Aphrodite is known as the Greek Goddess of beauty, love and sexuality. As the story goes, she rose fully formed from the sea. Her lovers were many. Clearly, she was a woman who knew her own power. As I am typing this, I am looking at a small statue that I have on my nightstand that is of her image. Aphrodite reminds me of the importance of a healthy sense of sexuality. But what happens when, because of sexual abuse, our impulses become stunted, stagnated, exaggerated or addictive? Some of the answers can be found in Amrita Grace’s book entitled Reclaiming Aphrodite: The Journey To Sexual Wholeness
Based in Hawaii, Amrita is a sex educator, intimacy and relationship coach and author who, along with her husband Apollo offers sessions for individuals and couples. She has come along way from being Kimmy, the one who experienced sexual wounding in childhood. As a result, her sense of self was thwarted and she found herself on a path of sexual addiction in an effort to redeem some portion of control. Paradoxically, it sent her spiraling out of control as all addictions inevitably do. She sets the stage by framing sexual addiction as ‘chemical dependency’ since the ways in which sexual feelings may land in the mind and body of the person in question, mirror those that a drug addict may feel when craving and then getting their ‘fix’. She asks several questions that may help someone who is wondering whether they too are experiencing sexual addiction. Samples include:
Do you have feelings of shame or guilt during or after sex?
Do you coerce or pressure others into having sex with you?
Do you use sex with others as a way to punish your partner?
Do you put yourself at risk for sexually transmitted diseases or violence?
Amrita indicates that if the reader can answer yes to any of these questions, then there is something to explore further.
The book is a journey through healing into recovery as seen through the lenses of the chakra system. The word comes from Sanskrit and means ‘wheel’. Chakras are considered swirling energy vortices. Each one has a representative purpose, color, symbol and sound and can be used as guides to determine areas of our lives that call out for healing.
There are also meditation/visualization exercises, journaling, setting intention, deepening spiritual practice ideas contained in the book.
By the end Amrita expresses gratitude that she has emerged from her self destructive patterns into a sense of integrity and and honoring the complete woman she has become. She is what I think of as a thriver, since she continues to reach out to those in need who may have been or may still be in the perilous place in which she once dwelled.