Celeste & Danielle Offer Sex and Relationship Coaching for a Passionate, Connected and Fulfilling Life

Tapping into our grief is both an individual and collective endeavor – and it is truly an act of courage. Grief is part of the human experience, but like many other uncomfortable feelings, our tendency is often to push it under the rug and simply wait for it to pass. We need lots of time to let it land and move through our bodies. The more vulnerable we can be in sharing our grief with others, the less of a grip it will have on us.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross named five stages of grief – including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As far as I know, she mentioned nothing around sexuality. However, when we allow our grief to move, it makes room for all of the joyful sensations in life, instead of us getting stuck in the pain.


Grief is an Essential Part of Life – and Sexuality

Grief doesn’t always have to involve a literal death. It can be an emotional reaction to change or loss. Yet underlying the pain is always a source of profound love.

Grief is often felt when someone loses a job, a child goes away to college, someone dies – or personally, in my most recent deep-grieving experience, when separating from my partner. It can be noticed on more subtle levels when we tune into the aging process, the changing world climate on all its various levels, or even the change of seasons. We feel grief deep in our bodies: our throats feel tight, our hearts break open, depression shows up like a weight in our gut or as anxiety-producing nausea. And more often than not, we also notice our sexual appetites wane. 


A Feel-Good Society Leaves out the Power of Sadness

Generally speaking, in our culture we are taught to focus on what feels good in any given moment. But I notice that when I accept something to which I was initially resistant to, I grow, flourish, and blossom. And when I resist, it persists until I pay attention.

Consider the birthing process. It can be extremely painful, and it’s tempting to clamp down on the intense sensations flooding the body. Of course, this doesn’t stop the process of childbirth; it only intensifies the suffering.

I know from personal experience with childbirth that the more I invited in all of the sensations, the more expanded and liberated I became. I transcended the pain by going through it, not around it. The ecstasy of birth is similar in many ways to the post-orgasmic glow after an amazing sexual encounter with a lover – flushed and red, throbbing with life force, and completely amazed by this new baby before you. Both are messy, raw, primal experiences that bring us completely into the moment.


From Heartbreak to Heart Breaking Open

Perhaps the same can be said about grief. The degree to which we surrender to it, is the degree to which we fully allow for all the feelings and sensations to move through us and have their way with us. This is when heartbreak evolves into the spaciousness of a heart breaking open. This is when we can open to sex more fully, because of the acceptance of grief and feeling it all – our sexuality included.

We feel most alive when we allow the feelings of grief to rattle us so completely, that we lose ourselves in rapturous despair. And when we open ourselves to the raw urgency of feeling all there is to feel. When we allow ourselves to be open enough to feel it throughout our body, we can be surprised to find ourselves able to receive deeper levels of pleasure than we ever thought possible.

The deeper we allow ourselves to go, the more pain and pleasure we become open to. Conversely, the more we numb ourselves in the name of staying calm, the more bland life will feel.

Personally, I want to see what is possible when I open myself to feeling all the way into my grief, my sadness, my anger, my despair… and my sexuality. When we choose to stay open, darker energies show up – sometimes unexpectedly – knocking us on our asses. If we can stay open enough to our grief, we can stay present to the parts of us that create new life… the parts of us that make life worth living.


Tips for experiencing grief

Practical Tips for Experiencing Grief 

Embodied Breathing

Try erotic embodiment breathing next time you want to tap into a powerful way to move grief through your body. It will also help you connect to your sexual desire. Here’s how you do it:

Step One: Take several deep, relaxing breaths into the chest. Make space for the chest to gently open as you notice what feels alive in that area. Allow for any feelings to emerge and be felt fully.

Step Two: Allow the breath to move down into your stomach. Allow for it to expand and contract like a balloon. Notice and sink into the energy of this part of your body. 

