Welcome to the seventh installment of our 8-week summer series, The Womanly Arts Unplugged, in honor of our upcoming course, Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp! This week, Jane, a Mastery and Creation Grad from Connecticut, joins us to teach about the Womanly Art of Owning and Operating Men!
Jane, Age 78 – Soon-to-be-Author, Retired Family Counselor
When I first heard of this Art, I remember thinking, “That sounds a bit manipulative…” — but I learned that couldn’t be farther from the truth! This Art is actually a profound practice in intimacy and connection, stemming from a deep love and respect for men. Mama Gena teaches us how to live into our highest expression, inviting the men in our lives to be their best.
I think of The Art of Owning and Operating Men more like, “The Art of Relating to Men,” or “The Art of Loving and Receiving from Men,” or “The Art of Staying in My Pleasure, Receiving My Desires, and Taking Him Higher”!
You can’t separate your relationships with men from your own personal practice of pleasure. In fact, the crux of the practice is becoming aware of what’s in your pleasure, keeping yourself juicy and happy, and then bringing that to your partner and everyone in your life. The first step in this Art is taking exquisite care of your beauty, sensuality, pleasure and creativity.
That is the way to lead your man and your relationship. In modeling that, you gradually teach him to look for his own pleasure and share that with you. It becomes an upward spiral of joy, connection, and intimacy.
Nearly 7 years ago, when I began my studies at the school, I had one question I wanted answered: “Should I stay in this marriage?”
At the time, my marriage was not working and we were very stuck. Recently retired from a successful business career, my husband, Bob, had little sense of who he was, feeling lost and less. We were not having fun, I was unsatisfied with my sex life, and I was beginning to doubt whether that would ever change.
Through my practice in The Art of Owning and Operating Men, and my coursework at the school, I can now say that at age 78, I’ve never felt more happy, beautiful, sexy and sensual, or deeply connected to my husband than I do right now. Yes, 78! At a time of life when most women of my generation have retired their sensuality, I am proof that there is so much more that’s possible.
Bob and I have been married 28 years, and it’s better than ever. I’m so honored to share some of the most powerful lessons we’ve learned along the way with you today.
By the way, although today I’m primarily sharing about my journey with Bob, I use these principles in every relationship in my life — with my adult children, friends, relatives, everyone. You can apply the practice of this Art whether you’re single, dating, or married and no matter who you love. You can apply these principles to any relationship in your life, because it all starts with you in relationship with you.
Lesson #1: Focus on you first
In Mama Gena’s first book, she asked a question that hit me between the eyes: WHO AM I AS A WOMAN? It was a question I’d never considered. I knew who I was as a wife, a mom, a daughter, a community member, but who am I as a woman? And how do I create my own pleasure? Totally foreign territory!
For many years inside of my marriage, everything had been focused on my husband’s problems. Being a family counselor, I believed that if I could help him with his problems, we could return to the love and connection we’d experienced in the first few years of our relationship. It never occurred to me to put my focus on my desires first.
Mama Gena invited me to take my attention off of my marriage for a year, and put it directly on myself and my own pleasure. That’s exactly what I did, and it was the beginning of my practice in the Art of Owning and Operating Men. I threw myself into the practices: bragging, spring cleaning, swamping, desire lists, womantras, and all the phenomenal tools that are covered in Boot Camp and advanced SWA trainings.
For months, I focused on generating more pleasure for me, invited Bob into it, and surprisingly, he kept joining me.
Lesson #2: Men really DO want to serve women!
One of Mama Gena’s core teachings around men is the notion that they truly do wish to serve women. This was a hard one for me to grasp at first. That was not my experience! Actually I saw it in reverse, that women were there to serve everyone else — husbands, children, parents, communities, etc.
I know I’m not alone in this. As women, not only are we taught the opposite, we live it. It rarely occurs to us to ask for support. And we get dried out and drained, taking care of everyone else’s needs.
So when Mama Gena put forth that men like to serve women, I thought, “What?! That’s not my world. What world are you living in?” Yet, I was happy to take it in and explore the possibility; it just seemed so remote and impossible at the time.
Now, I see just how true this is. And I see that my role in this equation is to receive graciously (no small task for a woman taught to give, give, give to everyone else). I now know that a woman’s capacity to receive is the key element in encouraging a man’s giving.
It’s really the pleasure she receives and appreciation she shares that motivates him. As he feels seen, happy and successful, he wants more of that for himself.
Honestly, at this point all I need to do is ask for what I want and Bob is happy to do it. He gets so much pleasure in giving to me, from small errands to edgy steps like going to sensuality classes.
At the very moment I am writing this to you, he just walked in the door with gorgeous white and purple roses for me! I kid you not. A moment like this was unimaginable when I first stepped into this practice.
Lesson #3: Communicate your desire to him with pleasure
I see women falling into one of two pitfalls here:
1. They communicate a desire in an angry or unpleasant way because it hasn’t been happening. That puts a man down, he feels he’s not winning with her, and the last thing he wants to do is fight that uphill battle!
2. They simply don’t ask. They withdraw. They remain silent, with resentment bubbling under the surface, feeling powerless and victimized. I was in this second category. I had to learn how to ask, and voice my desires from pleasure.
In either scenario, a man can’t give you what you want, because he’s not hearing the request in a way that makes him happy to meet it.
