Home Base with Jeff Warren
Home Base with Jeff Warren
Turn Yourself On

Turn Yourself On

How to be a breathing walking sensual animal

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Our teacher, Natrishka, stood at the front of the room. 

“OK, here’s your practice instruction. The next thing you do -– whether it’s walking around, or drinking water, or just leaning against the wall … pretend that activity is turning you on.”

Illustrations by Home Base community members David Saunders and Alison Moerland

My partner Sarah and I were at a two-hour Tantric sexuality workshop in Costa Rica. Natrishka actually learned this particular instruction from Esther Perel, the relationship therapist and global phenomenon. Like Perel, Natrishka had an expansive view of healthy human sexuality. She spoke about how we mistakenly locate the origins of desire outside of us. We depend on someone outside us to say the right thing, or make the right move, or show us the right body part. 

This is bogus, said Natrishka. Sexuality is about the raw sensuality of being human. It’s a creative response to the world that happens from the inside.

Sarah had researched and written about similar ideas in her book on female sexuality – Closer – so she immediately got it. She picked up her water bottle and began to trace the smooth exterior with her fingers. The only other man in the workshop started rolling around on the floor like a sea otter. In the jungle outside, monkeys made grunting noises. 

“O-kay.” I thought. “Here we go …”

I began by just walking. I walked as though I enjoyed the movement: the feeling of my weight shifting, my foot’s contact with the ground, the liquid roll of my hips. It was different from a walking meditation, where you practice being mindful of the senses. Something about the encouragement to receive, to let pleasure in – it changed everything. And my body naturally knew what to do. It knew how to turn itself on – to light up, to slow down, to sensitize to the smallest of sensations.

Illustrations by Home Base community members David Saunders and Alison Moerland

We do a similar practice on the Mind Bod Adventure Pod with Wheel of Consent pioneer Betty Martin. One of the things we talk about is how hard this can be. Many of us have good reasons to distrust the world, to not open. What’s more, many sensory situations are by their nature a turn off – sitting in a dentist’s chair, or watching the 6 o’clock news. It’s not always the right time or setting to do this practice. We need some baseline of relaxation to really connect.

For myself, I use this practice a lot. When I’m at the computer and need a slight state shift. When I’m bored. When I’m doing errands. The surprising language – “I turn myself on … really, I can do that?” – makes it novel and fun. It gives me a way to immediately slow down, drop into my body, and let life in. But as with any practice, what matters is how it lands for you. 

With that in mind, let’s explore what it’s like to be a breathing walking sensual animal turned on by life. 



Although we recorded this interview back in September 2023, it could not be more timely. It is, in fact, about the times, about the news of the world as it comes in via our screen and newspapers. Are there practices that can support a healthier relationship to that news? Our guest Jay Michaelson – Both/And with Jay Michaelson on Substack – believes there are. He guides a practice that helps us notice how we’re being impacted by the news, and then we expand out to a place of humility and not-knowing.

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