“The largest, and to some, the most beautiful flowering plant is the giant water lily. It floats gracefully on the water and blooms a large fragrant flower. What we don’t see is that the root is anchored in gross, dark mud. For something beautiful to blossom, it has to draw nutrients from the undesirable, the hidden, the decayed. I think that we are like that. The nutrients drawn from tough experiences contains the plasma that builds petals. So don’t shy away from jamming rootstock into the heart of the riverbank.” Mark Andrew
Reflecting on this past weekends Bodysex workshop, I can’t help but notice how the stages we pass through perfectly mimic the stages of an orgasm.
The beginning can be awkward as we tentatively seek to get to know each other. Like sex with ourself or another, we are often shy and nervous yet hopeful and hesitantly expectant that the experience will be the release that we need. I have never seen so clearly how layers of shame can cover us as I did this weekend. How even when we are completely naked we can remain hidden. As the initial awkwardness of our nakedness becomes the norm, we unintentionally find new ways to hold back. We cross our legs or arms, we hide our eyes, we over talk or talk too little – carefully constructing what we want to share, all the while knowing that there is so much more to uncover. The amount of energy that we put into covering what we are afraid others – or ourselves – will see, is tremendous and exhausting. It is also a barrier to our pleasure.
The beginning circle was almost like the dance of foreplay, getting to know each other, learning our curves and edges, and by the time we reached the show and tell – opening up our vulvas in front of each other, marvelling at our anatomy, and noting with fascination the differences in colour, shape and size of each of us – we began to feel more bonded. We held hands and blessed each woman’s vulva with a name – sending love and acceptance to her in her uniqueness. I have never been more touched by the power and necessity of this ceremony as I was this weekend.
When I am building my orgasms I often hold back, sitting on the edge enjoying the ride – not allowing myself to fall in until I can’t hold off any longer. In this sense I went through day one of the workshop as if I was edging an orgasm. Building up, wanting to surrender, but feeling the need to hold back until I could fully trust the experience enough to let it happen.
On day two I went in early to the workshop space and laid there filling the room with my orgasmic energy before the others arrived. These two orgasms, while satisfying, were like small shudders that happen before the huge release that I was building to. I knew that I was holding back and it was time to begin letting go. Knowing that I cannot aspire to the highest with one part of myself while denying it in another, I stared my own shame in the eye and saw that it was a question of me or it.
I opened the circle with a story that I had been holding in – afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted if they knew it yet so badly needing their acceptance. As words flowed out with my tears, I reminded myself of Betty’s reassurance that “The sisterhood will always carry you as long as you carry your honest I’’s” and when I looked around the room I knew that she was right. I saw love, understanding and acceptance and with my sharing done, the woman beside me went into the deep mud of her riverbank and shared her story. As we looked into her eyes and showed her our love and acceptance of all that she is, another woman spoke up followed by another and another and another and another. Stories of abuse, grief, lost love, infidelity, hopelessness, struggling to find our voice, yearning, reproductive trauma, rejection, redemption and aloneness poured out of us. Like water lily’s anchored in “gross, dark, mud” we drew nutrients from these experiences and our petals grew as we shared them. We cried and we laughed, holding hands and expressing our love for the realness, the authenticity and the muddy roots.
After the shedding of clothing, finding understanding in our physical bodies, and sharing our vulnerability we were now ready to surrender to our orgasms and celebrate our pleasure. We lay back and began the erotic recess with moans, soft and loud, filling the room as each woman “edged” her orgasm for the last time. Having shed so many heavy layers of my own shame there was no part of me to hold back or avoid. I was so aware of the sensations in my body that each bead of sweat down my back felt like the touch of a lover. Surrendering to orgasm after orgasm I heard and witnessed uncontrollable peals of laughter with the release of a laughgasm, shouts of “Same time next Sunday!?” and “Oh my GOD!” as we experienced the indescribable joy of sharing our pleasure waves and our beautiful petals with women who had also seen our muddy roots.
Like any great sexual experience, it should always be followed by touch. So with our bodies softened and defences down we began group massage with each woman receiving 10 minutes of loving touch, over her entire body. The reverence in this experience cannot be downplayed and if it is the most amazing thing that I ever give or receive in my life – it will be enough.
To end this fully orgasmic weekend we sat in a circle holding hands, tearfully looking into each others eyes and saying a word that encapsulated the experience for us. The words we spoke were free, connected, transcending, acceptance, warm, amazing, released, lightening and life changing. Then we raised our hands into the air and sent our orgasmic energy out in to the world in thanks to Betty Dodson who paved the way for this circle of sisterhood.
Thank you also to my sisters: