Circles of Women are Powerful, Healing Spaces

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Carlin Ross

These past few months have been hard.  I want to blame it on perimenopause.  I want to disconnect from my body, disassociate from the flight response building in my limbs. I think that’s why we scrape orgasm off our plate: it allows us to live without feeling, live without outrage. Yesterday, I spent the early morning surfing orgasm waves and connecting to my anger.

As I wade through my newsfeed, I can’t believe what I’m reading.  Women forced to carry dead fetuses to term at the risk of their lives and later fertility.  Calls to limit women’s ability to cross state lines to receive healthcare.  Doctors fearing criminal charges for providing miscarriage support.  Women facing civil lawsuits for helping friends leave abusive marriages and end unwanted pregnancies.  Laws prohibiting divorce if you’re pregnant…even in cases of domestic violence.  Where the fuck are we living?

It's like déjà vu because I lived this before.  I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist home where women and girls had no voice but were merely property of their husbands and fathers.  No abortion, no birth control, no choice in marriage…then it progressed to limits on education and working outside the home.  Girls couldn’t wear pants or listen to popular music.  I remember getting in trouble for stealing my friend’s library card and reading “secular” books that were later burned.

Images of the women and girls I witnessed abused and denied flood my mind.  Some simply went numb.  Others had mental breakdowns.  One women’s husband had her lobotomized so he could marry the babysitter.  I will never forget how kind she was – how she lost her children and her home and her mental capacity all in the name of male gratification. Eating disorders were common yet their suffering was ignored. I couldn’t turn away.  I saw them.  I took on their pain and used it to fight for my education, leave my family, and head out on my own. 

What I learned is that authoritarianism starts with the desire to control women’s bodies. Violence at its core is rooted in the repression of female sexuality.  

I got out and found my way to Betty Dodson.  Bodysex was the missing piece.  I needed the communion of women.  I needed to see them and be seen by them, to share my truth and witness theirs.  I remember my first genital show and tell like it was yesterday.  In a few moments, I felt connected to every woman in the room. Erotic recess opened-up something I’d never experienced: sharing sex energy on my own terms for my own pleasure completely supported by each woman in the space. It was pure joy and it was fun.  Thank you, Betty.

Circles of women are powerful, healing spaces. I’m so looking forward to our next workshop in May. For four days, we’ll be on the mountain surrounded by nature and the colors of Tibet exploring our bodies with courage and love. Holding the space for women to heal is my fuck you to the insanity circling around us.

Where the next election takes us remains to be seen. All I know is that I believe in women. No matter what we face we can always reach down, hug our vulva, and take an orgasm. That may be the most revolutionary, feminist act we can ever perform.

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