Working with Zahava created a soft openness and delicious awareness of my inner strength, balance and beauty.- Isabella, Massage Therapist, Yoga Instructor, Health Coach
I can happily say working with Zahava was one of the most profound spiritual journeys I’ve had the good fortune of experiencing in my life.- Diana Ferrante, Women’s Empowerment Leader, Intuitive Advisor
Zahava's work has returned me to the natural state of being my most loving and most beloved self. - Emily Tepper, Receptivity Coach & Craniosacral Therapist
This was exactly what I needed to rebalance myself. I was able to release the week’s stress and gain confidence in being the clear minded and moving bodied me that I want to be. - An overworking teacher
Zahava gave me the nurturing excavation tools to my inner realms that have been yearning to moan, be touched, to be remembered, honored, revered, and celebrated.- Jennifer Maeve
This work not only supported me grounding in my own feminine experience, but it translated into my work as a coach--allowing a new depth of connection with my clients and their own sacred and sexual journeys.- Dana, Certified Life Coach
Thank you for holding and creating such beautiful space for my own feminine to unfold and reveal herself to me through my body.- Elizabeth Joy Mueller, Business Coach & Intuitive Guide

sex spirit journey

Clarifying Agreements Before you go Play!

With my partner ZigZag at Touch&Play, photo by Anna Maynard

So you’re going to Touch&Play, or Burning Man, or Dark Odyssey for the first time… and you want to know what conversation to have with your partner(s)? Awesome, I love that you’re already considering the desires you have AND how to create clarity with your partner.

These questions can open a courageous and compassionate conversation. This can also support you in discovering expectations that you may not have realized you have. As you enter the conversation be mindful of distinguishing together what is an expectation and what is an agreement. An expectation may be a frustration or disappointment waiting to happen. So if you discover an expectation celebrate that you are seeing it now before it becomes a reason to make your partner wrong. Then look at it together and see if there’s a request you’d like to make or an agreement you’d like to create.

  1. What’s your intention for exploring with new people? Is there a way you would love your partner to celebrate and support that intention?
  2. Is there a specific juicy exploration you would like to have with your partner during the festival? Sometimes scheduling sexy time together gives you something to look forward to and affirm your connection amidst a more improvisational flow.
  3. Consider that sharing intimacy can mean many creative ways to connect including sharing a sensual dance, running sexual energy with clothes on, letting someone witness you when you are experiencing eros, or sharing words with romantic intention… Clarify what your desires and fantasies are so you can see what agreements will support your partnership.
  4. Would you like to share a bed or tent? Or would it be easier if you had your own space. Consider how it might be if one of you wants to play with someone new in your shared space. Or would you like to designate this space as unique to your partnership?
  5. If your partner has sex with a new person clarify what safer sex barriers and communication would have you feeling considered and respected. Consider if you have a specific request if the new person is someone who also knows you (as a friend, a client, a previous lover…). Read my guide to communication with a new playmate.
  6. Are there specific people you prefer your partner not play with? Or play with in a more contained way? What is the concern underneath this request? What’s the best way to address this concern together?
  7. How much would you like to know about your partner’s experiences of intimacy with others? Is there a specific way that would make it easier or more fun for you to hear about? Remember you can always use a safeword if you want to pause or slow down the sharing so you can stay present.
  8. Recognize that it’s normal for you to have moments of discomfort or contraction. Consider who are some of your support people (friends at the event, friends back home, therapist, coach, or mentor) who can be waiting in the wings if you want some support to show up as the person you want your partner to be in relationship with. Would you like to make an agreement that your partner can interrupt you having a connection with someone else to get support from you? If not, when would be a good time for your partner to check in? How would you like your partner to let you know that support is desired?

Thank you for having the courage to have this conversation with your partner. What a powerful way to support each others’ desires and growth as loving erotic adventurers.

 

7 Things to Share When Creating an Intimate Interaction in Community

I’ve been to many play parties, facilitated a few, and most recently had the privilege to host play parties in communities where connection is more valued than sexual acts.  For years I’ve used Reid Mihalko’s Safe Sex Elevator Speech.  I found it really effective for vetting people who take care of their sexual health, have clarity about their own desires and limits, and who are part of a culture of de-shaming STDs.  I’m incredibly grateful for this tool.

