****** The following quotes and photos I’m sharing with permission by women who have attended at least one of my Bodysex Retreats. Thanks to all of you for showing up allowing me to see you in your full light and beauty and for you to see mine. <3
“ Bodysex helped me to accept not only my physical body, but my bodily functions. I’m no longer ashamed of my bleeding and have learned to (when life permits me) allow my blood to flow out of me instead of plugging it to avoid seeing it. Watching it drip out is like wow this is fucking cool shit here! I bleed to create life.”
“This is me and I’m okay with me”
“My skin is all of a sudden saggy in many places it wasn’t before (hello 35!). rather than feeling bad/weird about that, i’m fascinated and in love with it.”
“Even more than body acceptance i’d say honouring of my body and all it is, does, has done for me.”
“Physical and emotional comfort in my own skin”
“The permission to adore and care for and nourish my body has stayed with me.”
“I hold my physical space in the world differently now. I historically have curled my shoulders down to conceal a large bosom and also protect my vulnerable core. Now, I lead with my solar plexus, my power, which makes my tits jut out, but i feel strong, not ashamed.”
“I’m so comfortable in my body that I hated and kept hidden for so long, that I have to remind myself that I can’t just be naked all the time. “
“Sex used to be lights out face hidden and now I’m lights on, legs spread “This is Me!”
“Masturbation has been a way for me to heal my body shame. By touching myself – and I mean my whole body – I have become more compassionate and less judgemental about the parts that I thought were ugly.”
I am getting so excited excited for my Advanced Bodysex retreat in November! Some women have asked if they are ready for an “advanced” retreat and basically the only requirement is that you have previously attended a Betty Dodson Certified Bodysex workshop. The reason for this is that I want everyone to know their sexual anatomy, and to have experienced being nude in a group so that it isn’t such a big fear. The focus of this retreat will be on self exploration and we will explore ourselves in many different ways. Physically through touch, movement and sound. Spiritually through breath and energy awareness. Emotionally and intellectually through examining old stories we carry regarding our sexuality, pleasure and shame as well as identifying what we want, need and desire for our sex life. We will explore through engaging our five sense and seeking to find pleasure in everyday experiences. Throughout the 3 night retreat we will practice self pleasure – pushing the edges of our comfort – so that we can grow and learn though our practice.
The inner work will begin before the retreat starts in the form of “homework” which you will not be required to share.
The retreat is half full and registration closes November 1st. A $200 deposit is required upon registering. The retreat is over half full. Email me to book or with any questions you may have.
“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.
I haven’t finished my write up from this past weekend’s Bodysex retreat but a couple of testimonials have already come in. Here is one of them. I’m so happy for her!!!
“That was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. All of those women made me feel so comfortable and every one of them are so real!!!! I need more sisters in my life to make me feel that way. I came home stripped naked and looked in the mirror and said “you are beautiful, you have beautiful curves.” Today and going forward I am gonna love myself and exercise and eat healthy and nourish my body and make love to myself……. And fucking orgasm. YES!!!!! Thank you for helping me find myself again.”
Justine (Stiina) was a participant of my first Bodysex Retreat and, while I didn’t really know her before that, it became apparent very quickly that she was an artist who truly enjoyed creating art on people’s bodies. As the weekend went on -and the rest of us got over our issues with accepting love and gifts from another – it was a common sight to see Justine (often naked) creating art on different women. Being on the receiving end of this I can’t express what a gift it was. I’m usually the one doing the mothering and having another woman braid and touch my hair or gently adorn my skin was wonderful and healing for me.
Justine registered again for my second retreat and after that I knew that I couldn’t imagine her not being there. I decided to offer her a permanent seat in the circle as my gift to the other women. Much like Patti, Justine brings something special to the weekend that I don’t – and I want the other women to be able to experience it.
Bodysex is a time for reflection, healing and celebration. By making it into a weekend retreat it also becomes a time to be mothered. Thank you SO much Justine for making our space more sacred through your loving touch and beautiful art. I can’t wait to share the circle with you again this Friday.
I wish all women could really know and have the experience I just had in Saskatoon with Natasha and the eight other special women who are now my courageous and brave forever sisters. There is nothing like it. Nothing. I have attended many workshops of all kinds but they do not compare to the absolute rawness, vulnerableness and authenticity of Bodysex. Designed by women and only for women I am given total permission to express myself, and I mean all of me. Moreover I am held by others in full acceptance of my expression and I them. The reason for this, unlike all other learnings, is that there is a foundational inclusivity of our sexuality. Together, yet individually, as each other’s witnesses we look fully at our sex, we touch it, we talk about it, we sometimes cry and laugh about it and we experience the profound pleasure of it. For me this brings me ever more closer to my wholeness. My sexual self is often left out of many learning modalities as if it doesn’t exist. But not in the Bodysex circle, it is in fact the key that brings a new awareness and a new connection to ourselves like no other.
I know that visceral fear women have, because I have had it too, of breaking cultural taboos. After all, it has always been our burden to carry on tradition so that all does not fall apart. And yet, in my experience it is within the breaking apart, away and/or the breaking down that my true essence is unearthed and ultimately embraced for everything that it is. By that I mean when I brave the territory of going against the grain of what is culturally acceptable or the norm, I see and know that the world does not end, I don’t end, and if anything I build a new path or maybe find the path that was always there awaiting me. I can fearlessly walk this path acknowledging and declaring the real me. This process cannot at all happen without other women. They are my mirrors, my reflection back, my sisters in self discovery. I support them and they support me in my expression of pleasure, of love, of pain, of strength, of weakness, and of joy.
And who is the real me? I am many things but what showed up for me this time in the protected warmth of the circle of women is my wildly orgasmic self unafraid to take up space with my sounds of primal pleasure, with my big body, and with my heart that embraces the women around me. I am a woman who unabashedly shares the stories of my six decades of juicy fun sexcapades and who now, because of the strength I have found with my Bodysex sisters, makes conscious effort to let go of that which is not serving me and joyously make room for better things to come.
I feel inspired, grounded yet flying high, rejuvenated and looking forward to what Bodysex will bring to me because each time I participate I get taken to a deeper understanding of my purpose and a commitment to have my life be pleasurable as is my birthright.
A thousand thank-you’s, Natasha for giving us this experience with such grace, enthusiasm and sensitivity. I love you!