Episode 48: THE SURPRISING GIFT OF SELFISHNESS with Dr. Betty Martin
THE SURPRISING GIFT OF SELFISHNESS, Dr. Betty Martin, Intimacy Coach, Chiropractor, Mentor of those who work in the Intimacy Field, and working on her new book The Lover's Touch.
In this episode Betty shares her experience of touch as both a bodyworker and intimacy coach. Learn how to bring your heart into your hands. Discover the pacing of touch that deepens pleasure for both giver and receiver. Learn how to have an Oasis of Love & Experimentation in the bedroom in with 3 easeful minutes of exploration. Embrace touch that heals and new choices in lovemaking.
This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com. This program is intended for mature audiences only.
Francesca Gentille: "Welcome to Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra bringing you the soul of sex. I'm your host Francesca Gentille and with me today is Dr. Betty Martin.
Betty Martin: "The hardest thing you can do is suddenly try to go from zero to 60 in the moment. To expect me to suddenly give you detailed instructions of how I want to be touched erotically for the next hour that's just too big of a deal. So, what's really helpful is starting very small and very specific and for a very short time. Something very safe.
One thing is that even for lovers I very strongly suggest that you start this exploration not on the genitals. Set them aside. Play this a dozen times before you ever touch a genital because your habits there are much stronger than they are in any other form of touch.
If I'm going to give to you, the first thing I need to know is what you want. So, if you don't want it, it ain't giving. So, I need to find our what you want and make a clear agreement like this is for you. Other times I want a clear agreement that I like to touch you and this is for me, I just would like to enjoy it. And there's a quality of my desire for you then shows up in my hands. And you experience it as being adored and desired."
Francesca Gentille: "Betty is an intimacy coach in Seattle, a chiropractor who's working on a book on touch for lovers. Betty also teaches and mentors others who work in the intimacy field. Welcome, Betty."
Betty Martin: "Thank you."
Francesca Gentille: "I'm so delighted to have you here with me."
Betty Martin: "Thank you. Yeah, finally we made it happen."
Francesca Gentille: "We did. One of the things that I'm so excited about is our topic for today, which is 'Descovering the Gift of Selfishness and the Power of Receiving'. And I just have to say that this is so timely for me. You know, after my mom died and I was alone actually week after week and wondering what was going on and why people were showing up to bring me food and take care of me I suddenly realized that I had gotten very good at giving, I was very independent, I had gotten very good, you know, as a lover, as a sacred lover at merging energy, and the gear, you know, if you think of a car has several gears, the gear that was missing was actually my ability to receive. And when people asked me, what do you want, I feel frozen. So, I'm delighted that we're going to be looking at this today, so people like me, and I'm guessing I'm not alone and the book is written for people like me and also just for everybody to expand this. Where do we start and is it that common for people to be that frozen around receiving?
Betty Martin: "Oh God, yes. I liked your analogy of the gear, because nobody wants to be thought of or think of themselves as selfish. That's like, that's a big no-no. We just don't want to go there. So, selfish in this context is not about not caring what someone else wants or needs or it's not about not being considerate about what someone else wants or needs. It's about acknowledging your desire just for what it is and taking responsibility for that desire, whatever it is. And allowing yourself to learn to receive which as you said, your question was right on, it's difficult for almost everybody. What I found is that we all have places that we're quite comfortable receiving and other places where we're less so. And that varies from person to person. For some, you know, it's fine if I receive a little foot rub for five minutes, but if it goes into ten minutes then I get uncomfortable. Or it's fine to receive a nice back rub but a full body massage, erotic, yummy, everywhere all over, that's when I get uncomfortable. So, it really varies person to person. Or you might be quite comfortable to receive a gift but very difficult to receive a compliment. Or vice versa.
Francesca Gentille: "And that's really very much from the training in our culture. Like you said, nobody wants to be selfish and, you know, I have these memories I think of literally being trained out of asking for what I wanted, just like stockings are so selfish or so greedy, you know, and these kind of messages that said that I was literally a bad person if I knew what I wanted and asked for it.
Betty Martin: "Exactly. This is how we learn."
