This past year or so, I’d begun to feel like I’d “broken up” with my body. Four years ago I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to have a tumor removed along with my right thyroid. For three years following that, my left thyroid took over the functioning and my body felt “normal” to me. Over the past year however, I’ve battled with sluggishness, fatigue, weight gain and just a general feeling that me and my body aren’t quite working together. I began taking thyroid hormones and iron pills this summer and have slowly felt my energy start to come back. Because of this disconnection with my body, leading up to the Quebec workshop I felt old feelings of shame that this would be visible, and wished I’d been able to lose weight before going – stuff I often hear other women say to me, but haven’t related to personally in a long time.
Sitting in the circle with women who speak mostly in French, gives me an opportunity to really attune to their bodies and listen to them beyond the words they’re speaking. (Marika graciously translates afterwards for me). It requires a deep presence and I notice many things I might not, if I were to focus on their words. The way their breath changes throughout their sharing, the rise and fall of their clavicles, legs or arms crossed that fall open, flush of skin. It reminds me of attuning to my lover in sexual intimacy where so much is said without words and the body tells its own stories.
In a way that I’ve never done before, I spent the weekend really watching the women in awe of their way of being, and imagining what a lover would notice and love about them. This happened organically — as I love fantasy — and anytime I’m drawn to something, a story of images starts to form in my mind. The women in the circle were a wonderful source of inspiration for this.
I imagined ………. a lover lying on the couch watching her spend the evening before the workshop cooking nourishing food for the potluck to be shared with the other women in the circle. I imagine them marveling at the generosity, time and the care she put into planning and preparing the meals at a time when she was likely nervous and excited about the weekend she was about to have.
I imagined……… a lover recognizing the vulnerability in her eyes, in the hesitance of her voice and the shortness of her breath as she speaks her story and shares what she truly wants.
I imagined……… a lover watching the jiggle of her bum as she walks away from him naked and wondering how she could ever be insecure about something that was surely made by a goddesses’ own hands.
I imagined…….. a lover noticing that she is becoming comfortable because her jaw has relaxed and her voice now flows smoothly from her mouth instead of seeping through tightly held lips.
I imagined……….. a lover inhaling her particular scent and pausing to breathe it all the way in. Savoring it as a symbol of the essence of her and enjoying it for hours after as it lingers on their fingers from touching her.
I imagined……… a lover feeling sad and lonely and longing for the most comforting place in the world — head on her chest and hands on the roundness of her belly, thighs, and breasts. The softness and squishiness that she sometimes tries to hide, just feels like home.
I imagined……… a lover watching her dance and wondering how they got so lucky as to have a goddess fall in love with them.
I imagined……… a lover delicately parting the petals of her vulva, watching it unfold before their eyes. I thought of them showing with their eyes and their words how much they adore this sacred part of her body.
I imagined……… a lover watching the flush rise up her chest as she orgasms.
I imagined…….. a lover thinking that what they love most about her is a sum of all the tiny little things and that being with her reminds them that life is really about the tiny little things.
Every fantasy we have, tells us a story about ourselves, and this one reminded me that the beauty of the women around me is multidimensional and not defined by one part. How was I any different than what I was seeing? Generosity, vulnerability, jiggles, relaxation, scent, softness, movement, delicate vulva petals, the flush of pleasure.
And just like that, me and my body are back together again.
Thank you to my sisters: Gaiananda, Frieda, Night sky, Anilla, Fleur de deese, Quetzalcoatl, Bella, Lotus, Lily, Houlaou, Butterfly bliss, Dancing queen.
I hate advertising. I don’t say hate very often, but I really do. I feel like advertising is for selling products that we could mostly do without, but need to convince others they need. I don’t think of advertising in regards to connection, sisterhood, love, acceptance, freedom, pleasure or safety. Yet twice a year I have to do something to “promote” Bodysex® and every time it feels wrong. I prefer to write my stories, to share my experiences and to express what a gift it has given me to not think I have to be someone else’s idea of a woman in order to love and accept myself.
