Episode 28: Pelvic Bowls & Yoni Eggs
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[ INTRODUCTION FROM EV’YAN]
Hey everyone! I’m Ev’Yan Whitney, and this is The Sexually Liberated Woman. I am so excited about today’s episode because we’re going to be talking about pelvic health, yoni eggs and demystifying vaginas with one of my favorite people. But before we get into all of that good stuff, I wanted to take a moment to shout out a few babes.
If you tuned in to the last episode, you know that I recently created a Patreon for this podcast and right after I launched, I actually got new patrons. I don’t know why I was expecting that none of you all would want to support The Sexually Liberated Woman but you did and I wanted to give love to the folks who gave me love and their hard earned coins which I do not take lightly. I also just really love giving shout outs as you probably sensed in the last episode.
Okay. So shout out to Leah P., Virginia C., Heather O., and Kactus, for being my first ever patrons and for being babes who support sexual liberation. It means so, so much. More than I can express with words and I so deeply appreciate you.
And if you would like to support The Sexually Liberated Woman, go to patreon.com/slwpodcast and become a patron. If I can get just 50 of you, just 50 to pledge $5 a month, it would help cover all the cost operating this show. The hosting fees, paying my editor, yes I’ve finally found one, and also for the transcription services to help make The Sexually Liberated Woman more accessible. So if you love this podcast, go to patreon.com/slwpodcast and become a patron or if you would like to make a one-time donation at any amount, maybe $50 to support for the whole year, you can go to paypal.me/sexloveliberation and who knows, I may just shout you out on the show.
Okay. So today’s conversation is between me and my amazing friend, Danielle Cornelius. She’s a chiropractor, a holistic pelvic care practitioner as well as a fellow Virgo. And I brought her on to talk about all things pelvic health. We’re talking about healing and connecting to your body, what it’s like to get an internal vaginal massage and dispelling myths and dropping mad knowledge about kegels and yoni eggs.
I’ve been wanting to do this episode for a long, long time, not just because I adore Danielle and her work but because I get so many goddamn questions about kegels and yoni eggs. There’s actually at time a couple of years ago where it felt like I literally leave my house without someone trying to sell me a yoni egg or preach the gospel of these egg shaped crystals.
I’m one of those people who gets really, really weary whenever there’s a lot of hype happening around something. So seeing all of the hullabaloo surrounding yoni eggs, I felt more skeptical than curious. And a lot of that skepticisms are born from private conversations me and Danielle were having while she was doing body work on me.
So yeah, Danielle is not just a friend of mine, she’s actually my body worker. She’s done reiki on me, she’s given me the most gentle chiropractic adjustments I have ever had and she has released tension from the walls of my vagina via internal massage. And I’m sure some of you are going, what at that. But I promise you, it’s not as awkward or as painful as it sounds and Danielle goes into detail about what internal vaginal massage is, what it helps heal and how you can find someone in your own area who does this kind of work. Literally, everybody with a vagina should get this done. Like, I’m serious.
This episode is filled to the brim with wisdom, resources, and important insights about the female pelvis and vagina. Parts of the body that historically have been mistreated and dishonored and actually I think it might be a good idea to save this episode so that you can listen to it over and over again. It’s just so good and I’m really excited to share this with you.
And if you’re someone who uses a yoni egg in their self-care practice or who has considered getting a yoni egg or if you know of someone who uses yoni eggs, please listen to this episode before you insert one into your vagina.Seriously though, there’s some important information here that everybody with a vagina should listen to. Enjoy.
[ INTERVIEW WITH DANIELLE ]
Ev’Yan: Danielle, I’m so excited to chat with you today about pelvic health. I’ve been wanting you to be on my podcast for a really, really long time and I’m so glad we could finally make this happen.
Danielle: Yes. I’m really happy too. I think it’ll be a really good conversation.
Ev’Yan: Yeah, I mean, because pelvic health is so important when we’re thinking about sex, sexuality and like, you’re one of my favorite people who’s doing this really, like, holistic work around pelvic healthcare and so I thought it would be great to have a conversation with you about it.
Ev’Yan: So for people who don’t know, and I’m sure there’s a lot of people who don’t, tell us who you are, tell us what you do and specifically, I’m really curious about the what you do part because I know that I like bragged about your services before the pass and I called you like, she’s a chiropractor but she also does like pelvic health magic and then she does like internal massage and reiki work. So like how would you describe like the work that you do?
