected or your partner not responding the way you want?
That one little question generates a lot of discussion.
There are multiple answers – each of us is individual after all. But the real answer is this:
What women are really scared of when it comes to sex and intimacy is being seen.
Are you surprised?
After talking to hundreds of women about what happens in the bedroom, the thing that they are most afraid of is being seen, like truly seen.
If the term: being seen doesn’t feel familiar to you, this is what it is and what it isn’t.
Being seen by someone else is:
Them seeing you in your vulnerability, which may include your nakedness (but definitely doesn’t have to)
You being willing to reveal yourself to them
Them seeing you in complete softness AND complete power – not just one or the other
You opening your mind, heart and body to them and feeling at ease about it
Allowing yourself to speak, express and move in a way that feels good and pleases you – not taking these actions as a way to please, gratify or excite them
In short – when you consent to being seen, you choose to invite someone in to your inner world and they respond to that invitation with the utmost love, care and respect.
Being seen by someone else is NOT:
You being stared at, leered at, watched or ogled
You being forced to do things outside of your comfort zone
Any act where something is happening out of your consent
Orchestrated so you elect to only be seen when you do something ‘perfectly’
Your vulnerable share or reveal being later misused by someone else – i.e. confidentiality being breeched
Being seen by someone else is really an agreement and it happens outside of sex, intimacy and the bedroom too, such as:
…Musicians are seen performing their art because a ticket holder has paid to witness (and even participate) in this exchange.
…Clients are being seen when revealing to their therapists in the confidential space of therapy or group work.
…Friends see friends when they stop talking at each other and truly listen to one another – when it isn’t a case of whose drama is worse or whose experience was best but maintaining gentle eye contact and hearing what they are saying to you and you reflecting back.
…Employees are seen when they have the space to speak up in meetings about company culture, directions and dynamics - where they have everyone’s full attention and aren’t argued over or debated with aggressively.
Yes - being seen is important in the boardroom AND the bedroom.
And in fact, it needs to happen in ALL the spaces of our lives.
Being seen for women is vital to supporting our femininity. When we aren’t seen, a wound is inflicted. One of my clients most recently put it down to 3 scary words:
“I am invisible”
Can we be sexual and in turn on when we are invisible?
I don’t believe we can.
After all, being seen is not a trick we suddenly switch on for our partners, no matter how long we have been together for. Being seen is a thread throughout our lives and hiding away and keeping yourself invisible is holding you back from your liberation and joy.
Being seen is our greatest desire as humans but it’s also so many of our greatest fears (which is why public speaking is the second biggest thing people are afraid of…after sharks, I think).
How to start being seen
When you’re ready to step out from the familiarity of flying under the radar in sex and life, the simplest place to start being seen is by seeing yourself. It’s the first stepping stone to being seen by other people and so many women want to skip it because they feel ‘silly’. Yet for as long as you don’t see yourself, you’ll feel silly in front of someone else. Seeing yourself stuff up, look awkward and walk away saying ‘I love/respect/value me anyway’ will take your journey into sex and vulnerability so much further and deeper.
Getting used to your own reflection - all of it - fosters connection to yourself and makes you feel more comfortable in your own skin. When you see yourself in a accepting light, you aren’t going to be pre-occupied when others are looking at you, constantly wondering if they are judging you.
Holding up the mirror, even when it feels uncomfortable, is one of the key ways to becoming adjusted to being seen.
I’ve asked myself these questions a lot over the years…
Why is seeing and feeling ourselves so scary?
Why are there countless women out there that have never seen their genitals and/or touched their body with the intention of self-pleasure?
What’s the block?
My best guess is that the block is that looking silly, awkward or foolish will tarnish the veneer of perfection.
The risk of not seeing yourself dance, laugh, have food on your face, say something wrong, have an item of mismatched clothing or bright/attention grabbing clothing, a bad hair day…ANYTHING is that you’ll be missing out on feeling the sweetness of vulnerability, the depth of orgasmic sensation and the greatness of your potential.
“Until you're ready to look foolish, you'll never have the possibility of being great”
And I agree with her.
Women are scared that when they are seen either they or their partners won’t like what they see but I’ll flip it around this way.
Are you REALLY happy with what you see now?
Are you truly accepting of yourself with all your quirks and flaws?
What if, by seeing yourself and being seen by someone else, you like/love yourself more?
Would the risk be worth it then?
To feel more self-love and to feel like there is more depth to your purpose and existence than to have everything look perfect?
If you are sitting there thinking one day that you’d like to work with me in my Open to Receiving process, I’m letting you know now, that’s probably the scariest question I’m going to ask you.
Yes, you read right. The scariest question I’m ever going to ask you about sex is:
What’s the scariest thing that could happen in sex?
And now you know, one of the big, unearthed answers is:
Lauren, I’m scared that I’ll be truly seen.
Once that concept is out there, you’ll notice that it all feels less scary. There’s less to be afraid of when the idea of it is allowed out of your body.
You may already have noticed that saying: I’m scared that I’ll be truly seen IS actually a moment in time where you will be seen.
Revealing yourself in safety and confidentiality is being seen.
It’s more than that though – it’s an ongoing need and necessity, not a one-off quick fix.
I need to be seen in my life or my libido withers. Being seen fosters connection, which reduces stress and gives me a better chance of being interested in sex.
Not being seen reduces connection, which increases stress and limits erotic expressions.
You are worthy of all of this and more.
The question is, are you ready to stop feeling scared and to start being seen?
P.S. Being seen by another woman is one of the most underrated superpowers that we have. Magic happens when we allow ourselves to go there and stop trying to do everything alone. It’s time for the juiciness of accountability and support to start moving you from invisible to visible. Book your free private discussion with me today via the sessions page.