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November 2004 Yet still relevant today, 3 years later!

SET YOUR HEART ON FIRE
By Grace of my Heart

Greetings to Paralinks readers... Sometimes I feel that Romantic Love is overly romanticized and commercialized around Valentines Day, so I would LOVE to address the subject of Passion and sexual Desire for this column.  Does this make sense to you?  Maybe it’s just my particular “Happily Ever After” syndrome/complex, but it seems to me that we humans have unrealistic expectations and/or imaginary fantasies about Romantic Love, like desires for heartfelt endearments, chocolates, flowers, poetry, and/or some other idealized wish that your partner will psychically ‘know’ the right sexy words to say that will make you feel desired and “special”, or the ‘right’ kind of touches to turn you on.   

My intention here is to express my personal thoughts on Passion and Desire, which may be easier for readers to grasp, so to speak, (while engaging and inviting others to do the same), both juicy, tasty, tangible, VITAL subjects for me to share, not to be pessimistic about Romantic Love!  I believe that deep down inside we all feel PASSIONATE about something, no matter how severe of a disability or what type of disability a person may have!! 

In other words, "Do your Dream", "Follow your Bliss", "Speak your Truth", or "Do what you Love and Love what you Do", to name a few “New Age” clichés.  For me, following my heart has meant discovering the playful, innocent child within me combined with a mature woman with normal sexual curiousness and desires.  For example, I'll name a few things in my life that I thoroughly enjoy experiencing because, when I do them, I feel spiritually, physically, mentally, and/or emotionally "turned on".  Obviously, writing and thinking about my sexual pleasures is one example, although it’s new to me.  Other Passionate things in my life include, in no particular order: Singing spiritual songs or praying with a large group of people; Breathing deeply, while outside in a beautiful natural setting; Listing and dancing to live, loud, funky rock-and-roll; Lying under the stars on a crystal clear night, away from city lights; Watching a romantic, sweet love story at home with my partner; Sharing intimate conversations, while gazing deeply into another's eyes; Sharing a delicious, chocolate or creamy dessert with a loved one; and, of course, feeling the ecstatic touch of my lovers hands or lips caressing my neck and/or other erogenous zones.  By now, I think you get the picture!  I'm NOT speaking of indulgences or addictions!  All these things for me have one thing in common.  They spark a Joyful Light within my heart, which brings a feeling that my personal energies (even the blood flowing through my veins) are flowing well with others' energies, the earth's energies, and even moments of connectedness with the Universal One.  

I believe that when we use our right brain to creatively express ourselves, an electrifying energy, altered state of consciousness naturally flows through us spontaneously in each moment of creation.  Enough philosophizin!

Consciously enhancing one’s positive self-image

In my case, I know that I was BLESSED/GRACED, (while still fairly tender and very naive about sexual passion in general), in the sense that I didn't spend much time dwelling on an unfulfilled sexual appetite, before actually experiencing my unknown desires becoming fulfilled in an ecstatically passionate and pleasurable way.  In other words, before I specifically knew what turned me on, I was being tremendously turned on!!  Previously there was a part of me that had wondered: How could I feel sexy or sexually attractive, when I could not feel a tickle, soft caressing touch, or even a scratch on most of the surface of my skin?  In fact, for some time after my injury, a felt that my mind and soul were very disconnected from my numb, inactive paralyzed body.  I knew intellectually that my subconscious mind was trying to process the fact that my body had been suddenly removed from the picture; inexplicably, this enormous aspect of "WHO I AM", of the part of me which I had identified with the most, was not functioning as a vital part of the healthy, homeostatic whole.  My child Self had been irreversibly wounded.  As an exceptionally physically orientated child and preteen, I absolutely never could have imagined that I would be leading the majority of my life as a quadriplegic!  So, for at least four years, a large part of my self-image felt traumatically injured as well.  It was difficult to see or feel myself as attractive or even worthy of another's Romantic interests or passions, especially during my high school years!  The subject of consciously enhancing one’s positive self-image is obviously another important topic to discuss, however, how does it relate to Passion, you may ask?   

I've come to gradually realize that the growth of my self-image has gone hand-in-hand with expressing my enthusiastic passion, while doing something I LOVE.  In my personal experience, when I've felt deeply passionate, enthusiastic, and/OR creatively inspired about something, and I've naturally expressed this passion through my thoughts, words, and actions, I've received a corresponding amount of passionate pleasure from others who have seen, heard, or felt my enthusiasm about whatever it is that I may be engaged in.   

My first lover was very focused on playfully experimenting with my body to discover the techniques that would encourage my body to naturally respond with ecstatic pleasure.  I was amazingly delighted by my first experiences of this untapped fountain of incredibly pleasurable bodily sensations and juices!!   

