Touching the Pleasure Compass

The #metoo movement is a critical step on the way to establishing intimate justice, equality and respect for women, everywhere. But we can’t stop here, letting the pain of sexual harassment or abuse, define us.

We can and must, as empowered women and caring men, claim our right to a sexually pleasurable life.

But pleasure isn’t really pleasurable if it’s furtive or addictive, coerced or commodified. In the massive marketplace of the West, there’s a deluge of sexualized selling, which the more religious among us often see as a sure sign of sin.

On the other hand, in many traditionally religious cultures, sexual expression is strictly controlled, leading women’s bodies to become battlegrounds for fundamentalist fears of the “evils of the flesh” (and the resulting violence that comes from being at war with embodiment).

We are committed to disrupting both extremes of sexual excess and suppression. Venus Matters to help humans at last claim their birthright as freely, wholly—and holy—pleasurable beings.

True pleasure is revolutionary because tapping its depths requires being sweetly attuned to the present moment. It means that we are consistently cultivating an appreciation for our lives that can withstand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Many people, both in the developing world and the relatively rich so-called developed world, are always grasping for the carrot hanging just beyond arm’s length.

Maybe it’s the new job, the beach vacation or the latest iPhone that keeps us forever seeking some future “fix.” Or maybe it’s sugar, alcohol or gambling that even among the poor, can end up consuming a considerable portion of household income.

Whatever it is you think you need to be happy, it’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of future, superficial pleasures as an escape from present difficulties.

Real pleasure is something different.

It’s the pleasure of seeing cumulous clouds back-lit by the sun, like a giant sky-cathedral. The pleasure of consciously breathing richly oxygenated air into our lungs. The pleasure of a baby smiling into her mother’s eyes. The pleasure of saying grace before a meal shared with loved ones. The pleasure of contagious laughter. The pleasure of a deep delicious kiss, with no other agenda than to delight in lips meeting luscious lips.

The pleasure, indeed, of simply being alive.

The more we appreciate and cultivate these simple pleasures, the richer we are—no matter how big or small our bank account. So this new year, let’s find our own precious orientation to pleasure…dare to claim your birthright as a pleasurable being!

Screw outdated scriptures that try to curtail our natural, unique sensual expression—divine pleasure is everyone’s God-given right.

When we care, deeply, for ourselves and for each other, we naturally cultivate a more pleasurable life for all. Pleasure is even an antidote to war—because the truth is (if given the choice) the vast majority of humans would rather break bread together than bomb each other.

No pleasure is sustainable that wrecks havoc in someone else’s world. No pleasure is real that diminishes ourselves or another.

True pleasure is a compass pointing to what is good and holy and supremely nourishing. Following the sacred strands of pleasure, we enter a divine temple of flesh and bones: God’s greatest gift—the gift of life itself.

Have a wonderfully pleasurable year!


Jules Cazedessus

Founder & CEO

Venus Matters


28 Ways to Spark The Sexual Fires (A Lover’s Guide):

You’ll find a thousand ways to begin making love when you’re devoted to being fully present with your lover…because Presence is the most potent turn-on

Come to your lover powerfully, sensually alive—already tapping the pleasure of a soul embodied (not as a hungry beggar just looking to get off)—to ignite the fires of sexual ecstasy.

Here is simple and profound kindling for that holy fire.

A note about consent: There exists an unspoken knowing between lovers for when, where, and what is a full-body Yes. If you’re ever unsure, simply ask, “May I…” Then listen with an open heart (keep any shame, blame, or coercion from contaminating sexual sovereignty).

A Lover’s Guide

1. Plan a meal at home consisting entirely of finger foods so we can feed each other with our hands (eating this way is proven to heighten the senses).

2. Drop into several minutes of synchronized breathing with me: begin inhaling together, fully expanding our lungs, then exhaling with an audible sigh or moan. Continue breathing deep and slow, no matter how hot things get. (Breath is the basis of all Tantric sex; here is a great book on this ancient practice.)

3. Massage my feet with a sensual oil, then slowly make your way up, rubbing my thighs, finally unlocking the treasure in-between.

