S2 E12: The Key To Your Happiness: Connecting And Listening To Our Vulvas

PTBE 12 | Vulvas

Exploring and understanding our bodies can be a valuable and empowering experience. Our personal experiences with connecting to our bodies can vary, and it’s important to approach such explorations with an open mind and respect for individual preferences and comfort levels. In this episode, Rachel and Clare provided valuable insights, guidance, and support for individuals seeking to enhance their understanding of their bodies and experiences. They took Naomi’s workshop, where they learned how to connect with their vulvas and talk about their observations and reactions physically and emotionally. Rachel and Clare emphasized the importance of knowing and understanding our bodies. Clare created a brief meditation to connect with your vulva, which you can download on her website for free. Tune in to this final episode of season two of Permission to be Enchanting Podcast!

Naomi’s book is now available on Amazon: The Key to Your Happiness Lies in Your Vagina: Five Steps to Unlocking Joy, Pleasure, and Happiness.

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The Key To Your Happiness: Connecting And Listening To Our Vulvas

We are in Episode 12 of Season 2. That means we’re at 25. Just like last season, we’re celebrating a little bit because it’s important to celebrate. In this episode, one of the things we wanted to circle back on is we interviewed a lovely woman by the name of Naomi Gale. It was a four-hour workshop at the end of December 2022 and it was called Birth Your 2023. She did a lovely mixture of a woman’s circle and some other things that we’re going to get into. We decided because it was so new. When we talk about it, you’ll be like, “You did what?” That’s what we’ll talk about in this episode.

One of the things Naomi Gale was talking about for us is her book. We pre-ordered that because I’m so in love with this girl from London or somewhere in England. She’s so passionate about if you are connecting with your root chakra, which is your vagina as she calls it, in your vagina lies the key to your happiness. That’s what we’re going to circle a little bit in this episode, this connection with yourself, with your vulva, with your vagina, and that there is wisdom and power there. That may sound pretty unusual to some people reading this. Rachel, what do you got to say?

PTBE 12 | Vulvas
The Key to Your Happiness Lies in Your Vagina: Five Steps to Unlocking Joy, Pleasure, and Happiness

We’re big fans girls of Naomi. I followed her for a while on Instagram. The way she talks about that whole genital area without any shame, she’s like, “This is it. This is what we’re talking about. This is what we’re doing.” Talking about menstruation or whatever it is, we’re all going to talk about it because education is so important.

She calls herself a vaginologist. That’s true, isn’t it? She’s so approachable as well. She’s caring and super trauma-informed. She talks about that a lot of the trauma element of it. We are in love with Naomi Gale. She said that she was going to do a workshop. We said we’ll be there on Zoom, not in person, unfortunately, but do you want to tell everybody and let everybody go, “You did what?”

The four hours went quickly because, at that point, I had never been on a four-hour Zoom call. She did some lovely meditations. Once we did some connecting to ourselves, we were also calling in what are some of our intentions were for 2023. The part that we wanted to focus a little bit more on is what she put in this that I haven’t seen ever in a workshop before. Your cameras are not on for this, but you did some connecting with your hands and your heart to your vagina.

This isn’t a new concept for me. It’s something that I’ve been learning when I went through my coaching program. The term is called de-armoring. I’m a bodyworker and there are trigger points in someone’s muscles. They’ve been planned out that, as a person, you can find there are four trigger points on an upper and there are different trigger points on different parts, but she’s saying these hard muscles, they’re contracted and stuck in a contracted fashion.

There are places like that in your vagina from trauma, and holding it, breathing, and connecting with that help release it. Sometimes you can have a therapist. For a physical therapist, she is licensed in the United States to do internal vaginal work for women with what’s called vulvodynia where you have pain in your vagina. There are different techniques that they have learned.

