Belly Dances To 1970's Sex Liberation
I’d enjoyed soapy showers, then sex with hubby but didn’t feel sexy while caring for babies. Sex was another domestic routine, a chore for hubby’s horny rush. I didn't care. It was duty booty. I accepted his need, was pleased he wanted me, was happy to give it but just didn’t feel sexy. If aroused I had to get mine on top first but usually, I was too tired and laid back and let him have it, pleased he wanted it.
As the kids grew out of diapers and choo-choo train baby talk ended, however, we began to emerge from our marriage shell and rejoin peers. Most were still single, partying and sexually experimenting with the 1970s new Age of Aquarius. They avoided career, house and kid commitments and considered us bogged down. We were, but happy ever after-ing in our little Camelot.
In the summer of 1974, six years after our wedding bells pealed, just before the kids entered preschool and kindergarten, we made a second trip to Disneyland, for the kids, not us. We flew, not drove, rented a car at the airport, stayed and ate in the Disney Hotel and took the monorail to and from the park. The trip reflected our economic rise upward.
With freedom from breastfeeding, diaper changing, midnight baby cry awakening, my seminal sexual yearnings re-emerged. First, it was a new dress or lingerie, then a special dinner with wine, then dancing, and best, with all these ending with action on our marriage bed.
Our sex, while vanilla, again satisfied me. Sketches in the book, Joy of Sex, told us how to experiment for different positions.
The 1960s sexual revolution had advanced by the 70s beyond scaling the American Bastille of sex mores to opening the cell doors of just about every sexual taboo. The sexual revolution of the sixties was over. Sex had won. Now everyone was "doing it". An eighteen-year-old virgin was a source of ridicule. Married couples, who missed the free love boat, were urged to climb the gang plank, and get aboard.
By 1975 middle America Tupperware parties became "Fuckerwear Parties" with middle class, women hosts selling scandalous lingerie, lovemaking oils, and sex toys. Pornography was on the big screen with, Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door. Woman’s magazines like Cosmopolitan and Redbook were full of articles titled, How to Experience Sex, Casual and Anonymous Sex, Your Orgasm and, Should You Start Swinging.
Our local newspaper, the once staid the San Jose Mercury News, delivered on our front porch, included classifieds filled with couples wanting to meet couples. The Berkeley Barb, a political protest paper, morphed into a thick, classified, sex catalog for every depravity. Its yellow paper racks were pervasive at commercial street corners, supermarkets, and restaurant entries.
With the pill and before AIDS, there were few ramparts against the onslaught of sex on demand. The media pulled out all the stops and advocated sex in the haze of marijuana smoke seeping across suburbia. Commitment meant doing something together, including swinging.
The released sexual freedoms began to shake our marital bed with ideas of greener grass on the other side of the marriage fence. Just doing different positions together wasn’t enough. We didn't talk about it. It was in our marriage closet.
With two kids, we thought we knew about sex. What we didn't know, we learned from magazines, books, newspapers and even television, all now vying to outdo one another in sex education. From them, we were informed, we needed to expand our horizons and get with it.
Hubby’s sex romp routine was two or three times a week. I tested allurements to ramp up his action. He responded to sexy lingerie. Hopping in bed with a nylon teddy kicked him up to three to four times a week. Then came hula dancing.
The Mountain View city parks and recreation department offered a hula dance class. I signed up to firm up after childbearing. Swaying in my Hulu skirt, however, resulted in a hubby Pavlovian sex response of fast and furious. It appeared a nylon nightie or grass skirt aroused him more than me.
From hula dancing, I graduated to Turkish bedlay style belly dancing, a more intense and difficult allurement to master. It included energetic shimmies, hip vibrations and clicking cymbals. I made my lavender costume with beads, sequins, and a fringe decorated bra, one stitch at a time.
The "V" shaped hip belt included four layers of coin chains for shimmy emphasis and a lavender chiffon skirt for a dreamlike allure.
Accessories included a chiffon hip/neck shawl, large hoop earrings, bracelets, and slave ankle coin charms.
Movements are accompanied by finger and thumb held brass cymbals, called zils in Turkish, clicked by the dancer to the music tempo.
My costume was not Turkish traditional. Like the other students it was based more on the TV series, I Dream Of Jeannie not an authentic outfit encouraged by our instructor.
She was a plump, middle-aged, former professional Turkish belly dancer. The class of about a dozen women was her venue for teaching her art and educating Americans about Turkey, a hobby income supplement to her day job. I learned where Turkey is on the map and that belly dancing is one of the few things which unite opposing Turkish, Arabic, Armenian and Greek cultures. Eventually, hubby and I visited the Middle East where we enjoyed different ethnic forms of belly dancing, he by their arousal effect and me their aesthetic talent.
Belly dancing changed my self-image from a long-necked ugly duckling to a temptress. My costume included a lavender nylon panty except when dancing before hubby due to his rapid response time.
