She’s a woman in her 50’s,
lying naked on my bed masturbating.
Never having orgasmed before she’s come asking for help.
Sitting beside her I watch her body move as she touches herself,
clearly enjoying the pleasure.
The skin on her chest starts to flush
telling me she’s close to orgasm.
I wish I could capture this moment so she could see how beautiful she looks,
but I stay still, not wanting to disturb her.
As the flush on her chest begins to climb to her neck I notice her crease her brow.
Leaning forward I softly touch her face, guiding her to soften too.
“I’m scared” she says. “I don’t know what it’s going to feel like.”
“I’m here with you” I say. “Your pleasure looks so beautiful on you.”
She starts to cry and continues to masturbate,
the flush on her neck now covering the lower half of her face.
The sounds of her orgasm fill my room, followed by the sounds of her sobbing.
Smiling through my tears I think “this is what half a century of release looks like” and I’m grateful for the honour of being there with her.
It’s not about feeling better, it’s about feeling more.
Sometimes I’m afraid to look
because I don’t want to see the
pain she holds tightly behind her eyes.
I fuss around her, caring for her in other ways
not quite trusting my own ability to cope with it.
Knowing that this isn’t right and that I can’t avoid it any longer,
I look — really look — feel her sadness, and begin to cry.
At the sight of my tears,
she turns away — not wanting to see my pain.
“We can do this. I know we can” I say to myself,
and I continue to look at her until she turns back to look at me.
Holding each other, we cry.
We are doing this.
It’s not about feeling better, it’s about feeling more.
She’s sitting across from me in the circle
beginning to tell the story of her past trauma and pain.
As the words fall out of her mouth,
her chest heaves then collapses while her eyes plead with me to rescue her.
The woman beside her looks at me as well
motioning with her own eyes for me to do something.
My eyes lock with the woman sharing and
I reassure her — without words —that I’m here,
she’s a survivor and she doesn’t need rescuing.
We’re holding space for her.
Taking a deep breath in, and then out,
I watch her body slowly land on her exhale.
Her chest lifts and she continues her story.
It’s not about feeling better, it’s about feeling more.
I’m on my back lying under him,
our bodies moving and breathing together,
like a circle, in and out, around and around.
His eyes don’t leave mine and I wonder, for a second, if he ever blinks.
What does he see when he looks at me in my pleasure?
Is it okay? Am I okay?
I feel heat and energy rising from my vulva to my chest
and I breathe into it,
feeling full — over filled.
“I’m going to cry” I say embarrassed, “but it’s not bad.”
And I do. I cry through my pleasure while he holds me,
breathing in the air that I breathe out.
It’s not about feeling better, it’s about feeling more.
I received an email the other day from a woman who had questions about her body, orgasms and pleasure response. I love answering these questions and am always happy to do it, yet our exchange reminded me of how much can’t be taught.
I think it’s easy to imagine that others have the wisdom we need and that if we attend certain workshops or sessions, read specific books, or listen to the right podcasts, we’ll find the answers. It’s true that there are many facilitators and teachers who have much to offer and that through listening, reading and asking questions we can learn and bring awareness to aspects of ourselves that we hadn’t recognized before. I’ve learned from many teachers over the past several years and yet what always stands out, and what I’m continually relearning, is that the answers are with in me, not with out.
Pleasure, orgasm and intimacy are about connecting to and feeling from our innermost selves, and the greatest teacher we have is literally at our fingertips, in our breath, tastebuds, sight and hearing. It’s simply a matter of opening and listening to what can be felt. This takes time, commitment, willingness and presence. It isn’t easy nor does it happen in a clearly defined five step process.
When we touch our body with the curiosity and wonder we would have if we touched a treasured lover, we will discover pleasure.
If we imagine our breath as a vehicle carrying pleasure through our body and that we can speed it up, slow it down, make it stop and start, go round in circles or drive any way we want, we will discover pleasure.
If we practice opening our legs, our mouths, our hearts and our vulvas while we touch, we will discover pleasure.
If we relax our vocal chords and let out whatever noises want to come out – from deep gutteral sounds to high pitched squeals – we will discover pleasure.
If we slow down our eating, taking small bites of our food, letting it roll around our mouth so that we can not only taste, but also feel the food, we will discover pleasure.
If we listen to music with our eyes closed and allow the vibrations to play through our body, we will feel pleasure.
If you are on a path to discover and explore your sexuality, I think it’s absolutely worthwhile to seek out and explore the knowledge and wisdom of sexually empowered teachers. I also believe that the greatest guides and teachers will continually lead you back in the direction of the greatest wisdom of all – yourself.
