After over a year of lockdowns, it was time to join together in real life with women.

Bodysex online is brave, do not get me wrong. It is big work sitting down to face yourself, even in the privacy of your own company, and showing up naked with other women, strangers? Well, my friends, it is a whole different thing. To be seen, to be vulnerable to the nth degree? I want to meet women who possess that level of courage. Or maybe it’s chutzpah (sp?). And lucky freaking me, I got to meet 8 of them in one day. Madness.

This was also my first time having support facilitating. My Orgasmic Life operations manager (aka my work wife), Jacqueline was there the day before and the day of to help me do all the running around and set up. It’s a lot.

I usually do everything by myself, which is easier emotionally, but it’s also not sustainable. Allowing in support was an exercise in letting go before the workshop even began. (It’s all sex baby). You want to go further? You are going to have to trust and let go a bit 😉 Jacqueline reminded me that these workshops are like getting ready for a wedding. So many moving pieces. Allie was on deck for catering. Local sex shop Good For Her had us covered on last-minute supplies. Ashley’s beautiful space (@solateliertoronto) held us perfectly. It was bright, luxurious, textural, and grounded. We were ready.

 

 

Before I knew it, the first participant was there. I took my clothes off alongside her. We hugged naked. I wish I could frame those before moments.This was my second time doing the workshop in this location (it is truly perfect), and I think next time, I would love to have someone taking portraits of the women before they open the door and enter the space. To capture those feelings. Like jumping off a cliff. Many women think about doing this workshop for years. It’s a big fucking deal, and I don’t take that lightly.

I think eight people is my favourite number. I get a chance to connect with each person, and there are enough perspectives that the group takes on an energy of its own. That allows me to step back a bit, and the sisterhood takes over. The rest of the women trickled in to the light filled space. Good light is so important, y’all. You have to feel good naked in the space. I care about that stuff. That space makes everyone look and feel angelic.

People introduced themselves. They were friendly, but it’s all a little weird and overwhelming at first. Asking someone you just met how they found their parking just hits differently when you are both naked. Little did they know, they would show up with their longings and then support each other so beautifully (like nothing I have ever experienced in a Bodysex workshop before).

We had two women in the group who were anorgasmic (hadn’t had an orgasm before). I prefer the term pre-orgasmic as it feels a little bit less of a condition and more of a timeline thing. There was also a sex educator and a relationship coach in the room. A mixed bag of experience levels… that kind of facilitation challenge thrills me.

I always speak a bit at the beginning. It’s a way to connect to Betty and her intention of raising pleasure consiousness; the same one I carry through my work.

On this day, I spoke about how we were creating a new reality together. A little world of possibility and proof that we can deeply belong in a space without judgment or shame. That we can be safe to be ourselves in a space. To advocate for our needs, to be supported and cheered on in the choices we make to honour our individual needs, without worrying about messing something up. We created a microcosm where we could be joyous. Where we could put our inhibitions aside. We made that reality together. Proof that it can be done. Betty always said that fantasy is how she created her life’s work. She dreamed it up and then created it. Proved it was possible.

The first of the five Bodysex rituals that Betty created is a talking bit… we sit in the circle naked, and we answer the following questions, consciousness-raising style (this is how people gathered in the 70s and it’s not unlike women’s circles of today). We listen without offering anecdotes, or suggestions, or anything. We listen. We take a breath after each share and move to the next person, which is the most challenging part. We could have all gabbed about each share for hours. When women open their hearts and share what is going on with them, it’s fucking riveting. Especially when the questions are as heated and intergenerationally (not to mention, culturally) charged as “how do you feel about your body?”

We did three rounds of questions. The first two are Betty originals. How do you feel about your body? How do you feel about your orgasm? And the last one is a Katrina addition that feels important. How do you feel about your sexuality?

Again it was such a mixed bag; yet somehow we all managed to echo each other. We talked about the medicalization of our bodies, about being validated for strength but not beauty. We talked about eating disorders and catastrophic car accidents. We talked about our queerness, our orgasms vanishing in front of some but not all. We talked about feeling like owe our partners more sexually. We talked about birth trauma. We talked about being scared to want more because what if it ruins what we already have?

It’s mind-boggling real talk. I get high on the honesty.

Note: I am writing this on the airplane right now, and marvelling that this all happened and that this is my life. So. Incredibly. Grateful. I am also wondering if the older man next to me is watching this story unfold on my laptop screen or if he is staring off into space. Either way. It’s good stuff.

The second ritual is genital show and tell. I’ve started easing participants into this ritual by doing a flower gazing practice. We are about to get up close and personal with each other. To view each other like art pieces. But we don’t really have any practise doing that with vulva’s, so we begin by noticing the elements of design in various flowers: line, shape, colour, repetition, symmetry, and scale.

Passing around wildly different flowers and pausing for long enough to appreciate something genuine about each primes the mind for what we are about to focus on. It’s not so foreign. We know how to observe, how to appreciate. It all just gets a little fucked up with the lack of education, the shame, and the confusion that shrouds so many of our genitals.

