230: 4 Things Every Woman Can Do to Enjoy Sex More (with Janna Denton-Howes)
How do you feel about having sex with your spouse? If you’re like most women, you don’t want sex until it starts happening. And even then, many of you still don’t enjoy it. My guest today believes it’s because two things are missing from the experience: safety and empowerment.
Boundaries are super important in your sex life, even after you’re married. After all, consent doesn’t end with “I do.” Unfortunately, society and media tell us that our job is to pleasure our spouses and check all the boxes even when we don’t want to. That doesn’t sound very pleasurable, does it?
In today’s episode, I’m chatting with Sex Coach, Janna Denton-Howes, on how women can enjoy sex more with their spouses. Janna is amazing. She's an open-book with zero shame when it comes to the topic of sex (this episode might not be suitable for little ears in the room) and is passionate about helping women set their own boundaries in the bedroom. She helps women trust their intuition more, prioritize their pleasure, connect with their bodies, and set boundaries that empower them in the bedroom.
Show yourself some extra love – sign up for the Vibrant Happy Women Retreat! Spend 5 days with amazing women like you, letting go of stress and finding greater energy, clarity, and vision for your life. Join us!
What You’ll Learn:
- Janna’s experience of not enjoying sex in her marriage and her journey to changing that.
- Why most women aren’t taught that sex should be enjoyable for them.
- How Janna talks to her daughters about sex.
- Janna’s 4 Desire Fixes to help you enjoy sex more.
- Why consent doesn’t end with “I do.”
- The power of looking at your own vulva with curiosity.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Janna Denton-Howes Website | Quiz | The Wanting It More Program | Facebook
- Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski Ph.D.
- Ep #229: How to Raise Your Vibration
- Join us in the Vibrant Happy Women Club!
- Reserve your spot in the 2021 Vibrant Happy Women Retreat – we would love to have you there!
- Follow Jen on Instagram
- Follow Jen on Facebook
Full Episode Transcript:
You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 230. We’re talking about four things every woman can do to enjoy sex more. Stay tuned.
Hi, I'm Jen Riday. This podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.
Well hey there my vibrant and happy friends. It’s almost August, today is the last day of July and I am super excited that in about another week I will be hosting our Vibrant Happy Women online retreat, the topic is boundaries. And this is the perfect way to set yourself up for the remainder of 2020 and on into 2021, whatever happens, vaccine or no vaccine, school or no school, Covid or no Covid. You need boundaries to preserve your precious time and energy.
You need to do what it takes to feel happy so that your kids have an example of that. Your loved ones have an example of that because mood is contagious. The way you feel as the energetic center of your life, we as women tend to be that. The way you feel influences everyone around you. You walk into a room, whether people know it or not, if you’re feeling good, they’re going to feel a little better.
If you’re feeling poorly, or negative, or down, or full of shame or guilt or anything else, they’re going to pick up on that because our brains have mirror neurons and they communicate in milliseconds. These mirror neurons are fantastically amazing, they help us with empathy but they also make mood really, really contagious. So if you haven’t figured it out yet, maximizing your happiness, maximizing your energy, raising your vibration are one of the best gifts you can give not only yourself, but especially your loved ones, because they’re watching.
And I don’t know about you, but I want my girls to grow up and be happy, vibrant, empowered, in tune with how they’re feeling, aware of what they need to do to feel their best, because we get one shot at this life.
Well, so to help you with maximizing your time, and your energy, and your happiness I’m going to teach you the art of setting boundaries without guilt. At the Vibrant Happy Women online retreat I am going to teach you in almost a full day workshop with a lunch break, I’m going to teach you what exactly a boundary is. There’s a lot of confusion around this. So you’re going to learn exactly what a boundary is and is not. How to identify toxic behavior and what to do about it.
You’re going to learn the six types of boundaries and how you can set these boundaries to stop those energy and time leaks that leave you feeling empty and low vibe. You’re going to learn how the shoulds might be causing you to sabotage your own boundaries. And a really powerful phrase that will help you nail it when it comes to setting boundaries.
