Why “Sex” and “Intimacy” are So Much More Than We Think

by | Dec 25, 2022 | Sexuality | 14 comments

On the last round of Sacred Sexuality, we had a Zoom call that dropped us into a space of such tenderness and vulnerability that there were many tears coming from the Zoom squares. This happens sometimes, especially around the topic of sexuality.

It’s what happens when we enter into a safe and ritualized space where we know and trust that our pain and shame and stories will be received with love.

It’s what happens when we allow our bodies to lead the way, to guide us toward our healing and wisdom.

It’s what happens when we name and give voice to a source of pain that every woman has suffered and is suffering from. Men suffer, too, as do people of all genders and identities. But this particular course is for women, and it’s a place where magical healing happens.

When the call ended and we blew out our candles, I did my post-call ritual, then sat in silence for a while, staring out at the fairy-dance sparkles of the sunlit snow. It was January 2022. I was in the midst of another layer of my own healing around my body and sexuality, and the call touched me on so many levels.

When I listened back to the recording, I could hear the passion in my voice, and also an urgent call to the women on the course to trust themselves, to listen to their bodies, to enter into this most sacred path of healing.

There was one particular part of the call that stood out for me, so I clipped it and decided that I would share it here (with permission) before the next round opened for registration. And here we are.

I invite you to carve out 9 minutes to listen to this excerpt. Pay attention to what arises for you. Listen to your body. Stay with the pause. And men: this is for you, too. If you listen, I’d love to know in the comments where it lands for you.


Here’s a transcript of about half the excerpt:

“It’s about listening to and trusting our bodies and taking the first step.

“Maybe you just sit and hold hands. Maybe you just put your leg on your partner’s leg. Maybe you just hold each other. Maybe you take some clothes off and hold each other, but don’t do anything else. Just hold each other in that space of nakedness in every sense of the word. So vulnerable. Without expectation.

“It’s removing so much of the download of what we think sex is – that sex is intercourse and orgasms. That’s one little part. That is not what sexual intimacy is. That’s not what sacred sexuality is. That might happen and that might not happen. And it doesn’t matter either way. It doesn’t make it better or worse. But that is the only thing we have focused on in our culture. That’s what we call sex. We are broadening all of that here.

“And we’re starting with our own stories, because the more we can unpack our own stories and claim our stories and look back and say, “Oh, that was assault. Oh, that was abuse”,… when we find the courage to step into our stories – best done with a therapist – then we start to listen. And the more we listen to our bodies, the more we hear the subtlest cues: ‘Oh, I actually don’t want to do that right now.’ And then we’re able to find some voice: ‘Um, too fast. I need to go slower.’ ‘Oh, I thought I was okay with that but I’m actually not. Can we stop?’ And hopefully you have a partner who says, ‘Of course. Thank you for telling me. We can stop.'”

Through the course, we unpack some of the shame stories and we reclaim our voice. We do this together, in the safe cave of women who gather from around the globe to claim what is rightfully ours. I will be there to guide you every step of the way, offering the gentle roadmap and lighting the way back to your creativity, your aliveness, and your desire.

The next round of Sacred Sexuality starts on January 14, 2023, and I very much look forward to connecting with you and guiding you there.



  1. Dear Sheryl,

    Thank you for this audio clip. Although I was taught pretty well about sacred sexuality from my mother, this teaching opened something new in me. I never thought I had any sort of negative sexual experience in my past but I’ve never considered choices I made after being cajoled into them. I always emphasized that they were my choice, my mistake, even though they happened as a result of persuasion after I had already made my boundary clear. I suppose it’s something I always knew but the shame was too strong for me to open up to the fact that it was a gigantic violation. Thank you for helping me unpack a layer of something I had long since forgotten about.

    • Dear Linda: Thank you for this very insightful and honest comment. Yes, most of us have been cajoled into situations even after communicating a NO. When the no is overridden or ignored, and we submit, it’s a violation. When we retrieve those violations that live underneath the shame, we reclaim a piece of our voice. This is an essential part of sexual healing.