**I write this in thanks to Betty Dodson, the first teacher on my path to discovering my sexuality, that pointed me back to my self.
*based on conversations I’ve witnessed between clients and in my own life.
my insecurities make me selfish………..
i turn off the lights before sex so that you don’t see the parts of my body that disgust even me.
I thought maybe you wanted the lights off because I’ve gained weight this year and my abs aren’t defined.
i don’t give you head because I don’t think I’m good at it and I don’t want to disappoint you.
I thought you didn’t like my dick because it’s too small.
i don’t let you go down on me because I think my pussy is gross and you can’t possibly want to lick it.
I thought you just don’t like the way I lick you.
when I orgasm I put my face against a pillow because I don’t want you to see how weird I look.
It hurts me that in our most intimate moments you won’t look at me.
my favourite sex position is doggy style but I never want to do it because you might see the cellulite on my ass.
I thought you didn’t want to do it because my belly is too big.
i fake orgasms because I’m embarrassed by how long it takes me to actually have one.
I thought you faked because I’m no good at pleasuring you.
when you gave me the gift for my birthday and I complained about it being too expensive instead of thanking you, it was because I didn’t think I deserved something so special.
I thought “I’ve screwed up again.”
i stopped initiating sex because of that time when I lost my erection and I felt like I’d failed you.
I thought you stopped initiating because I’m no longer attractive to you.
i don’t talk to you at work because I think you’re way smarter than me and I don’t want to look stupid.
I thought you didn’t want to know me.
i didn’t ask you out on a date because I couldn’t face the rejection if you said no.
I thought you just didn’t like me.
i’ve never invited you into my home because I’m embarrassed of it.
I thought you don’t care about me.
i didn’t tell you that you look nice the other day — even though I thought you did — because I was scared you’d say it back to be polite and I know that I didn’t look nice.
I would have loved hearing you say that.
i never ask you to do anything with me, or say yes when you ask me, because I think I’m boring and no fun to be around -unlike you who’s so interesting!
I thought you must think I’m no fun to be around.
i wanted to bring you a meal when your mom died but I was scared I’d say the wrong thing so I avoided you.
I felt unsupported and unloved.
my insecurities make me selfish………….
Standing in my kitchen in Saskatoon cooking dinner, I’m lost in thought. As happy as I am to be home, it’s hard to come back to real life after the the intimacy of a Bodysex circle. I miss the connection, sharing of stories, touch, laughter and pleasure that I felt in the Quebec circle only one day before….
“Mama look at what I learned to do in fiddle class!” says my youngest daughter as she runs into the kitchen carrying her fiddle and bow. Turning around and looking down at her sweet face, our eyes connect and I smile.
My mind drifts to an image of a woman in the circle looking into my eyes while sharing in french her stories of physical and sexual shame. I don’t understand what she’s saying — until Marika translates her words for me — but I do understand her arms crossed over her chest, her tears, and her pain. Our eyes stay connected and I breathe deeper, encouraging her to also do so, and we hold our gaze.
My attention comes back to the kitchen at the sound of feet running up the stairs. “Thanks for the money for my hair cut mom. Do you think I should get dreads?” asks my teenage son as he slips past us to get an apple. Looking up at him I see my boy, as tall and handsome as a man, with broad shoulders and strong hands that almost cover the entire apple he’s now eating. He came from my body and yet he’s his own unique person with stories and dreams of his own. I see him, and I see me.
Just like that I’m once again back in the circle, touching the women during the group massage. In their bodies, I recognize parts of my own body and I touch with curiosity at how it must feel to touch me. Their softness feels so nice and I’m drawn to the scars and lines on their skin and wonder about the stories that created them. I touch in admiration of their journey — the parts I know and parts I don’t — and in love and respect for their willingness to let me see them. I feel the shiny, smooth texture of their stretch marks and the pleasure in my finger tips as I weave them in and out of the pattern the marks create on their bodies. smooth, plush, smooth, plush, smooth, plush….
The bubbling of the water in a pot of corn on the stove catches my attention and I move to lift the lid off. As I’m standing there, my teenage daughter comes up from behind and puts her arms around me. She’s the quietist of my children but the one who’s the most cuddly, and I’m always grateful for her gentle and loving presence. Feeling her arms around my stomach I let go of the pot lid and put my own arms over hers. l feel seen, held and loved and it reminds me of a moment in the circle when one of the women asked for a group hug.
We went to her immediately and — wrapping our naked bodies around her — we held each other. Heads touching, our bodies formed a circle so small that looking down I could only see feet and stomachs below us. “How could anyone ever tell us, that we’re anything less than beautiful” we sang….