Now, how do you know if you need a boundary? Well, I have a list, I’m going to read just some of the list, we’re going to be talking about this list in the online retreat. And here are some of the questions.
You may need a boundary if you feel responsible for another person’s feelings. You put others needs ahead of your own. You don’t have a consistent self-care and health routine. You often feel frantic, in a hurry and end up late and rushing. You dread the day when you wake up. Your life has little joy or fulfillment. You’re missing deadlines and appointments. You don’t make time to develop your talents. Your kids don’t listen or help out. You rarely do things just for fun.
I’m going to end there, but when I’ve shared this list with women before their eyes get big and their mouths get quiet and they eventually say after a long pause, “Whoa, all of those apply to me.” Yeah, historically, we women have not learned from our parents, from our moms, from our grandmas what it looks like to set a boundary. What it looks like to preserve and protect that precious time, energy and happiness.
So if you would like to become a master of boundary setting, join us for the Vibrant Happy Women online retreat on Saturday August 8th. We will be doing everything virtually and you will walk away with very clear ideas about what boundaries are and exactly the boundaries you’re going to set in your life, and what the consequences for those boundary violations will be.
You’ll also know exactly how to talk about boundaries with your spouse and kids and how to handle it when they’re a little shocked that you’ve started to set boundaries. Don’t worry, they’ll be onboard quickly, I’ve seen this a million times. So join us, the signup is at jenriday.com/onlineretreat. I cannot wait to help you feel more in charge of your time, energy and happiness, you deserve that and your family deserves that. So get your spot, the spots are limited jenriday.com/onlineretreat.
Alright, my guest today, Janna Denton-Howes is going to be talking about four things we as women can do to enjoy sex more. She is an open book, I love that she speaks with zero shame. You will hear words in this episode that might not be for little ears, heads up for that. She speaks freely, and candidly, and in a way that is oh so refreshing.
So after we turned off the microphone Janna and I had a blast just talking. She’s my new BFF. I have a lot of BFFs out there but she’s one of my new BFFs, she is amazing. And you guys, guess where she lives? I know, you’re guessing. Yes, she lives close to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. She’s on that same island where all those Nanaimoites are from.
If I wasn’t going to go there before, I am definitely going to Vancouver Island now, as soon as the US opens its borders, which could be decades at this point. But I am so going to go there, we’re going to have a giant party, you’re all invited.
So she’s speaking to us today about sex. She is awesome, she is open and you’re going to love these four tips she shares. Also she talks about boundaries. Did you know you get to have boundaries in the bedroom with your spouse? Boundaries do not end when you say, “I do.” Oh yeah, boundaries, boundaries, boundaries, I’m thinking so much about boundaries now. So if you want to learn more about boundaries in the bedroom and everything else Janna has to share, let’s jump into this episode.
Jen: I am talking with Janna Denton-Howes today and she is a sex coach who specializes in helping married women want and enjoy sex more with their husbands. Known for her popular course, The Wanting it More Program, Janna empowers groups of women to create boundaries, trust their institution and prioritize their pleasure in their sexual experiences. Janna lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband of 19 years and their two children. Welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, Janna.
Janna: Thank you so much, Jen, it’s an honor to be here.
Jen: I am super honored. I love the vulnerability of your story, so let’s go ahead and start there and hear how you were one of those women who didn’t love sex. And how you learned to begin to enjoy that and prioritize it.
Janna: Yeah, it just wasn’t something I thought I would struggle with, but I did. I didn’t want it very much, and when we did have it, I didn’t really enjoy it at all. And it was really challenging, I felt very broken, I felt very alone. I tried to talk to my friends about it and nobody could relate. I went to my doctor, I was like, “Please, just do something.” I heard that if you boost your testosterone levels and it all gets better and I’ll suddenly just want to jump my husband, but it didn’t work that way.
So it took me probably a good 10, 12 years of being married to finally sort it out for myself. And then in the process of doing that I actually became a trained marriage coach, because we had gone to so much support to try to fix this one issue in our relationship. And unfortunately I couldn’t find the methodology, or the framework, or the advice that would work in the long run. So I just went ahead and developed it for myself, and now I share it with hundreds of other women.
