#186 – Love and Desire in Motherhood with Julie Tenner

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There is still a stigma attached to discussions of intimacy, especially within Motherhood, within public spaces. For years we have been taught that intimacy is wrong, shamed and shut behind closed doors. This conversation bursts open the intertwine of masculine and feminine and how they can revolutionise our relationships. Julie Tenner is one of the world's best teachers and guides on the topic of relationships, intimacy and dancing alongside motherhood and matresence. Listen as Amy and Julie discuss:

  • Finding our way back to self, connection with body, connection with heart, connection with pleasure and desire in what feels really good.
  • Narratives we hold, including that we have to sacrifice everything in order to be a good Mum.
  • The capacity to receive when we are giving so much of ourselves to others.
  • Remembering that we have ultimately chosen our intimate partners and how we can entangle our lives and spaces to reconnect in meaningful and beautiful ways.

Ironically, this episode oozes intimacy, respect and a magnetic pull of understanding throughout the entire conversation. I encourage you to connect with Julie further at julietenner.love and explore all she has to offer. There needs to be a change in the way mothers are valued and seen in our society. We are here to spread the whispers of Matrescence together. Find out more and receive your Matrescence map here https://amytkb.wpengine.com/matrescence/.


Welcome to the happy mama movement podcast. I'm Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. I would like to start by acknowledging the Gadigal people of the aura nation on which this podcast is recorded as the traditional custodians of this land. And pay my respects to the elders past, present and emerging. And as this podcast is dedicated to the wisdom and knowledge of motherhood, I would like to acknowledge the mothers of this land, the elders, their wisdom.

They're knowing and my own elders and teachers.

Welcome back mamas. I have the most exciting conversation for you today. What we know for sure about the journey of motherhood and matresence, is that it is not isolated to just being a mother and a parent. Motherhood and matresence affects every single part of you and every single part of your life. And one of the biggest effects this has is on our relationships. Over and over and over again, over the decade, I have been coaching mamas.

I ask them to focus first on themselves. And they always want to talk about how matresence and motherhood has changed their relationship. And that's because we are not just a mother, we are still a woman with needs and desires. But the truth is

motherhood, fatherhood, parenthood, changes our relationships. But the best news is it's actually an opportunity to completely redefine your relationship. Learning about masculine and feminine energies, both within myself and in my relationships has been revolutionary in my life. And one of Australia's, if not the world's, best teachers and guides on this in my humble opinion is Julie Tenner.

Julie is a Mama. She is a tantric yoga teacher. She's an intimacy and relationship coach, and she oozes the beautiful devine understanding of the masculine and feminine. This conversation I know is going to inspire you to look deeper into what you most need, why you feel the way you do, and start you on a journey of opening your eyes to see your relationship as something you can receive instead of give to. Enjoy.

Julie welcome to the podcast. I am so excited. We finally get to do this together.

I'm literally so happy. Even as you said, welcome to the podcast. I just had this rise of sunshine in my body where I went. This has like been a dream of mine for so many years. And now I'm here because I was a follower of yours back when it was Happy Mama with Amy. And I'm like, oh my goodness.

So this is a pure heart delight for me. So thank you for being that woman in the world who's led the way who we could all see as a shining light, who offered us conversations and spaces that nowhere else did. And the fact that I'm full circle here, having an incredible conversation with an incredible woman, doing incredible work in the world, just it's magic.

So thank you.

Ah, can we all just take an inhale of what it feels like for women to support women and celebrate each other? I mean, this is the way it's meant to be. I talk a lot in my communities around this idea of no competition. You rise, I rise. And so thank you for being such a divine example right off from the start of this interview of what that looks like.

Thank you.

Oh, thank you.

So we are here in this episode to talk about the divine topic of intimacy and relationship and sex in motherhood. First, if there is even one listener who doesn't know your work, cause again, the space that you are holding with these conversations is so powerful important. But for anyone who might not know your background and how you came to do what you do, let's talk about that.

Especially your experience of motherhood.

Mm, I'd love to. So I'm the daughter of an original 1960s tantric Yogi. So my upbringing was exceptionally different, which I didn't really come to realise until I started studying naturopathy at University. So I'm a naturopath. And then I specialised back then in the end of life care, actually in cancer, because that had been my journey with my Father. And then decided this was breaking my heart.

