May is International Masturbation Month. (Trigger warning: This essay discusses sexual assault.)
Being raised in the South by a religious single Black mother meant that sex — and therefore, masturbation — was a one-way ticket to hell or unplanned pregnancy. Although my mother accompanied me to my first OB/GYN appointment, conversations around sexuality and pleasure were limited to passages from the holy scriptures. In typical fashion, I sought out information about sexuality and pleasure from the internet (shoutout to Tumblr) to explore this forbidden act of self-love.
I was drawn to the visual depictions of individuals engaged in practices of pleasure, whether it was with a consenting partner or by themselves. As a curious adolescent, I masturbated for the first time to Erykah Badu’s “Appletree” in my bedroom. The orgasmic release brought me to a spiritual place free of the cultural and societal stressors placed upon me as a young Black queer woman.
It’s a feeling I remembered as I continued to enjoy the sexual pleasures of my womanhood. “Keep me coming, Keep me going.” The lyrics from Beyoncé’s “Blow” flew through my mind as I began embracing the sensuality and holiness that came through the relationship between my body, my vagina, and me.
Through masturbation, I grew comfortable with my body, admiring my curves, hips, and thick thighs that break the standards of white beauty. I began loving my breasts, their size refusing to comply with trendy bras and bralettes.
I consider my vagina to be my first sexual partner, to be my friend — but she has experienced the effects of sexual violence and trauma from partners who did not ask for her consent. After every unwanted experience, I felt her spiritual energy lessen and the distance between us increase. There were periods when I could not even touch myself; I would only feel the scars left by past invaders if I tried.
I felt an immense distance from my sexual and spiritual self after the assaults, and I felt myself longing to reconnect with the sexual and spiritual parts of my body.
For over six years, Chakrubs has empowered individuals to embark on a spiritual journey that honors their physical, spiritual, and sexual bodies — and with those crystals, I finally found myself able to honor my body through self-love again, too. To regain ownership of my sexuality through masturbation.
Bri Luna started The Hoodwitch website and project in remembrance of the women of color in her childhood community who possessed healing abilities. On her site, individuals can find spiritual articles ranging from self-guided meditation practices, to rituals to honor the full moon. The Hoodwitch allows individuals to access the magic within them, helping them to heal and navigate the world.
Chakrubs and The Hoodwitch, two companies founded by women who believe in the spiritual power of honoring our bodies, have helped countless individuals regain ownership of their sexuality and access the sacred energies that we all carry. Despite geographic, cultural, and religious barriers dividing us, we each inhabit a body, and we all deserve to connect with the magic our bodies possess.