Advice for new sexual adventurers

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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.

Slowly slowly

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. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

 

Footnote

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... 

 

Sexological Bodywork - My Mission as a Practitioner

 [iphoto of the steering wheel and dashboard of a red vintage sports car]

[iphoto of the steering wheel and dashboard of a red vintage sports car]

Why I do this work

I decided to start this blog by focusing on why I do what I do, so I guess you could call this a mission statement. I will undoubtedly add to it as I go along. 

(1) I do this work because it didn't exist when I really needed it. I and many others have had too many experiences where we were left hanging with nowhere to go, after medical practitioners and therapists had run out of ideas to help us. This is not the fault of individuals, but of the system as a whole. 

(2) I do this work because sex education for young people (and adults) in this country (ok everywhere) is terrible. It is shame based and fear based, highly gendered, culturally conservative, and has little to do with consent - and nothing whatsoever to do with pleasure. Its influence lingers on throughout our lives.

(3) I do this work because much of the sexual information accessible by adults through the media is cliched, sensationalist and unhelpful, confining people to very rigid roles that frequently do not suit them – and never did. 

(4) I do this work because of the great number of people still hiding in shadow, who seek to emerge into the world as sexual beings but cannot quite bring themselves to. This may be because of religious or cultural strictures, minority identity, or trauma, whether in childhood or as an adult. 

(5)  I do this work because there are times when talk is not enough. It can be very helpful for sure, but sometimes embodied practice, whether movement or touch, can take you further and deeper. 

(6) I do this work because it is the culmination of years spent exploring my mind and body in different ways. Somatic sex education brings it all together.

Welcome to Body Sexology.


Footnote

This image jumped out at me when I was looking for something to go with this post. The more I looked at it, the more meaning I saw that feels very relevant to sexological bodywork. I imagined sitting in it and mapping the interior. I love the red, the shinyness, the different textures, and the potential for speed and travelling long distances. The fact that a vintage car takes conscious work to keep it in top condition. And of course the feeling of starting a journey. Only after a little while did I remember the Prince song, Little Red Corvette. I found a lot there to reflect on...