This is from my Newsletter on 4/19/20. If you would like to subscribe for more blog posts, tips, updates on classes and workshops please go to: Sign Up for Newsletters from Dr. Anya

Many of us are working from home and sheltered in place, others are on the front lines caring for people who are sick, many are essential workers in stores and restaurants, and a lot of folks are delivering food, groceries and essential items. And, of course, sadly, thousands of people are sick, and many are dying.  This is truly an unprecedented time in our journeys as humans on the planet. 

And yet, with all the social distancing and learning how to live in this complex way we are all craving intimacy, connection, health and healthy relationships.  We are all desiring love, beauty, strength, courage and happiness.  We are all human with the basic human needs for love.  

As compelling as it is to stay glued to the news, to work long hours and to worry about our future (and absolutely necessary much of the time) it is equally important that we nurture our relationships, intimacy and vitality so that we can keep our immune systems, our spirits, our hearts and our souls nourished and thriving.  We can make a difference in the quality of our lives by how we live our lives.

As a solopreneur, business owner, and self-employed woman who is also a mother and partner, I have been getting creative with how I manage my time and self-care needs.  I have taken time to grieve and feel loss and also taken time to celebrate the life that I have as well as cultivate gratitude for special moments that remind me of the goodness of life. 

As a sexuality specialist, intimacy advocate and relationship coach my #1 message to the world is that we can (and must) have access to healthy, long-term and sustainable ways to stay connected and to live abundant lives where we are getting our needs met in our relationships and with ourselves.  We must have adequate resources for love and connection so that we can stay healthy in mind, body, soul and spirit.  This is crucial for the wellness of all sentient beings. 

For me this has always been through dance, close connection with friends and family, long walks in nature, natural plant medicines, clean food, clean water, mindfulness meditation and lots of touch and cuddles.  

I also limit my exposure to the news.  This is not hard for me to do having been raised in an Ashram where we didn’t have TV or spend time exposed to what mainstream culture was doing, it’s easy for me to tune out of the dominant paradigm and into my own little world but it’s not always the healthiest thing for me to do.  I can too easily move into a world of denial that becomes small and ego-centric.  I know that I must always have balance and push myself to read articles or ask trusted friends to tell me if there is something important I need to know. As an act of self-care I limit my exposure but I also push myself to stay aware.  Many people are also learning how to strike a balance between watching the news, which for some can create anxiety and fear, with taking time for hot baths, long walks in nature, connection with loved ones and animals and acts of mindfulness.  

I believe that it is also important to deeply connect with our loved ones and partners during this time.  If you are like me and sheltering in place with your family you may be getting super irritated, grumpy, short-tempered or feel like screaming, “give me some space”! I get it, 100% For a lot of us this is more exposure that we feel like we signed up for with our families!

So, the question then becomes, how do we create the space so that we can feel desire for our partners? It’s in absence that the heart grows fonder, right? And, if we are so up close and personal all the time how do we feel attraction, arousal, desire? How do we even want to have sex anymore!? Yeah, I’m right here with you.  What used to feel like an exciting time on the weekends for me to get excited for sexy time with my partner is now just another day.  Is it Saturday or Tuesday? I’ve lost all track of time!

The exciting thing for me is this idea of approaching everything in my romantic relationship with curiosity and not fear.  If you are one of my clients or students you have heard me say this before.  You also know that I believe in being sensual researchers.  And so, I get to take this approach with my relationship now more than ever.  How do I keep the flames of passion burning during a pandemic!? Well, this is certainly the first time I’ve ever had to do this so 1) approach with curiosity and not fear and 2) be a sensual researcher.

And so, this is what my personal research has come up with so far:

