Your book, The Sexual Practices of Quodoushka: Teachings from the Nagual Tradition, is a best seller—congratulations. In my perfect world this book would be a high school textbook in mandatory sex ed. You describe nine different genital morphologies for both men and women. With porn setting the standard of large, circumcised cocks and small, neat, evenly shaped vulvas, to which we compare our own genitals, this book can help heal a lot of shame. Can you share with us some of your experiences of how you work with people around this topic?
Oh, boy, don’t get me started… just kidding. Thank You.
I think my book is so popular because women love finding out if they’re an Antelope Woman, or a Wolf Woman and men want to know if they’re a Horse Man or A Pony Man. It’s only a small part of the book, but it has a strong impact because, for one thing, people like looking at the pictures to find out what type of genital anatomy they have.
By the way, I did not make this stuff up! These types were actually discovered and recorded from the Twisted Hairs Elders of the Sweet Medicine Sundance Path, and were handed down from teacher to student for thousands of years. My book is the first to publish these teachings in a book for the public.
It turns out our anatomy tells us a lot about the way we like to receive pleasure, and it gives amazing insights into the specific kinds of genital pleasure our partner will most enjoy.
I love educating people about the beauty of our natural self, and I’ve shared these genital anatomy types with people all over the world. I especially love the way young people totally light up when they learn about their type. I think because I’ve stayed outside mainstream education, I’m a lot more straight-forward than they’re used to.
My first question as a guest speaker to a group of university students is often, “How many of you have had an orgasm?” They bolt to attention. They’ve been fed so many boring things about sex that many can’t wait to hear more from someone who might say something of actual interest to them.
Still, most sexual education causes rebellion, and a kind of anger that nobody is offering anything sacred, or anything holy or mysterious about sex. Our current sexual education is certainly not generating an overwhelming amount of happy, intimate relationships. And I believe the internet tends to make sex banal. It makes it easier for young people to get lost and confused.
When sex loses its sacredness, people will start making up their own rituals. These rituals (like young people having lots of oral sex with multiple partners) arise from an immature awareness about sex, because that’s where they are. Sex is a powerful energy that will find a way to come out. The question is, can we create ways to express our sexuality with wisdom that celebrates the spontaneity and beauty of sex?
I believe beauty is a weapon and that eventually, truth will penetrate all obstacles. And I believe we need sexual education that includes the realities of all that sex is, in all its mystery and power. But, as a culture, we are quite immature in this arena. When it comes to our sexuality we carry a hefty amount of armoring, guilt, and shame that blocks pleasure in the body. It’s really a deeply rooted doubt about pleasure at the core of our being. We don’t know if it’s really ok to feel deep bliss in our bodies.
We take on this armor from our image makers, and it becomes locked around our energetic bodies to the point where we need a lot of friction and a lot of pressure to even feel. If we don’t remove the emotional, mental and sexual blocks then the very armor we use to stay safe in our world ends up blocking our ability to feel pleasure. One of the ways to remove this armor is to look into, and ultimately fall in love with, who you really are.
Since I talk a lot about the subject of genital shame, I found it fascinating that the fastest growing cosmetic surgery is currently labiaplasty, where women cut their labia in search of ‘designer vaginas.’
Today a woman commented on my article, Who Designed Your Vagina?, where I discuss the $30 billion cosmetic industry profiting off women’s shame. Did you know there are 10 million Google searches every month for “Am I ugly?” I’ll bet a lot of those are from young girls.
In my book I talk in detail about this deeply rooted sense of shame we carry in our core being. It’s called the genital sense of self, and it begins getting molded and sculpted in order to “fit in” at an early age.
Here’s the comment of a ‘Deer Woman’ (the most petite lips of all the anatomy types):
Who are these women even doing this for? Themselves? Or what they think men want? If it’s the latter they will be sorely disappointed because as a deer woman, I have run into men (including my husband) who wish I was fleshier down there because they like to suck on the lips and folds.
And I get lots of comments from guys like this:
Speaking from my personal experience and as a man, every woman’s vulva / labia / vagina I’ve ever seen and enjoyed was an individual, perfect work of art. Do not deface a masterpiece.