As I enter communities where people are building tribe over years and desiring long term connections more than short term oxytocin rushes, I’ve expanded the “safer sex elevator speech.”  It has become 7 things to share when creating an intimate interaction in community.  And for those of you who are wondering what is a play party, the definition just got bigger!  Often a play party is a space people come to explore sexual desires and connections.  There are usually some guidelines, bowls of condoms, gloves, lube, dental dams, and washable surfaces.  It’s a place to experiment with voicing your desires and expanding what could be possible.  For some people, it’s a powerful place to explore who you are meant to be erotically without having to navigate long term relationship skills.  For some people shifting the focus to connection (which may or may not include sex) can feel more aligned.  If that’s you, then this list is for you!  I’ve co-created this with my partner ZigZag Panther Peery-Wolf.

Z & ZigZag writing out these steps to share with 125 dancers at Touch&Play, photo by Anna Maynard

 

 

  1. Are you in an altered or distressed state in this moment? Are you clear and present to make aligned choices in this moment? Consider if you are using substances that may impact your choices. Also consider if you are in a life transition, perhaps ending a relationship or just moved or lost a loved one or simply didn’t get much sleep last night. Look and see if this is the moment to make a clear choice about connection. If so, is there something you would like to name about your state of mind that would be valuable for the other person to know before connecting? For example, you might share that you had a recent break up and you’re still grieving and would like to connect with gentleness and a slow pace.
  2. What’s your intention for connecting? What would it mean to you if we…? Big energy likes clear intentions. Perhaps your intention is to expand your confidence that your body can be turned on and feel safe. Maybe you are looking for a life partner. Or you want to expand your connection with your own eros, or dismantle how you relate to gender or power. Perhaps you are interested in spiritual connection, increasing a sense of possibility and play, finding a friend, bringing a new level of eros to your dancing… What would make this meaningful for you? It really helps to know what intention is motivating each of you.  It reframes what success might looks like and it also gives you a heads up if you have incompatible intentions. You might decide not to proceed or to redesign what you’d like to explore.
  3. What do you desire?  What’s on the menu for intimacy that you would enjoy?  This is where specificity can be really sexy and gives your playmate a better chance of providing what you desire.  You might say, I love my hair pulled, my neck bitten, I like impact play if you start soft… I’m curious about anal penetration but I don’t know if I like it yet so please wait for me to ask for it.  Or you may say, I’m a seasoned poly slut and I’m really desiring a deeper heart connection where I feel seen.  I’d love to cultivate a long term relationship so I’m desiring to move slowly in the physical realm and really sense into where our life passions intersect because I feel you and I could really be important people in each others’ tribe.
  4. What are your limits?  It’s important to name at least one thing you are NO to, this creates trust and demonstrates that you know your limits and can speak them.  For example, you might say parts of your body that don’t want touch or names you really don’t want to be called.  You might also express your time limit so you are on the same page about when you need to close your connection.
  5. What is your health status?  When was the last time you were testsed for STDs/STIs? What specifically were you tested for?  What were the results?  Have you been sexually active since then? (Remember it takes 3 months for most STDs to show up in many tests.) What barriers have you used and do you want to use?  This essentially communicates to your playmate that you care about your health and their health enough to have this conversation before intimacy.  It’s also a good time to share if you have other injuries that would impact your mobility, or your mental health. Consider if birth control is needed, how you’d like to address it and how you might respond if you conceived. (And hey, if you’re kinky make sure you check in about asthma or pacemakers, any health information that may needs to be considered before diving deep. This article won’t really cover the full scope of kink negotiations.)
  6. How do you experience gender? Will you introduce me to the body parts you want me to touch and what you’d like me to call them? It’s really awesome to ask this no matter how your playmate presents/appears.  It gives them the opportunity to step into a safe space of no assumptions.  I’ve had the delight of witnessing many people explore an energetic cock or energetic pussy for the first time.  It’s really liberating to share what experiences you have or would like to have rather than limiting the conversation to your “identity.”
  7. What relationship agreements do you have? (Here’s a guide to creating relationship agreements with your partner.) Do we overlap in intimate partners or relationships such that we may want to create different choices? Consider the impact on your community of people seeing your connection. Do you know each others’ past lovers, bosses, or clients? Would it be valuable to the community to check in with specific people before connecting? Also consider if there is a power dynamic present given your relationship to the community. For example, is one of you a leader in the community? If so, is there anything to consider about this connection that may impact your leadership? Or is one of you newer to the community. If so, would it support you to arrange for someone else in the community to check in after connecting so your main support person isn’t the one you just went on the ride with?

Consider that you may have a clear and empowering conversation and you still may not enjoy the connection or you still may get an STD. This is not a violation of consent, this is simply a risk you are willing to take if you say YES to exploring together… a well informed risk. Regardless of if you chose to play together from here, simply having this conversation builds intimacy and community.

