Last Updated On August 27, 2016

 

Learn to speak with both your mind and heart. For the ground beneath will hold you, dear -- know that you are free. And never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be. -Sarah McMane

 

 

Happy World Goddess Day!

On Sunday September 4, 1pm there will be workshops and music and ritual and fun all day taking place at Sacred Root Kava Bar and Tea Lounge in Ithaca NY. I will be doing a talk entitled “25 Hooded Figures: My Story of Impulsively Purchased 3D Printed Clitorises” AND I will be strewing the Ithaca area with free 3D printed clitorises to anyone who finds them! I will be posting a gps map to help you out. Its like the BEST geocache ever.

If you are here because you found one- congrats! I would love it if you sent me a message and maybe a picture to Illuminousfluxblog@gmail.com

If you love your 3D printed clitoris so much that you want to give back- give it here. Let your dollars help END THE BACKLOG of untested rape kits. What better way to honor a clitoris.

I have some informative articles already posted below and eventually I will post my talk here as well.

Articles:

How A 3D Clitoris Will Help Teach French Schoolchildren About Sex

French Researcher Wants to Make Sex Education More Accurate With 3D Printed Clitoris

We Spoke to the Woman Who Designed a 3D Printed Clitoris

Below is my talk, 25  Hooded Figures. I also included, in italics, some thoughts after the hunt/talk with testimonials from participants and some photos. Thank you to everyone who helped me pull this off- those who joined in, who started conversations, who helped me with promotion, and who provided inspiration all along the way. Enjoy!

*** I tried to set up a way to record this talk but it didn’t work out. It was dimly lit, my lo-fi audio recording sucks. In general I can look back now and see the five thousand ways I could’ve done this whole thing better. And there’s this bitter energy to it sometimes, not just “I wish I had more skill” but “people may never give a shit about what I do again, I should’ve captured this opportunity better”. Yes. I know these feelings are normal post project. Working through it. And all this amazing feedback I’m getting is really helping with that crappy hang over. When I described this post-hunt crash to a friend, she was like- “that is SUCH a universal feminine experience! To grapple with perfectionism and self-doubt! You should write about that!” I love it. “Write about it” has become my answer to pretty much everything. Rightfully so. Along with my signature advice, “Ask your vagina”. So I’m going to make another recording for you. Including the piece from World Goddess Day about Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever and my extended thoughts and impressions from my perspective a few days later.  I’m not a great public speaker but I have this rumbling desire to tell stories with my voice. Not just my “voice”,  like in my words, but my actual voice out loud vibrating air molecules. And I think this is another uniquely and universally feminine experience. The need to be heard. Really heard. And because obviously I’ll do anything for you people (its ridiculous!). On my site, in addition to the text from the talk, you can see all pictures of the hunt, the hiding and the finding.  

Slide 1- The Set-Up

Before I start, I want to tell you what I CAN’T do.

I can’t possibly do this topic justice.

I wish I could stand up here and tell you about my degrees and my research and the books I published.

I’m sure there are plenty of women in this room, who are far more qualified to give this topic a more complete, correct, and historical treatment than I could ever hope to deliver. In fact, I’d love to talk to those women!

I am only a woman and a creator. Thats all and thats everything.

And I feel like my calling is not to teach but rather to tell.

Like a Griot, I am a storyteller and a “praise singer” and a poet of sorts.

I may not tell you anything today that you don’t already know but I may cause you you think a little more deeply or differently.

I may help you remember what you know. I may give you images and words and feelings to work with.

This is what I CAN do.

***Let me add- fire starter, trickster, activist, and Amanda Palmer wannabe. This cracks me up because I’ve spent most of my life thinking I was the workhorse, the martyr, the academic.

Turns out I’m not the long haul person in a lot of ways. I’m not built for in-depth research and long treatise.

Turns out I can’t tell a straightforward narrative to save my fucking life.

Turns out that although I am loyal, my commitments are varied.

Turns out I don’t prefer to manage things after I let them fly, I’d rather just sit back and enjoy the ripples.

And evidently I have let my lack of confidence in my appearance and body image limit me. I’m an introvert that needs the people. (note to self: YOU SHOULD WRITE ABOUT IT!)

This project made me really examine, in a more full spectrum way, “what I do”. I feel this expansion happening where I am opening myself up to all of it, the potential, the perceived shortfalls, the values, the strengths. Even my communication style and aesthetics and energetic attributes. I think everyone wrestles with their own contribution to society. Lately I’ve been really considering what I want to be when I grow up. I’m pretty sure that question never goes away. Its like we are always crafting the answer.

Slide 2- The First Night

The first night I was so excited to show them off!

I got the delivery earlier in the day but held off on actually opening them up.

I cleaned the table of sticky residue, broke out the wine, the chocolates, some candles- and my box of clitorises!

When I lifted the box’s lid, I expected light to spill forth like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

Or powerful spirits to rise like when the Nazis opened the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones. Without the face melting part. Or the Nazis.

And indeed, the clitorises were impressive. Shiny and newly minted and all mine.

*** This project has a lot to do with delight. Just like clitorises themselves- they are built for pleasure, nothing else required. Sometimes “just delight” can lead us to amazing places. Its sad that our society downgrades and suppresses simple pleasure for its own sake. I know for myself when my endeavors become too heavy, too weighed down with concerns, too tethered to the past or anxious in the future- it changes the character of what I’m doing or saying. A connection is broken. Wonder is good medicine. UnADULTerated. 

Slide 3- The First Sign

On this first night, I got my first glimpse of how these creations are tied to the divine feminine.

Not in a cerebral way, but in an intuitive one.

When I saw them, I felt deep movement, connection. I recognized these clitorises. They were being returned to me.

And I saw this same light in the eyes of every woman I introduced them to.
“Look! Here they are!”

My dear friend Marisa is with me on this first night. Her sense of wonder is palpable.

She holds it on her palm like a beloved pet, examining it from every angle saying “Its so….. interesting”.

I find myself holding my breathe.

Every subsequent introduction has a similar feel.

Momentous. Old? Like seeing a an ancient treasure map or discovering a long lost relic. But more personal.

This is how I experience the sacred divine feminine.

As a familiarity, a blurring of time and space, an activation of my root, and an acknowledgment of a shared experience. This all came into play as a result of opening that box.

And I saw it in the eyes of every woman who laid hands on those plastic clits.

***There is always a moment when I try to public read my work where my voice breaks. That last line was my break. There is some old, primal pain there. I’m aware of all this WONDERfulness going on, and I’m fully present but there is just something piercingly sad about our non-acquaintance with the clitoris. And I am just the joy kill to dredge that up- ha! I can’t help it, its in my nature. Sometimes people call it “keeping it real”. There is undeniable power in the unveiling of the clitoris.

This my friend Nora B. talking about her wife Margie, “Margie was surprised to see all of it. If a someone like her (ahem) doesn’t know exactly what the structure looks like, who would? It’s a great event for that and many other reasons.” and my friend Maureen K. “Nora Snyder has done the coolest thing ever! Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever through Illuminous Flux she has set up the most amazing 3D clitori scavenger hunt AND I FOUND MY VERY OWN 3D CLIT LOOK AT THOSE AMAZING CLITORAL LEGS!”.

