Anatomy Of A Personal Erotic Myth – One Woman’s Awakening | Part 1
By Galen Fous
Many have asked to understand more about what exactly a Personal Erotic Myth (PEM) is, and how I work with client’s desiring to come to terms with their erotic desires in a conscious way. To help get a better understanding of this process, I am offering here glimpses from a case study, over the course of three sessions with a recent client.
She came with the intention of discovering, understanding and embracing her Personal Erotic Myth, which she had kept secret for decades. This led eventually to my also working with her partner one-on-one.
Her part of the story reveals the challenges and fears she faced to integrate this true and important aspect of her psyche into her everyday life with her partner.
She was a woman in her early 40’s, with a particular life-long desire for rough sex, Daddy/daughter play, dressing slutty, and other taboo aspects. She had been unable to reveal or share these desires with past partners. She was currently in an 8-year relationship with a man who was very sweet and loving, but was not the aggressive masculine persona who inhabited her sexual fantasies. She had reached a place where she knew her desire was demanding to be expressed, even to the point of leaving her relationship if necessary.
She sought me out for support. With her partner’s agreement she was choosing to come to terms with this aspect of her sexuality, on her own, with hopes of then bridging this desire to include her partner, down the path.
She fits with some precision, into my concept of someone whose sexual path to orgasm or other deep erotic state, is driven by a Personal Erotic Myth. Her PEM formed decades ago, and, as is the case for many with a Fetishsexual orientation, she was sexually engaged and aware before she had reached puberty.
In my experience working with hundreds of people over the last 15 years, Fetish desires are rarely connected to pathologies generated from early age traumas, or other environmental factors, as many are led to believe. In my experienced based view, a fetish driven sexuality is as innate, inherent and lifelong as is being gay or lesbian.
The work I do with a client in this dimension is often branching into ground-breaking territory, as far as current academic and clinical models of human sexuality and therapy go. What the work looks like will vary according to the individual circumstances of the client.
The main components are an initial discussion to determine what the client wants as an outcome of our work together, some sense of what their sexual desire looks like, what resists or conflicts with their desire, and their relevant personal history. This would include areas of trauma or abuse, as well as the environment and sexual attitudes or moralities they were raised in.
My goal is to encourage them to approach whatever is true sexually from a conscious, risk aware, honest, consensual, negotiated, embodied context. The outcome can be an empowered liberating engagement and acceptance of their deepest, edgiest desires and a start to resolving the trauma, shame, self-judgement and fear their sexual desire may have been entangled in within the unconscious psyche.
The client and I may work together at a cognitive level to develop an ongoing, practical, clear strategy to move towards and negotiate what the client wants in the real world for themselves, and with a partner(s).
Often, our true sexual natures can be literally tangled up with other parts of us in our unconscious that are locked in intense fears, shames and harsh judgements about our true sexual natures. These were taken on from a sex-negative family, religion and culture as we grew up. They can physically, emotionally and psychically resist our intention to express our desires.
We often carry internalised, harsh moral judgements and stories about our sexuality, our personal worthiness and more. Even as adults, these inner forces can still have power over our desire, and our intention to express our sexuality consciously.
There may be practices co-developed with the client to help them focus on their intention to empower their desire and diminish, heal and resolve the power held by their inner judgements, fears or shames.
There may be other imaginal processes involved to help a client access unconscious material to “flesh” out and bring to precise conscious awareness, the who/what/where of their desires, and similarly with what resists or judges their desire.
Often work will be evident, that wants to be approached at the body level. I support the client in developing practices to help them get present, embodied and grounded. This is usually the starting point for sessions as well. This best prepares the client and myself to be fully engaged and present for whatever other work may follow. And it is very helpful for the client to develop their own personal practices to bring the sense of embodiment and presence in their everyday life.
Exploring at the level of somatic awareness, movement, and other physical practices can also help locate and begin to release the many fears, shames and other tensions that have accumulated in the body. After decades of hiding, judging, or holding the desire back, these physical tensions can be quite pronounced. It is similar with the physical efforts we make to cover up shame or fear or anger. This hiding is a physical act that builds and stores tension. There is a physical gesture that wants to express naturally and there is a counter physical gesture operating to hold the desire back. These tensions and the emotions they have held back can often begin to be relieved through somatic exercises the client can develop or through hands on body level work.
In a deeper layer yet of the work that might open up with a client, and as was the case with the client described here, a negotiated ritual process might be agreed on, where I may in some way and to some extent, embody a mythic counterpart to the persona in the myth that drives the client’s desire, that conforms to non-sexual interactions and boundaries standard to my practice.
