Becoming an Authentic Man with David Chambers Part 1

This is part 1 of a special two-part interview with David Chambers, who is a relationship coach and host of The Authentic Man Podcast. David and I engage in a fascinating conversation that explores how to find healthy models of masculinity when you grow up without a dad. he shares about the commitment issues and fear that held him back from not only fulfilling relationships but living a joyful, fulfilling authentic life. We also explore what it takes to grow beyond what your parents are capable of and partnership as a spiritual path. Plus, David ends this episode with a mindful masturbation practice he does with his clients. Stay tuned for part 2 of this important episode coming out next week.

Show Notes Welcome back to late open podcast. This is your host Charna caselle. I've launched a Patreon for my podcast if you feel you receive value from these episodes, you can also get additional bonus exclusive content, such as meditations, in depth exercises, and behind the scenes info about the interviews and my personal life. All of that and more is available@www.pa TREON dot c o m, backslash la IDOPENPO de cas T. By supporting us on Patreon you're not only contributing to the creation of this podcast, you will also provide the support needed for me to work on my book, workshops, online courses and additional free content. Today's guest is David Chambers. He's a coach and the host of the authentic man podcast. He empowers men to create the deeply connected dating lives sex lives and relationships they longed for by developing their authentic selves. Welcome, David. Life is about you. Cover Star trauma exemption is a great honor to size calm. Hey, thank you for having me. How are you? Today? Yeah, I'm feeling I try and answer this question. Really? Honestly, actually, yes, I can. Because I often get asked it for my clients. I think it's, especially as I work with men. So predominantly, I've really noticed how when you ask a man often how easy he just goes, Yeah, I'm good. Not bad, been been worse. And then those aren't really, they don't tell you very much. So I try and answer the question quite honestly. I'm feeling quite excited for this podcast and feeling quite proud. I had a really beautiful conversation for man about an hour hour and a half ago. I've been working with for a few weeks. And I'm also feeling excited, because my partner her parents have flown over from Sweden to where I live in Madeira and Portugal today, so we will be going out for dinner with them this evening. The restaurant we go to is a place I really like we always take people when they come to the island visit us we take him to his restaurant cuz it's really nice. So I'm excited for that and for seeing them because they're, they're wonderful people as well. So So you've met them before? It's not the first big meeting. Yeah, absolutely. Yes. But you know, this will be probably we were there. We were in Sweden for about four weeks. Oh, nice summer. So spent a lot of time with them now. And so the piece you were talking about are like feeling proud. Feeling good with the work that you were doing with this man earlier today. Tell it tell me a little bit about the work that you're that you do and how you came to do it. Like what, what drew you to this work? I guess the story is, goes back up 15 years now 15 years. And like many men back then I was dating and my dating life wasn't going the way they wanted it to. So I started Googling around and you know, looking for advice and stuff like that. And I found a little book called the game. And I read the book very quickly, and was like, amazed by this magic that this man was talking about of talking to women and, and so forth. So I kind of tried some of the stuff that he talked about in the book. And I was like, wow, okay, this, this is cool. This is nice. It kind of like, adds to conversation. And then that led me to a workshop, which led me to a bootcamp all this in London, which then led me to working for that company that ran the workshop. And I did that for about a year, year and a half. And during that time, it's the first time I've ever surrounded by men who wanted to better themselves. It was a very, very eye opening to me, you know, because I grew up I grew up without father really. So to meet men in that way, and to be surrounded by men in that way was amazing. And the way we were kind of working, we started to develop this idea of like, we call it just having fun. Like, how can we have fun and bring people into the fun we have it because everyone wants to have fun when you're in a bar or a club. And then started to look at this idea of me and a friend of mine started to think about authenticity like are when you're being yourself, yeah, people gravitate towards you. And then I stopped doing that. I stopped doing the coaching because I think the big reason why we was some of the men that were coming for coaching, they didn't have the sort of intentions that I had when it came to interacting with women. You know, I have a deep love for women, I was raised by women, I'm raised by my mother and my three sisters. So when I was meeting men who didn't necessarily want to spread their love and spread their enjoyment with women, it really put me off. And I didn't like those men. And if I'm really honest, I didn't meet that many of those men who intentionally that way, a very small number, but it was enough to put me off. Then I just lived my life I traveled I didn't know a lot of personal development. And then I had a really difficult breakup about five years ago, in Bolivia, and it all came down to the fact that I wasn't expressing my emotions and feelings in the relationship, and we broke, we broke up and I cried in a room in a hotel room in a little town called su cray. And then I vowed, then that I wouldn't let this happen again, I was like, not gonna allow a relationship to end because I can't express what I feel and what I want and what I need. So took me on a journey of doing some plant medicine in Peru. And then I spent the next six months traveling alone, just purely connecting with people just really just being like, really super open to people to who they are to their energy, what they're about and sharing myself with them as well. And then I came back. And then a friend of mine suggested we start a podcast, we started a podcast together, this was probably about four or five years ago. And then that podcast kind of developed, he left the podcast to pursue some other avenues. And that continued, and the kind of work they do now with men really ranges from work around dating, intimacy, relationship, kind of not so much help or guidance, but helping men kind of get deeper in, you know, in relationship, open up more, be more present, be more aware to who they are their past, but also to the person they're with, you