Bodysex Rituals are Exercises in Shared Vulnerability

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Carlin Ross

Carrying the legacy of an icon like Betty Dodson can be crushing at times. I’m representing Betty’s life’s work while trying to incorporate my experience taking Bodysex virtual during covid. There are complexities in the repression of female sexuality that are new, different than when Betty practiced. How do you create a 4-day immersive experience that stays true to the rituals and philosophy of Bodysex? How do I honor Betty?

Over the last two years of retreats, we’ve incorporated “assistants” (certified Bodysex coaches and coaches-in-training) and made subtle adjustments.  This past retreat: we nailed it.

We decided to keep the group small – 25 women. There was so much demand post-lockdown that we tried larger groups. The rituals are just as powerful, but I couldn’t make a connection with each woman (like we did when we were in Betty’s living room). This time it felt different.  I was able to share conversation, devote time to each woman - better understand her journey and her needs.

We decided to hold an erotic recess with our assistants the first night we arrived at Menla, to open the space with our sex energy. The bond we created amongst ourselves on that first night created this warm, supportive, powerful energy for the rest of the retreat. By holding space for our assistants, we empowered them to hold space for the women heading up the mountain. There were these colored lights on the stage in the shrine room and I decided to stand in front of the light and let the colors wash over my body.

Some of the deepest connections happen between the women - I love this about Bodysex.  

There was a group who went on a hike not knowing they chose the most advanced trail. Suddenly, the trail went straight uphill without warning.One of the women started having a panic attack. The others supported her, coached her on, stayed at her side. She didn’t realize it, but she was 2 minutes from the summit. When they got to the top, it was breathtaking. Their experience became a metaphor for orgasm: we’re only 2 minutes from the summit. With the support of the other women, we can all get there.

Bodysex rituals are simply exercises in shared vulnerability. This shared vulnerability creates connection – connection creates a sense of power in each woman….the power to keep going, the power to speak our truth, the power of live our own lives as we see fit.

I host a virtual erotic recess the month after every retreat. This past Sunday we all logged on to reconnect.Some of the women took workshops in the past – most were at May’s retreat. I love to see the bond between them, to hear the stories of their travels home and how much Bodysex means to them. One woman shared how she didn’t want to be anywhere else.I felt the same way. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday: surrounded by love and acceptance and pleasure.

Some women were there to connect to their orgasm. Some women were there to process grief.  Some women were there for personal growth. We were all there to experience sisterhood.

I hope Betty would be proud. I think she would love the vulva massage circle, dance party, and pizza after group massage. There are so many moments I wish I could share but what happens in the circle stays in the circle. Each woman was fabulous. Our assistants were outstanding.

Thank you







We will be heading back to Menla October 14-17 for our last retreat of 2024.  If you’d like to join us in the circle, click here.

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