So I want to do start of life instead. So I be became then a specialist naturopath in pediatrics and in mother care. So in how we're looking after women's bodies in the process of having babies and young children. So I had this naturopathic part there, and then there was this huge tantric women's circle, sacred space

part of me that just continued as my own passion and life and the background. And I don't know if you're familiar or not, but the spaces that we're trained in as practitioners don't really allow anymore. And certainly didn't even 20 years ago when I was studying for this old world wisdom to come through.

So I had all this whole part of me that was just kind of sitting there that I was living, but wasn't practicing with. So then after I had my second daughter, I just became enamored with birth and I studied with Re Dempsey. So I sat in circle with her for a year and trained to be a birth doula. So I then combined all my passions together and started holding intensive space for women and couples.

I took on couples as a journey through their pregnancy and then was at their birth with them and then after their birth. So it was this hugely intensive journey. And that was, the business that up until they lit me on fire, I was booked out six months in advance. I did this for seven years straight. I just, my heart just soared.

And then I became pregnant with my third and felt, intuitively, this is gonna be my last. So I didn't want to be the person holding space for others. I wanted to be in my own experience. So I stopped working at that point and embarked for what I perceived to be the first time of a total, um, connected, present conscious conception because she came after a miscarriage.

So a conscious conception, conscious pregnancy, conscious birth conscious parenting journey. And she's still my hardest child. So there's, you know, , there's somewhat of an irony that exists in that experience for me. And, um, through the process of being so intensive with her, I found another Mum, Bridget Wood, who I then started nourishing the mother with at our natural parenting playgroup.

And that then took me on a whole other journey. And in the meantime, in the background, I've still got this practitioner, I'm holding circles for women. I'm doing rights of passage, like mother blessings and all sorts of huge ceremonial experiences in the background. But love, relationship, intimacy has always been the thing that I've coached that I've adored that I've relished.

And all of a sudden I found this space that I could play in that existed with a tantric philosophy of masc or masculine and fem or feminine energies. And that gave answer to so much of my own experience of being exhausted of having no sex drive, feeling undesirable and unloved and unseen and resentful and having to do all of the things and the mental mother load or it all of a sudden I could go, oh, Oh, my God.

I feel like I've just worked out the secret of the universe and then enters baby number four, who was a surprise. She was a vasectomy baby. We had no idea. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was pretty sure my life would be over. I was like, I can't cause number three had been such, such an intense journey and she has additional needs.

So now I look back and go, it makes sense, but then I didn't know and didn't have support or framework. So I was like, I can't, I can't like I can't even. And yet number four for us has just, for me, has been the most healing, magnificent, expansive, abundant journey. That I've ever had. She's still like this firecracker of glue that kind of binds us all together, which I just thank her for on the daily.

So I am a mama of four children today actually happens to be my 16th wedding anniversary. So I've been married for six years to a wonderful man. Together for 20. I'm, a naturopath for doula, a women's space facilitator, a divine feminine embodiment leader. But what I cultivate all of that into now is the work of long term, in particular, relationship and the spark of intimacy and desire together with the type of companionship that we are seeking, not forsaking one for the other.

Wow. Well, I'm totally distracted by the fact that it was a vasectomy baby. But we're gonna put that to one side for a moment and stay focused. I think everyone who's listening, whose partners had a vasectomy, just had a little suck in of air.

Oh, look, I just, I know, I know, but can I just pinpoint that with, I just think sometimes universe co-create in a way that, you know, we think we have all of this control and we don't. I mean, the story was crazy. If you don't mind a little bit of TMI. Can I? Yeah. That's okay. All right, let's go that. Okay. So we knew there was a right, like we all know when there's a vasectomy, there's like a danger window.

And I was like, yeah, that's fine. Because I have my period. I'm bleeding, it's day two, which is my heaviest bleed day. There is zero chance of us getting pregnant. We got pregnant. I cannot even in my head, like in my naturopathic biology head, actually can't even comprehend how that happened. Other than there was an orchestration that was beyond my sense of control.