Francesca Gentille: "And so then suddenly I'm in bed with my beloved and let's say my beloved really wants to be loving and generous, you know, 'darling, I just want to give it to you tonight, what do you want' - it's like looking at a blank slate and there's this fear, I'm going to get spanked or I'm going to get ... It's a trap. It's a trap, I'm going to tell this person what I want and then they're going to say 'you want that?', like that's bad to want or it's too much to want. And it's almost like I don't even want to get my hopes up that I've been asked for what I want and get it because, you know, it been dashed so many times."
Betty Martin: "Well, I think that's one of the fears, one of the difficulties of asking for what you want, it's a very vulnerable thing to do. Because, someone could say no, of course, but even worse than that you could be embarrassed that, oh my gosh, you want that? What's wrong with you for wanting that? Or, why didn't you tell me that before? Or, where did you make that up? You know, so there's lots of vulnerability and risk in acknowledging what you want."
Francesca Gentille: "So how do we get through that? How do we go for, you know, not knowing what we want, being embarrassed to ask. We're going to get to one of my favourites, you know soon I want to bring up one of my favourite stops in a little bit but before we even get there, I just wanted to... How do we shift?"
Betty Martin: "It's actually not that difficult. One of the fears... The hardest thing you can do is suddenly try to go from zero to 60 in the moment. I noticed that I have an edge about asking for what I want. To expect me to suddenly give you detailed instructions of how I want to be touched erotically for the next hour that's just too big of a deal, you know, you can't make that. So, what's really helpful is starting very small and very specific and for a very short time. Something very safe. And it's also really helpful to make an agreement between the two of you, okay, let's experiment tonight for the next half hour. I'll tell you what I would like to have for three minutes and then you tell me what you would like to have for three minutes, and then I'll tell you what I would like to have for three minutes and then maybe we'll go to five minutes. But starting very small with a very short time is what's the most helpful. Taking a big chunk is just too intimidating so it may be like this: how would you like me to touch you for the next three minutes? Oh, I'd like you to scratch my back a little, right here in that spot. And set the timer, the little egg timers are great because they're three minutes. Set the timer and you can probably tolerate receiving for three minutes. If you can't tolerate it for an hour you can probably handle it for three minutes. And just exercise your selfishness muscle for that three minutes. How much can I focus just on receiving this gift that this person is giving me? You know, that's really the key right there. Take your time and learn and start with short terms."
Francesca Gentille: "It sounds so simple and I know that it's not always easy. When we come back from a break I want to talk more about some of the practices that support being able to even stay present for three minutes and also what happens when we ask for something and our partner doesn't feel like he can give it to us or, you know, doesn't understand or whatever. It can sometimes happen. How do we work with those breaks in communication or ability? After we come back from a break and a word from our fabulous sponsors, handpicked for you and when you support our sponsors you support bringing this show to the world and we'll be right back in just a few moments.
Francesca Gentille: "Welcome back to Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra, bringing you the soul of sex. We're talking with Dr. Betty Martin, intimacy coach in Seattle who teaches and mentors others who work in the field of intimacy or the intimacy field, either way, it sounds like a beautiful field with lots of flowers... and we're talking about selfishness, enlighten your self interest and that three minutes that we could start with with our partner and yet, even in three minutes sometimes it's challenging to receive or there can be a breakdown in communication. Let's start with the receiving part first. Let's say, even in three minutes it's starting to feel like an hour and my mind is wandering and I'm not staying present. What are some techniques that will keep me present to my body and what's happening in a way that I can enjoy it?"
Betty Martin: "Breathe into your belly. Just let your belly muscle soften so that your breath goes there. It's true that even in three minutes people will sometimes find it challenging. If I'm the person who's giving and I can see that my lover or my client is sort of struggling with being present, I will sometimes say, you know, if you actually want me to stop, I'll stop. And suddenly they realize, no, I don't want you to stop, I want you to keep doing that. That's sort of a fun way to play with it. But what's really helpful is going into it with the understanding between the two of you that this is new territory for you. So, let's be patient with each other or let's be kind with each other, let's take this not as if... you know, a couple has certain patterns and habits that get repeated and are the comfort zone in their love making. If you can step out of that and say 'you know what? instead of just doing this the way we usually do, let's do a little experiment, let's create a separate container, let's create this little oasis over here, where we can visit here and just do this piece, just practice this, explore this, play with this.' It's like having a different set of agreement or foundation than your usual. And that in itself can create some safety and support and compassion for each other, because you both know that this is an experiment."
