Women's Wisdom, Episode 5: Dr. Cat Meyer talks Trauma, Attachment, Pleasure and Relating
Our guest today, Dr. Cat Meyer, is a sex therapist, yoga instructor and a Reiki practitioner dedicated to evolving the relationship we have surrounding sexuality in our bodies. She's the founder of sexloveyoga.com which is an online platform integrating various schools of thought, including science, tantra, body movements and psychology and she's the host of the podcast Eat.Play.Sex.
ENJOY DR. CAT MEYER AND HER EARNED WISDOM.
Dr. Cat Meyer (03:14):
Hello. Hello. Thank you for that. With the lights coming down and it's like you are illuminating our minds. You're just bringing us to light out of the darkness. I thank you on behalf of all women.
I love that. That's beautiful. I love the [inaudible 00:03:31].
Dr. Cat Meyer (03:33):
I got to, I support you.
Big and Little T Traumas
We're together here. So I would love to invite you, if you would, to start off by giving us a sense of how our past, how our histories, how possibly the trauma that I referenced earlier can sometimes impact us and what you might share with us about the damaging messages that can be traumatic specifically around beauty and how that's impacted you perhaps and how you see it impacting your clients and the people you work with.
Dr. Cat Meyer (04:05):
Trauma in and of itself is such a complex experience because a lot of times when we think of trauma and we think of somebody sexual assault or we think of the war and somebody having PTSD. Those are what we referred to as “big T” traumas but then there's also these smaller T traumas that we can experience on a daily basis. So these are the things, like somebody says something to us and it causes our body to contract or it causes us to startle or distress in response to whatever that was.
“It’s not all the Big T traumas- war, overt violence- that matter. We experience “little t” traumas on a daily basis. They cause us to contract and shape the way we see the world.”
Now, it's interesting when the the brain and the body experience trauma, it's almost like the brain short circuits around it. So normally our brain is naturally processing like everything that I'm saying, everything that's in the room is just moving fluidly through the brain. No problem. But when we hit a distressing point like that, the brain is like, ooh. So all of the pieces that make up an experience, the thoughts, the feelings, the body reactions, the belief about ourselves in that situation, get input into the brain in pieces.
Carrying the Past into The Future
We oftentimes carry the understanding of this, or the belief about ourselves from this experience, into other experiences moving forward. So say somebody told me that, my ponytails look stupid or something like that when I was five, and then I can internalize myself of, oh, I'm not cute or I'm not enough, or love is conditional. So I have to show up in a certain way in order to be received by this group of friends or by my parents. Then moving forward, now I see through a lens of that belief and I'm making sense of my world and if my actions through that belief.
I just wanted to draw attention to the facts. Something you just mentioned I think is so important and isn't always recognized in our culture is the impact of micro experiences. I think there's a tendency in our world to think, well I didn't have a huge trauma. I think you're bringing really beautiful awareness to that fact is that we don't necessarily have to have been majorly traumatized to experience trauma and just those micro experiences like a comment someone makes can actually land in our nervous systems, in our psyche.
So I really appreciate that because I think that's not always recognized in our culture. So I want to ask you more about that nervous system piece and about attachment theory because I know you know a lot about that and I think it's so critical to understanding who we are in the world. Before we do, I didn't really give you a chance to talk about how you came to do the work you're doing and I'm wondering if you can maybe talk about that through a lens and as a segue to your experience and your interest in attachment theory.
Dr. Cat Meyer (06:58):
Yeah, absolutely. Everything that I've experienced in my life helps me to better understand and empathize, and drives me into doing this type of work. I come from a childhood sexual trauma, related trauma and eating disorders for 11 years, depression, suicidal ideation from my young years into my teens and college. Then coming into yoga, I started teaching yoga when I was 20 and that was the first time that I was in my body that I could feel safe and calm and everything was just chill in my body and I was like, oh, this feels good. Who knew that this could happen?
Then, just diving into studying sex education, going to school, getting my doctorate and marriage and family therapy and specializing in sex, and then diving into more embodiment practices and somatic practices. Even in my early 20s, I again, experienced sexual assault. So it was such an interesting experience of realizing, I'm learning all these things on the intellectual level, and I could tell you everything about what the penis does and what the vulva does and all that stuff but I wasn't actually embodying it.