Jen: That is awesome. Well, paint the picture of what it was like for you, maybe I’m guessing your husband wanted to have sex and you didn’t want to. Just paint the picture of what that looks like so we can all kind of relate in our own way.
Janna: The bedroom eyes and the hints, and the looking at the calendar, oh my gosh, it’s been two weeks, it’s been a month, feeling guilty. And then also feeling resentful because he wasn’t doing the dishes or helping out with the kids. Or it really felt like something that I was providing for my husband, rather than something that I wanted, and it was going to bring me pleasure, and energy, and enjoyment. And I had nowhere to turn. There just wasn’t any great education, and the internet wasn’t providing me much in the way of healthy advice around sex.
And the things that I needed to do were not very obvious to me, and it took a while for me to sort them out, so I’m really, really excited to share them today.
Jen: I’m so glad you do this because I was once at a book club, I’ve shared this before. And 75% of the women in the room, I don’t know if I just hit a strange group, but 75% said that they hated sex. And then a good portion of those said they had never experienced an orgasm. My jaw literally dropped, it was very different from my experience. And so I want to back up a teeny bit, thinking about yourself and your ‘lack of desire’, did you see any patterns you might have learned from the women you were around growing up? Because I’ve noticed that can be a common theme.
A friend of mine said her mom told her sex was a chore, and once she was married, well, sex was a chore, she knew nothing else. Did you have that experience or see that with your clients?
Janna: Yeah. The most common one is no advice at all, so just silence around sex. And now my mom and I have a great relationship when it comes to talking about sex, she’s one of the most biggest supporters of the work I do.
But when I was a child she didn’t have the tools, she didn’t know what was appropriate to talk to me about. She kind of thought that I would just gain knowledge through osmosis kind of being in our culture. And she did give me some popup books, anatomy, but talking about pleasure and orgasms, and the fact that I had a clitoris just never came up. And she just felt really uncomfortable about it. She definitely made a huge stride compared to how she was raised. But again, who was there to educate her?
And so that’s one of the most exciting ripple effects of the work I do is that now these women are able to talk to their children, in particular their daughters about pleasure, about consent, about enjoyment. Just even share that a healthy sex life is just a regular part of marriage, that it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s actually to be really celebrated. So that’s definitely been a trend I see is just a lot of silence.
Jen: Now, do you have a daughter yourself?
Janna: I have two.
Jen: So let us be a fly on the wall, so to speak. What kind of things do you say to them to pass on a healthier attitude about sex?
Janna: Yeah, it’s so good. So they are now 10 and 12, so they’re older. So it started when they were, I think one of them was six. And we had the conversation about the sperm and the egg, and that’s how you make a baby. And we were laying on my bed, I remember this so clearly, and she looks at me, she’s like, “Mom, how does the sperm get to the egg?” And I took a deep breath and my heart was racing, but this was the moment I had been waiting for. They say, “Just answer their questions.” And here was a very direct question.
So I said, “Well, the sperm comes out of Dad’s penis and goes into my vagina.” And she looked at me with these big eyes and she was like, “No.” She ran out of the room, went to go tell her sister, I could hear them squealing and making throwing up sounds.
And it’s just been the same thing all along all the way up until one of them recently asked me, “Do you suck dad’s penis?” They had heard it somewhere. And there was another moment, a teaching opportunity. And I just looked at her and said, “Yes, sometimes I do.” And again, “This is disgusting, oh my God.” I said, “Well, he cleans and it’s only when I want to, and it’s only when it brings me pleasure. And did you know, the mouth is actually really clean.” But it feels uncomfortable because everything we’re told in our society, in our culture says, “Do not talk about sex, it’s wrong.”
So it’s our generation, I believe, if we can heal ourselves we can show up for our children in that way.
Jen: That is awesome, to heal ourselves. Well, I know you have the four desire fixes, tell us about those and how those can help us with that healing.
