WHAT IS A SEXOLOGICAL BODYWORKER?
Sexological Bodyworkers are Somatic Sex Educators. We teach through body experiences designed to nurture, deepen, or awaken the sensual self. These experiences can include coaching in breath, movement, body awareness, boundary-setting, communication, anatomy, sensate focus, massage, erotic trance, and other body-based teaching about sex. Uniquely in the professions, we are trained to do genital and anal touch for education, healing, and pleasure. We touch in ways that assist students in developing presence within the body, opening interior awareness, and learning how the body can feel more and more alive.
The experiential learning opportunities available through Somatic Sex Education can help you engage in a respectful dialogue with your autonomic nervous system, so that physical and emotional processes that usually happen to us can be held in mindful awareness and transformed. Love and fear, excitement and relaxation, arousal and happiness, reverence and bliss all have biochemical and physiological components that can be regulated, with training and conscious practice over time.
Sexological Bodywork/Somatic Sex Education is a wonderful way to address all kinds of sexual problems, ranging from premature ejaculation to not being able to orgasm readily. Couples can learn to navigate sexual differences and explore new erotic possibilities with body-based learning and guided practice.
We all set limits on the quantity and quality of pleasure we can embody. Limits to pleasure are ubiquitous in a culture that shames sexuality and fails to teach us how to honor and celebrate erotic energy. Sexual wounding becomes embedded in the body’s tissues and responses. Somatic Sex Education can assist you in expanding the pleasure that is possible. This expansion has physical, emotional, mental and spiritual components.
Physical When we experience nervousness or anxiety around sexual experience, we endure a cascade of stress hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones act on all the body’s functions and tissues. We breathe more quickly and shallowly. Our heart rate increases. Our gut clenches. Blood leaves the genital tissues, so we are better able to “fight or flee,” and we lose our capacity for feeling fully. Sexological Bodyworkers coach students to open their bodies with breath and deep relaxation. With slow, careful, and skillful touch, given in a very safe situation completely controlled by the student’s needs, you can learn what is possible. Scar tissue can present another limit to pleasure, and Somatic Sex Educators are trained in scar tissue remediation techniques. The body often produces a cascade of powerful endorphins during Somatic Sex Education sessions. Endorphins are hormonelike chemicals that suppress anxiety and pain and build a feeling of bliss.
An erotic massage can be simply and profoundly joyful, a deep honouring of the erotic self. Experiencing our body’s capacity for bliss regularly and often is vitally important to our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Emotional We expand our emotional range in an environment of loving kindness and complete acceptance. Sexological Bodyworkers are trained to offer this environment to all students, whatever their unique erotic identities, their challenges, wounds, and joys. Opening up emotionally has biochemical components. Caring, conscious touch activates hormones including oxytocin. Many studies show a correlation of oxytocin levels with greater stress tolerance, increases in bonding and trust, and decreases in fear. In addition, Somatic Sex Education sessions can teach you to become emotionally empowered in your sexual relationships. You can learn how to direct sexual touch, experience, and express your body boundaries, and encounter and release trauma imprints.
Mental As individuals and as a culture we lack erotic knowledge. Sexological Bodyworkers/Somatic Sex Educators teach you genital anatomy, the physiology of multiple orgasms, how to touch, how to negotiate desires, and many other things about sex. The practices of Somatic Sex Education assist students in developing increased capacities for mindfulness. With coaching in the conscious placement of attention, you can learn to bring more focus and presence to sexual exchanges. This work invites you to recognize habits and patterns that are limiting your pleasure. Somatic Sex Educators are trained to help students who want to address “pornography addiction” or transform unwanted fantasies. Building a bridge between conscious and unconscious responses opens possibilities for making new choices about your pathways to pleasure.
Spiritual Pleasure helps us connect with the divine within and around us. Somatic Sex Education can teach you how to consciously access profound ecstatic and erotic states. You can learn to tune in to sexual energy, to move it and to amplify it. You can learn to give your sexuality focused attention and go deeply into its beauty and mystery. Sexual energy can be experienced as transformative spirit, an aspect of the sacred, a way to dance in union with all that is. Interacting with love and mindfulness while making deep connection from this core part of the self, we can experience sacred presence in others and in ourselves.
In the sexual matrix of body, mind, spirit, and emotion, we can learn to expand our capacity for joy, experiencing more and more deeply what it is to be fully alive.
by Caffyn Jesse
Intentions and boundaries are central in Sexological Bodywork education. While acknowledging the human longing for connection, we emphasize the value of professional distance. We are conscious and make our students conscious that while we share authentic intimacy, Sexological Bodywork sessions will not fulfill their desires for sexual connection.
The focus of individual Sexological Bodywork sessions is on the student’s experience within his or her own body. Sexological Bodyworkers do not act as surrogate partners. We are clothed and the touching in our sessions is uni-directional. We request students bring their partners when they wish to practice interpersonal erotic skills. Because somatic learning happens over time, Sexological Bodyworkers usually work in a series of three to ten sessions.
Many Sexological Bodyworkers also educate by offering online classes and video demonstrations, as well as podcasts, books, and articles. Sexological Bodyworkers are willing to work in partnership with a client’s psychotherapist or other health-care professional.
SEXOLOGICAL BODYWORK SCHOOLS
There are five independent schools offering certification in Sexological Bodywork and Somatic Sex Education. How do I choose a school? Are they all the same?
The Institute of Somatic Sexology in Australia
The Sea School of Embodiment in the United Kingdom
Instituto Latino Americano de Sexologia Somática in Brazil
Institute for the Study of Somatic Sex Education in Canada
Institut für Somatisches Lernen, Sexualität und Körperarbeit in Germany
Sexological Bodywork professional associations facilitate continuing education, professional supervision and development of ethical standards for Certified Sexological Bodyworkers.
The Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers (ACSB) in the U.S. and Worldwide. The ACSB website offers a listing of professionals worldwide.
The Somatic Sex Educators Association (SSEA) in Canada.
Somatic Sex Educators Association of Australasia (SSEAA) in Australia.
European Association of Sexological Bodyworkers (EASB) in Europe.