I was even a yoga instructor and I still wasn't embodying it. Embodiment would last me maybe like 30 minutes after class, an hour, maybe a little more. Then I would be right back to my super anxious, like disconnect from my body and disassociating and just not being there. So all of these pieces have comprised how I see healing and I see it from a multilevel experience.
“Healing is a multilevel experience. You hit one level, intellectually, but still might not embody it.”
Dr. Cat Meyer (08:51):
We could address the mental aspect, but if we don't address the body aspect of it and get the body to regulate itself, then it's not going to do a whole lot. We're just going to keep finding ourselves falling into the same patterns again and again and again.
On Attachment Theory
Right. So let's start with the mind because it's a part of it. I know you're multidimensional and you come from the psychological awareness piece and have the intellectual piece. Can you give us a little bit of a primer on attachment theory and how that can inform how we deal with the physical aspects of our embodiment and joy and pleasure.
Dr. Cat Meyer (09:31):
Yeah. Well that's the interesting thing is that they're one of the same. They're not separate. When we talk about real attachment theory and not any of this bullshit pop psychology that's out there that just says, oh, you're this or this, you're this almost like a personality test. It's actually really in depth and really complex. We talk about these four main ones. Actually most of the time we talk about three that's secure. We talk about anxious, insecure or also called preoccupied or avoidant, insecure, which is also called dismissive.
“You can’t be simplified into a personality test.”
Then we also talk about disorganized, which is also fearful avoidant. Now there are 19 different subcategories of that. So as much as we would love to be able to take a Buzzfeed quiz and say, hey, I'm this one, it's not so easy. What we can do is start identifying what some of our patterns are and to be able to catch ourselves in the moment and teach ourselves the skills to be able to be in relationships in a more, or interact in relationships from a more secure stance instead of just allowing ourselves to fly off the handle or default to what is in our design.
Now, when we look at attachment theory, this starts when we're young. We look at the very first relationships that were formed with us in our primary caregivers. Most of the time this is our parents, but sometimes it's not and that also can play a role in the design of our nervous system. So from our formative years, between zero to 18 months, we are this sponge and we're taking in everything about our environment to develop a system in our bodies that would optimize our survival.
(11:20): Anxious or insecure attachment
So if we are able to get our needs met from my primary caregiver, then we're going to establish more of a, the world is safe, I am safe, I am good. If we get our needs met inconsistently, sometimes we get a met and sometimes we don't, then we will design a nervous system that will probably be a lot more sensitive to reacting in order to get the needs met and this is where we see people who might get really anxious if there is a perceived threat that their needs aren't going be met or that love isn't going to be received and would have a harder time being able to regulate the nervous system or bring it down themselves.
A lot of times they have to have another person to be able to help them co-regulate, meaning they allow the other person to regulate them. So a lot of times we'll see people as adults if they haven't been able to develop skills to regulate their nervous system themselves, then a lot of times they'll find themselves going in one relationship after another relationship after another relationship or just have a really hard time being with themselves and by themselves. Now we don't want to shame or blame anybody for having this design in their nervous system. We just want to empower people to learn how to be able to regulate themselves and learn how to use the skills that are going to be able to help them be in healthy relationships.
(12:32): Dismissive or an avoidant attachment
Then we also have somebody who might develop more of a dismissive or an avoidant type of attachment strategy and that would look like their needs tend to consistently not be met. That means, they might cry or throw a tantrum or that kind of thing and for whatever reason, their primary care giver just can't be there.
Maybe their parents work a lot, maybe their parents struggle with depression or just this inability to be there and maybe the parents can't have trouble with attuning to their baby, which means being able to read the cues of their child to be able to accurately assess what the child needs because a parent could keep showing up and be like, oh, take this and this and this and the baby's like, I don't need any of that stuff.
So their nervous system would design more of a slow rise to activation. So it takes them a lot longer to get activated. A lot of times there'll be disconnected from those experiences. So that's why somebody who might have more dismissive or avoidant type of strategies, we're like, why aren't they paying attention to me? Or why don't they want intimacy? Or why can't they show up for me or whatever it is. A lot of times they're just not connected to their own internal process and have less ability to be able to attune to the needs of other people, which we need to be able to read people's faces and non-verbals to be able to see what it is that they actually want or what's real or that kind of thing.