Its true. The legs ARE impressive.

Slide 4- Not a Tent

I don’t live in a Red Tent, so shortly after introductions were made my son settles himself at the table with his laptop.

“What are these?” he asks as he runs his hands through the box.

All of a sudden, shit gets real.

This isn’t some limited secret to giggle about with my girlfriends. These clitorises are for everyone!

I felt this realization like a warm blush trickling from the crown of my head.

In autism circles there is a concept called “presuming competence”. That phrase came to the forefront of my mind at that moment. Its about presuming the competence of the person despite their ability to prove these competencies, while ignoring our culture’s prejudices.

Its about faith. And respect. I prepare to dive in head first. The presumption of competency in one hand, radical honesty in the other, and with faith and respect in my heart.

Is a fifteen year old boy interested in hearing about clitorises from two forty-something year old moms? Apparently, the answer is YES.

After listening to us for a bit, he slays me with “So basically, you have this important part in you that nobody really acknowledges?”

This stuns me into silence. For a little bit anyway…

***It occurs to me now that probably not everyone would include “presuming competence” and autism in this talk. Well. I guess I’m not just anybody. This piece of it, about direct and clear communication, came up strong for me throughout this experience. Because no, its not a secret anymore. This is an awareness exercise, not just preaching to the choir. Although I love the choir. They are a great bunch of bitches. We should be able to say the word clitoris without apology. There is no reason our kids shouldn’t know the words for female anatomy, and PLENTY of reasons they should. I felt emboldened by that fact that my fifteen year old son could see the fucked-upness of the missing clitoris situation. Although grown men questioned me as to whether I was being “obscene” or the run of the mill “if a man did this, he would probably be arrested…”. All I can say is, 1. I would have to do a LOT more that drop a few clitorises to get attention from police in this town. and 2. A man wouldn’t HAVE to garner awareness about his sex parts because they haven’t been a mystery since 1998! Look down. Its right there.

Some of my favorite stories from Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever are about the conversations had with children. I feel like if any of this was a public service, it was the conversations.  Here is a beautiful snapshot from my friend Asha:

“My girls are 9 and 13. We were on our way to Quaker Meeting and I took an alternate route so I could swing by the park and see if the most recently posted treasure was still there. My oldest asked where we were going she was enthralled by the treasure hunt and didn’t understand what I was hoping to find. Neither did my 9 year old. I asked them, “Do you know what your clitoris is?” They didn’t know! How did that happen? In my house?!?! The treasure was there (Mine! All Mine!) and thus began a sprawling conversation over several days about what a clitoris is, why we’re not taught about them, misogyny, freedom, living in your own skin. That it started from a playful place of a treasure hunt allowed me to open the whole thing up without it being intimidating and awkward. And now that we have stepped into the conversation we can step back in as suits us. What a gift! (as well, my found clitoris sat on the dining room table for days, because why not?)” 

Slide 5- The Beginning

As I spend time with the clitorises I notice the glans resemble a heart-shape and overall its delicate branches evoke a wishbone. Marisa loves this, as do I.

As the saying goes, “daughter, don’t put a wishbone where your spine ought to be” but a wishbone seems quite at home in the center of desire.

I reminisced about this project’s conception.

I first read about 3D printed clitorises in an article about their use as part of a sex education initiative in France. At first I felt distant because that burkini mess was going on so I was feeling pissed at France and not wanting to give them any credit for being progressive.

But I couldn’t put it down. Upon further reading I find that the blueprints are open-source!

I went from happy in a

“oh its so great that this is available for educational purposes” way

to a “holy shit, I could print my own clitoris!!” kind of way.

I mean, not my own personally, but you know what I mean.

***I love geeking out over technology that I have scant understanding of. Its like my lack of context provides a whole new element of MAGIC to the process! I make my own fun thankyouverymuch. Unfortunately I lost access to a video of my clit babies being born but above in the articles, I believe there is a “making of” video with great sexy boom chicka boom music. Give it a watch, fascinating. Initially I thought I would do a group buy of 3D prints to make them available to people at a lower bulk cost, but now I’m just not sure. Not that it isn’t a great idea, I just don’t know if I want to take it on. By the way, I was asked often if the 3D prints were actually molded from my own personal anatomy. Um. No.

More on the shape- My friend Shelley approached me after the talk saying the branches reminded her of a tuning fork! I love Shelley, this imagery, and everything it implies.

Slide 6- A Gift

“This is a gift to the world!”

I guess I’ve heard great human interest stories and medical breakthroughs enabled by 3D printing technology.

But this was my first personal encounter with how this technology can unveil things, demystify them, make them holdable, touchable, approachable…and for nominal cost!

I’m overwhelmed by gratitude for this awareness, breaking through my cynicism, and causing me to really appreciate this incredible time in human history.

I felt a stirring and a lightness that feels like youth and freedom. Playfulness bubbled up around me, tickling my nose.

And this feeling is my second evidence of the sacred divine feminine. Even though its hard for me to describe the specific mechanisms and connections, I know it intuitively when she is near.

When I’m light, I suspect I’m being lifted.

This sense of playfulness gave birth to a pretty fun idea…

*** Breaking through my cynicism is a big fucking deal. And not because I’m some dried up negative person, but rather because it is my shell of protection. Sometimes if I experience that playfulness for any length of time I need to check myself. I feel like I’m play hot and loose, risky. My giddiness feels like too much coffee, a low grade fever…and then I realize, “no honey, thats just you being happy for no reason”. This project gave me so many opportunities for practice.

I came up with the hunt idea at a Red Tent planning meeting, a particularly tumultuous one actually. That whole night was really powerful… (YOU SHOULD WRITE ABOUT IT!). Although initially I thought doing it (the hunt) through Red Tent would make sense, it became clear that the idea was a little triggering for some. Which makes me sad. And that has become another unexpected facet of this experience. A deep compassion for those who have lived through trespass and misinformation, those who have been victimized and hurt, those who tend to wounds that affect their relationships to their clitorises. I was contacted midcourse by a sweet friend, who I didn’t even know was a writer, wishing to share her story of sexual abuse on Illuminous Flux. I feel such profound honor that she reached out to me. Her timing was impeccable. Heart. Full. And a big YES.

Slide 7- The Hunt

I feel so magnanimous about these clitorises. I just canNOT keep them to myself.

I started to think about how fun it would be to unexpectedly find one, not know what it is, and then SURPRISE! Its a clitoris!

I smile when I think of unleashing them on my community and letting fate take care of the rest.

So I did it. I tagged each one like they were endangered creatures and placed them thoughtfully around my town to be picked up by the next curious person who happens to see it. I hope I get some feedback from my recipients but its ok if I don’t.

I welcome the levity and approachableness of this endeavor.

I aim for “just” edgy enough to be compelling but making room for everyone because this is about sex and feminism but its also about education and awareness.

I want to retain a celebratory, inclusive feel.

However. Let us not forget sisters and brothers, what a society that has suppressed female pleasure looks like.

It looks like acid attacks and honor killings, and that piece of shit Brock Turner walking around a free man.

Amidst all this frivolity and empowerment is some serious fucking business.

I honor both sides of this coin.

