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
Just over three years ago I flew to NYC to attend my first Bodysex workshop. At that time I was disconnected with myself sexually, afraid to cry in front of others, 10lbs skinnier and hated my body. I was terrified of my “ugliness” being seen and at the same time desperate for someone to see it and love me anyways. I wasn’t sure what I’d get from doing something that scared me so much, but I did know that I wanted to find a way through all of my insecurities and feel like I’m enough as me.
For a year before the workshop I’d been on an inner journey — trying to figure out who I was and where I fit into my different roles as mother and wife. So much of my time and energy was spent pleasing others and care taking. Somewhere along the line my self worth had become tied up in other peoples opinions of me and in seeking validation from them.
Today I am on a plane flying back home from NYC having just attended a Bodysex retreat with women from around the world, getting certification to lead their own groups. All of these women have done at least one Bodysex workshop and some, like me, already lead their own groups.
As I watched these other women throughout the weekend — and thought of how they live their lives at home as nurses, make up artists, healers, teachers, professors, realtors, lawyers, sexologists, labourers, mothers, wives and daughters — I saw me. I saw me in the way they connected to themselves sexually — masturbating side by side in a variety of positions, using vibrators, dildos and hands — like it was the most natural thing in the world. I saw me as I witnessed them encouraging each other to make whatever sound they needed to, or take as much time as needed to reach orgasm. I saw me in the tears that fell without shame —tears that represented understanding, pride, honour, respect, healing, joy, freedom and pleasure. I saw myself in all the different body types and characteristics — curves, rolls, stretch marks, freckles, strength and softness. I saw myself in the unapologetic way each woman carried her beautiful body — like they are living life from the inside out instead of the other way around. Embodied. Shoulders back. Tits out. Hips swaying.
Feeling so seen and so free with women, of whom most I had never met, I couldn’t help but feel such huge respect and awe for the common denominator we all share. Bodysex. A conscious and intentional circle of women sharing in both shame and pleasure. Naked, vulnerable and brave in a space where we don’t need to be anything other than who we are and we celebrate that.
These past three years have been almost like a continual birthing process for me with each day and each new experience that I choose for myself bringing me deeper into me. I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been incredibly hard and at times painful to come to terms with all of my discoveries. I don’t have all the answers or even half of them. Sometimes I still feel insecure about my body and sometimes my orgasms are just meh. Most of the time however, I feel orgasmic, alive, free, empowered and excited for all of the discoveries, pleasures and joys yet to come my way. I feel at home in my body as it is and with the safety of feeling at home comes a deep trust that I’ll be okay no matter what. I am enough.
Thank you Betty, Carlin, and all of my Bodysex sisters for allowing me to see you, so that I could be reminded of what I see in me.
This retreat is open to all Orgasmic Women looking to journey deeper into self awareness, pleasure and orgasm
Date: Nov. 16th 7pm – Nov. 19th 1pm (3 nights)
All inclusive. Includes a signed copy of Betty Dodson’s book “Sex For One.”
Participants required to have previously attended one Betty Dodson Certified Bodysex workshop.
Registration closing date October 15th in order to give all registrees adequate time to complete their self awareness homework before the retreat.
Bodysex is a transformative and undefinable experience for women, of all ages and sexual orientations, interested in the empowering freedom that comes from shedding the masks, roles and clothing that we hide behind everyday. The workshop is done in the nude yet it is non sexual. It is about raising consciousness, creating sisterhood, healing body shame and celebrating pleasure.
The next Bodysex Retreat Weekend will be September 22nd-24th 2017, held at a private retreat centre near Saskatoon SK. Canada. It’s the perfect place to relax, let go and just be. The retreat has a “slumber party” feel to it with healthy home made meals and snacks lovingly prepared by me and my assistant Patti throughout the weekend. Henna tattooing and hair braiding is also offered by local artist Stiina. During non workshop hours participants will be free to walk trails or the labyrinth, spend time alone or visit with the other women.
The two day workshop will include:
- Sacred circle where, in first person, we share how we feel about our bodies and our orgasms. This is the time to let go of any shame that has been holding us back from fully celebrating our pleasure. Through this, the roots of sisterhood will begin forming as we accept each other for who are. No more and no less.
- Group genital show and tell. This is a powerful ceremony where we display our vulva one at a time, identify all of the parts of our anatomy and recognize the beauty and diversity amongst us.
- Learn new methods to enhance our orgasms and our self loving practice. Understanding our sexual anatomy, how breath, movement, sound and our pc muscle work to enhance our pleasure on all levels.
