I have a small jar of ashes on my hallway table – the first thing I see when I walk through my door. They belong to our founder, creator of Bodysex®, “mother of masturbation,” Dr. Betty Dodson®.
They are a gift from Carlin Ross to the Bodysex Leaders when we complete our certification. The ashes are deeply meaningful to all of us, for all of our individual reasons.
For me, they represent how I got to rise from my ashes, to receive the gift of hers…
Over a decade ago (my early 20s), when I was still in deep emotional darkness about my incestuous sexual abuse, I would go to therapist and psychiatrists, some of whom were written up in major metropolitan cities as the best in the area, and I would share that I thought something was wrong with me.
I shared that I simply couldn’t connect to myself sexually the way my peers seem to be able to, and more importantly to myself the way that I intuitively knew I could or should be able to.
The responses I received ranged from the reductive and dismissive – “just buy a dildo” – to an alarmist catastrophic order to immediately increase the dosage of medications, group treatments and therapies – all very expensive – focused on rehashing past terrors with fellow women.
*I’m respectfully not using the word “victim” here because women are too strong for that.
I’m also not using the word “survivor” because of course we survived. We’ve been doing it for ages. Unfortunately, our abuse is “normal.”
It wasn’t until my thirties that I found what I needed.
I encountered it at 33 years old, May 2020, virtually walking into my first Bodysex® session with Carlin.
I immediately felt the power of both her and Betty’s real world knowledge, generosity, and life experiences. I felt their years of time spent connecting directly with women as women (not as survivors of sexual torture, or victims of men, or sufferers in a darkly repressed world.) In my session with her, I was seen, heard, normal, and ready for the solution that I previously could not find anywhere.
All along, the solution was simple.
- teach basic, accurate, information (education)
- provide supportive, loving community (sisterhood)
- prioritize practice (masturbation, personal investment of time, energy, money)
- allow imagination (fantasy)
Now that I’m better educated about my own body and sexual framework, I know I had tiny tension orgasms throughout my life. Prior to my work with Carlin as a Bodysex client, I would have said I had never had one.
A major healing point for me was the acknowledgement that I was normal, not in spite of or despite my sexual past, but quite literally because of it.
When over half the population, both men and women, experience some form of sexual violation, it is normal. No woman lives in a sexually free society, in a body that isn’t a constant target, or in a world where we don’t absorb the decades, generations, millenia of sexual violence.
How do we handle this normality?
To me, Bodysex® is a sisterhood that is “neither burdened nor blind.”
We come together as sisters to heal and transform the world around us, starting with ourselves. We get to be in the future together, not the past alone. We get to give to each other what the world does not provide by default – a safe and harmonious space to create, be free, explore sexuality, reclaim our bodies and ultimately, experience the life saving grace, beauty, joy and fun, of pleasure, in all of its forms.
I see we have two choices as we grow up and older: remain disconnected from our bodies and sexual selves, or reintegrate. Remaining disconnected is infinite suffering. Reintegrating is a finite pain.
As a fellow thriver, I’m here to share: The only way out is through the pain.
The good news is: we can do it. We’re strong enough. We’re the strongest beings in the world, if not physically in all cases, then certainly mentally, emotionally, energetically and of course, sexually.
Our own wells of sexual energy will fill us and heal us. Our Bodysex sisterhood supports us. Like a cast until we’re ready to break free again.
This is the power of Bodysex and sisterhood. A safe, sex-positive, accepting, holistic space to heal and mend and walk through the deep joys and pains of healing.
We provide education based on the female sexual response system so you don’t have to continue to carry shame about not being able to “achieve” or “perform” or “get there.” It’s not about that. It’s about self-love, self-pleasure, self-care, health, and full self-expression. Are orgasms a part of that? Of course. But it’s not the only part and it’s certainly not the end game.
What if we can’t have orgasms yet? No problem. We’ll teach you, and not a minute too soon, because we will respect your body, your healing, your mental and emotional health, and we’ll celebrate your orgasm’s perfect timeline. There’s no rush now or ever. We’ll give you all the time you need.
We’re here for you this time, instead of the other way around.
We focus on want you want, and your pleasure in whatever form that takes. Your pleasure could be a walk in the park, a hot shower, a massage, an ice cream, the sun on your skin, self-love, masturbation, and orgasm or…
We start from a gentle place of self-love and walk courageously into greater experiences of pleasure. With gratitude and acceptance for all of its forms.
We don’t focus on our pain, even though we give it space to exist, without resistance. We don’t focus on the past, or what happened, or the other people or persons involved. It happened and we can’t change that. Focusing backwards often brings us only more suffering and gets us back into our heads instead of our bodies. There are, of course, incredible therapists and psychiatrists, doctors and healers who work with us psychologically, but Bodysex® is here for your pleasure. We are here for you, and for each other.
We validate each other. We believe each other. We See each other. We Hear each other. And for many of us, we exist, authentically, for the first time, in another’s presence, together. We see each other’s complete Selves without rejection, judgment, fear, or shame. We hold the space for you to see yourself.
I think about my own experiences walking through all the challenges described above, and I can’t not think of the phoenix rising.
Of each one of us walking through the fire to emerge victorious and stronger, more agile and powerful than ever before. Ready to share the baton of courage and strength wider and further. The flame grows more potent with each transformation occurring. The sun getting brighter.