(14:18): Disorganized attachment
Then the last one is more of a disorganized attachment and that is somebody who's experienced trauma at an early age and they didn't have any sort of resources to be able to help them navigate through that. So a child can experience trauma at an early age, but if the family shows up and really is there for the child to be able to help them regulate themselves again, then they can move on and grow and develop into more of a secure attachment and that's fine. So this is more of a who doesn't have those resources.
Sometimes we see a parent who has mental health struggles or lack of resources themselves to be able to access, to be able to care for the child. So then we see them developing as adults, if they haven't had the care or worked with a therapist to be able to help them gain those skills, we'll see them really having a hard time entering into relationships and staying in them. So they can have any of the strategies. It's not organized. That's why we say it's disorganized because they can be avoided. They can get anxious, they can be all these things. Ultimately we see oftentimes they're fearful to enter into relationships or they're avoidant to enter into relationships and then they're fearful once they get into this because they're afraid that the person will leave them.
Interesting. I can really see how an awareness of a person's orientation in terms of attachment theory would help you as a therapist, teach them self-regulation and also, what did you call it, oh, there's the light. Teach them personal regulation skills but also the ability to, what did you call it? Co-regulation. Co-regulation in relationship. What I'm extrapolating from that is that if we know our system and how our system is wired, then we can start to build strategies and tools for dropping into our body, becoming more embodied for our own pleasure and for our connection with our partners.
Dr. Cat Meyer (16:26):
Ultimately, yeah. Ultimately, I encourage embodiment for everyone because whether you're somebody who struggles with anxiety and it's hard to be able to be in your body or letting or if you struggle with attuning to another person and be able to read their skills or even know what your internal experience is. So some people even adopt, take up the energy or the mood of another person. This is where a lot of people identify as empaths. They're like, oh I'm empathic, I feel everything and everyone.
Dr. Cat Meyer (17:00):
Well, part of that is also because you have trouble with separating yourself from another person and that's a skill that we can learn. So we can learn because it is in their best interest to be able to tune into the reactions and the anxiety of another person because if they can regulate that other person, then this person can regulate and calm down, which is really interesting. Yeah, and we've had to look to the other people for, how are we supposed to interact in this threat-filled world.
Right. So you're really big on pleasure and I know it's an area that you have a lot of expertise and a lot to share. I want to ask you about it, but before I do, I want to remind our attendees, we really want to know what do you want to know from Dr. Cat about pleasure, about attachment theory, about relationships, or about anything related to her areas of expertise. Please share questions. We want to address the queries that you have and the reason that you're here. So please do share. Now, as far as pleasure goes, Dr. Cat, you have an entire, well, first of all, let me ask you, in the [inaudible 00:18:07] of our world and all that's happening, can you just share a little bit about why pleasure is so important?
Dr. Cat Meyer (18:14):
[crosstalk 00:18:14] yeah. Besides the obvious fact that it just feels good.
I've heard you say something that has a deeper piece that, that it actually is a contribution to the world. Maybe it's how we relate to each other or how we show up in the world.
Dr. Cat Meyer (18:31):
Yeah, totally. I see that our culture is a punishment ethos, meaning that we base a lot of our decisions on how to avoid pain or how to do avoid discomfort. We go to the gym, not just because we enjoy going to the gym, although I like it, but we go to it to avoid gaining weight or we eat this specific food because we want to avoid gaining weight or even we make our partners feel bad or guilty or jealous in order to gain their love or gain their attention kind of thing. If instead we started asking ourselves, well, what would feel good for me? What feels good for me? Then we start creating a life that isn't based on this tension in our bodies from trying to avoid, but a relaxation and to be able to open to enjoyment.
What we also know is that tension causes us to be able to receive less pleasure in our bodies. So when our bodies tense and contract, our sensory receptors close, so we're less open to receiving pleasure. When we're relaxed and we're open, we can feel so much more. That's why taking yoga classes or breathing exercises or meditation or mindfulness in the body and helping ourselves to just kind of drop in and relax, helps us to feel so good. Even sexually.
If we notice when our body starts contracting or our breath starts getting a lot more shallow, if instead we choose to relax and we take deeper, longer breaths and we relax our pelvic floor, we can have so much greater pleasure potential and orgasmic potential. We don't even realize that we're already capping it.