Janna: So usually we’re told the advice of spice things up, get a vibrator, wear lingerie, watch some porn, role play. That’s all the advice I was given or just relax, take a deep breath. Or unfortunately the advice I hear a lot is just do it, it’s good for your marriage. It’s like kale, kale’s good for you, just eat the kale and then everyone will be happy.
Jen: Yeah. I don’t want to feel about sex the way I feel about kale.
Janna: Right, I mean kale can be good, kale chips, pretty good. But that is really detrimental to women’s sexuality. It’s making it a commodity, it’s making it about performance. It’s making it about looking for external things to make us horny enough so that we can provide a need for somebody else. And so the four desire fixes are a little different.
So the first one is prioritize your pleasure. And that starts in the everyday experience. You cannot go into a sexual experience where there’s all this other stuff going on, there is another person, they’re kind of a wildcard. It’s an intent situation to learn a new skill. So you practice it in the everyday experience through your senses, take a second. Even right now look around and see something beautiful or hear the birds chirping or smell your coffee, feel a nice warm blanket on your skin, just for a minute, that’s it.
And that skill, that muscle if developed in a safe and comfortable environment, is a huge win for you in the bedroom, because now it’s all about your pleasure. And that works very well with men, because they get pleasure from your pleasure, so it works really well for everybody.
Jen: Yeah. That’s great. What about step two?
Janna: Step two is trust what feels good and what doesn’t, because we have been trained to believe that there are certain sexual acts that are going to make it a sexual act. They’re the ones that we’re going to check it off the list, the blowjobs, and the oral sex, and the breasts, and the bum, and the vagina, and the vulva, and the clitoris. But the thing is we have a whole body, that’s amazing pleasure potential.
And if we’re not trusting what feels good and what doesn’t, if we’re pushing ourselves to do things because we think we should, or that’s what we’ve seen on TV, or this is what our husbands want us to do. Then there’s no way we’re going to want and then look forward to that experience. So we have to design something that feels really comfortable, really safe and really something that is like a self-care practice. So that’s a critical component, you have to trust what feels good and what doesn’t regardless of what your husband or the media says.
Jen: Yeah. And if you know you’ve built that trust with yourself and you’re going to honor that trust then I think sex would become a less scary thing or a less dangerous thing for some women. If they know, well, I’m not going to do anything I don’t like, so I’m safe.
Janna: Yeah. And pleasure needs safety.
Jen: For sure, yeah. So thinking of your clients, can you think of any of the people you’ve worked with who had to learn and overcome that idea that pleasure needs safety? How did they create that emotional safety so the pleasure would be the next step for example?
Janna: I really wish I could have a great little story here. But it’s so common, it’s so prevalent, the butt grabbing, the comments about your body, the ogling when you’re undressing, the incessant requests for things that you don’t enjoy. It’s not even just from the husband, but it’s from internal as well.
Again, if we’ve been told for so long that French kissing, for example, is something you do when you’re in a hot and heavy moment with your husband. But what if you don’t like that? What if you don’t like the slobber and the gushy, tonguey wet stuff, what if you don’t like that? But yet you continue to force yourself to do it because that’s what you should do. Then of course you’re not going to look forward to the sexual experience at all, and you’re not going to get all those wonderful benefits that we should all be getting.
Jen: Yeah, benefits like? Tell us.
Janna: So many, so many. One of the pillars of my program is sex is good for you, it’s like a mantra, sex is good for you. It’s good for women in different ways than it is for husbands. And I see women trying to get the same benefit as their husbands do and it doesn’t really work because men usually get a lot of – again this is gender generalizations, which means there’s always going to be variety in there.
But men feel a lot of connection through their sexual experience. And they feel important, a priority, they feel special. And women feel that to some degree, but I think it’s stronger in other ways, like cleaning up the garage together, or organizing a closet. Or planning the summer together and what are you going to do with the kids, and we’re going to be a team, and we’re going to be on the same page. There’s all this, like, “Yeah, we’re good, then ooh.” Or a good conversation, let’s get really deep and emotional and okay, good, I’m going to go to sleep now, right?
