We used to regularly attend a local Karate Class. Prior to the adult class, there was one for children. Once, we arrived early and witnessed something amazing. At the end of each class, the Sensei would instruct the children to shout “No,” at the top of their lungs several times. Then he would offer a situation or two where its use was appropriate and the method of saying it. The Sensei would proffer, “if someone is asking to see your homework, just say “no,” don’t yell it; but if a stranger is asking you to come into the bathroom with them at the mall, it’s good to scream, “No.”
As adults, we imagine we could also use some practice with this word. Frequently, “no” is not spoken until something has already gone wrong or too far. We then have regrets, and want to go back in time to when we should have spoken up. What would have happened if we paid attention to our body’s signals — the gut feeling or the tingle on the back of our neck? We might have backed away from a situation and said, “NO.”
Too often while negotiating in relationship issues, or for sexual scenarios, we don’t take into account all our needs, wants and desires. With this in mind, the two primary reasons we don’t express ourselves can be boiled down to either lack of self-knowledge or self-worth.
If it is self-knowledge, we haven’t spent time exploring our inner selves and may not be fully aware of our limits and boundaries. We haven’t spent time considering all the factors we would like to include (or ban) from our relationships. In essence, we haven’t invested in mapping out who we are. So how can we possibly communicate those things?
If it is self worth, this tends to stem from past issues, relationships or something that happened with your image-makers. Take a moment and ask yourself, “Am I valuable enough to set and maintain my limits?” “Am I worth enforcing my own boundaries?” The answer should always be “Yes.” Most often, self-worth issues can create a block in sharing or imposing your limits. Meaning, sometimes this information is held back because we are concerned about the other’s perception. Our inner “Itty Bitty Shitty Committee” (IBSC) goes into overdrive with negative self-talk. Perhaps it is “If I don’t let them do XYZ, then they might not stay with me.” It might be, “If I were more submissive, I would PDQ.” And so on and so on.
Most adults have been in situations where we probably should have said no in the moment, or, “Red” to end a scene when it needed to end. Both of us, even years later, have flashed back to experiences, and wish we had listened to our intuition. But, hindsight is 20/20. All we can do is learn from our experience and become stronger people.
So when is it time to say “No?” Anytime you think you should say it…you should. It’s really as easy as that. It was when we had that little tug of thought that maybe we should or something just didn’t feel right that back to when we regretted not saying no or not saying it soon enough;. Some of these instances may have panned out if we had only communicated, “hey, slow down I have some questions or concerns.” However, by letting that moment pass? That instant when we first heard our inner guide whisper at us to stop the action; we increased our chances of having something go terribly wrong. So, the easiest way to handle it: if you think it…say it.
What about that other word – “Yes!” Unfortunately, it can be just as hard to use and has some of the same surrounding issues! For example, while we are experiencing or watching something that excites us, we are sometimes so flustered by that overload of sensation that we don’t accept the hot, wet or warm feelings. We say “no” by shutting down those deliciously sensuous body reactions. Of course, we don’t do this consciously. We might laugh it off or walk away from the situation. Perhaps we turn the channel, or simply tune it out – when we should be saying, “YES! Oh, yes!”
What could possibly be the root of the problem? Self worth again! Consider this – frequently we don’t accept the gifts of pleasure, compliments, etc… because we don’t feel as though we are worthy of those things. Unfortunately, in American society, we have been trained that way. Everything in our culture tells us to be more, to have more, to look better…blahblahblah. We are constantly undervaluing ourselves. We compare ourselves to others we read about and see on TV or in the news and find ourselves lacking…therefore not worthy. We end up not believing ourselves to be deserving, so we discount the positive.
Sometimes we get scared of what these feelings of titillation say about us as human beings and subsequently reject them. Here’s an example: Sheba had been flirting with a suave gent at every opportunity, both on line and at events. When he stopped the flirting, got serious, and asked her to play with him and another? Sheba locked up, as it had moved from flirtation & fantasy and became “real.” So instead of shedding clothes and screaming, “Oh YES!” Sheba laughed off this invitation and walked away from something her body clearly wanted. Why? At that instant, her brain wheels went into overdrive. Sheba froze, considering what joining in the fun meant about her. Would it mean she was easy? Desperate? Or just way beyond slutty then she cared to admit?
Even if we have some sexual actualization, or have experienced situations like this time and again, sometimes the internal IBSC gets in the way. Our social imprinting and learned self-perception can interfere with our sexuality. How can we overcome that? How can we express our selves as free and aware sexual beings? The solution is easy. Start listening to our bodies, and stop obeying the chatter that is in our minds. Say “Yes”, when you get that clear body indication of something is exciting and/or stimulating. Practice being attentive and attuned in situations where we know we are safe to do so.
Start by doing something in private that you can say yes to. Try tuning into some porn. Does your body react? Does it thrill you to watch? Go with the pleasure and allow yourself to be turned on. Experience the arousal, so you can identify it and rid some of the fear of the sensations. Then when you’re out and something occurs? You can relish in that fabulous feeling and you won’t have a fear-based reaction to it.
As with saying “no” too late, not saying “yes” can lead to regrets and recriminations. “I wish I would have,” is a phrase most of us have uttered a time or two. So how do we stop letting low self worth and issues of fear get in the way of our sexual expression? We practice, practice, practice…just like the kids at the karate class. We learn by doing. So practice saying “No”, and then when you hear that little voice inside telling you something is wrong. Conversely – make sure you say, “Yes” to those things you desire. Create safe situations where you can follow and enact your bliss. It’s a good start at opening up and truly experiencing yourself as a sexual being.