Let me start by saying this, ‘sensuality is not the same as sexuality.’
I intuitively knew this when I wrote Making Sense of the Insensible and The Box of Inner Secrets and was surprised by the requests from editors and publishers that I should remove the need to be sensual from my need-fear-cycle because it was the same as the need to sexually connect. I stood my ground.
For those who haven’t read either book this is what they say: We have the need to feel sensual and when this is not met, we feel undesirable. Our fear of being undesired by our partner drives us to find ways or someone who will fulfil this within us.
If you look up the word sensual in the dictionary you will read the following: “Having to do with the senses”
Whereas sexuality is defined as, ‘having a strong sex drive or the ability to arouse strong sexual interest.’
Let me say again, ‘sensuality is not the same as sexuality.’
Sensuality is about igniting our senses. Seeing beauty, hearing laughter, smelling yummy smells, touch that is gentle, soft and loving, tasting delicious, tantalising foods and drinks and intuitively feeling safe and loved. Sensuality is fun, cheeky, joy-filled and playful. To be sensual is to feel; to feel alive; to be aware; to be consciously present in the moment; and to sense the bliss that exists in the now. We can feel all that and not want to have sex, need to have sex or even be looking for sex.
As I was sitting down to write this post I was thinking about the role sensuality plays in the genders. As a woman I could easily and quickly identify the sensuality embedded in being feminine and the playfulness that being fully in my personal power ignites within me. The sensations that I can enliven through my clothing, through perfume and body lotions and food and walks in nature and so on is endless.
Then I thought about men and sensuality and I was blank for a moment. I thought men aren’t sensual they’re brawn. Acknowledging my blinder I pushed pass the immediate response and then I thought about Keith Urban. Anyone who knows me knows how Keith represents an archetype of masculinity that I adore. Keith oozes sensuality. And to be completely transparent I do think that sensuality is sexy. This isn’t different from men being sexually attracted to a sensual woman. Keith exudes his joy, his playfulness and his inner light when playing music and singing. There is a seductiveness in his performances but if you watch him there is not one drop of sexual desire or come hither in his eyes unless he is looking at Nicole. His sexual nature is reserved for her. Fans get to share in and experience his sensual nature.
Sensuality is often mistaken for flirting. When a woman is in her feminine power her sensuality will be activated. Sensuality is creative. She will feel comfortable in her body, feel capable and strong in her worth and she will command her presence while being fun, playful, joyous and cheeky. She’s not trying to pick up a guy or steal someone else’s man she’s just having fun being her whole self.
But what happens to a woman’s sensuality is it gets labelled, distorted and contaminated with societal, cultural, religious and family rules, conditions and limitations. Women suck their sensuality within and shut it down. This impacts on their creativity, confidence and presence in the world. It makes life feel dry, hard and serious. It can even make us feel boring. It’s really difficult to feel desirable and desired when we feel like a dried up prune.
There is also a difference between wanting to be desired and wanting sex. There is something playful about being wanted, to be seen as desirable. We can choose to take that to the next step and act on the desirability in a sexual manner. But we don’t have to. There is an inner experience of desirability that gives us a confidence within that is just for us. The need to be and feel sensual is a core need. When we respect our sensual natures it enriches our lives and that joy radiates as our inner beauty.
What can you do today to enliven your sensuality?