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My Self-Love Aroma

I watched him smell his left fingers. He slowly sniffed the middle two.

"Smell," he said.

I held his hand and sniffed his middle fingers. The aroma smelled familiar, but I could not place it. 

"What is it?" I asked.

"You," he said. "I can smell you 1-2 days after sex. You linger on me. Your scent is strong."

My stomach dropped. I felt embarrassed.

With a blank stare, I asked, "Is this good or bad?" 

"I like it," he said "and I want to smell you."

With relief, I took his hand again, closed my eyes, and deeply inhaled my vulva scent. My aroma wiggled through my nose, danced down my throat, and landed in my heart. At that moment, I felt deeply him and myself. His fingers were like a portal, inviting me to self-love and acceptance. Never before had I ever thought to smell my vulva. (sidebar: This is one ritual during the Bodysex workshop and, personally, it feels liberating each time I do it. There's something powerful about accepting all aspects of my body, as it is, without shame.)

I grew up in a culture that instructed women to douche and deodorize. I'd followed the rules, but that moment was the first time I explored and accepted my natural vulva scent. 

As I reflect on it now, I realize that accepting the animal scent of myself later snowballed into non-sexual acts of self-love like:

...leaving a prestigious but toxic workplace.

...enforcing clear boundaries at work and with family.

...prioritizing myself first at stressful times.

So, for me, self-love isn't one grandiose expression but, instead, little moments of hugging myself. Reclaiming my sexual power has been the fastest path to reconnecting with my body and allowing myself to give and receive love. 

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