By the way, I’m not into just ranting about the cosmetic industry. (my brother does cosmetic hair transplants.) I’m interested in beauty. I believe beauty is a weapon, and also a solace. But we must strip away other people’s opinions in order to accept and really feel our beauty.
Underneath all our personal bravado, I believe the real issue is that many of us carry an insidious self-hatred. It comes out as guilt about pleasure. It doesn’t get cut away with surgery. And unlike hair, as far as I know you can’t grow your pussy back. With men, circumcision is a choice that’s made for them while they’re very young, and there’s a lot of controversy about whether it’s really a good idea or an out-dated ritual. With the women I’m discussing changing the outer shape of their sexual anatomy as a choice. And it has a pretty costly price tag.
Another friend with large protruding labia said,
Even though I know I’m a Buffalo Woman, (one of the genital anatomy types with large protruding lips that cascade downwards in glorious ripples and folds) there’s always this moment before sex, when he first sees me, that I wonder, will he like it?
Our feelings about are genitals are so fragile and it takes time to really embrace, accept, and love ourselves. For women, the choice to alter their genitals is based mostly on appearance. I find it sad that so many women look at themselves and want to cut away their natural beauty. The real shame is that women don’t realize that they lose feeling. Surgery reduces sensation.
Just remember, throughout a woman’s entire vulva, throughout all her lips, no matter how big or small, there’s an amazing network of nerves and blood vessels that become engorged during arousal. Why would you want to reduce your capacity to feel pleasure?
This being said, I’ve seen thousands of genitals; even ones that have had surgery. Honest to God, they’re all beautiful, every single one.
What do you think are the greatest problems the next generation will face in regards to their sexual discovery and health? In the age of information, are we evolving?
I think the next generations’ problems will stem from ours. When you look at the surface, from our limited point of view, our culture may appear to be evolving. In various places in the world, there’s certainly more tolerance and acceptance for the diversity of sexual preferences.
However, if you look historically at times where there’s been tolerance and acceptance for practicing what I would call a more spiritual approach to sexuality, you will see that these are relatively brief moments in time. So I say we should appreciate the opening of this window, where for example, it’s ok to publish an article like this.
I think opening this window gives us the chance to learn how to simply enjoy our sexuality with greater erotic intelligence. We can actually use it to move beyond our selfish cravings. Repressing sexuality slows evolution, but careless, ignorant sexuality blunts our desire for enlightenment.
The poison of fear causes us to use our sexuality to wound ourselves and others. It’s not going away anytime soon. The problem is, when we say we love someone, it gets tangled up in sex and then we want to possess what we love. That’s not really happiness, and it’s not love.
Buddhists say this kind of grasping is the root of all suffering, and I agree. The more we can listen to our original nature, and the more we can just let it go, the less we will suffer. If there’s one thing we should be greedy for, it’s enlightenment. We should focus on the BIG desire. The little desires will come and go; that’s just the way life is.
Can we have more holy orgasms? Only to the extent that we are pure in our motives and let go of our personal cravings. This requires maturity where we take responsibility for all our actions. It means we must stand spiritually accountable for what we do.
In couples workshops, women’s Shakti Queen retreats, and Quodoushka trainings all over the world you teach the connection between sexuality and spirituality and help your students to mend their wounds and move into greater pleasure and deeper intimacies. Can you leave us with a simple practice?
Here’s a practice I use called So What. When my teacher, Master Angela Yan, was at my house, she saw a copy of my Quodoushka book on the table. She picked it up and said “so what?”
When something amazing happens, practice saying, “so what.” When something awful happens, no matter what, like your boyfriend sleeps with another woman, or you spill coffee on your favorite white blouse, you say to yourself, “so what.”
What if it doesn’t work? “So what.” Try it and see.
When Angela was leaving, I asked her, what I should work on. She said “Be more humble.” I’m still working on it.. After writing all this, I’m afraid I still have a lot of work to do on being more humble.
Om Mani Padne Hum
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Amara Charles began her apprenticeship with Thunder Strikes within the Sweet Medicine Sundance Path of Turtle Island in 1987 and has taught Quodoushka sexuality workshops since 1990. She is the founder of Nourishing Arts, a training center providing courses and mentorship in shamanic and Daoist sexual arts. The author of Sexual Agreements, Aching to Open, and Erotic Touch for Two, she lives in Phoenix, Arizona.[/symple_column]