Janna: Yeah. So if we keep on looking for the same thing as men then we’re going to always feel a little bit, what’s wrong, this isn’t, I’m not getting the same thing. Do I not love him? So we get more benefits from a physical standpoint, from an emotional standpoint, from a spiritual standpoint with all of those delightful hormones, the oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine. So it’s good for your physical health.
And then from an emotional standpoint or a mental standpoint, with the raised level of testosterone you are more productive, you’re more creative. If I ever want to create something for my business, I have a little sexual pleasure with my husband and then I go off and I have done amazing things after those. And they have to be energizing though, they can’t be a draining experience. So I can’t say all sex is like that. If you’re following the four desire fixes, so to speak, then you’ll be able to design an experience that gives you those benefits.
Jen: I love that. And I did not know that. I’m totally going to do that. I need to create something in my business this week. I love how you said sex is a form of self-care, I think you slipped that in there. And I’ve been thinking lately about how many women struggle just to do their self-care because they think it’s selfish or they don’t have time for it. But when you realize that your happy mood is contagious, and everyone around you is happy when mom is happy, then you can justify the self-care.
Well, I find the same to be true for sex, it is a huge mood booster, that oxytocin and the dopamine. I’ve read that semen is a natural antidepressant, so many good benefits. And then you top it off, like the cherry on the sundae with productivity. I’m more in than ever, but how do you help women to see the benefits and just believe in it and become committed to getting those benefits for themselves?
Janna: It’s such an interesting process that I watch them go through. Usually they come into the program, I just finished off a live round so I’m just full of this energy of these 70 women. So they come in and they usually come in because of guilt. They’re feeling bad that they’re not speaking their husband’s love language, they’re worried that their marriage might not survive, it being sexless. They are feeling broken, like something’s wrong with them, they feel abnormal, they feel alone.
And I’m like, “Come on in, okay, whatever your motivation is, that’s fine.” And then they come in, I say, “Okay, great. Now, we’re not going to have sex for three weeks.”
Janna: And there’s like a big collective sigh of relief. And then the courage to speak up to their husbands. And sometime this is the first time their husbands have ever heard. I usually work with women who have been married kind of between 10 to 20 years, let’s say. Their husbands have never heard that they’re not enjoying sex or finding it really stressful, or even painful.
Some women have been forcing themselves to have sex three times a week and they never even mention it to their husbands, and other women have, it’s a big range. So they use their voice, they create very clear boundaries which is the fourth desire fix. They are the only ones to initiate physical touch. And suddenly once they’re given safety and space to actually want it, to be on the offensive and not on the defensive, it starts to cultivate.
And that desire to touch, to be close, to even have sex with their husbands for the first time in their whole relationship starts to come to life. And so they start to see that they want it themselves, this is no longer being forced on them, or guilted, or shamed, they know they’re not alone because they’re in a group of a lot of other women who are all saying the same thing.
And then we talk about responsive desire, so there’s actually two types of desire. I learned about this with Emily Nagoski’s amazing book, Come as You Are, she’s my hero, one day I’ll meet her and bow to her feet. And about 70% of women don’t want sex before it’s happening. So their desire, their arousal is cultivated within a safe, accepting, comfortable space.
So they schedule sex. I schedule sex, I have sex every Sunday morning. So if you come by my house and you knock on the door at 9 o’clock in the morning, I will be having some sex. So, please don’t keep on ringing the doorbell.
Jen: I have to ask. Do your girls know about this?
Janna: Oh gosh, yes. Oh my gosh, last Sunday it was a whole another level. So we’ve been working up to this, I mean you heard the story, we started when they were six, and she’s now 12.
And our youngest likes a good snuggle, and when anyone’s snuggling she wants to be involved, she wants to be there, that has not changed since she was a baby. And she knows Sunday morning are our special time, they’re very well aware that we’re having sex. She comes rushing in, jumps on the bed and smiles at me. I am naked, I am naked under the blankets, I’ve got tools ready. And I’m like, “Honey, please, it’s Sunday morning, you know what’s going down.” She’s like, “I know but I like to snuggle.” And she climbs under the bed.
Jen: Oh no.