Step Three: Breathe all the way down to your pelvic floor. Allow it to open and for all your feelings and energy to move through your cock or pussy. Squeeze the muscles of the pelvic floor on the in-breath (like you are stopping the flow of urine when you pee), and release them on the out-breath. Do this several times. On the last breath, squeeze all the muscles in the body – and hold. When you release, allow all the sensations to flood through the body. Just be still and notice what is happening in the body and with your emotions. You may notice the second chakra energized and that grief has loosened its grip a bit.

Getting Cuddly & Attuning

Another way to move grief through is simply through cuddling and attuning. By maintaining eye contact with your partner while snuggling, you are allowing your nervous system to relax and sync up with the other’s. You allow yourself to be seen with whatever emotions are present which can be very liberating. The oxytocin that is created can bring about a feeling of relaxed arousal. Which in turn can lead to some pretty connected, epic lovemaking.


Using Grief to Deepen Intimacy

My personal journey involves grief around letting go of the 21-year relationship I had with my husband. I now know that for a long time before the relationship changed, I wasn’t acknowledging my grief around how it wasn’t working anymore. This denial only extended my silent suffering. While this coping strategy kept the wounds bandaged, the adhesive was always loose, and the pain was steady, reliable, and dull. Our sexual patterns were much the same, and we were both unsatisfied. At the same time, we were also unwilling to fully acknowledge and deal with the personal work we needed to do.  

When I started the process of separation and started living my truth, the pain didn’t go away, but its quality changed tremendously. Instead of numbing, I dove into periods of crying and emoting, followed by deep lovemaking with a new partner who could hold space for that. I used the grief as a portal into a deeper dimension of me, and discovered an intimacy that arose from knowing and trusting myself to follow my truth. Even when that truth contained some dense and painful processes. And though it often hurt like hell, I found that sexual ecstasy was part of the package. The ecstasy was a reward for all the brave work I’d done by honoring my grief.


Grief is a Tool that Should Not be Ignored

We don’t need to get divorced or lose a parent to tap into grief. It could be a feeling of loneliness or lack of fulfillment in your career. Especially at this time in history – when policies are being put into place that don’t seem to serve the greater good – grieving can be a powerful catalyst for change. Shedding tears and finding ways to express anger, without projecting, can drop us deeply into our bodies. And if we choose to, also move some of the collective grief through our sexuality.

So next time you feel a heavy energy tugging at you, or you are pushing away a feeling, notice if grief is trying to get your attention. Listen to what it has to say. Life may be a roller coaster ride, but with love, awareness, willingness, and the torch of sexuality lighting the way, we are always on the right track.




Wendy’s mission as an intimacy coach is to help you free the energy in your body and beckon Eros into your life. She brings compassion, playfulness, and wisdom to her sessions, and empowers you to release shame and self-judgment, discover and claim your desires, and increase your self-awareness and self-love.

Wendy sees clients in Sebastopol / Sonoma County CA.  Book a session with her now.

In an ideal world, Mother’s Day would be a time for moms to sit back, relax, and get their needs met – without having to run the show. But, what actually happens more often than not is that mothers have to plan their own festivities. And then they also have to act delighted and surprised when they receive the card they bought, or the “priceless” piece of Crayola artwork. So if you want to pamper her for this Mother’s Day – why not try an experience gift for mom? Here are some ideas:

How Can I Make My Wife Feel Special on Mother’s Day?

A lot of men ask us, “How can I make my wife feel special on Mother’s Day?” If you’re someone who is romantically partnered with a mom, you may not be able to step up the children’s gift game, but you can still make the effort to find out what she really wants… from her.

Let us spell it out: we are not talking about material gifts (although go ahead and do that, too). We mean you can use this day as a reminder to give her the exact brand of sex, romance, or physical attention she really wants from you. And, if you don’t know what she really likes – or you need a refresher – finding it out would be a great gift in and of itself.  


Meaningful Mother’s Day Gifts

Helping couples communicate about this is our specialty, so feel free to reach out if this sounds overwhelming. But there are still plenty of ways to give wonderful (and free) tokens of your love and appreciation to mom that can signify an immensely meaningful Mother’s Day gift.