And thank, God and Godess. Because she seriously has been the most healing experience that we needed, but didn't know we needed. So, you know, having four children doesn't make you less, having more children doesn't make you less wanna say that. Having more children doesn't mean you don't get to have a bigger life and more expanded life. With each one of my children, I've burnt down and recreated businesses with each one of my children.

I've burnt down and recreated who I am. Right. Which is your whole philosophy on matresence. It changes us. It's a right of passage. And each time my life has expanded. How I love has expanded. My financial abundance has expanded and I don't see that as separate to my experience of motherhood. I see them as interlinked.

Oh, absolutely. I would really love us to have a really honest and raw and TMI conversation around intimacy. Because I feel that, uh, we don't do this very well. In public spaces. I know in my communities, my programs, my Facebook groups behind the scenes of a Facebook, you know, closed door, there are real and beautiful and raw conversations happening around how much mothers, miss passion, sex touch on their body.

And yet how touched out they are by the early years. And maybe not even so early years of motherhood. But I find in a public space, we are not as brave. So I just want to say, let's go there. Let's have a real conversation around, what does the tantric philosophy tell us is going on? Post-birth when a woman really steps into the role of mother, you know, her whole body is kind of instantly reprogrammed to focus on nourishment, nurturing care.

What happens to our body?

And can we make sense of that a little bit to understand why we sometimes feel shut down in this area and how to open it up again?

Yeah. I would love to have those conversations. The thing that I find often blows women's minds open the most and hearts hopefully is the fact that mothering is a, what we would call a masc or masculine art form. So when we are talking about tantrically the two parts of the universe, one being represented by what we term it's colonialised language Masc.

I say masc because I identify with masc as opposed to masculine that can have systems of oppression, pain and suffering for some peoples of the community. So I choose to identify with masc, but I know I've had a conversation with you and what worked most beautifully for you was rock and ocean. It doesn't matter what word we are giving it for the simplicity of this call.

I'm using the terms masc and fem because masculine and feminine energy are certainly buzz words in our life, but I'm not sure we really understand what, what they mean. So all that's really saying tantrically is there's two parts of us and two parts of the world. There's the part of us that is thinking rational, exists from the neck up is all about vision, drive, focus, goal setting, goal achieving, looking after making sure we're on track.

All of the skill set that mothering requires us to do. To look after others and put our needs secondary to that. Because if we put our needs continuously first, would someone else get their needs met? Who knows? Well, who knows, you know, I mean, there's certainly a nuance in that conversation, but the point of the masc is I can almost ignore and shut off or shut down or, or switch off from my body, my needs, my heart, my desires, and my feelings, because they're not as important as the thing that I'm applying myself to. Which in the context of motherhood is the raising of these whole and complete humans.

And depending on how devotionally we approach that experience would depend on how much of ourselves we strive for. And depending on our own woundedness and stories of, I have to be, you know, the martyr that my Mum was, who sacrificed everything order to meet my child's needs. So I have to sacrifice everything in order to be a good Mum.

That's the narrative we're running, or I won't want to be anything like my narcissistic mother. So therefore I will devote everything of myself. So I'm nothing like her and my children feel whole. It doesn't matter which narrative we're we are taking. Both of those ask that we negate our needs desires, sense of self and feelings in order to be of service, to something that feels bigger.

Now, part of that is incredibly beautiful and devotional until it becomes so much in the doing the focus, the forward motion, the future planning, the five steps ahead, the care taking the guarding, the leading, the sorting and the planning. Until you become family, Inc CEO only. Then it gets painful. Then it stops being this beautiful skillset that amplifies your life and experience, and it starts being something that you suffer with and from. And can't find your way back to the other part of self, which is all about my connection to body, my connection, to pleasure how I feel, how, how my heart feels, what I desire, what feels really good.

How do I turn up my magnetism? How do I become an invitation? So someone else really wants to serve me. And that gets to feel really delicious. And I'm so good and beautiful. And in alignment with receiving rather than only giving. So if you have an issue with receiving that's part of what's blocking your fem, right?

So the fem is all about how do I receive? And the masc is all about how do I give. So we can see cultural messages. We can see family messages, we can see our own personal experiences that can create the setup for us as mothers, particularly in today's culture, as you and I both fully know, which is you have to be this set of things all of the time in order to be a good enough mother,


which often leaves us switched off disconnected from our body feeling like we're not seen, we don't know what sensuality is.

