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
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.”
This is dedicated to the women in my life who have taught me that being orgasmic is a kind of conscious awareness that extends far beyond our physical orgasms. Thanks for paving the way…….
I watch her, red stained hands, wearing only a bikini as she picks raspberry after raspberry and puts them in a bucket. Small but strong, she carries her body in a way that makes me pay attention. She is a mother – nearly 20 years older than me – and looking down at my youthful, yet covered up body, I know that she know’s something that I don’t.
It’s in the subtle sway of her hips, in the healthy food that she eats, the love she puts into her body, and that look of mischief in her eyes that tells me there is always something more going on. This is an orgasmic woman.
We huddle together in a wine bar drinking glass after glass and people watching. She is in her 80’s, and needs to sit close enough to hear me talk over the hum of the people around us. Servers come and go and she makes comments under her breath about who she would like to take home and *%&#. A little while later she sits holding a crying woman in her arms – who was a stranger only moments before.
It’s in her acceptance of herself. The swears, the irreverence, the dirty talk and at the same time her acceptance of others. It’s in the freedom to be exactly who she is and not apologize. This is an orgasmic woman.
I see her standing there looking like a jewel against a cement background. She’s in her sixties, scarf blowing in the wind, cheeks flushed, hair in complete disarray. From the look on her face I know that she has taken on the town today. And she has.
It’s in her wind blown hair, in her smile that knows things that other women don’t, and in her ability to completely lose herself in her orgasms. This is an orgasmic woman.
It’s early in the morning and I’m laying in bed feeling more awake than I’ve ever felt in my life. Taking off my blanket the cold air hits my warm body, instantly making all the tiny hairs stand on end. I shiver and the shiver reminds me of the shiver I feel when I’m touched. Skin on skin. Moving my hands closer to my body I can feel the heat from them on my skin, and I arch towards it. Closer my hands gets until they rest on the tiny hairs that are still standing erect from the cold. The pressure form my hand on the tips of the hairs sends more shivers into my body and instantly I am overcome with pleasure.
Swaying my hips, putting love into my body, accepting myself just as I am, I lose myself in my orgasms. I am an orgasmic woman.
A couple of weeks ago – feeling emotionally exhausted and broken – I felt an overwhelming need for elder women wisdom. I wanted support and words from those who have been here – where I am right now – and to know what they had learnt from this place. I reached out to my teacher Betty Dodson, my friend Celeste Lemieux, and primarily my own mother. In their own way each of the women gifted me with some of their strength, support and knowledge that it’s safe for me to be myself with them. It was however, by reaching out to my own mother in an open and very vulnerable way, that I discovered shamefully that I hadn’t really seen her before. I had never taken the time or energy to recognize her as a whole human being with physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual and sexual parts. The wall around myself meant that not only was it difficult to see in, but it was also difficult to see out. By finally allowing her to see me, I was able to see her and in looking discovered that my sexuality comes from my mother.
My sexuality is not separate from myself or my life, but rather a crucial part of my everyday way of being and how I relate to my body. In this sense it can only be truly actualized when the other parts of myself are getting care and attention as well. Looking at my life I could clearly see how my mother has had an affect on my physical, emotional spiritual and intellectual well being – all of which are also a part of and influence my sexuality. In fact it’s impossible to look at my sexuality without looking at these elements of it. It is holistic.
So with overwhelming gratitude I wrote this for my mom.
Thank you mom.
For giving me life.
For breastfeeding me.
For encouraging me to “colour outside the lines” when my doing so was questioned by others.
For feeding me healthy food even though I resented you for it.
For setting up my childhood to always include space for awe and wonder.
For the cross you traced on my forehead when you thought I was sleeping.
For seeking out and following your own spirituality so that I knew that the same was possible for me.
For showing and telling me that I could do anything that I want to in life.
For taking me travelling.
For encouraging me and my friends to be artistic in a way that was unique and authentic to us. You did this by giving us free reign to decorate the cold storage room any way that we wanted to and provided a rainbow of paint colours and tiles to choose from – never once suggesting how we should do it.
For letting me make a mess.
For making me clean up my mess.
For always being there but never hovering.
For being rude to the one boyfriend who was rude to me. I secretly loved it.
For telling me that following my heart is essential but will never be easy.
For saying that you’re proud of me.
For allowing me to make my own mistakes and not punishing me for them.
For teaching me frugality and that joy comes from living with less.
For letting me learn alongside you rather than you doing it for me.
For helping people without judgement of their situation.
For allowing me to witness you breaking down sometimes so that I knew it was okay when it happened to me.
For always getting back up.
For giving me an appreciation of the smell of sweet peas, the feel of bread dough, the taste of homemade cooking, the sound of classical music and the ever present vision of your hands creating, cooking, building, sewing.
My own hands have taught me that no matter what struggles I have, they are an ever present point of connection with myself – my whole self.