Dr. Celina, from Delightful Mischief, shares with us how she learned to love her body via sex & motherhood. As our resident sexpert, she will be writing about topics such as sex-positive parenting, international relationships & exploring sexuality in your own terms. Look for her posts and get in touch if there’s any particular issue you’d like her to cover in the future.
Life’s lessons often 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.
Coming-of-age in kink
I was kinky before I was a mother, so I’ll start there. I came of age in San Francisco, land of sexual liberation and incredible creativity. Parties offered a wide array of visual candy: attire, deeds, body types. A fetish 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 according to their personal proclivities.
Completely masked in painted-on latex? Somebody loves it.
Voluptuous curves spilling out of a tight-laced corset? Fingers tingle in anticipation of stroking that lush landscape.
40+ 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 and perfection-fixated messages we’re served by media!
Participation in these events confirmed that my body is perfect for me and that a potential partner’s attractiveness is not based on physical “perfection” so much as on mutual interest and compatible skill sets. The desire to play and connect with another person is interesting and exciting beyond any superficial visual stimulation.
Growing into motherhood
Next came motherhood. I tell you, nothing gets you in touch with your body like pregnancy and life 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.
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 that it’s where they land for a cuddle. Although the extra cleavage was sometimes awesome (hello, Dirndl!), I’m glad that my boobs are no longer so hugely engorged and thank them for the years of nourishment they’ve provided. I still wear pretty bras and attempt to defy gravity.
Returning to the kink scene after having babies was like coming home. I’m no longer the cute young newbie but my experience, self-confidence, and willingness to be myself feels sexier than my 20-something year old figure did. Kinksters love new playmates but we love partners who know themselves, their limits, and how to communicate more.
I’m gentler with my body now. I listen to its subtle cues: the need for rest, when water is a better choice than coffee, and the difference between running errands (can be draining) and running around to play with the kids (can be energizing). Sometimes it’s the other way around!
I have learned to speak up for my body and my desire—when pain or tiredness puts a limit on physical activity or when I literally want to f*** the stress away. I’ve also learned to ask specifically for what I want (sleep, haha) and am willing to show my lover what/how/where if needed. Ultimately, kink and motherhood have confirmed that sexual fulfilment has little to do with what I look like but how I relate to my body.
Mostly, I’m learning to appreciate what my body likes and needs so I can be both: sexually fulfilled and mom.
Celina Criss, PhD is a sex coach and educator. She invites her clients to bring playfulness to their encounters while encouraging them to take it s.l.o.w.
Photo credit: Yolanda Ng is a cross creative who is a professional fashion designer, stylist, street style blogger for VON ZWEI and a photographer at Corner Store Photography. She is also the Creative and Marketing Director for LMBB.