August 7, 2013

Defining Love on my Own Terms. ~ Lesley Stedmon

May 23, 1995 was the day that I gained clarity on how I wanted love to manifest in my life.

As a young 20 year old, fresh out of my first serious relationship with a very religious high school sweetheart, I saw a glimpse beyond the confusing and contradictory web of religion, dogma, pleasure and my happiness. I saw an insight of another way to be in the world.

In retrospect, my transition was full of irony. I would attend bible study with fellow churchgoers and then jump into my car and head out with another group of friends and go dancing at the bars. I felt like I was walking between two worlds—one I should be in and one I wanted to be in. Ignoring my intuition for the past 19 years had turned me into a people-pleaser. My journey to honoring myself had begun. I knew there was more to this life than bible studies and early beds.

It was at this point that I began to define spirituality on my own terms. I knew there was a force or an energy, something bigger than me out there that had a plan for me. I knew I believed in a God and also in the magnetic green earth energy. It was in the earth energy that I connected to my divine feminine power, my shakti and I knew I was on my way to finding inner peace through honoring my power. And I knew it involved sex somehow. Who knew it would be my career?

Freshly liberated from the church, I jumped head first into my sensual self.

I had a taste of different relationships, some a matter of hours, some months long. Some intense, some boring. I longed for physical touch, not just sexual touch but physical affection and true passion.

That is what had been missing.

Passion. Intense passion.

How did that look?

My limited insight told me this:

May 23, 1995

Dear Diary, 

How love looks:(None of them are deal breakers but all of them would be excellent, my 19 year old cursive scribed.)

1. Very outgoing.

2. Encouraging.

3. Adventurous.

(pretty insightful so far)

4. Has to drive a Jeep

5. Will dance in the headlights of said Jeep with me.

6. Affectionate, to give me all the touch I need all the time.

7. Have goals.

That was it. Nothing too lofty.

Fast forward to 2013 and I am a sex coach, registered nurse, sexual health educator, have been married 10 years and have two young kids.

I am cleaning up my daughter’s room and find my old diary in the back of my daughter’s toy chest. My heart flutters as I open it. It is a paradox in cursive. The first few pages are biblical scriptures from bible studies and the last few pages are a detailed description of how I fell in love with my husband.

My husband was quietly reading in the early evening and I perch next to him and say “Look what I found, my old diary from 20 years ago.”

And I slowly began to read, scripture at first, the sadness of a death of a high school friend too soon, the slow death of a relationship choked and suffocated by religious dogma and expectation, the excruciating pain of a breakup and being replaced too soon.

Then I came across my list…

May 23, 1995. How love looks:

I got flutters, he leaned in. There was that look again, “”I can’t take my eyes off you.”

It was like he was looking into my soul. Again.

1. Very outgoing? Yes, social and private in beautiful balance.

2. Encouraging? Endless encouragement.

So far, so good

3. Adventurous? Yes, he has joined me on spur of the moment trips to Mexico and Oregon with less
than 24 hours’ notice.

4. Has to drive a Jeep? Volvo station wagons are sexy right?

5. Will dance in the headlights of said Jeep with me? Yes, on one of our crazy roundtrips.

OMG, I’m getting goose bumps.

6. Affectionate, to give me all the touch I need all the time? My big learning with this came with learning
each other’s “love language”….worth checking out!

7. Have goals? The only man I know who gained clarity on his career goal and achieved in in less than eight months.


Since writing my list, I have grown immensely as a woman and now define happiness and success by waking up in the morning and feeling the way I want to feel, by engaging in activities that make me feel the way I want to feel.

My subconscious chose that very moment, both of us leaning in, to reveal that it was not about what was on the list, it was the behaviors, actions and requirements that made me feel the way I wanted to feel—to find a partner that makes me feel adored, abundant, aroused, passionate, worthy and fully alive every day.

Jeep optional.

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Assistant Ed: Steph Richard/Ed: Bryonie Wise
{photo: via Pinterest}
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Lesley Stedmon