Janna: Under the bed, my husband’s having a shower, he comes out, he’s like, “I’m naked, this is our room, you’re choosing to be in our room right now, I’m naked.” So she stays under the bed, finally she comes out, I said, “Honey, you know we’re having sex, it’s Sunday morning, this is what married people do, we enjoy it, it’s our special time. We’re just going to get started.” And she runs out of the door.
Jen: Oh my gosh.
Janna: Sometimes you just have to go the distance, like, “Come on, why are we messing around with this here?”
Jen: Wow, I love it.
Janna: So we have a lock, that we lock the door, they’re not there when we’re having a sexual experience. But just why not? We can talk about going on a date night, we can talk about brushing our teeth, we can talk about eating at a restaurant. I mean all the topics we can talk about, why can’t we just be really open about this?
Jen: Yeah, I love it. And your daughters will, oh my goodness, they’re going to go straight into their sexual relationships with open arms like, “Yeah, finally it’s my turn.”
Janna: I don’t know. Culture is so strong, even with my work and I’m always talking about, “Your beautiful vulva, and you know you have a clitoris.” And they’re like, “Oh mom, stop talking about that again.” And I try to listen to their boundaries and all of that. But still, my daughter was saying – calling it, “Doing the nasty.”
Jen: Oh no.
Janna: Doing the nasty, what’s nasty about it? There’s nothing nasty, it’s beautiful, it’s awesome, it’s pleasurable, it’s enjoyable, it’s fantastic. So culture is strong, very, very, very strong.
Jen: So the four steps of desire, list those again one time, just so we can hear them rolled off the tongue all at once.
Janna: Absolutely. The first one is prioritize your pleasure. Then we have trust what feels good and what doesn’t. Then we have connect with your body, we didn’t talk about that one. And then we have create clear boundaries.
Jen: Now, boundaries, how do you do that? What does that look like?
Janna: Well, first you’re learning about yourself by trusting what feels goods and what doesn’t, then it’s your decision. And I find women just push themselves so far. So I just say lovingly, “If it’s a maybe, it’s a no.” Because women will push themselves so far into the maybe that they’ll want to push it to the yes. But really it’s a no. And you can only want something when you can first say no, when you have that voice. So I’ve created a lot of boundaries in my marriage and it’s resulted in a fantastic sex life, so I can share those with you.
I don’t like my breasts being touched, I tried for so long to like it because I thought that’s what women wanted, pinch my nipples, suck on them, put your penis on them, all the things. And I hated it for years, can you believe it? So many years I pushed myself to do that. So now my breasts aren’t even really – the only thing my breasts like to be is in a bra covered up and smudged against my husband’s naked chest, that’s what they like.
Janna: Yeah. So my husband doesn’t grab them, he doesn’t look at them. He doesn’t comment on them. Another boundary is I don’t like being called sexy. Actually I don’t like my body being called anything, even beautiful. What I really like is when he says, “I’m proud of you. I see how hard you’re working. You’re such a great wife. You’re such a great mom.” Those things freely given any time, but anything about my body I don’t like.
Jen: Yeah. Well, I don’t want to be objectified, yeah.
Janna: Yeah, it’s my body.
Jen: Yeah, exactly, yeah. It’s great, okay.
Janna: So then I do get the question, “But then wait a minute. But I like calling my wife sexy, or I like grabbing her butt. Or I like passionate kisses, I like stroking her hair, I like giving her a foot massage, I like that.” And then we just talk about consent. Consent doesn’t stop, doesn’t end with, “I do.” It continues into the marriage.
Jen: Yeah, so that’s good, such good quotables, consent doesn’t end with, “I do.” Is the space of saying no, does that also create some desire, they’re like, “I don’t get to do this for three weeks.” And then they suddenly have more desires, and more because they get to choose it?
Janna: It’s about choice, it’s about safety, that’s really what it comes down to. If I’m going to touch my husband and I know he’s not going to pressure me to advance things. If I’m no longer responsible for his erection then I’m going to probably touch him more, because I feel safe to touch him more. He can get aroused and I don’t have to feel pressured, we can have a passionate kiss on the couch or really lovely exchange in the kitchen, or even in the bedroom. And if it’s not scheduled it’s not going to advance and move anywhere further.