Here are a few tips that can help you turn this Mother’s Day into a less material affair, and more of a memorable experience gift for mom. We’ve even made them into a simple little song…


This Mother’s Day – Stop, Look, and Listen

  1. Stop – Moms never get to stop. Even an official day of celebration for them can feel like a chore she needs to plan and may feel pressured to enjoy. So why not start by clearing the social calendar – make some time to be together without kids, without devices, and without any agenda.  Give her a chance to stop, and just relax. This may not be easy for either of you, and it will definitely take some work on your part to clear away those pesky to-do’s – but the resulting connection is guaranteed to make it worthwhile for the both of you.
  2. Look – Take a real look at this woman. Not for all she does – there is no way to show that full gratitude – but for who she is. Take her in. Find a specific part of her that you have not given enough attention to. Spend some time counting her beauty marks or freckles, or how many kisses it takes to get from one spot to another. Take a good look at her and let her feel it.
  3. Listen – You know what is crazy sexy to moms? Someone actually paying attention to them (sad, we know). But this tends to be a rare occurrence. Feeling heard is very sexy for many reasons. Leaning in and really listening might be one of the most important skills a lover can have – so this is possibly the  most meaningful experience gift for mom there is!

Love is an experience gift for mom

Remember when you first started dating? You couldn’t wait to have that first kiss. That’s because it was supercharged with intention, anticipation, and the unknown. Then, as time passes, the make out completely goes out the window and your erotic connection gets relegated to sex and the bedroom.

It’s time to rediscover the lost art of the make-out…

When you think about making out, you might just think it’s a few french kisses and some heavy petting, but the true art of the make-out is actually about bringing surprise and sexiness into different moments throughout the day and throughout your relationship. It’s less about what you do and all about how you do it. Instead of bringing silly slaps on the ass or quick pecks on the lips, the make-out is about taking a moment to take seriously and savor your connection.

  • Sneak up slowly from behind – gently wrap your arms around your partner’s waist and kiss their neck, bring some breath and bites in between the kisses to spread sensation down their spine. If they are taller than you, you can come up behind them when they are sitting down.
  • Look in your partner’s eyes – and give them a lingering kiss followed by a single, sincere knockout sentence. We heard one in our office last week from a couple who had been together for 10 years, he looked across the couch and said, “I’m just looking at your eyes, they are still the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.” As you can imagine this was more impactful than flowers or chocolates.
  • Ignore a movie – put on a movie you both love that you’ve seen too many times. Then, intermittently ignore it while going slowly through the bases. Don’t do more than one base per scene!
  • Recreate your first kiss – This never gets old. After some time it can be hard to see your partner with the kind of fascination and awe you had at the beginning. Taking a minute to recreate some aspects of a first encounter can set the stage for telling each other all of the things you found sexy then and adding some newer additions.

So lovers, this V-day instead of trying to do something elaborate, get back to basics and enjoy the hot, lasting, surprising pleasure of an epic makeout session.

If a relationship lasts long enough, it is inevitable that you will eventually experience The Gap – and the gap gets in the way of so much of happiness. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before we take a look at all the problems the gap causes and what the heck we can do about it, we must first define it.

The gap, friends, is that pesky difference between who you first imagined your partner was and the person who is actually sitting in front of you. The gap happens for sooooooo many reasons. To read more about all of the reasons and how you can help couples, click here.

  1. Romantic Projection – you are told so many stories about what love is supposed to be, that it colors the way that you look at a potential partner. In order for them to meet the romantic fantasy of being a perfect match, you only see the parts of them that fit into that picture, or, if you are quite good at magical thinking, you manage to see those parts even when they aren’t there at all!
  2. Marketing – at the beginning, your partner was putting their best foot forward. Because humans are social creatures who know what people usually want in a partner and a potential partner can also read all the signals you put out about what you like and don’t like, when you met they emphasized the things about themselves that fit into this image. In other words, they tried very hard to be what they thought you wanted them to be so that you would like them. Marketing can include hiding the parts of themselves they think you won’t like, slightly exaggerating traits you seem to like about them, or just straight up lying to win your favor.
  3. Circumstance – whenever, however and wherever you met, the activities you were engaging in or they way you were living your life made you seem like you were more compatible than you really are. For example, you met in school where you had so much in common because…you were both going to school!!! Now, you are out in the real world and it turns out that your interests, or how you like to spend your time, or how often you have energy to have sex have completely changed.