What I love about Naomi is that she is helping every woman learn to do this herself and that this is a newer concept because readers are probably going to be thinking, “Am I supposed to sit there with my finger inside of my vagina?” It’s not about self-pleasuring. It’s about connecting, breathing, and waiting for a release of that. I’m going to hand it back over to you because I like the back and forth of whatever I have then and then I’ll go on. What do you have to say?

For the first time, we’re not talking about pleasure yourself. We’re 25 episodes in and we’re not talking about pleasuring yourself.

Here’s how it relates. We’re not talking about pleasuring yourself, but when you have trauma and pain, there is no room for that pleasure. This is addressing some of that, which clears it away and allows more pleasure in. It is related. It’s just a precursor.

There is no room for pleasure when you have trauma and pain. Click To Tweet

I love that you had to get that in there. That’s brilliant. One of the things I love is I’m quite a gung-ho, I’ll-give-it-a-try-up-for-anything, and I’ll-jump-in kind of person. When it came to this, one of the things Naomi made clear was that there has to be an invitation even to your body. There has to be an invitation to touch, to enter, and you have to wait. It is speaking to your vagina, almost. “Is this okay? Do you want this? Am I allowed?”

That is such a radical concept because, so often, what we want is to put aside a lot of people. A lot of women have sex when they don’t particularly want to because they feel a bit obliged or whatever and we don’t make sure that this is a, “Yes, I want this invitation.” I stayed outside for quite a long time because I was waiting for that invitation and connecting with my body, my nerves, and how I feel about this. To experience that invitation and permission was nice. Did you feel ready for it? Was your body immediately like, “Yes, let’s go, Clare?” How did you feel?

I’m so glad you reminded me. We didn’t rehearse this so it’s like, “What do I remember? This was some time ago. Fuck, I can’t remember these things. My life is going forward.” Thank you for reminding me, Rachel, that that is so important and that alone could be a first step for anyone. I don’t know what episode I said it, but I talked about waiting for permission. I remember you saying, “It’s blowing my mind, Clare.”

It isn’t something that we’re teaching little girls. I guess we’re getting better at it, but I have a lot of women my age, so in their 50s and 60s, that we were in a group and we were talking about, “Did anyone ask you if you wanted to give Aunt Hilda a hug or uncle so-and-so when you didn’t like being around that person?” It was like, “No, you do that. No one asked whether that was my consent.” We’re doing much better in that, but how many of us women have never even thought about the concept of consent and having our own body and saying, “Are we ready for this?” For me, an answer to your question, it wasn’t an automatic like, “Come on in, Clare. Put those fingers inside of me.”

I can’t say I have a total practice, a jade egg practice, or a crystal egg practice. From a year of being in the sex love and relationship coaching that I was in in 2021, very regularly I would say at least ten times out of that year, we had these guided self-pleasuring practices. You take this little egg shape and you put it at the entrance of your vagina and you don’t do anything else. You are breathing with it and you are listening for permission.

It is sexy. I’m going to tell you that when she is ready, when your body says it’s time to come in, you will feel a little bit of an up suck of pulling it in. That’s a bigger and rounder, nice, smoother surface than your finger, maybe that’s the start of something. Maybe you start with cupping your vulva and your hands are right at the entrance and it’s over your underwear. That’s all you do. You breathe and you’re like, “I’m sorry. I haven’t been listening to you and I’ve forced you to do things that I wasn’t aware we had an opinion, but I’ll do better now. Let’s be a team,” and then see what she or they have to say.

I have conversations now with her. That’s my pronoun. Maybe too much information, but the best lovers I have will always say, and I’ve never prompted this come out of their mouth where they’ll say, “She talks to me. She pretty much tells me what you want.” I’ll be like, “How did you know? What did you just do?” They’re like, “She talked to me.” As odd as it may sound, there is communication that goes beyond words when your intention is there. Throwing it back at you, Rachel. What are your thoughts?

