I had the privilege of interviewing award-winning author and Wholistic Sexuality teacher Sheri Winston on the Beyond Bitchy Podcast last week. The topic was Yes, No & Maybe: Sexual Boundaries for Women. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the episode, you can tune in here.
Sheri and I discovered after we connected several months ago that each of us—independently of one another—had created a multi-step process for boundary setting. What are the chances? As one of my clients put it, “the two of you are boundaries nerds!”
Sheri’s boundary-setting process is called Beautiful Boundaries and mine is the 5-Step Boundary Solution. You can get a downloadable copy of each by clicking on the links above.
Sheri’s Beautiful Boundaries process is a body-centered, spiritual practice with four key steps.
According to Sheri, ideal boundaries are:
- Elastic (Flexible & Stretchable)
- Grow as we do
The principles of boundaries include our right and responsibility to protect ourself, being accountable for our behavior, and understanding that learning about boundaries is on ongoing process.
The skills of Beautiful Boundaries include:
- Authentic Communication
Here is an overview of the 4 steps of The Sacred Boundaries Process:
Be Your Goddess/God—Know Yourself Divinely
To know yourself divinely, Sheri suggests that when you need more information about your boundaries you check in with your 7 energy centers (sometimes referred to as chakras), starting from the base of your spine and going all the way to the top of your head.
Each energy center listed includes a brief description of what type information you can expect when you check in with that particular center:
- Root: Survival and security
- Sex: Survival of the species
- Solar Plexus: Personal power
- Heart: Love
- Throat: Communication and authentic expression
- Third Eye: Intellect
- Crown: Spiritual connection with Divine energy
Be a Teacher
Being a teacher means that your “job is to communicate your beautiful boundaries, clearly, honestly, congruently, and responsibly.”
In order to do this, you have to know yourself (Step 1), and if you’re not clear, Sheri suggests you go back to Step 1 and check in with each of your 7 energy centers.
I love that in Step 2 Sheri emphasizes the fact that when you share your boundaries with someone who respects you, they want to know and respect your boundaries. When the other person honors your boundaries, it builds trust between the two of you.
On the other hand, when someone is not interested in, or doesn’t respect your boundaries, that is very good information to have in order to determine how you may need to protect yourself or how/whether you want to proceed with the other person emotionally, physically, or sexually.
Be Your Guardian/Gatekeeper
The metaphor Sheri uses to describe your Guardian or your Gatekeeper, is a temple door.
Imagine that when you are setting boundaries with another person, they are standing at the door of your temple. If you are in your Guardian—the part of you who protects and says “no”—you are able to clearly say “no” when you need and want to, without apologizing or explaining yourself to the other.
The Gatekeeper is the part of you who is clear about her “yes.” She opens the temple door and says, “Welcome!”
Be Your Warrior or Your Lover
Similar to the Guardian, the Warrior protects you. Sheri describes the Warrior this way:
When someone trespasses in your sacred garden, tramples your temple, and would defile your sacredness, the warrior kicks their ass!!!
We all need the Warrior from time to time.
On the other hand, the Lover welcomes the other person into her temple “as the manifestation of the Divine.”
When we have Beautiful Boundaries
we have infinite freedom to play and explore within them!
Find out more about Sheri and her work on her website here and download the complete Beautiful Boundaries process here. (Excerpts from Sheri Winston’s Beautiful Boundaries reprinted here with permission by the author.)
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2018)
As the partner of a sex addict, I have found incredibly helpful insights about boundaries in your blog and podcast. This particular episode of your podcast, however, was very triggering for me. Hearing Ms. Winston repeatedly referring to having sex with a person you just met that day as “play” took me right into the world of pornography and sex addiction. I am surprised that Ms. Winston, over and over, seems to be addressing singles looking for casual sex rather than the partners of sex addicts on a blog mainly listened to by betrayed partners. I believe that it is my job to take what I can use, and leave the rest, and I was able to glean some insights from this episode of your podcast. However, it was very painful and I had to stop listening halfway through. Thank you for your time and for your otherwise fantastic, inspiring, and life-changing work.
Vicki Tidwell Palmer says
Good for you for taking what you liked and leaving the rest, as well as exercising your right to set a boundary about how much you want to hear!
Just for clarity, although this blog (Survival Strategies for Betrayed Partners) is specifically for betrayed partners, my podcast Beyond Bitchy: Mastering the Art of Boundaries, is for anyone who wants to learn more about better boundaries.
Sheri’s words are hers, so they are not a reflection on my work. I believe that healthy sex can include play—as each person defines play. And at the same time I can understand how you, as a betrayed partner, may have been triggered when “play” was associated for you with acting out.
All best to you.
Hi I loved your boundary setting book. It was just the right time and has impacted not just me but my husband as well. He has told me with tears how much the boundaries have helped his sobriety ! Who knew! I would also like to read about reintegrating sexually after separation. You mentioned somewhere it should be done in stages. Tell me more!
Vicki Tidwell Palmer says
Hi Cecilia, I’m so glad Moving Beyond Betrayal has been helpful to you. And you are absolutely right about boundaries. They are not only good for you, they are good for others too!
Sexual reintegration is a topic that definitely needs more research and resources. I recommend Bill & Ginger Bercaw’s book, The Couple’s Guide to Intimacy: How Sexual Reintegration Therapy Can Help Your Relationship Heal. One helpful way to think about sexual reintegration is to approach it as though the two of you were meeting, dating, and becoming sexual with each other for the first time.
Keep up the good work, you’re both doing great!
Vicki Tidwell Palmer says
Cecilia, I wanted to let you know that I mentioned your post (without using your name) in a podcast episode I just recorded today as an example of how boundaries help loved ones. It will be released next Wednesday, September 26, and the title is “4 Ways Your Boundaries Help Those You Love.” You can access it here next week: Beyond Bitchy: Mastering the Art of Boundaries.
I’m glad to hear that. When I told my therapist she said she also shared with others because some are reluctant to have boundaries. I felt your book was brilliant. Helped me to get my questions answered, how to formulate those questions, pinpoint my own fears and reluctance, and move forward with my needs in the forefront. I’m so glad to find your book and these blogs and podcasts. There is hope.