Danielle: Yeah, that’s an endless issue for me too. So, I’m trained as a chiropractor but when I very first became a chiropractor, I was a little unsure about that work. And I’ve since kind of healed all of that time, I felt like it was a little aggressive and I didn’t fully understand the power of it and shortly after that I met somebody who turned me onto Tami Kent’s work and Tami Kent is a women’s health physical therapist who created holistic pelvic care and that is internal floor massage and breath work and energy work so it’s got like a spiritual, energetic component to it which you don’t usually find inside the PT world either and that just—I just felt like this big, huge yes when I first met her, took her classes and I’ve just, was doing internal pelvic floor massage for several years actually before I folding chiropractic back into it. So yeah, I’m trained as a chiropractor so that gives me a lot of knowledge around body work and muscles and the skeleton and all of that fun stuff but I noticed that even within my own profession that we still were not taking care of women very well and so I just became really, really kind obsessed about the best ways to take care of women that led me to Tami Kent’s work and, you know, that kind of set me up on this extra path.
Ev’Yan: That’s awesome. Yeah, I’m familiar with Tami Kent’s work. I’m curious how you found her, how you got connected with her. And then also like what made you kind of move from chiropractic work to doing this kind of work.
Because I imagine you didn’t go intro chiropractic work thinking, oh I want to do like pelvic health stuff or pelvic floor stuff. So like how did you come that.
Danielle: I originally came to chiropractic because I had a corporate job initially so I—this is my second career actually and I just didn’t want to sit in a cubicle all day long and I wanted to work one-on-one with people and the alternative health arena somehow. And chiropractic appealed to me because… well because its very movement based so it’s like you know, you’re up and moving a lot more versus sitting in a cubicle behind a computer screen. And like I said when I was in school, you know, school systems are awesome across the board usually so there were just some things about it that I didn’t quite understand with chiropractic. So it didn’t resonate, I guess that’s a better word of saying it for me personally because I’m really kind of highly sensitive and that was before I even understood that about myself and I was really focused on women. There was one person who came to our school and talked to us about pelvic floor works So there’s a few chiropractors who also do this. It kind of makes sense because the whole pelvic floor attaches itself to the tail bone and the sacrum and the lower part of the spine, so it really is connected like you can—the pelvic floor muscles can really pull on the whole spine. So in other ways makes total sense, you know, in our culture we tend to really separate everything. And so when you look at just the spine versus pelvic floor usually go to see a PT for pelvic floor and you just go see a chiropractor when your neck hurts or after a car accident. But the roots of chiropractic actually are also very much in line with, we’re all about aligning up the skeletal system so that the nervous system can flow more freely and that’s really basically energy work also.
Ev’Yan: Oh, that’s an interesting like perspective on it because like, I mean obviously I have a little bit of knowledge about like, you know, muscular skeletal type stuff because my partner also does like movement based work and things like that. But I know it’s like pretty masculine based. Like it’s very like directive and even when I went to my first adjustment to a chiropractor, I was very astounded at how aggressive it was. It was just like, pop, pop, pop, okay, see you whenever you want to get another adjustment, you know. So, that’s a really interesting perspective.
Ev’Yan: To see chiropractor work as energy work whether or not people actually know that.
Danielle: It—I didn’t even know that until I had been a chiropractor for like 5 years or so because the school I went to was very evidence-based and scientific which is, has its place and it was really awesome but they completely dismissed all the energy work which is harder to put to science. That’s just harder to do studies on some of that more ethereal, spiritual stuff. And when you’re sensitive to it, it’s really obvious but if you’re not sensitive to it, you can’t see it at all.
Danielle: So yeah, I didn’t realize until one year, I just kind of almost forgot to do my continuing education credit that we have to do every year and I had two weeks left to do it so I just looked for the easiest, fastest online class to do so I could get it done in time and I found this like history of the chiropractic philosophy and like that was really fascinated by it and didn’t even understand how it’s actually based in energy work, the founder of chiropractic was an energy worker.
Danielle: Yes. So I was like, oh my goodness, I’ve been doing this like all along and didn’t really connect it to chiropractic because I felt the same way. It felt a little aggressive to me and it is a very male dominated field so I just wanted to move a lot more slowly than I saw a lot of people doing and I’m personally really sensitive and prone to migraine headaches and got a lot of headaches when I was being treated by the chiropractor so I just kept looking for these other softer ways of doing things. And that’s really what led me to Tami Kent’s work. And I just got lucky because I found her through a mutual friend of ours, Ciara.
