Episode 65: Sarah Sandhill: Women’s Journey into Sexuality
Meet the remarkable Sarah Sandhill – Facilitator of HAI’s Sex, Love & Intimacy workshops, entrepreneur, mother, grandmother and creator of the “All About Sex for Women” workshop. Join us as talk about Sarah’s remarkable life experiences and her unique and empowering work with women. In a lively and candid conversation we talk about sexuality and aging, orgasm, healing the shame that is endemic in our culture, and opening to the power and beauty of women’s sexuality. And don’t miss Sarah’s self-loving exercise for you to try at home.
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Chip August: Welcome to Sex, Love and Intimacy, I’m your host, Chip August and today on the show we’re going to be talking about women and women’s sexuality. We are talking to a friend of mine Sarah Sandhill. Sarah Sandhill is an entrepreneur who has provided services for seniors, she has developed and leads the high about -- the all about sex for women workshop and also a workshop called Journey into Body and Soul for Women. She’s the mother of three children and a grand mother of five and lives in community with another family and leads high workshops with me and with our other high facilitators.
Sarah Sandhill: I was definitely curious about what this thing they called orgasm was and why people did different things and I seemed to be the person that was full of questions and I got answers but they still didn’t help me much. It’s like rubbing on my elbow is same as rubbing on my clitoris except my clitoris hurt more. So I was working in a dental office and someone suggested a vibrator to me. Okay, I am going to try anything, I was very embarrassed and came out of the check-stand of a store rubbing my shoulders so nobody would think out for bit I was going use it any other place than on my shoulders. There, especially back when I was a kid growing up in the 50s, the birth control pill hadn’t really hit us and I don’t remember anybody in school leaving school because they were pregnant because I don’t think much sex happened, didn’t from me, slowly but surely things of all conduct more and people are getting more information and wanting more information. One of the things we’re going to address is what does happen with age. No, what’s this men opposed thing that seems to attack so many of us. One of the things that I did at a workshop recently is for people to bring their sex toys. Have you remember when I opened the bag and poured mine out there was sort of this (uh-uh) in the room and then the curiosity took over and we all went around in the circle and said well this is what I use and I use this for that and this for that and this is where I put it on my body when I get to a certain point then I do this.
Chip August: Welcome to the show Sarah Sandhill.
Sarah Sandhill: Thank you very much, nice to be here.
Chip August: Sarah and I’ve known each other for a number for years and for all those years I have tried to convince her that I would be the perfect assistant to help out of this women’s workshops and but she insist that you actually have to be a woman to come to this room and workshop, so I am about to learn what goes on behind the doors because she won’t let me come and see so, so let’s talk about this. We, all about sex for women, what -- all about sex I mean, come on adult women know about sex, what do women need to know about sex?
Sarah Sandhill: Well, my experience again and again and again is that many women think they know about sex but since shame has shrouded us for so many years we don’t really talk openly and in detail about how our sex life’s work or don’t work, what we’ve done to change that and when I get a group of women together and create this trusting, connecting space for them, we all become teachers for one another. Next it’s quite hard warming.
Chip August: Is there a particular age group or particular kind of women who comes to a workshop like this?
Sarah Sandhill: I find that younger women but that I mean late teens or early 20s don’t tend to come as much. I know as I look back, oh do I wish I’d had a workshop like this when I was in my 20s, it would have my life a lot easier. So, let’s say more 30s up through all stages of menopause.
Chip August: I notice one of the things that you’re teaching is about physiology and I have to say as a guy, my relationship with my physiology is very different than I noticed most of the women I know their relationship with their physiology, is there stuff that you think women don’t know or stuff you didn’t learn or like I mean what women really need to know about their physiology that you can teach them?
Sarah Sandhill: Well, first of all a lot, and secondly there’s a whole lot of new information that’s coming out recently about where the clitoris is, it is in just this little ball under a hood it has legs and there’s a whole lot more stimulatable territory than we ever thought before.
Chip August: So, just having an image of a clitoris with legs swarming around in my room and it was just -- was a funny image. Yes, yes I think the last thing I read said that there’s almost like four inches of clitoral length of which we see on the surface like a quarter or an inch or something, eh?
Sarah Sandhill: It’s about right, maybe even more than that, yes. What happen for me was I had -- I want to say just no feelings of a sexual nature in my body for years, maybe into my 30s and I was definitely curious about what this thing they called orgasm was and why people did different things and I seemed to be the person that was full of questions and I got answers but they still didn’t help me much. It’s like rubbing on my elbow is same as rubbing on my clitoris, except my clitoris hurt more So I started -- actually I was working in a dental office and someone suggested a vibrator to me. Okay, I am going to try anything, I was very embarrassed and came out of the check-stand of a store rubbing my shoulders so nobody would think out for bit I was going use it any other place than on my shoulders. So it’s been a process of me shedding my shame and helping other people shed theirs and discovering all kinds of stuff, I am still learning lots of new stuff and I content to do that forever. So I think that’s probably what’s driven me forward is having a body that didn’t work to now after years or work and understanding and education and comfort and saying goodbye to my shame, my body just -- I wouldn’t trade it for anybody, it works very well like can have orgasms that go on for a half hour and hour till I get too tired to go on and with such a contrast than having nothing and I want to be able to pass that kind of information along to other women. So that hopefully, they don’t go through all the years and all the -- what really felt like suffering to me to get where I’ve gotten to today.