A Personal Erotic Myth can take many forms, but to a great extent will include paired personas in some form of power exchange such as Master/slave, Mommy/son, FemDom/cuckold, Daddy/daughter, Teacher/student, and a pantheon of other variations. Some people identify as “Switches” and can cross back and forth between poles as they wish. One’s Personal Erotic Myth generally includes action, dialogue, tone of voice, body language, props, attire and context that can and often fiercely yearns to be expressed. For someone who is a Fetishsexual, it is not acting out a part. It is not just role-playing. It is literally embodying this alter erotic persona that one authentically possesses, and allowing it the unencumbered space to express fully, without shame, guilt or judgement.
These archetypal personas operating within one’s Personal Erotic Myth are already intact and whole within the individual’s personal unconscious but also reference standard mythic personas in the collective unconscious.
In other words many of the erotic themes and archetypal personas that occur in the individual Personal Erotic Myth are found globally as well throughout the gene pool. The erotic myths people yearn to express do not need to be cognitively scripted out, they just need to be allowed to embody and be present. These parts of the erotic psyche already know generally what they desire to do, say, wear, with whom, what implements, attire setting and other elements, common to a mythic story.
Work with clients often needs to go this deep, this hands on and interactive, to help them uncover, untangle, heal and embrace their authentic desire and reclaim it from the decades of denial, fear, shame, and hiding, that one’s desire may have been pushed down under.
It is incredibly complex as well, for many individuals to manoeuvre some of the terrains of paradox that are part of the journey. Such as, how can I yearn to be so perverse, taboo, and primitive in my sexual desires and also still be a good parent, partner, or social, political or religious community member? Can I be both sacred and profane without compromising my personal integrity, agreements and physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being?
To explore the depths of our darkest desires is a challenging, but empowering and healing process. It requires one to cultivate the deepest intention to become more conscious, aware, embodied, open, honest, curious, vulnerable, fierce, consensual and more.
It is my premise that if these very compelling parts of our sexual nature’s are kept in hidden, secretive shadowy behaviours, they will inevitably blow up in destructive ways within our family, social and work life.
I feel that we are in an unprecedented era where the soul of Eros is forcing humanity’s hand in a way. Its time to fess up, stop pretending we have no wild or dark side….or else the havoc of the sexual shadow (repression, cheating, hiding, porning, sexual violence or other unhealthy diversions) running amok in the world right now, will get worse.
In the case of my client, cited here, she struggled to resolve the paradoxes within herself and how to communicate and express it honourably and ecstatically with her partner. In her own words, she reveals her experience, discoveries and outcome of our work to come to terms with her sexuality and her relationship with her partner.
Her story offers a comprehensive overview of many of the complexities of expressing one’s authentic desire within the self and in relationship, and encountering the shadows, wounds, fears, shames and judgements, that are inevitably part of the process.
In the upcoming part 2 of this article, my client, in her own words, reveals her experience, discoveries and outcome of our work for herself and her relationship with her partner. Her story offers a comprehensive overview of many of the complexities of expressing one’s authentic desire, and encountering the shadows/wounds/fears/shames/judgements, that are inevitably part of the process.
Here is an excerpt…
“She wants to possess her captor as he possess her. She wants the freedom of having no choice. No will. The power of surrender. She wants to be known and seen in all of her wild and nasty ways. She is Irresistible. Her true power lies in her capacity for seduction, and for surrender. She willingly submits to the man who will possess her, own her. The man to whom she belongs. The man she has given herself to. The man who loves her. Who is himself unable to control his desire for her. Who must possess her every which way he can. Who will show her off. Share her with whomever he pleases. For she will do as she is told. “
To take the FREE Discover Your Personal Erotic Myth Survey go HERE.
– Galen Fous
This post published as part of the Fetish Friday series. The post is not sponsored in any way, and does not contain affiliate links.
About the author:
Galen Fous MTP is a sex-positive transpersonal psychologist, therapist and educator helping individuals and couples get honest, shame-free and empowered around their authentic sexuality. He sees clients via Skype or in person in Portland, OR. For info or to arrange an initial appointment go to GalenFous.com. He is the author of the highly acclaimed Decoding Your Kink – Guide to Explore, Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires. His innovative, free, research survey, Discover Your Personal Erotic Myth, with over 2400 participants so far, helps people consider and embrace the depths of their own erotic nature, and contributes to Fous’s sex-research mapping the Erotic psyche. Take the survey here. He is also the creator of the Tetruss 3 in 1 Portable Dungeon, Suspension Bondage Rig and Sex Swing, sold the world over since 2000.