*** The denial of female sexual pleasure- the denial of the existence of its mechanisms, the suppression of its relevance is dehumanizing. It is oppression. Plain and simple. This isn’t just some weird, random oversight. It is systemic. 

Slide 8- A Flood

As I was describing this project to my son at the table that first night, I began developing a swirl of ideas about why this is important.

And every night subsequently, I found myself jotting down notes, being interrupted in my sleep, mumbling to myself in the kitchen, having one foot in the present and one foot in this stream of consciousness, raised consciousness. I’ve been very immersed.

It feels important to me to tease apart this story, even though it is a complex one and probably way above my pay grade.

I start with- the clitoris does not really get mention. It is overshadowed by the baby-making parts. We leave this whole wondrous structure responsible for female sexual pleasure out of the conversation. Unless the conversation is pornographic and its sadly truncated to a “button” as if we can be turned on and off by the push of one.

Why is it harder to say clitoris than penis?

And when your baby making parts are the only ones getting airtime, it starts sending other related messages as well like “your pleasure isn’t important”.
And this is only a hair away from “your pleasure isn’t necessary”
and one step further is “and neither is your consent”.

Terrible shit happens when a society has no regard for female pleasure. Child marriage, female genital mutilation, rape..patriarchy at its most destructive.

The procreation preoccupation also gives the impression that women should hold ALL responsibility for avoiding/enabling pregnancy and men are responsible for…. enjoying themselves? Because penises get PLENTY of airtime, no problem there! There are no boys wondering “where do my orgasms come from?”.

When the focus is centered on the penis and male arousal, any sex that does not involve an erect penis is considered “not real sex”. Which hey, kind of sucks for straight women because now we don’t only have a procreation preoccupation to deal with, now we have a penetration preoccupation. But worse, this skewed narrative totally illegitimizes all non-straight sexual relationships.

*** I think “the flood” exemplifies why this project was life changing for me. Because it forced me to process the whole enchilada. The fun, the wonder, AND the horrors, the heartbreaking connections…I do a lot of compartmentalizing. I think everyone does. But thats why experiences like this are so important because your eyes are open to all of it. And you lose sleep. And you can’t look away. For both good and bad reasons.

Slide 9- The Worst

My son says “its structure is similar to a penis” and I fire back “or MAYBE a penis is like a clitoris!”

I am disgusted by the blatant disregard for half the human race. My god. No one could be bothered to look? To map it out? To enlighten us as to what our bodies do and contain? Were they not even fucking curious?

For some reason this makes me the most furious. The ignorance. The ignoring.

WHY WERE OUR CLITORISES ERASED FROM THE RECORD?!

“The Australian doctor Helen O’Connell is often credited as being the first person to show the complete anatomy of the clitoris to the modern world in 1998.”

Think about this for a minute. 1998.
We put a man on the moon, we cloned sheep, we started the human genome project but we still had no fucking idea what a human clitoris actually looked like. Unbelievable.

***One more time. 1998.

Slide 10- Abundance

Tracing this back to the beginning, when I was ordering my clitorises from the 3D printer, I had this clear sense of abundance.

I didn’t have much else. I didn’t have a plan, a concept, a moral imperative. I wasn’t thinking about the broader implications.

I just felt very confident that having “the thing”, holding it, bringing it into my space would inform everything else. And it did.

But just having one seemed kind of lonely somehow. It was “the many” that spoke to me. I wanted to be surrounded.

Like Marija Gimbutas and her Goddess statues!

I mean, if she just found one, that would change the story significantly, right?

It was the NUMBERS, the distribution, the commonality that made her finds impressive. Beholding one after another after another…

I want these clitorises to blanket the landscape, to shatter the silence, to be undeniable in their presence and in our consciousness.

This is why I needed 25. That, and the bulk discount.

*** I secretly called Slide 10- “my clitoris is bigger than your patriarchy” because it signaled a sharp change in tone. I didn’t want to end my talk by screaming at my audience. Because its not only about speaking out against injustice, its also about supporting what you want to see. I love how Marija comes into the mix, another of my unexpected connections, but it is often that my ideas will become paired in my mind with a person. She is my patron saint of clitorises. If you don’t know who she is, find out here.

Slide 11- A Final Truth

I guess this will be my final sacred divine feminine connection.

These clitoris models- they are our modern relics.

Just like artifacts from the ancients, we have finally excavated these amazing finds!

These 25 Hooded Figures are harkening us back to our own bodies.

Helping us reclaim language for our own anatomy.

Enabling us to visualize the size, shape, and potency of our own parts.

This is our evidence.
This is our proof.
This is our truth.
This is part of our divine feminine inheritance.

***This became a little prayer I told myself before the hiding early Sunday morning. And I truly feel like it lit a torch as I crisscrossed the town. Choosing spots by the intuition of my tingling fingers. Feeling a rush of connection with every Facebook notification. 

 

Last Updated On August 27, 2016

 

Learn to speak with both your mind and heart. For the ground beneath will hold you, dear -- know that you are free. And never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be. -Sarah McMane

 

Happy World Goddess Day!

On Sunday September 4, 1pm there will be workshops and music and ritual and fun all day taking place at Sacred Root Kava Bar and Tea Lounge in Ithaca NY. I will be doing a talk entitled “25 Hooded Figures: My Story of Impulsively Purchased 3D Printed Clitorises” AND I will be strewing the Ithaca area with free 3D printed clitorises to anyone who finds them! I will be posting a gps map to help you out. Its like the BEST geocache ever.

If you are here because you found one- congrats! I would love it if you sent me a message and maybe a picture to Illuminousfluxblog@gmail.com

If you love your 3D printed clitoris so much that you want to give back- give it here. Let your dollars help END THE BACKLOG of untested rape kits. What better way to honor a clitoris.

I have some informative articles already posted below and eventually I will post my talk here as well.

Articles:

How A 3D Clitoris Will Help Teach French Schoolchildren About Sex

French Researcher Wants to Make Sex Education More Accurate With 3D Printed Clitoris

We Spoke to the Woman Who Designed a 3D Printed Clitoris

Below is my talk, 25  Hooded Figures. I also included, in italics, some thoughts after the hunt/talk with testimonials from participants and some photos. Thank you to everyone who helped me pull this off- those who joined in, who started conversations, who helped me with promotion, and who provided inspiration all along the way. Enjoy!

*** I tried to set up a way to record this talk but it didn’t work out. It was dimly lit, my lo-fi audio recording sucks. In general I can look back now and see the five thousand ways I could’ve done this whole thing better. And there’s this bitter energy to it sometimes, not just “I wish I had more skill” but “people may never give a shit about what I do again, I should’ve captured this opportunity better”. Yes. I know these feelings are normal post project. Working through it. And all this amazing feedback I’m getting is really helping with that crappy hang over. When I described this post-hunt crash to a friend, she was like- “that is SUCH a universal feminine experience! To grapple with perfectionism and self-doubt! You should write about that!” I love it. “Write about it” has become my answer to pretty much everything. Rightfully so. Along with my signature advice, “Ask your vagina”. So I’m going to make another recording for you. Including the piece from World Goddess Day about Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever and my extended thoughts and impressions from my perspective a few days later.  I’m not a great public speaker but I have this rumbling desire to tell stories with my voice. Not just my “voice”,  like in my words, but my actual voice out loud vibrating air molecules. And I think this is another uniquely and universally feminine experience. The need to be heard. Really heard. And because obviously I’ll do anything for you people (its ridiculous!). On my site, in addition to the text from the talk, you can see all pictures of the hunt, the hiding and the finding.  