know, most of the men I work with heterosexual men, so the women that they're with, like, how can you feel her and connect to her more, and then I've kind of brought in my love of sex and intimacy and tantra into into my work. So I've also worked with a number of men about intimacy, and how can they deepen intimacy in their lives. And then there's the masculinity piece, which I think is almost I didn't necessarily deliberately comes to this work to talk about masculinity, but it kind of came up because it underpins so much of what men do is how they view themselves through the lens of masculinity. And I've done a lot of not so much soul searching, but because I didn't have a father growing up. I had to kind of work out what does it means to be a man myself. So. So I put that into my work. And it kind of this is kind of Yeah, that's kind of the pieces like dating, relationships, intimacy, masculinity, and then there's even some kind of couples coaching I do with my partner that's, that's in there as well. You've covered all the bases. Yeah, I didn't mean. It's like, Yeah, well, the thing is, is it's everything is it is all interconnected. I mean, it's kind of funny, because I asked a single question, right. And you've, you've, you've touched on all these other questions that I had, because how can you not right? I mean, you know, one of the things is, I'm like, Okay, what was your modeling as a man? You know, what, what to you is healthy masculinity, like, all these things, it's like, but of course, you're asking, How did I end up doing the work? I'm doing live, and I've been on a seeking paths answering these questions for myself. Right? It's, you know, it's like something is absent. And so then how do you, how do you locate your either yourself, like, how do you become present for yourself in that way? How do you become your own good dad? Right? Or how do you find it externally? And you know, in doing both, right, yeah, yeah. And I think it's a really good point is it's like I realized there was a gap. Yeah. And I saw that saw other men where they saw a gap. They ignored it and try to pretend it wasn't there. I saw that other men that I knew and met, or they just turned to what they already knew, and said, Well, this must be right. Whereas I saw a gap. And I saw the men that I grew up with former stepfather and my father and was like, these are not men, I want to be like, so I need to start looking out for who are men I want to be like, and that's a very difficult question to answer. Right? Well, and it's also sometimes a hard thing to find, because we're biologically drawn to what's familiar. And so then you keep being drawn to the replications of, you know, historical, like traumatic figures. So I'm curious what what was that for you? What did you discover for yourself? Or Who were those people were the teachers and I know you call things different, like you're not on grade school or high school. I don't know what you call it in, in in England, but in school, you know what I mean? When you're a kid? Yeah, school, like who were they coaches? Who were those men? Yeah, when I look back in my childhood, the men who really helped me, I think of as probably three or For men that jumped to mind straightaway, there was I had a PE teacher, when I was about eight years old guy called Mr. Wilson. And he saw something in me and he believed in me. And he was like, you can be good at sport. And he really spent time to help me. But he also saw that I struggled academically. And he was patient with me. And that was the very things that were missing from me. And then I go into kind of high school, and I had a teacher and I never get this guy. His name was Mr. Willow. And he's a massive guys about six foot four, I think we've got three and he was wide and ex boxer who's from Montserrat, small island in the Caribbean. And he pushed me, he pushed me he was like, you can do better than this. He was my science teacher was like, you can do better than this. You're smarter than this. And I was like, Oh, wow, no one's really said that to me, you know, and he was loving with his pushing. So I always remember him. And then I had a, I played cricket as a caterer. So there was a cricket coach. And he was always like, there for me, he was always like, okay, there's a game, I'm gonna come and pick you up, you just got to come to the game, like, you don't need to worry about getting or getting there or getting home because my mother was super busy with work. And obviously having three other sisters. It was it was a lot. So he was really there and kind of helped me in that way. And I look back and go those men really, they were probably the first examples of men I looked at and was like, ah, these are good men. As you were telling that I, I was feeling really moved picturing you as a little boy, and, and just a matte like wishing that Mr. Wilson or whoever, you know, like that, that they're that they're listening, and that somehow they come across this podcast, and they're like, holy moly, this is the impact that I had simply by being patient, simply by taking a moment to be encouraging and seeing someone into reality, you know, going, I see this about you, and I'm going to see it into being I just, ah, it's a really, it's really heartbreaking because there are so many teachers that don't do that. And don't realize the impact of their shaming of their criticism, or even crossing the lines, right, and grooming kids, which is also a common thing. So I just, you know, my heart feels really good going like, oh, yeah, they planted the seed for what a good man was. And then you grew into that. Right? Yeah. And it was it's, it's funny, I was looking for one of my teachers, Mr. Willer, actually, as well, because I the school, I went to back home in the UK, I don't live that far from there. So I was looking for him and he doesn't work there anymore. And me, me and a friend of mine, who also went to school, we were like, how could we find this teacher because you know, the school won't tell us the details, because I just wanted to see him and get and go by what I'm up to in my life now. Like, I just want to say thank you, to you and what you did, because, like you said, sometimes we don't know the impact we have on people by simply showing up from them really. Believing in them believing in those little boys and girls, and going we believe in you because that is something I talked to friends about. It's like if you can, as a teacher in any level of teaching, whether you're teaching adults, whether you're teaching children, like as a coach, it's like, if I instill confidence in you, right, that's half the work. Done. