Embracing Emotions: The Key to a Thriving Sex Life

Embracing Emotions

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23 February 2024

Sex is emotional. It’s thrilling, vulnerable, and vivid. The broader our emotional spectrum is, the more we can experience. Yet many of us live our lives confined to narrow bands of emotion, typically dominated by a select few feelings. Stress, exhaustion, and frustration were my primary experiences for a long time.

The emotional silos that we live within show up in sex too. If your nervous system is running on fear or anxiety it can be challenging to transition into a shameless, safe, and creative erotic space. The journey to this space begins with broadening our emotional range.


For some, one of the scariest emotions is pleasure. If you carry a sense of not being safe or were taught that play or pleasure is wrong or silly, then pleasure may feel foreign, and that lack of familiarity can feel intimidating or frightening. The relationship between safety and pleasure is critical – so I’m going to tell you a secret. Our pleasure feels safe to play when our “negative” emotions are embraced.

Next time you notice something like shame, doubt, or rage bubbling up, allow the emotion instead of resisting or avoiding it. If possible, try expressing these emotions aloud, stream of consciousness style. Avoid editing or censoring these feelings, and don’t concern yourself with whether they are rational or fair. Just as we all desire to be seen and heard, so do our emotions.


Embracing all that life offers invites a sense of intensity. Dr. Nan Wise, an expert in sexual anhedonia (the inability to experience or feel pleasure), says, “Being able to tolerate emotional intensity is one of the most important prerequisites for emotional and sexual maturity.1” And yet, many of us shy away from or avoid intensity in life. We may be conflict-avoidant, people pleasers, or maybe we just don’t have the energy for challenging conversations. But learning to love intensity is crucial for our emotional and sexual development.

When you learn to allow and love all your feelings and their various intensities, it becomes easier to love the full spectrum of others’ emotions as well. Plus, studies have shown this new way of being with yourself and others provides physical benefits in addition to fostering stronger bonds.


So, if you desire to break free of your emotional silos, welcome intensity, and have better sex, where should you start?

First, focus on retraining your nervous system to know that ALL emotions are safe and valuable, including pleasure. Feeling safe and embodied is vital, as we can’t connect to the wisdom of our emotions if we can’t feel them. So many people don’t feel safe in their bodies for one good reason or another, so saying something like “Be in your body” may sound simple but, in fact, can be quite difficult. If that’s true, this is a key focus and where I start with clients.

Once more emotions are operational, we can practice moving through them fluidly. This can be both weird and very fun. The best way to illustrate emotional fluidity is to think about a toddler. One minute, they play; the next, they throw a tantrum; the next, they giggle and want ice cream. The emotional fluidity of children is inspiring and what we should aspire to. Not resisting feelings as they arise and letting them flow like water.


One day, while having lunch in Madrid, I watched this group of older women sitting at a cafe. They were chatting and laughing. It was a perfect sunny, spring day. They looked so happy to be together. The beauty of this moment touched me, and tears washed down my face. I won’t lie. I was a little embarrassed, and I did try to resist, but it was futile, and I found myself crying heavily. I thought, “Geez, I must look crazy. One minute ago, I was fine, and now I’m hysterically crying in this nice restaurant all by myself”. But this thought made me laugh uncontrollably. So there I was, alternating between intense laughter and intense tears. So now I look extra crazy – emotional fluidity unresisted is an experience of relinquishing control over your emotional state. I went outside and let myself laugh-cry until the emotional cycle was complete. I felt so clear, alive, and peaceful afterward. I felt an abundance of beauty and love within me and around me.


They want to feel safe and welcome. When they are, our lives open up. We experience more ease and pleasure because there’s no resistance to what is. And yes, we can carry these lessons of emotional range, intensity, and fluidity into our sex lives, opening ourselves to new experiences and unprecedented pleasure.

  1. Nan Ellen Wise. Why Good Sex Matters : Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020.* ↩︎

The average person has up to 60,000 thoughts per day - 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive.

No wonder so many of us are exhausted or don’t have clarity because our minds are going non-stop… We can’t think with all that thinking, and we can’t change these thoughts by doing more thinking, yikes!

In this mindset class we learn why and how working with our internal narratives is the first step towards erotic self-care, plus do two quick exercises to start developing your mastery. 

Erotic Self-Care Mini-Class

Mindset Mastery