I always go first, and then I invite each woman, one at a time, to come into the “hot seat,” so to speak, to view her vulva in a hand mirror while the other women view her. Each woman gives the other women a tour of her vulva. This “giving the tour” practice is good common sense that can be applied to future sexual partners. Most of us have some level of mystery with our own bodies but expect our partners to figure it out for themselves, often in the literal dark, usually without a tour explaining what is what.

I am all for letting things flow and non-verbal communication, but we also need to be able to flex into the space of explaining our bodies and how they work to one another. Sure, it might not be a wild chemistry filled moment, but it gives your partner practical information that will allow their intuition and flow to go even further. When you take the time to understand the structure and mechanism of a body, everything becomes less intimidating and mysterious afterward. To me, this is the beauty of the genital show and tell.

Let’s find everything, know how it works individually and together, and let’s also appreciate this area for it’s unique beauty, so that you aren’t cutting off your feelings to the area with shame and embarrassment.

These are our messy, oozing, ever in flux, alive fucking bodies. I’m not sure what we imagine the other women to be… porn stars? But almost everyone thinks theirs is weird or unusual, and people tend to leave this ritual with a tremendous sense of relief. There is no such thing as a normal vulva, and there is beauty and awe to be found in every one of them. Oh, and they all just kind of smell like pussy, and are usually leaking something. And when we stop worrying about all that, it allows us to stop trying to present as “hot” and just be our fucking selves, which is the hottest thing anyways.

Betty always asked participants if they would like to name their vulva. This always felt kind of cheesy to me, but I carried on because… tradition and such. I am sure the participants picked up on on my slant. Usually only a few would choose a name. Well, this was the first game-changer of this group. They all wanted a name. And most of them wanted it to be crowdsourced from the group. And! We keeled over laughing about at least half of them. Lordy lord, what fun.

Hello Raya, Rose, Heidi, Lady Di, Mauve, Fat Slick, Rebel, and Clarice! I fucking love you all.

The next ritual is Betty’s Rock and Roll method. This is Betty’s masturbation technique. It involves clitoral stimulation via the Magic Wand, and slow penetration with a stainless steel dildo (slim, but heavy at approx 1 pound). Just like learning to play the piano, you learn one hand at a time, and we practice in different positions. These women got it really quickly. Maybe I am getting better at teaching, or maybe this was an exceptional group, but I didn’t have to adjust people’s techniques here nearly as much as I usually do. I think it was a bit of both, which is exciting.

Once everyone feels like they have a grasp of the technique, it is time to stop and regroup before we practice the skills in the 4th ritual: Erotic Recess.

I have added a pre-ritual here. I found that for me, self-pleasure in front of other people was challenging to just go into. It’s such a unique space to be in. Think of it like a yoga class. The people in the room add to the energy of the thing. Which can be good… a sense of camaraderie, encouragement, and shared intention. And that same dynamic can also present as comparison, performance and competition, which aren’t so good.

These are some same ones that we tend to face inside partner sex. Pushing past the whispers of our needs to get to the end. Great, I did it. Done. We were here to rewrite that script and any others that needed replacing. I like each woman to share with the group what her intention is for the recess so that we can all energetically hold her in that space. That way, we can be doing our thing alone, but with the support of one another. We cannot pretend we aren’t about to do something incredibly vulnerable in the same room as each other. Just like we don’t want to fake orgasms or be in our heads worrying about what we look like or comparing our bodies to other people’s while we are having sex.

So we communed with mama cannabis and thought about what the heck we would like to re-program for ourselves inside this unique opportunity. And the women blew me away. They wanted orgasms, god dammit. They wanted to seduce themselves. They wanted to want themselves so much they made themselves a bit crazy. They wanted to stop making the way they liked cumming wrong. They wanted to edge for the first time. They wanted to make noise. They wanted a lot. And I was here for it.

Normally, fear and shame come up for people here, and I do a little sound healing work with the shruti box. I also have a beautiful song/prayer that I offer up. But these women didn’t seem to have any shame they needed to shed (for now). They were just ready to go, so I listened, and we decided to go for it. How cool!

Everyone set up a little nook for themselves. Some people in front of giant mirrors. Some draped across curved couches. Some on the floor closer to one another.

I hit play on my playlist, and we were on our way. I like to have my space, especially at the beginning, when I am establishing my groove. I was furthest away from the group, close to the bathroom, in front of a big mirror. One of the first times I ever loved my body was naked dancing in my room in front of a mirror. I wanted to recreate it. I also love masturbating standing up. Something about feet rooting into the floor makes me feel like I can circulate more sensation through my body than if I am lying down.

I would pause every now and then to tune in to the group and offer up a reminder to slow down, and to do whatever the fuck they want (my favourite part of being an adult).

And then I would return to myself. Eye contact with myself in a mirror always gets me. It also helps me stay in my body (as opposed to my head, where I can have some pretty annoying trauma flashback stuff happen). Seeing my own eyes helps me stay tuned in to myself. Also, I get to see how captivating my presence is, which always does wonders for my body confidence. When I have that felt the truth in my body of woman you are hot, and your body has very little to do with it, I am always relieved. To feel undeniably hot is a fucking gift in a world full of comparison and self-doubt. Mirror work has come to do that for me.

