Sessions: Now With More Details!
What Happens in a Session
During our first session, we’ll get to know each other. We’ll both remain fully clothed, whether the session is via Zoom or in person. At the beginning of later sessions, we’ll discuss what you’ve noticed since our last session, how you’re feeling in that moment, and what you hope for in the current session. I always stay fully clothed and offer you choices of mind-body activities, based on your goals. You control if, when, where, how, and from whom you receive touch. Not all activities include touch. If relevant, you also choose exactly how clothed or covered you want your body to be. You may change your mind or even stop at any time, and I will often remind you so. You are always in control of what happens to your body in your sessions.
Your ability to choose what you want and need in the moment is central to the work of Sexological Bodywork and Somatic Sex Education. You may arrive not knowing how to ask for what you want, how it feels to know what you want, or even what you want. Our first session will start helping you figure out those things. Together, we will create a plan for developing these skills. Some of the methods we might work with are:
Waking Up the Body / Developing Embodiment
This helps you
- be present in your body and genitals.
- notice sensations, track them, and discover how bodily sensations relate to emotions.
- learn to use touch, sound, breath (link to “breath” section), movement, and placement of attention (link to “guided interoception” section) to regulate your nervous system.
Learn how authentic consent feels in your body. Explore asking for what your body wants instead of what your brain says you should want. Discover what happens when you say “no” and are met with “thank you!” Learn how it feels to say “thank you!” when you are told “no.” We practice first on hands and arms, progressing to other parts of your body if and when you want to.
Mindfulness Based Self-Pleasure Practice (MBSPP)
Mindful self pleasure is a core practice of Somatic Sex Education. Playful erotic practice helps you develop new ways of being sexual and enjoying your body.
Mindfulness-based programs are designed to train individuals to cultivate mindfulness and incorporate its practice into daily life. Mindfulness has been defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”[Kabat-Zinn J: Mindfulness-based interventions in context: past, present, and future. Clin Psychol Sci Pract 2003; 10:144–156]… [Mindfulness-based] interventions teach mindfulness skills to increase intentional attention, to develop a different relationship with one’s thoughts, and to practice different strategies in relation to distressing thoughts and emotions in a nonjudgmental way. [Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Psychiatry. Benjamin G. Shapero, Jonathan Greenberg, Paola Pedrelli, Marasha de Jong, Gaelle Desbordes. Focus (Am Psychiatr Publ) Winter 2018; 16(1): 32–39.]
Mindfulness Based Self-Pleasure Practice (MBSPP) develops awareness about your body and its capacity for pleasure without judgment. Another term that people use for this practice is Orgasmic Yoga, although it does not require orgasm and isn’t a traditional yoga practice. When practiced daily, it can greatly improve your relationship with your sexuality. Some examples of MBSPP include:
- mindful masturbation
- whole body self massage
- dancing, with awareness of your pelvis
- body scanning that includes your genitals
- anal self-exploration
- sensual (or sexual) bath time
- Waking up the Hands
An ongoing MBSPP increases your body’s capacity for pleasure and can even improve partner sex by:
- Reinforcing skills you learn during sessions, including Developing Embodiment and Feeling Consent.
- Making space and time for you to get comfortable with new techniques.
- Increasing your comfort and familiarity with all of yourself, including your body, your genitals, and your arousal.
- Creating and strengthening new patterns in your arousal, pleasure and orgasm.
- Facilitating greater choice around arousal, erections, ejaculation, and orgasm.
- Building your capacity to flow between relaxed arousal and excited arousal, and expanding your range of sexual comfort.
- Helping with low sexual desire or mismatched sexual desire between you and your partner(s).
I can help you find the path of least resistance to practicing pleasure.
You know how, when you’re excited, you tend to breathe rapidly and shallowly? And when you’re relaxed, you breathe more slowly and deeply? These happen automatically and sometimes you don’t even notice. Fortunately, the human nervous system does the opposite too. If you intentionally breathe slowly and deeply, you relax and if you intentionally breathe rapidly and shallowly, you get excited.
