Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Loss Art of Self-Seduction

by Lisa Brown-Hall
I am a big fan of women knowing how to please themselves.  In fact, how can you expect anyone else to know how to please you if you have not had an opportunity to make your eyes roll in the back of your head at your own hands?  Self-seduction has been frowned upon largely because society has incorrectly taught us that touching or pleasing ourselves is wrong, therefore making the topic virtually taboo.  
There is power in self seduction, the art of knowing and appreciating your body.     Between social media and our constant need to be “on” the ability to truly unwind has become a bit of a loss art.
I asked a cross-section of dynamic women ranging in ages from 28-59 to define self-seduction and here’s what they came up with.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Aaliyah said : “The art of self-seduction is not to omit the presence of another , but in all honesty, you know you best.  The way you love to smell, feel, and taste and hear embodies self-seduction. My guilty self-seduction is a bath with bath bombs, candles, IPod on shuffle, jet stream tub and let’s just say Tweet’s song  oops there goes my… summarizes it best.”

Carla focused on the pleasure principal : “ self-seduction means pleasuring oneself sexually, me myself and I.”

Shayla  views self-seduction as an opportunity to date yourself “ Do things that appeal to your senses,  your favorite glass of wine, the feel of some sexy lingerie  and a little mood music.  It could be foreplay before the real thing or it could lead to a date with your B.O.B.” ( Battery operated boyfriend).

Marsha  ties her definition of self-seduction to self- worth.  “ For me it’s about taking those things to or for yourself that heighten your self-worth and self-esteem. Things that make you feel beautiful from within.”

Although learning how to please yourself via orgasm or physical release is  a huge part of self-seduction, it is not the only key to this loss art. Understanding what brings you a sense of wholeness, relaxation, restoration  and renewal are the true goal.

Here some key ways to  assist with your self-seduction as well as get your  3 R’s- relaxation, renewal, restoration:
Let’s call him B.O.B. ( battery operated boyfriend) 

 If a pleasure filled release is what you seek, the fastest way to reach your pinnacle is by purchasing a vibrator.  I recognize this is a huge leap for some, but vibrators can be a liberating way to thoroughly please yourself. If you really want to go the extra mile, Kandi Burruss of Atlanta Housewives fame has developed a line of vibrators that can be plugged into your IPod and will stimulate to the beat of your favorite music.

Music in general  can soothe the soul and provide an instant state of relaxation. Create a play list of music that heightens your senses and places you fully in the moment for the ultimate seduction.

Candlelight and you
Candles offer the  ultimate sensual experience. The dim light combined with a fragrance can be an immediate mood enhancer, even when you are alone.  Do not underestimate the power of a hot bath, combined with a candle in your favorite fragrance as an ultimate player in your self-seduction.

Unfortunately for many, self-seduction is more of a theoretical philosophy versus something that is actually  practiced. Change the course of the perception of this very healthy way to keep your balance, find pleasure and stimulate your senses.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Suffering in Silence- Depression

by Lisa Brown-Hall
"Sick and tired of being sick and tired" is a universal lamentation of women everywhere. We often don our capes and will gladly take on the role of superwoman but at what cost to our own personal well- being? Weariness is likely a part of our DNA as we readily play the role of mother, wife, sister, lover setting our needs aside to our great personal detriment.

Depression is sometimes difficult to recognize in women because we often have so much on our plates that we rarely take a critical look at our symptoms in order to recognize just how deep the cracks beneath our well-hidden, silent crisis run.

What causes depression?

Depression is a complex disease and can be caused by a number of factors. The loss of a loved one, medications, or even certain illnesses can play a role in the manifestation of the disease.  The important thing is to "be still" long enough to recognize a problem may be emerging.

Recognize the signs of depression 

I had a friend who practically prayed that a recent visit to the doctor would not only result in the need for surgery, but a long recovery period. She saw nothing wrong with this as she was so tired from her daily routine she viewed surgery, followed by mandatory bed rest as an escape.  Though it is normal to “feel a little blue” when you are facing health problems the need to escape from daily life could very well be the sign of something deeper.  When I suggested to this friend she may actually be depressed, she fervently denied it and said she simply needed a vacation.  My question to her was why not take one then?

Besides needing an escape from daily life, other signs of depression include:
  • Weight gain, or increased appetite
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite  
  • Fatigue or very little desire to engage in activities that once gave you pleasure
  • A sense of worthlessness
  • Withdrawing from friends and family

Seek help

Admitting that you have a problem is crucial to healing when you are suffering in silence. For many women, this bridge is the most difficult to cross because we see the need to ask for help as an admission of failure or a sign of weakness. This is particularly true of African-American women as the myth of the superwoman is so pervasive in our culture we have sadly begun to believe our own hype. Compound this super woman myth with our tendency to only seek spiritual help and many of us are left suffering from clinical depression that could clearly benefit from the right dose of medication. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, but prayer combined with the medicine to treat your illness is what will lead to a greater since of well-being.

There is great power in being self aware and recognizing your need for help. Here are some additional resources to help you get back on a path to wholeness.