We are sure now that you are thinking about it, you can come up with some of the problems the gap causes. It can cause you to think that you were tricked or that your partner used to love you, but doesn’t love you anymore. It can cause you to go on a partner improvement spree, where you try to get your partner to be all the ways that you thought they were. It can cause you to feel like you made a wrong choice and, if you just keep looking, you will find the person that meets all of these needs.

We’d like to offer a different approach  – we’d like you to Mind the Gap, by which we mean, keep in mind that the Gap will be there in every relationship. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wholeheartedly enjoy the beginning where everything feels perfect -being so doped up on hormones and projections that your feet don’t touch the ground is one of the funnest parts of the whole adventure. We suggest you enjoy the shit out of it! At the same time, remember that the Gap will show up eventually and, while we wholeheartedly support you allowing yourself to feel all the feelings, and have all the tantrums (for more on how to have a good, connected tantrum with your partner check out our book Making Love Real) you need to have, we also encourage you to not make the Gap mean that your partner doesn’t love you or that you just haven’t found “the one” or that you can get back to how you (never really) were if you just try hard enough.

Yes, we want you to be Mindful of the Gap, to watch the insidious way that the difference between who you thought your partner was and who they actually are can get between the two of you. Instead of twisting it into some horrible tragedy, we want you to learn how to step over it be accepting the person who is actually sitting across from you and experience real love.

When you’ve been with someone for a long time, it can be challenging to transition into sex, especially if you are yourself or happen to have a thorny partner. What is a thorny partner, you ask? Great question! A thorny partner is a partner that is both horny and has some prickly challenges with transitioning or getting in the mood for sex. In other words, a person who has two parts inside them, one that really wants sex (the horny part) and one that kind of avoid or feels averse to sex when it first starts (the thorny part). This can be very challenging because the thorny part makes their partner feel rejected, while the horny part feels rejected that their partner isn’t trying harder.

So, how do you deal with Thorniness in your relationship?

If you are the thorny partner the first step is knowing that it is true for you without any judgment. There are so many reasons why people can be thorny and not feel ready to jump right into sex. You may feel in your head and even annoyed after having been focused on work all day. Or, you may also have been brought up in a very shame-based atmosphere around sex so, before you are aroused, there is an unconscious but strong part of you that thinks sex is yucky or trivial. That’s ok, the great thing is that, once you are aroused, this part generally shuts down or switches over to become part of your arousal.

If You Are the Thorny Partner

It will be really helpful to your partner to tell them about your thorniness, so that they know it is not about them. Then, let them know what kinds of things they should do to help you overcome those feelings. Perhaps you will want to ask them if you can run away and they will chase you or if it is ok with them if you are not particularly responsive when they first make their moves, but they should keep going. Also, if there is some way for you to signal to them that you are feeling thorny but you want them to keep trying, make up a shared signal for this!

If You Are the Partner of a Thorny Person

The first step is to try your hardest not to take it personally. It is not a rejection of you, but a residual product of being in an over-worked, sex-negative society. It is important that you know that just because they are thorny, it doesn’t mean that they want you to give up on them. Let them know that you totally understand that it is hard for them to get in the mood and see if they can articulate to you what words or signals mean that they really want you to stop and what words or signals mean that they want you to keep trying and see if they can get in the mood. As long as you have a shared verbal or non-verbal language around this, you can feel like it is ok to keep trying to see if you can move beyond the thorns to the horns!

We hope that knowing there are thorny folks out there, knowing that you don’t have to be ashamed of it, knowing it can be hard on a partner, and having a team approach to it will help you have a Happy, Horny Halloween!!!