  1. It’s okay to not feel sexy.  I am not one of those sex educators who believes that people need to be having sex all the time to be “normal”.  I also don’t believe in the myth of the sexless marriage.  Instead, I believe that sexuality like all things in life ebbs and flows.  It can tend to flow during times of decreased stress and increased relaxation and ebb in times of increased stress and life challenges.  So, I say, it’s 100% okay if you aren’t feeling sexy right now. And, very important, do not let this be an indication of the overall health of your relationship.  This is one moment in time, this is one snapshot of reality, this too shall pass.
  2. This is the time to find ways to be intimate that are not always about sex.  Well, it’s always a good time for that, but especially now while things are so tense it’s even more important to turn towards each other in small ways that indicate love, connection, desire to stay together and work on this thing.  Healthy communication is key.  Are you turning towards, away or against your partner? This is THE time to turn towards more often than not.  Tough one though I know! Make it a practice. 
  3. Schedule sexy time no matter what.  Gone are the days when spontaneous sexual arousal can just come out of no where and simultaneously create a flow and passionate connection where all else just falls by the way side (okay, I’ll speak for myself, lol). Better to schedule time for erotic exploration than to expect it to just happen out of the blue.  The added benefit to that is that you can also look forward to some down time.  Phew. I needed that. (door shut, relaxing music on, candles lit, glass of something relaxing and skin to skin connection… stress relief).
  4. Be flexible! Yeah, so it didn’t go as planned.  That’s okay, this happens, we adjust, we don’t need to be mean, we can stay connected, our hearts can stay open, we can try again.  This is life and we absolutely get to live life on life’s terms, especially now.  Kids are home, business is stressful, phones are ringing, mom is calling etc.  If the date night, or sexy time didn’t go as planned, be flexible.  Try again.  Make this a practice.
  5. Do lots and lots of self-care.  Number #1 important way to be available to others is to first and foremost nurture ourselves.  I dance every single day these days.  I have to take care of my own body, mind and spirit and then, and only then, can I be available for my partner.  I can not expect my partner to do for me what I can do for myself.  This is not to say that I don’t have needs and that my partner doesn’t have to meet them (this would be silly, I want to be in relationship for a reason) but, what happens when I take care of my own needs first is that I don’t rely on my partner to be my savior and then cop a resentment because some expectation wasn’t met.  

And so, my friends, I invite you to take this time to be sensual researchers.  What do you need? What does your relationship need? What can you ask for? How can you grow and be a better person? This is the wonderful work of being human and staying connected, in love and growing spiritually during a pandemic.

Of course, if you need any help reach out I am quite literally, here.

I also want to offer you a few suggestions on things you can do right now for self-care as well as invite you to reach out for support during this time.  I am offering sliding-scale to those that have been financially impacted due to Covid-19.  And, if you haven’t been financially impacted please consider paying full fee so that others can take advantage of the sliding-scale.  

Dance classes I love:

Zumba with Andreina  Andreina offers Zumba and Yoga classes all week! She delivers an amazing workout inspired by latin fusion and has a cult following in the Bay Area. Meaning, she is that good! Send her an email to be added to her mailing list for daily classes: Afebres.dance@gmail.com

Zumba Happiness with Vanina. I met Vanina years ago dancing at the Downtown Oakland YMCA and absolutely love her curated music, awesome latin fusion dance classes and infectious spirit.  Vanina offers Zumba and Zumba Gold for those who want a lower impact dance class.  Email her to be added to her mailing list: zumbahappiness@gmail.com

YL Shine Yeni is an amazing Bay Area dancer and dance teacher.  Her class always BRINGS IT.  She will get you so sweaty that you will literally detox 10 years of gunk from your system.  I love her fusion style of afro-cuban and latin fusion moves with a grounded, street dancer vibe.  Check out her FB page for classes (click link).

Ryan_Heffington dance party! I am loving Ryan.  While we have never personally met I feel like we have on the spirit dimension because he taps right into everything I love about dance.  His party dance tunes and flamboyant, Diva style make me so happy and giddy and with his prayer at the end of glass I have released and let go of mountains of grief and stress I didn’t even know I had.  Follow him on Instagram and his Insta Live dance parties 4 days a week. 

Upcoming workshops with me:

I am offering a weekly Women’s Only Circle: The LOTUS Method – Women’s Sensuality Circles at 1:30pm PDT over Zoom.  This is a sacred space for women to connect around how we are honoring our sensuality during this time.  Here is the Eventbrite link, circles are free or donation welcome.

I will also be offering adult sex education workshops over zoom.  I will be creating a survey that I will mail out in my next Newsletter to get a better understanding of what people are craving right now.  Is it a workshop that targets technique? Or, do you want something around communication, etc? Keep your eyes open for that survey.

As always, these Newsletters are coming to you from my heart, however, I know that we are all busy and if the content doesn’t feel relevant to your life please take a minute to unsubscribe.

All the best!

Dr. Anya

p.s. please excuse any typos that I didn’t catch, my eyes are a bit fuzzy from all the screen time, hehe. 

Categories: Sex Education

Anya

Anya de Montigny, DHS is a sexuality expert with over 20 years experience working with individuals, couples, and groups. Dr. Anya has a Doctor of Human Sexuality (DHS) degree, is a certified sex educator and certified sex coach and was the host of the popular radio show The O Word Sex Talk Radio. Dr. Anya has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area working with individuals and couples and invites straight and LGBTQ people into her practice. She also teaches adult sex education classes as well as consent & boundaries workshops at Universities and Colleges.

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