I scrolled through my pictures trying to find one that encapsulates Bodysex® and ones of myself where I feel sooo beautiful, make-up free and alive stood out – as well as the ones where I’m naked with other women. I hesitated about posting this one because before Bodysex® it would have scared the shit out of me. It’s not what you have to do to attend, it doesn’t always happen, but it kind of expresses the freedom of not holding back. A group of women, wet from their own sweat and juices, holding each other post pleasure. A sexual situation, but we aren’t being sexual with each other. It just felt so normal and I like to think women have been doing this since forever, and that it always felt as normal as it can feel in Bodysex®
Bodysex® is done in the nude but it’s more nude than just taking off your clothes. We bare our souls – if we choose to – we open our vulvas and let each other see into our sacred selves, we pleasure ourselves side by side. After Bodysex® it feels weird to wear clothes and I (atleast) feel absolutely phenomenal in my body. I forget that sexy is supposed to have a certain body type and I just. fucking. rock mine. I feel like my pussy is so beautiful that I wish I could be wheeled around town in a cart so others could see it. My pussy isn’t any more beautiful than anyone else’s, I just stop thinking it has to be any other way. Thats how powerful Bodysex® is.
Times like covid, where I haven’t seen many real naked women, and I haven’t displayed my pussy for a group of sisters in a long time, I can start to wonder if I’m still beautiful. This freaks me out and I wonder if I’ve lost it…. Yet I know that as soon as I see another bare bum jiggling around in front of me, and the same rolls on a belly and the loving, accepting eyes of a woman I didn’t really know before, I will remember that I am. I see it in them and they see it in me. We all are.
Due to covid-19, I had to cancel 3 of my spring Bodysex retreats. I am happy to say that I have new dates for retreats in Saskatchewan and Quebec for September and October!
In keeping with the Sask. provincial guidelines currently in place which limit group sizes to 10, I have reduced my number of participants to 8 (plus myself and Justine). My September Sask. retreat is full, but there is still space in the October one, as well as 1 space in my October, Quebec retreat. If you would like more information or to book, please contact me. https://natashasalaash.com/bodysex-workshops/
During this time of isolation I am even more grateful for my self pleasure practices which keep me connected to myself and also remind me of the importance of touch and intimacy in my life. <3
** Photos by Studio Stiina
I came into last weekends Bodysex retreat in a super vulnerable state. The past 10 months of my life have been extremely difficult — supporting my son through a loss and learning to navigate parenting my children without another co-parent. The night before the retreat I woke up suddenly — feeling afraid and exposed — worried that my children could somehow get hurt by my work. A memory came flooding in from this summer when I was called a whore — because of the work I do — and I wondered if my continued exposure would just give him more reason to do so. I can laugh it off most of the time but sometimes, when I’m feeling especially vulnerable, it scares me. My work requires an openness that I welcome and yet sometimes, when I’m not feeling safe, it can also make me feel too exposed.
After Justine and I set up the circle in preparation for the women to arrive, I laid down naked in it and masturbated while she talked to me. Touching my body grounds me — like I’m entering into the safest, most comforting home — and doing so while seeing and hearing my loving sister and friend — was exactly what I needed. After orgasming a couple of times, I heard the first of the women arrive and went to greet them feeling relaxed and affirmed that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
From the moment of the first naked hugs to our goodbyes on the last day, the workshop flowed with the most exceptional ease. So much so that even while holding space for the other women, I felt like I was on a retreat! Never have I felt so comfortable being so naked, so open with my heart, my legs and the full expression of who I am. “This is SO much bigger than the 8 of us in this circle” said one of the women, holding her arms up in the air. Looking around the circle at the other women embodying their stories of joy, sorrow, pleasure and pain, it was easy to see she was right.
The 8 of us spent almost the entire weekend, in and out of workshop time, as one solid group flowing between sharing through our words and sharing through our bodies. No part of it felt forced or held back — it all just seemed so perfectly normal.
Through conversations in the nude about life, love, longings, loss, dirty fantasies, amazing sex, forbidden sex, bodily functions, needs, desires and never convincing anyone of our worth again— we laughed and we cried accepting each other as we are.
I always enter Bodysex weekends with the intention of removing armour that still delicately covers inner layers of my shame. I came away from this weekend though, feeling fully embodied in who I am right now — without feeling such a need to do something about it to make it different or better. Body sex gives me permission to boldly be who I am and helps me be less afraid when that doesn’t fit into societies standards for me. I was reminded in the eyes of each of the women that it’s okay that I feel better open than closed, that my path to self awareness, ecstasy, and self confidence begins at the soft spot right between my legs and that there is nothing wrong at all with thoroughly and ecstatically enjoying sex and pleasure with myself. Body sex gives me the freedom to be me. If that makes me a whore, I’ll take it.
