BONNIE GAYLE, Body Liberator… helping heal body image issues holding you back to empower your body
Body Liberation Expert
Bonnie Gayle has become synonymous with terms like “body love”, “body empowerment”, and “body liberation.” After co-creating Sex Butter, a blend of essential oils used to lubricate and enhance sexual pleasure that ultimately empowers and heals women and couples, Bonnie’s mission came alive.
“When you love the body you are in, it will love you back. It really IS an inside job.”
Bonnie’s know-how on sensitive subjects like body image and sensuality comes from her own personal journey. Dealing with and healing from past sexual trauma led to an eating disorder and hiding her femininity behind more masculine energy in her 20s and 30s. Coping mechanisms included promiscuity, withdrawal, seclusion, self deprecation, body dysmorphia, and self-hatred.
After healing her own eating disorders and learning to love her body, Bonnie went on to successfully mentor hundreds of women in overcoming similar body blocks and emotional barriers that resulted in powerful body liberation. “It really is an inside job. When you heal the inside, you allow your inner essence to sparkle and shine to the world. After all, you came here to be someone special so let your gifts shine to the world!” - Bonnie Gayle, Body Liberator
And then Bonnie’s world came crashing down when, at the age of 41, her body shut down due to an early unexpected peri-menopause. Blame, pain, and shame threatened everything she’d worked so hard to create – for herself and other women.
Never one to back down from a challenge, Bonnie embarked a quest to find – and ultimately create – a product that didn’t exist – a healthy, soothing, healing, and empowering sexual enhancement aid that allows women of all ages and their partners to enjoy sensual and fulfilling sex lives – with or without a partner. The passion and healing blessings infused in Sex Butter is part of what sets it apart and keeps her customers coming back.
Today, Bonnie spreads her message of Body Liberation and sexual empowerment through speaking and workshops, blogging, her YouTube Channel SexButterBabe, on social media, and through other empowering products and programs.
Bonnie Gayle’s Story
My personal journey to Body Liberation:
Hi, I’m Bonnie Gayle, Body Liberator – helping people to learn to love their bodies! Today, I’m a really amazingly happy person however my life hasn’t always been this way. I grew up feeling alone, empty inside and just “not enough”. I could never really pinpoint what exactly was wrong. I just knew that I felt like I was carrying a heavy weight around with me that I didn’t understand. Here’s my story of how I learned to love myself and my body.
I remember first noticing that I started analyzing, criticizing, and obsessing over my body at about the age of five or six. At the time, I my parents were told by a doctor I had to wear Oxford shoes because I had “bad feet”. I had totally flat feet and was prone to corns on my toes. That is the first time I can recall hating a body part. Instead of being grateful for having feet that could walk and carry me to where I needed to go, I was cursing out my feet daily for having to wear those stupid black and white shoes while everyone else was wearing cool tennis shoes, white go-go boots, and so on.
I remember, that I finally get to have a pair of patent leather white go-go boots and that I was only allowed to wear them one day a week. This sent me on my first bout with a clothing obsession. I spent the whole week planning when and which outfit I was going to wear my go-go boots with.
At about the same time, in the summer, I started going to a day camp which I loved! There were so many exciting things to do there and it was such fun. Who would have thought that there would be a sort of fashion “fitting in competition” going on at camp? Not me, however there was. At the time, ditto short shorts, with underwear that had a ruffle around the leg (sticking out below than the shorts) was the hot thing to wear. Of course, I was obsessed with picking out what I was going to wear to camp each day and I made sure what I was wearing was always “fashionable”. I wanted to “fit in” with my friends and without the right clothes, the odds of that was stacked up against me.
At the age of eleven, I started my first babysitting job. I loved babysitting because the kids would go to sleep shortly after I arrived and then I got to eat, watch television, and dream up all kinds of outfits to buy with my babysitting money. I had a $200 clothing allowance so making extra money was a big deal to me if I wanted to “fit in”.