Slide 1- The Set-Up

Before I start, I want to tell you what I CAN’T do.

I can’t possibly do this topic justice.

I wish I could stand up here and tell you about my degrees and my research and the books I published.

I’m sure there are plenty of women in this room, who are far more qualified to give this topic a more complete, correct, and historical treatment than I could ever hope to deliver. In fact, I’d love to talk to those women!

I am only a woman and a creator. Thats all and thats everything.

And I feel like my calling is not to teach but rather to tell.

Like a Griot, I am a storyteller and a “praise singer” and a poet of sorts.

I may not tell you anything today that you don’t already know but I may cause you you think a little more deeply or differently.

I may help you remember what you know. I may give you images and words and feelings to work with.

This is what I CAN do.

***Let me add- fire starter, trickster, activist, and Amanda Palmer wannabe. This cracks me up because I’ve spent most of my life thinking I was the workhorse, the martyr, the academic.

Turns out I’m not the long haul person in a lot of ways. I’m not built for in-depth research and long treatise.

Turns out I can’t tell a straightforward narrative to save my fucking life.

Turns out that although I am loyal, my commitments are varied.

Turns out I don’t prefer to manage things after I let them fly, I’d rather just sit back and enjoy the ripples.

And evidently I have let my lack of confidence in my appearance and body image limit me. I’m an introvert that needs the people. (note to self: YOU SHOULD WRITE ABOUT IT!)

This project made me really examine, in a more full spectrum way, “what I do”. I feel this expansion happening where I am opening myself up to all of it, the potential, the perceived shortfalls, the values, the strengths. Even my communication style and aesthetics and energetic attributes. I think everyone wrestles with their own contribution to society. Lately I’ve been really considering what I want to be when I grow up. I’m pretty sure that question never goes away. Its like we are always crafting the answer.

Slide 2- The First Night

The first night I was so excited to show them off!

I got the delivery earlier in the day but held off on actually opening them up.

I cleaned the table of sticky residue, broke out the wine, the chocolates, some candles- and my box of clitorises!

When I lifted the box’s lid, I expected light to spill forth like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

Or powerful spirits to rise like when the Nazis opened the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones. Without the face melting part. Or the Nazis.

And indeed, the clitorises were impressive. Shiny and newly minted and all mine.

*** This project has a lot to do with delight. Just like clitorises themselves- they are built for pleasure, nothing else required. Sometimes “just delight” can lead us to amazing places. Its sad that our society downgrades and suppresses simple pleasure for its own sake. I know for myself when my endeavors become too heavy, too weighed down with concerns, too tethered to the past or anxious in the future- it changes the character of what I’m doing or saying. A connection is broken. Wonder is good medicine. UnADULTerated. 

Slide 3- The First Sign

On this first night, I got my first glimpse of how these creations are tied to the divine feminine.

Not in a cerebral way, but in an intuitive one.

When I saw them, I felt deep movement, connection. I recognized these clitorises. They were being returned to me.

And I saw this same light in the eyes of every woman I introduced them to.
“Look! Here they are!”

My dear friend Marisa is with me on this first night. Her sense of wonder is palpable.

She holds it on her palm like a beloved pet, examining it from every angle saying “Its so….. interesting”.

I find myself holding my breathe.

Every subsequent introduction has a similar feel.

Momentous. Old? Like seeing a an ancient treasure map or discovering a long lost relic. But more personal.

This is how I experience the sacred divine feminine.

As a familiarity, a blurring of time and space, an activation of my root, and an acknowledgment of a shared experience. This all came into play as a result of opening that box.

And I saw it in the eyes of every woman who laid hands on those plastic clits.

***There is always a moment when I try to public read my work where my voice breaks. That last line was my break. There is some old, primal pain there. I’m aware of all this WONDERfulness going on, and I’m fully present but there is just something piercingly sad about our non-acquaintance with the clitoris. And I am just the joy kill to dredge that up- ha! I can’t help it, its in my nature. Sometimes people call it “keeping it real”. There is undeniable power in the unveiling of the clitoris.

This my friend Nora B. talking about her wife Margie, “Margie was surprised to see all of it. If a someone like her (ahem) doesn’t know exactly what the structure looks like, who would? It’s a great event for that and many other reasons.” and my friend Maureen K. “Nora Snyder has done the coolest thing ever! Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever through Illuminous Flux she has set up the most amazing 3D clitori scavenger hunt AND I FOUND MY VERY OWN 3D CLIT LOOK AT THOSE AMAZING CLITORAL LEGS!”.

Its true. The legs ARE impressive.

Slide 4- Not a Tent

I don’t live in a Red Tent, so shortly after introductions were made my son settles himself at the table with his laptop.

“What are these?” he asks as he runs his hands through the box.

All of a sudden, shit gets real.

This isn’t some limited secret to giggle about with my girlfriends. These clitorises are for everyone!

I felt this realization like a warm blush trickling from the crown of my head.

In autism circles there is a concept called “presuming competence”. That phrase came to the forefront of my mind at that moment. Its about presuming the competence of the person despite their ability to prove these competencies, while ignoring our culture’s prejudices.

Its about faith. And respect. I prepare to dive in head first. The presumption of competency in one hand, radical honesty in the other, and with faith and respect in my heart.

Is a fifteen year old boy interested in hearing about clitorises from two forty-something year old moms? Apparently, the answer is YES.

After listening to us for a bit, he slays me with “So basically, you have this important part in you that nobody really acknowledges?”

This stuns me into silence. For a little bit anyway…

***It occurs to me now that probably not everyone would include “presuming competence” and autism in this talk. Well. I guess I’m not just anybody. This piece of it, about direct and clear communication, came up strong for me throughout this experience. Because no, its not a secret anymore. This is an awareness exercise, not just preaching to the choir. Although I love the choir. They are a great bunch of bitches. We should be able to say the word clitoris without apology. There is no reason our kids shouldn’t know the words for female anatomy, and PLENTY of reasons they should. I felt emboldened by that fact that my fifteen year old son could see the fucked-upness of the missing clitoris situation. Although grown men questioned me as to whether I was being “obscene” or the run of the mill “if a man did this, he would probably be arrested…”. All I can say is, 1. I would have to do a LOT more that drop a few clitorises to get attention from police in this town. and 2. A man wouldn’t HAVE to garner awareness about his sex parts because they haven’t been a mystery since 1998! Look down. Its right there.

Some of my favorite stories from Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever are about the conversations had with children. I feel like if any of this was a public service, it was the conversations.  Here is a beautiful snapshot from my friend Asha:

“My girls are 9 and 13. We were on our way to Quaker Meeting and I took an alternate route so I could swing by the park and see if the most recently posted treasure was still there. My oldest asked where we were going she was enthralled by the treasure hunt and didn’t understand what I was hoping to find. Neither did my 9 year old. I asked them, “Do you know what your clitoris is?” They didn’t know! How did that happen? In my house?!?! The treasure was there (Mine! All Mine!) and thus began a sprawling conversation over several days about what a clitoris is, why we’re not taught about them, misogyny, freedom, living in your own skin. That it started from a playful place of a treasure hunt allowed me to open the whole thing up without it being intimidating and awkward. And now that we have stepped into the conversation we can step back in as suits us. What a gift! (as well, my found clitoris sat on the dining room table for days, because why not?)” 