Ev’Yan: Oh wow. Okay.
Danielle: And I met her pretty much immediately after I started my practice through another belly dance teacher and she was just like, oh, you need to read Tami Kent’s book, like, I was just—we just had this kind of like heart-to-heart meeting because we’re very similar in a lot of ways and she’d turn me in to Tami Kent when I found out that Tami Kent was based in Portland, Oregon also just like me. I just—I just joined her class within probably a couple weeks through she was having a class. And then I immediately just felt like very—it just resonated very deeply for me. And I was like, I definitely want to do this. For a while there, I was like, why didn’t I just choose chiropractic? But then that’s all come to full circle for me and it actually, yeah, it makes a lot of sense, but at that time, I was like, oh man, I wish I should have gone to PT school, it would make more sense to people because they don’t understand chiropractors really doing this work. So basically, it’s just body work though. Well whether we’re physical therapists, massage therapist, chiropractor, osteopath or body workers. So we work, we use our hands to shift things in the body so that the body can more just have a better opportunity to heal itself.
Ev’Yan: Hmmm… Tell me a little a little bit about Tami Kent because like it sounds like she was the major catalyst for you to even begin this work. And I don’t know, I could be wrong but isn’t—didn’t Tami Kent actually like create this whole like, holistic, pelvic care kind of stuff?
Danielle: Yes. So Tami is a women’s health physical therapist and when she first started her first practice, she working in a hospital system like most of them do. So in women’s health PT, a lot of them are helping women rehab after pregnancy but they’re also helping women usually in their older stages when they have prolapsed or like when the organs start to kind of fall through the vagina. But she was noticing that she was seeing people. They were just too far along that we could—she just kept thinking if we could get to them younger, we can help them so much more. She’s also a natural energy reader, so she really started picking up on energetic patterns like emotional pattern such as she was feeling in the pelvic bowl when she was working with people. And that’s not something that you really pay much attention to in a hospital systems or typical clinics like clinic systems. So she just really started noticing these patterns and started taking note of them all the time and that’s what eventually became her book, Wild Feminine, and then she created a whole modality holistic pelvic care around not only the physical part of the muscle work but what kinds of emotions get stuck in those muscles and that fascia and what kinds of trauma is that we’re holding as women in those muscles. And so she kind of added this whole also natural component of just kind of aligning with nature and honoring the female body, you know. Like the way we need to be honoring nature in a more cyclical patterns and all of that extras stuff that doctors don’t usually talk about.
Ev’Yan: And did she come up with the whole—because I remember when we first started talking about Tami Kent and The Wild Feminine and her book and her practice, I remember, I think you had used the word pelvic bowl to me and when I heard that word at first, I was literally thinking about a bowl. I think the first thing that popped up in my mind was a bowl of cereal. (overlapping conversation) So what is a bowl? Like when you say pelvic bowl, I mean, I know what it means—we talked about this, but like what exactly does the pelvic bowl mean and why even use the word bowl, like why not just use the word pelvis?
Danielle: That’s such a good question. Well the pelvis itself—if you were to look at a skeletal model of the pelvis, it’s shaped like a bowl. So it’s—and the pelvis is really from the pubic bone all the way around to the tail bone and it’s like ends up to the hip bones so it’s like this the whole bottom part, your torso basically and it is shaped like a bowl and she uses that terminology especially because as women, we tend to hold our emotions and we carry things in this bowl and so we use that bowl imagery a lot and some of the guided visualizations that we do through her technique.
Ev’Yan: Yeah, I was just thinking that it’s a lot easier to envision like releasing things. I remember you walked me through this one exercise where you had me like sweeping the bowl and I—there’s definitely something a lot more tangible and relatable to thinking about the pelvis as a bowl rather than this like kind of abstract thing in your body.
Danielle: Yeah. It’s—and it helps kind of—it helps in a lot of different things that visualization but yeah that’s like—I always imagine a bowl just like literally like a wooden bowl or a glass bowl and I have people that’s kind of one of the basic imageries that we do is walk—like people have walk through consciousness all the way around the bowl and that just helps their body—mind, body connection awareness. In this area the body where a lot of people don’t inhabit ourselves energetically, it’s a good way to teach people how to just kind of walk our consciousness around a release any energy that’s built up there.