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and that's the thing, right, as a coach, or therapist, or whatever you're doing this idea of like giving the tools to somebody to heal themselves, right, and to ask the right questions for themselves versus seeing us as like, we're doing the work in some way. It's deeply satisfying. I've worked with teenagers who then returned 10 years later to work with me again. And it's just I love when I get those letters from people I've worked with whatever age they are, I love knowing how people are doing and how well they're doing or, you know, when as you were talking about your your science teacher, I was thinking of my third grade teacher, Mrs. snowbowl Miss probably at the time, but Elizabeth Stoeckel. And she had she had like these Egyptian, she had like the little things like a perfect Bob, perfectly silky black straight hair, and we would plant I remember planting tulip bulbs. It was like third grade, right? It wasn't like deep science. What growing something. I loved her so much. And I have searched for her on Facebook and things like that. And it's like these teachers that really make a difference for you. Right there. Sometimes they're your safety. Right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, they really, they, you know, teachers can can change lives. They really can. Like it's, it's really magical to know that you can really, you know, and I'm sure you've seen it yourself, like as a therapist you your little drop in the ocean of this person's life can have massive change in the direction they take you With this one kid that I worked with 10 years later, he returned a book that I'd given him. Wow, that was amazing. Wow. Yeah. It was cool. To know, like, Wow, you really read this and you kept this book all this time? That was really sweet. How did it feel when he returned the book to you? Well, you know, he was an adult. And it was such an interesting thing to be able to have a conversation about something that I had an inkling that might resonate with a teenager. Right? And then to then get to see the trajectory of somebody's life is very cool. Wow. Yeah. So I've been in a lot of conversations lately around masculinity. My partner is a wildland firefighter. Wow. And he embodies beautiful, you know, stereotypically feminine qualities. And I also see his, you know, very much the conditioning and like, as a captain, or the chief, or the one who is the Teacher, right. But then he also has two daughters, two teenage daughters, and so getting to watch him shift in how he communicates, and sometimes, like, needs some coaching around, you don't speak to teenage girls the way the same way you speak to, you know, the guys on your engine, right. I recently interviewed another man who works with men who I'm, I would love to connect the two of you, I think I posted something on on Instagram to connect the two of you. And I just I really have deep compassion for the restriction placed on men around emotional expression. You know, what's permitted, versus there's a certain freedom, like, there's a lot of ways women are oppressed, and there is so much freedom that we have to be goofy. To be you sappy, you know, all the things, right. And I'm just, you know, you've shared the certain you shared a really good, deep kind of detailed trajectory, but also, there's something in you, that allows you to follow a vulnerable path. Right, and to seek that out, and to help others do that. And I'm curious to hear more about that. Yeah. I think I can't underestimate the fact that they, because I didn't have this really rigid role model of a dad, which would have allowed me to place this idea of this is how a man is meant to be. It gave me a lot of freedom, I think, because I actually had the opposite. I kind of placed a label on my dad of like, this is how I don't want to be as a man. And my dad is emotionally very stunted. You know, he doesn't communicate particularly well. He doesn't communicate with children very well. He doesn't open up. You know, I've never, I think I've seen my I've never seen my dad cry. I've only ever seen him sad once. And that was when his mother my grandmother passed away. And that was the first time I looked to him for a while he looked sad. He can I can see he's sad. So I was like, That is not how I want to be. And there was there was definitely a point in my 20s in my mid 20s, where I'm 38 now and I looked, I looked at myself and something happened. I was sitting around at home one day, and I was like, I'm 25 years old, I live on my own. Another relationship has ended. I'm not really talking openly with people in my life. And I thought, I'm becoming my dad. I sat with that. And I was like, okay, that's not what I want. So I, so I started to practice. And I must say, thank some of my ex girlfriends, because they helped tease me out of the shell of not expressing myself. And then I started, you know, like I said, I traveled a lot. And travel really helped because I was constantly in front of people. And I didn't have to worry so much about what they thought of me because I might not see them tomorrow. So almost gives you this confidence of like, oh, I can just express myself however I want on the way about judgment. And what I started to see there was like, oh, no, no one's actually really judging anybody. No one really cares that much. They just take you as you are. And then I like I said, I got home for my troubles. And I started to see a lot of my friends were in states of depression, like a lot of them are really struggling their lives. And I just sat and listened to them. And they all said to me is about for my friends who three of which went through divorce in the time I was away and they all said to me, you're the first person that's just listened to me. Like you just sat here and you just listened. You just listened. You didn't have any opinions. You just asked a few questions, but you just listened to you didn't try to advise me or tell me what to do. So I guess the path that I saw was like there's a path of kind of this quote unquote, stoicism because it's not really stoicism. It's this I'm don't want to express my emotions and my feelings and I don't I want to talk to anybody about things because I need to be tough and hard. And I could see very clearly that that didn't work. So I started to go down the route of like, Okay, what does it look like to say how I'm feeling? Like, what does that mean? What do I make it mean about me? Oh, it's odd. And I'm worried about judgment in my relationship, especially, you know, I'm an avoidant person by by nature. You know, if you've put me in attachment styles, I'm avoidant, classic avoidant, right. I don't want to talk about how I feel, I'm worried about upsetting my partner. And I had to practice this is like saying what I want saying what I need, saying how I feel. And then my life started to get better, I started to enjoy things more, I started to connect with people better, I started to have more of the things in my life I actually wanted not necessarily the kind of things that society