Sundae Vag: Learning how to Celebrate My Sexuality.
“The church says this body is a sin
Science says this body is a machine
Business says this body is a product
The body says, “I am a fiesta.” ~ Eduardo Galeano
I have been exploring and healing my relationship to my sexuality and body for over five years now. In this time, I’ve been supported by some incredible books, workshops and teachers, but nothing accelerated my journey as much as living in a sex-positive house, though the term sex-positive doesn’t even come close to capturing the erotic beauty and aliveness that pulsed throughout the house.
As a tribute to the talisman pictured above, this treasured house is affectionately known as Sundae Vag.
I lived at Sundae Vag with four unbelievably beautiful, vibrant and wise women. Between these women, there are innumerable gifts and passions, particularly in the realms of dance, art, sacred sexuality, Yoga, massage, kink, holistic counselling and yonis.
Most mornings I’d wake to the sight of one of these women naked. And in the whole seven months I lived there, I never ever got sick of it. I was also in awe of witnessing how comfortable they were in their bodies. They showed me that a loving, sensual and healthy relationship to one’s body is possible.
They also actively supported me in becoming more at home with myself. They did this by liberally vocalizing their appreciation of my body whenever I was half-dressed. The more I was able to receive their loving words, the more I was able to let go of any debilitating judgments that I had towards my body. It was the ideal training ground to allow my body to be seen.
Another opportunity to be seen emerged while I was reading one of the token books of the house, The Sexual Practices of Quodoushka by Amara Charles.
In the book, there is a whole section on different male and female genital anatomy types. The nine female anatomy types are: Dancing women, wolf, antelope, deer, fox, sheep, cat, buffalo and bear. Each vulva type has a different lip, length and scent, and each benefits from different techniques in lovemaking.
I immediately wanted to discover my vulva type, but it can be a tricky thing to determine alone. So I asked one of my beautiful housemates to help me out, and bless her, she was happy to. She had already helped other housemates identify theirs, and was becoming somewhat of an expert.
So she carefully looked at the distance between my clitoris and the entrance of my vagina. Then she examined the way my labia opened, looked back and forth between my vulva and the images in the book, and before long, she was able to identify mine!
It was a lovely and unique bonding experience. Having my vulva seen in a loving yet non-sexual context allowed me to let go of even deeper insecurities around my body and sexuality. It made me see how valuable it is for people to be aware of the variability among genital types, because once our uniqueness is accepted, it can be celebrated.
One of my housemates teaches women to celebrate and connect with their vaginas through her amazing course, Yoni Yoga. It was through this course that I first learnt about yoni steams and yoni-bathing.
When I first heard about yoni-bathing, I felt a deep sense of sadness because I had never experienced it before. Yoni-bathing is the practice of allowing the vulva and vagina to be exposed to sunlight. Today it is one of my absolute favorite things to do.
It is said that for healing to begin, we must first shine light on whatever we have been keeping in the dark. So, the act of receiving sunlight into my yoni can also be seen as a symbolic practice of illuminating my sexuality. As Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “In the sunlight of awareness, everything becomes sacred.”
Sundae Vag helped me bring even more of my sexual self to light because it was the first house I’ve lived in where loud sex was not considered taboo. And it was even more radical to me to discover that loud self-pleasuring was equally as welcome. It was beautiful to live with women who were openly devoted to self-pleasuring.
As a testament to this devotion, our outdoor altar was often decorated with jade eggs, chakrubs and exquisite glass dildos.
Soon after I moved in, I stopped muting my sounds of pleasure. The Sundae Vag house reminded me that life is too short to have quiet orgasms.
It also reminded me that life is too short not to laugh every day. A few of the Sundae Vag women are blessed with the mischievous essence of the ancient Greek Goddess, Baubo. Baubo is known as the Goddess of Obscenity, and has the capacity to give the life-giving boon of uncontainable laughter.
In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes of how Baubo lifted Demeter out of a deep depression:
“And this woman danced up to Demeter, wiggling her hips in a way suggesting sexual intercourse, and shaking her breasts in a little dance. And when Demeter saw her, she could not help but smile just a little. The dancing female was very magical indeed, for she had no head whatsoever, and her nipples were her eyes and her vulva was her mouth.”
I shared so many moments of raucous laughter with the Sundae Vag women, but there is one that strikes me as especially indicative of Baubo’s influence:
My upstairs buddy and I were lying in my bed talking, when another housemate popped in to join us. She had been nakedly mopping the floors, but happily stopped in for a chat.
For a while, the three of us enjoyed giggling like schoolgirls as we regaled each other with the tales of our most recent romances, but eventually the luscious naked lady decided to get up and finish her mopping.
Just as she was about to leave the room, she turned back around to us and said, “Bye darls, I will see both of you when you come downstairs!” But she had skilfully given us the impression that her words were coming directly from her vulva by opening and closing her labia as she spoke.
I have never laughed so uncontrollably in my entire life. Both of us lapsed into the incomparable joy of hilarity.
The thing I enjoyed most about that moment was her audacity. Where did she learn to be so delightfully bold? In fact, all of my housemates oozed with above-average levels of confidence, creativity and life force.
I came to a greater understanding of why this might be while reading Naomi Wolf’s revolutionary book, Vagina.
In the book, she explains that when women permit themselves to seek pleasure, including sexual pleasure, their dopamine system gets optimally activated. She calls dopamine the ultimate feminist chemical, as when dopamine levels are balanced, women are more likely to be confident, creative and talkative and trust their perceptions. And these are precisely the qualities I could see in the Vag women.
So, the more a woman honors her sexuality, the more self-assured she will be in every other aspect of her life. In the absence of a culture that fully supports authentic female sexuality, the best thing for women to do is surround themselves with people who do. Living in a micro-culture of sexually and creatively empowered women had a cumulatively transformative effect on me.
Through their influence and my own optimal dopamine activation, I definitely became sassier.
Naturally, there were challenging aspects of living at the Vag house as well. Before I lived there, I used to consider myself to be a fairly equanimous person, but my time at Sundae Vag made me realize how emotionally porous I can be.
The combination of five women under one roof is bound to be alchemical and dynamic, and something about our dynamism seemed to make my highs feel higher and my lows feel lower. There was never a dull moment in the Vag house. I think most days someone was either crying or orgasming or both.
But we all did a pretty amazing job of looking after ourselves and each other. Especially considering we were all facing different initiations, realizations and relationship issues. It helped that all of us were aware of the varying phases of our menstrual cycles. And it certainly didn’t hurt that there was almost always someone making chocolate.
Undoubtedly, the house invited me to surrender to the untamable, passionate, devotional and ever-changing nature of womanhood. And by their radiant example, the Sundae Vag women taught me to celebrate my sexuality, to feel deeply, to find my vivacity and to lose myself in laughter.
For all of this, dear women, I will always, always be grateful.
Ari Amala is a Women’s Circle facilitator, Nurture Therapist and Writer. Through the study of Transpersonal Counselling, Art Therapy and Dance Therapy along with her exploration of sacred sexuality, Ari experienced a paradigm shift. These studies transformed her relationship with her emotions and bodily sensations, as she discovered that everything that arises within her, desires something beautiful for her. Over time, the practice of allowing rather than resisting her feelings and desires developed into a way of relating to all of life. For this reason, what she calls spiritual practice is the radical embrace of emotions, relationships, sexuality, creativity, nature and our bodies.