Interesting. So it's a little bit of a rewind, but I'm betting you can incorporate the idea of pleasure. I want to ask you a bit about pleasure practices because you have an entire video on pleasure practices. So I'm wondering if you might be able to integrate that with a question from one of our attendees who asks about resources for longterm relationships in terms of exploring the attachment piece deeper in the context of long term relationships. So those things may be related or maybe not. Either address them one on one, like one at a time or integrate them [inaudible 00:21:01] make sense.
On Pleasure Practices
Dr. Cat Meyer (21:01):
Yeah. So I might want to take both of them a little bit separately. So pleasure practice is anything that we can, what I do in the morning is I always start with some sort of practice to get in my body because once I sit down at my laptop, I'm like, here. I'm cognitive and I'm like, but if I start out with some sort of like mindfulness practice, meditation practice, I do self-pleasure practices. So I actually use Rosebud’s arouse with my little Yoni egg or one of my crystal wands. Just to connect more centrally with myself. I also am playing music when I'm getting ready. So I'm always like dancing and just being in that space of openness. I also do breast massage every morning or in the middle of the day.
Dr. Cat Meyer (21:49):
That not only helps to flush out the lymph systems of all the toxins that might've been built up in the body, but also reconnects me with my body and also increases the sensitivity of my breasts. Now, so many of us have these negative messages around our breasts and a lot of us grew up with, whether they're too tiny or they're too big, or we developed faster than the rest of our other classmates. So having that moment to just view with the body, lotioning up your body after a shower.
Dr. Cat Meyer (22:16):
Just ultimately creating space for yourself to be with yourself helps us to be able to do that. We can do this with partners by, maybe we want to practice breath work together, eye gazing, sensual touch. Maybe we create a little love lab and try out different types of touch on each other. Different types of words on each other. See what type of words really land in which types of words definitely don't land. Also making decisions on a daily basis of what would feel good for me. What would be pleasurable for me. Maybe going to a farmer's market and getting some flowers for myself, not because for any sort of end goal and that's a key point here, not to do these things for an end goal or purpose, but simply because it feels good.
So important. I love that. I love the fact that even though you haven't addressed how the attachment information plays into or could inform a longterm relationship, some of the pleasure practices you just described could absolutely support reconnection in a longterm relationship. Because sometimes in longterm relationships we forget about just those simple things about touch and the kind of practices that you're suggesting.
Dr. Cat Meyer (23:36):
That's the thing is because with attachment theory, a lot of times we have this internal fear. If we have more insecure strategies that we default to, then there's this internal message of either they're going to leave me, which means that my needs aren't going to be met or there's an underlying shame piece. Shame about ourselves. Something's wrong with me. So why would this person want to be with me? Therefore, I will shorten intimacy, depth of intimacy, or I will do some sort of sabotage to make sure that that person never actually sees who I am at my core.
Empathy with Our Partner’s Activitions as a Path to Pleasure
So with our partner, we want to become an expert of our partner's vulnerabilities and of the things that soothe them. So if we can write out a list of, what are some of the topics that my partner has become activated on? I love using the word activated instead of the word triggered because triggered has more of a negative connotation to it, but activated. Their nervous system gets activated, we get flooded with emotion. What have been some of those things or what have been some of the past experiences of my partner from when they were younger that have an impact on them?
Dr. Cat Meyer (24:51):
So maybe they've experienced trauma or maybe they experienced struggle with their parents. What are those? Then have your partner be able to do the same and then create another list on what are the things that I've seen a work with my partner that soothe them. So maybe it's their love language, maybe it's touch, maybe it's a nonverbal look. Maybe some words that you specifically say and your partner can come up with the same, both for themselves and for their other partner and then have a dialogue around this and see how this matches with one another.
On Conflict, Activation and Soothing in Relationship
Then we also want to, when we're having conflict or when we're having dialogue with our partner and they get activated, we need to remember A) they're not present anymore because now they're engaging more of the part of the brain that is in survival and they're no longer connected with the higher functioning part of the brain. So they probably won't be able to logically see us and where we're coming from and us them as well. So when we hit these, we're hitting the wall against our partner and nobody's really seen each other. It's exactly that.
