The Power of the Pole

woman in white dress hanging on pole

I want to write a post titled: How do you want to be fucked?  But, since this is a question that was posed by my dance teacher, I need to take a step back and talk about S Factor.

As I mentioned upfront, I have been a devoted S Factor student for over twelve years. I immediately fell in love with this interpretation of pole dancing from my very first Intro class. But, as much as I love this “jungle-gym for adults,” S Factor is so much more than pole tricks; it combines elements of yoga, pilates and sensual movement, along with pole, and, most importantly, encompasses an emotional journey that puts a woman in touch with her erotic self.*

Created by actress Sheila Kelley, who you may know (depending on your age and/or pop culture preferences) from L.A. Law, Singles, Gossip Girl or, more recently, playing opposite her IRL husband, Richard Schiff, on The Good Doctor. Inspired by the way she felt after starring in and co-producing the movie Dancing at the Blue Iguana, Sheila started teaching classes in her Los Angeles home before eventually opening a studio downtown. Other studio locations followed, with a New York location added in 2006 after Gerri Kyhill took a class in California and knew that NYC had to have this incredible experience.

Strikingly dissimilar to other pole or dance studios, S Factor students dance in rooms without mirrors and to the equivalent of candlelight. It is not about what you look like, but rather, what you feel like as you move your body in all of its glorious feminine. Through S Factor’s unique blend of movement and philosophy, women are not only invited, but encouraged, to own their sexuality and sensuality and to discover what Sheila calls their EC – Erotic Creature. There are ten EC icons, based on ten different core emotions that can be expressed, with the belief that every woman possesses all ten icons, but that two or three are the most dominant within her.

I was initially drawn to S Factor as a way to jumpstart my libido, having seen Sheila on Oprah many years ago. I had been considering taking belly dancing lessons in lieu of joining a gym, when I learned about the opening of the New York S Factor studio, and it seemed like a good way to pursue both aims, so I quickly signed up for an Intro.

Since that first class, I have been hooked, learning to really allow my body to express herself as a woman – moving in feminine and sexy ways. Slowing down and relishing my curves; enjoying my body for myself. Expressing rage, expressing joy, embracing lust and eradicating shame. And, while my S Factor journey hasn’t been enough to fully awaken my sexual desire, it has been responsible for so much of my progress. Over the past decade-plus years of classes, I have made extraordinary discoveries about myself, as I relearned how to move, how to just be and to unabashedly be sexual without fear, guilt or apology. And that is everything!

*It is difficult to fully explain S Factor without one experiencing it herself, but a close second is to watch Michele Beck’s beautiful documentary, My Erotic Body, currently available on Amazon.

Photo by Pixabay on

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While happily married to my soulmate for 20+ years, after years of body shame and sexual shutdown, I am ready to step into my sexual power as we open up our relationship and explore the possibilities.

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