tells you want, like, the corporate job, you know, the the car and all these things, I started to meet people who I've really felt connection with, whether that be, you know, friends and family, men or women must like to open up to people more even my own mother. Remember, there was a day, she asked me a question a few years ago about why I broke up with my ex girlfriend. And in the past, I'd have just gone to her Mom, don't worry about it's not your problem. But I really, I really sat and told her. And my fear was that she was going to tell me told me off, told me I'm wrong and bad, right? basically treat you like a child again. And she just she listened to me. She's like, Yeah, I understand. She was like, you know, relationships can be really hard. And, you know, as he was like, you know, you're you're in an age now where maybe you need to start thinking about what you need to do to make your relationships better. And I thought, wow, that was the most unexpected response. And I think this is one of the things I saw was when we start going down the more vulnerable path. We assume there's a way people are going to react to us. And that is not how people actually react to us. People welcome our openness. They welcome our honesty, they want it they're dying for it. We're all dying to experience each other authentically. Absolutely. You know, it's this I also grew up without a dad Well, without my dad birth father, and had kind of abusive figures in his place. And so being vulnerable, and expressing what I need was, was not an option, and was not encouraged. And so, you know, that doesn't serve you when you're in relationship as an adult. And what's incredible is being able to and this is a another question I'll get to with you, you know, like moving from being avoidant into being able to manage the nervous system reactions and thoughts. And bring yourself to actually vocalize you know, and ask for the thing that you want or say what what's actually your feeling without projecting something like you we've already decided what the person is going to say or what they're going to give you. And instead being able to boil it down to like, this is what I'm feeling and when you actually say to you know, my boyfriend is amazing with like, I just adore him. And it just never ceases to amaze me how when I come to him with vulnerability and what I'm needing or wanting how he meets me with this incredible softness right. And when you grew up with something so different or total absence, you know, you can absolutely decide it's like those beliefs those limiting belief systems that just guide you and restrict you and decide what your future is going to be before it happens. Right this this being driven by a fear of the past repeating itself is what so many people are doing you know, and so to overcome it's no big feat, right? When I think of I heard at some point in one of your podcasts you identifying as avoidant we attached you know, and and then going into deep authentic relating, it's a very, very different road because it's not just learning something intellectually but there's a whole physiological reaction your systems going through like flight shut down. So how how did you work with that? I'd say it wasn't just one piece of work I think many many kind of even relationships like there was a point in my relating where I was like, Okay, I only want to do open relay that's what suits me right and even saying that for me it was really hard by saying that out loud to a friend I remember a friend of mine was like Dave, but I really think that this is you should try this like you know, you just be honest and say I say are but no women are going on date me have a blah. So I started to just be honest, and first of all, that was a big feat for me that was like okay, my nervous system As you said, it's like, I call it kind of going, it's going haywire, right? It's going mad. It's like, no, no, no. It's all. Like, your whole body feels like it's zinging. You can't think properly. I remember being dating, and I was talking to a wonderful woman. And we got talking. And I said, I just, she said, something about weaving this week. And I was like, Okay. This is the moment I was like, Ah, I was at an event about non monogamy a few nights ago, actually, it was super interesting. And then I was explaining why of what was interesting and why, why is a place that I want to come from. And I remember in that moment that I was expecting a certain response from her. And my face probably had the face of the the expected expected response to her response, which was I thought she was going to tell me like, oh, like, some sort of disgust. And then I was probably going to kind of justify myself after that, right. So I was really almost like, I was ready to fight. Yeah. And she was like, Oh, that's really beautiful and amazing. Like, I've been looking into that myself. When I heard those words. I remember pausing. And it was like a moment where I was like, wait a minute, that's not my fault. She was gonna say, so what am I gonna say now? And I was like, Oh, cool. God I'm picturing is, you know, that moment of surprise. It's so disarming, and I was picturing you there with a sword. And you're like, Oh, I guess I get to put the sword down. Okay. You down. You're like, what do I do now? I don't know. Like, we don't we're not fighting. Like, oh, okay, we're gonna, we're gonna be gentle with each other. We're gonna be curious. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that was a really great way to kind of start, you know, that relationship didn't work out. But it was like, coming from a place of well, then, because I had an experience of being accepted authentically, right, with her. And so and it continued in that relationship. And we probably only dated for about six months or so. But it was always this, like, acceptance of authenticity. You know, like, oh, you know, this is what I'm feeling like, even down to when we ended things. I came back, I went on for personal and I came back and I was like, Look, I'm just in a really strange place right now, therefore, really detached from my emotions and feelings. I don't know if that's to do with being on the passenger. side. So just give me a week and kind of came back to her. And I was just like, you know, I feel like, we're on slightly different alignments. So what we actually want, I think we want slightly different things. And I find that really sad, I find it difficult to tell you. But that's what I feel to be to be true. And I think that probably we should even revert to just being friends or something like that, because I really enjoy your company. She I remember, again, kind of having my sword ready. Or expecting to be shouted up, you know, again, it's that kind of feeling of being a child again, I'm told my mum something and I'm going up, this is going to upset her, I