There is communication that goes beyond words when your intention is there. Click To Tweet

Before we started, we were saying Naomi has this beautiful trauma-informed practice and we were like, “We’ve not experienced trauma.” There are some people who do, sexual trauma specifically, and that is a whole wound to hold in that space. We were like, “That’s not us.” We were like, “Okay, but also, this happened.” On that communication point, I went to get my IUD changed. The lady took 45 minutes and couldn’t get it out. I was bleeding. I bled for a day or two afterward. It was horrible.

I went home and said to Steven, “I know in my brain that I was there and I wanted that to happen. I wanted to have an IUD. I had chosen to be there. I had made that choice and set that appointment, but my vagina didn’t know.” She wasn’t part of that conversation. That was the first time that I realized that there was almost a separation between what my brain is doing and what my vagina is doing because my brain understood. I felt that my vagina did not understand what it was that was happening to her and she was sad about it. I was anxious. I had to go back and try again. I’ve had to say to the lady, “I’m anxious about this and I need you to be gentle. If I say stop, I need you to stop touching me immediately.” She was like, “I’ve got you.”

How many women feel permission at their OB-GYN to even say that to a doctor, technician, or whoever the person that’s like, “When I say stop, I need you to stop?”

An example of that for me was a dentist. My son had a traumatic dentist experience. He was terrified of the dentist as a little boy. The next dentist we went to see was so good, and he totally exemplified that. He said, “You lift your left hand if you want me to stop.” When Harry lifted his left hand, immediately, tools away. He moved back. Harry was left alone. I was like, “That is so good. You’ve honored this little boy raising his hand and saying, “Stop touching me.” You’ve not said, ‘One more minute. Let me finish this.” You’ve stopped and left him, and that was so beautiful.

How old was Harry?

Maybe 6 or 7 at the time. He was a little boy. Knowing that you can advocate for yourself is so important. It is knowing that you can talk to your root, “Is this okay? We need to get a new IUD fitted. Are you okay with that? Do you want to do that?” Include her in the conversation. That sounds so weird, but it feels good to me.

It does sound weird, but if anyone wants to look at things like psychology, internal family systems where you have parts of yourselves that have conversations, that you’re having conversations with different parts of yourselves, that’s one example in a psychology field, and is a type of psychology. This isn’t woo-woo and weird. It may be new to you, reader, but I guarantee you that for me, having more connections with listening to my little girl, my vagina, listening to my heart, we were born to have these connections with our body parts because that’s how we survive.

We were born to have these connections with our body parts because that's how we survived. Click To Tweet

We’re so intimately connected to our senses. Think about it, if we didn’t smell something rancid and we ate it back in the wild, we were dead. If we couldn’t hear and know that there was some rustling and we got shivers on our arms, and that’s a sign that there’s some predator that’s in the bushes there, we were dead.

There are a lot of things that our senses were designed to. Our modern-day society has us thinking outside so much, meaning we are not into what is happening with our bodies. We’re looking outside of ourselves and we’re totally mostly in our brains. That’s part of the embodiment coaching that I do or hearing many people talk about coming back and doing embodiment exercises.

It helps lower stress levels when you can be in the here and the now of concentrating on your breath and focusing on the rise and the fall of your belly. That lowers your anxiety and your cortisol levels because you’re in the here and the now. There is absolutely nothing. It may sound interesting and weird to say I’m having a conversation with my root, with my vagina, or any other body part, but believe you that it is means to have better communication with your body.

As a dietician for many years, it blew my mind when I would be at a health fair and I was doing weight or waist circumference, which I feel bad about doing. I can’t tell you how many people who were in trouble had no clue that their blood pressure was sky-high. I’d say, “What do we think your weight is?” They’d be off by 50 pounds, and I’m like, “We aren’t connected to our bodies as much.” That’s a whole other episode of that.

What I’m saying is it helps to spend time every day with something. I’ve said this before. It is even putting your hands over your heart in the morning after you wake up, before you get out of bed, and taking 5, 10 breaths and saying, “Hello, body. It’s so good that we’re going to go through the day together. Is there anything that you need to tell me? I’m inviting you to tell me throughout the day of what you need and I will listen.”