Ok, so how does this relate to sex? Well, when your mind is racing about all the things you need to do or whether your body will react as expected, pleasure and arousal can be elusive. By breathing slowly, you can calm your nervous system, bringing it into the present moment and quieting your brain enough to get turned on. Or maybe you want to increase the intensity of your pleasure? Breathe more quickly and your nervous system gets excited, bringing you closer to climax. Don’t want to climax yet? Consciously slowing your breathing will back you away from the orgasm. Sex can be a thrilling roller coaster ride of excitement and relaxation, arousal and orgasm. Learning to ride the roller coaster, noticing your breathing, and breathing into your sensations creates more pleasure for you. And your partners.
Breathwork can also help release trauma and negative conditioning. (What I mean by “trauma.”) Conscious breathing helps by expanding your capacity to regulate your own nervous system. Trauma can limit both how excited you can feel and how relaxed you can get. This can limit your access to arousal and orgasm. Check out this awesome graphic explaining how your nervous system’s “window of tolerance” is impacted by trauma. Breathwork practice expands your window of tolerance, mitigating the effects of trauma on your sexual experiences. Breathwork can shake loose painful memories and feelings. Science can’t yet explain the exact mechanism at work, but that isn’t necessary to use it with care and get the desired results. Because breathwork (or even the unconscious fast breathing of sexual excitement) can initiate a trauma response, it’s important to approach it carefully and with awareness.
Interoception means how you sense your internal body. If you find it difficult to feel certain parts of your body, it might be because trauma can interfere with interoception. Not feeling things is a useful defense in threatening moments. If you can’t feel an area, what happens there is less painful. That is fantastically useful when you’re trying to survive. Unfortunately, your ability to sense that area of your body might not automatically return when you want it to. With my help, you can gently begin to re-connect your neurobiological wiring and how you respond to arousal.
When doing a guided interoception session, I might ask you to imagine an inner night watchguard walking around inside your body with a flashlight, peeking into all your internal nooks and crannies. At first, it might be scary or uncomfortable to focus on certain parts of your body and how they feel. But we’ll remind your body that the threat is over, and that you can reconnect your mind and body. It can give you a new sense of ease. Re-establishing a healthy mind-body partnership might take a bit of training and some effort. It is a gentle process of safely getting to know your body again and re-orienting its relationship to your mind.
Guided Interoception has uses that are unrelated to trauma. There are so many more pleasure structures in our bodies than we suspect. This is true of all genital configurations, but especially vulvas and vaginas. By becoming aware of these structures and pathways and getting to know them, you can open yourself up to so much more pleasure! In a session, I can introduce them to you and teach you ways of combining your increased interoception with breath and touch for enhanced pleasure.
Curious about what it would be like to be seen or heard while experiencing pleasure? Masturbation Witnessing offers you the opportunity to do this while you maintain complete control of your experience. You choose what you want to do from moment to moment and how you do it, staying in touch with your erotic self while being witnessed.
As a practitioner, I watch with curiosity and non-attachment. Masturbation Witnessing is not an exchange of erotic connection. I hold no agenda or judgment. My witnessing is silent.
Masturbation Witnessing allows you to:
- Feel supported and nurtured in your sexuality.
- Learn about your erotic connection with yourself.
- Practice being vulnerable.
- Transform shame.
- Affirm that your sexuality is yours and you owe it to nobody but yourself.
When was the last time you had an in-depth conversation with someone about masturbation? Do you have thoughts or questions you’d like to discuss with a knowledgeable and non-judgmental person?
Maybe you would like your masturbation to be different somehow, or you don’t enjoy it. Perhaps you don’t orgasm, don’t like how quickly or slowly you orgasm, or want your orgasms to be more intense.
Masturbation Coaching creates a space to talk about masturbation without shame and judgment, to have an opportunity to reflect upon what you enjoy and don’t enjoy.