Francesca Gentille: "I love the experimental mindset, we're the researchers, the experimentors, because then I can't fail. If I tell my partner, I don't like that,..."
Betty Martin: "Yeah, this is an experiment. Let's just see what happens. And like you mentioned earlier the ability to say 'I'm not willing to do that, it doesn't work for me', or, you know, 'I'd be willing to scratch your back but only if you keep your shirt on', or 'I'd like you to scratch my hib, but please watch out for this ear, there's a bruise over there'... Whatever it is. Your confidence, that you can take care of yourself is what allows you to play freely really in any situation and certainly in your bed. So, this also is a little bit of practice in tending to your own needs and your own limits and your own willingness, 'am I actually willing to do that?', and the key to that is going slow. I'm going to invite you how would you like me to touch you for three minutes and then you're going to pause and just notice, 'Hum, I don't know, let me just notice how that is.' So, it's slowing down and then you're going to say, 'Well, I'd like you to scratch my back.' And then I'm going to pause and notice, 'Hum, am I willing to do that? Well let's see, I'm willing to do that if you move over here and I turn around this way, so I'm more comfortable, would that work for you?' - 'Yeah, that works for me.'"
Francesca Gentille: "So that's really slowing down, so much slower than we normally engage in sex and sexuality add a time to really check in 'Do I want to do this? How is this feeling?' And, speaking of feelings, I'm imagining if it were me and some of our listening audience that feelings can come up, so if someone says 'This is for you', and this actually happened to me, I took a class on the thirteen strokes for the vulva, and when the teacher said 'The next half an hour is just for you, it's just about your receiving' I ended up crying for half an hour and my partner was absolutely so upset, he thought he was doing something wrong, but he wasn't, he was being fabulous. But I had never felt that it was for me."
Betty Martin: "Yeah, exactly. One thing is, that even for lovers I very strongly suggest that you start this exploration not on the genitals. Set them aside. Play this a dozen times before you ever touch a genital because your habits there are much stronger than they are in any other form of touch. Of course you'll want to include them at some point if you're lovers, but you know, don't start there. Your habits are just too strong. Start with back, feet, legs, head, face, wherever."
Francesca Gentille: "And you know, not only habits are strong but sometimes the resentments are strong, they say. I'm sure it's the same for men and their prostate and other parts of their body and definitely for women in their clitoris and their g-spot is that sometimes, when a beloved will want to focus on that area with all kindness and all loving respect, what can come up for me is anger or disbelief, like 'Yeah, right, you're one of those people, you're just wanting to touch me so you can get off.' And, all of these old memories will come up that are in the way of actually just opening to this gift that my beloved wants to give to me and I would encourage the beloved to breathe that in that it's not about you. You know, so if your partner is having a challenge staying present or the feelings of anger and sadness... My teacher said. the first two years that they did this kind of exercise every time her beloved would touch, when they got to the genitals, every time her beloved would touch her genitals she would just feel rage. And on the other side of the rage was pleasure."
Betty Martin: "Sure. Oh, we have all, every one of us, been touched against our will. Every person. So, at the very least, you know, you're a little baby, you got your diaper changed, you got your teeth brushed, you got picked up out of oncoming traffic... In the worst case you're abused or violently treated and most of us are somewhere in between. But every one of us have the experience of being touched against our will. So, learning all over again that we actually have choice about our body is a huge step and is absolutely essential for any kind of enjoyable intimacy. This little game also helps you learn all over again that you have choice, even if it's for three minutes. You have choice."
Francesca Gentille: "I want to breathe that in, that's so gorgeous and really invites a sense of patience and compassion in the bedroom between beloveds, whether it's the first time together, whether it's the 31st time we're together... That sense of really, that we come to one another with histories, with a lot going on, that we can bring healing, our time together really can bring healing to our heart, body, mind, soul and spirit. And I want to talk more about this when we come back, it's so exciting, when we come back from a break and a word from our sponsors."