I have learned how much words impact me when I am having partner sex, and I have started to incorporate this in my self-pleasure, which feels a little awkward still. It feels silly whispering something out loud to myself until it turns me on. And then I’m like, cool, this just works. Gosh. Sex is such a trip. Always more to discover when it comes to desire, and I’m learning to pay just as much attention to playing with my mind as I do with my body. I had such an amazingly long, powerful orgasm, my butt cheeks hurt for days after. Yay!

After I have an experience myself, I go from participant to participant and check in on how they are doing with their intention. I think of myself as a temple attendant in those moments. Sometimes dancing through, sometimes offering up some words of wisdom, or just some playfulness, to remind the women that this is for FUN, for pleasure, and that you can merge your regular self and your sexual self. They can be integrated. You can pause for a snack, or to simply look around and cheer someone on and get right back into it. There are no rides you are stuck on.

The playlist was awesome, but I and another one of the participants noticed things were kind of quiet. It felt like there were some throat blocks going on. I invited people to make some more noise, but it still felt forced like performative “hot” sounds.

I had never done this before, but I interrupted the recess and said, we need to do some throat work. It was time for the shruti box. One woman said it felt awkward to make sounds. Like she was faking it. Was that something she should just push through?

This was it.

“Imagine you were trying to stretch out your insides by making a sound,” I said. “From top to bottom. For it to feel GOOD on your insides. What sound would do that?” I demonstrated. It was long, guttural, and it felt amazing to make. How it sounded didn’t matter because my enjoying making the sound is what made it hot. Really bizarre, so-called “ugly” things can be fucking hot if the person doing them is getting pleasure from it.

So we practiced that ugly but satisfying sound making a bit. And I went on a rant about how looking hot is ruining all the hotness, and we gotta fucking let that go, cuz it’s ruining our orgasms and our lives.

And then I sang my prayer/song. To make our bodies sanctuaries of pleasure again. And I realized how important that is to the way I facilitate Bodysex. That this is a holy freaking ritual, and there is something about that song that makes it so.

And then, I’m not sure how this segue happened, but I think the flowers from the flower gazing might have been involved. However it happened we broke into two groups, and the final ritual of Group Massage landed right smack in the middle of Erotic Recess. I think this speaks to my growing ease in facilitating these workshops (this was my 14th circle).

I’m learning where I can let go of the structure and let the group’s needs dictate what happens. So I checked in with everyone. They wanted more erotic recess after, but they were ready for group massage now.

Group massage is so interesting. There are different people touching you at the same time. Some people love all the sensation; others feel overwhelmed by it. Some of it you might love, some might be annoying, all of it might be bliss, etc, etc. Receiving brings up a lot for people. It is your job as a receiver to ask for things to be exactly the way you want them. But so many of us have been conditioned to take what is given. It was such a joy to watch these women loving life and then figuring out that it could be even better.

Learning to articulate your needs in real-time is powerful stuff. Orienting towards more pleasure is a skill that needs practicing (aka reading it in a book won’t help much), and once you have the experience of how much better it makes things, you’re kinda hooked.

This was the most elevated group massages I have ever witnessed. The women were flexing consent in the most dynamic way. When people say consent is hot, I don’t think people get how it becomes hot. Consent isn’t just about saying yes or no. It’s also about creating exactly what I want. The safety, trust and support these women shared were gobsmacking. Several women wanted to use their magic wands to self-pleasure while they were being massaged. People were on board. For most, this was brand new, but they were willing to be there for each other. One woman had a rolling orgasm for a solid 10 minutes. We had to cut her off and move on. We all just started clapping. One woman said, “What a gift she just gave us.” Indeed. Witnessing people not only create the scenario to get their needs met, but then to so thoroughly enjoy yourself in the space. Urgghh that shit gets me going.

We went back for erotic recess 2.0, and I felt like I could lean back and let them take it away. So I started prepping nachos for our post-bliss feast.

The sounds these women made. Wow. I am so impressed by how they committed to self-expression. One woman had her first orgasm in that circle. It’s an extraordinary thing. The other pre-orgasmic woman no longer held fear around it happening for her. She knew it was coming, and she had the tools to do it. She said it was the first time she connected with herself genuinely, in her body, out of her head.

In our closing circle, participants shared their reflections. “The best day of my life.” “Connection and sisterhood like never before.” “Beautiful and liberated.”

I am so very honoured to hold space for this kind of transformation. In 10 hours. Vulnerability, authenticity, self-expression, belly laughs (and laughing vulvas), sisterhood, good light, good food, and a whole lot of pleasure. Some good, good medicine right there, folks.

The next workshop is happening in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on December 4th, 2021, from 11:30am-9:30pm

These workshops sell out quickly, so please don’t delay.
The cost is $800 USD.

Please email help@katrinamarie.com to register.