- Self loving, side by side, in the circle during “erotic recess.” Sharing our own pleasure, without expectation, with other women is one of the most powerful experiences that you will ever have. This is about learning to be our own lover, healing body shame, overcoming sexual guilt and sharing in sisterhood. This is also an opportunity for me to help personally guide you, towards orgasm or increased pleasure if you have never orgasmed or are having difficulty and would like help.
- Group massage. This ancient practice is almost impossible to describe in words. It is a transcendent experience where we are able to give and receive loving, non sexual touch from the other women in the circle.
Location: Outside Saskatoon SK. Canada. (exact location will be disclosed to registered participants only)
(transportation from Saskatoon to the retreat location provided for out of town participants for a fee)
Dates: 1pm, September 22nd – 1pm, September 24th
Cost: $595 CDN for first time participants, $395 for returning. Included in this fee is the full Bodysex workshop, mystic wand vibrator, healthy meals(locally sourced and organic where possible) shared accommodation for 2 nights (there is a price reduction of $70 for women not wanting to use a vibrator or bringing their own)
$200 NRF deposit on registration.
Space is limited to 10 participants
Please advise me of any dietary restrictions
This past month I had 3 orgasm coaching sessions with women who had never experienced an orgasm before. One of the women expressed frustration at being “robbed of this education” saying “I’ve basically lost ten or more years of this because of it.” By “this” she meant pleasure. She went on to explain that growing up her sex education consisted of no education at all. Raised Catholic she was taught nothing about basic sexual anatomy, sex or pleasure. When she began menstruating her mom gave her pads to use but didn’t explain where the blood came from or how to use a tampon. It was almost like she wasn’t even supposed to know she had a vagina. She could recall no memories of positive or negative words being spoken about her genitals and because of this, grew up completely disconnected to this part of her body.
You might read this and think it’s horrible and sad but in my experience it isn’t at all uncommon. While we openly talk with our children about other parts of their body and name these parts using accurate terminology, we often avoid teaching our children about their sexual anatomy or using the correct terms when we do. Instead of saying vulva, penis, testicles, and clitoris parents often use dumbed down terms like “front bum” “back bum” and “pee pee.” While we may think this makes it easier for children to understand, I think it actually does the opposite. Do we change the language for any other body part? If a child can understand that legs are called legs, and eye brows called eye brows, then why can’t they understand that a vulva is called a vulva? By avoiding these terms we pass our own sexual shame on to our children.
Children are great receivers but not great interpreters. They readily and easily receive information from everything and everyone around them — parents, teachers, friends and the media. Their interpretation of the information they receive however, is often not accurate. When parents fight they may think it’s their fault. If we make a disgusted face while changing their diaper, they may think that they are disgusting. When we cover our naked bodies they may think there’s something shameful about being naked. And when we avoid or dumb down talks about their sexual anatomy they might interpret those parts as being bad or dirty. In fact what we don’t say to our children teaches them much more than what we do say.
Even though I use the title “Orgasm Coach” for the work I do, in some cases I think a more accurate term would be “pleasure” or “self awareness” Coach.” The women I work with often speak of a complete disconnect between their self and their genitals. When a woman has grown up with little to no understanding of her sexual anatomy, has never masturbated and only learned about her “expected” role during sex from porn, she may have have absolutely no baseline or knowledge of pleasure. This same women may be (and often is )married and having sex in a variety of positions with her husband several times a week. Just because she has had sex doesn’t mean that she has ever experienced pleasure or can even begin to know what that would look or feel like. I can tell you that learning to let go and trust enough to experience pleasure for the FIRST time as an adult is not easy at all.
You may wonder what we can do as parents to support and educate our children to be sexually healthy as adults. First and foremost we can teach them by modelling ourselves what it means to be a sexually healthy adult. What that means to you may be different than what it means to me but I think it begins with using the correct terminology when teaching them about their sexual anatomy and not wincing when we do so. If you have difficulty saying the word clitoris out loud then your child will interpret something from that. If you can’t look at your own genitals without disgust and shame your child will likely not be able to either. What about conversations regarding masturbation? Encouraging natural self exploration will give them a base of knowledge about pleasure and connection for their rest of their lives — especially if it’s not met with shame. We can talk to them not only about boundaries but about pleasure, self care and ENTHUSIASTIC consent. When we feel healthy sexually ourselves, we can speak confidently and matter of factly — giving them the message that sex is a normal part of living a healthy life just like exercise and eating healthy is. We can tell them age appropriate stories about our past sexual experiences — from childhood masturbation, our own sexual shame, to teenage sex or the sex we wish we had had — so that they know we’re safe and have been there too.
As parents we need to push past our own learned sexual shame. Let’s give our children the education they need to live a healthy, pleasure filled life as an adult, so that that in 20 years time they don’t need to come to me to learn where their clitoris is or how to feel pleasure. Educate,educate,educate. <3