With my Bodysex retreat less than a week away, it’s common to see jars of lube cooling off on my counter beside a pot of home made chicken stock and a cutting board of shredded zucchini. Even though there is a lot of work that goes into planning and preparing for the retreat, I enjoy thinking of each of the women coming and wondering what they’re hoping to get from the weekend.
“Mama why are you making all those creams?” asks my 7 year old while her 13 year old sister looks on.
“Because it’s my gift to each of the women who come to my retreat. I think people feel nice knowing someone made something for them.”
Nodding she goes back to watching her 17 year old sister practice different ways to apply make up.
“And what are all of these chairs for? They look so nice” she says as she sits down on one and proceeds to drive it around the room.
“These chairs are what we sit on at the retreat. It’s important that everyone feels comfortable in the circle.”
“They are comfy” she says as she drives one over to the bathroom to brush her teeth and I start to sew a tear in the seam of one of the chairs.
Ready for bed she sees the blue lights glowing from the vibrators charging in the darkened dining room.
“What are those for?” she asks.
“Those are massagers for each of the women to have, and take home from the retreat.”
Nodding like it’s the most normal thing in the world she says “You make it nice for them mama.”
Tucking her in she stands up on my bed and reminds me that “we have to do a real hug, not a half one.” So we hug, chest together, heads on each other’s shoulders, both of our arms around each other. I tuck her into my bed under the quilt made by one of my Bodysex sisters. Heading back into the living room to mend the chairs, I marvel at the ordinariness of my extra-ordinary life.
My lover is my best friend — absolutely dependable and always shows up.
My lover sees me exactly as I am — flaws, strengths and everything in between — and mirrors these things back to me.
My lover enjoys touching my whole body and knows that every single part of me can feel erotic.
My lover pays attention to both obvious and subtle things. How my breath changes in response to a certain touch, the movement of my hips, the heat rising up my neck.
My lover knows that pleasure can be felt through each of my senses and reminds me to experience pleasure throughout the day. …….The feel of blackberries on my tongue. The smell of sun sweat. The sound of leaves clicking together in the wind. The flow of the river. The taste of a fresh peach. That’s our foreplay.
My lover likes the smoothness of my skin when I shave and the softness of my pubic hair when I don’t.
My lover is more turned on by my natural scent than any product I could ever wear. My scent just makes me more me.
My lover always wants to have sex when I do, and doesn’t when I don’t.
My lover could spend all day in bed with me and never get bored.
My lover brings me to orgasm over and over when I’m bleeding, knowing that it helps me feel better and gets the blood flowing faster.
My lover doesn’t feel bad when I want to cum quickly or when I want to edge my pleasure for hours.
My lover knows it’s much more than “just masturbation.”
My lover is me.
** photo credit to Dana Kellet
I’m so grateful that my gifted sister Stiina will be returning to not only sit in the circle at my September retreat, but to also adorn our bodies with henna. Stiina brings a special presence to the retreat and gifts that I don’t have. I love that about Bodysex. It’s the collective sharing of each of us that makes it so special.
There are still spots open for the retreat. http://natashasalaash.com/fall-2017-bodysex-workshopretreat-date/ Pm me with questions or to book. Payment plan is an option as well.
“A hospital chaplain says that the dying have a lot to teach us on how to live our lives better while we still can. One of the most frequent yet surprising regrets she’s found, especially from female patients, is the fact that they hated their bodies for so many years. Only now, when that body is truly failing, do they realize they should have celebrated it.”
A couple of weeks ago, while recovering from surgery to remove a tumor on my thyroid, I spent the night and day on the South Saskatchewan river. I’d been told that I should avoid the sun to lessen the severity of my scar, but I knew that there was nothing that could be more healing for me than the sun on my body, sand in my hair and the river under me.
