Life’s lessons come from the least-expected places. Sometimes it’s surprising to realize that a lesson is the result of two distinctly different experiences. For example, I learned to love my body via fetish parties and motherhood.
I was kinky before I was a mother, so I’ll start there. Fetish parties offer a wide array of visual candy: costumes, deeds, body types. A play party was the first time I saw real bodies being worshipped regardless of what they looked like. It was also the first time where I felt I might fit in just the way I am—no need to lose weight or revamp my look to fit an unachievable ideal. No. Here, people showed up as their most glorious selves, exactly the way they are and adorned in line with their personal proclivities. Thin and willowy in painted-on latex? Somebody loves it. Voluptuous curves spilling out of a tight-laced corset? Someone wants to play. Aging and loves a cracking whip? There’s a new partner excited to meet you. All of these bodies are capable and deserving of pleasure. What a difference from the airbrushed images we’re served by the media.
Through participation in these events, I learned that my body is perfect for me and a potential partner’s attractiveness is not based on physical “perfection” but mutual interest. The desire to play and connect with another person is interesting and exciting beyond any superficial visual stimulation.
Next came motherhood. I tell you folks, nothing gets you in touch with your body like pregnancy and living with small children. I feared that after all the radical growth, stretching, swelling, breast-feeding and being touched by anyone with hands and advice I’d never be the same. And I’m not. But I’ve gained a better relationship with my body. Instead of being horrified by my soft belly, I love that it provided a warm home for my babies and it’s where they land for a cuddle. Although the extra cleavage was sometimes awesome, I’m glad that my boobs are no longer so hugely engorged and thank them for the years of nourishment they’ve provided.
I’m gentler with my body now. I listen to its subtle cues: the need for rest, when water is a better option than coffee, and the difference between running errands (can be draining) and running around to play tag with the kids (can be energizing). Mostly, I’m learning to appreciate what my body likes and needs so I can be both: sexually fulfilled and Mommy.