Ev’Yan: Mmm-hmm. Why do you it is that people have such a hard time connecting to this part of themselves? Like in your experience with the clients that you have had and the stories that you’ve heard like what—where does that disconnect come from?
Danielle: Well I personally feel like it comes from our culture mostly. And then it comes from trauma a lot of the times too so a lot of times there’s trauma from a really young age and we’re also just—we don’t honor our bodies and our cultural whatsoever. Male or female or anything in between. Like we just don’t—we just don’t really just as a whole like, so I think a lot of it is we’re just not taught how to and there’s a lot of trauma that people suffer. I mean we can get into intergenerational trauma even but even just—just that physical trauma what even from physical things like falls, you know, from when you were a kid falling off your bike or whatever just kind of creates a disruption.
But then there’s sexual trauma and emotional trauma and all that kind of stuff which just kind of disconnects us from our bodies in general and this part of the body and our culture tends to hold a lot of shame for a lot of people because we’re taught through lots of religious institutions that it’s dirty and there’s a whole lot of stuff too that goes on into it.
Ev’Yan: Hmmm… So it makes sense that they make when we think about pelvic health like it’s such an important part of our own sexual health. Like I can’t think—I mean it’s hard to imagine actually like not having pelvic health be a part of that equation.
Danielle: Absolutely. Yeah, I agree with you totally.
Ev’Yan: Yeah. Tell me. I want to hear more about the internal pelvic massage. I’ve had it done before. I think I’ve actually had it done before twice from you. It was really amazing. But I really want to like hear in your own words like how it’s done, what that process looks like and like what exactly the pelvic massage does.
Danielle: Okay. So it’s really actually very simple work. It’s just—it’s like muscles like anywhere in your body. So if you were to go to see a chiropractor or a massage therapist for like a kink in your neck or something like that, we would do the same process so, you know if I was working in your muscles and your neck, I would just do some massage, maybe myofascial release, work on finding trigger points and things like that. So when it comes to the pelvic floor, this is internal vaginal massage. So we insert one finger into the vagina and woman are like hanging off edges of bed like during pap smears (overlapping conversation)
Ev’Yan: Thank God. Oh my God, that’s the worse.
Danielle: Yeah. You’re like just lying on a massage table, face up. There’s you know, there’s a sheet involved. So there’s a sheet on top and then I just insert one finger really quick and they do a kegel squeeze on my finger and that lets me know how well those muscles are balanced. A lot of times, probably most of the time with women, the pelvic floor is not really balanced. So sometimes the muscles don’t squeeze at all when they think they’re doing a squeeze, they’re squeezing their abdominal muscles but there’s no squeeze in the pelvic floor muscles. Other times like the left side or the right side is holding more tension or squeezing faster or stronger than the other side so there’s some sort of imbalance or the top muscles or the bottom muscles are holding more or less tension. So I just look for how well the pelvic muscles are balanced and from there I just—it’s all muscles down there. It’s like a whole nest of muscles. And so then it’s just listening to where the fascist is really tight or taught and where there’s trigger points or you know, some muscles need to be woken up so that they can engage more so you have to do certain techniques for that, but it’s really as simple as massage. Like you get massage anywhere, it just happens to be in a kind of sensitive area.
Ev’Yan: So you’re basically saying that leg are vaginas get tense and get like those kinks and those crick in the necks sort of the way we get a crick in the neck like we actually—
Ev’Yan: —have that same kind of tension that we hold in our vaginas.
Danielle: Yeah in fact, you probably hold a lot more tension because it also happens to be like the core, the very core of the female body. I don’t know the male body as well and the pelvis because I 99% of the time we’re working females but that because of the way the vagina muscles are and way they lift up it’s very—it’s just very core central area and they all connect into the sacrum which can pull on the whole spine. They’re very strong muscles actually. So they can hold even more tension.
Ev’Yan: I’m—this is sort of random question but I’m just envisioning you doing this practice on someone with a vagina. How would you do this with someone with a penis? Is that possible?
Danielle: I do—I usually refer it out to other practitioners who work mostly with males. So yeah, there’s other—there’s such a thing as prostate massage because the prostate can be really congested. And then there’s other pelvic floor issues that aren’t as many because their bodies are a little more simple in that way. You know. With women, like, there’s the whole like period thing and pregnancy and all that stuff that really can complicate things too. So yeah, there’s public floor options for people with penis’ also.
