The night before last weekend’s Bodysex retreat began, I laid down on the rug in the centre of the circle — inhaling the smells of body oil and beeswax — and felt the familiar sensation of being home. If I don’t feel safe to be myself in a circle of women, where in the world would I feel safe?
Having just come off of a stressful and at the same time joy filled summer, I was nervous about what would come up for me over the weekend. The lessons from summer had taught me that in order to continue growing and learning, I need to take what I’ve discovered within myself, and apply it to growing and learning with others. I hold back a lot — afraid of my “more” that feels like “too much” — worrying that my “too much” will be uncomfortable for other people. Holding back myself can make me seem selfish, can mean that I don’t get my needs met or can result in me shining only half of my light. To trust that both myself and others will be accepting of the full expression of me, requires a whole new level of vulnerability. In all honesty I was scared. But with the feeling of home in my heart and the intention of being present in all that I am, I entered into the first day of the retreat.
No retreat is the same as another, as no circle of women is the same. There are always similarities but each group of women brings a unique collection of stories, gifts and way of being. Right from the start this group exuded a feeling of calm, gentle, sacredness. With trust in the women and trust in myself, I opened the circle.
These beads (handmade by women in Kenya) represent each of the women who have sat in my Bodysex circles.
Halfway through the first day we do the Genital Show and Tell, which is my favourite part of the whole weekend. The privilege of sitting beside each woman — close enough so that we can both see the same image of her vulva in the mirror between her legs — is not lost on me. Seeing, naming and acknowledging our vulvas, surrounded by the love and support of other women, is an essential step in the process of integrating our sexual selves with the rest of who we are. I see it as a bridge connecting two worlds. As each woman chose a wish for her vulva, I noticed that the wishes were representative of much more, and that I’m not the only one holding back. “To be brave” “To let go” “To feel love” “To fully expose myself” “To love my femininity” “To allow pleasure” “To claim the worthiness it takes to orgasm” and “The freedom to explore with no restrictions.”
On the second day of the retreat everyone seemed much more comfortable being naked and we all giggled when someone bent over in front of our face or when the first fart was let out. I noticed how the women’s bodies became a contradiction almost of softness and strength. Less protected and yet more upright. I saw it as the freedom of being who we are and owning it.
We began the erotic recess with a self touching meditation. As our pleasure built, the sounds of our moaning – mixed with the humming of the vibrators – filled the room until you couldn’t tell who was making what sound. I’ve never felt so safe to be loud in my life. It was like an orchestra of uninhibited pleasure. When the sounds died down I sat up and noticed two women on the other side of the circle holding their hands out in front of themselves — sending energy — to a woman who seemed to be struggling. Knowing without a doubt that it was the right thing to do, I did something that I’ve never done before, and went to her. Sitting down beside her head I could see the stress on her face and body as she struggled to bring herself to orgasm. Reaching my hand towards her I softly smoothed out the lines on her forehead and jaw while she opened her eyes — letting me know I was welcome to stay with her. Encouraging her with words, I placed my hand on her chest and drew her heart energy up her body which was flush from pleasure. Tears fell from her eyes as I felt her heart open and a complete absence of resistance to me.
Noticing tension in her legs I moved down alongside her body and sat in front of her bent knees. Looking at each other eye to eye I began to breathe deeply — exaggerating the sounds of my breath with the hope that she would connect to it and find a way out of the anxiety in her mind and into the sensations in her body. She followed my breathing until our breath became like a circle of energy looping between us. Our breath now in sync I could see that there was still tension in her body and, without thinking about it, my own body began to soften and sway in front of her. Like a reflection in a mirror her body followed mine and we breathed, eye to eye, softening and swaying while she pleasured herself in front of me.
Sensing that she needed more support I invited, with her permission, the other women to come over and join us. Surrounding her we connected to each other with our hands, our legs and our hearts, creating a beautiful web of sisterhood that weaved around and through her. I knew in that moment that what was happening was something much larger than any one of us and that women from centuries ago must have done this very thing. It was profoundly sacred.
“It feels like something is being birthed” one of the women said, as we sang our sweet sister through a birthing of her own.
I entered the retreat afraid of being too much, leaned into my too much, and through that was able to witness with awe the wonderful “muchness” in all of us.
Thank you for your web of sisterhood:
Fleur de Cala Lily
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.
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
I’m so excited to announce these upcoming Bodysex retreat dates including a whole new Advanced retreat! Details can be found under “services” but if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to share the circle with you. <3