My Nakedness Marks Me

Thu, 06/27/2013 - 08:21
Submitted by Fateh

If someone told me a year ago that I would be sitting in a Manhattan apartment directly across from the legendary Betty Dodson - naked – I would have believed them. Not because I had any inkling this was coming, but because I was in the midst of one of those larger than life smack downs. I was learning the hard way that I have no clue where this life is taking me … ever.

I wasn’t alone. A dozen or so other women were equally naked and amazed at where they had landed. We were strangers, but not for long.

Our journeys could not have been more different – but the intention was the same. We were all there to take another step toward the liberation of our sexual selves. For some, it was a step taken blessedly early in life. For others, there was a sense of ‘not another day to waste’ because the way had been long and sometimes treacherous.

It was not only our bodies that were naked. We shared our stories: childhood orgasm, no orgasm, sexless and sexy marriages, pleasure, fantasy, shame and guilt. One by one, we bravely removed all of our veils. They fluttered down colorfully amidst our laughter, tears, confessions and revelations. We showed ourselves to each other in the most beautiful, innocent and natural way.

For me, this was especially vulnerable because it was the literal public unveiling of my breasts after cancer surgery. While my close friends and family know that I danced with cancer in 2012, most of my wider circle does not. I am fortunate to have walked out the other side with my breasts intact and a fairly small scar. Still, my nakedness marks me. It tells a story that I cannot hide. When I remove my shirt for a lover we are compelled into an added layer of intimacy – one I would avoid if my flesh did not speak so loudly.

Even though our conscious minds know we cannot ‘catch’ cancer, there is the understandable desire to protect one’s life from the pain and ugliness of it. People tend to want to move away from that which they fear and no matter how subtle their moving away is – I can see it.

And so when it was my turn for introductions – even though my heart was pounding in my throat - I invited this new group of sisters to look at my breast. I told them not to be afraid because breast cancer is something we need to learn to face as women – together. I told them that the fear of it is more deadly than the cancer itself. They gazed at my breast with curiosity. I felt as though I was holding out a bit of my hard-earned courage for them to share in.

Of course, each woman in the room was bearing her own scars – visible or otherwise - and we gave each other courage. It takes guts to show up naked and then open your self – literally – and say ‘look at me’ with a bright light and a big mirror. No flattering candlelight or cocktail bravery. And then, when it seemed we couldn’t share anymore – we did. We came together. In case you missed it – we came together.

It was the most bizarre and utterly normal thing I have ever done. And, I am quite certain that in some ancient past, it was something we did all the time – for all kinds of purposes (initiating, healing, empowering, teaching). And then, we stopped. Our bodies and our sex became something ‘private’ to be owned by one man in marriage or by many men in the marketplace. We became more and more estranged from each other and therefore, ourselves. We stopped showing and we stopped telling and with every passing generation we became more ignorant of our own bodies, of our pleasure and our power. Our image was distorted and sold back to us – encouraging us to judge, condemn and compete with each other.

Now – I have started to notice how many ways life is set up to keep us hidden and cut off from each other. Who stands to profit?

Why in the world are naked bodies a threat to anyone? The only way to make breasts a commodity that can be packaged for double D profit is to ensure they are never seen in real life. Who would buy titty magazines if tits were just a no-big-deal part of life? How could women be manipulated into hating our bodies if we knew the amazing real life variety of our sisters? We might realize that we are perfectly normal and beautiful and stop feeding the machine with our insecurity.

What if our pleasure was considered essential, healthy and natural? What if we trusted ourselves, and each other, to share it when and where we consenting adults please (or not) with absolutely no imposition of judgment? What if we lived in a culture of openness – no secrets – no shame – where sex was talked about openly? Do you think children might actually be safer in such an environment? Do you think it would take women decades to figure out how to have an orgasm? What if hearing the neighbours in the throws of orgasm was just about as strange (albeit more pleasant) as hearing the lawnmower going on Saturday morning. Can you imagine such a world?

Sometimes this planet feels like one big closet that we all need to come out of – not as homosexual or heterosexual or bi - not as vanilla or kinky – not as monogamous or poly – but just as sexual.

And so, for my part, I’ve started talking to people about sex. I’ve started knocking on their closet door – with courtesy and curiosity. I’ve started leaving my door open a bit so you can peek in. And what I’ve learned so far it that there’s really nothing that special or different going on in my closet.

It’s amazing how many people are actually busting with questions or stories about their bodies and their sex. Every question and story is a risk and an act of trust. It’s a wee sacrament shared between us. Every conversation lets in a bit more light. Every vulnerable exposure allows a breath of fresh air. And, there is usually laughter – because sex is often kind of silly and most of us are not all that good at it. Yet.

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Loved your Article :)

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 22:25
Jasmine from Body Sex May-2013 (not verified)

Your article “My Nakedness Marks Me” was quite moving and I felt it very deeply.  I too wish every woman had the opportunity to attend a body sex workshop since I believe it has been the catalyst to my own journey of self-healing. I also believe that you emerged (I’m excluding our two AMAZING teachers Betty & Carlin :) as our ‘de facto’ leader of our small band of women especially the last night after a wonderful bonding dinner…. I know I didn’t wish for it to end. Please continue to write, inspire and know that your words are powerful and restorative. Life is Good! Sign me Your body sex Sister, Jasmine

"And so, for my part, I've

Thu, 04/07/2016 - 14:40
Emily (not verified)

"And so, for my part, I've started talking to people about sex. I've started knocking on their closet door - with courtesy and curiosity. I've started leaving my door open a bit so you can peek in."

I absolutely adore the way you've put words to this kind of sentiment. I'm at a point in my life where I am wanting to open up more to the people around me, I want to share... I'm ready to learn how to express that my closet door is cracked open, too.