It’s things like, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” and you listen and you go to the bathroom. When you’re hungry, get some food because in our society of go and do, we consider it an honor or we get a badge or something like, “I didn’t get up from my desk for six hours. I skipped lunch to do this.” Unfortunately, the world feels like it rewards you, but no one’s there when you’re in your sick bed to give you a reward for being a crap partner to your body.

One of my thoughts has been your brain is a dick, but your body loves you. Your brain is a thing that’s overanalyzing, worrying, panicking, anxiety, what’s happening, and to-do lists, and your body is there loving you. It’s there for you, waiting for you to love it back. Connecting with that is so nice. Brains are dicks. I feel like we could talk about this for three hours. We talked about this a little bit when we were interviewing her on the show about imagining a cling film or Saran Wrap and it’s that smoothing out of the fascia. That was imagery that you liked. What was that experience like for you seeing what you felt like inside? Was that new? Was it shocking?

I used what’s called a glass wand to do the de-armoring in the guided de-armoring exercise. I remember she talked about how you should think of the inside of your vagina as a clock and you’ve got the top of the clock as 12:00, 6:00 PM, 3:00, and 9:00 PM, and that she wasn’t going to work with the 12:00 and the 6:00. We were going to work with the 3:00 and the 9:00. That has a left side of your body and the right side of your body. For me, with Thai massage and other types of tantra or dao practices, the left side is traditionally the feminine side and the right side is the masculine side.

I was wondering what I was going to feel inside with going with that and what I found interesting. Yes, I like the idea of fascia. If you press hard like a massage therapist, if I go in quick, the body has a response, either a startle response or a protective response. You go in slow where you’re putting it where I learned it as wet sand. You’re putting your hand on wet sand and then you’re waiting for the body to let you in to sink a little bit deeper.

With her, imagine Saran wrap, as we call it in America, and that your finger is on that. What I noticed was on the left side, it let me in very easily. All I was doing was putting my finger against the inside of the vagina on my left side and waiting, and then there was that little bit of relaxation and then I could press harder at it. It felt good. It felt like a connection, yet on the right side, when we switched, that’s where I felt more firm.

I won’t say it felt like a trigger point or a pain point, but it felt different. That’s how I wanted to say that. I want to weave in that in this book by another Naomi, not Naomi Gale, but Naomi Wolf called Vagina, she talks about how there are some therapists that do internal work for a woman on releasing these trigger points.

PTBE 12 | Vulvas

He is one of the ones who informs a lot of doctors because he does this so well and he does it not clinically but more as a healing. What he does is a very warm and nurturing practice. Anyways, I’m going to jump into it. He says, “There is such a difference.” For some women, he has to do more than one session. There is this tightness in your vagina that he can feel and then there’s that looseness, that openness. I would call it supple.

When I’m doing, again, I’m grabbing my bicep here, but when I work on people in massage, they’re like, “Look at me. I work out and I got these tight muscles.” I’m like, “There’s a difference between an over-tight muscle that doesn’t know how to relax and a supple muscle.” A supple muscle is when I’m not having you curl your bicep, we should be able to strum it and it should be flexible and have almost not like a total Jell-O, but it should have some fluidity to it.

When it doesn’t, it’s too tight. This is in terms of blood flow to your vagina, which is blood flow everywhere in our body. If you’ve got tight internal points in your body, you have less blood flow there. If you have less blood flow, then things feel number or you’re going to have pain. Penetrative intercourse is not going to be comfortable.

There’s nothing good or bad about having a left side that was more comfortable and a right side that was not or that I didn’t find pain. You have to start wherever you’re at. A lot of women are realizing just like my muscles have trigger points, your vagina can have these tight points that are where trauma is there. I feel like I’m talking too much. Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps The Score, Dr. Gabor Maté, and Dr. Peter Levine, that trauma is stored in the body. They are three good trauma experts, authors who teach others how to be trauma-informed and how to help people with trauma. All of them say trauma is trapped in the tissues. It’s not what happened to you. It’s after it happened, where it’s lingering, and how it’s affecting you.