We've got no idea what the heck has happened to our sexuality. Maybe we never really got to develop it properly to begin with in this culture because heaven knows if you really truly knew to your core, to your bones, that pleasure was your birthright and that guided every choice you made, would you have made different choices?

Probably right. So my eldest is, um, nearly 16. So we are right in the thick of, of where some of us would've begun our sexual stories. Right. And so I'm listening to all of these stories, still of a culture that perpetuates masculine forms of sexuality still, where our daughters are ending up in, ER, with violent, um, violence, induced, sexual, pains problems, suffering and harm. Because of the culture that has taught us to perform, to do the thing, to be the thing that's supposed to look like that rather than having anything to do with how it feels and pleasure, our pleasure being the guiding light in all of those experiences.

So we are the same product of that. Yes. I think it's become more violent now, but we had the same narrative back then. So witnessing ourselves on this journey then means when we come to motherhood, it's really, really hard to work out. How do I feel me and still look after you?


How do I find pleasure when there's so much demand on me?

To show up to meet other people's needs and I've met needs all day. I don't wanna then have to tell you how to meet my needs. I just want someone who's going to look after me rather than me having to look after more because I I'm spent, I can't look after more and more and more and more and not expect that there's a suffering involved in.

I mean, we could have a two day summit on this conversation and, and not cover it, but I would love for us to, as you said, open the women who are listening their mind and their heart, and also give them something practical to start with at the end of this conversation. But what happens in a woman's body when she is in, that masculine energy, that the motherhood narrative at the moment requires?


What happens to us when We are unable to receive, we, we are disconnected from that over and over and over again?

We end up exhausted because when we are in it's adrenal fatigue and exhaustion, which is a pandemic in and of itself in our culture currently, is that we just keep going and going and going and going. And we never take the time to replenish, refuel and restore, which is the capacity of the life force of the fem.

It's all about having a wellspring or a connection to literal life force, a Kalini energy, the energy of life and creation, whether that's a creation of a baby or a creation of a manifestation or a creation of who knows a job that you want. It doesn't matter what you are putting your manifest powers towards, but it's the fact that you have them and you are inherently able to harness them and use them.

But the more you veer away from it, because what we train ourselves into is feeling less instead of turning towards ourselves, I what's that, what am I feeling? We go, don't feel that turn away from it. I haven't got time to feel that turn away from it. Now it's not the right time. Turn away from it. I'm too much turn away from it.

They can't handle me. I turn away from, and so we constantly train our system to desensitise to turn away from what we are feeling. So to the point where we don't know what we desire, we don't know what we want. We don't know how we are feeling. And we end up in this blah, like, uh, I don't even know who I am anymore.

I don't know how to be with my body or myself or my heart. I don't know how to find juice and life and desire in this world. Well, yeah, because we've trained ourselves just like a muscle, away. So all that we need to do is just practice and begin to retrain back towards, back towards. But how do I, I ask most of the women in my groups to put a reminder ping on their phone.

That's what do you need right now?


What do I need right now? So what do I need right now? Oh, actually I'm really thirsty. I'll go get a drink. But up until I took a moment to ask myself and drop into my fem, how do I feel? I wasn't even aware I was thirsty.

But this is so interesting because in everything we talk about, when we speak about the identity change of matresence, so of becoming a mother, that is also the question I ask everybody to ask, how do I feel about this? Who am I in this? So it's the same theory. It's reversing that masculine outward focus to instead be looking at ourselves.

This is, I mean, I often say matresence is the, like the headline of what I talk about, but actually the real inside of it is that masculine and feminine shift and how we can reprogram that. Let's talk a little bit about sex.


A lot of women in my programs will say, they're being touched out all day, they're running the household like a CEO.

They're possibly also being the CEO at work, you know, all the different things. And when they come to connecting with their partner at night, it feels like something else they need to do.


other words, it's something else to give to someone.


Yeah. Now I'm not gonna say anything more cause I know what you're about to say.

And it's been the revolutionary insight into my life as well. So what, how does that work? What are we thinking? We need to show up in our, in our intimate relationships as, and what should we really be thinking about these connections?

