Vulnerability catches us at all the wrong times, or does it? I recently heard the term “vulnerability hangover” and completely related. There have been so many times I have felt like I tried something new or said something out of the ordinary and felt great about it at the moment. I felt empowered and really proud of myself. But then, time passes, and I thought about it, and thought about it some more, and second guessed myself, again and again. For example: “Should I have really asked for more money? Why do I think I have the right to get paid more? Did I offend someone?” Writer Brene Brown writes that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather it brings about “emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty, creativity and change.” Making yourself vulnerable is really about courage and having the courage to be who you are and say what you not only want to say but need to say to create the life you want to live.
Many women describe feeling vulnerable when it comes to sex and sexuality. Asking for what you want sexually will indeed expose you but try and think about that exposure as positive. You are exposing yourself for being a sexual person who wants to explore and change and of course there might be some emotional risks with that. In these situations, I always ask my patients what is the worst that could happen? A common example that often comes up with clients involves using a vibrator with a partner: You want to ask your partner to use a vibrator with you. That certainly takes courage to bring about a new subject and you are asking for something that will make you and probably your partner enjoy sex more, but there is also that uncertainty in not knowing their response. The best case is that they say “Yes” and buy one that same day. The worse that could happen is they say: “No” or some client’s biggest fear is of offending their partner and making them feel they are not “good enough,” and will feel insecure. In reality this rarely happens, but I have had a few clients return to me and say their partners were offended by bringing in a vibrator. A healthy relationship can get through these feelings, and open and honest communication can bring about compromise and open the conversation around sex in ways you might have never imagined could happen. Maybe your partner doesn’t want to use a vibrator, but they want to watch erotica. However, you will never know unless you allow yourself to take that emotional risk and ask. So, if like myself you sometimes feel yourself having a “vulnerability hangover” remember the word courage and turn that worrying into being proud of yourself for asking for what you need.