Chip August: Yes, I can’t help but notice I’ve never met a man who gets to the age of 25 years old and says I don’t know if I’ve ever had an orgasm or not, that just isn’t such -- I mean maybe there I’m sorry, listen if you are the one person that that’s true for, but it’s pretty rare and yet I’ve met a lot of women who get to the age of 25 and don’t actually know if they’ve ever had an orgasm or not, they just don’t really know. So, were you actually teach women some tools and techniques so that they can actually know whether or not they’ve had an orgasm and have better ones?
Sarah Sandhill: Absolutely, first of all we will all be in discussion about what does that feel like for you, where does it feel like it, stands forth in your body, how did you get there, how do you get there whether it’s with masturbation or with a partner. So that window gets open for people and then some -- first, many -- who have managed to get to orgasm, well now, how do I have a bunch, how do I create that? And again, you know I’ve got answers but so the other women attending the workshop, everybody’s coming in with different questions and different answers to learn from one another.
Chip August: And, so let’s just follow the step further here. I imagine if I’m listening to you right now, there’s got to be some (ooh) factor like -- am I going to be having orgasms with other women, is this like just some secret way to make me a lesbian, is this, you know like is there some other sexual agenda working?
Sarah Sandhill: We’re going to be doing a lot of talking, I am hopefully giving you information but you don’t have and then we’re going to do some experiential work and that doesn’t pop up right away because we need to create the safety for one another. And, once you feel safe then it’s well, this is how I do that and helping each other to really understand the details of how do we do this, one of the things said I did at a workshop recently, which was wonderful and I am going to do it and this one coming up is for people to bring their sex toys. And have you remember when I opened the bag and poured mine out there was sort of this (uh-uh) in the room and then the curiosity took over and we all went around in a circle and said well, this is what I use and I use this for that and this for that and this is where I put it on my body and when I get to a certain point then I do this and by the time we were going around in a circle, there was just this open curiosity and safety and (uh) where do I order that? Where do I get this? And I know people went home with a whole different set of ideas and also in the process of talking about these things and being so bluntly forward and clear, oh guess what, where did that shame go? Ha, just open the door and it left. And when we can take our shame level down, for me it just smother my experience. And if I can let that go and find these what I consider our birthright, feelings and experiences, they come walking forward and we all deserve that, there’s no reason why somebody else telling us that something’s wrong, which they learned from somebody else. Why we should wear that? I want us to be as fully feeling in our emotions and our physical body as we can possibly be.
Chip August: We’re going to take a short break right now to support our sponsors. I’m [xx] you to listen to these ads, listeners these ads are created by my sponsors for my show and they help me bring my work to you and if you can support them I’d really appreciate it. There’s an opportunity to get a free book from audible, you can save 20 percent on ice.com, jury and so much more. You just need to go to the personallifemedia.com website and check out the links on my episode. Hey, just know that I get credit for anything that you can utilize, so helps me helps you helps the show. So please, listen to the sponsors and you are listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy, I’m your host, Chip August, I’m with Sarah Sandhill and we’ll be right back to talk about some more.
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Chip August: Welcome back, you are listening to Sex, Love and Intimacy, I’m your host Chip August, I’m talking to Sarah Sandhill and we’re talking about sex for women, and we are talking about her workshop, all about sex for women, which will be November 14th, 15th and 16th, 2008 and Sarah, when we left, you are talking -- we are talking a little bit about toys and about orgasms and one thing I’m kind of curious about is, is this like tantra, is this psychology, is this, you know like where does this fit in the realm of things, what is this exactly?
Sarah Sandhill: Well, I wouldn’t put it under the heading of tantra although we will do some breath work, I put it more under the heading of psychology and healing and celebrating and very often, some of our holding back has come from things that have happened to us in our childhood. And so, we’ll be addressing that too. Those are things that get in our way and we carry like a bundle on our back for a while and sometimes just hearing other people’s experiences and maybe how they have moved through it to where they are today. Sort of holds a hand of somebody that hasn’t gotten to that place for themselves yet.
Chip August: And how many women are rather works up like this at the one time?
Sarah Sandhill: Oh goodness! I’d say anywhere from 15 to 30. Some depends on our space and I also want to make sure that there’s enough time for me and each of the people that are there to have some depth of connection.
