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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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"Woman on Fire" a new Book for Sexual Empowerment

Uploaded: Sep 29, 2015
Woman on Fire, a new book by Amy Jo Goddard, MA, Sexual Health Educator, empowers women sexually in the same way that Cheryl Sandberg's Lean In empowers women in business and in their careers. In Woman on Fire, Amy Jo Goddard lays out her holistic, inside-out approach to sexual empowerment--one that examines sexuality not only in terms of what happens in the bedroom, but through a lens of personal power and the erotic energy that is at our core.

I hear from many women who are not happy with their sex lives. I believe many more are not happy with it, but are not saying so, perhaps because they don't have the language, or they are so sick of the whole topic they would rather forego having sex. Lying in missionary position and having it all over in a few minutes would lead many women to prefer to skip sex. Or they do it as a wifely duty.

If your partner is unavailable or distracted, even if it's just because of being busy or working, then your being expected to turn on sexually is unrealistic.

And so, many couples end up being good roommates.

What do you need to feel sexy? To initiate sexual play?

If you want to re-educate, re-ignite, and re-create your sexual self, then I recommend Woman on Fire. Based on her sold-out sexuality workshops, the coauthor of Lesbian Sex Secrets for Men, Amy Jo Goddard shows women how to live the sexually fulfilling lives they want.

In WOMAN ON FIRE: 9 Elements to Wake up Your Erotic Energy, Personal Power, and Sexual Intelligence, Amy Jo teaches you to develop true empowerment in the bedroom.

Amy Jo offers a deeply compassionate and holistic approach to owning your sexual power. Introducing the 9 Elements of a Sexually Empowered Life, she shows you how to effectively communicate your desires, explore vulnerability and play, and push the boundaries of what you think is acceptable. She takes the lid off of what is taboo and helps give space and words to women to explore their own sexuality and then communicate it their partner(s).

Women on Fire is a passionate, educational, detailed book about sex � about creativity, life force, spirituality, women's sexual authenticity, energy, and the interchangeability of those life sustaining, joyful aspects of life that lead to more pleasure and fulfillment in all aspects of life.

The book is filled with exercises, thought provoking questions, suggestions for rituals, activities, and more. There is an accompanying website with downloadable tools and exercises.

Amy Jo suggests going through the book any way that works for you. Given that 38% of girls are sexually abused, and those are only the reported cases, you may want to go through Woman on Fire with a therapist who is comfortable with sex, sexuality, and can help you find language and action for your body and desires.

Even if you were not abused, there are so many body image and other sexual issues women deal with that you may find that it is not easy to be at ease with your own sexuality. It sounds simple; it's just not always easy. You, too, may benefit from travelling the 9-Step journey of Woman on Fire with a therapist.

The beginning 30 or so pages set up the concepts of sexually empowered women and The 9 Elements. The thesis is a bit shaky in the beginning (she states that all of life is based on sexuality, and then she presents a diagram, The Core Energy Model of Sexuality, in which all of life is based on energy, and sexuality is a layer from there), but once she gets into the education and working model, Amy Jo is on firm ground. The Core Energy Model of Sexuality itself is very useful. You may jump to the 9 Elements directly if you choose.

There is not much included specifically about post-menopausal women, and I wonder what book she will write when she is five or 10 years post-menopause, as menopause seems to be a turning point for many women as their sex drive plummets. Some of the women mentioned in her workshops are post-menopausal, and find the workshops and processes very helpful and life-changing.

Because Woman on Fire and the additional website content is so comprehensive, going through the book and doing all of the exercises will be time consuming. Feel free to pick and choose what to explore first. Come back to it over and over; there will always be more available.

At points in the book, Amy Jo recommends that you just stop thinking in old ways that have been your foundation. If only it were so easy. Over time, with practice, you can change how you think and behave. So go easy on yourself.

However, even being able to talk with another person and speak openly about sex, to say sexual words out loud that have not been part of your vocabulary, is powerful.

According to the website Women of Substance, 38% of girls and 16% of boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. Most of these and other sexual crimes are never reported to the police -- but the scars and pain remain.

So please, as you read Amy Jo's book remember that while her descriptions and suggestions make it all seem fun and simple, coming to know and be comfortable with your authentic sexuality is in fact a journey -- and as Amy Jo suggests, one perhaps best done with a therapist, or a very close partner or friend who can handle what may come up for you.

My concerns about this book are three-fold:

1) Less than two pages are devoted to "relationships," and Amy Jo's bottom line is if it's not working for you sexually, leave. As a marriage counselor, I would say, if your relationship is not working for you, work on it -- work hard on your own issues, and work hard with your partner on your couple issues. You were injured in relationship, and you can heal in relationship.

People often pick a partner who have traits we need to grow in ourselves. Relationship gives you the best opportunity to grow into your authentic self. If, after you try and work hard, and then come to the conclusion that this relationship is not for you, then leave.

2) As you become empowered and find your voice and go for exactly what you want (and say no to what you don't want), remember that your partner is entitled to do the same. This is not mentioned in Woman on Fire. You will still have to work things out with a sexual partner. You will not always get exactly what you want. However, following the 9 Elements, you are likely to get a lot more of what you want and desire.

3) Unfortunately, the case studies, which in my mind are usually presented to help readers identify their own experiences, are not of the average woman (a 67 year old ex-nun who is a virgin; a former LDS wife; a lesbian, yes, about 10% of the population; a heterosexual non-sexual, both HIV positive couple, etc.). I wish Amy Jo also had shared case studies of "everywoman."

I highly recommend Woman on Fire.






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