Having more time at home with my family this past year has given me time to reflect on my life, values, the work I do and my reasons for doing it. This time of reflection has strengthened my resolve to wait for in person workshops to resume, rather than converting them to online delivery. It’s also reminded me of the value I get from my work that doesn’t come from the fee, but from my experiences with the people I work with. I do this work for reasons that online formats and money can’t provide me.
I do this work for…… the initially awkward and distant couple who is struggling to bridge the divide between them. For the moment that one of them softens, turns towards the other, looks up into their eyes and shows them — sometimes for the first time — that they are willing to do their part to break through their divide.
I do this work for…… the people who are afraid there is something horribly wrong with their body and that no one would ever love them if they see it. I do it for the moment that we show each other our bodies and they realize that just like me, they are okay as they are — exactly as they are — and that someone who loves them will think so too.
I do this work for…… the middle aged married woman who brings herself to orgasm for the first time in her life and, through her tears, cries over and over “I’m normal!”
I do this work for…… the seemingly cocky man who ends up admitting that he needs help because he’s scared in intimacy, can’t relax enough to get aroused and is so afraid of making a mistake that he can’t even listen to his partner. I do it for the moment he learns what relaxation feels like in his body and that arousal happens naturally when he takes time to allow it. I do it for the emails he excitedly sends after sessions telling me how he was able to hear his partner for the first time and that he allowed himself the time to become fully aroused in sex.
I do this work for…… the moments in Bodysex retreats that happen after workshop hours are over. When I see Justine lovingly adorn a naked woman’s scars with henna, cuddle piles in different corners of the room, shared laughter over stories and experiences of women from different ages and walks of life.
I do this work for……. what I learn about a Counselling client from the moments they break eye contact with me, look down at the floor, shift their legs, say “ummm,” start playing with their hair, bite their lip or fold their hands across their stomach. I may not know what any of these necessarily mean for them, but I know there’s something there. By being present with them, I can notice and ask them about it.
I do this work for…… the child with ADHD who feels completely misunderstood and doesn’t understand why they’re in trouble for something they did. I do it for the moment they tell me why they did it (which most often makes perfect sense) and the recognition and love on their parents face as they understand for the first time.
I do this work for…..me.
I love my work and miss the group workshops, and more in person interactions. And yet, I also don’t want to do it any other way. So — just like edging an orgasm — I’m patiently enjoying this time as a gift for what it’s showing me, and will fully celebrate the groups( and the orgasms) when they happen.<3
Happy Valentines day from my cold ass to yours! I hope that we can all feel love within ourselves to have a day sprinkled with self compassion and grace for the journey we’ve travelled, the mistakes we’ve made, our wobbly parts and all things in between. Happy valentines day to me, to you, to life! (And all the warm naked beach days to come)
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 was having a drink with a friend I’ve known from way back the other night when she said “I always tell people how you used to wear capris all summer because you hated your legs and you were fully covered up no matter how hot a day it was. Now look at you!” Lying on my bed listening to her say this, my mind kept going back and forth between those days of such body/self hatred to the present moment of being so comfortable in my body that I’m consciously trying to remember to keep my bare pussy contained in the tiny onesie I’m wearing.
It’s easy to forget how much the way I feel in this body has changed over the last 7 years. Before my first nude Bodysex workshop in NYC, I hated it. I don’t mean dislike, I mean hated it. I thought my legs were too big, vulva lips too long and my stomach too wrinkly and loose from all my pregnancies. The only time you’d see me in shorts was when I wore them in the swimming pool over my basic black one piece. I remember clearly thinking, when I walked into that Bodysex workshop, that I was disgusting and now everyone in the room would know it too. But they didn’t see me as disgusting, they saw me as me.
I survived that weekend feeling liberated and inspired. I realized that even though I still didn’t necessarily like my body, I wanted to like it. But how? Covering my body had allowed me to avoid it and in a sense I could almost pretend that it wasn’t a part of me. I remember thinking so many times that “if only my legs looked skinnier or my stomach firm again they’d feel like mine.” I put conditions on my body’s worth and yet treated others with love unconditionally.
Taking a cue from my Bodysex experience, I decided to actively and regularly uncover my body. I started looking at myself, touching myself and was even convinced by my friend to let her take nude photos of me. I was terrified, but with her and another woman’s support, I relaxed enough to enjoy the ultimate pleasure of sun on my bare skin. I even felt kind of pretty. The more I got naked, the more normal it felt and the more normal it felt, the more I craved it. When I began leading my own Bodysex workshops there wasn’t a woman in my circles that I couldn’t see myself in – and all I saw was beauty. Maybe my legs didn’t need to be thinner to be mine. Maybe my vulva lips contain an abundance of glorious nerve endings to provide me with a life time (and more) of pleasure. Maybe the loose skin on my stomach made me even more me.
When I look at these pictures now, I want to wrap my arms around the woman in them and say that her thick,strong legs will do an amazing job carrying her up and down the steepest hills of her life. That her long vulva lips will come to signify that they’re as excited for life as she will be and just don’t want to be contained, that her stomach will someday simply be a reminder of the most important people in her life – her children. She is this body but she’s also so much more. I am this body, but I’m also so much more.
These days my most favourite thing to do is to be naked outside, naked inside, naked, naked, naked. It soothes me when I’m sad, comforts me when I’m lonely and makes me feel like I’m drop dead gorgeous. Is it true? Who knows. Who cares. It’s what I feel today in this body of mine.
**special thanks to Betty, Carlin and Bodysex <3
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.
*based on conversations I’ve witnessed between clients and in my own life.
my insecurities make me selfish………..
i turn off the lights before sex so that you don’t see the parts of my body that disgust even me.
I thought maybe you wanted the lights off because I’ve gained weight this year and my abs aren’t defined.
i don’t give you head because I don’t think I’m good at it and I don’t want to disappoint you.
I thought you didn’t like my dick because it’s too small.
i don’t let you go down on me because I think my pussy is gross and you can’t possibly want to lick it.
I thought you just don’t like the way I lick you.
when I orgasm I put my face against a pillow because I don’t want you to see how weird I look.
It hurts me that in our most intimate moments you won’t look at me.
my favourite sex position is doggy style but I never want to do it because you might see the cellulite on my ass.
I thought you didn’t want to do it because my belly is too big.
i fake orgasms because I’m embarrassed by how long it takes me to actually have one.
I thought you faked because I’m no good at pleasuring you.
when you gave me the gift for my birthday and I complained about it being too expensive instead of thanking you, it was because I didn’t think I deserved something so special.
I thought “I’ve screwed up again.”
i stopped initiating sex because of that time when I lost my erection and I felt like I’d failed you.
I thought you stopped initiating because I’m no longer attractive to you.
i don’t talk to you at work because I think you’re way smarter than me and I don’t want to look stupid.
I thought you didn’t want to know me.
i didn’t ask you out on a date because I couldn’t face the rejection if you said no.
I thought you just didn’t like me.
i’ve never invited you into my home because I’m embarrassed of it.
I thought you don’t care about me.
i didn’t tell you that you look nice the other day — even though I thought you did — because I was scared you’d say it back to be polite and I know that I didn’t look nice.
I would have loved hearing you say that.
i never ask you to do anything with me, or say yes when you ask me, because I think I’m boring and no fun to be around -unlike you who’s so interesting!
I thought you must think I’m no fun to be around.
i wanted to bring you a meal when your mom died but I was scared I’d say the wrong thing so I avoided you.
I felt unsupported and unloved.
my insecurities make me selfish………….