There are several core movements to master with many variations due to tribal and ethnic nuances, mostly unnoticed by the untrained eye. We learned lifts, drops, slides, shimming, twists, circles, figure eights and finally undulations as we trained muscles to avoid contortion injuries. We also learned to practice when there was no spouse to interrupt. Gyrations with cymbals clicking in front of hubby resulted in being picked up, carried to bed, and nailed before I could go through a completed dance movement.
My flexible body made it easier for me than for other students to master a movement. My long neck was ideal for head slides, my bosom, and hips ideal for shimming and my nimble sewing fingers ideal for the cymbals.
My complexion and slanted eyes were assets. I applied heavy eye makeup to emphasize slanted eyes, used Liz Taylor in the movie Cleopatra for inspiration and converted the former stigma name tag when young, Cobra, as my stage name which was my love box’s secret sobriquet.
Tricks mastered are concentration on the movement of one body part, relaxation of other parts, breathing control, joint flexibility, and music response. Once a month our instructor took the class out for a performance, typically before a sedate audience of mostly women. Beginners performed in a group but those advanced did a short solo exhibition of their most recent mastered movement.
As I advanced, my dancing empowered me, first with hubby and then with audiences as my movements captured male attention. In belly dancing, one keeps a stoic face while performing but makes eye contact with the audience. I began to enjoy selecting a man in the audience, mesmerize him through movements while keeping indifferent eye contact.
Eventually, the instructor took I and one other advanced student to a San Francisco, Middle Eastern restaurant/night club that included belly dancing. We were introduced as novices with no audience money offerings permitted to keep us innocents and avoid the professionals’ resentment.
Introduced on the stage as Cobra, I did a nervous bow, flickered out my tongue to supplement my stage name and started gyrations to the darbuka drum and kanoun string guitar. Gaining confidence, I swayed out among crowd, clicked my cymbals to shimmering hips from table to table until before one seating powerful-looking men. I hid behind my shawl, peeked to get their attention, made indifferent eye contact with the table’s alfa male, roped him around the neck and led him behind my undulating hips to the stage.
I sat him on a little chair and before him began with hip lifts and drops to the music, advanced to neck and head slides, then switched to shimmering shoulders, breasts, and hips. Each progressive body part movement followed the increased tempo of the drum and guitar. With body twists, circles, figure eights, and twisting undulations, I shimmed to the floor.
Facing him, I arched back until my hair hung down and touched the floor behind me, my torso supported by my buttocks on my heels. With knees spread apart, chiffon skirt askew my panty exposed, I went through a recently mastered crescendo finish. I shimmied shoulders and breasts as my arms did cobra sways and fingers clicked cymbals. My head slid from side to side as I looked up from below, eyes fixated stoically at his mesmerized attention and pants-swelled erection. With movements in a frenzied tempo to the music, I curled my tongue and let out an Arabic trilling exclamation as a spasm of sexual exhilaration swept me.
The music stopped. I laid exhausted on the floor. My instructor led him back, limping, to his table. Gasping, I slowly rose from the floor, spent physically and sexually.
Standing, catching my breath, profusely perspiring, I gave my veiled bow to an ebullient standing ovation.
His fixation and the applause caused a sense of sexual attention empowerment never possessed until then.
At home, still in dried sweat-stained costume, hubby picked me up before I could shower, dropped me on our bed, jerked off the panty and took his Vixen in a frenzy. My Cobra climaxed thinking of the man's transfixed gaze before my gyrations as I trilled in a shimmering spasm.
Afterward, my cabaret stage partner, a married man, attempted to contact me through the instructor but she was an experienced mother hen and ensured he never did. I didn’t want to meet him. I wanted him to remain a San Francisco fantasy but his seeking me boosted my temptress self-esteem change.
Belly dancing changed my self-image to someone sexually alluring, a fundamental change from being man shy to seeking their notice. I began to flirt for confirmation I was not a long-necked ugly duckling but a Liz Taylor Cleopatra. My flirting was a game of glances, smiles, banter, innuendos, and crass suggestions to seek a man's overt move and then hide behind the safety of marriage to decline. Each male who sought me provided confidence I was sexually alluring and honed my flirting skill. I continued to wear eye makeup, kept the nickname Cobra for flirt introductions and often darted my tongue out as a flirt enticement.
Belly dancing, however, is time-consuming. One needs to keep practicing to ensure body flexibility and muscle conditioning to avoid injury. While sexually empowering, my class attendance tapered off after my night club performance until ceasing when I started working. Hubby was disappointed the costume moved to the back of the closet and eventually to a garage trunk with only sexy lingerie his Pavlovian response substitute.
Life was good. High school friends who visited envied me. Yet with the kids away during the day I was bored. Flirting didn’t overcome the low self-esteem of my youth due to my monetary dependency on my husband's income.
Despite having everything, something was missing, an inoculate yearning disrupted happily-ever-aftering. Cobra was coiling out of her basket.
Author Notes: Life changes from minor decisions which result in unexpected results.