I’ve seen over and over again that when you release what you think is a minor thing, someone could have crying, sneezing, yawning, wanting to run away, wanting to shout and say, “Get off of me, motherfucker,” you release something in their body. It’s in your body. As you said, Rachel, for a lot of us women, annual exams, pap smears, for me, treating pre-cervical cancer with a laser, and having the tip of your cervix burned off, that’s trauma. I haven’t had rape and there are plenty of women who’ve had non-consent penetration. There are a million ways that there’s trauma.

I didn’t get quite as far as you. I had quite a different experience and that’s one of the reasons why we wanted to talk about this. The Body Keeps The Score, that’s the thing. We talk about this all the time. It’s all connected. How you feel in your work is how you feel in your bedroom. It’s how you feel as a parent. Confidence permeates across all. It’s all one thing. I came to it and I’d been having a difficult few months with my body. I love my body. I love the way my body looks. I’m fucking gorgeous. I was having a difficult few months with how it feels. I was in a lot of pain. I injured my ankle.

PTBE 12 | Vulvas
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

I was getting continuous problems with that. I have a sore hip. Perhaps I was feeling like my body was the enemy and that it was broken somehow. That was something I wanted to heal. I am working on healing. I found that being that intimate with my own vagina was so new to me that it was almost a bit shocking. I spent all the time because everything was the same. I was worried that my vagina was broken, that it didn’t feel right, that it was wrong.

Is that supposed to feel like that? Is that bit supposed to be there? I had no idea it was supposed to feel like what it felt like many years ago. I couldn’t tell you what it felt like many years ago or a few years ago because I didn’t feel it. I got a bit upset with myself for not having this enjoyable experience. Now, I’m going to use that as a learning tool.

There are so many reasons why being familiar with your body is good. One of them that hit me on the head that day was if something went wrong or something changed inside my vagina, I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t be able to go and tell a doctor, “I’ve got this bit, I’ve got this thing and this has changed,” because I wouldn’t know that it had changed because I’m not familiar enough with my body. We do breast exams. We know to look at changes there, and you have to touch your breasts to do that. Even that, it feels like an extension. Being familiar with your body on so many levels is such a good idea and to have that familiarity, to be like, “I know you, you know me, and we know each other.”

It’s like what you said, what was your body many years ago? I don’t remember. I never looked at my vagina until menopause. I never looked in a mirror and looked at what that looked like. You’re right. I don’t know what she looked like many years ago. I only know what she looks like now. Why wouldn’t you want to be familiar with that? Here’s one of the answers that keep popping into my head. It’s because we’re ashamed to have a relationship with touching or looking at our vulva. Do men? Men get to show off their penis, have pictures, and dick pics, and send them all over the world to potential lovers. They’re so proud of that and they talk about that and yet where are we with saying to every young lady? These are all your body parts.

I love this one urologist, Rachel Rubin. I follow her. She talks about how her daughter. She’s like, “Do we have any shame talking about our elbow? Do we have any shame talking about our chin or our nose? Why do you have to have any shame saying, ‘Mommy, my vulva hurts or it hurts when I go to the bathroom?’” These are all things that we can help undo as mothers, aunts, or godmothers to work on ourselves to change that, to embrace that, and then help these younger women to know that it is perfectly normal to talk about all of these things.

Do you know where everything is? There are so many women who, in their 50s or 60s when they take a class that someone will say, “Do you even know? Can you list where your clitoris is? Where is your urethra? Where is the opening for your anus?” It’s like they don’t want to even think about that. How will you know if something is going on down there and something needs to be checked if you don’t have that relationship?