      • I think another difficult aspect of this is that we have natural human urges that make it difficult to keep those boundaries when we are not with a safe partner. In this case, I never met a safe partner until a few years later. Man that was really tough on 19 year old me.

        • Yes, I feel a lot of sadness for my teenage self, and part of the healing is going back in time to hold and love her.

  2. Hi Sheryl,

    Is this course good for someone who wants to become more sexual? I’ve never been very sexual, but I’ve always desired to be. I didn’t lose my virginity until last year with my bf (I’m 25) and had my first sexual experience at 20 with an ex. Before any experience I couldn’t wait to start having sex, but when it happened I just wasn’t sexual. The desire wasn’t there.

    Even now with my current boyfriend, I never really want to. I’ve never been shamed about sex and don’t have any negative experiences on it that I can think of so idk what’s holding me back.

    • Hi Jasmine: Yes, the course offers a safe and gentle roadmap for exploring the roots of sexual blocks and shame, which can exist even without obvious negative experiences. We all receive negative messages about our emerging sexuality in early years which then causes shutdown to our innate desire. I hope to see you there.

  3. I’m honestly really debating whether or not to take this course, cause I’m worried it’s going to be triggering- actually it kind of already is- AND it seems like a necessary place I need to heal. I suppose I could register and then see how I feel as it goes.

    • I want you to really trust yourself, Riley. If it’s already triggering, it might not be the right time to take it. You’ve done a lot of courses lately and it might be a more loving choice to allow the material that you’ve already received to integrate before taking this one.

  4. You often talk about rewiring our brain to think that safety and openness is sexy. Does the course include that?

    • Yes, that’s a significant part of the course, and it starts with feeling safe and open within your own body and starting to notice small flickers of desire/aliveness.

  5. Sheryl—

    I didn’t know it at the time, but my understanding of Sacred Sexuality came out of injury and illness. I went through a period of terrible pelvic pain, while I was in a committed heterosexual relationship, which made standard “intercourse” impossible. Luckily, my partner was (and is) the most sensitive and kindest of men, and was willing to explore the non-invasive, “unconventional” aspects of sex and intimacy with me, and our relationship thrived. It was the greatest gift I have ever been given. It’s something I wish for every woman (every person, really) on Earth. It’s something I will impart to my children when the time comes to discuss sexuality with them. And the crazy part is, I STILL have feelings of shame associated with that time, with my “inability” to engage in standard heterosexual penetrative sex. There is still a narrative buried within me that says I was depriving my male partner of satisfaction during that time—a narrative that is reinforced every time I hear a man going on about how little sex his female partner is “giving” him and how frustrated he is, or any time I read an article about how much sex a couple “should” be having. But, blog posts and recordings like these also slowly contribute to the dissolution of that narrative within me, and I thank you for putting them out into the world.

    Warmest of hugs!


    • Thank you for such a beautiful and reflective comment, Niamh, and yes: how deep the shame and narratives run that say that there is only one way to have sex and that it’s our obligation as women to give our male partners penetrative sex regularly! It’s high time to debunk that deeply ingrained belief, and I do see it happening one brave woman at a time – alongside her kind and receptive male partner. Sending warmest of hugs back to you. ❤️.

  6. Hi Sheryl,
    I’m thinking about taking this course, but to be honest I’ve been thinking about taking a different one (from sex coach). The one I thought about before was also including something ‘spiritual’ but was very focused on pleasure. Of course, I’m not asking you which should I choose, but I wonder if your course is about pleasure too? I know it might be a weird question, but does your course focus only on emotional intimacy or also on experiencing pleasure?

    I’m sorry if my questions are not very clear, I’m still discovering this topic.

    • Hi Zosi: Yes, the course addresses pleasure and desire in the sense that when we reduce shame and reclaim our voice, we create inner safety, which is the pathway to pleasure. I just posted on this in this week’s post.


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