Ev’Yan: I’m so glad that you mentioned kegels a moment ago as part of the way that you looked to see where the tension is lying in the vagina. I remember you had said something to me once when I was going in with this--into a session with you and you have mentioned how frustrating it has been for you as a practitioner to hear this talk about things like yoni eggs and kegel exercises when like we have no real concept of how to do them properly.
And especially like when I’m thinking about how you’re saying that everyone holds tension in this way like I can’t help but think that if we’re trying to do kegel muscles on top of an already like, I don’t want to say jacked up, but like an imbalance—imbalanced vagina with tension on one side or tension on all sides like I don’t imagine that yoni eggs are going to help. In fact, I imagine that they’re going to be harmful. So I wonder if you could like speak to that a little bit because I cannot leave my house without hearing about yoni eggs. Like everyone is talking about yoni eggs, I get questions a lot from people about, you know, whether or not they should add one to help with their like lack of orgasm or you know, even to heal some of the sexual trauma that they have particularly in that area. And I’m always really shy to be like, oh yeah, definitely go pick one up, because I feel like that’s not—that’s just like one small fraction of the work that needs to be done in that area. I don’t know, what are your thoughts on that?
Danielle: Yeah. So kegels can be amazing and same with yoni eggs. So the first thing is, I think it’s amazing that there’s so many more people interested in taking care of their vaginas and processing trauma. So I think that’s awesome. But the problems with kegels and yoni eggs is that if there is an imbalance in the pelvic floor muscles, trying to strengthen the pelvic floor that’s imbalance will strengthen the imbalance. And so it’s just the right side muscles of the oil glands are engaging and you do a bunch of kegels, you just create that, those muscles will engage more and more and more and more and we’re never addressing how come the left side muscles aren’t engaging at all. So same with yoni eggs. And there’s a lot of misperception I think and also it’s tricky because there’s—nobody ever does research in this area because there’s not a lot of money for it. So it’s just can be tricky. I think yoni eggs can be really awesome and I tell people usually after I’ve seen them a few times and the pelvic floor starts to balance out, I will prescribe that for them. But there’s a lot of things to be careful off too. So the vagina has mucous membrane just like your cheek and so like the inside of your cheek and so it absorbs anything it touches so A, number one, you want to be really careful about what you put in there that you know like what chemicals have been on it, what kind of material it is, does it absorb and all that kind of stuff and you want to make sure that the pelvic floor muscles are actually engaged. And you don’t really want to leave those in. I know a lot of people recommend leaving them in like overnight, I’ve seem that on the internet.
Ev’Yan: Oh my gosh. . .
Danielle: And that freaks me out a little bit because you don’t want—you also don’t want the muscles to be constantly engaged. Like they’re meant to be squeezing or releasing, squeezing or releasing constantly because we’re walking around, we’re moving or sleeping, we just kind of need our body to, you know, do what it needs to do on its own too. So for people who are really into yoni eggs, I would just have them make sure that they get at least checked by a physical therapist or somebody who does holistic pelvic care or the very least, insert your own finger in your own vagina and do a kegel around it and really pay attention to whether or not the whole entire pelvic floor comes center and almost, you should be feeling like a baby sucking their finger pulling it up and inwards and that’s kind of how you can tell if it’s balanced. But I would say probably most women, maybe I’m biased because I see the women who are having a problem but it seems like a big percentage of us are walking around with imbalances in our pelvic floors.
Ev’Yan: Yeah you know I’m so glad that you’re saying all of this because I know that our culture is obsessed with finding a magic pill and particularly for women and, you know, femmes who want to get rid of their sexual trauma or their sexual dysfunction, I mean I definitely seen people get really, really jacked ass about yoni eggs because I think they think that it is the end all, be all of like sexual liberation. And I mean like I—it’s certainly a tool but I also think it’s a tool that not very many people are educated about, particularly educated about when it comes to their bodies you know, like, I’m constantly getting people asking me like, hey you want to buy one of my yoni eggs and the first thing that I ask them is like, where are you getting them? Because I’ve heard horror stories from people who have had yoni eggs inside of them and they’re doing kegel squeezes around them and the yoni eggs shatter, so yeah. So like I’m always like really—I’m like you, I’m very happy and I feel really, I guess feelings of positivity when I think of how yoni eggs are helping people access and connect to a part of them not has been disconnected for so long.
