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Self Care for Crisis

We often think of self care as “healthy” activities like yoga or cooking a meal. But self care, especially in times of crisis, can take many forms.

Self care for crisis can include:

  • Numbing
  • Processing
  • Releasing
  • Soothing
  • Wallowing

Numbing

We’re often quick to judge numbing activities. But when we’re experiencing overwhelming feelings, it’s important to take breaks. Numbing gives our bodies space to calm down.

Some examples: binge-watching TV, watching porn, eating junk food, zoning out

Releasing

When a feeling has us so triggered that we feel completely consumed by it, we need to let it out. What’s important when releasing is that we do it safely enough that we don’t harm ourselves or others.

Some examples: crying, punching a pillow, throwing things, screaming, going on a run//cardio

Processing

These are activities we may think of as more clasically healthy — ones that help us move the feelings through and integrate them. They’re important, but no more so than other types of self care.

Some examples: journaling, creating art, talking with a friend, therapy, going on a walk

Soothing

These are activities that calm our nervous system and make it a little easier to be in our body. They may share some overlap with numbing — but instead of pausing the feelings, they help us hold them.

Some examples: listening to music, cooking, taking a bath or shower, gardening, napping

Wallowing

Although wallowing may sound judgmental, it’s really just about being in the feelings. What’s important is knowing when to stop — to give yourself a break by trying on one of the other forms of self care.

Some examples: looking at photos of someone you’ve lost, feeling self pity, diving into upsetting memories

((Any or all of these examples might not work for you, or they might fit into different categories for you than they do for me))

What ways are you already taking care of yourself that you haven’t given yourself credit for?

Multi-parent families and the fight for legal recognition

How polyamorists and polygamists make the case for moving beyond the two-parent family

I’ve been delighted to see major publications increasingly covering alternative family structures lately. As I’ve talked about before, social norms around monogamous marriage and the nuclear family have created a lot of internal struggle for me. The rigidity of these structures — the expectation that life includes marriage, the judgment we hold toward who those who don’t conform — has made it challenging for me to feel into what relationship structures actually work for me. For a while, I assumed that if I wanted to live outside these norms, I’d have to accept being seen as a weirdo. But now it seems these ideas are making their way from the fringes into the mainstream.

An article in this week’s edition of the New Yorker, “How Polyamorists and Polygamists Are Challenging Family Norms,” takes a peak into the lives of several different multi-parent families who are making the case for expanding our definition of family. Fascinatingly, the article examines two very different perspectives: polygamous families who, in the formerly-Mormon tradition, invite men to have more than one wife, and polyamorous families who embrace nontraditional structures of all sorts.

The article is a great read, and as a nonmonogamous person myself, I felt a thrill seeing poly families get their moment in the spotlight. In particular, reading about a polycule of young folks who are building a queer-utopic home together on a big property in Ulster Park, New York, made my heart sing. Maybe someday soon these nontraditional family structures won’t be considered all that weird. Maybe the next generation will grow up in a world where they feel free to choose the structures that work for them — and ditch the ones that don’t.

In the meantime, we weirdos will trek on, turning our utopian dreams into reality.

Read the New Yorker article here.

My Favorite Meditations: Somatic Centering with Sumitra Rajkumar

I am sending love to all my fellow sex workers today, particularly those of Asian descent. It has been a rough few days for the sex work community following the white supremacist terrorist attacks in Atlanta that killed eight massage parlor workers, six of them Asian women. I think we could all use a break, so today I’m sharing one of my favorite meditations for coming back into my body when I’m feeling overwhelmed, grief-stricken, anxious, upset, or alone: Sumitra Rajkumar’s Generative Somatics centering practice.

sumitrarajkumar

This practice comes from the Irresistible/Healing Justice podcast, which fell apart in a very public way after the publishing of Whitney Spencer’s letter about white supremacy culture at the podcast. I have complicated feelings about posting this episode, but ultimately decided that there’s value in sharing the wisdom of these amazing healers, activists, and leaders of color, despite what we now know about Kate Werning’s leadership.

This is a short ( ~ 15 minute) meditation and can be done in any setting. Take a few moments today to drop into your body, find your center, and feel the boundaries of your own skin. I hope you enjoy this beautiful resource.

Sumitra Rajkumar’s Generative Somatics Centering Practice

How to actually find your G-spot

This post is written for people who have vaginas, but I imagine it could be beneficial for anyone who has sex with people with vaginas.

