Wholeness comes in various shapes and sizes. Part of that healing requires looking at those things that we find aversive and discovering why those aversions exist. Some aversions are "admirable" such as an aversion to murder, rape, pillaging, war, etc. Others, however, could stand some healthy and objective scrutiny.
In doing this work towards the healing and integration of people's bodies and spirits we, as gay men, in the course of our training and practice, have had the honor and privilege of working with several vulvas, vaginas, and breasts. Often when we share this fact with friends of ours, a mutual laugh is had by all company - not that vulvas, vaginas, and breasts are comical in nature, but because the chasm between the penis and the vagina in the LGBT community is often such a divisive (and yet unspoken) reality.
Gay men, when talking about vagina, are often visibly and comically repulsed. So, for many of them to hear that Toby and I are working with this amazing part of the "female" anatomy it can come across as rather shocking and often elicits snickering questions as, "And how is that going?" We have a mutual female friend who, after hearing about our work, strongly encouraged us to help eradicate what she called, "Vaginaphobia." However, after speaking with a fellow Sexological Bodyworker this past week, the corollary is also being proven true - woman who have an aversion (and often an angry aversion) to penis. We'll call this "Penisphobia." But for the sake of brevity, let me just focus on "Vaginaphobia."
Compassion Through Practice
We teach what we need to learn. For many years, I was one of those "vaginaphobes." My primary experience with the female nether-realm occurred 32 years ago and there was no real desire to "in"volve myself with it again. That all changed this year during our Sexological Bodywork Certification process which brought me face to face with my aversion, and through it, facilitated my healing.
(Permission was granted to retell the following story!)
Part of the certification process required we spend two weeks in San Francisco for the Intensive part of the course. The class was roughly 1/3 male (or male identified) and 2/3 female (or female identified). During the previous weeks I had decided that I was going to proceed with an open mind and an open heart - to be willing to explore and at the same time, honest about whatever came up for me and willing to work through it. During the second week we were paired with a partner to create a plan around some level of sexual healing. I was paired with a woman who had previously undergone a hysterectomy (the removal of her uterus). This is a very invasive operation and can be a deeply traumatic experience for women. Although she had physically healed, she still sensed a great sadness and emotional blockage in her vaginal region. The plan we created was for me to help facilitate her emotional release through hands-on guidance.
My partner, having been very self-aware of her physical and emotional state, was very directive in how she wanted to be touched and where. This was good for me because, having had no previous in-depth work prior to what was about to happen, I needed the guidance. So, after she removed her clothes and jumped on the massage table, I gave her a massage to help her bring attention to her body. I then, with gloves on, placed my right hand on her heart while she directed me to enter her vagina with my left.
After having entered her, she directed me deeper, to the right, and to the left. This was intermingled with moments where she would have me stop. She would then take some moments to breathe deeply into the sensations and feelings that were coming up for her. During this she also reminded me to relax as my shoulders were tense and she could sense my nervousness about doing this "correctly." Several moments went on like this until she directed me to move towards her cervix. I did so. She told me to stop. I did. She took some moments to breathe into the feeling. Then she directed me to apply pressure forward which I did. She told me to stop. I stopped. And as if the room became still, she breathed ever so slowly for several minutes and then it happened...
My partner began to sob.
Immediately a physical transference of emotion hit me like a wave. With my hand on her heart and my other inside of her, I started fighting tears myself while my partner wept on the table before me. And as fast as light, a feeling that brought my eyes up to survey all the woman in the room, hit me. A feeling I've known all my life had instantly become emotionally tangible for me: Compassion. I was imbued with so much compassion for the women in the room that represented, for me at that time, all the women in our culture who have gone through so many painstaking years of "transformation" just to be "good enough," attractive enough, and desirable enough.
In that moment I saw their divinity, their beauty, and my oneness with them and vowed, then and there, that in our future practice no person, regardless of self-identification or body type, would be denied help based on these criteria.
After the session, my partner looked so radiant. She was filled with so much happiness and joy having just gone through such an amazingly powerful emotional and spiritual release. It was me, however, that conveyed to her how deeply honored I was to have been used and trusted by her for such an amazing opportunity and an amazing transformation. As a human being and especially as a gay man, this experience, coupled with the amazingly spirited feminine energies of other women I connected with in the group, gave me such a deep and profound respect for the vagina and the women who make it their treasure!
As witness and a vessel for this healing, I raise my heart in thanks!
Seeing the Divine in Each
As two gay men, we are honored to stand in the gap for vaginal acceptance and healing. It has became abundantly clear that on some level, all of us are carrying certain levels of pain, traumas, and varying degrees of shame within our bodies. It doesn't matter your orientation, your gender, or your self-designated descriptor(s). At the end of the day, we are still spirits within bodies. The beauty and the healing happens when we are willing to lay down our preconceived notions of each other, our judgments about how one presents themselves, walk away from our endless addiction to physical appearance, and start to see the divine in every person.
Our practice is an attempt at breaking down the divisive walls that keep our societal stigmas alive. I think we have divided our communities long enough and extensively enough at the expense of our shared human experience and the acceptance and healing we all desperately long for. Toby and I have chosen to do our part by first seeing and then nurturing the divine in each person.
Join us in the healing!
My attempt in this article is to make this subject matter accessible to all lay people and not just those persons educated in the current sexo-political nuanced verbiage of this current age used to describe and define all manners of genders, orientations, and anatomies.