Learning the empowering art of striptease
How is learning striptease empowering?
I'll begin my answer with a testimonial from a recent online striptease lesson student:
“I found the lesson powerful and fascinating. I became aware of the areas where I needed to practice self-compassion and self-acceptance, rather than allowing my inner critic to lead. Having Ruth guide me quickly transformed my inner critic voice into to a stable, sensual erotic presence. That presence had a power which was deeper than I expected. Even though I have practiced conscious sexuality practices, I was not used to extending and holding my sensual erotic presence in the field around me with conscious intention. I learned how to radiate it out from me, rather than saving it for moments of direct intimate touch with my partner, and felt a deeper connection with myself as an erotic being. The lesson also created a new awareness around being able to convey non-verbal messages. it felt like learning a new communication style through dance.” Petra Vasileva, somatic coach
We are taught from a young age to shut our sexual presence and energy within us, and not radiate it outwards. It is shameful and dangerous. Of course there are contexts where keeping it private is appropriate. But it many cases the lessons are so absolute (that it is NEVER the right context, or not until our wedding night) the situation becomes chronic. We cannot release that energy, for ourselves to experience, let alone to share with others. We jammed the door shut, decades ago.
Learning striptease can be a powerful way of unlocking access to this energy. Where sitting still talking about one’s erotic self is not comfortable or getting results, experiencing it through movement instead can be transformational. Focus is on the striptease techniques, within a safe held space, and the voices of the inner critic, society and upbringing fade away. In this safe space, the door is slowly opened (or sometimes, jubilantly flung wide!).
There is a perceptible change in energy when this happens. Sometimes it occurs before the teaching even starts: I always perform for my student at the start of a class. This reassures them it’s safe to release and express their erotic self: they have just experienced mine, and felt it as a beautiful, enjoyable, uplifting experience, in no way threatening, disempowering or dangerous to either of us. During my performance I am consciously but silently inviting their erotic spirit out to play, and I feel when that happens - I get goosebumps.
Simply feeling this happen can crack open that jammed door.
There are also more cerebral ways in which the experience can be understood as empowering.
In prep before the lesson, I ask my student if they have an outfit they want to learn to strip out of, and whether they have particular music in mind. I explain that the most important thing of all is to choose what makes THEM feel sexy. Even if they are planning to dance for a partner, their preference is more important than what that partner might choose. I saw again and again in my 12 years dancing: the most spellbinding performance is when the dancer is revelling in her own erotic energy.
I used to enjoy dancing the Sunday afternoon shift at a particular venue. There was a gang of old gents, long-term friends, who used to meet up there on Sundays, and I’d dance for them to Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and old James Bond theme tunes. But if my erotic spirit was demanding to dance to Metallica? Then I’d dance to Metallica, and they would love it. Expressing what my erotic spirit was feeling was always the right thing to do. For some students it may be that they’ve never asked the questions of themselves before (what do THEY truly find arousing?). They have been so focused on repressing what turns them on, or on following cultural scripts or on expressing themselves in a way they think a partner will want… The idea that the most powerfully attractive thing they could do is tune into and express their deepest self is new to them. In the lesson, students connect with their body in a space of movement (rather than static in front of a mirror or looking at a photo) and aware self-touch. It may be a long time since a student touched themselves in such a conscious way – day to day physical self-care and even masturbation can be a detached experience. Mindful movement to music with a sensual beat stirs something primal in us and makes this an easier experience than one might imagine. The lesson illustrates how in addition to expressing oneself truly, the most attractive elements of a striptease are eye contact and smiles. People often imagine the performer must be serious and sultry, but nothing says “I am enjoying being here, and I invite you to enjoy it too” like a smile. This carries over into sex. I have coaching clients tell me they don’t have eye contact with their partner during sex and don’t laugh or smile…. but their biggest wish is for their sex life to become more playful. A striptease lesson is a safe space to experiment with bringing that connection and playfulness to an erotic environment (my demo dance always starts with a big smile!). Being on the receiving end of my performance also allows the student to feel the pleasure of being in an erotic space without having to give anything back. This is a good lesson in a sexual world where we may be preoccupied with our partner’s experience - I asked a coaching client recently what her predominant feeling is after great sex and she replied: “feeling pleased I did a good job”. An ability to sometimes be the audience, the receiver, is important to a rounded experience of sex. It’s healthy and enjoyable both for us and our partner.
I have often begun a striptease lessons with a very nervous student. I have never ended a lesson with one.
To be part of opening that door to erotic energy is a honour which is giving me goosebumps just writing about it. Teaching striptease is one of my favourite things in the world to do.
If you are curious about learning about online lessons, visit my dedicated page where you will also find FAQs.