Francesca Gentille: "Welcome back to Sex, Tantra and Kama Sutra, bringing you the soul of sex with Dr. Betty Martin, and I just wanted to jump in because we're just about at the question I've been dying to ask, Betty, which is very personal for me. In other systems that I've heard, Betty, around this kind of exploring touch and experimentation, they've been very mechanistic and what that means is they've said 'You can ask your partner to touch you here or there, you can ask to do it lighter or slower, faster or more to the left, more to the right', but when I said 'Well, can I ask my partner to touch me in a way that comes from their heart in a way that it holds compassion", what these other systems have said is 'No, you can't, you can't ask someone to actually shift their inner being to give you a certain quality of touch', and I am a very energy sensitive person, it's often less important if they're stroking faster or slower or right or left although that's nice, but the actual quality of the heart or the spirit that's brought to me is going to unlock my passion or not unlock my passion. Is there a way to do that?"
Betty Martin: "Sure. I love this question, I just love this question. Two things. One is that, that experience of giving you specific instructions, more to the left, harder, softer, whatever, is a very important skill and opens up a tremendous amount of trust and confidence and ability to say what you want. That's very important and it's a very important place to start. It's a terrible place to end. That's the place to start, to create the foundation. So what you're talking about is the energy or the quality of the touch, not the mechanics of the touch. In my experience this is the secret. When I'm touching you... for example, ok, my hand is stroking down your thigh, I wish I wasn't here in the studio with you but anyway, my hand is stroking down the thigh, there are nerves that come from my hand into my brain that bring information in. We have to have that to be alive, we have to bring information in. Most people, when they are touching someone, they are touching someone for the purpose of creating a response in the other. I want to get you turned on, I want you to enjoy it, I want to do what you want me to do, I want to do the right thing, I want to please you, I want this sort of thing to happen. So, that's doing, it's a task. What makes all the difference in the world is allowing my hand, while it's on your thigh, to take information in and to take pleasure in. It's flowing in the other direction. So, when I actually have permission to feel you up, to just run my hand down your thigh and feel - 'What does her thigh feel like?' - then something magical happens. The information begins to flow up my hand to me and the pleasure flows up my hand to me. And that opens a completely different energy dynamic and my hand relaxes and then you relax. That's where the key is. Taking information in with your hand instead of always trying to do, do, do, do, do with your hand. Changes everything."
Francesca Gentille: "So rather than putting something out into this person, how can I really take information, energy in, and we are energy beings, we're synaptically wired throughout our body, every thought, every touch sets out a chemical frequence, it sets out heat, it literally sets out a pattern of energy."
Betty Martin: "Yeah, what's the texture of the skin? What's the shape here, what's the geography? What's the sculpture of this person? What's the warmth of this person? How wonderful this person feels in my hand. And what happens then is that your hand relaxes, it actually softens, and you'll find that the slower you move your hand the more information you can feel with your hand and the more pleasure you can feel with your hand. Now, it's important to distinguish between when I'm touching you for you and when I'm touching you for me. Because, that's an agreement we have together. If I'm offering to give you a back rub and I start feeling you up that feels creepy. But if I have asked 'Can I just feel up your back?' and you say yes then that's a different agreement and that feels wonderful and I can feel the shapes and all that. So, what I really encourage people to do is to take turns both directions, take turns offering to give each other touch and offering to give each other their body to be touched. And then what happens is eventually you begin to be able to leave them together."
Francesca Gentille: "And there's a skill in here, I want to get back to some of the quality of energy, but there's a skill in here of in a sense listening for almost the energetic response of another person. So, if someone is, my beloved is caressing my thigh in a way that they're getting a lot of pleasure from the curve of my hip, and they have that little intake of breath or, you know... Relaxing into sensing their own pleasure so that it becomes a feedback loop, so that when they feel pleasure, I feel pleasure, and if I feel pleasure, they feel pleasure. And some of us have some wounds around this, of, once again, we've sometimes accepted touch when we didn't want to, maybe we have things happen where it was hurtful, so literally we need training and sometimes I end up telling my brain, I say 'It's okay, I'm safe, I'm safe now. I'm not five, ten, twelve, whatever. I'm the age that I am and I'm with the person that I love. I'm safe now.' And I breathe into 'I'm safe. I can receive this, I am safe.'"
