I want to run a bodysex circle that I makes me feel comfortable as a fat, butch, dyke. I don’t exactly blend in among the usual women’s-circle-sisterhood-of-the-peasant-skirt-wild-woman-embrace-your-inner-goddess-tribe. I tried, but I had my floral prints confiscated early in my journey on this planet as a woman and I was never again able to travel among the world as a regular girl. Not that I didn’t try.
I tried very hard for many years and each time I’d try to enter a typical group of women I could feel the invisible wall. I thought I was “normal”. I thought I was straight. I thought I could just blend in. And yet, with the Sesame Street tune in my head I knew that the thing that was not like the others, was me. There is a hum in the air that groups of women create, that my body doesn’t fully resonate with. No matter how hard I try, I am always half a beat off.
It used to bother me a whole lot to see what seemed like everyone around me embrace this thing called female that I could only put on like a costume and never seemed to sink all the way into me the way it did with my sister and mother. Gender is complicated for me. My experience does not seem to reach the full spectrum of what the world defines as female.
I didn’t have words for this feeling when I first came to Bodysex. I knew I was different but I assumed everyone felt that way and I was therefore a “normal woman.” …and I knew I needed to be there. I knew this was the place that could change things for me. I was right. The circle was very healing for me in how I related to my body and how I accepted myself as sexual. It also showed me how different I was in my sexual orientation and in how I related to gender.
I needed this transformative work in order to heal my fear and shame around sex and, ultimately I needed it to come out. The magic in the circle requires the participants to relax and see themselves as more alike than they are different. The irony is that if I had I already been out for many years, and if I had a better understanding of my gender, that original circle would have had too many embedded assumptions that all of us are straight, femme, women, and I wouldn’t have been able to relax and feel fully at home.
In all likelihood I would have missed a body of work that I desperately needed because I didn’t see myself reflected in its design enough to trust that it was truly for me.
I know I am not alone. I have talked to a number of my LGBTQ family who are interested in the concept of what Bodysex does, but once they look at it they know they cannot go to this place. No matter how much it has the potential to help, they don’t want to be pushed against that invisible wall of difference. The distance would be too great to be overcome.
Bodysex was designed to go deeply into how vulvas and vaginas work, to explore the participants relationship to their bodies, and their sexuality, and build a community around sexually empowered and supportive adults. There’s nothing in it that requires femme identity, femininity, or even womanhood.
So I’m going to bridge that gap. Women are welcome and important in these workshops. But the workshops, and Betty Dodson’s work, are bigger than that, and I’m claiming all the space available. I am creating a Bodysex circle that expands to include more than just those that identify as women and use the pronoun she. The work deserves it. The people deserve it. But most of all, we need it, all of us. We all benefit when the room and the diversity of experience is as broad as it can be. I am passionate about this work, and its ability to change lives. Everyone who needs it should have access to it, without having to wonder if they will fit in.
This is the first step.
If you have a vulva, you’re welcome here.