The difference between Masturbation Coaching and Masturbation Witnessing is that, during coaching, I offer comments, observations, or suggestions designed to help you. I might offer ideas for different hand techniques, strokes, breathing patterns, toys, or lubricants. Like Witnessing, Coaching is not an exchange of erotic connection; it is about supporting your erotic connection with yourself.
Bossy Massage is more of an experiment than a massage. The discoverer of Bossy Massage, Betty Martin, writes:
“The point of this one is not the ‘massage’. It’s not the touch at all – it’s the process of noticing what it is you (the receiver) want and finding out what it feels like to be absolutely in charge of how you are touched, moment by moment. The receiver cannot be passive and it is extremely difficult to fall into tolerating or going along with something.”
What happens during a Bossy Massage?
- You wear as little or as much clothing as you like.
- You explicitly say where on your body you want touch and how you would like to be touched. For example,
- What part of my hand should I use?
- Would you like the touch to be light or firm? Fast or slow? Percussive or constant?
- The duration of the touch lasts for 3 breaths and then stops.
- You get time to reflect on your experience of the touch.
- Then you ask for the next touch that you wish. You can change completely where and how you would like to be touched (including whether you would like to be touched at all).
- Until or unless you ask for specific touch, I don’t touch you.
- is a laboratory for listening really closely to what your body is asking for and practicing valuing your body’s requests and giving voice to them (touch based embodied consent).
- can counteract habits of lying back and receiving passively.
- can encourage sexual communication as an ongoing dialogue, rather than treating communication and consent as static, determined ahead of time, and inflexible.
- has elements that are often incorporated into other touch practices we might do together.
Genital Anatomical Mapping aka A Guided Tour of Your Genitals
Genital Anatomical Mapping (GAM) is about creating and strengthening your mind-body connection with your genitals. Many of us have more anatomical pleasure structures and neurological pathways than we realize. You can create more pleasure (for yourself and your lovers) by learning about these body parts, naming them, and adding them to your internal sense of your body.
We start GAM by identifying the different parts of your anatomy and how they function while at rest. You may find that how your genitals work now are different than at previous points in your life. I support you in finding and naming your yummy places as well as the areas that could benefit from more presence and compassion.
GAM can be done in a session with me while you touch your genital structures, with me touching parts of your genitals as we name them, or on your own at home.
You may benefit from doing Genital Anatomical Mapping if you
- wonder what specific structures are and whether yours look normal (spoiler: they are normal).
- are uncomfortable with certain kinds of language for your genitals and want to come up with a vocabulary that is comfortable for you.
- would like to have terminology for your genitals that allows for precision in giving partners directions.
- want to explore how your preferred terminology changes when you’re aroused or sexually engaged with someone.
- want help discerning and naming which genital structures you like to have touched.
- are curious about butt stuff and want a pressure free or non-sexual way to get to know that anatomy.
Genital Anatomical Mapping may appeal to you if you:
- want to (re)claim or (re)connect with your genitals in a supported way.
- feel like your wires are crossed after a life change, procedure, or giving birth, and you want to get reacquainted with that part of your body.
- experienced non-consensual removal of or change to your genitals.
- feel your genitals have a story to tell you that an attentive, present witness might help you hear clearly.
When doing Genital Anatomical Mapping, we sometimes encounter scar tissue or areas that are numb or painful. Identifying these creates an opportunity to address it together with Pelvic Tension Release and Scar Tissue Remediation or with a referral for support from another professional.
Pelvic Tension Release and Scar Tissue Remediation
Combining gentle external and internal touch with relaxed deep breathing, we seek out places where you carry tension or scar tissue. Releasing the tension and dissolving the scar tissue can create profound emotional release. These are welcome in the session. For information on how and why this happens, read Unwinding Trauma Through Touch. I am not a psychotherapist and do not work with you to cognitively process the experience, but I can stay present with you while you have intense emotions. You and your emotions are not “too much” for me. My goal is to support you in letting go of tension or emotion in a safe manner.