During the summer after fifth grade, my parents bought a new house in a nicer neighborhood and so we moved. That summer I met my new best friend, Renee. Renee came from a family of three girls and her mom loved to shop for her daughters always dressed them in the popular brands. As I saw my friend Renee getting all kinds of cool articles of clothing, I wanted them too. The only problem was that these clothes were really expensive and I couldn’t afford them with my babysitting money.
Renee always looked so great in her clothes and I felt like I looked horrible even though I was running several miles a day and in great physical shape from playing sports all the time. I started becoming very body conscious. I was constantly comparing myself to Renee and all of her other more wealthy friends who were all wearing expensive designer clothes. Since I couldn’t afford what I really wanted, I kind of rebelled and lived in sweats and dolphin shorts. People were constantly complimenting me on my great legs and I just didn’t see it. I considered myself ugly, big, uncoordinated, and I had low self esteem even though I was running four miles a day and was in excellent physical shape.
When I was about fourteen years old, party lines became very popular. They were telephone numbers that you called into and could speak to many people at one time and sometimes people even met after talking on a party line. This could be very dangerous as I later found out. One day we decided to meet this guy, Bill Plumber, who we were talking to on the party line. I’m not really sure what we were thinking except that we were nervous and excited to see this guy we were speaking to for what seemed like a long time. Riding our bikes to the meeting spot, which was near the mall, we talked about what we thought he would be like and wondered if he would like one of us. I knew that the person he would like would be Renee because she was always so outgoing and I was the shy one.
Unfortunately, I was wrong this time. When we arrived he was already there waiting and I was in for a huge shock. This man was not a kid like we were. He was an adult probably in his 30s if I had to guess. I didn’t sign up for this however Renee seemed to carry the conversation quite well and I mostly kept quiet. I felt odd, uncomfortable, and just wanted to ride my bike away. I didn’t because I knew that I couldn’t leave Renee alone with this strange guy. After about an hour or so, we left and it couldn’t have happened sooner. I had this sick feeling in my stomach and I can’t be sure of this however right after that meeting I started getting random calls on my phone (I had my own phone which I paid for out of my babysitting money.) at all hours of the night. Whomever it was would call and whisper all these crazy sexual things to me (I had only kissed a boy at this point) and tell me all the things he wanted to do to me. I tried everything to get him to stop; playing along, whistling into the phone, screaming, telling him I was going to have my parents listen in (which of course I wouldn’t do because I could end up being grounded forever), unplugging it, and so on. The calls didn’t stop coming no matter what I did. Eventually I started to get really scared because he started telling me what I was wearing that day and I realized he really knew who I was.
Unfortunately, when I called the police to report what was happening they weren’t helpful at all. In fact, they told me they couldn’t do anything unless he had physically hurt me. Well, he hadn’t physically done anything to me however he was emotionally abusive and scaring me I told them to which they replied, “If something happens, please let us know”. That was no help and I had nowhere to turn. If I told my parents, I would have had repercussions that I wouldn’t like and so I decided to only tell my best friend Renee and miraculously she never told anyone.
Meanwhile, fast forward to the age of sixteen and Renee and I were slowly drifting apart because she was one year younger and had her own group of friends in her grade she was bonding with. I, on the other hand, was kind of on the perimeter of the athletes click at school. I was a runner and I got school credit for working in the Boys PE Office so I knew all the coaches and the athletes. I also was a Stat Girl for football, basketball, and baseball when it didn’t interfere with my running. After two years of running, I was injured five times and that ended my running which I was grieving over and I didn’t know it. Simultaneously, my first boyfriend, I had the biggest crush on and was my first, broke up with me. It was NOT a fun time at all. Between the injury and the love lost, I was a mess. I was now sixteen years old and a loser (so I told myself).
