By: Starielle Hope
I love grocery shopping, I always have. And the fancier the grocery store the better. I genuinely get excited to check out the “new items” section at Trader Joe’s and explore the innovative natural products at Whole Foods. Needless to say, the first time I walked into an Erewhon (a super high-end grocery chain in Los Angeles), I was completely done for. As much joy as I received from browsing delicious goodies, I can’t say I’ve ever been particularly excited to carry those heavy bags full of my tasty purchases. Yet, for most of my adult life I never even considered saying “yes” when the baggers at these stores offered me help out to my car. Anytime someone would ask I would immediately say “no thank you” without even pausing to think about my answer.
Now I know that not everyone reading this can necessarily relate to carrying groceries out to your car. Many of us just use delivery services for our groceries now or live in large cities and don’t own cars. Wherever you live though, and however you choose to shop for groceries, you may be able to relate to my strong urge to be (and be perceived as) independent and strong, to never be a burden to anyone.
This is why I would immediately say “no” to the grocery store bagger. Because I was capable of carrying my own groceries and didn’t “need” his help. I don’t need to add to this person’s workload as a result of my own laziness, right?
But what would actually have happened if I had said yes? This person could have taken a few minutes break from his relatively monotonous job of bagging organic oat milk and dino kale under fluorescent lights, and walked out with my groceries to breathe a few deep breaths of fresh air, feel the sun on his skin, and chat with a human who isn’t one of his coworkers. Meanwhile, my pristine joy of the food gathering experience would remain untainted by the annoyance of lugging heavy bags out to the parking lot and instead I would get to feel nurtured by a complete stranger.
Every time I said “no”, I thought I was saving him the trouble. What I was actually doing was stealing away this opportunity to take a break and provide a kind service for me, not to mention an opportunity for the nourishment of human connection.
Think about the last time someone gave you something, whether it was a tangible gift, a compliment, or an act of service like helping you with a heavy load or opening a door for you. Was there a part of you that immediately felt guilty? As though you had put this person out? Created work for them? Or felt that you are now indebted to them in some way and need to find a way to return the compliment or help them with something as soon as you can to even the scales?
When I think back to the last time I gave someone a gift, what I wanted to experience most was their joy of receiving that gift. If we are fixated on returning the favor to someone as soon as possible, can we truly feel the joy of receiving? I certainly don’t think so. And if we don’t allow ourselves to fully experience this joy, we actually rob the giver of the experience of our joy, certainly making them less inclined to give to us again.
Yeah yeah, enough about groceries, get to the sex and orgasms, right?
Allow yourself to be fully honest here. The last time you were receiving sexual pleasure, were you able to receive completely and enjoy or was there a part of your mind that was redirecting your focus onto:
- Feeling guilty for taking too long
- Worrying about whether the other person was actually enjoying giving to you or not
- Thinking about what you will need to do to your partner to return their attentions
- Thinking about how your body looks and whether your partner is noticing your imperfections
- Tracking your ‘to-do’ list in your head
What motivates a generous giver most is a gracious receiver. I know I am much more excited about giving pleasure if I know my partner is really enjoying what I’m providing. It makes me want to give more often and for a longer period of time, and it really turns me on to feel how excited they are.
If just reading this and thinking about receiving pleasure is uncomfortable for you right now, I invite you to take three deep breaths, allow yourself to fully feel that discomfort. Notice where inside of your physical body that discomfort lives. It could be tension in your chest, a sharpness in your gut, a numbness in your pussy, truly anything. The key here is to tune into a physical sensation as opposed to a logical thought or story in your mind.
Take a moment and reassure this feeling of discomfort that it is completely understandable to feel awkward when talking about pleasure. We have so much social, familial, and religious programming around us at all times and very little of it is favorable when it comes to sex and pleasure, and particularly women’s pleasure. Notice any stories or beliefs you might be holding about sex or pleasure, and take a minute to feel into whether those beliefs are actually true for you, or something you picked up from someone else and have been holding onto but isn’t actually aligned with your own truth.
How have you been receiving? How would you like to be receiving? How does the sexually powerful goddess who lives inside of you receive?