The more I live, learn, evolve, and feel, the more conviction I have around the exploration of pleasure being one of the most important journeys that we humans embark upon. That we womxn embark upon.
I’ll keep this short and sweet because I want you to dive right into this interview with Charlie Henderson. She is an Intimacy + Empowerment Coach who supports others on their journeys of growth, self discovery, and empowerment through sexuality, and she is the real deal.
We delve into her own personal exploration and journey to surrender with her own pleasure and her own business, reconnecting with our deepest desires, and how this plays into our most orgasmic sexual lives yet. Read on for all of the juicy depth and details.
Tell me about your entrepreneurial journey and how this has intersected with your own personal journey to become more deeply in touch with your desires.
My entrepreneurial journey has been an overwhelming experience of surender, trust, and a whole lot of improvisation. To be completely honest, when I started pursuing intimacy + empowerment coaching, I did not connect the dots that as a coach, I would also be an entrepreneur. When I finally realized I was stepping into the role of business owner and entrepreneur, a lot shifted within me.
I began leaning into the practice of surrender and trust. Deep down, I knew I had everything I needed within me to be an intimacy coach. I had been studying Tantra, Yoga, philosophy, meditation, movement, and much more for years, but the idea of becoming an intimacy coach who focuses mostly on sexuality scared the sh*t out of me. I could feel in my bones that this was my life’s purpose. I founded my business on the belief that pleasure is our birthright and the more we lean into it, the more we can get to know our most authentic selves, heal and grow through our body, and experience a life of pure ecstasy.
Unfortunately, on the surface, my inner critic, mixed with a nice dose of imposter syndrome, started holding me back. I was hearing “you don’t know how to do this!”, “Just give up now, it’ll DAMPEN the disappointment later.”, “What makes you think you know how to run a business?” Thankfully, I was able to hear these voices without letting them run the show. If I had, I probably would have quit weeks after I began.
Though this inner critic was being a total b*tch, she had a point. I had to surrender to the fact that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing on the business side of things. So, instead of trying to figure it all out on my own, I hired a business coach, then joined a coaching program, then hired another coach. I found an amazing team to help me design my website, do all of the photography, and create my brand.
It was the first time in my life that I embraced the fact that I do not have to do it all on my own. I expected this experience to be extremely humbling but it turned into one of the most empowering experiences. My deepest desire in life is to support others on their journey of growth, self discovery, and empowerment through sexuality. When I began my business, I was reminded that to heal and flourish we all need a whole lot of support and guidance. A life of growth is not a solo path. It reminded me that the work of healing the Self and falling back in love with one’s sexuality is not only needed, but its potential with a coach as a guide is absolutely limitless.
I talk a lot about embodiment in my own business, and I’d love to hear your take on what it means and how deepening this practice affects us in all areas of our lives.
I absolutely adore this question. Embodiment truly is the bread and (vegan) butter of my business. When I first started my business, I became so caught up in the logistics of it all that I fell away from my personal practices of mindfulness, embodied movement, and self-pleasure rituals. When this happened, it was the most disconnected from my work I had ever felt.
Within the field of sexuality and intimacy, embodiment means living a life aligned with your deepest desires while experiencing a deep presence with everything life presents. I want to emphasize the word “everything”. Since my work focuses on pleasure, sexuality, and empowerment, a common misconception is that this work is all fun, positive, and sexy. Trust me, this work can definitely be fun and sexy, but it can also be dark, scary, and messy. Tantric philosophy encourages us to embrace the light as well as the dark within ourselves. Taoist philosophy calls it Yin and Yang.
When you start to live an embodied life, it means getting to know all parts of yourself. Our culture puts positive emotions on such a high shiny pedestal, that many of us, including myself, feel discomfort with our emotions that aren’t so shiny. My teacher Layla Martin says, “We all have parts of ourselves that we like: kindness, generosity, joy, playfulness. These parts fit into the perfectly curated box that we have created for our external identity. Then, there are parts of ourselves that do not fit into this box: fear, jealousy, anger. We often reject these parts and try to repress them. In doing so, we eliminate our chances of living an authentic life. The only way to show up as your true, authentic self, is to get to know all parts of yourself.”