need to kind of defend, and she just looked at me and she was like, you know, that makes me really sad. But I really agree with you, you know, really, I really feel that that was true. So I guess, for those experiences, and a few others, and even being in my race, I mean, now it's like being met with my authenticity. But I also caveat that with there were times when in my current relationship in others where I was authentic, and I was not met with softness, right. And the the kind of work there is to realize that that response isn't about you. Exactly. Absolutely. I think this is the, you know, it's funny, it's like you just took the thought right out of my head. Because it's someone's capacity, right? Whatever their capacity is, and whatever their responses distress, or the perception of rejection, even though like you feeling that wherever, whatever place you're in, you could be like, I don't, I don't feel like dating. I feel like becoming a monk or whatever that moment was for you. It's not about this other person. And if someone has the capacity to just go like, Okay, here's this person having their experience. I had the experience of dating this a while ago, there were two different men that I was in communication with maybe, like, met once each or something, or when I hadn't even met yet. And sadly, I had started dating somebody else, and I wanted to let these guys know rather than just ghosting them. And it was remarkable. One person responded by saying thank you so much, I appreciate your kindness, whatever and the other person lost it on me and started attacking my character and I was like, I just dodged a narcissistic bullet. How fantastic but it's not without some pain. It hurt. His response for a moment was very confusing and you know, but it's it's so important to remember that someone is just like, what's their capacity to be with their own feelings, and be with your feeling and take it personally And, and it's also like, that's a great learning, kind of for us that I've taken on is like, learning to when a person doesn't have capacity and their response and being able to stay present and grounded without then kind of shifting into my own reactivity and reacting to their reaction spirals right at that point, because, you know, if, if, if I, if I'm vulnerable, and so I'm mixed up with disgust, and then that's puts me into shame. And then my shame triggers me to then want to be right, or prove them wrong, or degrade them in some way, we win an argument of some type, whereas if I can just stay grounded and just say, like, calm, and and again, this is this is stuff that I've had to learn through relating, like, okay, cool, this is about me. I can choose what to do in this moment, not yet. I can choose, I can go, Hey, I feel like maybe we should finish this conversation another time. Or maybe it's even perfect not to say anything, and that that person kind of empty themselves, until they're kind of exhausted. And then they kind of come to the realization that they've had a reaction, and we can have a simple conversation, or, you know, many other things, but being able to stay in a place where I'm choosing and I'm not just reacting to someone else. Again, it's a practice like many, many things. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's a lifetime practice, right? And you get to like call, I call the, you know, when someone reacts in a very aggressive way, or, I mean, there's so many people that I call this, but I call them asshole angels. Right? It's like the people that are the hardest people in our lives that we interact with, whether it's a boss or a stranger, or a loved one. It's like the opportunity to see what our growing edge is. And so when someone reacts badly, or behaves badly, right, you get you get to go like, Oh, Where's where's my self respect and boundary? How do I? How do I want to be with this? You know, what's gonna actually take care of me? Yeah. So that so there's still some kind of opportunity, even in those, those challenging moments to practice? Yeah, pretty much agree. Yeah. Who are you gonna say? Yeah, I was gonna ask you is the question that came up for is, you know, you said about your partner, when he meets you with makeup of softness, the first time you experienced that with him? Did that almost come as a surprise to you? Or was it something you had already been kind of accustomed to? Through your life, I've definitely had lots of sweet experiences of you know, being vulnerable with another person and then being vulnerable with me, but there's something there's a different quality with him. And I don't, it's also a weird kind of long distance thing. It's it was fire season when we started dating, which in California, where I am, is like, you know, April or May till November, right? It's this long period where he could be on chronic assignments. I've never been in a long distance relationship before. And then he lives five hours away. And so navigating that and spending so much time on the phone, and I've never appreciated, I'd never used FaceTime rarely before, not even with family or whatever. And there's something just about getting to look at his face, sometimes we'll just be quiet and we will literally just look at each other. And there, I feel like I'm an infant, where there's these you know, when you're holding a baby, and you're holding it with a certain distance from your face right there, registering your eyes smiling your your lips turning up, and there's this back and forth, that happens within infants that's forming attachment with you. And I literally feel like we have been in that it's so funny. It's like simply having that little ritual or routine he's, I think a securely attached man, which so many times there might be the impulse and I have to talk my own thoughts off the ledge, it doesn't doesn't go down into a drain or anything but like or a whole, but I'll I'll be like, I'm done. I don't need the I don't need anybody. Like I'm very self reliant. Like I can hear myself go there and I'll lay some brown get really productive, do something, you know, and then I like, Okay, now I'm going to this is what I was really feeling and I'm going to call him so the distance gives me the opportunity to manage that stuff, and then be like, I just really want it you know, I'll I'll be able to articulate where I felt missed or something that happened in our last conversation, you know, and his, his history is he felt very blamed by his his long term partner and mom, and so, he is he's been good, but generally speaking, not getting defensive, but that's something he's had to learn to work on, right? And but there's this incredible sweetness when I really believe in being accountable, you know, and taking responsibility for yourself. It's something very important to me and being able to get perspective and recognize what's me, like, what's