Chip August: What would you say is the most common sort of problem solution that women experience, come and -- you know like people come to your workshop, what’s the reason, what draws them there? What are they -- what’s the problem are the thing they’re trying to fix that you think the workshop really does a good job with?
Sarah Sandhill: It’s funny because it’s a mixed because some come to celebrate and to move forward and open up themselves in more ways because it’s been going great. And some people come because they want to find out if other people have some of the same struggles and what they’ve done and how the different parts of our body will react. For example the G-spot. I have created an article recently that said there is a certain percentage of women don’t have a G-spot. So, they’re looking, looking, looking and not finding it and oh well, maybe that’s why and there’s also so much more research going on that’s yes, we’re getting more women’s anatomy and physiology information that we didn’t have before. So, some people are wanting to continue to grow, some are wanting to see if they can fix something that’s been in their way with themselves, some people, for example can get to orgasm when they masturbate with -- not with a partner or vice versa. And all of those things come out on the table and we talked about together, our sex history, what -- what’s happened before, what’s [xx] our lives, what has worked and what hasn’t worked or what didn’t work and now does work and how did you make that happen? And the bonding that happen it’s like sisters together wanting a lot for everyone.
Chip August: You yourself are -- well I don’t want to -- how old you are although I actually think I celebrated your last birthday with you, so I know how old you are. But I think it’s safe to say that you are past the childbearing age. And I think there’s a lot of misinformation about for women particularly about sexuality and sexuality and ageing and I think you’re kind of any unique system to talk about that so, can you talk a little bit about sexuality and ageing?
Chip August: The secret is I’m 67 and it’s not a secret. I’m rather proud of being where I am at 67. There, especially back, when I was a kid growing up in the 50s, the birth control pill hadn’t really hit us and I don’t remember anybody in school leaving school because they were pregnant because I don’t think much sex happened, didn’t for me. And slowly but surely, things have opened up more and people are getting more information and wanting more information. And one of the things we are going to address is what does happen with age. No, what’s this men opposed thing that seems to attack so many of us and, out of those conversations come, I thought it was only me, I’m losing my mind, why can’t I find my directions that I use to find easily without a second thought. So, we get to sort of commiserator share together, what some of the changes are and what some of the changes in our bodies are? For me, for example sex and what my body feels has grown and grown and grown and hasn’t been hit by menopause. But my interest, I don’t know where it went. So, my husband and I have a date day once a week, so we’re sure that we include that and it’s lovely and I come away saying why don’t I do more of that but they’re just isn’t a big draw, I’m not walking around thinking about it. And even a discussion like that with other women is like yes, me too or just the opposite. I’m interested but my body’s not working. So, we’ll do a lot of talk about ageing and how our bodies changed.
Chip August: There’s -- I don’t know, I have a -- how do I say this, I have a personal resistance sometimes to any kind of segregated I had own, it makes me nervous when I was in college and the black students had a black student league and you couldn’t go off you weren’t, you know, it makes me uncomfortable that there was a gay student’s group, if you want a gay then you want to walk and, you know and -- it makes me nervous when there’s men’s workshops or women’s -- well, it makes me nervous doesn’t really say it right because it’s not -- I just -- I have this part of me that things wouldn’t we all do better learning together? So, what’s really the advantage of like having it all B just the one gender.
Sarah Sandhill: I think that women will melt, let their guard down or the wall, protective wall that they have built up overtime that they may very well ever needed. But they let down more with women and then they can take that out to their relationships whether they’re with another women or a men and make use of the comfort and the knowledge that they’ve gotten.
Chip August: And so, somehow just being surrounded by other women, it’s like there’s -- they are more real, there, you know, like see this is why I bumped into this, it’s like oh my god, you’re telling me my wife isn’t real when she’s around me and then, help me understand a little more.
Sarah Sandhill: I think they’re willing to share more, it’s sort of like one share is this, they dared to be that open, well, I will share this, which is more open and it builds on its own until there is justice, a down-to-earth sharing between one another. I also, with my husband lead some sexuality workshops for couples and those are valuable too. And if I had my rudders they do both because there is -- there’s a different, it’s hard to describe but different willingness or level of openness and connectedness and wanting to support each other. And the couples, each more, how are they supporting that couple. So, I would recommend both.
Chip August: A perfect, perfect answer right, it’s not one or other, it’s all, yes. We want to take a short break here and give an opportunity for you to listen to the sponsors and get some cool information. Listeners, I do need your help, will you take five minutes and fill out the anonymous listener survey for my show. It helps me understand you better and it helps create sponsor confidence and allow me to sell advertising in my show so that I can support the work I love to do and can keep doing this work for you. So, please go to survey.personallifemedia.com, that’s survey.personallifemedia.com and do the listener survey. It’s fast, it’s easy and it really helps me out. By the way, also if you have suggestions for a guest on the show or ideas about the show I am always wanting to hear from my listeners so, you are welcome to send me an email at email@example.com and I will happily read any comments, input or show ideas that you have. In fact, I want you to know that several of the shows that I’ve recorded in the last month have come directly from you listeners and your great ideas. Let’s take a short break and we will be right back.
