Last week I blogged about Esalen and surrendering fully to the sensuality of a place. That wasn’t the first time I’ve done that.
In think Esalen and Breighton Bush are two of the most sensuous places in the States. They have amazing old-growth forests and meditation rooms that are so exquisite that even my restless thoughts want to stay.
But I think what launches the sensuality factor off the charts is that they both have outdoor hot springs where bathing suits are optional.
Everyone tends to opt out which has the fascinating effect of de-sexualizing nudity.
I LOVE this.
I love how it encourages me to steep deeply in the awareness that my body is a gift to be cherished and how the cultural norm of comparing it to unachievable standards starts to melt away.
I love the relaxation and confidence that results and how comfortable I feel in my own skin.
I love the openness it brings to these communities, the trust it fosters, so when we are all dressed and gathered to dine, there’s this sacred intimacy that allows us to share deeply over our organic greens and quinoa.
And that, to me, is ultimately sexy.
Sexy Prod: Tell me about your clothing optional experiences.
The seduction started before I even set foot on her soil, when I heard her voice ~deep, husky and unmistakably female~ resonating in the sound of the surf. As I stepped from the shuttle van, she traced a finger down the length of my spine and I shivered not from the coolness of a Big Sur summer evening, but from the realization that I had five days to flirt back.
And boy did I ever.
That first night I opened every window and door in my room, welcoming her into my sleeping chambers. (I had the coolest roommate ever who totally indulged me but I'm pretty sure he was under her spell as well.)
That sexy voice of hers rousted me before dawn every morning and lured me through the misty woods to the hot spring baths that I shared with the setting full moon. While the Pacific Ocean roiled below, I floated, naked, in the warmth of her amniotic embrace until the sun rose and other guests drifted in.
Those are the baths tucked into the cliffs.
Photo: Jeff Rynders
As if I hadn't melted enough, one morning after soaking I attended a Yin Yoga class taught by a Brazilian beauty who lead me so deeply into my pelvis and second chakra that I didn’t find my way out until lunch (not that I tried very hard). Even now if I close my eyes, I can hear the resonance of her sultry accent. Strangely, from all the beautiful and profound directives she gave us, the only word I remember is encompass. So I’ve been letting the sensory memory of that class encompass my pelvis which tends to relax every part of it but my clitoris.
The creek that giggled through the woods enchanted me out of my hike and into nymph mode. I found myself naked, laughing and splashing in her cool pools during my workshop’s mid-day break.
And the cypress trees (if you’ve been reading this blog you already know about me and trees) they were old and wise. Their branches beckoned me… ground yourself child…as I pressed first my hands, then my lips and then the entire front side of my body into the contours of their weathered gray trunks.
The outdoor swimming pool tugged playfully on my ponytail as I was heading to bed one evening. I think she was lonely since everyone else was at the hot baths. Never one to pass up a chance to skinny dip, I shed my clothes and dove in. The surf harmonized perfectly with the music of a lone guitar player on the other side of the hedge and their duet pulled me out of my breast stroke into a whirling dervish splash dance.
Last week had such a blissful, otherworldly quality, like that kind of dream that I don’t want to awaken from and someday won’t.
Heavenly? you might ask. Divine? Yes, I’d say. Absolutely.
And sexy as hell.
Like any accomplished flirt, Esalen makes you work for it. You have to prove your mettle by being patient on hold for phone reservations, coordinating shuttle buses and laying down a chunk of cash for accommodations. But she’s worth every penny and will return your effort in spades…
...by cracking your heart wide open.
Photo: Danielle Price
Been to any sexy places this summer? Tell me about it in the comments.