May 25, 2022

Permission for Pleasure: Meet Barbara Katsnelson, Founder of The Awareness Muse

By Emily Merrell

Pleasure is oddly still one of those taboo topics that doesn’t get discussed as often as it should – especially for women. Barbara Katsnelson wants to change that. From a nervous breakdown to an exploration of her own pleasure, she made it her mission to coach women on embracing pleasure in their personal lives. Keep reading to learn more about Barbara’s story and ways to add more pleasure to your life.  

MJ – ThAwarenessMuse – RedBottomsAndBooks

SDS: Women weren’t raised to talk about pleasure, yet you’ve created a whole business with The Awareness Muse inspiring women to do just that!   

BARBARA KATSNELSON: There are many benefits to be derived from using pleasure and so many ways to use it. Since women weren’t raised to talk about or prioritize pleasure, that’s why I use it so much in my work. It’s an unfamiliar interruption that feels really f-ing good, while getting you out your head and present in your body. It’s contrary to the daily business, hustle, and grind culture.   

The reason women aren’t raised to talk about pleasure is because we live in a patriarchy that has made it obsolete – which is why many of us are fish in water when it comes to pleasure. But the truth is that female anatomy is designed to experience large amounts of pleasure! When a woman gives herself this gift, she accesses her radiance and becomes magnetic to her desires like a beloved. There are various pleasure practices that can be used for healing trauma and wounds that may be blocking you from creating or having the relationship you desire.  

There is also the collective and very old human belief that “you have to struggle, you have to work hard so you can have the joyful reward, you aren’t worthy of your deep desires.” Practicing pleasure is the antidote to dismantling these types of beliefs because it’s the thing that allows your mind, body, and nervous system to embody that “life gets to be this good” mentality. It’s the thing that allows women to relax into “having it all”, the career, the money, the family, the love. It’s the thing that gets you comfortable with being uncomfortable! Allowing in and holding all of the juicy goodness life wants you to have, rather than constantly worrying about the other shoe dropping. 

SDS: Tell us how you started your company and what inspired it. 

BK: About 11 years ago I had a nervous breakdown that led to a hospital visit.  All of my relationships, mainly the one with myself, weren’t working. I needed outside help and didn’t want to take medication. My sister enrolled me into a 4-day life coaching seminar run by a company called EAC. It was the most intoxicating, orgasmic experience. I became obsessed with transformational work. They created an experience for me that allowed me to break through a thick layer of limiting beliefs that caused my breakdown. Suddenly there was space for me to just be. For the first time ever, I experienced how extraordinary my life could be. I realized how this work could be used in transforming every relationship, with myself, with my future beloved,  with friends and family. I experienced how to shift my paradigm and before that I didn’t know shifting paradigms was possible. I was hooked!  

It led me to birth my modern goddess methodology for women who want to attract juicy conscious relationships, incorporate more pleasure into their daily lives, and have a more extraordinary relationship with themselves. It’s a practice that I call “being the love you desire”.

I have been coaching women in my inner circle since then, and once we had the shutdown, I actually had time to build out the business and make it into a full-time career. 

SDS:  What are some ways women can add more pleasure into their lives on a daily basis?  

BK: Most important, start by making the decision today to add more pleasure into your daily life. 

Set it as a daily intention to do at least one thing a day that will bring you pleasure. Ask yourself these questions first thing before you start thinking about all of the things you have to do for the day. 

  • What’s one thing I can do today that will bring me full body orgasmic 💦 pleasure ? 
  • What can I do today that will 🔥 turn me on, that will bring pussy pleasure? 
  • Show me how can I bring ✨ pleasure✨, and my turn to all the things I need to do? 

Remember this should be fun and easy.  Pleasure is amazing because it’s free, and it’s so much more than orgasms, there is such a wide range of things to choose from. It’s really practicing anything that stimulates the senses in an enjoyable way. 

For example, it could be something like taking a minute to inhale the fresh coffee right before you make it, reveling in how that feels.  Or playing music that turns you on and just swirling your hips slowly and then quickly.  Or the experience of walking barefoot on grass and sand, just feeling the sun on your face, celebrating the smallest wins like getting a good night’s sleep, flirting or just gently caressing your inner wrist. It’s up to you to keep track of all of the things that give you pleasure and weave in practicing throughout your day.