4. Write, recite (or just read) a love poem to me.

5. Offer to help me with one or two of my “darling do’s” then suggest a quickie (a lover taking care of business is so hot).

6. Get us to bed early, then awaken me at dawn’s light with gentle, dreamy lovemaking.

7. Ask me if I want to make love (use this one sparingly, it can get dull when used too often).

8. Take me dancing. Getting wild and staying connected on the dance floor excites a cellular radiance.

9. Place both of your hands warmly on my chest and gaze into my eyes…rest here for longer than you thought possible, beaming your love into me.

10. Take me to the beach. Sun-kissed skin and ocean-swimming is a reliable precursor to fantastic f*cking.

11. Softly comb your fingers through my hair a few times, then slowly grasp a good handful of hair close to the scalp at the the nape of my neck (this position is important, otherwise it can just feel like pulling hair).

12. Get dirty planting a garden with me, followed by a sensual-sudsy clean-up together.

13. In bed, with me laying on my back, sit above me straddling my head between your legs so you can rub my face and neck with ease. Seal it with a soft, sweet kiss.

14. Take my chin gently into your hands and draw me into a long, deep full-bodied kiss.

15. Ask me to marry you.

16. Make a late-night date night in our bedroom—in advance, anticipation is key—with a few little surprises (a new sex toy, lingerie, or just a feather).

17. Read me a sexy goodnight story as your free hand traverses my body. (Anaïs Nin is a good start, explore her erotic writings, and others, here.)

18. Plan a road trip with a post-coital picnic—bring appropriate outdoor gear for sex au naturel (a Venus Mat will keep us clean & dry).

19. Nuzzle me from behind, then gently softly bite the back of my neck.

20. Book us a simultaneous massage (as well as a private room soon thereafter).

21. Brush my hair until I begin to purr like a cat…

22. Give me a yoni massage.

23. Adorn my body with something fit for a goddess.

24. Ask to undress me before bed. Do so as if you’re unwrapping the most magnificent gift…

25. Take me to a show or an art opening that inspires a stimulating conversation (then stimulate my other pair of lips with your cunning tactics).

26. Draw me a hot bath, preferably with salts, candles, and music. After I’m well soaked, offer to scrub my back (jets can be quite handy too).

27. Create a “master/slave” musical playlist and switch with each song who gets to command whom in desirous acts.

28. Bring me perfumed flowers, inhaling together as we consecrate this heaven on earth.


PS. Visit Venus Matters to help lay more sacred ground for sexual ecstasy with an absorbent, waterproof & washable—and gorgeous—Venus Mat!

Access your inner goddess

Deep connection requires you feeling shame-free and sovereign in bed and beyond.


Venus, Goddess of Love & Beauty, sacred woman, menarche

Uncovering the Blood Mysteries

I cannot recall the season or the lover but I remember the moment—like a photograph stopped in time. It ended up changing the course of my professional life yet it was far more intimate than you might imagine: I was menstruating and I wanted to have sex.

As I opened the laundry-closet door in my New York City apartment looking for something to protect the sheets, a wave of unease hit my belly. I paused, exploring the sensation with curiosity . . . it was tinged with embarrassment. But not for the reasons you might expect.

Decades earlier—in a state of mild euphoria—I had prayed to get my first period. Yep, I prayed. To get my period.

At the time, I was 12 and living with my dad (whom my mother had recently divorced). One late summer day, he had driven me to his friend’s house in rural Louisiana. While they visited, I wandered outside alone.

You see, as a child of hippies, I truly believed that menarche (the onset of menstruation) would initiate me into the powerful woman I was told I could become. So after my mom moved to California with my two older siblings, I was left trying to grow up—fast. After fervently praying behind the house, my first blood miraculously appeared. I felt empowered and ecstatic.

In the car on the way home, I proudly told my father the news. His response is etched in my memory too. He looked at me with an expression of pain mixed with anger and almost hissed, “So, you’re a woman now.” As his bitterness from the divorce dampened my joy, I turned inward and became silent.

Falling in love and having sex for the first time a few years later did bring a greater sense of empowerment, only it was still too soon for full flowering. What followed were years of struggling to get one step ahead of a strong sex drive and my body’s relentless, procreative potential. Making love during my period had come naturally to me. I didn’t have a problem with it and, luckily, I never dated a man who did either.