I’m brought back once again to the kitchen as my ears perk up to my younger son telling a “knock knock” joke from the other room. It’s awful as usual and we all groan and laugh while he laughs too — pleased with our response.
Smiling I drift once again to memories of us laughing as we wandered around the retreat house naked — reluctant to put our clothes back on — left our legs open when we sat down, orgasmed, posed for photos ass up and sprawled across a dining room table, told sexy and not so sexy stories and teased the male caterer.
Dinner ready I set it on the table and call my children to come join me. I missed them while I was gone and I’m excited to hear how their weekend was. We sit around the table and I realize then that, while the eyes looking back at me are different, the Bodysex circle is still with me. The circle is there as long as I’m willing to authentically connect, see myself in other people, share stories, touch, laugh and enjoy pleasure.
Thank you to my dear sisters…..
Ananda, Corazon, Water Lili, Dauphine, Aroha, Heavan, Mango of Liberty, Oceane and Delicia.
I came upon these 3 questions in a book I was reading on a flight to Montreal last weekend. Without thinking of my answers I quickly scribbled them down in my book. Afterwards when I read them over, I felt very emotional, and have come back to reread them many times. At the end of the day – or of my life – this is what matters to me. <3
When I’m 80 years old, how will I answer these questions? How will you? Before you read my answers, I encourage you to answer the questions for yourself.
What was my life about? What did I care about? What do I want others to know that I did with my life?
What was my life about? My life was about love and connection — both inwards and outwards. With myself, my children, intimate partners, friends, circle sisters, clients and strangers. It was about everything that I could feel and know without seeing. Connection with myself for connection with the people around me. Connecting my inner layers with your inner layers. Seeking to under stand you as if you are me. Our circles converging.
What did I care about? I cared about connections with others. Expressing my love through touch, words and actions. Getting to know the people I love enough that I can love them in a way that feels loving to them. Understanding, knowing and accepting myself so that I could understand, know and accept others.
What do I want others to know that I did with my life? I want others to know that I did hard, painful work to know myself enough that I had something to offer me – and you – in my love. That it came from the deepest, innermost parts of me. To love in this way I had to be vulnerable and brave and honest with myself enough to know ME. This knowing became my lifes’ work. The more I was able to see me…. the more I was able to see you. To do this wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. To know me. To know you. To feel me. To feel you. And to love us.
Last year at this time I was recovering from surgery to remove an inch long cancerous tumor that was growing on the right half of my thyroid. I was still in shock and very much feeling shame about what I must have done, or not done, to get it.
I’d be lying if I said that I don’t still carry some of that shame, or that it isn’t incredibly difficult for me to tell anyone that I’ve had cancer and have to see the look on their face in response. That by saying it out loud or having to put it on forms at the dentist’s office, I feel like a walking reminder of our mortality that no one wants to be reminded of. That I don’t dread having to share the story with a new lover or partner and wonder if they’ll still love me. That I don’t question what awful thing I did to deserve this, or wonder if I’m a complete fraud for talking about self love when I’m obviously failing at it or this wouldn’t have happened to me.
All of these stories are a part of the current layers of shame that I’m ever so gently peeling off these days, and yet what woke me at 4:30am this morning wasn’t shame, but rather gratitude.
Having cancer is THE best thing that has ever happened to me. I know it sounds cheesy but it’s like I’ve been shown the value of my life and now I get to really LIVE it.
I can live enthusiastically and wholeheartedly in all things that I do.
I can choose to care about what matters to me and not give a shit about what doesn’t.
I can walk naked in slow motion across a nude beach with a bunch of other naked people (at least 10 years older than me) laughing hysterically at the way our bodies jiggle when laughing hysterically.
I can expand my work to include men who also struggle with physical and sexual shame.
I can be the me that I am when I’m having sex alone – with a partner. Growling, laughing, crying, breathing like I’m giving birth.
I can go to Mexico on a week long date.
I can take my kids to visit Raffi.
I can facilitate Bodysex retreats in other places.
I can have the most difficult conversations of my life and come out feeling like I climbed Mt. Everest.
I can take most of the summer off so that my children get to experience living enthusiastically with me in the least expensive ways possible.
I can choose to be grateful for each day that I wake up knowing that I have the ability to chose my desires over my fears.
I can, I can, I can.
And I do. <3
Last week I posted a pic of myself on social media, biking with my 4 times pregnant, stretched stomach showing just a bit. I’ve never received such a response from anything I’ve posted and it made me realize how much even I – who promotes body acceptance and vulnerability – have been afraid of being seen as I am. There’s still an old belief that if I’m seen I won’t be accepted – and yet I do accept myself. I guess I don’t necessarily trust others to do the same.