mine? versus what's a projection, right? So many of us are thinking it's our partners, but it's our history. So I have the ability to peel those pieces apart, and then come back to him and be able to go like, Yeah, this is a piece of what was coming up for me. And this is how it could have gone differently. If maybe I know, I'm not being very concrete. I can't really recall a specific incident. But the way that he's been able to, surprisingly, keep meeting me with being responsible himself for those little moments. And keeps showing up versus being avoidant, right. I tend to I've been attracted to a lot of avoidant men in the past, we're both very disarmed by one another. And I, you know, I know, I didn't exactly I kind of talked around your question, but it just keeps happening. I don't know. It's it's just this like this, this picture a snowball, you know, that's getting bigger and bigger. It's rolling down the hill, but it's it's a trust ball. It's just like, it just keeps getting bigger. And it's really nice. Yeah. How beautiful. Yeah, it's like a different qualities, the, how you received it is news, a new type of receiving from somebody, as well. And with someone who's securely attached, right, I think that makes a difference with their, you know, with their capacity to keep showing up. And I think he knows that fire season and long distance, and he knows how to like, kind of be like, Okay, I'm going to keep connection, even if I'm not physically there. And so, you know, having five hour conversations every day, like, that's not something I would typically do. Right? You take it for granted when someone lives 10 minutes away from you. Yeah, right. So there was something that I wanted to ask you about one of your one of your podcasts, you were talking about this safety and vulnerability as an aphrodisiac. Hmm. And I think it's a super important topic. And I encourage listeners to listen to this episode, because so often the conversation about safety, you know, you think about it's like people who are conditioned around masculinity and not just men, but also butch women, even right, people who identify as masculine, the words like safe, I'm safe, I'm fine. You know, so this concept of safety is so important. It's not just about physical safety, right? It's like what you were saying, like emotional safety in the in the permission and trust that you're not going to be attacked for having feelings. Right. And so I would love for you to speak more about that. Yeah, it's funny, I was talking, I did a did a talk for a corporate company yesterday, and I talked about this idea of safety safety, I've started to see is the most, one of the most important qualities of relationships. And it's not just romantic relationships, I think it comes into all our relationships. The, in my current relationship, I have the safety, I feel the safety to pretty much say anything. Right in the right context. And we, you know, we have a structure for ourselves in our relationship where we sit down once a month, and we talk about our relationship, and we can bring things we want to talk about, like, I have the safety to do that, which means that I don't have this fear about, oh, I'm having this feeling and that she's gonna attack me or shame me, or use it against me later day. Right? There's not I know, even if she's having big emotions, that she safe to have those with me. She knows that always safe. I even have the safety of shutting down and being quiet. Yeah, right. I have the safety to do that. She knows that this is part of, you know, part of how I can be sometimes. And in those moments, my partner might come to me and go, are you okay? And I'm like, Yeah, I'm cool as you'll go. If you're not fine. And you would like to talk. I am here. Whenever you want me. Whenever you need to talk, I am I, I'm not going to be badgered, right. I'm not going to be criticized, I'm not going to be cajoled. She will trust that I'm an app, a responsible adult on the when I am in a good time for me, I can come forward and talk. So it's like having that safety to, you know, fuel things. And one of the other areas I've talked to quite a few clients recently is around sexuality. And this is for the for the men. I often have come across men who have, you know, I'm not gonna call them even sexual dysfunctions in terms of things like premature ejaculation And or erectile dysfunction is more than men and they're having an experience that men have sometimes, you know, which is sometimes our penises don't work in the way we would like them to ideally. Right. And they have experienced inside their relationship when that has happened, that has not been safe for them. In those moments, they have been criticized, they have their partners have kind of blamed themselves what's happening. So Matt said, Man has maybe not been able to get it up. And then the partners like, Don't you find me attractive, which actually can feel like a lot of stress for a man. So they start to go into sexual interactions with the partner feeling stressed. And then obviously, there's the other way around, right? For men, I work with women where, you know, maybe they're not present, right during sex or leading to sex, which creates an element of lack of safety for their partners. Or maybe when their partner is saying, I don't want you to touch me that way. They're not paying attention. They're not listening, not not doing that. It's like all those little things we do chip away at the safety in our relationship, or even where we might be making fun of somebody else for feeling and expressing that can be the safety in our own relationship, because we start to think, Oh, God, like, Oh, he's making Oh, she's making fun of that person, maybe they think their same thing. That's, and also is like, you know, a big part is having safe spaces to talk and communicate and share our pasts as well. Like, I'm a big fan, like me and my partner, like, you know, I can share really openly at any given moment about my past. And you know, it's part of when we first met, I was like, one of the things I don't want to do is be in a relationship where I start telling a story about my travels, or whatever. And I can't tell it because there's another woman in there. For me that's unnecessary, like this is part of my life. So she knows that this is, you know, she's accepted this assignment, there's a safety and that I can share a story. And she's not going to make it mean something about her and us and whether I'm reminiscing and wanting to pass things, and that safety is something that I think a lot of relationships don't have, and it means that it gets in the way of our ability to connect and be vulnerable. And is there some kind of practice or exercise that you that's coming to mind right now that you would like to guide our listeners through? Yeah, actually, there is. There is I can describe