On the other hand, there’s like, oh you might want to do a little bit more research like just make sure that you’re super informed and not even just like what your pelvis is doing also about where the yoni eggs are from because, yeah, if they’re not diamond grade, I mean you don’t even want to risk it.
Danielle: Yeah. And women I don’t think always and people in general don’t understand necessarily that the vagina is par of our immune system and that mucous membrane, it absorbs everything. And so like even when it comes to tampons and how we take care of ourselves during our menstrual cycle and what kind of like our underwear, our pants or whatever we’re wearing like what kind of chemicals are on them. It’s just like we really need to be extremely mindful about what we’re putting anywhere near the vagina.
Danielle: And we just don’t have that knowledge in our culture. And there’s no other—nowhere really to go for really dealing with the trauma that is stuck in those muscles that people have. And that’s what I love about holistic pelvic care Tami Kent works specifically because it addresses that it’s really trauma informed which is just hasn’t been and a lot of body work techniques actually.
[ AD BREAK ]
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[ INTERVIEW WITH DANIELLE ]
Ev’Yan Whitney: So what are some ways that we can keep—or at least begin to bring awareness to our pelvis’ and I’m also curious about like—because I mean like I know that you do this work but there might be some folks who don’t live in Portland, Oregon or who don’t live near Portland, Oregon like how can we go about finding practitioners who do this kind of work in other areas. Like do you have a directory because I mean this work is so important and I feel like more people need to know about it but they often don’t know where to look.
Danielle: Yes. So fortunately people have been coming to train with Tami from all over the world or quite a while now so there’s more and more of us like every six months just all over the place. So there is directory on her website wildfeminine.com for other people to start. But ultimately and her books are a good place to work too because her books are really like a workbooks kind of.
Ev’Yan: Yeah, the Wild Feminine is a really, really good book.
Danielle: It’s a good resource and it has a lot like guided meditation and journaling exercises and she walks you through how to do your own self-care. So all of us who do holistic care, care a lot for people learning how to have this kind of, to empower people to be able to take care of this part of the body on their own, really, if they need do. So I will start with some books like that. I would say that even the bigger than that is just to constantly cultivate body awareness so bringing your focus and your attention and your breath towards the pelvis and just feel the vagina and feel the sit bones when you are sitting on your chair, the ground and just like, just bring your awareness down like we tend to live a lot in our heads so we can really feel our mental activity but we just need to practice filling in to our bodies and specifically all the way down to our vagina.
So the vagina’s been overly sexualized in a lot of ways but it’s more than just a sexual center. That’s part of it and that’s a great, awesome part of it but sometimes people just associate the vagina only with sex and so they have a hard time just feeling, just like I’m just feeling my vagina now, what kinds of sensations are coming up or what do I notice or what kind of imagery or words pop into my head when I have my awareness all the way down here.
Ev’Yan: That’s so true. Like we’ve sexualized that part of ourselves so much that like we can’t even access it in a platonic way and I’m always doing work on clients to be like, you know, it’s so important to pay attention to the sexual, but what would it look like for you to have a platonic relationship with this part of yourself. To be able to look at your vulva, stick a finger in your vagina and have it be as benign as you were like picking your nose.
Ev’Yan: It’s like it’s a part of you and like it’s only sexualized when it’s in sexual context.
Danielle: Absolutely, yeah. Tami said that in one of our classes once and it really stuck with me. She just said, you know, self-care for your vagina should be as benign, that’s exactly the word she used, as putting your finger—
Ev’Yan: I think she got that from you. I think you said that to me one time in a session and it stuck with me.
Danielle: I know. That one stuck with me too. It came from Tami and she probably got it somewhere too. But yeah, it really should be and I think that’s where women can learn to not have to even rely on a tool like a yoni egg or anything else. If you can just get to the point where you’re, you know, I tell women all the time, insert a finger in your vagina in the shower and just squeeze around it and notice what your muscles are doing. And that’s it, you know.
Ev’Yan: I have to ask because I’m sure there are people who are listening and they’re going, I mean, I’m sure some people are like, okay, this is cool, but then there are other people that are like, wait, you want me to like stick a finger in my vagina in the shower, like, maybe there’s like feelings of like fear come up or feelings of grossness. And I remember the first time I actually inserted a finger in my vagina, I was kind of weirded out about like the sensations and especially outside of a sexual context. I mean I think it’s one thing to have a curiosity and a drive to explore that part of yourself when you’re like turned on and like you just want something inside of you and it’s another thing to be like, oh yeah, I’m just like going about my day, oh yeah I’m just going to check to see what’s going on down there. What would you say to people that are like, “This sounds cool in theory, but the notion of connecting to my vagina in this way, seems to really odd and maybe gross or like weird”?