Thank you to my dear sisters for meeting me so fully in the circle and reminding me that I’m okay being me.
I love you Turtle, Singh, Wizard, Ruby, Iridescent, Niko, Belle and Kitty <3
Three weeks ago I facilitated my 14th Bodysex retreat — the third one in Quebec with Marika. Each retreat I’ve led this past year, I’ve noticed my level of comfortableness and confidence increasing. I’m less concerned about doing it “right” and more able to be present with and for the women. Being more present means not only hearing the women’s stories, but feeling them in my body— even when they’re speaking a language I don’t understand. Feeling others in this way connects me to them on a level that can be limited by language, and reminds me of the beautiful moments in sexual intimacy that involve only eyes, hands and mouths.
As I opened the circle I shared my journey into Bodysex and how it began 20 years ago when I witnessed girls I loved being circumcised in Kenya. One of the women pointed out that in Kenya a woman’s power is removed physically through the cutting of her clitoris, and here it is removed mentally by not talking about or acknowledging her sexual genitalia and right to pleasure. When we don’t talk about something, it’s as if it didn’t exist in the first place. I believe that a way to honour the women who’s pleasure has been taken from them, is for the rest of us to exercise our right. The right to look at our vulvas, touch them, understand them and pleasure them.
And we did!!! The weekend was a beautiful display of vulnerability in the sharing of our stories, our bodies and our pleasure. Never has a workshop gone on for so many hours each day and yet it still felt as if there wasn’t enough time for all we wanted to share and do.
What struck me most though, was how many layers of shame I still carry. I’m comfortable in my body now and I don’t find it difficult to be naked, show my vulva or masturbate with other women. Yet without fail it seems, an old story of mine comes up, and the thought of sharing it makes me feel sick to my stomach. This physical response is a good indicator to me of what holding it in is doing to my body, and I know that the answer is in sharing it. Knowing this doesn’t make it easy to do, and I battled in my head wondering how they’d feel about me once they knew it. Reminding myself that I can’t ask anyone else to show up and be vulnerable if I’m not willing to do it myself, I shared my story.
Letting go of shame is the best release ever and almost immediately the space it was occupying inside of me, felt free — free for more pleasure, more authentic relationships and more me.
As we spent time sharing pleasure during the second day, I kept my eyes open and focused them on a spot on the ceiling to keep me present. As my pleasure built I heard giggling from a woman in her 60’s, only a hands width distance beside me, and looked over to see the flush rise up her neck as she orgasmed. Giggling more she continued on — 2, 3, 4 — more times and I thought how beautiful she looked and how lucky her lover is to see her in this way. What an honour. Looking back at my spot on the ceiling the wood began to blur, and my pleasure kept building. The ceiling became the sky and I alternated my breath from high in my chest to low in my belly so that I could stay in that place of ecstasy. At the point of no return I opened my left hand into the air to receive energy from the women around me and felt their love, acceptance, pain, joy, shame and pleasure along with my orgasm — like stars falling down upon me.
This circle and the vulnerability of all the women in it, reminded me that we do this hard, brave work not only for ourselves, but for women who can’t or couldn’t. It’s not easy, but it’s an honour and a right and at times like these I know that the affect of our opening extends far beyond the walls of the workshop space.
To every woman who has had her pleasure removed physically or mentally we do this for us and we do this for you. <3
To my sisters in pleasure:
Zaia, Ananda, Esmeralda, Sao, Red velvet, Mia, Rosie, Mariposa, Xochitl, J’Ouvre, Hot, Kali
Those who know me, know that I love story telling and fantasy. As I sat down to write about last weekend’s Bodysex retreat, I kept seeing the images from it in my mind like some grand fantasy. No matter how hard I tried to stay focused on writing a “proper blog” the images wouldn’t stop. So I gave up trying and here it is.…
Once upon a time there was a woman who loved to be naked. She was in her early 40’s — a mother — who looked regular on the outside yet felt like a goddess of fire on the inside. Sometimes the fire inside her burned so hot that she imagined there was a pot sitting on it, bubbling upwards and outwards from her vulva. On days where the pot would bubble higher — she wondered, in both fear and excitement, what would happen if it boiled over.
This woman enjoyed being naked and pleasuring herself so much that she decided to invite other women to spend a weekend with her, celebrating in nudity and pleasure together. Not surprisingly she discovered that there were many other women like her — regular on the outside yet goddesses of fire on the inside — longing to celebrate their heat fully.