So back in NYC it wasn’t simply embarrassment that made me pause as I searched for an old towel, it was something more. On the surface, it was perplexing that in our ever-expanding marketplace, no one had designed a product specifically to protect the bedding during period sex. Sure you could use an old towel (which isn’t leak proof) or a disposable hospital pad (which doesn’t set the mood) . . . but wasn’t the occasion deserving of something more elegant?

I was even more intrigued by something deeper—hidden underneath the surface loomed a shadowy sense of shame. It was only years later, while launching my business, Venus Matters, that I began to understand the full extent of the shame I sensed that day.

It’s a shame that has infected cultures through the ages. A mental poison fueling old taboos that claim periods are impure, even dangerously dirty, and must, at the very least, be hidden. At worst, menstruating women were—and, sadly, sometimes still are—punished.

Yet at any moment, millions of women are quietly menstruating around the world.

It was painful to realize that menstruation had been so denigrated or simply ignored that a seemingly obvious need had become, in fact, invisible. Surely ancient matriarchal societies had created ceremonial cloths for the important rites of birth, menstruation, and death—but that was time immemorial.

Now it is way past time to bring female biology out of the dark ages and into the light. Menstruation is nothing to be ashamed about. There’s nothing evil, gross or wrong about it. Menstrual blood is kind of amazing and incredibly rare in the animal kingdom.* It has sustained evolution for millennia. Indeed, all of human life arises on the great red tide of menstrual blood.

And it’s nice lube.

It turns out there’s a clear biological underpinning to a woman’s desire for period sex: after an egg fails at insemination, the sex hormone testosterone kicks it up a notch, often making women feel more sexually aroused leading up to and during their periods.

But some religions have a different agenda, claiming women are untouchable during menstruation—making sex completely out of the question. In India, parts of Islam, Nepal and some orthodox Jewish communities (among others), women can be expelled from their partner’s beds or prohibited from entering temples or fasting or even reciting prayers out loud—simply because they’re menstruating.

The belief that periods make women untouchable can creep into our relatively secular world too. The other day, a customer confessed that her ex-husband wouldn’t kiss her during her cycle. She then proudly told me they ended up divorcing and she was happily reclaiming her self-acceptance and embracing her body.

Of course, some women experience painful periods and sex may be the last thing on their minds. Venus Matters salutes women’s sovereignty and their power to choose what happens in relation to their bodies at all times. It is also worth noting that orgasms have been proven to reduce cramps by releasing oxytocin—a powerful pain inhibitor.

Still, even some of my sex-positive friends are reluctant to publicly talk about period sex or that other taboo, female ejaculation. And I understand. It hasn’t been easy for me to pull back the veils on my personal or pleasurable experiences either. The first few conversations I had as CEO of Venus Matters (especially with men) were a bit awkward and oddly humorous. I could almost feel them blushing as I mentioned menarche, period sex, or “Amrita”—the term for what Tantra considers a sacred fluid that some women emit during sex (and no, it’s not just pee).

With each conversation, I have become more committed to uplifting women’s biology and supporting expanded pleasure. Venus Matters because the human body is a temple, and desire—unfettered by cultural or religious constraints—is holy.

The spiritual and physical realms, so often seen in opposition, beautifully interplay in the etymology of the word “bless.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “bless” originally meant “To make ‘sacred’ or ‘holy’ with blood.” Bless was also influenced by the Latin benedicere, meaning “to praise, worship,” and later by its association with “bliss.” So you see how the mystery of blood is integral to the spiritual human experience.

Maybe Descartes got it wrong. It’s not “I think, therefore I am.” But rather, “I bleed, therefore I am.”

The wounds of my father left him unable to bless that exultant 12-year-old girl but in my bones, I knew menstruation to be a kind of magic.

We are tender and we bleed. We are powerful and we bleed. So bleed in bliss, without shame, dear sisters. And dear brothers, join us in uncovering and truly honoring the blood mysteries.

Venus Matters donates a portion of net profits to support women’s reproductive health and happiness worldwide.