Yeah, I just love so much about everything you just said. And I actually love that you started it with literally the answer, right? Like what I want you to think about is when we start going, it's another thing for me to do, we have forgotten and are not in touch with that part of ourselves that knows how to receive, to rest, to lean backwards.

We're so used to leaning forwards in our life to being the person who goes does, we might have a bit of a thing on checks and balances on, have I given enough in order to be allowed to receive, do I have permission? Like we have so much, um, blocking our capacity to, to receive that is so intertwined with story.

So. I would say first off that it's really gotta come from that place of recognising, okay, hang on a minute. What if I really remembered that this is not about having an outcome because that's the masc. It's not about beginning an experience with the end in mind and just doing things on the fast track to get there.

I'm not trying to start out the dance floor, just to dance to the other side for the dance floor and get there as the quickest person. If I'm going to dance and that's worth bringing all of myself to, how do I wanna dance? What do I want to express? What do I wanna touch into and feel? And remember how, how can I be present to myself being witnessed by my lover?

This is why I call the work that I do re relationship and intimacy, because what I really feel my mission is, is the intimacy of being intimate because you can fucking have sex. And not be intimate at all. You cannot even be there not be in your body at all. And you can have an experience of intimacy that has nothing to do with genitals and penetration, and yet is the best sex of your life.


So it's not got to do with whether there's penetration and it's not got to do you with whether there's an orgasm as defined by a small muscle spasm at the end or not. For me, the point of intimacy is wow. You know, I've held onto all of this stuff during the day. So I could show up as the mother that I wanted to be.

This is my time to be witnessed, so I don't have to hold it of someone else is holding me. And it. So I can let it unravel and cleanse and release the hold and the grip that it has on my heart. That's keeping it closed. And on my gut, that's disconnecting me from my power and on my mind, that's stopping me from being able to relax and be present in all of the ways I think I wanna be as a Mum and my might be struggling to be.

So I see intimacy as not something I'm doing, but an opportunity to unravel. And how do I wanna do that right now? Because often what will happen is, and this is also, I would say the difference between tantric sex and pop culture sex is we assume pop culture sex might look like a whole lot of king, a whole lot of tension.

It's a whole lot of like, you know, Aarh I just wanna ravage you. And then all of a sudden we're fucking, and it's climatic. And it's over where it as tantric sex is really looking at the act of sexuality as a way of returning home to yourself and removing everything that's in the way of that. So when I step in front of my lover, this person I've chosen, I think we forget this.

I chose you. You chose me back then and I still choose you today or else, why am I here? You still choose me. We, we wanna feel chosen. It is imperative that we feel chosen by our lover today. Not because we chose them 20 years ago, like me, I choose you today because. And I feel chosen today, and I know that you choose me today, right?

I, I choose you to entangle and live the best life I can live with. So therefore, what I wanna do is have this space where we get to reconnect and get rid of all of the bullshit that's in the way. And for me today, that might be God I'm feeling so fucking angry because as soon someone shines that loving presence of intimacy and stillness, we have to come into contact with everything we've been hiding from running, from shutting down from throughout our day.

And it comes out. The problem is we make it about our partner or ourselves as opposed to, oh baby. I haven't listened to you all day. You've got some things to tell me, all right, how do I move with you? So you can tell me those things. You know, sometimes it might, even for my husband and I look like, I'm just like, God, I'm really fucking angry.

I just need to like move into it. Can I, can you just like, be really strong? I just need to push against you and grunt and gro and like, ah, until it's like out of my body and then it transforms into something else and I'm like, oh fuck, it might be tears now. Oh, this softness that, that anger was hardening and hiding from because that's what I had learned was safest to be hard than to be soft and vulnerable.

So I kind of know with my story, I've gotta move through my hardness. That's my work, not his that's mine. So I connect to the place of softness. So then I'm ready. I know when I get there, I'm nearly there, like I'm, my heart is now open. I'm back to flowing rather than being this dam. That's all seized up.

I'm back to being a river, which is what I'm meant to be, to flow. And from there, when my body's released and I'm out of tension and I can feel my heart and I can his heart, again, passion, erupts from that place. But it doesn't look like, you know, red, hot, fiery passion to begin with. It looks like, you know what?

