Age: 45
Profession: Former nun, PhD candidate, and latex lover
Location: London, UK

You were a nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for over nine years. Why did you disrobe? The retreat center where I was in France didn’t support my doing lots of study and practice. Instead I was serving the community and working a lot. I made of it what I could, and I am really grateful for the incredible opportunities to meet some amazing masters and spend time with them and their teachings. But after so many years of being there, and really trying my best to make sense of it, I realized that the conditions weren’t ideal for me on my path.

I also realized close to the time that I disrobed that I was carrying a lot of history in my body, and in particular a lot of guilt from an abortion I had years ago. I was paying penance for that by becoming a nun—by denying my body all sorts of sense pleasures and so on. After I disrobed, it became a matter of forgiving myself, and slowly unraveling the tight knot I’d tied myself into. So leaving the monastic life was not because I didn’t have any appreciation of that path but because I realized I had come at it from the wrong motivation.

Now you’re a self-proclaimed “latex lover,” and writing a dissertation about the ritualization of wearing latex. How did you get into that? My life was in a position where I couldn’t say what was going to happen beyond a month in front of me. I thought that I might as well enjoy myself, so I started saying “Yes” to whatever opportunity came up.

For some reason a friend of mine had an inkling that I might enjoy latex [laughs] and took me to a lovely lady who had been making latex clothing for 30 years. In that “Why not?” mind-set, what would usually seem very intimidating to me—a rack of black latex—seemed rather enchanting. When I put it on there was something about it that was immediately empowering. It also felt like a way to enter into a ritual act like putting on robes while also having the enhanced sensation of being in your form. It was a significant thing of anchoring me back to my body, which I’d been disconnected from for so long.

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