What is Sexological Bodywork?

Sexological Bodywork is a professional, structured way to solve sexual problems and explore new experiences using techniques that develop awareness of your body. It can be done online, and I also provide sessions in London. So what is this versatile approach to embodiment and sex?

Sexological Bodywork is a way of learning about your body

You can learn a lot of theory from reading books. You can address a lot of issues with talking therapies. But when issues involve the body, reading and talking aren’t enough. You can’t learn to ride a bike or play the piano without trying to ride or play. If you’d like to connect to your body, teach your body something new, or unlearn something it experienced in the past, the easiest path is to engage your body in the new experiences you want. New experiences, particularly pleasurable ones, create change at a fundamental neurological level.

Sexological Bodyworkers don’t try to “fix” people. We offer a neutral space, free from expectations and judgement, to practice new tools, techniques and ways of being. And, in that space, we coach, teach and support people to learn about their bodies.

We can help you explore anatomy, desires, fantasies and fears. As practitioners, we train to accept diversity of background, gender, anatomy, sexual preferences and relationship preferences.

You can learn about your body through coaching, education and embodied experiencing

Sexological Bodywork is partly coaching. Clients reflect on their own sexuality, experiences and relationships to discover more about themselves. The work also involves sharing knowledge related to sexuality, such as anatomy, function of the nervous system, forms of arousal, sex drive and types of orgasm.

What is special about Sexological Bodywork is that it allows people to design new experiences involving their bodies, sensations and sexuality. Clients choose the experiences they want and will help them learn most. Experiences can range from simply noticing their body or a short touch, through to full body or genital massage. These can be practices the client takes home to practice or that they experience in a session.

Having said that, sessions can be entirely non-touch or with only a small amount of touch. There are a lot of possibilities and you can read more about touch and non-touch in my article “Is Bodywork right for you?

Client choice and boundaries is an essential part of the work

Clients are always completely at choice in the experiences they have in Sexological Bodywork sessions. They can choose experiences based on breathwork, nervous system regulation, movement, sound, touch, embodied consent, orgasmic yoga coaching, masturbation coaching, and erotic bodywork. And whatever the experience, clients can stop it whenever they like.

At its core, Sexological Bodywork has a trauma-informed, consent-based structure that aims to always keep clients safe, and always at choice. As practitioners, we have clear boundaries and ethics. And this structure and ethics ensures the experiences our clients have are ones they really want and are highly beneficial.

In addition, boundaries, knowing your limits and expressing them is a core part of what I offer in sessions. I use The Wheel of Consent by Dr. Betty Martin. Through some very simple exercises we can explore how to know what you want and don’t want, how to communicate that and how to enjoy it when you do get what you want.

What Sexological Bodywork is not

Sexological Bodywork is a professional, educational approach. It is not entertainment, a massage with a “happy ending” or a form of neo-Tantra.

The main differences with erotic massage or neo-Tantra is that Sexological Bodywork sessions have clearly defined boundaries and structures. Sessions are client-centred, client-led and based on embodied consent. There is always a clear educational agreement for sessions. Practitioners remain clothed and any erotic touch is one-way from the practitioner to the client.

Sexological Bodywork can be combined with other approaches, for example I integrate Clean Language and exploration of metaphors and, for clients with a spiritual interest, I bring in ideas from classical Tantra to allow the exploration of energy and embodied spiritual experiences. However, the core structure and principles of a Sexological Bodywork session stay intact.

Sexological Bodywork can address a variety of difficulties around sex and intimacy

There are many reasons people ask for Sexological Bodywork. Here are a few:

  • Lack of sex drive
  • Genital numbness or pain, including pain during sex
  • Lack of pleasure
  • Inability to orgasm
  • Concerns about body image
  • Anxiety or trauma around intimacy
  • You’d like to rediscover your body
  • You’re stuck in a pattern that isn’t helpful for you
  • An interest in enhancing your sex life
  • Learning to give and receive sensuality, touch and pleasure
  • Self-acceptance of your own body, gender and preferences

Overcoming sexual or emotional trauma often needs work with the body

Almost all of my clients have a history of therapy, which has often been helpful in integrating traumatic events in their lives. And yet, they still have triggers, anxieties, poor relationships or unsatisfying sex lives.

Sexological Bodyworkers can help resolve the physical and sexual aspects of trauma. We can hold a deeply accepting and empowering space. And we are trauma-informed, so we understand the body can hold trapped memories and emotions. We can help you understand and alter your nervous system responses. We know how to design simple activities to gently and safely re-integrate lost or trapped aspects of yourself.

As Sexological Bodyworkers, we are used to working with the difficult emotions that come up around sex, and particularly where someone has a history of emotional or sexual trauma. Shame and guilt are common, but so are anger and grief. We can use our body-based approach to help clients be with the emotions, learn from them and integrate the messages they bring.

Many of my clients have spent their lives looking after others at the expense of themselves, or intimidated or abused by others. Our sessions are the first time they’ve felt truly accepted or able to express what they really want. Even just that loving space to explore through talking can be transformational. And then the possibilities of having loving touch that is exactly what they asked for and stops exactly when they want it to is, for some, what creates breakthroughs after years of being stuck.

Sexological Bodywork has a fascinating history

In the 1980s the gay community was facing the dreadful impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Dr Joseph Kramer and his Body Electric School developed new methods of having fulfilling, safe sex lives. He expanded the knowledge of what was possible with intimacy, pleasure, and the body. Later he worked with Annie Sprinkle, a leading figure in women’s sexual liberation, to expand Sexological Bodywork to include women and then all genders and sexualities. What they developed is also widely used in Taoist and Tantric Erotic Massages.

Modern Sexological Bodywork has expanded on that work, to include fundamentals of anatomy, the nervous system and to incorporate trauma-awareness and techniques for working with consent and boundaries, including Betty Martin’s Wheel of Consent.

Practitioners belong to a professional body with a code of ethics

The field of sexual empowerment has many questionable practices and practitioners. People can find it difficult to find someone safe and reputable to help them. Sexological Bodywork has set out to be a reputable profession, with trustworthy practitioners.

To qualify as a Sexological Bodyworker, you complete over 330 hours of training over seven months. You have supervision from experienced practitioners. You complete 25 real client sessions. The leaders in the field assess your skills. Sexological Bodywork has a professional body: the Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers. There is a code of ethics that we all work to, which establishes clear boundaries with our clients. And there is a grievance procedure, so clients are supported if a practitioner does not act professionally.

Sexological Bodywork is unashamedly positive about diversity and sexuality. As a practitioner, I’m proud to belong to a professional field that is dedicated to improving the lives and happiness of so many people.

Sexological Bodywork Sessions in London

I provide sexological bodywork sessions in London for women who want to reconnect to their body and sexuality, particularly  after difficult relationships or sexual or emotional trauma. You are completely in control of sessions and they go at your pace – nothing will happen if you don’t want it to. I’ve worked with people where even talking about their body was a huge act of courage. I’ve helped rekindle relationships. And I’ve helped people explore their full potential in eroticism and pleasure. I’d love to have a friendly chat to discover what’s possible for you.

– Paul

Continuing your exploration...

If you'd like to find out more, feel free to explore the articles on this site or read about the work I do both online and in-person in London.

And when you're ready, you can schedule a free friendly chat with me to explore what's possible and whether we'd be a good fit to work together.

There's no pressure to do anything or sign up for sessions, so if you think this work might help you, then feel free to schedule some time with me - I'd love to meet you.

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