One of the athletes, who I knew well, saw me really low and asked me if I wanted to go to dinner to talk. I thought that may be a good idea since I really didn’t have a lot of people I could talk to. What I didn’t know is that he had some other intentions in mind, one of which was fooling around with me even if I said “no”. He didn’t take “no” for an answer and instead forced himself on and in me. I was date raped. I eventually did get away and I swore that I wasn’t going to tell anyone. I was so scared and my parents fortunately didn’t see me come home because I snuck in through a window knowing if they saw me that I wouldn’t have been able to hide what had just happened.
There had been a girl at our school who was raped 2 months prior and she told someone. She had to end up leaving the school because everyone blamed her. She wasn’t even someone who was popular, racy, or the best looking girl in school. In fact, she was pretty shy, timid, quiet and smart. There was no way I was going to let this happen to me. So, I kept my mouth shut.
Now, I really hated myself and felt so much shame. Why me? What was wrong with me? Why was I worthless and had no value that someone could take advantage of me like that? I thought to myself, “I never approach people because I am afraid of being rejected and now I was treated so violently. What is wrong with me?”
The way that I saw myself was so different from what I really looked like. I was sixteen years old, tall, beautiful, had long arms and legs like everyone wanted (all my friends commented on wanting my long lean legs), and still it was sad that someone as beautiful as I was couldn’t see it at all. When I looked in the mirror I saw an ugly, fat girl, who didn’t look good no matter what she wore. It just goes to show you that you don’t have to be overweight to have body image issues. I had them and I only weighed 115lbs and stood 5’8”.
Shortly after that incident, I started eating everything in sight and lots of it. I ate all kinds of junk food, fast food, and processed foods that were highly fattening. I was emotionally eating myself into an eating disorder. I was officially a compulsive overeater and totally out of control. 90% of women with eating disorders experienced some type of sexual abuse and I was now one of those statistics.
About a year later and 70 pounds heavier, I was told by a friend who was a coach that if I didn’t get my eating under control I was going to have a weight problem for the rest of my life. That day I went home and got on the scale. OMG, I was in shock. How did I spiral so out of control in such a short amount of time? All the fish crackers, ice cream, candy, fast food, and gummy bears had caught up with me. I was much heavier than I had ever been and nobody told me…as if someone had to. I remember when my mom got home that day I was so mad at her and even blamed her for not telling me how fat I had become. I was fuming. All I could do was cry. I don’t remember how many days I cried though I do know it was many.
I now became diet-obsessed. I couldn’t bear the thought of weighing so much for the rest of my life. I had gone from a size 2 to a size 11 in one year. A newfound friend had dropped a lot of weight and so I asked the big question, “How?” I wasn’t prepared for “throwing up” to be the answer to my dieting. I tried so many diets to no avail, each time becoming more and more food obsessed. Finally, I gave in and started purging every time I binged, which now became more and more frequent as I was totally out of control.
I attribute my eating disorder to a combination of things, blaming nobody; body image issues, the stalker, and being date raped. When my grandfather died, the person I felt closest to in this world at the time, I spun even deeper out-of-control. At this point I was binging and purging around twenty times a day and that wasn’t an easy task living at home and going to school full time.
After my grandfather died, I had to move out. I wasn’t getting along with my parents at all. I was an angerball of fire spewing at everyone and everything because I was so miserable. I was in total pain and feeling guilty to top it off. The last time my grandfather saw me I was fighting with my mom and I blamed myself for his death for a very long time. The guilt that I felt almost killed me, literally. At the age of 28, I almost choked to death. I had passed out choking and I must have had an angel over me or I wouldn’t be here today. Even then, I didn’t get help. It took one more year of suffering before I was willing to surrender to my disease and get help. I had NO control. The compulsive overeating, bingeing, purging and starving got the best of my life in my teens and twenties.