*Only five other animals are known to menstruate: monkeys, apes, bats, the spiny mouse and possibly elephant shrews (Ted Ed, and the recent Spiny Mouse discovery). Dogs don’t count because estrus is not the same as menstruation.

Painting by William Blake Richmond, “Venus and Anchises.”



Sexy woman in lingerie laying on bed on a Venus Matters Mat

Welcome to the Pleasure Revolution

Our recent photo shoot is no doubt too sexy for some. And while we totally get why people can be uncomfortable with overtly sexual marketing (the excess of which mars much of current media), there’s nothing wrong with sexiness or powerful attraction in itself. In fact, one of Venus Matters’ missions is to support humans in expanded and uninhibited pleasure so we’re proud of how sexy these shots turned out.

You see, we believe pleasure is not only revolutionary, it’s humanity’s saving grace. To do good is actually supremely pleasurable. That’s why when more people lead truly pleasurable lives, there will be less acts of violence, less spousal abuse, less mass murders. It could be argued that fundamentalism is a forestalling of Earthly pleasures for the promise of distant pleasures in an afterlife (jihadists are promised scores of virgins in “heaven”). But such faulty thinking stems from the false split between spirit and matter. No god would have created human beings with so much of our machinery oriented towards sensory delight—touch, sight, smell and hearing—if pleasure were evil. In fact, pleasure is the natural result of a sustainable and regenerative life—a life built on good relationships (with self and other). When more intimate relationships, families and communities ground and nourish themselves in what is good and pleasurable, peace will prevail on Earth.

That’s why Venus Matters. With each Venus Mat, we proudly help lay sacred ground for women (and men) to heal from neglect or sexual abuse and commune in the body temple (while befriending body fluids).

One of the challenges in launching Venus Matters is in addressing our different niches. First, we want to welcome girls into becoming young women at the onset of their fertility with more than a box of sanitary pads (our founder has written about honoring menarche in her previous blog here). We also want to support women with heavy flows or “free bleeders”—those women who prefer not to use products whenever possible—helping them to protect the sheets when products fail or aren’t desirable. After all, no one likes scrubbing break-through bleeding out of expensive sheets or worrying about keeping tampons in overnight (which is not advised, toxic shock is still a threat).

We also want women who feel aroused during their periods to be able to make love with dignity and unbridled delight any time they like. In addition, some women gush or squirt during sex. This fluid is called amrita in the tantric tradition and is thought to be highly powerful both spiritually and physically. While the porn industry may have tried to cash in on fetishizing female ejaculation, the UK recently banned its depiction—even though female ejaculation naturally occurs for upwards of 10% of women. So we want to reach these women too, helping them feel more at ease with this natural process (and despite what a few studies purport, it’s not just pee but more on that in another blog). Plus we want to help close the orgasm gap which in heterosexual couples has women climaxing approximately one-third of the time their male counterparts do, even in the same act! Making love on a Venus Mat allows people of every sexual preference to relax, focusing on their pleasure and each other (not the bedding).

Last but not least is our devotion to new mothers. We’re proud to support the birth process with Venus Mats to soak up the considerable amount of fluid when a woman’s water breaks, as well as with postpartum recovery at home for mama and baby (with a lot less laundry).

Of course, Venus Mats are also great for the very young or the elderly who struggle with incontinence (one customer proudly uses a Venus Mat in her wheelchair and one on the couch so as to avoid the discomfort of adult diapers or the look of hospital pads). We also plan on launching a square Venus Mat as well to assist with hospice care (since it’s easier to change bedding for the infirmed with corners to grab onto) honoring that final chapter of life.

We’ve been told to narrow our focus and choose one or two niches—and maybe that’s true for the short run. But Venus Matters stands for something bigger than just marketing strategies. We wish to serve many more people in our mission of honoring all of life’s cycles. Life is wonderfully messy, let’s celebrate that!

Perhaps one day we will create an online store that has both an under 18 and above 18 portal but for now, we stand strong in our belief that sex can be hot *and* holy. In the meantime, we don’t believe hiding a healthy sexuality from the young is the way to go. Indeed, it’s time we changed the way sex education occurs in the USA (which, with one of the world’s highest abortion rates, is clearly inadequate).  It’s also imperative that we find a way to end sexual abuse—still far too common in our society.

We truly believe that at the root of these social problems is the need to revolutionize how we experience pleasure and inhabit our bodies. Men and women deserve to feel sovereign and supported, free to make the choices that best align with a sustainable, regenerative and pleasurable life. That’s why we donate a portion of our profits to organizations working for women’s reproductive health and happiness worldwide.

So you see what a big mission Venus Matters has with this pretty and practical product. Thank you for being here and today and every day, please take some time to relax into *your* body by joining the #PleasureRevolution!


happy muslim women wearing hijabs, embracing each other while looking at camera.

The secret’s out….

…and so are the tampon-selfies.

The other day, an American lady in her 70s told me that when she first started to menstruate, she had no idea what was happening and thought she was going to die. Sadly, there are places in the world today where young girls are still as woefully unprepared.

Another friend said she’d kept her period a secret for two years. A mother confessed she didn’t know how to talk to her daughter about menstruation —and she lives in Boulder, Colorado, with more therapists and thought-leaders per capita than probably anywhere else on the planet.

How is it that something so fundamental to our lives could be so undercover and hidden away—like the tampons women tuck in their sleeves on the way to the restroom at work?

There are, thankfully, strong indicators that the red tide of secrecy is finally changing. In fact, for social activists and entrepreneurs, menstruation is having a bit of a heyday.

A satirical take on first moon parties by Hello Flo has garnered almost 30 million views since it debuted on YouTube nine months ago. Recently, dozens of new companies like Hello Flo (which sends “period starter kits” to girls) have appeared on the scene helping to bring menstruation out of the closet and onto the market.

The added interest and innovations are vitally needed. A woman can now choose from a rainbow of colorful silicon menstrual cups (the increased use of which could drastically reduce waste from paper feminine hygiene products). Nonprofit organizations are getting reusable cloth pads into the hands of women and girls in the developing world (often sewn by those same hands) where up to 10% of girls miss school every month because they lack any material means to stem the flow.

But it’s not quite all flowers and chocolates for all things menstrual, at least not yet.

In parts of India where women on their cycles are shunned and prevented from cooking or praying, menstruation is nothing short of a crime. In the 21st Century, no female anywhere should fear making pickles rot (although the symbolism is obvious).

Clearly, it’s time —well past time— to end “the curse” once and for all.

How, exactly, do we do that? Talking about it openly is a start. Further, more research needs to be done into how to help women suffer less during their periods. For example, did you know changing altitudes could change your cycle? Yet I’ve scoured the web trying to find any research on this to no avail.

We do know that healthy diets and adequate exercise can greatly reduce pre-menstrual syndrome. Keeping extra weight off is also key since excess fat produces more estrogen, which can exacerbate PMS. Eastern modalities, too, such as acupuncture, are proving highly effective in mitigating bloating, cramping and menstrual irregularities.

There’s even a movement (also started by Hello Flo) to tweet a selfie with your tampon under the hash tag #tamponliberation. Nevertheless, too many teenagers today still consider menstruation an embarrassing topic of conversation. And since some girls go on to suffer terribly on their cycles, throwing a party at their onset may indeed seem laughable.

Or maybe not.

A few years ago, I was getting a ride back to the airport from Tulum, Mexico, when the driver’s cell phone rang. After speaking in Spanish for a bit he ended the call, clearly excited, so I asked him if he might let me in on the obviously good news. Smiling, with tears in his eyes, he told me that his wife had called to say their daughter had gotten her first period. What was he going to do? His surprising answer: “I’m going to buy her a dozen roses!”

There’s a pretty word for the first time a girl gets her period: menarche (I prefer the softer French pronunciation), with over 40k Google searches last month on that term. I’d like to live in a world where all young girls experience menarche as a time to celebrate.

Maybe a party is too tame.

If indeed the world can be saved by the Western woman, as the Dalai Lama famously suggested, then it is high time we empower girls and women worldwide to take the reins of their procreative powers with the authority endowed by their sex.

~Jules Cazedessus, founder of Venus Matters, lives in Boulder. Co.