Holistic and experiential sex and intimacy coaching would be the most accurate way to describe what I do. The Healing, Growth and Mastery sections of this site give specifics on the sort of activities involved. But here I’ll speak more generally about the conceptual framework and the actual step-by-step process.
There are many people doing similar work using different titles, like: sexological bodyworker, tantra instructor, daka/dakini, sacred intimate, or surrogate partner. What all of these practitioners have in common is that they work hands-on and experientially in the areas of sex of intimacy as opposed to just talking.
As you might suspect, the term I use is something I made up. There’s no association of holistic experiential sex and intimacy coaching. It’s my attempt to capture the breadth and complexity of the work that I do. Let’s break it down:
People get coaching for personal growth, mastering problems and developing new skills so they can be better at something, for instance: playing tennis, acting or running a business.
Making an analogy to learning a a musical instrument is helpful. Anyone can step up to a piano and bang on the keys and make some noise. But playing music that is beautiful and moving takes learning and practice. The same applies to sex and intimacy. Sure, we’re all born with “sexual equipment” and raw biological urges, but beyond that, sex and intimacy is learned. And too often, we carry the burden of dysfunctional beliefs and habits that need to be unlearned.
And to take the analogy one step further, no one would claim that you could learn the piano by talking about it, reading a book or watching a video. You actually have to practice. The same thing applies to sex, that’s the experiential part of this work.
Holistic sex and intimacy
Sex and intimacy is ‘holistic’ in that all aspects of our human experience are wrapped into it. Our mind, body, spirit, emotions and relationship to self and others all play a part. There can be limiting factors in any of these areas which hold us back from fulfillment. And of course there is potential for growth in all of these areas as well. I work with them all:
What the body senses, how it moves, and how to use it is central to my work. Learning to immerse oneself in bodily sensations; building capacity for more orgasm; feeling and moving sexual energy; learning sexual techniques; knowing your sexual anatomy; increasing the strength and suppleness of sexual muscles; and, breathing more deeply while having sex, all of these bodily skills can be improved with instruction and practice.
Sex and intimacy evokes the entire range of human emotions yet only a few emotions are officially allowed – joy, excitement, passion and desire for example. But what about grief, anger, confusion, anxiety and shame? These are also part of the emotional landscape of sex and intimacy. In my work I teach emotional fluidity and acceptance and I hold an unwavering compassionate space for any emotion to be present. I also teach how to manage powerful overwhelming emotions, the persistent effect of unresolved trauma, by staying connected to the body without moving into fight/flight or freeze modes.
Mind is the realm of language and imagination that makes up our beliefs, expectations and values. It’s shaped by past experience, trauma, media, cultural messages and education. It colours and shapes our current experience. Much of its content is unconscious and flawed. For example a potent belief fostered by a long legacy of religious oppression is that a women’s sexuality is evil and that if a woman is not a virgin or a virtuous mother (and preferably both), then she’s a whore. Fulfilling sex and intimacy within this belief system is impossible. There are many other pernicious beliefs that women commonly carry, especially in regards to their body image. Much of my work is to help women become conscious of their limiting patterns of thought, and create new ones that offer the potential for nourishment.
In this realm we look at things like: how to build a foundation of trust and safety; personal autonomy and boundaries; how to give and receive enthusiastic consent; and how to communicate desires. We could also be exploring different forms of relationship like: intentional celibacy, monogamy, polyamory or partnered non-monogamy.
For me spirit is something very grounded and real. We’re talking about foundational qualities that are required for true intimacy. We can start with acceptance and compassion of ourselves and others, and move from there to loving kindness. This also involves cultivating the skill of mindfulness – to be able to witness one’s own experience with equanimity and curiosity instead of criticism. We can add to this a healthy dose of courage, because loving someone deeply comes with pain and loss built right in. And finally, a sense of humour, because sex, especially when trying new things, often just doesn’t go as planned. Not surprisingly, the strengths you develop through sex and intimacy coaching are valuable in all areas of your life. Sex is the Creative Force moving through us after all. Women who have that aspect of their lives working for them make good things happen in the world.