Pelvis: Basin of Alchemy for Dancers

photo by Monique Torok

My pelvis has been on a journey.  I asked her to externally rotate and lift for the better part of 20 years while I was immersed in ballet.  I didn’t know the energetic repercussions of these actions.  But I did know that I cultivated way more sexual energy than my personality was comfortable expressing at the time.  I also started having tendonitis in my feet.

Now I have no injuries, which is rare for someone who’s been dancing 30 years.  I now understand the connection of the feet and the pelvis.  I also have learned that the pelvis is a tremendous gateway to intuition and heart opening, not to mention the next generation.  I’ve worked with many sexual abuse survivors, pregnant women, midwives, sexuality educators, and I have witnessed the ability of the pelvis to alchemize wounds into ecstasy, pain into forgiveness, tension into trust.

This weekend I’m so excited to bring this work to the Theatrical Bellydance Conference!  We will be looking at the physical and energetic anatomy of the pelvis.  I am starting to call this the “psychic hokey pokey.”  Energy follows our intention!

I love sharing how the intricate muscles of the pelvis support our vital organs and weave with the same complexity as our facial muscles.  I’ve heard too often that “kegels” are about stopping the flow of urine.  But that would be akin to saying that facial expressions are like squeezing everything into a tight pucker and then releasing… and missing the nuances of happy, stunned, surprised…  We can move our tailbone, we can isolate the right and left halves of the pelvic diamond floor, we can lift and tilt our womb.  These deep gestures of the regenerative organs flood us with sensation, and sensation brings us into presence.

Our time together at the conference will be brief, as there are many incredible presenters sharing the day.  So I will be offering a longer workshop in the next coming weeks.  I’ve created this blog to gather your questions and comments so I can address them in the next workshop.

I’m a Kid in the Candy Store, and We Are the Candy!

I recently attended a day long conference with the most inspiring creative entrepreneurs.  This “Mastermind” event was hosted by Move the Crowd, an entrepreneurial training company dedicated to helping the next generation “stay true, get paid, and do good.”

Now let me tell you that most of the folks in this room are like me, artists, healers, social visionaries, activists… This is not your regular business training crowd.  AND let me also say that the presenters and facilitators have been selected because they speak their truth and they are undeniably living in alignment with their soul gifts.  To say that my relationship to money has transformed since joining this community, would be an understatement.  My relationship to… who I am, my awareness of my soul gifts, and my refinement of how I want to create an impact on the world around me… have transformed.

What moves me the most about this community is the genuine curiosity about who each other are.  Now I’ve been teaching naked yoga classes for years.  And the level of trust and vulnerability in this room is a whole other level of naked.  This is when we show up and share what we dare to care so deeply about, the essence of why we are here.  As Barbara Stanny posed the question, “What would give me the greatest pleasure to be remember for?”   This is not just a financial revolution happening amongst my peers, this is our new spiritual practice, Barbara says.  The room was listening from our core, we knew that the legacy opportunities before us were about to be taken to the next level.  My God how we listened.  We became so beautiful as we shared our ventures, our challenges, our goals, our feedback and creative suggestions.  I felt like a kid in the candy store and we are the candy.

I want to say something about Love.  I am more clear than ever that Love moves people and touches people through me.  This is why I am here.  I am restoring the lineage of dance as a ritual for transformation and community health.  I am restoring the lineage of sex as the intersection of body and spirit — that set up this agreement for us to be here — and that can be resourced to deepen our purpose and our passion for it.  This is the root of my offerings through LOVE MAKING DANCES.

I have been reflecting on my communities of performing artists and sexuality educators.  I am contemplating the 3 stages of financial development that Barbara mentioned:

  1. Survival
  2. Stability
  3. Affluence

I’m realizing that these stages are not just about individuals.  These stages can also be applied to my communities.   I would say that often we have been relating to each other from the Surivival paradigm.  I’m visioning deeply what we can offer when we are living with affluence.  I’m visioning the performances we will create and the presence we will have with our clients.  I am visioning the commitment we will have to each others’ success, the time we will invest in getting to truly know each other, and the creativity that will abound in our curriculum.

It’s time.

Thank you Rha Goddess for creating Move the Crowd.  Thank you for showing me a template for community with deep inner resources and such love.

I’m noticing that the women in my Sacred Woman Alchemy program are shifting.  What started as a personal journey about self care has evolved into a converesation about how we want to share and direct this life force energy we are cultivating.  I trust this process so deeply.

I am seeing 3 parallel stages:

  1. Survival in the body
  2. Safety in the body
  3. Body as an instrument of life force and creative expression

As we release the impact of trauma on the nervous system and learn how to direct our energy, we are naturally stepping into a generous inquiry about what we are here to contribute.