"How a dance class helped me plug back in to my sensuality - and taught me an important lesson."

Image via iStock.

Lately, I’ve been feeling disconnected from my own sensuality and needing a way to plug back into that part of myself.

I figured, what better way to re-spark that inner connection than to take a sensual movement class?

I didn’t tell my boyfriend that I was going, because I needed this experience to be just for me. We’ve been living together for a few months now, and while I love him truly, madly, and deeply, I suspect that being with him is the reason that I’ve shut down my connection to my sensuality.

Growing up, I’d internalised the idea that it’s okay to feel sensual and sexual in my body whenever I feel like, as long as I’m not in an exclusive relationship. But now that I am in one, those aspects of myself are only “supposed” to be expressed and enjoyed when I’m with my significant other.

"I figured what better way to re-spark that inner connection than to take a sensual movement class." Image via iStock.

I believe Catholicism, which (at least when I was growing up and filtered through my Filipina upbringing) advocates for a woman to save herself exclusively for one man, has been an influence. Mainstream culture’s limited view of what sensuality is, tying it primarily to the obviously sexual, is another.

To me, my sensuality is so much more. It’s also about feeling ignited, alive, and juiced up to be in my body, which is the opposite of how I’ve been feeling lately. Instead, inhabiting my own skin has felt blechy and uninspired. Then again, is it any wonder that I feel this way since I purposely — albeit unconsciously — shut off from my own sensuality?

Disconnecting from my sensuality when I’m in a relationship isn’t new for me. I’ve certainly done this before. All those other times it was easier to put at least half if not more of the blame on the other person — wrong guy, bad relationship. It’s only when ending those relationships that I would plug back into my sensual nature. I suspect though, that even when I was single, my activated sensuality  was more for attracting men than about me.

This time around, I can see the disengagement is my doing. I want to be able to keep both my sensual spark and my guy without having to let go of one to have the other. (Post continues after gallery.)

I know that reactivating my connection to my sensuality is an inside job and I’m the only one who can do this for me. And it’s likely a process — more time for self-care, paying more attention to how I look and feel, slowing down, getting re-grounded in my body, staying present to the moment, etc.

Still, what better way to jump-start my sensual spark than by going to a class that is all about feminine sensual movement?


The class I attend is taught by Rie Katagiri, a movement coach, choreographer, and dancer. Rie and I have belonged to the same women’s circle for years.

There are several of us in the room—all women, most of us in yoga clothes. After a short body warm up that includes stretching and yoga to open and prepare our bodies for movement, I find myself standing alone with a pole — the kind of pole used for pole dancing.

"I feel like I’m in the third grade again and it’s the first day of gymnastics class."

This is a pole that I grow to quickly dislike when, after Rie demonstrates how to stroll around it — she is graceful as a gazelle — I find myself awkwardly circling said pole like I’ve forgotten how to walk straight.

By the time Rie has me and the other women attempt a simple spin around our respective poles, I’ve emotionally regressed. I feel like I’m in the third grade again and it’s the first day of gymnastics class. I’m standing in front of the uneven parallel bars and I don’t know what to do with my body.

Strutting with one hand holding onto the pole feels like an exercise in ungainliness. Even my default hip-wiggling walk, the one that I developed when peddling my sensual wiles back in the day, has left me.

The tail end of class is the “play” period, when we get to move with the pole however we want. And it’s only then, as I let go of any expectations and lean into the pole, my back against it, that I relax. (Post continues after video.)

I let out a loud exhale and close my eyes. My shoulders go from scrunched up to more laid back. Nectary, sexy sounding music starts to blasts through the room. I sway slowly to the rhythm, feeling…. Feeling…. Feee-ling what it is like to move my pelvis in small circular motions, sway my hips from side to side, arch my back, undulate my spine…

I run my fingers through my hair… so soft… across my cheek… I turn to face the pole, pressing my chest and pelvis against it and — and then I remember I’m not the only one in the room and I stop. I open my eyes, let go of the pole, and stand upright.

Waves of shame and self-consciousness wash through me.

I look around. The other women aren’t paying attention to me. They’re too absorbed in their own experiences, their own bodies.

I’m surprised at my reaction. Goddess forbid that someone witness me in an act of sensual surrender.

Now there are tears. Because if I’d immediately reigned myself in after barely touching the tip of my own experience, what else must there be for me to revel in, to feel, were I to drop in and let go?

I need to have me some more.

Are there any activities or environments that help you express your sensuality?

This post first appeared on Stories from the Belly.  You can read the original post here. 

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