Betty Martin: "Yeah, and I think it also makes a big difference to be clear about who the touch is for. And this is a place that many people have a lot of challenge in that, particularly, in the sort of tantric sex and sexuality realms is that, everyone likes to think that it's all, you know, it's both, and I'm giving and I'm receiving and it's all the same and there's this magic circle and we merge and that's really lovely. And you know what? The degree to which you have learned to receive, just you, is the degree to which that's possible. If you haven't learned to receive or you're avoiding receiving, you're not doing that groovy merging thing, you're just avoiding receiving. So you need to take turns, so that you each learn to receive. Take short turns, take easy turns, take safe turns. Learn to receive. Stretch your ability to receive. That's what enables you to go in and really dance deep. Otherwise you're doing all this stuff, but you're really just avoiding receiving.
Francesca Gentille: "Which is such a true intimacy, that vulnerability of receiving. Let me get back to that thing, my starting point where I will say 'Could you touch me from a place of compassion? Could you touch me from a sense of love or adoration?' Is there a way to describe that for people who are more mechanistic? You know, because, hopefully someone who's in bed with me, they love me or adore me or appreciate me, but maybe those words don't make sense to them."
Betty Martin: "Sure. Well, probably a lot of it is slow down. Slow way down. In this context that we've been talking about and giving and receiving, there's a way to touch someone that is giving and that my intention is to give to you. And if I'm going to give to you, the first thing I need to know is what you want. So, if you don't want it, it ain't giving. So, I need to find our what you want and make a clear agreement like this is for you. Other times I want a clear agreement that I like to touch you and this is for me, I just would like to enjoy it. And there's a quality of my desire for you that shows up in my hands. And you experience it as being adored and desired. I think that's what you're saying. I mean, there's sometimes when, you know, if I'm on a massage table maybe it's all about me, I don't want your desires coming out there, it's about me and I want what I want. But when I'm in bed, I don't want that, unless we agreed to it. I want your desire to come forward. And so, I believe it's very important to know where you are and to agree on the mode that you're in at any time, because partly what can happen is that I want to be receiving, I want your nurturing, the comfort, I want you to give to me but if what you're doing is coming at me with your own desire that doesn't feel like you're giving to me. That's I'm giving to you. So, I think that's where a lot of the confusion comes out for people, people are mixed up about who's touching who and why."
Francesca Gentille: "That's such a good way. As we're saying this because it can be so confusing and I think I'm getting confused listening in a certain way, is it comes back to the experimentation. So that if I were to say to my beloved 'Could you remember a time that you just felt your heart really open to me and from that place of remembering touch me, let's see how that works?' or 'Could you touch me feeling your desire for me, let's see how that feels in my body?' If I'm experimenting I might not even know until we experiment 'Oh, I really love it the most when you touch me present your desire'. 'I actually love it the most when you touch me really aware of, you know, what a great mother I am.' And I might not know until we experiment. What is the flavor, the quality of energy that really is the most exciting for me to be touched? So, I'm so glad you brought up that experimentation."
Betty Martin: "And different moments will be different. You know, today, I might want you to touch me just for me to luxuriate in it and tomorrow I might want to feel your desire. I want you just take me."
Francesca Gentille: "Well, Betty, I just want to thank you so much for joining us and giving us these wonderful keys of slowing down, of breathing of trying it in really small little increments to start, not even trying the genitals to start, working up to them and having that playful sense of curiosity, the experimentation in all of it is such a gift to us, and you're such a gift and I really encourage our listening audiences to look up Dr. Betty Martin and Betty what's you're website?"
Betty Martin: "EroticEducation.org. That's the website with which I teach other professionals, my personal practice site is called SacredExploration.com."
Francesca Gentille: "SacredExploration.com, is that perfect. Thank you for joining us Betty."
Betty Martin: "Yes, you're welcome."
Francesca Gentille: "And if you want to find our more about Betty, her bio, her beautiful picture just to be able to click to those links to Betty you can do that at the Personal Life Media website, www.personallifemedia.com and thank you to our listeners for being on the journey with us in bringing in the soul of sex."