If you want to get to know happiness, explore sadness as well. If you want more pleasure in your life, it’s time to get cozy with fear, anger, and jealousy. We cannot have the good without the bad and vice versa. Though it may sound scary, I want to remind you that the more you get to know your darkness, the more you get to relish in the light.
How are our personal desires and expression correlated with more orgasmic and connected sexual lives?
The biggest hurddle I see within my clients is that they are feeling unsatisfied in their sex lives and it is having a huge impact on their life, especially their relationships. When I ask them what they desire, often I receive a blank stare. Most do not know how to articulate what they desire, and even more do not have any idea of what they desire. I believe the first step to having a more orgasmic and connected sex life is to get in touch with your desires. It is difficult to ask for what you want when you do not know what it is that you want. When you are able to get more in touch with your desires, you are then able to decide how you want to express them. This can be through communication, clothing, art, relationships, music, writing, self-pleasure, and of course sex. Expressing your desires is an expression of Self, an embodiment of your voice, and a practice of exploration and play!
The more you connect with your desires, the deeper you step into your power. In my line of work, pleasure equates to empowerment. Pleasure is your birthright and there is no limitation to how much you can receive or give. I believe that leaning into pleasure and joy can be one of the most vulnerable practices in the world. Our society has taught us that to grow and succeed it takes hard work, dedication, and a lot of masculine energy. I am all up for hard work and dedication, but what if we included some pleasure into the mix?
When you commit to a path of pursuing your desires, all areas of your life will evolve, especially your sex life. If more orgasmic and connected sex is something you desire, I encourage you to start a practice of recieving pleasure and playing with your desires. Exploring a more orgasmic life is about curiosity, play, and getting to know all parts of yourself. As I said before, we cannot have the light without the dark. Same goes for pleasure, orgasms, and desire. The more you are able to accept all parts of yourself, the more pleasure is accessible. There is no right or wrong way of doing it and it will be unique for each individual.
What can we do to invite more expression and desire into our lives this week?
I recommend starting by having a deep presence with everything you experience. There is so much pleasure to be accessed in each moment of your life. A great way to begin this practice is by welcoming in the five senses. Notice how it feels to take that first sip of coffee in the morning. Really notice the smell, the taste, the pleasure inside of your body, what do you hear? What do you see? This can be done with any moment. How can you find more pleasure during your daily commute, or doing the dishes, or cooking dinner? When you are able to find pleasure in these small places, you can begin to experience more pleasure in your day to day life. Through this experience of getting to know pleasure more intimately, you can then start to explore your desires.
A simple exercise is to keep a gratitude and desire journal. Simply list the things you are grateful for and then jot down what you desire more of. This can be sensual, sexual, or simply wanting a warm sunny day. As you practice writing down your desires, notice how it feels in your body. Does it feel calm and soothing, or uncomfortable? Does it feel selfish or self-full? Simply noticing what comes up, and again allowing the light and the dark to exist. Finally, notice if there are any desires that feel too big or intimidating to even write down. Those are typically the ones you want the most.
At a recent event of yours that I attended, you dropped this truth bomb – “Acceptance is a form of intimacy.” Can you share a bit more about how this applies to our acceptance of self, and of others as well?
Ah, thank you for bringing this one up! This is another amazing saying from my teacher Layla Martin. This really goes along with what I have been sharing around accepting the light and the dark within yourself. When you are able to accept yourself, exactly as you are in this moment, no ifs ands or buts, you are able to become more present and intimate with life. Often the biggest thing holding us back is ourselves. When you are able to let go of the idea of where you “should” be and begin to accept and celebrate where you are, the opportunity for growth is insurmountable.