Anything I Do to Any Part of My Body will be Done Solely for MY PLEASURE
I am training to become a Bodsex Leader. This summer I attended the Bodysex workshop, as an assistant, to complete part of the certification process. Before arriving at the workshop, I had a serious case of nerves about maneuvering around my large goddess belly while sitting in the circle. There’s a part of me that wants to be thinner than I am because I believe sex educators should look a certain way. Thankfully Laura reminded me to let go of that thought and show up in the circle proudly, regardless of my size.
For the June workshop I traveled from my home in Playa del Carmen, Mexico to New York with a friend who I invited to experience a Bodysex Circle. We landed at LaGuardia airport, picked up a rental car, and enjoyed a scenic drive to Menla - a retreat center in Upstate New York.
The drive to Menla was absolutely gorgeous because the property is nestled deep in the Catskill Mountains so there are tons of creeks and rivers along the way. We stopped a few times to take in all of nature’s beauty and, of course, for selfies. When we arrived at Menla, my friend and I walked up to a cabin that faced a pristine mountain forest; we shared a cozy room.
After unloading the car and unpacking bags, I gathered with all the assistant facilitators by the fireplace in the main cabin. Everyone hugged and talked. Then we discussed workshop logistics and started beautifying it for participants (think soft blankets, vibrators, lube, and so much more!). Once the room was set-up, I had the rest of the day to explore the property and connect with others. I’m a spa connoisseur (lol) so I had to enjoy two treatments at Dewa Spa right on Menla’s property. It was the perfect way to end a long travel day.
TOSH’S BODYSEX EXPERIENCE
Retreat participants arrived the next day. The Bodysex experience kicked off with happy hour mingling followed by dinner. After dinner everyone entered a classroom where Carlin and Laura officially welcomed participants and began teaching pleasure anatomy; I always love learning about the female model of sexual response and I wish I knew this in my 20s.
For the next two days 28 women (divided into 2 groups of 14) gathered in Bodysex Circles and practiced four rituals.
GROUP SHARE is the first ritual where each woman openly shared her relationship with her body and orgasm. I felt a piece of myself in each woman as we went around the circle and answered the questions, "how do you feel about your body" and "how do you feel about your orgasm." I shared my sadness about the way I plucked, waxed, and treated my vulva over the years. I grappled with the realization and sadness that I maintained a vulva grooming routine that was more about pleasing men than pleasing myself. In recent years I established a boundary that anything I do, to any part of my body, will be done solely for MY PLEASURE, not for the male gaze/attention. Having this perspective, at this stage in life feels good, but I also have so much compassion for my 20/30 year old self who didn’t know or didn’t feel confident enough to OPT OUT and say “My body, my rules. Fuck your standard.”
Then we moved into the second ritual, GENITAL SHOW & TELL. I have a large goddess belly so I was fretting about leading and being able to find a comfortable position for this ritual. I told Laura my concern and she invited me to practice positioning myself, which settled my nerves. I maneuvered around my belly without any issue and displayed my vulva. I felt so liberated and powerful, sitting in the circle, examining my own sex organ in a mirror with a light. It was such a healing moment as I fully RECLAIMED the sacredness and power of my body. All of my shame about my belly, my size, and my feelings of not enoughness faded away.
EROTIC RECESS is the third ritual that happened on the second retreat day. Carlin taught specific techniques that we practiced together. I loved being surrounded with female sex positive energy. I explored my body, played with Bodysex techniques, and had some yummy orgasms. I listened to the sexy moans in the room and loved on my body. I enjoyed being alone but together with the group. When I wasn’t pleasuring, I took breaks during erotic recess and ate DELICIOUS chocolate dipped apricots! Plus, as a leader in training, I offered support to other women in finding their pleasure. It felt natural to sit with women and discuss sex. I imagine this is how it was in ancient, tribal days when women shared their sexual knowledge with each other.
We finished the weekend with the final ritual NON-SEXUAL GROUP BACK MASSAGE. It was a wonderful experience! I laid face down on a velvet blanket and four women massaged my back and legs with almond oil in the most loving, non-judgemental way. It was such an affirming experience.
This was my second Bodysex Circle and it showed me that sexuality has no age limit and erotic pleasure has no expiration date. Women of all ages and all sizes were in the Circle having satisfying orgasms…it’s easy once you understand how your vulva works. I truly enjoyed being in a sex positive, non-judgemental space with like-minded women and I can’t wait to lead my own Bodysex Circles.
Tosh's site: blackgoddesscollective.com