What is Sexual Healing?
While physical healing involves many things like: repairing tissue, setting bones, removing viruses, and fostering optimal functioning of organs, muscles, glands, etc. sexual healing involves a return to, or development of, sensual integration and embodiment and the ability to fully experience and express oneself sexually without encumbrance.
Sexual healing can also address sexual empowerment and the integration and transparency of emotions vis-à-vis sexual expression and experience. Healthy sexuality has an organic and synergistic mind-body-heart connection and sexual energy flows naturally. Sexual healing sessions can help a client repair, or improve this connection and restore fluency of sexual expression.
As a modality addressing a client’s issues, sexual healing is different than sex counseling—where sexual healing can include some amount of disrobing by the client, explicit demonstrations, and/or touch of the client by the practitioner; where sex counseling does not. Sexual healing treats the psychoid* level of the individual—bridging the psychological and physical. This means that there is normally both an emotional-psychological component combined with somatic and sensual elements included in sexual healing methods. (*Britton, Patti O. (2005). The art of sex coaching: expanding your practice; * www.jungny.com/lexicon.jungian.therapy.analysis/carl.jung.157.html)
Sexual healing seeks to reconnect and re-establish the optimal functioning and natural flow of sexual energy. This is accomplished by helping a client to recognize and remove any emotional-psychological and energetic blocks, or “knots,” to healthful and easeful sexual expression and experience.
I Can’t Feel Anything
Disorders associated with sexual experience and those that stem from sexual abuse or assault have psychological, emotional, physical and energetic symptoms that affect sexual desire, arousal, interaction and orgasm, as well as emotional intimacy and connection. Symptoms tend to spread into other areas of life as well—in the form of low energy, depression, low self-esteem, blocked creativity, and negativity. Healing and restoring the flow of sexual energy and its full empowerment restores vitality and aliveness, happiness and wellbeing.
The physical body can be a repository of emotional wounds that get “imprinted” on the psyche and embedded in the body locus—usually in areas that are near, or on, or refer to where the abuse or assault occurred. To address the physical aspect of the psychoid energy knot phenomenon the body is consciously included in the healing process. Body relaxation, movement and touch activation techniques assist in discovering and addressing the physical location of the energetic knot that is restricting or blocking the flow of sensual energy. These locations have a physical correspondence that can often feel numb or be non-responsive.
Somatic activation may include a variety of methodologies or techniques such as: massage, erotic touch, body movement and internal pelvic release—as well as practices from kriya, kundalini, tantra and/or hatha yogas. The degree of sensual touch and physical intimacy experienced in a sexual healing session may vary from off-the-body to invasive techniques that include penetration of the yoni and/or anus. Knowing the degree of sexual touch to be experienced in a session is an essential aspect of informed consent that should be discussed prior to engaging in the session.
Sexual Healing, Not Sex
Personal sexual interaction is not the same as the therapeutic application of sexual energy. As long as the healing practitioner maintains a therapeutic container and engagement without digressing into acting out personal fantasies sexual healing can be effective and beneficial for the client. In the same way that a massage therapist can touch a client’s body and maintain therapeutic intent and emotional detachment to provide a therapeutic healing service—so can a qualified and conscientious sexual healer serve his/her client.
The form sexual healing sessions can take varies widely. At one end of the spectrum are healing facilitators that don’t touch their client’s body and remain fully clothed. At the opposite end are providers who are undressed and engage in full sexual contact with a client—including genital intercourse. Most sexual healers are somewhere in between—not having sex with their client but providing some “hands-on” engagement with a client’s body and may or may not be partially undressed. It’s important for both client and sexual healer to discuss ahead of time how the session will be structured and what procedures and methods will be used.
How Does Sexual Healing Work?
Sexual healing is needed due to trauma caused by emotional/physical/sexual assault or abuse. The assault or abuse creates a condition that overwhelms comprehension and one’s emotional capacity to understand and contain the experience and distorts or disconnects emotions from events in a denial of reality. Doing so creates an imprint of bunched up energy that “knots” or “clenches”—embedding in the domain of an individual’s body-mind awareness. This energy knot suppresses feeling experience and restricts the flow of life force energy—especially in its sensual form.
Subsequently at some point after the abuse or assault when exposed to situations that trigger the survivor’s wounds an adverse reaction is felt and produces dampening or removal of one’s ability to interact freely or feel empowered to do so. According to Dr. Darren Weissman (The Emotion Code) this reaction and resulting process of contraction is known as a “maladaptive stress reaction” which occurs “when one is not able to adapt in the present moment, our body reacts as if something from the past is going on right now.”
Physical symptoms that survivors experience can include: numbness, coldness, discomfort, pain, tension, contraction, and cramping, limited range of motion, hyper sensitivity, weakness, and no feeling.
Sexual healing works at the client’s psychological and physical levels of being to effectively unwind or detangle these “knots” created by sexual abuse or assault. Its methods seek to unclench this energy and restore the optimum availability and fluency of sexual energy for natural expression and experience. The sexual healing process reveals the psycho-physical location where the energy knot exists and treats the condition that the knot has created.
A common way sexual healing is facilitated is to create a unique combination of deep relaxation and erotic excitation so that the client’s psycho-physical armoring and barriers are lessened or dropped. This relaxed-excited state allows erotic energy to move more freely to address and clear the energetic blocks, or knots. These “knots” are felt by the client in actual physical locations of the body—often where past trauma was perpetrated (typically: genitals, lower abdomen, back, buttocks and anus).
These energy knots have physical trigger points and often contain associations to strong emotions associated with sexuality, intimate relationships, personal power and safety. These trigger points may also refer to other places in the body where similar symptoms reside and can increase in severity until the individual is significantly impacted and becomes incapable of fluent sexual experience or expression.
Sexual abuse survivors will usually, in addition to physical symptoms, have emotional and psychological symptoms that can include: frightening memories, depression, low self-esteem, compulsive fantasies, dissociation, low libido, erectile dysfunction, and an inability to sustain intimacy. Healing these symptoms involves reconnecting disparate parts of the psyche, reclaiming personal power and autonomy, divesting debilitating thoughts and judgments, as well as processing, clearing and releasing feelings of fear, anger, rage, hurt, and emotional pain associated with sexual and emotional trauma.
Benefits of Sexual Healing
Sexual healing sessions provide a safe container to discover, explore, release, grow, heal and become empowered sensually and sexually. Sessions are a place to safely process ones’ feelings about sexual experience and expression and to learn more about oneself.
Sexual healing sessions create an opportunity to work out blocks to sensual experience and the flow of sexual energy. They are a place to process past sexual trauma and emotional abuse as well as cultivate the ability to stay connected to one’s sexual energy through changes and new phases of life.
Benefits of sexual healing include:
- Physical—Increased and enhanced sensual awareness and mind-heart-body integration. Increased sensory capacity and sensitivity.
- Emotional—Expanded sense of emotional relating and cohesive emotional integration; enhanced awareness of the emotive-somatic connection with what is happening in the moment.
- Mental—enhanced cognitive awareness and processing ability. Specifically: the ability to remain mindfully present with what is occurring physically and emotionally in the present moment during sensual/sexual experience without disassociating or mental fragmentation.
- Spiritual—Expanded consciousness and enhanced awareness of subtle energies and numinous experience.
- Sexual—Fluent experience and expression of sexual energy and engagement.
For more information about sexual healing and to know what you can do to prepare yourself to work with a sexual healer, go to the website for my soon to be published book: Safe Sexual Healing and sign-up on the opt-in list and you’ll receive a 7 point checklist for clients.