The more Bodysex® workshops I do, the more I’m reminded how far I’ve come since I started this journey nearly 7 years ago. For the first several years, each workshop brought about massive shifts in me — as if I was literally digging up a proverbial pile of steaming, hot, shit from deep inside myself and hauling it out to look at and take apart. Sometimes I’d feel rejuvenated for weeks after and, sometimes completely raw and wiped out. As time went on —I learned that I always survive the vulnerability of this excavation — and I started to notice things feeling lighter and easier. The big, old pile of shit got smaller and smaller leaving only remnants of shit to scrape up — shit that comes from no longer having these old burdens to weigh me down. Shit that arises from feeling so aligned with myself and my values that it feels impossible to follow my old way of pleasing others or accommodating myself to fit into what I think others want of me. Getting rid of that massive pile of shit, makes me ask myself “If I’m not looking for others approval as my guide to what’s right and wrong for me: What is actually right and wrong for me? What are my values?”
This past weekend in Quebec Bodysex® , I noticed remnants of my old pile of shit — particularly around shame in pleasure. Much of my work revolves around pleasure and mostly I know I have a right to it and I exercise that right all the time. I don’t feel shame in masturbation, pleasure with my partner, fantasy etc. however, I can see that I still have societal conditioning around where it’s appropriate and how that’s tied into the ways I imagine others view me. As we sat down for lunch on the first day of the workshop, one woman said “pleasure is reason enough.” I have probably said that 100 times before but hearing it from her really made me wonder if I actually believe it in all areas of my life. Cognitively yes I do, but do I know it with my whole heart and soul? Do I align with that in my life? Am I still caught in what others would think of me if I enjoy things solely for pleasure or if I actually seek things out for pleasure? We explored this idea a lot throughout the workshop through fantasy, juicy stories from our lives and self pleasuring together. Those all felt very safe and comfortable for me because they fit in to what is already authentically aligned within me.
Raised in a Christian home by a minister who felt shame for pleasure, I think (as is true for many of us) shame has been passed down in my lineage. I feel shame to share that I’m going on a trip to Mexico with my family this winter (and that I’m really excited!), or to want a glass of wine on Friday night. I don’t feel shame in doing those things, I feel shame in wanting them because they’re pleasurable — like wanting things for pleasure is somehow wrong. I can feel shame that my touch at times might feel pleasurable to a client I’m working with in Intimacy Coaching, or that I might feel pleasure in their touch. On further reflection, I don’t feel shame that pleasure happens, I feel shame if I enjoy it.
Reflecting on my beautiful weekend in Quebec, and pondering all of this as I write, I can almost hear the metal shovel scraping the ground under this pile of shit. The pile isn’t big, these beliefs aren’t strong anymore, I know that pleasure heals and to feel it means I am present and alive and open and none of that is wrong — even though most of my life I was too shut off to feel it. I am alive and open to feel with my Bodysex® sisters, in dedicated time with my family, in sessions with my clients and in beautiful intimacy with my partner. I find it ironic that breaking down my conditioning has allowed me to be present enough to feel an enjoyment for pleasure itself and, that it’s in that very thing, that I feel the most shame.
Thank you to my Bodysex® sisters who’s unconditional love and acceptance helped me to get rid of a bit more of my shit and remind me that Pleasure is reason enough.
With love to:
Blossom, Wildy, Mangue Juteuse, Cock Licker, Heart, Mystery, Fantasia, Anahata, Rose, Happy Flower, Sunda, Papillon
For anyone who wonders what a Bodysex® experience can be like, or about what I do and why it means so much to me, ….. here is a powerful testimonial from a woman who was in the circle with me this month in Quebec.
I have one spot left open in Bodysex® Saskatoon Nov. 26-28.
“My challenge for the weekend was to free myself from my blockages in relation to pleasure and to reconnect with my body and its beauty, my beauty. I got naked, both physically and emotionally, in front of the magnificent group of women that we were. Still, that wasn’t the hardest part for me. It is rather to look at myself fully, straight in the soul and in the heart. Not just telling my story and the reasons why I had come to dislike my body, but rather looking at myself from within, in order to dust off and let the light in. There, I found love for myself, admiration and wonder for my body which carried life and which can now create differently. There, I found the desire to surrender to pleasure rather than get rid of it because of the fear of losing my balance. I reconnected with my senses and my inner joy. I was able to say “I am a woman in a sexual body and I have the right to pleasure”. By saying this sentence, I have freed myself from a socially accepted view of the female body and the stifling of its power. I chose to respect myself and name my wants and needs rather than accept everything with the fear of hurting. I also learned to love my vulva, despite or rather thanks to its difference. Natasha has helped a lot in this process, because she knows how to put us at ease.