At the age of 29, after being engaged, finding out he was using heroine, and having a needed abortion (I was taking Acutane, a drug that causes major deformity in unborn children if conceiving within a year of taking it), I was finally open to getting help. I walked into the rooms of Overeater’s Anonymous with a lot of skepticism. After all, if I couldn’t help myself, who was going to be able to help me? And so my healing began.
In the rooms for five years, being sponsored, and sponsoring so many women I started to get my life back and heal. The negativity I was holding onto was massive. It took me several months to write out my inventory – writing everything I had ever been mad, upset, angry, hurt, happy, and so on about and also stating my part in each thing. I felt the food calling while all this was taking place however I did not break my abstinence (or emotionally eat), which is comparable to sobriety in AA. When I completed that, I started to feel a lot better however my body wasn’t used to eating and eliminating properly so I had to go through a lot of pain and suffering to retrain my body. I was toxic and I still knew nothing about nutrition or eating right. All I knew is that I needed to eat and keep my food down without using laxatives or over exercising to compensate for eating. This wasn’t easy because even though I was walking the walk and talking the talk (as I was instructed), I still didn’t feel good in my body.
Just because I stopped practicing my eating disorder didn’t mean that I was over the body image issues is what I soon realized. I was harder on myself than ever before telling myself all kinds of negative things about how I looked and how others saw me. I was the face of self-deprecation and body dysmorphia in its worst form. Even though I was far from my high (one hundred seventy-five pounds), I still hated myself and my body. I felt fat and ugly all the time. I was constantly wearing big baggy sweats and oversized overalls. Someone asked me if I was gay at one point. I was quite confused and disgusted with myself and I didn’t know what my next move would be.
Nobody spoke about body image or body dysmorphia at that time and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. All I knew is that I was so unhappy with everything about me that I just wanted to be someone else who looked totally different than I did. I bought every magazine and looked through each of them wondering, wishing, and hoping that one day I would look like the images I was so obsessed with. I would even try clothes on and pinch the fatty areas I didn’t like on my body, squeezing them tightly hoping they would disappear if I did it enough. Comparing myself to others was a constant struggle. I would always think of myself as “the fat one” of my friends even though I wasn’t the heaviest – not even close. I was body image obsessed and it wasn’t working. I was getting crazy obsessed again.
At the age of 39, my help arrived. I found the healing arts. I went in for a specific type of healing and found my angel. This beautiful woman who felt my pain and I knew she was my newfound angel who would help me learn to love myself… and she did. It was a long path, of digging deep, opening my heart, letting go, and going deeper each time. Eventually, the feelings I had about myself started changing and I started to appreciate who I was and what I had been through. I helped a lot of people and was so grateful to be feeling good. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt really good.
To this day, I still work with the same angel who was sent to me nine years ago. I don’t work on body image anymore however I do believe that being a healthy person is about maintaining your body love rituals and really loving and accepting yourself as you are each day. If you want to make changes, I totally understand and I promote and help people make healthy lifestyle changes.
6 years later the Body Image Issues were still not healed – Body Obsession: Weight, Size, Compared myself to others, models, magazines, trying to control my food
The healing arts were my journey to freedom from body & food obsession
I thought my story with eating disorders & body image were over until I started speaking with women about intimacy over the past 2 years and most would turn their head down or turn away. I didn’t understand it because I was talking about a product to heal & have fun with the person you find most special… Then it all hit me. Women were uncomfortable in their skin and I was bringing up something that they felt totally uncomfortable with.
In December of 2011, I tested working with two women to see what would happen. In just 2 short weeks, they both got sick from going so deep with the work. I realized I needed to add a healing component to the mix so they wouldn’t get so emotional that their body would purge them into illness. Both women had great success and I was proud of the work so I decided to come out and help women with these issues. Today I am helping women really learn to love themselves. The pain comes from within and it really is “an inside job”. Body Liberation work isn’t easy however it is so extremely rewarding once you get to a certain place that it’s the most worthwhile thing ever to help you heal, open up, feel comfortable, sparkle & shine!