Slide 5- The Beginning

As I spend time with the clitorises I notice the glans resemble a heart-shape and overall its delicate branches evoke a wishbone. Marisa loves this, as do I.

As the saying goes, “daughter, don’t put a wishbone where your spine ought to be” but a wishbone seems quite at home in the center of desire.

I reminisced about this project’s conception.

I first read about 3D printed clitorises in an article about their use as part of a sex education initiative in France. At first I felt distant because that burkini mess was going on so I was feeling pissed at France and not wanting to give them any credit for being progressive.

But I couldn’t put it down. Upon further reading I find that the blueprints are open-source!

I went from happy in a

“oh its so great that this is available for educational purposes” way

to a “holy shit, I could print my own clitoris!!” kind of way.

I mean, not my own personally, but you know what I mean.

***I love geeking out over technology that I have scant understanding of. Its like my lack of context provides a whole new element of MAGIC to the process! I make my own fun thankyouverymuch. Unfortunately I lost access to a video of my clit babies being born but above in the articles, I believe there is a “making of” video with great sexy boom chicka boom music. Give it a watch, fascinating. Initially I thought I would do a group buy of 3D prints to make them available to people at a lower bulk cost, but now I’m just not sure. Not that it isn’t a great idea, I just don’t know if I want to take it on. By the way, I was asked often if the 3D prints were actually molded from my own personal anatomy. Um. No.

More on the shape- My friend Shelley approached me after the talk saying the branches reminded her of a tuning fork! I love Shelley, this imagery, and everything it implies.

Slide 6- A Gift

“This is a gift to the world!”

I guess I’ve heard great human interest stories and medical breakthroughs enabled by 3D printing technology.

But this was my first personal encounter with how this technology can unveil things, demystify them, make them holdable, touchable, approachable…and for nominal cost!

I’m overwhelmed by gratitude for this awareness, breaking through my cynicism, and causing me to really appreciate this incredible time in human history.

I felt a stirring and a lightness that feels like youth and freedom. Playfulness bubbled up around me, tickling my nose.

And this feeling is my second evidence of the sacred divine feminine. Even though its hard for me to describe the specific mechanisms and connections, I know it intuitively when she is near.

When I’m light, I suspect I’m being lifted.

This sense of playfulness gave birth to a pretty fun idea…

*** Breaking through my cynicism is a big fucking deal. And not because I’m some dried up negative person, but rather because it is my shell of protection. Sometimes if I experience that playfulness for any length of time I need to check myself. I feel like I’m play hot and loose, risky. My giddiness feels like too much coffee, a low grade fever…and then I realize, “no honey, thats just you being happy for no reason”. This project gave me so many opportunities for practice.

I came up with the hunt idea at a Red Tent planning meeting, a particularly tumultuous one actually. That whole night was really powerful… (YOU SHOULD WRITE ABOUT IT!). Although initially I thought doing it (the hunt) through Red Tent would make sense, it became clear that the idea was a little triggering for some. Which makes me sad. And that has become another unexpected facet of this experience. A deep compassion for those who have lived through trespass and misinformation, those who have been victimized and hurt, those who tend to wounds that affect their relationships to their clitorises. I was contacted midcourse by a sweet friend, who I didn’t even know was a writer, wishing to share her story of sexual abuse on Illuminous Flux. I feel such profound honor that she reached out to me. Her timing was impeccable. Heart. Full. And a big YES.

Slide 7- The Hunt

I feel so magnanimous about these clitorises. I just canNOT keep them to myself.

I started to think about how fun it would be to unexpectedly find one, not know what it is, and then SURPRISE! Its a clitoris!

I smile when I think of unleashing them on my community and letting fate take care of the rest.

So I did it. I tagged each one like they were endangered creatures and placed them thoughtfully around my town to be picked up by the next curious person who happens to see it. I hope I get some feedback from my recipients but its ok if I don’t.

I welcome the levity and approachableness of this endeavor.

I aim for “just” edgy enough to be compelling but making room for everyone because this is about sex and feminism but its also about education and awareness.

I want to retain a celebratory, inclusive feel.

However. Let us not forget sisters and brothers, what a society that has suppressed female pleasure looks like.

It looks like acid attacks and honor killings, and that piece of shit Brock Turner walking around a free man.

Amidst all this frivolity and empowerment is some serious fucking business.

I honor both sides of this coin.

*** The denial of female sexual pleasure- the denial of the existence of its mechanisms, the suppression of its relevance is dehumanizing. It is oppression. Plain and simple. This isn’t just some weird, random oversight. It is systemic. 

Slide 8- A Flood

As I was describing this project to my son at the table that first night, I began developing a swirl of ideas about why this is important.

And every night subsequently, I found myself jotting down notes, being interrupted in my sleep, mumbling to myself in the kitchen, having one foot in the present and one foot in this stream of consciousness, raised consciousness. I’ve been very immersed.

It feels important to me to tease apart this story, even though it is a complex one and probably way above my pay grade.

I start with- the clitoris does not really get mention. It is overshadowed by the baby-making parts. We leave this whole wondrous structure responsible for female sexual pleasure out of the conversation. Unless the conversation is pornographic and its sadly truncated to a “button” as if we can be turned on and off by the push of one.

Why is it harder to say clitoris than penis?

And when your baby making parts are the only ones getting airtime, it starts sending other related messages as well like “your pleasure isn’t important”.
And this is only a hair away from “your pleasure isn’t necessary”
and one step further is “and neither is your consent”.

Terrible shit happens when a society has no regard for female pleasure. Child marriage, female genital mutilation, rape..patriarchy at its most destructive.

The procreation preoccupation also gives the impression that women should hold ALL responsibility for avoiding/enabling pregnancy and men are responsible for…. enjoying themselves? Because penises get PLENTY of airtime, no problem there! There are no boys wondering “where do my orgasms come from?”.

When the focus is centered on the penis and male arousal, any sex that does not involve an erect penis is considered “not real sex”. Which hey, kind of sucks for straight women because now we don’t only have a procreation preoccupation to deal with, now we have a penetration preoccupation. But worse, this skewed narrative totally illegitimizes all non-straight sexual relationships.

*** I think “the flood” exemplifies why this project was life changing for me. Because it forced me to process the whole enchilada. The fun, the wonder, AND the horrors, the heartbreaking connections…I do a lot of compartmentalizing. I think everyone does. But thats why experiences like this are so important because your eyes are open to all of it. And you lose sleep. And you can’t look away. For both good and bad reasons.

Slide 9- The Worst

My son says “its structure is similar to a penis” and I fire back “or MAYBE a penis is like a clitoris!”

I am disgusted by the blatant disregard for half the human race. My god. No one could be bothered to look? To map it out? To enlighten us as to what our bodies do and contain? Were they not even fucking curious?