it a little bit. First, I run a workshop around mindful masturbation, because I think a lot of us, and I know this from men that I've worked with who have very disconnected relationship to masturbation. So, I would love to guide you through the kind of first few stages of what I call mindful masturbation, but I find to be really powerful for myself as a practice that I do. I kind of dip in and out of doing it every day, but it's something I do very regularly and I often prescribe it to my clients. Yeah, absolutely. Perfect. So this is a wonderful mindful masturbation practice that can be used irrespective of what genitalia you have, it doesn't really matter, just that you do this practice mindfully, and connected to yourself, your body and the sensations of your body. What you're going to need is definitely some sort of lube or oil commented lie down and to be uninterrupted for around 25 minutes. So if you need to find a place or grab some lube oil, do that now before you continue. Somebody asked you to start by lying down. You're going to start by setting an intention. An intention of what you want to get out of this mindful masturbation session. And he could be anything that you would like to feel at the end, the state that you'd like to bring into your life into your body. Maybe it could be something like just being more confident and comfortable with your sexuality. Using this as an act of self love Have purity to release some stress from your body from your mind for ask you just to set the intention and to set it and then just put it to one side as if you know that it will just be met by simply doing the practice and we're going to start with a body scan just to tune you into the different sensations around your body and to bring some more relaxation so I'm gonna go through each body part and name it for you and as you tune into the sensations just bring some relaxation, let go of any tension and relax the area of the body we're going to start with your left foot moving up into your left foot, your left calf and then study up into your left knee. Hang over any tension there. Bring your awareness to the sensations mixed up into the thigh on your left leg now to your foots on your right leg and then into your calf and shin on your right leg. Just bringing your attention to any sensations and feelings. Spring in a little bit more relaxation to that part of your body next up into your knee on your right leg and then into your thigh on your right leg. Just feeling any sensations subtle or small sensations and now move up into your hips and your groin just letting go of any tension there around your genitals or hips sending a breath there even to bring in a little bit more relaxation a little bit more calm and then now up into the lower belly breathing deeply into the lower Bay next to relaxed eye area. Moving my attention now to the solar plexus. This neither side of your belly button feeling the sensations of the rising and falling of your belly mouth slowly move up into your chest and your heart center bringing me luxation here feeling a subtle sensations in your chest and heart and then now round two your your buttocks just feel a little bit more relaxation going any tension now up into the lower back and then into the middle of your back and then you're back bringing relaxation to all of these areas feeling that relaxation and then moving into the sensations of your left hand into the forearm on your left arm and then slowly into the whole upper arm and then into your shoulder he's feeling the sensation and bringing some relaxation then moving over to your right hand and then your forearm on your right hand and then the upper arm and then the shoulder and then slowly bringing your awareness into your neck from bottom to top and into your chin and jaw to your ears your cheeks and your lips into your nose as you feel the subtle feel of you breathing in and out through your nose and then the sensations of your eyes and the tiny muscles behind the eye. next annual temples and forehead Now lastly into your scalp now that we scan through the whole body, feeling the sensations there, we're gonna move into some gentle breathing in and out through the nose we'll be doing that to a count of five in and a count of five out so, in 234 out 234 In 234 Out 2345 In 12345 Out 2345 I want you to continue this rhythm in for five an out for fives for the next minute and as you breathe to the count of five in the count of five out for your nose, just feeling your body relax a little bit more of each out breath sinking into the surface that you're lying on. And as we continue with the practice, I want you to keep that long so breath in and out as we continue to keep yourself really in tune with the sensation of your body to stay relaxed and present. Now we're going to move into some self touch. And this is just gentle touch to the body. And we're not going to be going anywhere, not going to be going towards the genitals this is going to just be the other parts of our bodies that we often neglect. That we often forget about. Gonna do this for a few minutes. So you can start wherever you like, or you can follow along with my gentle instructions. You might start by stroking your left hand mice and slowly different types of touch maybe the fingertips maybe the whole hand gently or firmly. Feel free to experiment with different types of touch to see what feels good for you. Do this as you move up the arm to the shoulder across the chest maybe swap hands as you go down the right shoulder and upper arm. Again, mixing up the type of touch you may even want to take your hand and kiss the back of it lightly kiss your forearms. Just to see what it feels like to do that to yourself maybe bring your hands up to your neck touching the sides of your neck behind the ears and face into the hair, maybe stroking, maybe pulling, twisting your hair and coming down towards your chest, maybe towards your nipples. stretching across them gently down into your belly the sides of your belly as well and your hips. Knees is very sensitive part on the side of our our thighs can use circular hand movements spiraling tapping caressing and then moving into the inner thighs and back up to the belly you may now want to move towards your genitals nice and slowly start by just placing a hand on top of them without moving just feeling the warmth against your hand and then start with like caresses much like you were touching the rest of your body slow like caresses maybe just going up. Maybe just going down. Depending you know mix up from what you would normally do. You might those of you with penises, you may stroke gently up shaft and down with your fingertips circle around your balls head towards your perineum. Those view evolvers may want to strip up the size of your labia and that down and even across. Again, just slow and gentle movements. That