A week after the workshop, I still feel beautiful, inside and out. I feel powerful, alive and grateful. I really needed this workshop, this feeling of deep and authentic connection with other women. Each of them came to enlighten a part of me through their shared experience. I found it so beautiful to feel that despite our sometimes very different life stories, we were all linked by similar aspirations and challenges. I recommend to all those who hesitate to participate in the Bodysex workshop to dare step out of their comfort zone and dive into the pleasure zone! No matter what level the job needs to be done, the weekend will take you in leaps and bounds towards greater happiness and better self-knowledge. I could go on and on talking about the workshop…I am so deeply grateful for Natasha and Marika for having led it by goddesses hands. Thank you for offering this space of transformation and liberation. Thank you for everything!”
I’m sitting in a farmer’s field about ten minutes from my home, naked, leaning against a hay bale.
The wind is blowing my hair in crazy directions, and I imagine myself as one of those women in books who looks wild and free and you can just tell by her wind blown hair that she had some great orgasms that day …… and every day.
My skin is brown from all the summer sunshine, and when I turn my legs towards it, I can see my blond thigh hair, shimmer like gold.
A tampon string dangles from my vulva and I take it out, happy that I don’t need to worry about staining any sheets in this field.
There are two tummy rolls at the bottom of my stomach and I place my hand over them, tracing the stretch marks that make a spiral pattern around my belly button. I think back to the words of the surgeon I went to years ago, who asked me why I wanted to change this part of my body. Closing my eyes and feeling the texture that the stretch marks offer my fingers, I give thanks that I didn’t —and imagine my beautiful children growing inside my belly — pushing and stretching my skin with their long limbs.
My eyes move down to my vulva and I see my lips like the petals of a flower blooming in the morning sun. Encouraging them to bloom some more, I move my hand towards the petals and feel their softness. Years back I used to feel ashamed of how fully I bloom. Today, I don’t think there is a part of my body as beautiful as my pussy, and I promise to give her thanks every day for the plentiful gifts she offers me.
I pleasure myself in this field — against the bail that I imagine the farmer put there just for me. A mom of 5 on her evening walk, with her dog who’s off chasing geese.
I laugh as I cum, and afterwards, stand up and put my clothes back on to go back to the city, my home and my family. Seeing the wet spot on the ground I think with a smile, of the abundant crop the farmer will be blessed with next year.
*****My orgasm and my words are dedicated with endless love, to Betty Dodson – my mama of pleasure on her 91st birthday today.
I facilitated my first Bodysex circle nearly 5 years ago and since then, 158 women have sat in my circles — baring and celebrating their bodies, their stories, their vulvas, and their pleasure with me. There is no place on earth that I feel more at home, more embodied or more comfortable than when I’m in the Bodysex circle. It’s like a huge full bodied exhale every time. With each group of women, I’m reminded of the beauty of my body exactly as it is, the threads of connection between all of us, that none of my shame is unique just to me, and the never-ending heights of pleasure that I can reach with my oh so glorious right hand.
I love body sex. I love writing blogs about it. I love the women who show up to each circle, and the dialogue that often starts between us long before they arrive and continues long after they leave. I love that every single day that I pleasure myself, I can learn something new in my body.
And…. I’ve come to realize that what I really don’t love is the idea of doing any of the ever evolving forms of advertising that I’m told, and sometimes tell myself, I should be doing to promote these circles. It feels too much like convincing or selling and I’m really over convincing anyone of anything that has to do with me — whether it’s more time from a lover, the value of my work, or to listen to my feelings. Bodysex is powerful and…. not necessarily for everyone. Only you can decide if it’s right for you and it feels inauthentic for me to try to do anything to convince you otherwise. What does feel authentic though, is providing the space and inviting any woman — who is willing and open to this experience — to join me. I’m always here to field questions, calm fears and share in excitement (yours and mine!) — but I’m not going to try to convince you.