Nobody's seeing each other and you can try to explain yourselves as much as you want to, but ultimately we're back here in the more primal part of the brain. So take a break, but make sure you give a specific time to be able to come back to this. That way the partner doesn't perceive that you're abandoning them, but they know this is important to you as well and that you're giving a different time to be able to come back. Then a lot of times things can clear in our minds and we're back to access to the frontal lobe of the brain.
Well, I really appreciate the choice of words, the word choices that you've made specifically around activation versus triggering and seems to me that ties into the idea of shame that you mentioned earlier. There's something about triggering, when you're triggered that has a little bit of a blame, negativity kind of shaming [inaudible 00:26:53] to it. Whereas activation really suggests that you're alive and you're human and you've got a reaction to something, which seems just a lot more inclusive and expansive and you know, creates more space for curiosity and connection. I just want to play back just to underline and also to refresh my memory. The practice that you just described, which sounds really powerful, which you said to know your partners, the things that are the things that activate your partner. The other piece was what, can you just refresh my memory because I'm trying to integrate it all.
Dr. Cat Meyer (27:26):
Yeah. Become an expert of your partner's vulnerabilities and what soothes them.
“Become an expert of your partner's vulnerabilities and what soothes them, and on your own. Where are you vulnerable and what soothes you?”
Oh, great. So your partner's vulnerabilities and what soothes them and obviously your own, same. You need to know your own, the examples of what soothes you and what's vulnerable to you too.
Dr. Cat Meyer (27:44):
Yeah, what both self-soothes you. So what self-regulates you. For me, those are things like breathing. I do breath work, I go to yoga, I go running, I paint. Then what also soothes my partner. So a touch, a hug, a cuddle specific words. Things like, I got you. I'm here with you. Or even sometimes it's just a reassuring look.
Dr. Cat Meyer (28:13):
That's going to be different for everybody because again, we need to remember if our partner struggles with attuning or being able to pick up these nonverbal, then that might not be something that will be helpful but maybe a touch would be or words would be.
It's really just striking me how different our world could be if we all had such intentional conversations with each other. Such self-awareness, such other awareness and we actually sat down and share these specific things because I don't think that happens very often. I think what you've referred to earlier is when we get disconnected from each other and we might not even know why it is because we can have been married to someone for 10, 15, 20 years and never have had the conversation. That is when you say this, I feel this or when you say, I feel this and gosh, this is just striking me, what a different world it could be if we were that intentional about our reactions in both positive and activated way.
Dr. Cat Meyer (29:11):
The problem is that a lot of us aren't connected to it. Whether we don't give the quiet time or the reflection time to be able to go in and figure out how it is that we're actually showing up or even connected with the internal stories and dialogue that we're telling ourselves in our own head. I think that's also a powerful tool to be able to share with our partner. You know what? Right now the story that I'm telling myself in my head is that you don't actually want to be with me, that you're with me out of pity.
Dr. Cat Meyer (29:40):
Then the partner has the opportunity to be able to clarify what might be going on there and validate ourselves. It makes sense that my head goes to these specific stories for a reason, given everything that I've experienced myself in my life, I'm not crazy. It just is misattributed here. It doesn't fit the reality, the ultimate reality that's in front of me. It's more in this conceptual reality in my head, and I can be so vulnerable and own this and wear my heart on my sleeve and create opportunity for intimacy with my partner, with friends, with anyone.
Dr. Cat Meyer (30:20):
While still not blaming or victimizing myself, because there's no victimizing by saying, you know what, the story I'm telling myself in my head is this, and I'm recognizing it's a story and there may be some truth to it and there may be not any, I may be projecting, but this is how I'm feeling right now.
Right. Taking responsibility for the feelings and the feelings and how those lead to thoughts and the stories that we make up about what we're experiencing is so powerful. So this is such rich, deep stuff and I love the possibilities that it provides for creating more connections and like you say, all kinds of relationships, starting with the self and then every other kind of relationship.
On Adrenal Fatigue, Overdoing, and More
Can we talk a little bit about, I know you also have a lot of information and knowledge about physical, the physical contributions and you shared some of the practices like the pleasure practices that you know, but I know you also have a fair amount of information about nutrition and about hormones. I'm wondering if you can share a little bit about your knowledge. Just like kind of a tiny little insight. I know you can't share all that you know, but just some little tidbits about what we might be thinking about in terms of how we approach our lives in terms of nutrition, hormones and the other physical things that we have control over.
