"I love the sensual feel of something much larger than me being unpredictible, but me finding my own flow through it, using it...Seratonin is king."
Right on Sister! Sensual, that's why I paddle, I love the feel of the water moving with and through me, especially really high water.
I'm an old school paddler as well. I started a group called Women On Water many years ago to introduce women to the sport without the fear of high testosterone. I found that many of the women needed to feel safe before embarking on a new skill that carried fear for them. There tended to be more talking prior to the "doing" phase.
Times have changed and that was over 15 yrs ago. From what I've seen with the current generation of female boaters there tends to be a more, "just do it" attitude. I also think the age of the women you are teaching creates a teaching style unique to that population.