Danielle: Yeah. I think that kind of speaks back to some of the shame that our culture speaks of the area of the body and so like that embarrassment and grossness and that kind stuff comes up and so for people who are stuck there, I would start by doing the exercise of just feel, like bringing your consciousness down there and just feeling it and start there and maybe put your finger on your lower belly or your hands in your lower belly and just kind of… and then sometimes there is—there’s trauma there too sometimes so often when you teach people to bring awareness to the vaginas , they will be an energetic block that’s just like, nah. No. can we just not do that
Ev’Yan: Right. Yeah.
Danielle: Or you know, just sometimes what’s wrong right underneath the surface emotionally is like a lot of rage or a lot of grief which is hard to deal with sometimes and so to bring your awareness to the vagina and bring an honoring presence, can also bring up a lot of stuff. But that kind of speaks to that trauma is still there even if we’re in a sexual place too though. So I feel like it’s good to kind of work through it and if you just can’t, it would be worth going to see a therapist who can help you through that. Otherwise, I would just go really slow and just start with what is comfortable in that platonic way and just being in presence for whatever you feel or whatever comes up and just go really slow and just kind of notice, be like, oh, okay I feel shame or this feels gross, okay. And then just kind of let that shame or that feeling of grossness or fear, whatever, just kind of exist, and then kind of work through there slowly. And that’s where Tami Kent’s books are really useful and I’m sure there’s a lot of others out there who’s been in this bubble for so long.
Danielle: It’s—I think it’s just that I like that you said platonic relationship because that’s really what needs to be cultivated. And so just like any relationship you would sometimes when you have been estranged for a long time and you have to move really slowly.
Ev’Yan: Right, right. Yeah. One of my favorite exercises that I give my clients who are wanting to connect more to their sexuality like the first question I ask them is, what kind of relationship do you have with your vagina? Like what kind of relationship do you have with your vulva? And usually the answer to that is like I don’t really have one.
I mean like I know it’s there, it’s a part of me but the last time I looked at my vagina or looked at my vulva was when I had a urinary tract infection or the last time I really thought about it was when I had a yeast infection. Like we have such a disconnect to this part of ourselves and we only connect back to it either way when we’re in a sexual context or when we’re trouble shooting. Like there’s something wrong and the vagina’s screaming, going, “Help, I need help!” And so one of my favorite exercises like my clients is—as a way to create a platonic relationship with that part of themselves is to have them look at their vulvas in a mirror everyday. Not to like try to start something, not to try to as like a prelude to masturbation but just as a way to be like, “Hey, you’re an old friend, I’m going to say hello to you today”, and to begin to build a relationship with that part of yourself that it isn’t so disconnected because like I know I have a vulva. I like—it’s just a part of me like there’s something very different when you’re able to, like, actually take a mirror between your legs and see it, you know.
Danielle: Yeah. Absolutely and then take it one step further and have them really work on the sensation and feeling it.
Danielle: So the looking and seeing is important because then we can demystify our own relationship with our vaginas and vulvas but then feeling into the internal part of it, and that’s where people can start to access that deep sense of yes and no. It’s very clear when you’re tapped in to your vagina and you’ve kind of cleared out some of the muck that’s there, it’s very clear—it’s like, it becomes so obvious when you want something and when you don’t. And I think that’s probably another reason when you want to get into the conspiracy theory of (overlapping conversation). Take that for another reason why we’re cut off from our pelvis because we have powerful knowledge there. And so, and it’s, it becomes very clear that the more relationship you have you know. I think a lot of women have sex when they don’t even want to and understand that that’s what’s happening but or like we just say yes to things constantly whether regardless of what it is. And a lot of times our body clearly is saying no and the vagina actually is pretty clear about yes and no.