When I got back home I noticed how the browning of my skin made the stretch marks on my body show up even more. Like my body’s own kind of intricate artwork I couldn’t help but think how interesting and beautiful they were to look at. This was remarkable considering that only 4 years previously, at my first nude Bodysex workshop, the part of my body that I was most terrified of the other women seeing were my stretch marks.
Even though I’ve spent the past few years getting used to and learning to really enjoy being naked, I won’t pretend that I have no more body shame. I believe shame comes in layers, and each time I expose myself and peel back a layer, I get closer to the root of what my shame is really about. My scars and stretch marks may be illustrations of the stories of my life, but the actual story is in what the illustrations signify to me. That’s the part that’s the most difficult to come to terms with and what I think we are really afraid that others will see when looking at us.
On the outside my c-section scar tells the story of me having surgery to deliver my babies.
On the inside the scar tells a story of me failing at what I wanted most in the world.
On the outside my stretch marks tell a story of a girl growing and changing through puberty, pregnancy and the normal ups and downs of life.
On the inside the stretch marks tell a story of me feeling abnormal and ugly.
On the outside, the most recent scar on my neck tells a story of removing cancerous cells so that I can live.
On the inside the scar tells a story that I’ve done something wrong for this to happen to me.
Thankfully my first two stories are no longer relevant to me or my life. I am still sad that I didn’t give birth naturally but I haven’t failed at motherhood. And when I’m not noticing the beauty of my stretch marks, I usually forget I even have them.
I know that it’ll take time for me to come to terms with my new scar, and the layers of stories that lay beneath it. But when I was lying naked in the sand along the river, I didn’t feel like I’d done anything wrong to deserve it. I felt more competent, loved, supported, beautiful and alive than I’ve ever felt in my life. Whether my scar fades or stays the same, I hope that this is the story behind the illustration that I will celebrate.
Recently I’ve heard some specific concerns from women, interested in doing a Bodysex workshop, that I feel need to be addressed in more detail than I provide in my list of common questions asked. I will attempt to answer them here but please let me know if you have any other questions. I’m here for you. http://natashasalaash.com/bodysex-qas/
- “I’m interested in your workshop but I’m afraid of other women in the circle. I don’t trust other women.”
I remember first hearing this concern from a woman when I began leading Bodysex workshops 3 years ago. At that time it really shocked me to hear her say it as I thought the biggest concerns would be shared nudity or group masturbation! The fact that women could be afraid of the other women hadn’t even crossed my mind. Since that first time, I’ve heard this concern voiced many times and each time it makes me sad but I’m no longer surprised. We live in a culture that raises us to fear other women. From the earliest Disney movies and t.v. shows we watch, we are exposed to the idea of evil step mothers and step sisters or girl friends fighting, lying and cheating in order to get the boy to like them. We see these things happen and they become the norm that we expect from other women.
Having sat in several women’s circles now I believe that the reason our culture tries to make us mistrust women, is because they are afraid of the strength and power of women joining together. There is nothing more sacred, more healing or more powerful than a circle of women. If this is your fear I encourage you to step into it so that it can change. I cannot imagine my life without the women that I share it with.
- “I’m scared that I’ll cry like a lot. Maybe even through the whole thing.”
This is a very normal and common concern and I personally take it as a great sign that you can feel deeply. Sometimes women are so disconnected from themselves that it makes it difficult for them to access those deep emotions. Everyone is welcome in the circle as they are and whatever happens in the circle is okay and necessary. I often cry while listening to other women’s stories and feeling their pain. I cry when I share my own. I cry when I orgasm. The Bodysex circle is safe for you to be you… and no one will mind when you cry. In fact many will cry with you. While parts of the workshop can bring you to tears, I think you may be surprised at how much you will laugh. Have you ever hung around with friends buck naked, eating snacks and talking about all the things your body does that you didn’t realize everyone else’s does too? It’s fucking fun and hilarious. Just be you…… We welcome and accept you as you are.
If you have any other questions that haven’t been answered on here already please don’t hesitate to ask me. That’s what I’m here for. <3