I can see that I'm avoiding intimacy with you because I'm avoiding intimacy with myself. So let's show up, commit together to go somewhere different, whether that ends in anything doesn't matter, because I'm not trying to enter it in my masc going, here's the end goal. I'm entering it in my fem going what's here for me to feel and release so I can come back to wholesome wholeness.

Yeah. What's in my body right now. What is my body telling me?

Yeah. And in intimacy is on the way to that. Right. So how do we get better? More connected, more expanded, incredible, longer lasting orgasms. You get rid of all of the shit that's blocking up that truth.

Uh, amen. It really blows my mind, how little we have been taught about this. I am literally in my mid forties and I are experiencing a sexual understanding that is changing me. And I think to myself, why, why did I, I was brought up Catholic. I was brought up thinking sex was wrong. I was brought up thinking that there was a certain age that, you know, desire finished.

I was brought up not by my immediate family necessarily, but by the culture around me. And it just makes me so sad, I think in a way, Julie, to think that this is yet again, another story we have told women, and we have told mothers, um, That controls and disconnects them from their bodies. And I just really hope that along with matresence, the work that you are doing is, is able to be talked about in such an open and honest way with each other.

So we can start with ourselves, but then also with our daughters and our sons, because it really, it, it shouldn't, we should not have ever been taught that this was wrong.

no, no. A hundred percent, a hundred percent agree with you. What would it be like to know? This is a, like, whatever is not made sacred is made shameful. Right? And so we find a thousand different ways to make it shameful because we've forgotten how to make it sacred.

Oh, I love that. I love that understanding. We have only scratched the surface. Perhaps we can do part two because I know mamas will be like, but, but, but, but what if he's not ready? And what if this and what if that, and, oh, there's so many steps. So for now I would just say thank you for the, of this conversation.

Thank you for the cracking open, please. Everybody go to Julie's website, dive into her book, her membership, her work. This is your birthright. This pleasure, this connection, and this intimacy is your birthright. So thank you for what you do.

Oh, thank you so much for that. So you can find me@julieten.love in all of the places. And just remember motherhood is on the way to an expanded sexual expression, not in the way of it. Please remember that. Please visit my socials if you forget it today, because I promise you that is more your truth, that, and it's opposite.

And I hope, you know, by listening to you even sit here and say, Amy, you know, I'm in my mid forties and I am finding this entire wellspring of sexual everythingness that I didn't even know was here.


is the truth. It actually just keeps getting better. The more stretch, mark your boobs, the more long, older you are, like it actually just keeps getting better.

But that's not what we are told. So just remember that's your truth. There's places for you to find it. And I can tell you as a Mum of four, that my sexual intimacy and, and as you've shared experience of expanded sexuality has gotten better with every baby. And I do attachment parent co sleep. Breastfeed naturally birth, all four of my babies.

I know, I know will all of that scene, but I'm telling you, it's also, there's a lot of story and we do get to have an incredible partnership relationship in sex life, alongside a potent and powerful motherhood.

Wow. It's been spectacular.


As I said at the beginning of this conversation, learning about the masc and fem energies, the masculine and feminine has been one of the biggest changes in my life. It has affected everything. Every part of me, every part of my life. It is now one of the guiding principles I use in how I live, what I do, who I connect with, How I go about my day. If you want to learn more about this beautiful teaching and insight, please go to julietenner.love. Explore her beautiful offerings in this world and share this conversation with the women in your life. Let's really, they open up the conversation around what we most desire as women.

Yes, we are mamas right now. But we are also women. We are also needing that divine space of connection.

Thank you for being a part of this conversation, mama, we changed the way mothers are valued and seen in our society and our world by bringing these conversations to light and spreading the whispers of matresence. And so I ask you to be a part of this movement now. Speak to others around you about matresence. About your experience of motherhood.

Let's bring it to light together. To find out more about my matresence.

Go to amytaylorkabbaz.com forward slashmatresence. And receive your free ebook the matresence map. So you can understand it even deeper. Thank you for being a part of this. Until next week. Satnam.

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I'm Amy.

I'm a matrescence activist - here to revolutionise the way you feel about yourself as a mama, and transform the way the world values and supports all mothers, everywhere.

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