And if you want to know more I  also have an embodied pleasure mini course that allows you to incorporate physical practices, like strugglegasms, breast massage, EFT/tapping, and other practices that will allow you to expand your pleasure toolkit. You can DM me for details.

SDS: You help women attract and elevate their desired relationships, what are common mistakes you see women doing before they work with you and how can they adjust? 

BK: They tell their well-meaning friends too much and all of sudden something that wasn’t that big of a deal has turned into a catastrophe and then takes an emotional toll. Typically, girlfriends have the best intentions but unless they can be neutral, it’s usually not supportive because they can project their personal experiences onto my clients.  

For example, I was speaking with a client the other day who recently decided to move in with her man – and two of her friends immediately started to discourage her and make a case as to why it was a terrible idea. They also both happen to be going through divorces and clearly coming from their personal experiences. Above all else, especially if you’ve been through the ringer with dating and when you are getting back out there, it’s imperative to have a neutral party who is in support of your higher self and vision. As a coach, part of that neutrality is to get you into the habit of being that for yourself so if and when things like this example come up, you can be clear in your discernment and stay confident about your choices. 

Another thing I see clients have is a tendency to make it all about the partner. “He called, he didn’t call, he did this, he didn’t do this.” When things happen in relationships, women tend to focus out because most of us were taught to do this as little girls. They seem to have little to no space for themselves from the first date to the relationship. I’ve seen successful six-figure and seven-figure earners shrink themselves when it comes to a man because of their conditioning.  Until they unpack this, oftentimes, they haven’t noticed how they give away their power in those moments and how taking radical responsibility and focusing in is what allows them to flip the script. Taking up more space allows them to feel better.

They aren’t really clear on what you want from a partner beyond tall, dark, handsome, fun, and hot sex. They aren’t connected to their pleasure and dating becomes exhausting and a job – rather than something they enjoy. Part of our work together is about getting you really clear and detailed about exactly what you want in a beloved, how you want the relationship to be and how to create a pleasure plan. It’s like building a house and you are the architect. Before you go out and build, you make a plan. Any other worthwhile thing you’ve gotten in your life you created some sort of plan to have it. Modern dating to marriage is no different and I am grateful for it because women are finally in a position to be co-creators.

SDS: What does a healthy, turned-on relationship look like to you? 

BK: Such a great question.  A healthy turned-on relationship is one where you feel safe and secure in love, and you are free to show up as your most authentic self. 

Other factors: 

  • There is a commitment to mutual harmony no matter what’s happening
  • It’s effortless and easy
  • Practicing radical honesty and responsibility, best friends and lovers, there is a natural desire for the other
  • Open, honest and clear communication
  • Supportive of each other’s desires
  • Independence is encouraged
  • Do your best to meet as many needs as possible and accept  that neither of you will meet every need
  • Laughing a lot
  • Being together adds to the quality of each other’s lives
  • The relationship is a space where deep healing and growth occurs
  • Pleasure is a priority
  • Hurt and hard times are met with empathy

SDS: What fulfills you the most in your coaching and can you share some transformations you’ve seen? 

BK: What fulfills me is seeing women raise their awareness and have breakthroughs in areas they didn’t know possible – then watching them transform. For example, when someone feels like finding a beloved is hopeless but she’s willing to do the work. Then, after we work together, she’s let go of and healed past wounds, her relationship with men, anything else that may have been blocking her and she starts to fully embody this new turned on, certain, and confident AF version of herself. She’s magnetic and, because of that, seems to attract love. 

My client used my manifestation recipe to find her beloved, who she ended up marrying. I love watching clients level up energetically, doing the inner work and experiencing how worthy they are. Standing for and listening to their desires, not settling, always seems to spill over in other areas of their lives. Getting them more extraordinary results, such as more confidence to ask for the raise at work or or prioritizing pleasure, is inspiring for me. 

SDS: How can our readers learn more about your offerings and working with you?  

BK: On the gram @theawarenessmuse or email me at

Barbara Katsnelson, Founder of The Awareness Muse. Credit – Mauricio Jorquera

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