Ev’Yan: Yeah. Yeah. I’m so glad that you brought that up because that, I mean, as we’re talking about this, you know, releasing tension in the pelvic floor and the vagina muscles like, that’s all amazing and—but there’s also another component to this which is like a spiritual connection rooting to your inner wisdom that I defiantly felt when I had my session with you. It was actually really interesting. I didn’t really know what to expect and especially because every time that I had someone else go down there for a non-sexual context, it was to get a pap smear so it was kind of strange. I remember the first time that I had a session with you to be like, oh you’re just like sitting there with a finger in my vagina and we’re talking and you’re telling me to breathe and like, it’s not painful, it’s like my legs are up in the air, I’m not in stirrups or anything like that. I’m just like allowed to just lay and breathe and just tune in to that part of myself and it was incredible healing. I had so many emotions come up in that process and then I felt sort of like on a high afterward. I think you might have even told me to be like, be prepared, you might have some emotions come up or something like that wants to be released and you know as you’ve just done this work and yeah, it was just—I felt like I had a very different reaction and response and just connection to that part of myself just through getting—yeah, just getting a massage there.
Danielle: Yeah. It is pretty incredible that way. And when we get pap smears, we’re kind of—we kind of disembody those too (overlapping conversation) I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve done it, my eyes—I’m like looking up the ceiling, counting the dots on the ceiling, just to like, get me out of here as soon as possible.
Ev’Yan: You just said like in the beginning like you know, when you do when you do pelvic massage, it’s not like—we’re not having to sit on the edge of the beds like that’s the most frustrating part to me about, I mean, one of the most frustrating parts to me about getting a pap smear is that they want you to relax but they also want you to be halfway falling off the table at the same time and I’m like I don’t know what do you want from me, like how am I supposed to relax in this position when a speculum is up inside of me, like it’s so weird.
Danielle: It’s uncomfortable, it’s weird and most of the practitioners in the western medicine world don’t really train on how to be present with somebody and so it’s really clinical and there’s a lot, you know, there’s just so much the female pelvis goes through that I don’t know, I just feel like deserves a lot more honor.
Ev’Yan: Yeah. Yeah. Would you say that pelvic massage is something for everyone or only for people who are experiencing either pelvic pain or pelvic issues,
I actually think it would be great for everyone, at least to get checked. Because of the reason is because it’s non-sexual healing touch which is very rare for those muscles to get. There’s a part of me that feels like this is probably something that women have been doing for each other, probably for a long time until we really disconnected from nature and from feminine wisdom and things like that. And so I feel like even women who don’t have any like horrific symptoms often have something they don’t even realize they don’t have to live with. That’s one of the things I noticed a lot when I go do talks about this, people would be like, I never thought I needed it but the more you talk to them, I realize I have this, I have that and I have this, I thought that’s part of being a woman.
Danielle: And so I think it’s good to have checked just for that reason alone and then it really is like to be, to have someone be in honoring presence that’s healing and this—and the vagina is just—there’s just something about it that I feel like is really important.
Ev’Yan: Yeah. Well the work you do is so, so necessary, it’s in active resistance and I deeply appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today about all this stuff like you are such a wealth of knowledge and such an advocate for the feminine and I so appreciate the work that you do.
Danielle: Aww… thank you for having me. I would—I could talk about this all day.
Ev’Yan: Well I would actually love for you to come back. I mean who knows, I might get a whole bunch of questions from people after listening to this that are like, I want to know more about the pelvic floor. So I would love for you to come back and maybe chit chat some more about this.
Danielle: Yeah, it would be great to have a follow-up, a follow-up conversation because I’m sure you’ll get a lot of questions usually when we open up those conversation starts some more questions than you ever had before.
Ev’Yan: Totally. So where can people find you if they want to book a session with you or if they want to learn more about who you are and the work that you do.
Danielle: You can find me at my website, daniellecornelius.com.
Ev’Yan: And where are you working these days if people are in Portland and they would want to get a massage from you?
Danielle: I am in South East Portland and I’m doing chiropractic work and pelvic work. I also have like Monday mornings I’m in Beaverton.
Ev’Yan: Super good to know. This conversation was helpful for me, not just because it was good to connect with you because you are like one of my favorite people but also it’s because it’s reminding me that I desperately need to make an appointment with you. So I’m so glad that we have a chance to talk and I will definitely be shooting you an email super soon to book my pelvic massage appointment because I’m definitely due.
Danielle: Awesome. I’m happy to help of course. Anytime.
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This Sexually Liberated Woman is edited, produced and designed by me, Ev’Yan Whitney. With editing help by Justine McLellan. If you love this podcast, I’d love it if you can leave me a review on apple podcast. Reviews helps others find the podcast and also helps other find sexual liberation which I think is a win-win. And if you’d like to support this podcast, The Sexually Liberated Woman finally has a Patreon.
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