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Chip August: We’re back, we’re talking to Sarah Sandhill, this is Sex, Love and Intimacy, I’m your host Chip August and we’re talking about sex for women and Sarah’s workshop all about sex for women. So, Sarah, tell me how did you come to lead women’s workshops, I know you have quite an interesting background, you are not always in sexologist or a sex educator, so how did you come to be leading this?
Sarah Sandhill: Well, before I came in this direction, I had some dental practices in that sort of nursing home patients, people that couldn’t get out and that was not a criteria for moving in the direction that I moved. But I think my own lack of experience and then moving into something that’s been so profoundly wonderful for me is what’s pointed me in this direction. In 1979 I went to a human awareness institute workshop and was quite impressed about it. And then I got together with a man who didn’t want to do that, so I left it. And when we separated, he went and then in the hopes of my returning, gave me Level 1 certificate gift and I was back in again in about 1989 and from me, I know at the end of every workshop I feel like wow, what, what, I feel so appreciative of having a role in this life where I can make a difference and I feel like people walk out of this, we called it the room of love because people find their way back to that whether it’s about themselves or humanity. And by the end of that workshop they’re working out and it’s like a pebble in the lake that ripples out because they are coming from a different place inside themselves of carrying an openness and compassion and acceptance. And that’s what drew me first to the workshops and then what’s come forward is my strong belief from my experience of every women deserves every human being but in focusing on a women it deserve to have this kind of pleasure, you know we didn’t get born with our machinery to have it parked some place. No, it serves us very well if we can open those doors.
Chip August: I’d like to say something I read from one of the early popes who said “What God wasn’t ashamed to create we should not be ashamed to celebrate”. Sarah, if people wanted to get in touch with you, if they want to come to this workshop, how would they reach you?
Sarah Sandhill: All right. They can go to my website, which is web.me/hillsand/site/womens, so that’s one of the choices. Another is to contact me by email and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org that’s email@example.com. And that would be a great place for us to start. We can get on the phone and talk after that. But those would be the initial contacts.
Chip August: And listeners, as always if you will, go to personallifemedia.com and look at my episode pages about Sex, Love and Intimacy, where you will find the episode with Sarah Sandhill, you will also find the links to both with -- to email her and also to the site, so you can learn more about the workshop. We’re stuck around at the time here and I always like to have my guest offer an exercise to the listeners that might improve the Sex, Love and or Intimacy in their life and on the break you know we’re talking about an exercise like that and if you’d be willing to present it to the listeners.
Sarah Sandhill: Yes, I would love to because it was a very important exercise for me. What I found is that when we are able to love ourselves and love our bodies, it’s so much easier for other people to come in that direction but if we don’t then we’re sort of expecting somebody else to love us when we can’t love ourselves. So, one area that I think is very important is loving our bodies, you know, I haven’t come anybody that could say I love everything, you know, it’s either hips or breast or tummy or bum or something. So, the exercise that I would suggest is standing in front of a full-length mirror without your clothes on and if there are places on your body that you look at and think I like that, you know, how do you get like that. To spend five minutes a day at least the more or the better, extra good if you do five in the morning and five at night, saying to those parts if it was my breast for example, you are beautiful, I love you my breast, I see how the skin is, I see how the nipples are, and you Sarah have very beautiful breast. And if there’s other parts of your body, you had those on but the hitch here is you can’t just do at once, it needs repeated, repeated timing and what I would say is at least 30 days, at least 30 days. And if you miss a day along the way guess what, you get to go back to day 1, so that you get that a continual integration in yourself of choosing a new thought because we do choose our thoughts and I hope that this exercise will help you choose the thoughts that serve you and watch what a difference it makes.
Chip August: Well, Sarah you certainly make a difference and I really appreciate you being on the show, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, your insides and here work with us.
Sarah Sandhill: Thanks Chip, it’s been lots of fun for me.
Chip August: Yes, it’s been lots of fun for me too. Listeners, I want to remind you we transcribe every episode of the show, so if you want a print and read or cut-and forward copy, you can find it on my episode pages, Sex, Love and Intimacy at personallifemedia.com. And I do want to remind you please while you’re over there personallifemedia.com, go to survey.personallifemedia.com, take our listener survey and please feel free to send transcripts or send links to the show to all your friends, we’d like to reach to more and more people. That brings us to the end of another show, thank you very much for listening and I hope you will join us again.
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