Dr. Cat Meyer (31:32):
Yeah. I actually dive into this deeper on my podcast. Eat.Play.Sex podcast, everything about nutrition, sex and relationships as well as my online program, love.body. So going into these exact nutritional pieces and our gut microbiome and our vulva biome and our thyroid and our adrenal system. Because all of these play a role in our hormone production. So what we're seeing right now is there are, gosh, so many things. Our bodies are consuming so many toxins from our environment.
Dr. Cat Meyer (32:07):
So a lot of heavy metals are even in our beauty products that we're putting on our face or that we're dying our hair with and it's leaking into our system causing disruption in the hormone production. Now we also, our lifestyles are this super productive, go, go, go, goal oriented. How much can I accomplish in a single day, and with that we're drinking a lot of coffee, a lot of caffeine trying to keep up and it's exhausting our adrenal systems and our adrenal systems are so crucial for our hormone production.
Dr. Cat Meyer (32:44):
So, now a lot of women are coming to me and saying that they have low sex drive or that they don't want sex or they're just feeling foggy brained or fatigued and all this stuff. A big part of it is looking at the lifestyles and the things that they're consuming. If they've already worn out these internal systems of their body, then how can we expect our bodies to be able to work optimally? We can't. The body's actually speaking to us and saying, I need help. Come to me and help me out and we're not listening to it because we're just so focused on these other things that we need to achieve instead of pausing, coming back to the body and taking care of that.
So are you saying that coffee and sex drive are negatively correlated?
Dr. Cat Meyer (33:32):
No, I am saying that things, there's nothing wrong with coffee.
Right. I'm joking but I get that the general idea is that you're trying to bring more awareness to how we treat our adrenal systems in general, as a whole piece.
Dr. Cat Meyer (33:50):
Right. If we're just continuing to zap our body and saying, go, go, go, go, go and our body's like, no, I can't. I've already exceeded my limit and we're still telling it to go, go, go. Then we wonder why we're sick all the time or why we're tired or why we're having bad sex or why we're not having sex at all because the body needs help. It needs our help to be able to optimally function. A lot of times people don't even realize how their gut microbiome plays a big role in all this too.
Dr. Cat Meyer (34:24):
Speaking for myself, I am a recovering type A personality and perfectionist and I was one of those people that was constantly driving to do more and be more. God, I would like get up at 6:00 AM, do my workout, go to school, go to grad school and drink a lot of coffee in between, teach yoga, then work on my dissertation all in one day, and then I was just so exhausted and I didn't want sex and I just didn't want any, I was just kind of eh. I had worked with a functional nutritionist who was my co-host on the podcast and she came up with all these levels and I had to leaky gut syndrome.
Dr. Cat Meyer (35:07):
So I was having stomach aches all the time with everything that I was eating. I was producing, the cortisol levels in my body were so high that it was just, so much inflammation in my body and everything was just fatigued. Adrenals, fatigue. So I had to go through a whole protocol to cleanse everything out. I cut coffee from my diet. I still drink matcha tea every day. So I definitely have my caffeine, but it's not that same jolting experience that I used to have.
Dr. Cat Meyer (35:45):
I feel a lot sexier in my body because I don't have all that inflammation and the pain in my body. I didn't want people to touch me because it physically did not feel good. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin all the time and part of that was anxiety because I just felt, in a sense there was this underlying belief in myself that I wasn't enough if I couldn't produce more. Production equaled value of myself. So there's the emotional, mental, emotional piece of it along with the physical aspects and the motivation for that type of lifestyle that was essentially killing me.
Yeah. I really hear that you can't separate them because if you have that orientation in the world or the belief system that you have to produce or do more then you're probably going to be making choices that are going to be stressing your adrenal system and all of that. What I'm gathering is the truth of how all of that, all those choices, that thinking and the follow on actions remove us from our body or disconnect us and how it makes it harder for us to drop in if we're always activated.
