As a young woman growing up in the UK, I learned that sex was a naughty secret, something "good girls" didn't do before marriage and yet a topic adults loved to explore through innuendo and smutty humour.
I recall watching some of the Carry On films with my parents feeling both mildly aroused and embarrassed by the tits and titillation.
I observed men's fixation with breasts or long legs and concluded this was something I was supposed to have to be desirable and worthy. And yet, flat-chested and petite as I was, I found myself lacking.
Despite this, cat calls, unsolicited appraisals and invasive eyes were par for the course. It felt so uncomfortable to walk past a crowd of men and yet I and my girlfriends lived for the moment the boy we fancied gave us his attention.
At night I'd quietly masturbate myself to sleep, hoping nobody would hear. My head was full of fantasies, many of them inspired by the porn I'd discovered hidden in my Dad's office.
The reality was wildly different. Inept and awkward fumbles at parties. Stinky cheap aftershave. The smell of dinner on their breath. It left me cold. Frozen almost. My secret self-pleasuring was infinitely preferable. And yet I repeatedly endured touching or kissing my body numbed out to.
As a teenage girl, at her most precious blooming, I was so disconnected from any sense of agency or physical boundaries, that it never occurred to me I had a choice.
Maturing into adulthood, choice didn't always come into it, as I experienced indecent exposure, sexual assault and attempted rape. With the cat calls, unwanted appraisals and dirty jokes as standard. Where and how to walk home safely at night was always a consideration.
And yet, I had a healthy libido, that was not being satisfied in my marriage. So I took to erotic literature and self-pleasure as a necessary top-up.
The fact is, I didn't really get to enjoy my sexuality with a man until I was in my late 20s and blessed to meet a younger lover, who knew how to please a woman. From then on, it was fireworks, game on and orgasms galore.
But almost always still - as the follower, rather than the leader, as the object, rather than the subject, of my sexual experience.
It wasn't until much later - in my 40s - at a tantra workshop, that I first learned about boundaries and consent. It blew my mind.
It wasn't until some years after that - at my Sexual Awakening for Women Teacher Training - that I fully comprehended how many social, cultural and mental barriers stood in the way to a woman's complete arousal and sexual expression !!!
To her re-claiming her true nature.
How to embrace and embody the radiant, sensual, luscious energy of SHAKTI without attracting unwanted attention or being judged a slut?
How to experience the let-go into PLEASURE & UNFETTERED DESIRE, when the body, that had already suffered so much non-consensual touch or absorbed the belief in sin, was clammed tight shut?
How to feel DELICIOUS & SEXY, when looking nothing like those nubile super-models men lusted after?
How to stop performing, manipulating or submitting (unless we chose to) and OWN our sexuality?
How to please our men, whilst also pleasing ourselves?
How to say NO! in full power, when our throats had been bound for centuries both by fear and the conditioning to be nice?
And then, as I began to facilitate my own workshops for women, I'd hear repeatedly of experiences of ABUSE, alongside the need for SAFETY, as much as the profound longing to let go in unrestrained embrace of the INNER WHORE.
To revel without shame or limitation in EROTIC DELIGHT.
To stop waiting for permission to ENJOY.
And as I've posted on this topic already this month, it's those same themes which have struck such a cord.
So come and join me dear women, on Sunday, March 21st, as I hold space for my next online retreat:
SAFE TO BE SEXUAL
Where we will compassionately explore your desire for fullest sexual expression AND safety, bringing healing, revelation and empowerment to you in your journey of sensual blossoming.
EARLY BIRD Investment (payment on/before March 14th): £133. Register here.
Live on Zoom.
Contact me with any questions by messenger or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll pop the payment link below.
Love, Shakti x