**** The following quotes and photos have been shared with permission by women who have attended at least one my Bodysex Retreats. Thanks to all of you for showing up and celebrating pleasure with me. <3
“Bodysex has been a long awaited sexual awakening. As we know by the #metoo most of us women experience some kind of sexual assault/abuse at some time in our lives. I now realize My way to deal with it was through anger and advocacy.
However that didn’t leave much room for me to be sexual. Somehow it felt wrong, something that men “did”to women. Bodysex has given me the permission to realize and celebrate my own sexual power as something sacred.”
“As a trauma survivor, I was stuck in a cycle of physical and emotional pain. Experiencing physical pleasure helped me learn that the path out of pain can begin with pleasure.”
“I turn myself on!”
“It’s given me permission to fantasize and enjoy my fantasies without feeling shame”
“Now I can have fun with sex! Be playful and dirty instead of timid and repressed. Sex should be FUN!”
“Until I attended BodySex, I had lived my life believing that sexual self pleasure is wrong and shameful. This base of shame extended into partnered sexual experiences, leaving me feeling shame rather than joy. Now I’m capable of examining those feelings of shame, dissecting them and coming into myself as a powerful, sexual woman. I know what I want and I’m not afraid to ask for it.”
“I felt shame and rejection for wanting more from sex – and more often – than my partner. I was ashamed of having a strong sexual desire, and the weekend helped me frame this in a positive and powerful way. I feel empowered to satisfy myself as needed- and it’s made sex in my marriage especially amazing (when it happens! Ha ha) because I’m giving more and focusing less on receiving. “
“I am totally independently orgasmic and it is amazing!!! I’m like a young teenager horny as hell…..building up my muscles, discovering new feelings, excited to have something to look forward to everyday with myself. I feel like I’m finally part of the club!”
“I’m open to sexuality and fun in daily experiences. For me, that’s strength, directly related to the normalcy that bodysex allows for sexy thoughts without shame.”
“Now I have sex for my own pleasure”
My sexuality is a part of – not separate from my daily life. Something that I live — a way of being — rather than a goal I reach. When I’m conscious, present and willing to be vulnerable, my orgasms serve as a window into my wellbeing. My orgasms are ME.
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
Last week I woke up to the sight of my 7 year old daughter laying beside me, wrapped in a quilt made by one of my Bodysex sisters. She had made the quilt for me last year in exchange for a friend of hers to attend one of my Bodysex retreats. Since then the quilt has mostly been used in my counselling office or at my retreats — providing warmth and comfort to women when they need it.
Seeing her wrapped in such a perfect symbol of sisterhood, I couldn’t help but think of the trickle effect that Bodysex has, not only on the women attending — but on the next generation of children. Even if they never attend a workshop, the very structure and concept of Bodysex is one we rarely see examples of in today’s culture. Women supporting other women — absent of competition. Real naked bodies — not on display, but simply being. Honest, vulnerable sharing of our most hidden stories, greatest fantasies and everything in between. Shared celebration of self pleasure as our fundamental birthright. And the healing experience of non sexual, loving touch from women who actually SEE us.
Tucking the quilt in tighter I continued to watch her, hoping that her little body would soak in some of the power of the collective stories and pleasures that the quilt holds. That as she grows and becomes a woman herself she will find acceptance in her body, love of self, enjoyment of pleasure and true sisterhood.
I love you Naya <3
Emails like this one make the vulnerability and struggle in this work worthwhile. This woman first contacted me a couple of years ago because she was having issues with orgasming – particularly by hand. With practice, acceptance and patience she is now an Orgasmic woman!!
“A lot has happened the last seven days: I turned 20, thus making it two years since I started to learn about my body and pleasure, and I masturbated by hand two nights in a row and orgasmed both times! These are big things because growing up feeling like I’m behind the in-crowd has made it feel like I’m not worthy of pleasure because I’ve bloomed a little later. But when the time is ripe, you’ll bloom! It took me two years to feel comfortable in a space and in my body in a way that I could make a connection with myself like that.
Your posts about body image and personal pleasure are inspiring, and it is absolutely lovely to see so much encouragement and self-love hope from so many people! Thank you for creating such a loving space where we can celebrate these pleasures!”
5 years ago on Christmas night I stayed up late reading a book written by Naomi Wolf, called “Vagina.” Having just begun to feel an awakening in my own sexuality I was searching for guidance from other women on what this meant and, in some ways, the permission to allow it.
Naomi wrote that “Female sexual pleasure, rightly understood, is not just about sexuality, or just about pleasure. It serves, also, as a medium of female sexual knowledge and hopefulness; female creativity and courage, female focus and initiative; female bliss and transcendence; and as a medium of a sensibility that feels very much like freedom. To understand the vagina properly is to realize that it is not only coextensive with the female brain, but is also, essentially part of the female soul.”
Even with my very limited first hand experience with these words, they resonated deeply with me and I knew that this was not only what I was seeking to learn, but also what I’d been afraid of and holding back from for years. My identity had been tied to mothering, being a supportive wife and giving to others. Seeking this pleasure – which honestly almost felt like a bad word – seemed selfish and unmotherly.
Nervous yet Inspired by the book I decided to touch myself – something that I’d never done before. This idea seemed foreign and because I didn’t really like my body, having to touch it reminded me of everything that was “wrong” with it. Unsure and unconvinced about what I was doing, my first few attempts didn’t go very well. I was so completely focused on having an orgasm that I hardly felt a thing. Like an over eager lover I went straight for my clit and ignored the rest of my body – which needed to be touched just as much. Frustrated that this wasn’t working I thought that there was surely something wrong with me until one day it just happened – I’d brought myself to orgasm with just my hands!
I was thrilled and the orgasm was a great reward for all my persistence and hard work – but what ended up being the most profound for me was what I learned through the process of discovery. I learned about my body, what feels good for me, that I actually liked what I felt like under my fingers and because of that I imagined that someone else might like it too. I learned to be patient, to enjoy the build up, to use all of my senses and all of my body. I also learned that my own touch – whether or not it led to orgasm – could help me at difficult times in my life, reminding me that I’ll be okay and that I’m always here for me.
I’m so grateful to be able to say that in these past 5 I have come to not only understand but live what Naomi was saying. Through embracing and seeking out pleasure I have healed, became a better mother, more self aware, learned to trust and honour my intuition, set boundaries, seek out my passions, forgive myself, grow through vulnerable situations and finally to love and be loved. ……and as Naomi says that “feels very much like freedom.”
.Merry Christmas. <3