For some reason this makes me the most furious. The ignorance. The ignoring.

WHY WERE OUR CLITORISES ERASED FROM THE RECORD?!

“The Australian doctor Helen O’Connell is often credited as being the first person to show the complete anatomy of the clitoris to the modern world in 1998.”

Think about this for a minute. 1998.
We put a man on the moon, we cloned sheep, we started the human genome project but we still had no fucking idea what a human clitoris actually looked like. Unbelievable.

***One more time. 1998.

Slide 10- Abundance

Tracing this back to the beginning, when I was ordering my clitorises from the 3D printer, I had this clear sense of abundance.

I didn’t have much else. I didn’t have a plan, a concept, a moral imperative. I wasn’t thinking about the broader implications.

I just felt very confident that having “the thing”, holding it, bringing it into my space would inform everything else. And it did.

But just having one seemed kind of lonely somehow. It was “the many” that spoke to me. I wanted to be surrounded.

Like Marija Gimbutas and her Goddess statues!

I mean, if she just found one, that would change the story significantly, right?

It was the NUMBERS, the distribution, the commonality that made her finds impressive. Beholding one after another after another…

I want these clitorises to blanket the landscape, to shatter the silence, to be undeniable in their presence and in our consciousness.

This is why I needed 25. That, and the bulk discount.

*** I secretly called Slide 10- “my clitoris is bigger than your patriarchy” because it signaled a sharp change in tone. I didn’t want to end my talk by screaming at my audience. Because its not only about speaking out against injustice, its also about supporting what you want to see. I love how Marija comes into the mix, another of my unexpected connections, but it is often that my ideas will become paired in my mind with a person. She is my patron saint of clitorises. If you don’t know who she is, find out here.

Slide 11- A Final Truth

I guess this will be my final sacred divine feminine connection.

These clitoris models- they are our modern relics.

Just like artifacts from the ancients, we have finally excavated these amazing finds!

These 25 Hooded Figures are harkening us back to our own bodies.

Helping us reclaim language for our own anatomy.

Enabling us to visualize the size, shape, and potency of our own parts.

This is our evidence.
This is our proof.
This is our truth.
This is part of our divine feminine inheritance.

***This became a little prayer I told myself before the hiding early Sunday morning. And I truly feel like it lit a torch as I crisscrossed the town. Choosing spots by the intuition of my tingling fingers. Feeling a rush of connection with every Facebook notification. 

Last Updated On August 27, 2016

Learn to speak with both your mind and heart. For the ground beneath will hold you, dear -- know that you are free. And never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be. -Sarah McMane

Happy World Goddess Day!

On Sunday September 4, 1pm there will be workshops and music and ritual and fun all day taking place at Sacred Root Kava Bar and Tea Lounge in Ithaca NY. I will be doing a talk entitled “25 Hooded Figures: My Story of Impulsively Purchased 3D Printed Clitorises” AND I will be strewing the Ithaca area with free 3D printed clitorises to anyone who finds them! I will be posting a gps map to help you out. Its like the BEST geocache ever.

If you are here because you found one- congrats! I would love it if you sent me a message and maybe a picture to Illuminousfluxblog@gmail.com

If you love your 3D printed clitoris so much that you want to give back- give it here. Let your dollars help END THE BACKLOG of untested rape kits. What better way to honor a clitoris.

I have some informative articles already posted below and eventually I will post my talk here as well.

Articles:

How A 3D Clitoris Will Help Teach French Schoolchildren About Sex

French Researcher Wants to Make Sex Education More Accurate With 3D Printed Clitoris

We Spoke to the Woman Who Designed a 3D Printed Clitoris

Below is my talk, 25  Hooded Figures. I also included, in italics, some thoughts after the hunt/talk with testimonials from participants and some photos. Thank you to everyone who helped me pull this off- those who joined in, who started conversations, who helped me with promotion, and who provided inspiration all along the way. Enjoy!

*** I tried to set up a way to record this talk but it didn’t work out. It was dimly lit, my lo-fi audio recording sucks. In general I can look back now and see the five thousand ways I could’ve done this whole thing better. And there’s this bitter energy to it sometimes, not just “I wish I had more skill” but “people may never give a shit about what I do again, I should’ve captured this opportunity better”. Yes. I know these feelings are normal post project. Working through it. And all this amazing feedback I’m getting is really helping with that crappy hang over. When I described this post-hunt crash to a friend, she was like- “that is SUCH a universal feminine experience! To grapple with perfectionism and self-doubt! You should write about that!” I love it. “Write about it” has become my answer to pretty much everything. Rightfully so. Along with my signature advice, “Ask your vagina”. So I’m going to make another recording for you. Including the piece from World Goddess Day about Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever and my extended thoughts and impressions from my perspective a few days later.  I’m not a great public speaker but I have this rumbling desire to tell stories with my voice. Not just my “voice”,  like in my words, but my actual voice out loud vibrating air molecules. And I think this is another uniquely and universally feminine experience. The need to be heard. Really heard. And because obviously I’ll do anything for you people (its ridiculous!). On my site, in addition to the text from the talk, you can see all pictures of the hunt, the hiding and the finding.  

Slide 1- The Set-Up

Before I start, I want to tell you what I CAN’T do.

I can’t possibly do this topic justice.

I wish I could stand up here and tell you about my degrees and my research and the books I published.

I’m sure there are plenty of women in this room, who are far more qualified to give this topic a more complete, correct, and historical treatment than I could ever hope to deliver. In fact, I’d love to talk to those women!

I am only a woman and a creator. Thats all and thats everything.

And I feel like my calling is not to teach but rather to tell.

Like a Griot, I am a storyteller and a “praise singer” and a poet of sorts.

I may not tell you anything today that you don’t already know but I may cause you you think a little more deeply or differently.

I may help you remember what you know. I may give you images and words and feelings to work with.

This is what I CAN do.

***Let me add- fire starter, trickster, activist, and Amanda Palmer wannabe. This cracks me up because I’ve spent most of my life thinking I was the workhorse, the martyr, the academic.

Turns out I’m not the long haul person in a lot of ways. I’m not built for in-depth research and long treatise.

Turns out I can’t tell a straightforward narrative to save my fucking life.

Turns out that although I am loyal, my commitments are varied.

Turns out I don’t prefer to manage things after I let them fly, I’d rather just sit back and enjoy the ripples.

And evidently I have let my lack of confidence in my appearance and body image limit me. I’m an introvert that needs the people. (note to self: YOU SHOULD WRITE ABOUT IT!)

This project made me really examine, in a more full spectrum way, “what I do”. I feel this expansion happening where I am opening myself up to all of it, the potential, the perceived shortfalls, the values, the strengths. Even my communication style and aesthetics and energetic attributes. I think everyone wrestles with their own contribution to society. Lately I’ve been really considering what I want to be when I grow up. I’m pretty sure that question never goes away. Its like we are always crafting the answer.

Slide 2- The First Night

The first night I was so excited to show them off!

I got the delivery earlier in the day but held off on actually opening them up.

I cleaned the table of sticky residue, broke out the wine, the chocolates, some candles- and my box of clitorises!

