Sexological Bodywork is still a relatively new modality; the certification course began back in 2003. Here are some questions that have come up, and their answers, which may help to explain more about the scope of this wonderful approach:
Are you a psychotherapist?
No. However, Sexological Bodywork can be undertaken in tandem with talking therapies where appropriate. If the subject of sex is a focus for the talking therapy, it may be possible for the bodywork to play a direct supporting role to the talking therapy, if the issue is one that can be worked on somatically (with/within the body). This would involve discussion between client, psychotherapist, and bodyworker to agree parameters of the work.
Is Sexological Bodywork a type of body-based therapy?
The focus of Sexological Bodywork is education i.e. teaching conscious breath, body awareness, how to prolong arousal and pleasure, types of touch, consent. However, the process of education clearly has therapeutic benefit. When considering Sexological Bodywork, it's important to have a think about whether the most important thing right now is a deeply therapeutic process, or a time of learning and exploring one's erotic self. If it's the former, then Sexological Bodywork may be a choice for later on, after working with a counsellor or psychotherapist. If it's the latter, then Sexological Bodywork is a great way to discover more about your body's potential for bliss.
Do you have sex with your clients?
No. Sexological Bodywork is not the same as sex surrogacy, which was developed by Masters and Johnson in the late 1960s and often involves sexual activity between surrogate and client for a therapeutic goal. Sexological Bodyworkers remain fully clothed. Touch is one-directional (practitioner to client) in Sexological Bodywork. My only exception with regard to the direction of touch is the 'Wheel of Consent' teaching that is 1-to-1, where touch can alternate between (clothed) practitioner and client, and will not involve the sexual organs of either person.
Why the emphasis on one-way touch?
It can be a rare experience, to receive touch that we really want without thinking about what will happen next. People in relationships often make deals with one another, such as swapping shoulder massages or foot rubs. Great partnered sex usually involves a dance between giving and receiving.
Exploring your relationship with your own body and your own eroticism is a different kind of experience, and one that can be greatly served by the singular focus of one-way touch. Practitioner-guided experiences of receiving can create opportunities to learn to notice what you want, to trust and value what you want, and ultimately to practise communicating what you want. Client feedback often includes descriptions of feeling there was space to let go in their sensory experience, and to be fully present in it. These can be powerful learning conditions.
Do you work with trauma?
I have a 'trauma-informed practice', which means that I have an understanding of trauma and how it presents in the body and I have trained with Certified Sexological Bodyworkers who specialise in trauma. This is because trauma isn't an either/or state but a matter of degree, so anyone who works with people will at some point encounter the presentation of trauma. But, I am not a trauma expert. If the work you need to do is focused on your trauma, I strongly recommend seeking a trauma specialist.
Do you work with couples or just individuals?
I work with individuals, and also with people in relationships who would like to learn together to enhance their shared eroticism. Learning about consent and asking for what you want, and learning erotic massage together are quite common, but people in relationships have sessions together with a Sexological Bodyworker for many reasons.
What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality is an essential part of feeling safe to really explore in sessions. I do not disclose information about my clients, including the fact that we are working together. If I need to discuss something with my supervisor or a colleague in order to best serve a client, I share only what is relevant and never disclose names or other identifying information.
I've heard you give homework. Is this true and do I have to do it?
Sexological Bodywork is grounded in somatic education, and evidence from research indicates that the best way to learn something with the body is through self-directed practice, over time and with variety. So, yes, homework is fairly common and often takes the form of somatic exercises including mindful self-pleasure to practice being present during arousal. Do you have to do it? No, but you'll learn better and get more benefit from your sessions if you do.
How do I book a session?
When you're ready to get in touch, please contact me here. Deciding to explore through Sexological Bodywork is an investment in your wellbeing, so be aware that it's likely to take more than one or two sessions to receive lasting benefit - think four or five as a minimum.
Before our first session, I'll schedule a free 30 minute call with you to discuss what you would like to work on and how I might help. If we agree that Sexological Bodywork is a good fit, I'll send you an intake form to complete and return before the first session. If not, I'll do my best to suggest alternatives.
In the first session, we'll focus on body awareness and boundaries, exploring clothes-on exercises such as conscious breath, sensory awareness meditation, and consent games. So many of us tolerate touch we don't like - but this would be counter-productive in our sessions! So, the consent games will help you to get clear on your yeses and nos, and give you practice in expressing them. With this foundation, the work we do in subsequent sessions will be deeper, richer and have much greater potential for lasting change and joy.
If you have any questions that don't feature here, please get in contact and I'll be happy to answer them.