So yes, couples get so much more physical touch when there are these safety boundaries, these pressure free boundaries in place for women. And then they go ahead and schedule what I call an exploration date. So we don’t really use the term ‘sex’ actually in my world. There’s so much heaviness and weight around it.
So the exploration is a curiosity, no goals, they’re usually a lot longer, one to two hours. I have people say, “Wait a minute, how is that possible?” But it’s more relaxed, it’s more peaceful, there’s other things involved, maybe a shower, or maybe talking. Some people like to bring a board game just into the bedroom, not like a sex board game but like literally, Scrabble. Because this is about – when I ask people, “What is sex about?” They tell me, “Connection.” So why don’t we make connection with some physical pleasure the ultimate goal rather than orgasm?
Jen: Yeah. Yeah, that’s cool. What do you say to women who have a trauma, a sexual trauma in their past? How can they begin their healing process?
Janna: That’s a really great question. And trauma, there’s so many levels, I think you had a guest recently who called them little T and big T traumas. So there’s really so many levels and layers of trauma, and what do we call trauma? Because somebody who might have had a big T trauma, maybe they were raped or had some issues in their childhood. It’s not going to determine whether they’re more traumatized than somebody who had maybe a little event happen, but maybe it was at that moment.
For example when I was five years old I had an experience with another five year old boy. And it was kind of like, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” kind of deal. But that was really traumatic for me. And it wasn’t until 25 years later that I told my mom about it, that I was able to unpack that and move forward from the shame of that experience. So I’m definitely not a trauma healing specialist at all. So I love working with people who have their own kind of trauma support if they need it, one-on-one.
But then also this structure is great for people who have experienced trauma because it is very safe. I teach women to be the leaders of their sexual experience, and their husbands to be the responders. And so in that way there’s so much control, there’s so much safety, there’s very, very little pressure.
And men too, respond, they say, “This is amazing, my wife is finally telling me what she wants. She’s using her voice. I don’t have to guess anymore, this is fantastic.” And they usually have a way deeper connection because it isn’t about guilt sex or pity sex, or, I’ll just – as one husband recently said in a testimonial video. He was like, “She just laid there like a dead fish.” So it was hilarious, really funny. So I don’t specialize in the actual healing of the trauma. But I make sure that their sexual experience is as safe as possible for them.
Jen: Well, so if people want to follow you, they’re like, “I need to be in Janna’s world, she’s going to help me solve this problem, I just know it.” Where can they go?
Janna: Well, the best thing to do is to take the four desire fixes quiz. So this will help you determine which one of these four are the best first step for you. And then I provide you some simple action steps. I explain the desire fix and then that way without my support or help right away, you can actually create some pretty quick change in your relationship. So that’s just jannadentonhowse.com/quiz.
Jen: Well, this is amazing. I love what you’re doing in the world. One final thought, what would be the ideal frequency? A lot of women want to know the frequency, ideal frequency, or do we go back again to whatever you want ladies?
Janna: No, I actually do have something prescriptive here.
Janna: At least once a week, schedule an exploration date with no goals, no pressure, you be the leader, you follow those four paths of the desire fixes that I shared. And do it once a week, because if you do it less than that you’re going to forget that it felt good.
Jen: Yeah, right.
Janna: And really the way women’s bodies – some women’s bodies works, it’s a big generalization, is that the more pleasure we experience, the more pleasure that we’re receptive to, the more pleasure that we want. And so if it’s been a month or two months, or in my case, a year, actually two periods of a year each that I didn’t have sex. I completely forgot that I even had a vulva, a clitoris, quite honestly, I was so in my head, so out of my body. And so having that nice intimacy heartbeat in a marriage at least once a week is just, it’s so good, so healing.
Jen: I agree. I feel like for me, the oxytocin that accompanies orgasm, I can go into sex not liking my husband very much. And I can come out adoring him, and it’s a magical transformation. It always shocks me how that happens, oxytocin’s a good thing, I’m glad we get some. Well, one final piece of advice then we’ll say goodbye.