Dr. Cat Meyer (36:51):
Right. We don't want to be in our body when we're so activated, when we're so uncomfortable. That's why I unknowingly developed this just association where I would just check out, I would not be in my body. Part of that is from the past trauma as well but part of that was also because it was just so uncomfortable to be in here. I didn't want to be in there.
Totally true. Well, thank you so much for all of this amazing wisdom. I'm wondering if in the context of the conversation and the things we've talked about, if you feel like there's anything that women who want to be more embodied, experience more pleasure, have better relationships and better sex, might need to know about that. I haven't asked you about. Is there anything that you've recently been thinking about or a topic that's currently on your mind or anything that we might've missed?
On Loving Your Body, Unwinding Shame, Being a Good Sister
Dr. Cat Meyer (37:40):
Yes, actually. This follows up with, so I do these monthly women's central yoga classes called Undone Yoga. We do the yoga in our underwear as a way to undo these negative messages around what it means to be a sensual woman and to be in our bodies with a room full of other women doing the same. What I'm getting to here is there are all these negative messages around being sensual. Sometimes we would see a woman and she's in her body and she's feeling herself or she's taking a selfie or something and we judge that and we say, she's full of herself or she's just trying to get attention and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Dr. Cat Meyer (38:21):
Instead of, just honoring her and be like, yes, yes to that. You're in your pleasure, you're saying yes to being in your body, you loving your body, you're celebrating it. I want more of that, instead we just shame.
So since you mentioned that and since you brought it up, I got a raise the current issue in the culture, in the larger culture that's really bringing that up right now, the whole Superbowl Halftime thing. I've seen that blowing up on my social media in terms of both shame and also a stance for, this is an opportunity to see ourselves as sensual, sexual embodied beings even after age 50 and it's complicated and my own personal feeling about it is it raises the complexity of when we try to change the cultural narrative, it's kind of messy and they're all these internalized things we have to grapple with. So there is this a part of the story and part of the thinking that I'm seeing coming up where people say that's the old way that's playing into representation of women in a past way that's objectified.
So we don't want that. It's not actually moving forward. Then other people who were saying, hey, I'm liking the fact that we can be wide ranging in our experience of ourselves and in our representation of ourselves. So you want to tell me where you're sitting on that? Because with the context that where I'm sitting and it is mostly along the line of let's have freedom. Let's get rid of comparison culture. Let's get rid of all the shame. Let's allow people to be embodied and enlivened and sensual and sexual in whatever way they choose.
Dr. Cat Meyer (40:02):
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Let's remember that some people feel really empowered and sexy in more clothes and some people feel more empowered and sexy with less clothes and who are we to project onto somebody else, how they need to define that or delineate that for themselves. If somebody feels that is their most authentic expression, then let them, celebrate them. They're owning themselves. They are being walking permission slips for us to step up into whatever that is for us.
Dr. Cat Meyer (40:36):
I don't believe or ascribe to any of this thought of, oh she needs to dress her age. No, she needs to dress the way that she wants to. The way her body feels good and most comfortable and most alive versus us telling them that their body is not the right shape for whatever they're wearing or this, that or the other.
Yeah, I think you're hitting on one of the most important things in that topic, in that conversation, but also in how we experience ourselves in our relationships and that is that we are the masters of our own experience. The more we can recognize that everyone else is the master of their experience. I think you mentioned the idea of not sovereignty, in one of the videos I saw you mentioned the three points and one of them was, there was consent. Three things. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Dr. Cat Meyer (41:22):
The self compassion video?
No, it was a video that you talked about three things that you need to be in a relationship in building a positive, co-creating a relationship. One was consent and one was-
Dr. Cat Meyer (41:34):
Agency, yes. That you have agency in how you want to experience your body, your pleasure, your self expression and I have agency in how I do it. I don't need to put my idea of how I want to experience myself on you.
Dr. Cat Meyer (41:48):
Yeah, absolutely. Let's empower each other to make our own decisions for ourselves instead of making them for somebody else.
So important. So much possibility and change in that. I really appreciate so much. Your knowledge and your expertise, wow. You have so much information and I appreciate how articulately you've shared it with our audience and with me. So I really am grateful for you spending the time here today and we'll definitely be sharing your link so people can connect with you in other ways. So thank you so much for being with us here today.
Dr. Cat Meyer (42:23):
Thank you so much. It's been my pleasure.