No judgment if you’re a reader and your hands up, “That’s me. I’ve never looked at my vulva and it feels odd to have that.” Start with your hand over your low belly, over the space where your womb would be, and start with a connection there, or put both hands over your ovaries or cup a hand over your vulva over your jeans or your skirt or whatever? Start with some simple breaths, ten breaths, and connect. Someone doesn’t have a minute for that. They can’t have the excuse that they don’t.

It’s important, and that’s why we’re talking about it now. If you want more pleasure, there’s certainly trauma that exists in pretty much every adult woman’s vagina for some reason or another, whether it’s a medical trauma, sexual trauma, or shame-based trauma of living in a patriarchal society. Even our body parts, the pudendal nerve, I’m never going to stop that. The word pudendal means hidden and shameful. Thanks, medical doctors who gave us the pudendal nerve. That’s a wonderful nerve that gives us wonderful orgasms. Thanks for naming it a shameful word. Thanks, guys. Fuck you.

Let’s end the episode there. If you haven’t read the episode with Naomi, I would highly encourage you to go back and do that because we talked about not leaping into these things before you are ready. This will feel a little bit of a stretch out of your comfort zone and into that growth zone. You certainly shouldn’t be leaping out of that which will take you into that panic zone. That’s not where we want to be. This is about being safe and about holding yourself. We talk about that quite a bit and Naomi explains that beautifully. We’re not telling you to go and drop your trousers and give her a little look if you’re not ready for that. If you are, then go ahead but with safety and with love.

Don't drop your trousers and look at your vulvas if you're not ready. If you are, then go ahead but with safety and with love. Click To Tweet

We have some links to Naomi because she does take people from all over the world who want to work one-on-one with her. She also has a podcast. I love her podcast with her husband, interviewing him after he did this de-armoring type of vaginal massage to her. Blow your mind there. You have a partner who can sit and give that to you. That is a beautiful gift between couples. That’s pretty fantastic.

We’re not even being paid for this. Naomi is not even paying us to rave about her like this.

We want to help them, and that’s how it works in life. Rachel, we have 25 episodes under our belt. That’s a quarter. It’s exciting. I want to thank you so much for being on this journey with me. I learned something new every time you say something. I’m so grateful that you have your perspective to go along with mine. It would be so boring just to have mine. Thank you so much.

I am equally grateful to you. I’m saying that I love you so much. Thank you. It was you that came up with this and invited me to come in. It was all Clare’s idea.

One of my best ideas ever.

Not only is she so gorgeous and smart, but ask me how many orgasms I had on Valentine’s Day.

How many orgasms did you have on Valentine’s Day?

Three. Thanks, Clare. I’m very grateful for you. You are an influence in my life.

How did it feel to let the next one come and not stop it and say, “Yes, baby, bring it on?”

It was amazing. I’ve told you this before. I have messaged Clare and had been like, “We were having sex last night, and I was thinking about what you said.” I was thinking about your advice of not tightening, letting it flow, and riding with it. It was good. Thank you for being my life.

I’m thinking what would be wonderful is. I will create a guided meditation to have a hand over your vulva and a hand over your heart. That will be something that you can end up going to my website and you can get that download and do that. If you’re reading this episode and you think, “I don’t even know what to do,” let me put together a less than ten-minute meditation so that you can have a little chance to connect with her and see what that feels like. That’s what I promise I will do.

That’s so exciting. Thank you. Everybody, Clare is ready to do our outro in this episode. She even knows what our email address is. Without further ado, Clare, thank you so much for reading. How can everybody get in touch?

We have an email now that if you have any questions or comments about any of these episodes that you have read or ideas for what you would like us to talk more about or someone to interview, you can reach us at the email EnchantingPodcast@Gmail.com. On Instagram, you could see us at where, Rachel?

It’s at @Permission_Podcast.

Thank you so much for reading. If you feel like this is something you would love to share with a girlfriend because this is a topic you don’t get to hear enough about, please do. We are so grateful for our readers and that we get to do this, share this, and empower women because it’s what it’s all about.

Thank you. I love you.

I love you too. See you when the next episode drops. It will be season three.

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