Janna: One final piece of advice. Look at your vulva in a mirror.
Jen: Tell us, how do you do that exactly, you just put a hand mirror down there?
Janna: You buy a mirror that has a stand on it, so not something you hold. And you find somewhere cozy in your area, wherever that may be, for me that’s my bedroom, you get a lock for your bedroom, or you do it when no one’s around because again, you do not want to be worried that you’re going to be interrupted. You get some good light. I am a fan of natural light. But you can get like a lamp or something, this is an important moment, really important. So many women haven’t done this.
And you approach this with curiosity, just curiosity, or you can even think about it, you can look at a diagram of a vulva, what it looks like, where the labia is, where the clitoris, the clitoral hood, your urethra, your vaginal opening. And just say, “Okay, that’s where the parts are.” So many women don’t even know they have two holes. The pee doesn’t come out of the vaginal canal. So this is a powerful moment for a lot of women.
My first experience was in the bathroom right after a shower with a very dusty make-up mirror, it was the quickest look of a vulva I think has ever happened, because I felt really scared about doing it. I felt nervous, I had all those shame messages from culture, don’t look at that, don’t touch that, that’s not okay. So reconnecting with your body is so powerful. And if you want to take it a step further and get some coconut oil or some natural lubricant, I have an alumni who makes a natural lube which I just adore.
And just explore, what does it feel like? And just be curious, what does that feel like? Is it the tapping or counterclockwise, don’t go straight for the clitoris, there’s a lot of nerve endings there, go around, check it out. And just really explore your body. You can even go another step and watch it become aroused, which is amazing and powerful, especially if you feel like you’re broken, to see with your own eyes that your body is changing, that there are some blood flow happening, that you’re darkening, that you’re swelling, it’s an amazing experience. So highly recommend doing this.
Jen: Awesome. Alright everyone get your mirrors, yeah, I feel brave. Email me and let me know. No, just kidding, I’ll read them on the air, no, I’m just kidding. I love it. I love it. Janna, you’re doing such good work in the world. I can tell you’ve really tackled and gotten rid of your own shame, you speak so openly. And I have an intention and hope that a lot of our listeners can learn to be so open, and accepting, and excited about sex as you are. So, thank you so much for being on the show.
Janna: Thanks Jen, and thanks for you for being open to have this topic on your podcast, I really appreciate it. And you’re helping spread the word, so thank you.
Alright, good information. Everyone get your mirrors, go look at your vulva. I laugh in fun, not shame. I just never thought I would say that on my podcast. Go check out your vulvas ladies. Okay, Janna is awesome, make sure you go and take that quiz, jannadentonhowse.com/quiz. You can figure out what is your predominant desire fix, the thing you need to focus on most to fix your desires so you can want sex more than you have, if that has been a problem. Or if you want sex more, even if it wasn’t a problem, jannadentonhowse.com/quiz.
We’ll have a link in the show notes at jenriday.com/230. Also join me in about a week or so for a soul fueling, cup filling, community building, wow, I just came up with that off the top of my head, day. A day to retreat, to be alone, to feel like a woman again, to connect with other vibrant happy women at the Vibrant Happy Women online retreat. We will have music. We will have a prize or two. We will have learning and workshopping. You’ll need a journal and a water bottle.
But this is your chance to get a grip on what’s draining your energy, what’s sucking away your time and happiness and to fix it. We’re going to fix our lives and take control and take ownership of our lives again. Now, you’re going to learn exactly what a boundary is. But I’m going to give you a hint, that word ‘ownership’, taking ownership of our lives is going to be spoken again and again throughout the retreat.
And you’re going to feel so much more in charge of your mood, and your thoughts, and your behavior, and the way you show up with your loved ones once you have experienced what we’ll be offering you at the retreat. Get your tickets, bring a friend, your friend can come at a discounted rate. Those are at jenriday.com/onlineretreat. I will see you there, until then make it a vibrant and happy weekend. Take care.
If you enjoy this podcast, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s my monthly group coaching program where we take all this material to the next level and to get you the results that will blow your mind. Join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Club at jenriday.com/join.
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Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.
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