One point that I’m getting at is this: I suggest you ask yourself two things about Passion in your life.  As a way to express your unique, exciting, creative, inspired Self:  1) Do you regularly (at least weekly or monthly) do things with yourself or others that thrill or inspire you to the point of feeling an undeniable rush of energy through your body AND/OR a fulfilled, indescribable "knowing" in your heart and soul, (sometimes even down to your bones) that what you're doing is not only easily enjoyable, but truly healthy and healing?  More specifically, 2) What exact sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches, AND fantasies REALLY turn you on, light your fire, float your boat, brighten your day, tickle your fancy, or cause spontaneous smiles and laughter? 

Be willing to initiate and encourage easygoing, comfortable, lighthearted conversations with your partner about the kinds of specific sensations and pleasures (including any sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and especially TOUCHES), that you already know will ignite the flame of passion within you, or perhaps there are certain sensual pleasures that you’d like to experiment with your partner as well.  Especially if you're exploring a new relationship, and just beginning to get to know each other, ask your partner to be sensitive to your self-consciousness, while gently massaging any part of your body, which may give you relaxing and pleasurable feelings.  I would recommend that, when beginning to explore pleasurable sensations, ALWAYS begin gently, by finding the areas on your body that respond spontaneously or mentally “feel” excited when being kissed and caressed.  

In my first short column I did not go into great detail about the bodily sensations that I can feel, and the ones that I cannot feel.  Although I briefly explained the fact that I do enjoy clitoral and vaginal orgasms, I have not yet elaborated on my unique, strange experience of tactile sensitivity in relation to my pleasure of sexuality!  I definitely don’t feel “normal” clitoral and/or vaginal sensitivity in the outer layers of my skin.  Although one’s individual sensitivity is a relative thing, I know for sure that I don't feel a high level of outer skin sensitivity, SUCH AS: feeling hot or cold liquid or skin temperatures; light tickling or touching, like the moist lick of a tongue, the tickle of a feather or of a pussy’s fur, the scratch of a fingernail, itch of a mosquito or bug bite, OR the soft caressing of a lovers fingers or hand.   

I know now that this extreme lack of skin sensitivity has been and continues to be challenging and strange for my mind and emotions to accept and embrace.  However, a combination of my own inner urges as well as sharing sexually and experimenting sensually with caring, open minded partners have created a fun, juicy sex life!  So, I experience this indescribable numbness from my feet up to an inch or so above my nipples.  However, my body (legs, stomach, and/or back muscles) does sometimes react to sensual touching or light massage by responding with minor or major muscle contractions (commonly known as spasms).  From what I understand, a woman may have greater or lesser degrees of skin sensitivity, depending on their level and type of injury. (What are some of your experiences?) 

Now I’ll describe some of the sensations that I do feel, which have given me great initial foreplay pleasure, as well as eventual orgasms. I have "normal" skin feeling beginning from just above my nipples, and, it seems to me that the entire area of skin that I DO feel is extra-sensitive and VERY EROGENOUS!  More recently I have focused my mind on feeling the pleasure of having my breasts and nipples caressed, licked, and sucked, as well as stroking them myself, and I have discovered, to my great pleasure, that I really enjoy the subtle sensations (especially if I'm gradually becoming excited by being orally or manually pleasured and stimulated on my clitoris and/or vaginally at the same time).  When my nipples naturally respond by becoming swollen and erect, I get a tickling, wave of delight that vibrates through my upper body, and I have a visual, mixed with mental excitement as well! 

One reader has asked:  Is your degree of genital responsiveness typical of disabled women?   

I WISH I KNEW THE ANSWER!  

The clitoral and vaginal orgasmic sensations that I DO feel are MUCH deeper, internal waves and/or vibrations of muscle contractions, which are generated directly from ongoing, lubricated oral and/or finger stimulation. So, I don't necessarily feel, or mentally know what my partner is doing specifically to stimulate me genitally, but my body spontaneously responds with vaginal lubricating juices and rhythmic waves of melting, opening energy.  Also, I enjoy it when my clitoris is caressed, while we are gently having intercourse.  He gradually increases pressure and speed around and directly on the vaginal/clitoral areas that give me the most pleasure!  There are numerous positions and ways to make Love to play around with.  One of my favorite positions is lying on top of my partner with my legs along the outside of his, with my knees bent.  We enjoy a slow and gentle intercourse, OR eventually faster, intensely erotic intercourse, when his penis may press against my G-spot, while we look into each other’s eyes, or kiss and lick each others’ lips, ears, necks, and those EXTRA Erogenous areas all around my neck!  For me, the more open I've been to experimenting, and been willing to be comfortable with all my bodily fluids, the more fun and enjoyment I've experienced!!  Partners of people with diverse-abilities must learn to be patient and sensitive, while giving him/her as much pleasure as possible.  Then, most likely, she/he will open up and get turned on to pleasing you! 

I'm only speaking from my personal experience as well as some limited communications and research regarding women in general with disabilities and/or spinal cord injuries and their unique challenges, experiences and feelings of sexual pleasure on a variety of emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical, levels.

 Your questions have inspired me to write more details about the intricacies of my sexual experiences.  I hope to continue researching this subject, and writing as much as possible, considering my many other obligations!  

IN PEACE & PLEASURE, Grace

Reproduced in Paralinks with the expressed consent and approval of  the author.