Despite the fact that I’m a sex educator and a surrogate partner, it wasn’t until about a year ago that I finally found my own G-spot. I’d always heard the myth that the G-spot was a ridgey area about two inches up the vaginal canal, found using a “come hither” motion with the index finger. This overly-specific adage had me confused for years! I tried to find my G-spot on my own and with multiple partners, but whenever someone touched the area two inches up my vaginal canal, not only was it not pleasurable – it usually caused me pain. It wasn’t until I started my somatic sex education training that I finally confirmed what I’d been suspecting for years: my G-spot was right at the entrance of my vaginal canal! Wondering where your G-spot is? Here are some helpful tips and tools for finding it:

  • The G-spot is not a single “spot” — it’s more of an area. There’s still a lot of disagreement in the medical community about what the G-spot is, where it’s located, and if it even exists (sigh . . . leave it to the medical community to spend millions researching solutions for erectile dysfunction but still not have determined that the G-spot is real).clitoris_anatomy One current theory that makes a lot of sense to me is that the G-spot is the back side of the clitoris (see image to the left) — the part that you can access from inside the vaginal canal instead of from the vulva. Everyone’s bodies are different, so the size and shape of your G-spot are unique to you; mine stretches a couple inches horizontally near the base of my vaginal canal.
  • The G-spot can be located anywhere from right around the entrance of the vaginal canal to a few inches further up. For folks who have a lot of clitoral sensitivity in the glans (the only above-skin part of the clitoris, at the top of the vulva) or shaft (the part above the glans, just under the surface of the vulva), your G-spot might be a little higher up. For folks like me who are more sensitive along the vestibular bulbs or crura (legs) of the clitoris, you may find your G-spot is a little lower down. Use your index or middle finger to gently explore the forward side of your vaginal canal from the very base to a few inches up. If you’ve reached the spot where a tampon would sit, you’ve probably gone too far.
  • It’s easiest to find the G-spot when you’re already turned on. You know those ridges everyone talks about when describing the G-spot? They get a lot more defined when your clitoris becomes engorged. Just like a penis, a clitoris gets erect when you get turned on. Before trying to locate your G-spot, spend some time stimulating your go-to masturbation spots. Once you’re feeling pretty aroused, that’s the time to begin gently exploring the front side of your vaginal canal with a fingertip. Feel around for the skin folds that feel kind of like the ridges of the brain or a coral reef.
  • There is no magic location. Just like with the rest of our anatomy, everyone’s bodies are different. If someone was trying to find their belly button, you wouldn’t tell them to look five inches above where their pubic hair ends — that might be true for some folks, but it might be three inches for one person and ten inches for another. The size and location of your G-spot will vary depending on the size and shape of your body. Take the time to get to know your own unique anatomy.
  • Not everyone enjoys G-spot stimulation. For some folks the G-spot is just not the spot. Don’t get down on yourself if you’ve spent some time trying to find the G-spot and it’s not getting you off. Erogenous zones are different for everyone — just because this one area isn’t your thing, it doesn’t mean you can’t access pleasure! Any body part can be an erogenous zone, so try exploring your nipples, fingertips, ears, perineum, neck, toes. It may feel like a bummer at first, but often times knowing what doesn’t work for your body can lead to even more self-discovery.

I’m coming, New England!

The van and I are headed east!

It’s official: I’ll be on the east coast starting in March 2021! I’ve been considering making this move for a while and, despite the turbulence our country and world is experiencing in this moment, the time is finally right for me to make my way east. Although it’s going to be hard to leave Oakland, my beloved home for the past eight years, I’m feeling giddy with excitement about returning to the northeast. I went to college in Connecticut and ever since I’ve been pining for the rolling hills, the lakes and swimming holes, and the changing seasons of New England. As a born-and-raised west coaster, I fell in love with the flaming reds and oranges of the autumn leaves, the crunch of snow under my feet in winter, and the hot summer nights. I can’t wait to return.

I’ll be based in Northampton, MA, but I’m open to working anywhere in the northeast. If you’re a client or therapist looking for a surrogate partner (not a “sex surrogate,” as we’re often referred to in the media) in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island, let’s get in touch to discuss working together. You can learn more about how I’m structuring my practice during the pandemic here.

If you’re located elsewhere in the States, no need to fret! I’ll be bi-coastal for at least the next year, with plans to return to the west coast for intensives in late 2021. I’m also open to working with clients and therapists in other parts of the country. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about working with me.