How to explain that the workshops are intimate but not personal
Why you aren’t being unfaithful when you do this work
In Episode #01 of the Pleasure Lab podcast, Amy and Zed talked at length about doing work in community, why it’s intimate and yet not personal, and how it can be a significant support to your existing relationships. Here are just a couple of pearls from that much longer conversation.
Zed: “I can bring all of those habits into an erotic workshop setting, instead of into a relationship where all my stuff is up in my relationships and my habits are running so hard that it’s really hard to shift them. When I get to go to a workshop and relate to those folks it’s kind of macrocosm of my habits and then I get the non-consequential moments to be able to practice changing those habits with that group. Also, because of the power of the community I can tap into not just my own energy but also the energy of the group. I can pull from that energy of the group and apply it to moving my habits in a new way and then bring my moved habits back to my relationship. Doing work in community makes my transformational potential much bigger and much quicker than if I were just doing it on my own.” (4:31)
Amy: “One of the freedoms I’ve found in erotic community is liberation from the relational aspects that, for me, can be confounding. If I’m in a relationship with someone and I’m being sexual with them, often I’m worried about or eager to provide a quality experience for them, but that means some portion of my brain is not paying attention to my pleasure but paying attention to their pleasure and our collective pleasure. So when I’m doing erotic work in community, I can focus completely on my own experience. In community, I can really focus on my own experience but also be really supported by other people. Letting myself be seen in community has been really healing for me. Shame, which many of us have about various elements of our erotic life—is hard to get over that if you can’t be visible.” (3:30)
“Being in community can break down our expectations about who and what gets to be “beautiful”” (20:30))
If you’d like to hear more, check out the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher. More information here.
by Amy Butcher
I'd been talking with a friend about our upcoming Dedicated to Your Body workshop. She had followed my journey with this work, how the erotic workshops had grounded me in my body, make me all sparkly, given me the growing confidence of my deep, embodied self-knowledge. She knew the power of the work. She was tempted. And yet, when it came to the point of signing up, all her anxiety funneled down into a single--and quite reasonable--question: but will I have to get naked?
The simplest and most truthful answer is "no." You will never "have to" do anything, let alone get naked, if you don't want to. The bedrock of these workshops is empowered choice. You own your own "yes" and "no" and can trust that others do too. So peeling back that layer to the question underneath, "but will I have to be naked with other women?" This required a different type of exploration.
For many women, especially heterosexual women, to allow your body to been seen by other women is fraught with difficulty. Culture has fed us so many messages about our bodies: where they should be curved, where they should be flat, where they should have hair, where they should not, what color they should be, how they should smell, etc. You name it and we've gotten a message about it. On top of that, we've often been trained to view other women not as allies, but as adversaries, as competitors in a battle for attention and partners and power. With all that, why would you want to let yourself be seen in your most vulnerable naked state?
Really the question isn't 'will I have to' but why would I want to get naked? What happy confluence of factors might make you think--no, "know", deep in your soul know--that's a good idea? What if you were invited to show up exactly as you are and that was OK? What if you saw other women sharing the same fears as you had, women you might have said were too pretty/smart/successful to have that fear? What if you started to see how focusing on your own pleasure was not only healing for you, but for others who witnessed it too? What if you remembered that being fully in your own wonderfully one-of-a-kind body was your birthright? What if, in the end, being naked with other women felt like the fiercest, truest thing you'd ever done? What if it made you weep for the shear beauty of it? Not the kind of beauty of a glossy fashion mag, but the beauty of a spring rain, the beauty of baby's cry, the beauty of an act of selfless generosity, the beauty of art that transcends space and time? And what if that knowing seeped into every pore of your body, giving you a gravity you'd forgotten, leaving you flush with the most beautiful thing of all: the fullness of you.
So will you have to get naked at this workshop? No, but you just might find you want to.
Sometimes potent and profound things can be simple.
In my 20 plus years of studying and practicing being in a body (and spending lots of money on seeing amazing and sometimes not-so-amazing practitioners!) I have learned that 5 minutes of being present and loving with your own body makes huge steps toward embodiment. Let's face it, being in a body is not easy! But it's what we've all been given this round in life and wouldn't it be nice to feel more solid, accepting and even excited about being in one?
This is a short mediation that invites you into being your own body worker. The meditation invites your hands to be a vehicle of loving presence for your body. Just try it, just lie down for 5 minutes and follow my voice. And maybe try it every morning for a week and then make it yours, with our your own voice and rhythm.
Let me know how it goes, cuz I care.