When I lifted the box’s lid, I expected light to spill forth like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

Or powerful spirits to rise like when the Nazis opened the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones. Without the face melting part. Or the Nazis.

And indeed, the clitorises were impressive. Shiny and newly minted and all mine.

*** This project has a lot to do with delight. Just like clitorises themselves- they are built for pleasure, nothing else required. Sometimes “just delight” can lead us to amazing places. Its sad that our society downgrades and suppresses simple pleasure for its own sake. I know for myself when my endeavors become too heavy, too weighed down with concerns, too tethered to the past or anxious in the future- it changes the character of what I’m doing or saying. A connection is broken. Wonder is good medicine. UnADULTerated. 

Slide 3- The First Sign

On this first night, I got my first glimpse of how these creations are tied to the divine feminine.

Not in a cerebral way, but in an intuitive one.

When I saw them, I felt deep movement, connection. I recognized these clitorises. They were being returned to me.

And I saw this same light in the eyes of every woman I introduced them to.
“Look! Here they are!”

My dear friend Marisa is with me on this first night. Her sense of wonder is palpable.

She holds it on her palm like a beloved pet, examining it from every angle saying “Its so….. interesting”.

I find myself holding my breathe.

Every subsequent introduction has a similar feel.

Momentous. Old? Like seeing a an ancient treasure map or discovering a long lost relic. But more personal.

This is how I experience the sacred divine feminine.

As a familiarity, a blurring of time and space, an activation of my root, and an acknowledgment of a shared experience. This all came into play as a result of opening that box.

And I saw it in the eyes of every woman who laid hands on those plastic clits.

***There is always a moment when I try to public read my work where my voice breaks. That last line was my break. There is some old, primal pain there. I’m aware of all this WONDERfulness going on, and I’m fully present but there is just something piercingly sad about our non-acquaintance with the clitoris. And I am just the joy kill to dredge that up- ha! I can’t help it, its in my nature. Sometimes people call it “keeping it real”. There is undeniable power in the unveiling of the clitoris.

This my friend Nora B. talking about her wife Margie, “Margie was surprised to see all of it. If a someone like her (ahem) doesn’t know exactly what the structure looks like, who would? It’s a great event for that and many other reasons.” and my friend Maureen K. “Nora Snyder has done the coolest thing ever! Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever through Illuminous Flux she has set up the most amazing 3D clitori scavenger hunt AND I FOUND MY VERY OWN 3D CLIT LOOK AT THOSE AMAZING CLITORAL LEGS!”.

Its true. The legs ARE impressive.

Slide 4- Not a Tent

I don’t live in a Red Tent, so shortly after introductions were made my son settles himself at the table with his laptop.

“What are these?” he asks as he runs his hands through the box.

All of a sudden, shit gets real.

This isn’t some limited secret to giggle about with my girlfriends. These clitorises are for everyone!

I felt this realization like a warm blush trickling from the crown of my head.

In autism circles there is a concept called “presuming competence”. That phrase came to the forefront of my mind at that moment. Its about presuming the competence of the person despite their ability to prove these competencies, while ignoring our culture’s prejudices.

Its about faith. And respect. I prepare to dive in head first. The presumption of competency in one hand, radical honesty in the other, and with faith and respect in my heart.

Is a fifteen year old boy interested in hearing about clitorises from two forty-something year old moms? Apparently, the answer is YES.

After listening to us for a bit, he slays me with “So basically, you have this important part in you that nobody really acknowledges?”

This stuns me into silence. For a little bit anyway…

***It occurs to me now that probably not everyone would include “presuming competence” and autism in this talk. Well. I guess I’m not just anybody. This piece of it, about direct and clear communication, came up strong for me throughout this experience. Because no, its not a secret anymore. This is an awareness exercise, not just preaching to the choir. Although I love the choir. They are a great bunch of bitches. We should be able to say the word clitoris without apology. There is no reason our kids shouldn’t know the words for female anatomy, and PLENTY of reasons they should. I felt emboldened by that fact that my fifteen year old son could see the fucked-upness of the missing clitoris situation. Although grown men questioned me as to whether I was being “obscene” or the run of the mill “if a man did this, he would probably be arrested…”. All I can say is, 1. I would have to do a LOT more that drop a few clitorises to get attention from police in this town. and 2. A man wouldn’t HAVE to garner awareness about his sex parts because they haven’t been a mystery since 1998! Look down. Its right there.

Some of my favorite stories from Cliterally the Best Pleasure Hunt Ever are about the conversations had with children. I feel like if any of this was a public service, it was the conversations.  Here is a beautiful snapshot from my friend Asha:

“My girls are 9 and 13. We were on our way to Quaker Meeting and I took an alternate route so I could swing by the park and see if the most recently posted treasure was still there. My oldest asked where we were going she was enthralled by the treasure hunt and didn’t understand what I was hoping to find. Neither did my 9 year old. I asked them, “Do you know what your clitoris is?” They didn’t know! How did that happen? In my house?!?! The treasure was there (Mine! All Mine!) and thus began a sprawling conversation over several days about what a clitoris is, why we’re not taught about them, misogyny, freedom, living in your own skin. That it started from a playful place of a treasure hunt allowed me to open the whole thing up without it being intimidating and awkward. And now that we have stepped into the conversation we can step back in as suits us. What a gift! (as well, my found clitoris sat on the dining room table for days, because why not?)” 

Slide 5- The Beginning

As I spend time with the clitorises I notice the glans resemble a heart-shape and overall its delicate branches evoke a wishbone. Marisa loves this, as do I.

As the saying goes, “daughter, don’t put a wishbone where your spine ought to be” but a wishbone seems quite at home in the center of desire.

I reminisced about this project’s conception.

I first read about 3D printed clitorises in an article about their use as part of a sex education initiative in France. At first I felt distant because that burkini mess was going on so I was feeling pissed at France and not wanting to give them any credit for being progressive.

But I couldn’t put it down. Upon further reading I find that the blueprints are open-source!

I went from happy in a

“oh its so great that this is available for educational purposes” way

to a “holy shit, I could print my own clitoris!!” kind of way.

I mean, not my own personally, but you know what I mean.

***I love geeking out over technology that I have scant understanding of. Its like my lack of context provides a whole new element of MAGIC to the process! I make my own fun thankyouverymuch. Unfortunately I lost access to a video of my clit babies being born but above in the articles, I believe there is a “making of” video with great sexy boom chicka boom music. Give it a watch, fascinating. Initially I thought I would do a group buy of 3D prints to make them available to people at a lower bulk cost, but now I’m just not sure. Not that it isn’t a great idea, I just don’t know if I want to take it on. By the way, I was asked often if the 3D prints were actually molded from my own personal anatomy. Um. No.

More on the shape- My friend Shelley approached me after the talk saying the branches reminded her of a tuning fork! I love Shelley, this imagery, and everything it implies.

Slide 6- A Gift

“This is a gift to the world!”

I guess I’ve heard great human interest stories and medical breakthroughs enabled by 3D printing technology.

But this was my first personal encounter with how this technology can unveil things, demystify them, make them holdable, touchable, approachable…and for nominal cost!

I’m overwhelmed by gratitude for this awareness, breaking through my cynicism, and causing me to really appreciate this incredible time in human history.