Releasing tension or scar tissue in the pelvis can
- address pain during or after sexual activity.
- help people who experience limited arousal by facilitating blood flow to all erectile tissues, including those infusing the vulvovaginal, prostatic and penile structures.
- identify and possibly remedy anal pain related to sexual activity, hemorrhoids, fissures, prolapse, childbirth, chronic constipation, or penetration.
- identify and remediate scars from surgeries, circumcision, childbirth, or gender confirmation bottom surgeries.
- reduce or eliminate urinary incontinence.
- remedy pain, limited range of motion, or unidentified pulling sensations.
I also offer scar tissue remediation work after:
- top surgery
- lumpectomy & mastectomy
- breast augmentation/reconstruction
- abdominal surgery
- traumatic injury
Holistic Pelvic Care™
Holistic Pelvic Care™ (HPC) is a practice created by Tami Lynn Kent, a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist. It is a non-erotic internal vaginal massage that invites breath, spirit, and blood and lymph flow to the internal vaginal muscles, tendons, and fascia. It can involve guided interoception with visualization to help bring attention and awareness to what is present in the entire pelvic bowl. HPC is intended for natal vaginas, neo vaginas, and front holes, but can also be applied to internal anal work. It is a specific sequence for bringing breath, awareness, attention, and touch systematically to the ovaries, uterus, cervix and entire vagina. You don’t need to have these organs present to experience benefit from feeling into them and creating meaning. I offer HPC to clients after they have done [Developing Embodiment] and [Feeling Consent] work with me or other Somatic Sex Educators.
Pleasure Mapping creates a high resolution pleasure map of your entire body or selected parts. In a Pleasure Mapping session, you guide my hands while you focus on how the touch feels. We’ll attend to specific areas of the body, various states of rest and arousal, and how the sensations feel. I offer you a menu of types of touch and locations. When we find types and locations of touch you enjoy, I describe what I’m doing in detail so that you can do it yourself and show it to partners.
To do Pleasure Mapping that includes your genitals, it’s best to have previously experienced Genital Anatomical Mapping to have a mental map of your genitals and your non-aroused baseline.
What you can learn from Pleasure Mapping:
- Where you like to be touched and how
- How arousal changes your response to touch
- How someone else’s touch differs from your own
- The pleasure responses of your body and how it creates new pleasure pathways.
- That some of your beliefs about the nature and sources of your pleasure might be inaccurate or false.
For online Pleasure Mapping sessions, you touch yourself while I guide you with suggestions of different types of touch to try.
Erotic Massage for Expansive Pleasure and Safety (Advanced Students Only)
Erotic massage is wonderful and can be healing for many people. Some practitioners offer it to clients in their first session, advertising as offering FBSM (Full Body Sensual Massage), Tantric Massage (Yoni Massage or Lingam Massage), or Body Rubs. If that is what you are looking for, yay! I fully support and encourage you to seek out those practitioners.
I offer erotic massage in a more limited context, for people who have already worked with me or another Somatic Sex Educator extensively and have experience with many of the modalities described above. Erotic Massage, as I offer it, is not a passive experience for the receiver. Safety is established in the context of our ongoing work together and is supported by discussion ahead of time and communication during the massage. During the session, the receiver is coached to integrate the tools of breathwork, interoception, movement, and audible responses. Erotic massage is a good practice for safely receiving pleasure without a partner relationship dynamic so you can see what you and your body are capable of when all the pieces are put together.
- Lubricant and toy consultation
- Teaching hands-on erotic techniques with partners
- Kink and BDSM 101: Learn about kink and BDSM. Discover sensations of varying intensity and clarify your desires and how to negotiate for them. I do not engage in power exchange (domination or submission) with you, but we can discuss your desires, with or without your partner(s) present. Learn about the kink and BDSM community.
- Conversations and explorations about what sex is for you, what it may or may not include, and how to have sex that increases your pleasure and comfort with your preferences
- Exploring gender euphoria and body appreciation