tips of the fingers maybe even trying the back of the hand back of the fingers to see what that feels like just feeling what it feels like the subtle touches and the subtle sensations not focusing on any one particular area. Bringing all of your genitals into your touch not leaving out anything. Just so you're bringing everything up to a sensation of being touched being felt being connected with. And if you find yourself so have been into familiar patterns or speeding up, just consciously slow your movements down. Maybe you've been moving to a particular place that you often neglect or forget about remember, you can use the tips of your fingers she's the palm of your hand. The only goal here is to be slow and sensual with yourself to really connect sensations of your own touch, and the pleasure that brings you not trying to get any particular place or get to any particular speed, just to be present to the moment by moment sensations of touch. And he may want to now gradually and slowly increase your speed maybe by 10 or 20%. But again, you're not trying to get anywhere just to be with that moment by moment sensations of pleasure in your own body. And if you choose to move your hands away from your genitals to another part of your body, to bring closer to that that is also totally fine and even recommended because the aim of this practice is not to get to any particular place but just simply to connect with the sensations. trying something different, trying something new. For those of you evolves, it may be to massage your labia between your fingers to see what that feels like. Maybe it's to go round the vagina the hole just to see what that feels like in circles. And for those with penises, it may be to use a different grip to how you normally hold your penis, maybe with even two hands or maybe hold your hand in a reverse grip or to do spirals of your finger around the top of your penis all the way down remember to have some lube to use and lube or some oil or whatever you have handy. Remember, feel free to change direction, change movement. Maybe go from an up and down movement to a circular movement even to a tapping to a twisting movement to punish you for those of you with penises, we often just go up and down. For getting that you can twist your hand to create a new sensation a new movement those of you revolvers, you may be at your clitoris moving up and down. Again, you have the option here of going in like a figure of eight or even zigzagging across your clitoris up and down to experience something different, something new. Learn more about your own pleasure. If you find yourself coming close to climax and that's not what something you want to do just slow down a little bit slow down the touch maybe move to touching a different part body pieces there's no goal there's no way to get to you there's no virus as you are gently enjoying feeling pleasure in your own body I asked you to either in your mind's eye or out loud to say some affirmations that you would like to affirm to yourself maybe something like I love you You're Beautiful or something along the lines of touching my body brings me so much joy and pleasure you're so powerful I'm so grateful for my beautiful body I am so grateful for the wonderful pleasure that I can experience whatever feels right for you in this moment repeat to yourself and now as we start bringing this practice to a close I would ask you just to start to slow your movements down over the next minute just a slowly bring yourself to a stop until you completely just have your hands on your genitals or your hands on your body now I'm going to ask you to bring your hands to either side of you with your palms up as you bring all your focus to the pleasure that you've brought to your body sensations are now present in your being basking in this wonderful afterglow taken on this paying attention to this shift in state shifting feeling. Media Being curious into the different subtle sensations that are present that you can feel and dive your awareness into them. Being curious how it feels. What it feels like maybe there's some tingling and throbbing or maybe subtle buzz or hum in the body. Just be with that. Immerse yourself in that feeling or sensation. And slowly and ask you to start bringing some movement to your fingers and toes. Maybe certainly your wrists and ankles hadn't a little stretch and slowly open your eyes never you already. Think, you know what I like about that is? You know, I think that people are at different paces. Than often, you know, most of the men that I give massive mindful masturbation homework to will do it. And a lot of women don't. And there's because there's so much it's such a charged, it can be a charged topic. Or what you did was it could be a yoga, yoga nidra practice, right? It gets like, you know, it's a somatic practice, it's being with your sensations. And then being with the sensations and other parts of your body, before you even move to that last phase. And so your voice is so relaxing and beautiful. Like you, you're just like you're, you're in your groove as a podcaster. Because I feel like people should pay to listen to your voice. It's really lovely. But if you want the rest of that you're clearly going to have to listen to his podcast or seek him out in other places. So David, how can our listeners find you online? Probably the place I hang out the most is on Instagram, you can find me at the authentic man underscore, probably my website, WWE dot, the authentic man.net as well and the email there if you want to chat to me, always happy to have conversation. I'll answer any questions. I can Hello at the authentic man.net Those are the main places you know, those are the main place to get in contact with me probably the easiest place to get in contact with me. Thank you for listening. Please stay tuned for part two of this episode next week. In order to support the podcast I've started a Patreon where I plan to release exclusive content you won't be able to find anywhere else online. I'll be offering meditations more in depth exercises that relate to specific episodes and behind the scenes info about the interviews and my personal life. You can find my patreon@www.pa T ar e yo n.com backslash l ai D voc pen, pod cast to learn more about how you can support her community. Another way you can support the podcast is by rating reviewing and sharing it with friends so others can find our healing community. You can also follow me at laid open podcast on Instagram and Facebook and read more about my work at passionate life.org Until next time, may this podcast connect you to new resources and empower you to heal yourself.

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© 2022 By Charna Cassell, LMFT. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. MFC 51238.

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