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.
by Amy Butcher