Before the furor over the Open Source Boob Project, one of the things that struck me was when the Ferrett wrote, “It was as though parts of me were being healed whenever I did it.” He experienced healing through being given (and giving himself) permission to ask to touch someone, and to actually touch them. Given our uneasy relationship with bodies, our own and others, it didn’t seem surprising to me that overtly making touch okay would be a deeply spiritual experience. When the only generally approved contexts in which we can experience other bodies is commercial, in conquest or in romantic relationships then the boundaries between us, necessary though they may be, become too rigid, too dense. We become isolated. We experience brokenness. Touch is a step toward healing that brokenness. Dismissing taboos against touch is a powerful action, as was evidenced by the backlash the Ferrett got from his post.

The responses he got that bothered me the most were the ones which dismissed his sense of healing. One commenter says, the experiment “doesn’t seem to be a way to make people healthier sexually.” Another commenter said, “live in a fucking woman’s reality with a gropey boss for a fucking week before you decide that a woman’s body is a tool for some kind of fucking mystical healing experience for men.” See, I think bodies are tools for healing. I think that’s part of what we are. That doesn’t mean that people have a right to use others for their own healing. No one has the right to say “But I’m broken and you can fix me” and demand action of another. It does mean, though, that people can choose to make use of their own bodies as instruments of healing. Healing isolation. Healing sexualities. Healing fears of intimacy. Healing fear of touch. Healing desire. We can do that.

That’s part of why I was so happy to see this post. Just as the Open Source Boob Project was experienced both as the delight of “Wow! We’re touching breasts, butts and other bits!” and “parts of me were being healed,” i-muse‘s experiences as a stripper are described as

You are powerfully shaking the shadow, digging in the dirt and casting light
You’re just shaking your ass.

One doesn’t negate the other. They both happen in the same moment. What are the motivations of those involved? What are you aware of in the moment? What are you open to? Because you can see an ass so gorgeous you just want to bite into it, and at the same time feel an joyous ache at your core that you’re able to experience such beauty, such validation of desire. You can heal and be healed and turned on at the same time.

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