She knew that celebrating in this way was not “normal” where she lived or anywhere really, but she was called to do this more than anything else in her life. She spent months thinking of the women before they came, wondering what their stories were, what they longed for, and if they too felt the heat of a rising, bubbling pot in their vulvas. She also spent a great deal of time preparing the weekend for them. She wanted them to feel like goddesses staying in a beautiful country, with a castle to sleep in and plenty of food to nourish them. She first found the castle — making sure it had plenty of space for the women to wander the grounds naked, then searched far and wide for a chef who could prepare delicious dishes to please their bodies and fuel their pleasure. Finally she elicited help from the goddess of art who also loved to be naked and found great pleasure in adorning the women’s bodies with her elaborate designs.
When the day finally arrived for the women to come, she blessed the space in the most sacred and powerful way she knew how. Laying down in the centre of it, she traced the length of her body with her fingers adding heat to her already bubbling pot. As the pot bubbled and her pleasure built ,the ceiling above her began to fill with colours and stars. Imagining that it was the sky above her— they came together, with the sky ejaculating a thousand tiny stars upon her body and the space around her. Content that the castle was now sacred enough for the goddesses to enter, she and the goddess of art, went to greet the women as they arrived.
One by one they came through the castle doors shedding layers of fabric that didn’t do justice to the bodies beneath them. Overwhelmed by the visions of such beauty, they welcomed the women into the space that had been so beautifully blessed merely moments before. As the goddesses took turns sharing stories about what had both dimmed and fuelled their fires, the woman realized with surprise that they all appeared more naked than before. She was sure that each one had removed their clothes upon entering, and that she herself had been naked all morning, and yet here they were taking off another layer of clothing.
As the day wore on, the women couldn’t contain their curiosity over what fuelled the fire under their pot and agreed that it was was essential to take a closer look. With mirror and lamp in hand, one by one, they spread their legs and opened their vulvas to each other — excited and nervous to see what they’d find. They were astonished to discover what appeared to be flowers growing out from between their legs. Even more surprising was that each woman’s flower was unique. Shiny, smooth, plush, rumpled, flowing, sleek, delicate, bold, dark, bright and a mix of both— each one different from the rest, like a field of wild flowers, and yet none more beautiful than the other. After exploring all of their flowers, both inside and out, the women marvelled at the lucky bees which came to taste the nectar hidden deep inside.
The women spent the rest of the evening and following morning sharing, laughing, being adorned with art, and noticing with surprise that the more they let their flowers open, the more clothing they shed.The opening wasn’t always easy and the women often felt conflicted with appearing one way on the outside and feeling another way on the inside. And of course they all wondered what would happen if the fire in their vulvas became too hot and their pots boiled over.
More naked still, and feeling brave from the deepened trust and connection, the women decided that it was time to play with the flowers that peeked out from beneath their legs and see what would happen to their already burning fire. Forming a circle they once again opened their legs and, with all of their flowers exposed at once, began to play. Like bees they buzzed and danced around the edges of their flowers — sometimes plunging in to taste the nectar — and sometimes teasing the petals, encouraging the nectar to trickle out. Their inner fires burned on and amidst the buzzing you could hear their bubbling pots rising higher than ever before.
All of a sudden, the clouds outside moved and the sun shone through the windows of the castle directly upon the flower of one of the goddesses who had at times, seemed slightly more reserved than some of the others. The other goddesses watched in awe as her flower opened up in full bloom before them. Crying and shaking in pleasure, her boiling pot spilled over the edges of her petals touching each of the other women. What they were touched by surprised them as it was not something you could feel with your fingers or see with your eyes. What came from her pot was simply more of HER. Her stories, her dreams, her hopes, her pleasures, her sorrow and her joys.
No longer afraid of their own pots boiling over, the other women let their flowers open wide and within minutes the entire room was in full bloom with each goddess spilling over the edges of their petals — being touched by the full celebration of who they are.
As they said goodbye the next day and left the castle, the women noticed that they no longer appeared regular on the outside and that, in fact, no one else appeared regular to them either. Could it be, they wondered, that we are all gods and goddesses with fires and boiling pots inside, simply afraid of showing who we are?
Dedicated with love to:Turtle, Princess tulip, Poretta,Maleficent, Becky, Beyonce, Lola, Pearl,Rapunzel, Boss lady, Unicorn, Coral, and all of the other goddesses I have sat in the circle with.