Are you new to sex positive spaces?
This week I'm proud to be published in Sex Plus Zine, a site run by two people who are creating some amazing new spaces for sex positive discussion and creativity, with an emphasis on diversity.
New to the scene? is a roundup of advice, from my own experience and those of my friends and colleagues, for anyone dipping their toes into kink, neo-tantra, or conscious sexuality events/workshops for the first time.
Much of what I say in the piece could also apply to seeing an intimate bodyworker – or any practitioner for that matter – for the first time, so I offer a couple of thoughts below:
Before contacting a sexuality practitioner
If you're looking at this site and wondering how you might go forward, you could start by writing down what you're wanting to change or improve on, and reflecting on it. It's also worth really taking the time to sit back and research what you're looking for, and have a good look at lots of practitioner sites. You'll know if something resonates with you. It's also a good idea to read very carefully what each practitioner is offering, and whether they are able to offer you what you're looking for.
This work isn't something you can rush. If you are coming at this with a sense of urgency, you may put off a potential practitioner, or end up seeing someone who is not the right person for you.
And my final point, for now:
Take extra care around trauma and PTSD
I would like to address this subject in more detail at a later date, but I will say this for now:
It becomes ever clearer that many people are holding sexual trauma in their bodies. A huge proportion of AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth) people have experienced some kind of sexual boundary violation, as children or adults. A number of AMAB (Assigned Male At Birth) people have also experienced this, and I suspect far more than we hear about.
- If you have a trauma history that you have worked on previously in therapy, it is important to find a practitioner who can hold you sufficiently.
- If you have a trauma history that you have not worked on previously, most Sexological Bodyworkers will very likely suggest you get some talking therapy first, unless they have some very specific add-on training.
- If you experience areas of doubt and dissociation around some sexual issues, but you have no memory of anything specific, go gently.
While it's true to say that developing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is not a given, non-consensual sexual or physical experiences can live on in our bodies, and it may take time and work, and with the right practitioner, to truly process them.
I'm aware that I've used another motoring-related image above. I love its simplicity, but I actually have mixed feelings about it. From one angle it's very easy to see, so that a person who is just learning can be seen from a distance, and others will hopefully adapt their behaviours accordingly. On the other hand, it's a kind of 'scarlet letter' with the potential to shame the bearer of it. People can often feel a great need to look cool and not seem naive, especially about sexual issues. Overall though, I think the best message here is that we were all beginners once, and you have to go through that stage to get to the next one...