I felt a stirring and a lightness that feels like youth and freedom. Playfulness bubbled up around me, tickling my nose.

And this feeling is my second evidence of the sacred divine feminine. Even though its hard for me to describe the specific mechanisms and connections, I know it intuitively when she is near.

When I’m light, I suspect I’m being lifted.

This sense of playfulness gave birth to a pretty fun idea…

*** Breaking through my cynicism is a big fucking deal. And not because I’m some dried up negative person, but rather because it is my shell of protection. Sometimes if I experience that playfulness for any length of time I need to check myself. I feel like I’m play hot and loose, risky. My giddiness feels like too much coffee, a low grade fever…and then I realize, “no honey, thats just you being happy for no reason”. This project gave me so many opportunities for practice.

I came up with the hunt idea at a Red Tent planning meeting, a particularly tumultuous one actually. That whole night was really powerful… (YOU SHOULD WRITE ABOUT IT!). Although initially I thought doing it (the hunt) through Red Tent would make sense, it became clear that the idea was a little triggering for some. Which makes me sad. And that has become another unexpected facet of this experience. A deep compassion for those who have lived through trespass and misinformation, those who have been victimized and hurt, those who tend to wounds that affect their relationships to their clitorises. I was contacted midcourse by a sweet friend, who I didn’t even know was a writer, wishing to share her story of sexual abuse on Illuminous Flux. I feel such profound honor that she reached out to me. Her timing was impeccable. Heart. Full. And a big YES.

Slide 7- The Hunt

I feel so magnanimous about these clitorises. I just canNOT keep them to myself.

I started to think about how fun it would be to unexpectedly find one, not know what it is, and then SURPRISE! Its a clitoris!

I smile when I think of unleashing them on my community and letting fate take care of the rest.

So I did it. I tagged each one like they were endangered creatures and placed them thoughtfully around my town to be picked up by the next curious person who happens to see it. I hope I get some feedback from my recipients but its ok if I don’t.

I welcome the levity and approachableness of this endeavor.

I aim for “just” edgy enough to be compelling but making room for everyone because this is about sex and feminism but its also about education and awareness.

I want to retain a celebratory, inclusive feel.

However. Let us not forget sisters and brothers, what a society that has suppressed female pleasure looks like.

It looks like acid attacks and honor killings, and that piece of shit Brock Turner walking around a free man.

Amidst all this frivolity and empowerment is some serious fucking business.

I honor both sides of this coin.

*** The denial of female sexual pleasure- the denial of the existence of its mechanisms, the suppression of its relevance is dehumanizing. It is oppression. Plain and simple. This isn’t just some weird, random oversight. It is systemic. 

Slide 8- A Flood

As I was describing this project to my son at the table that first night, I began developing a swirl of ideas about why this is important.

And every night subsequently, I found myself jotting down notes, being interrupted in my sleep, mumbling to myself in the kitchen, having one foot in the present and one foot in this stream of consciousness, raised consciousness. I’ve been very immersed.

It feels important to me to tease apart this story, even though it is a complex one and probably way above my pay grade.

I start with- the clitoris does not really get mention. It is overshadowed by the baby-making parts. We leave this whole wondrous structure responsible for female sexual pleasure out of the conversation. Unless the conversation is pornographic and its sadly truncated to a “button” as if we can be turned on and off by the push of one.

Why is it harder to say clitoris than penis?

And when your baby making parts are the only ones getting airtime, it starts sending other related messages as well like “your pleasure isn’t important”.
And this is only a hair away from “your pleasure isn’t necessary”
and one step further is “and neither is your consent”.

Terrible shit happens when a society has no regard for female pleasure. Child marriage, female genital mutilation, rape..patriarchy at its most destructive.

The procreation preoccupation also gives the impression that women should hold ALL responsibility for avoiding/enabling pregnancy and men are responsible for…. enjoying themselves? Because penises get PLENTY of airtime, no problem there! There are no boys wondering “where do my orgasms come from?”.

When the focus is centered on the penis and male arousal, any sex that does not involve an erect penis is considered “not real sex”. Which hey, kind of sucks for straight women because now we don’t only have a procreation preoccupation to deal with, now we have a penetration preoccupation. But worse, this skewed narrative totally illegitimizes all non-straight sexual relationships.

*** I think “the flood” exemplifies why this project was life changing for me. Because it forced me to process the whole enchilada. The fun, the wonder, AND the horrors, the heartbreaking connections…I do a lot of compartmentalizing. I think everyone does. But thats why experiences like this are so important because your eyes are open to all of it. And you lose sleep. And you can’t look away. For both good and bad reasons.

Slide 9- The Worst

My son says “its structure is similar to a penis” and I fire back “or MAYBE a penis is like a clitoris!”

I am disgusted by the blatant disregard for half the human race. My god. No one could be bothered to look? To map it out? To enlighten us as to what our bodies do and contain? Were they not even fucking curious?

For some reason this makes me the most furious. The ignorance. The ignoring.

WHY WERE OUR CLITORISES ERASED FROM THE RECORD?!

“The Australian doctor Helen O’Connell is often credited as being the first person to show the complete anatomy of the clitoris to the modern world in 1998.”

Think about this for a minute. 1998.
We put a man on the moon, we cloned sheep, we started the human genome project but we still had no fucking idea what a human clitoris actually looked like. Unbelievable.

***One more time. 1998.

Slide 10- Abundance

Tracing this back to the beginning, when I was ordering my clitorises from the 3D printer, I had this clear sense of abundance.

I didn’t have much else. I didn’t have a plan, a concept, a moral imperative. I wasn’t thinking about the broader implications.

I just felt very confident that having “the thing”, holding it, bringing it into my space would inform everything else. And it did.

But just having one seemed kind of lonely somehow. It was “the many” that spoke to me. I wanted to be surrounded.

Like Marija Gimbutas and her Goddess statues!

I mean, if she just found one, that would change the story significantly, right?

It was the NUMBERS, the distribution, the commonality that made her finds impressive. Beholding one after another after another…

I want these clitorises to blanket the landscape, to shatter the silence, to be undeniable in their presence and in our consciousness.

This is why I needed 25. That, and the bulk discount.

*** I secretly called Slide 10- “my clitoris is bigger than your patriarchy” because it signaled a sharp change in tone. I didn’t want to end my talk by screaming at my audience. Because its not only about speaking out against injustice, its also about supporting what you want to see. I love how Marija comes into the mix, another of my unexpected connections, but it is often that my ideas will become paired in my mind with a person. She is my patron saint of clitorises. If you don’t know who she is, find out here.

Slide 11- A Final Truth

I guess this will be my final sacred divine feminine connection.

These clitoris models- they are our modern relics.

Just like artifacts from the ancients, we have finally excavated these amazing finds!

These 25 Hooded Figures are harkening us back to our own bodies.

Helping us reclaim language for our own anatomy.

Enabling us to visualize the size, shape, and potency of our own parts.

This is our evidence.
This is our proof.
This is our truth.
This is part of our divine feminine inheritance.

***This became a little prayer I told myself before the hiding early Sunday morning. And I truly feel like it lit a torch as I crisscrossed the town. Choosing spots by the intuition of my tingling fingers. Feeling a rush of connection with every Facebook notification.