So with this being said I am going to have 2 set dates for Bodysex/ year in Saskatchewan (along with my Quebec dates). I will have a waiting list as well and if there is enough interest I’m super happy to add dates, but I’m not going to chase anyone or try to fill spots. My next Saskatchewan date is set for March 27-29th https://natashasalaash.com/bodysex-saskatchewan-workshop-retreat-spring-2020/and I’m working on setting a fall date for an Advanced Bodysex retreat. (for women who have attended at least 1 regular Bodysex and would like to explore pleasure deeper)
This feels good! It feels authentic, non stressful, relaxed, true to me and something that my 5 years ago self would not have had the clit for. ha ha <3
I often get asked what my self pleasure and orgasms are like after the last 4 years of doing Bodysex and Orgasm coaching. The truth is I’ve spent countless hours and days practicing, playing with my body, breath, sounds, positions, hands and toys. I’ve charted my orgasms everyday for a month to see what I’d discover and the most quantifiable data I found, was that my pleasure is best when I take the time to make love with myself using my hands — savouring my entire body. Quickies have their place and can turn around my day when it’s headed in the wrong direction, but what I really love the most is to “edge” my orgasms. Edging means I build my pleasure using my hands and my breath right up to the place where pleasure and orgasm meet. Instead of crossing into that though, I continue stimulating myself while grounding my breath (breathing low into my belly) to stay there, savouring every moment of the pleasure. When the pleasure becomes less intense, I build my pleasure higher with my breath (breathing up into my chest) until I reach another height of pleasure. Then, when that level becomes less intense, I once again use my breath to reach a higher one, and so on, until finally I’m up so high that I can’t see what’s down below and —inevitably fall over the edge into orgasm. The orgasm at this point comes not only from within me, but also from above me — like stars falling down on me while fireworks explode from inside me. It’s long, comes from my whole body — it’s an accumulative celebration of my whole self. This conscious, sensual and intimate practice helps me honour myself and, apart from time in nature, is my spirituality.
Sometimes, parts of my pleasure fall over the edge a bit too soon leading to tiny bursts of orgasm and I feel like I’m cheated on both ends. I don’t want to edge or surrender with only a part of me — I want all of me there. With more time on this edge I’ve discovered that parts of me fall in pieces when my breath doesn’t go deep enough into me — allowing me to be grounded at the same time as I’m climbing. This need to feel I’m on the ground while reaching such great heights of pleasure is a big one, as it’s really only with my feet on the ground that I feel safe enough to fall. I see this need in many men and women I work with and it reminds me how essential it is to feel safety and trust (within ourselves first and foremost) in order to fully experience pleasure.
In this “edge place,” the pleasure in my body creates a fantastical image in my mind of……
A woman on the edge of a cliff in Nova Scotia. She’s wearing a long white dress with an apron, a basket in her hands and a straw hat on her head. The grass around her is green and lush and her surroundings — from the waves crashing onto a cliff opposite her, to the wind blowing onto her — are a scene of immense pleasure. The woman has walked long to get to this edge, slowing down and even stopping at different times on her journey to enjoy the beauty of the world around her. At these times she closes her eyes, leans back and absorbs everything she can of the sounds,smells, and tastes of the scene around her. When she is satiated in the experience — but not tempted enough to stay, she moves on until she is overcome once again with such pleasure that she needs to pause and absorb it. On and on she goes until finally, after quite some time, she stops at the cliffs’ edge. The edge of this cliff is the most beautiful place the women has ever been and yet that surprises her because she can’t see what’s down below at all— she simply senses its beauty from deep inside her.
Eyes closed once again she spreads her arms out and lets the wind and the splash of distant waves touch her face and lightly wet her dress. Teetering on that edge her hat falls off, down, down below to the place of beauty she hasn’t yet seen and still she holds on — not wanting to let go of the beauty up top. Slightly disappointed that part of her already let go, she focuses on the fact that her hair is free now to blow with the wind — making the pleasure even more exquisite. The wind, sensing her pleasure building, increases its strength until her basket too falls — leaving room for her arms to spread out wide in full reception of the pleasure around her. Caught off guard by her basket falling, she reflexively opens her mouth causing her to breathe in more life through the wind, while her body is drawn to pull and sway along with it. Standing there swaying, mouth and arms wide open on the edge of the most beautiful cliff in the world, the woman wonders for a fleeting moment if she wants to leave this beauty for the unknown beauty that’s over the edge. The wind seemingly hearing her fear, reassures her by breathing more life into her — causing her to inhale deeper — bringing air right down into her feet until she feels the dirt under the grass between her toes. As soon as she feels the earth below her, her mouth opens wider, and she allows the wind to breathe her breath upwards this time bringing with it the most exquisite pleasure she’s ever felt in her life. In this moment of pure ecstasy, the woman forgets to hold on and, like a leaf falling off a tree, lets go — blessed by the wind and the waves……. into the place she can’t see but feels already in her heart.
