In our inaugural “Wild Card” Sip Session, Laura Campbell of Inspirecorps and I partnered to facilitate a conversation of a different kind. A topic suggested by Sip Session attendees, so dangerous we don’t give ourselves much permission to talk about it (even though, as we quickly found out, we sooo want to). The headline was “Know Thyself” and the topic was our relationship with our own sexual intimacy.

Yes that. And when we introduced it, it landed like a lead balloon. However, it didn’t take long for attendees to warm up to the idea and start talking. (The roaring fire and plenty of wine didn’t hurt either). Before long we found it hard to get everyone to break free from their conversation to share what they discussed.

The instructions were as follows:

  1. Imagine you had no consequences, what would you explore, speak to, or act on in regard to your own sexual intimacy
  2. Discuss with your table, what it is that has you suppress your desires
  3. Discuss with your table, what would need to be present that would allow you to indulge in them

 

 

Here is what the group identified:

What, that is present, has me suppress my desires:

Shame
Fear of rejection
Social bias
Vulnerability
Time
Not wanting to hurt someone
Embarrassment
No opportunity
Parenthood
Complacency
Cultural norms
Honor
Negative self-image
Inner critic
Legality
Change of circumstance
Overthinking
Mother’s voice
Lack of knowing what you want
Consequences

What, if present, would activate my desires:

Trust
Safety
Courage
Ability to be not alone
Sharing is a gift to be given
Agency/ownership
Sympathy
Self Esteem
Emotional Safety
Open communication
Honesty
Confidence
Curiosity
Lack of a concrete goal
No one owes each other
Compromise
Thoughts are things
Environment
Respect
Lust is lust
Legality
Sense of adventure
Fun
Intimacy doesn’t mean sex
Willingness to be uncomfortable
Joy
Opportunity
Willing partner
Hygiene
No consequences

 

As we examined the lists, we discovered that what often holds us back from freeing our sexual intimacy are the same things that characterize our lives – our jobs, our family, faith, and ambitions. The level of engagement in this conversation was stunning and many were liberated to discover that we sometimes just need to give ourselves permission.

 
 

To boldly put that theory to the test everyone was given a truth or dare card. On it, each person anonymously wrote the truth or dare they wished someone else would ask them that would give them the permission they needed to act. Since they were written anonymously, we read them out one by one and the group was struck by how beautifully honest, bold and courageous they were.

 

As Laura Campbell so elegantly states, “The fastest way to get what you want, is to let go of what you don’t”

 

Interested in finding your truth and daring yourself? Use these lists above to gain understanding around what holds you back and explore how you can give yourself permission to get to know yourself that much more.

 

Photography and video by Mike Marques – Arbor Light Studio

 

 

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