After the overwhelmingly positive response I received, I looked through my photos on social media and imagined myself from the outside looking in. I realized that I write about my scars but I don’t necessarily show them.
Here are two photos of me taken on the same day. One covering the physical marks that remind me of the beautiful beings I helped create, and the other showing them. In both I was sweaty and flushed from my bike ride and in both I felt absolutely beautiful. At the end of the day, both are of me and I apologize for taking so long to show up publicly in this full expression of myself. ❤️
A beautiful poem written by a Bodysex woman about her monthly cycle <3
Time to shed
to make room
for the new
A wanted guest
only to pass through
Give it a few
days to be
Tears are inevitable
will be cleaned out
and left empty
There will be
to have someone stay
at least for
But not quite yet
A red tide
But with its
will also mark
a new beginning
Time to refresh
the power to
** dedicated to those who “just want to get in the door.”
Once upon a time there was a man. He was a successful, beautiful man with a good job and a nice big home of his own. Even though he had many things to be grateful for in his life, what he longed for most, was someone to share it with.
The man liked to walk, and on his walks he would think of how much better his life would be if only he had that someone. As he walked he’d notice the doors on the houses he passed by and he’d wonder if the woman he was longing for was behind one of them. He saw yellow doors, green doors, blue doors and black doors but they were never quite the right door.
One day while he was walking, he noticed a bright red door and he thought to himself “That’s it! That’s the one I’ve been looking for! I really want to get in that door.” Thinking that this was the door he’d been longing for, he was determined to do something really big to get it to open for him. Everyday he danced, sang songs, wore costumes, learned instruments and even rode a unicycle dressed as a peacock hoping that he could convince the door to let him in.
But the door stayed closed.
After several months of this he felt defeated and one day, exhausted, fell off of his unicycle in front of the door and wept. It was so unfair! All he wanted was to get in this door and no matter what he did, it just wouldn’t open. After crying for some time he opened his eyes and decided to walk home. As he stood up he realized that he had been laying on a pathway that led to the red door. Never having noticed this pathway before he saw that it was curved and unique, made of rocks of all shapes and sizes. He also noticed weeds poking up between the rocks and decided that the weeds made the whole walkway more interesting. “How beautiful” he thought as he walked sadly home.
The next day he woke up feeling like he had no more purpose in his life without the purpose of getting into that door, but he forced himself to go for a walk anyways. Without thinking, his feet led him — not to the red door — but to the pathway leading up to it and he once again marvelled at it’s uniqueness. This time though he noticed that the pathway led not only to the shiny red door, but to a whole entire house! Thinking back to the months he spent singing and dancing in front of the door he wondered how had he not seen this house before? The house wasn’t big and fancy like his home and yet he couldn’t stop looking at it. He noticed paint peeling on one of the shutters, fingerprints on a window, and a mixture of vegetables and flower plants in a pot. The house fascinated him and he spent the rest of the day looking at it —wondering what rooms were inside, what it smelled like, what stories it held, what secrets it kept and who’s finger prints were on the windows. Even more fascinating to him was seeing the steady stream of neighbours come and go through the red door, as if it was their own house and the door was always open.
Transfixed by the feelings this home evoked in him and the enjoyment he felt in those feelings, he realized that the sun was going down and that he had spent the entire day looking at the house and had forgotten about his desire to get in the door completely. Feeling strangely settled and at peace, he got up to start his walk home. After glancing over his shoulder for one last look at the house, he began to turn around when he heard a click. From the corner of his eye he saw the red door slowly open and he turned to face the woman standing in it smiling at him. “Hello” she said. “Would you like to come into my home?”
never brushing my hair,
biking without a helmet,
sun on my pussy,
sand in my ass crack.
accepting my self as I am,
preferring my bare skin to clothing,
letting my stretch marks show,
my abundant lips dangle.
experiencing my sexuality through my;
open body, open mouth, open eyes and open ears,
and realizing that these experiences can happen all day everyday,
with or without my genitals.
listening to my body and
trusting that by simply breathing, I can handle everything I feel.
choosing feeling over avoidance — even when it’s painful.
Having sex with the lights on,
fantasizing without shame,
saying “I’ve got one (or two or three) more in me” even if my lover is done —
and not apologizing for it.
being vulnerable with people that I love,
knowing that in my vulnerability I create an opportunity for deeper intimacy —
whether they meet me in it or not.
being brave enough to ask for what I want
and not taking it personally when I don’t get it.
knowing what my core values are,
choosing to live a life that is in alignment with these core values,
and recognizing the freedom that this alignment gives me.
**photo credit goes to Stiina