I was 34 when I first noticed the stirrings in my body that people call desire. I had just weaned my 5th child and my body seemed to sense that my time for nourishing babies was over. Like a magnet being pulled towards a force, my vulva felt ripe, charged and open. Up until this point sex had always been something I did for someone else’s pleasure, to be a good wife or girl friend, or to feel loved. I had never orgasmed during sex or been pleasured by anyone else to the point of orgasm. In fact, looking back, I’m not sure any man that I had been with had even tried to pleasure me. I masturbated in secret at times — just to get a quick fix — feeling awful shame and guilt that I was “cheating.”
These new feelings of desire excited me and brought awareness to my body and caring for it in ways I hadn’t thought of for 13 years — when all of my focus had been on supporting and raising others. I became more aware of how different foods made me feel and began to exercise and take dance classes. Curious about the near constant stirrings in my genitals, I sought out every book that I could find on desire, pleasure, orgasm and sex. I invited my then husband to read a book with me so that we could explore the activities in it together and he responded by suggesting that I read it and tell him what to do. I understood then that sharing pleasure with me wasn’t a priority for him.
Discouraged but not defeated I kept searching for a book that would help me learn, and in my search came across Betty Dodson’s book “Sex For One.” Finally I’d found a book about sex, pleasure, desire and orgasm that didn’t require having a willing partner to practice things with. With Betty’s help I began to practice masturbating using my hands and — with patience, persistence and the help of a timer — become orgasmic in this way for the first time! Being able to bring myself to orgasm with my hands also meant that I could orgasm during penetrative sex with my partner — as long as I was willing to help myself out. Sex changed for me once I knew what worked for my body and I celebrated the fact that I didn’t need to have pleasureless sex ever again. I loved Betty’s philosophy of taking ownership of your pleasure and not waiting on or blaming anyone else for a lack of it. I became epically good at pleasuring myself and my husband enjoyed the fact that I wanted sex everyday — until he wondered if I might be liking it too much.
When our marriage ended I continued pleasuring myself in soft and gentle ways that still included orgasm but were more focused on making love than sex. I made love to myself in front of a mirror keeping eye contact the whole time. I tried different positions, sounds, breathing patterns — exploring what felt good for me. Touching my body — in a way that I wished a lover would touch me — helped me through that time and also helped me begin to love and accept myself. Masturbation became so much more to me than a quick fix and I devoted hours of my time to it. Spending so much time intimately with myself helped me to recognize parts of my body that I hated (the ones I avoided touching) and provided me with opportunity to give those parts more love. I became my own lover, my own emotional support and my own source of pleasure. The self pleasure was good for my self esteem too as — realizing how good I felt to touch, I imagined my body would feel good to someone else too.
My “self skills” also helped me become more discerning with new partners because I knew how to have pleasure on my own and I no longer felt like sex was what I needed to do to feel loved. I remember one situation where I stopped right in the middle of making out with a guy and told him I was done. It was a one time encounter and it became clear to me that the only way I would have any pleasure with him would be if I did it myself — which I knew I could just as easily do after he was gone. He was shocked and asked if I would at least give him a blow job which of course I said no to. (Note that he didn’t ask if he could pleasure me) The high from choosing for myself and saying no instead of “enduring” unreciprocated pleasure, was like nothing else, and once again I was grateful that learning self pleasure meant learning to take care of myself in more ways than one. That night I had incredible sex with a partner who knew just what I liked and who loved me too — ME! After that I discovered that men were usually happy that I could bring myself to orgasm with some trying to pleasure me and others not bothering to. Some were intimidated by my relationship with myself and looking back I can see why, but I was so used to having to rely only on me that I knew no other way.
My path hasn’t been seamless and I’ve made many mistakes in an effort to untangle old patterns and beliefs around sex, worthiness and love — yet the whole time the one solid I’ve had through my journey is me. I’ve been there for myself in love and pleasure no matter what was happening or who I was with. Today I’m in a relationship with a man who’s as good at pleasuring me as I am, and I recognize it as a beautiful gift to have someone excited to explore and share with me. Having relied on myself for so long it isn’t always easy for me to receive from him and I still battle with fears of him not wanting to put in the time or effort for me. But he continues to — in non demanding and non expectant ways — and each time I respond by softening and trusting more. As good as I am at doing it alone, it’s wonderful to have someone who wants to do it with me.
Desire throbs between my legs everyday and I know the source and abundance of it depend on me — in my love for myself…for pleasure….for life. Like any relationship worth keeping, I don’t take it for granted and make sure to devote time alone in pleasure and love with myself often. Soft lips that swell under my fingertips. Wetness. Curves. Stretch marks. Squishy tummy. Scars. Each time I touch my body I don’t have to imagine that it would feel good to someone else, I know — because it feels good to me.