From losing my virginity to a loser on top of a garbage can outside of a convention center, to that time in college when a man I was making out with refused to take "no" for an answer and entered me without permission, sex hasn't always created the happiest memories for me.
For me, even with the most compatible partners, an encounter that should have been vulnerable, fun, and exciting always turned out to be a scary and gut-wrenching experience that I couldn't wait to be over.
It wasn't until recently that I discovered that I may possibly be suffering from a form of PTSD that was preventing me from experiencing pleasure and making my sex life a nightmare. All my life I've had to fight for an orgasm, and now I realize that my partners weren't always the problem.
Now, with a new potential partner and more than a year's worth of pent up sexual aggression, I find myself rejecting and even sometimes being fearful of intimacy. But recently, I traveled to a mountain top in Estes Park, Colorado where I discovered the secrets of Oshun and unlocked the sexual goddess that has lived inside of me all along.
Girl Trek's Stress Protest is an annual event that focuses on getting Black women all the way in alignment, even when it comes to their sexual energy. Healing is the name of the game when it comes to this retreat, where judgment is non-existent and physical, spiritual, and emotional wellness are king. During the 3-day experience, a number of classes were offered and there were two courses that immediately stuck out to me.
The first, Awaken Your Sensuality Using the Ancient Secrets of Oshun, was led by the creator of Sex on Sundays, Kadi Janna, founder of The Pleasure Alchemy; and the other was a burlesque class taught by Headmistress of Brown Girls Burlesque, Tutu Toussaint. While at first, both classes felt equally intimidating, I knew that the only way to overcome my trauma was through it, and let me tell you, an herbal bath and a burlesque class got my yoni all the way together.
Courtesy of GirlTrek
During these classes, I learned a lot about sensuality and even more about myself. Most importantly, that I am worthy and deserving of love, sex, and pleasure without shame, guilt, or ridicule. Living in a world where your femininity, even as a child, is constantly attacked and violated can be discouraging, but rediscovering self-love and sensuality can be the key to reclaiming your time and your energy, sis.
I caught up with Kadi and Tutu after class, who gave me the tea on getting my groove back after losing touch with my sexuality and developing a fear of intimacy; here's what I learned:
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While before taking Tutu's class, I would have never known that burlesque was alive and well in this day and age, and now, I don't want to live without it. An art form that has evolved tremendously over time, a Burlesque show is characterized by provocative routines, rambunctious spectators, and glamorous costumes, which are all combined to create one deliciously sexy striptease.
Tutu, a New York native who entered the industry only years ago, said that Burlesque is responsible for saving her life and encourages every woman reading this to find a class in her city ASAP. She explained, "It's healing. It opens up the door and can be like a portal into something that you think never thought you had, well you didn't believe and were told you didn't have. I think just having courage, even if that's just to take a class, that is the first step of practicing courage in your everyday life. Burlesque can do that."
Sensuality Is A Ritual
In Kadi The Pleasure Teacher's class, I learned about the African Goddess, Oshun, and although I don't practice Lucumi, an African religion that originated in West Africa, I must say that sis was the truth. While there are stories of Oshun stopping wars by showing her breasts, the deity is representative of more than just the influence of the male gaze, she is the embodiment of self-love and sensuality. Kadi told xoNecole, "Oshun is a true depiction of the Divine Feminine and its beauty and majesty. We learn how to be sweet and womanly from Oshun. We also learn how powerful and important feminine energy is."
In Kadi's class, I learned that I could channel her energy at any given moment by drizzling myself in a golden bath featuring a few of Oshun's favorite ingredients. The Pleasure Teacher explained, "I will take a bath in a minute. The baths are not a magic pill that makes everything go away. The baths are a tool or ritual to use when we are out of alignment. The essentials for the bath are room temperature water, Florida water, flowers, essential oils, honey, and intention, the most important ingredient."
My Sensuality Is Mine & Should Be Protected At All Costs
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While Kadi and Tutu's classes were both very different, they each brought me to a similar conclusion: sex doesn't suck. I just haven't been doing it right.
If self-love and courage are the keys to having the best orgasm of my life and accepting my body as the sexy vehicle of strength that it is, I'll take two, please. A lesson in the art of striptease and a crash course on the history of Oshun allowed me to explore and discover my sexuality without shame, guilt, or fear, and I have confidence that today, my sex life is better for it.
Registration for Stress Protest 2020 starts October 1st, click here to get your tickets before it's too late!
Featured image courtesy of GirlTrek.