Desire & Voice: 3 Communication Tools & the Scarcity/Entitlement Spectrum

What is your relationship to desire? What about desire and voice? The wound of scarcity would have us believe that pleasure is either a thing to deny or indulge in. That to voice and claim our wants is a selfish act, as if the pool of bliss is ever shrinking and ecstasy is a fixed thing to be possessed.

But, what if we claimed the knowing that there is an endless supply of pleasure on earth? That love is not limited resource here. What if our needs were met with open arms from our very first years of life? What if no child ever abandoned their needs, wishes, or self-advocacy for fear of neglect, rejection or disappointment?

The way we either express or suppress our desires, especially those of intimate nature, says so much about our upbringing and the ways in which we are impacted by conditioning. By noticing what happens within when a desire arises, we can gain infinite insight into the inner landscape of our psyches, soma, and energy bodies, beyond the surface of our skin.

 My Journey with Voicing Desire:

One of my biggest life shifts this past year, has been my relationship to voice and desire. I used to live in the land of scarcity, always stepping back from the buffet table of wants, because I feared that such expression was seemingly greedy or indulgent. Rather than celebrating the abundance of our world and believing wholeheartedly, that there is enough resources of love and space for us all… I operated from a mindset of lack that confirmed quite the opposite. And so, I confused self-sacrifice for selflessness and it became my pattern to check myself out of situations where wants held any friction potential.

I found this pattern revealing itself most obviously when I entered the world of Tantra and sacred sexuality. Here, I would often find myself holding back, avoiding connections with others. Especially if I had seen any signs of other’s interest in someone- especially sisters. Rather than ending the lie of competition completely, I would accept competition as truth and see my best option as: to check myself out.

I stopped expressing desires all together and eventually, I even stopped noticing them arise within. I also feared that to desire something, meant that I was ungrateful for what I already had. This extreme pattern represents the distortion of respect into scarcity. At their core, my intentions were to be respectful of the connections forming around me and not to impose my own wants on others potential relationships. Rather than honouring my desires and checking in with others to see if they felt good about me proceeding with an ask… I would shut down my want entirely. I began taking pride in an: I-don’t-want-or-need-anyone approach to life, and while there is much empowerment in the state of sovereign union with self, there is also so much beauty in our ability to connect and share love with others.  

 Tool #1: The Scarcity/Entitlement Spectrum

 The other extreme of the Desire spectrum, opposite to scarcity is entitlement. This pattern represents the distortion of abundance into entitlement, in which we hold our wants with more value than anyone else’s, often ignoring the impact of our intentions and acting selfishly. We may confuse Rebellion against slut-shaming culture for Liberation. We may lead with a sort of air that says ‘f*ck it, I can do whatever I want’.

 Where do you lie amongst this spectrum? It’s important to orient ourselves so that we can realize what our spirit is leaning towards. Neither side is more superior or inferior or innocent or sinful than the other. They are both attempts at self-preservation and fulfilling intimacy needs, whether we choose to get those from others or ourselves. If you are leaning farther towards scarcity, honour your spirit’s attempt to respect yourself and the people around you. The best medicine for the scarcity-minded is remembrance that we deserve to connect, play and share intimacy. Holding back your wants for fear of hurting others does not best serve anyone… but it is an act rooted in Love.

Here is my tool to overcome this tendency, which is helpful for BOTH ends of the spectrum: if it crosses my mind that acting on such desires may make someone feel uncomfortable, then check in with this person BEFORE anything progresses. Communication demonstrates respect much more than self-denial or desire deprivation. The Light aspect of this spectrum is Respect/Abundance, we can all cultivate more of these aspects in balance.

When you find yourself entitlement-heavy, call in more respect, demonstrating integrity in speech, action, and heart. When you find yourself scarcity-minded, call in more abundance and claim your birthrights of intimacy and pleasure. This is powerful selfless grounds to embody the teaching that we are all worthy of love.

 Tool #2: Notice, Trust, Value, Communicate

Here is a tool that has been deeply transformative in this process of reclamation. 1st Notice, 2nd Trust, 3rd Value, 4th Communicate Desires. In order to speak our desires, we have to be able to tune in to our bodies and notice them first. I know for me and for many, I lived in a state of performative sensuality & objectified dissociation for so long... that I totally lost awareness of the desires longing to be fulfilled within. This doesn’t just go for sexuality, but for all human needs and wants... Many of us abandon our desires at a young age to avoid the hurt that comes if they are not met. Only after noticing, can we trust and value our desires.

 Reclamation Tool #3: Sacred Yes AND No 

Empower yourself and those around you to claim their sacred YES and their NO. We are more likely to ask for what we want, if we Trust that the people in our lives feel comfortable answering truthfully. If we fear that someone will say yes to us, driven by obligation or self-sacrifice, then we will affirm the twisted notion that says desire is selfish. In contrast, if we know that others are comfortable saying no to us, then we will feel more empowered to ask for something. Saying no has become such an incredibly complex and twisted thing in our culture. Our conditioning has told us that it is more polite to abandon what is true for us and to ignore our bodies intuitive guidance. Such approaches normalize dissociation and help reinforce a culture that does not fully understand and value consent. Here is a powerful response to someone’s ‘No’, which empowers them to feel safe in their body and still creates grounds for a loving exchange: Thank you for taking care of yourself. Building the courage to communicate your desires and feeling comfortable responding to other people’s asks with full safety and authenticity, will be enhanced exponentially by this shift of celebrating each other’s No’s!

Visions for a Desire-Loving Culture


How blessed I am to have spent time in spaces where such ways of communicating and taking care of one another are normalized. It has been so deeply healing to have my No’s met with a ‘Thank You’. And although jarring at first, it has been deeply freeing to respond with appreciation when others say No to me. Rather than seeing this as a rejection, we can celebrate the embrace of everyone’s truth. How horrible it would feel to connect with someone who was enduring our intimacy out of obligation. How horrible it would feel to be this person, dissociating and denying what is true for them.

How beautiful our intimacy is when we all claim our desires, choice, and voice. How sweet and innocent it is to show up in that vulnerable moment of naming what we want. May we always connect from a place of overflow, rather than one of lack.

We are worthy of this. May we teach the children what fully present, heart-led consent culture looks like. May we forgive ourselves for times of self-abandonment and boldly claim our birthright of love.  

With gratitude and infinite heart,

Marlee Liss

Marlee Liss2 Comments