Lesson #4: Include him, every step of the way
I know that a big reason for the shift in our marriage is that I always included Bob. As I investigated my pleasure I communicated what was going on with me. I shared my experiences and what I learned with him, and what I wanted. I also asked him to generate pleasure as I was doing.
I listened carefully to what he was saying, and used it for my pleasure and his. Bob often tells me that I have “magic fingers.” He says: “Anywhere you touch me sends exciting feelings through my body.” I now use touch lots more since it feels good to me and makes him so happy.
This is so important to emphasize! When a woman includes her partner, both will enjoy pleasure and growth together.
Rather than the SWA being my trip—which could be felt as a split off from him—I used it to bring him along in his own pleasure as well as mine. I believe that is why he enthusiastically supported me in my years of study at the school.
Lesson #5: Have patience with yourself and with him (without wavering in your desire)
Remember, deep change doesn’t always happen overnight. (That said, it can happen much faster than you think, too!) My patience was, and is, a big factor in our progress.
It is also important, albeit challenging, to maintain your direction rather than dropping into discouragement when your man doesn’t “get it” the first, second, third or tenth time! You and he are habituated in set patterns, and it takes time and patience to change them. I keep reminding myself to be easy with myself and him.
Naturally, I want things to happen faster! But if I don’t deal with my impatience, I communicate dissatisfaction to him, instead of enthusiasm and appreciation. So a continuous practice in The Art of Owning and Operating Men, is attending to the spots of impatience within ourselves, with our men and with the process.
This was especially relevant for Bob and me when it came to expanding our sensuality. When I was in the Creation Course, this area of my life was deepening, and I wanted to include him in it. I stood for my desire with transparency which inspired him, and we moved on to each next step. Now, Bob is experiencing our sensual time as his gift for himself as well as for me. He is very motivated with our ongoing practice, as we continue to learn together.
Lesson #6: Sink into sisterhood and community, no matter what!
The Sister Goddess community has been crucial in my journey, every step of the way. Whether through sharing their experiences and resources, or encouraging me through my fears and resistance, Sister Goddesses are always at my back. They continue to help me immensely! If I had been on my own, I don’t believe I could ever have made these changes. I knew it was safe to share myself with these women. All of it, my ups and downs—even when I wanted to hide from embarrassment as my relationship would move forward, then backward, idyllic one week, hell another. My Sisters are there to reflect to me my progress, remind me of who I am and what I can create, and cheer me on through the lows. They are my champions, and they stand for my pleasure and my desires.
In times when Bob doesn’t give me what I want, or repeats things I don’t want, I take time and space for myself, and turn to my sisters. I’ll call a Sister Goddess to practice the tools, get it out of my system, and plug myself back into my pleasure and power. Then, I can come back to him and make the request again with ease.
When I feel full with pleasure, community support, and awareness, I can relate to Bob much more openly. When I’m running on empty with frustration, exhaustion, and hopelessness, I am more likely to respond with anger or criticism, which sets us back.
It is absolutely invaluable to model for each other what it is to be a juicy, turned-on woman. It is so very nurturing and uplifting to have these women available to me, all the time. Because the world isn’t like that — we need to create this world for ourselves.
The Sister Goddess community has truly been a key element in my practice of this Art, and all of the Womanly Arts. Not only in times that aren’t working, but in building wonderful times.
Lesson #7: Be prepared for him to surprise you.
I wanted to share one final story of how my marriage has expanded and deepened more than I could have possibly imagined when I began my practice of this Art.
For years, I’ve had the desire to write the book that’s been brewing inside me. In fact, it was the big desire I brought into Creation. It turned out it wasn’t time then, and my Creation experience became the fertile ground for further nurturing my marriage in the ways I’ve shared so far.
But six months later, I started writing this book of stories about my transformed life! I write every day for hours, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night, jotting down a thought not to forget it in the morning. I am passionately hopeful that my stories will inspire others to create happier lives. This is a beautiful thing about the work of The School of Womanly Arts — even a year after the completion of my Creation Course, it is still working in me!
So here’s where the beautiful surprise comes in. As I wrote my first couple of stories, Bob said to me, “Do you mind if I read your stories?” I was very pleased with his interest, and said, “Sure.”
Well, to make a long story short, he has been the most amazing first line editor. I’ve written more than 20 stories now. He reviews every one I write, and he asks me questions, suggests places he thinks I can go deeper, shares his favorite sentences and frames of the stories . . . It has been such a space of creative intimacy for us that was SO unexpected.
And it all came from me addressing my own pleasure, fulfilling my own long-held desire to write this book. And what I get was not only that fulfilled desire, but an opportunity to share such a beautiful extension of our relationship inside this project.
Thank you so much for reading my post, and helping me celebrate this journey. Now, I’d love to hear from you, in the comments! How are you doing in your relationships with men? I’d love to hear your victories, struggles, and “ahas” in this area. And I hope you choose to continue the conversation inside of Boot Camp, this Fall!
— SG Jane
In case you missed it, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 of The Womanly Arts Unplugged. And stay tuned for the final installment next week. (Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for updates!)
This summer series is our way of pre-partying for Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp, our distance-learning course that takes a woman deep inside each of the Womanly Arts. It includes live teleclasses with Mama Gena, carefully crafted weekly exercises, and a thriving online community. Find all the details here!