Bodywork: The erotic art of wellbeing, embodiment and somatic sexology
Pleasure moved from his genitals and expanded further throughout his body. He was surprised about the amount of sensation he was feeling erotically. He felt his body had been awoken. He had never experienced erotic sensations anywhere other than his genitals before and bodywork opened his mind up.
Days later, he reports that, after masturbating, he felt erotic energy spreading throughout his body like a party.
I am a somatic sexologist and sexological bodyworker. My role is one of holistic bodywork and supporting the sexual wellness of my clients, and I lead Australia’s first sexual wellness lounge, Polysoma, based in Adelaide.
I am part of an extensive team of sexological bodyworkers around Australia and the world. The power I have is a privilege and honour. I nurture and maintain this power in every professional sense. I am not a sex worker or sex surrogate. My modalities are educational and take place within my client’s body. I teach clients how to self-regulate through breath and help people understand their body and erotic mind.
People know very little about how they can use breath, touch, communication and body relaxation to manage their own erotic behaviours, anxieties, reactions and feelings.
Most of us are not mindful of how important self-pleasure is to our health. Humans are complex sexual organisms and often take sexual wellness for granted, even though it should be at the forefront of our mental and physical health.
A sudden loss of our erotic capacity can be disastrous to our sexual being, because our sexual relationships depend on being sexually well, which also informs our capacity to love and bond with each other.
Many sexual difficulties are often misunderstood and brushed off in the healthcare arena. For example, painful penile vaginal intercourse, or erection difficulties, often creates sexual anxiety. Such anxiety can be hidden within our mind and body and causes tension in our genitals that prevents us from experiencing pleasure.
Many of are not aware of this anxiety and tension and the problems it creates. Medical practitioners and psychologists don’t often have the ability or time to work through the individual intricately in a way that involves the whole-body. Often, they just “don’t get” their patient’s sexual difficulty.
Many sexual difficulties are deeply rooted in our minds and bodies. These difficulties require a holistic approach to help people. I am always reminded of the subtle effects that illness and disease have on our erotic lives.
A sudden loss of pleasure and erotic capacity can mean the end of a person’s sex life, which can lead to relationship and communication breakdown, sexual shutdown and disembodiment, shame, taboo, guilt and embarrassment.
My work revolves around mindfulness and embodiment. I educate clients in touch, which involves how to feel touch, how to be touched, and how to touch others. I am a specialist in genitals and arousal. I can provide safe remedial genital massage for genital pain and numbness, or genital, pelvic anal scar tissue that results from disease, rough sex/trauma and surgery.
During bodywork, clients explore breath, touch, body mapping, differentiation between pleasure and pain (emotional or physical) states. I enlighten clients to self soothe. Self-soothing involves the client becoming mindful and creating tools to self-guide their own behaviors, feelings and thoughts in a variety of situations. Moreover, I assist clients to explore better ways at communicating sexual and relationship intentions.
Much of my bodywork involves the scientific application of experience dependent neuroplasticity. Bodywork helps people recognise and instigate change within themselves. The tools that clients use and explore can have a profound and positive impact on their sexual being.
I follow strict professional guidelines and ethics set out by the Somatic Sex Educators Association Australia. I don’t facilitate client’s sexual gratification. It is, however, completely ok to feel pleasure or arousal. In fact, I encourage clients to be accepted and supported in doing so. This enables them to reclaim the capacity to self-love, be loved by others, and explore themselves without pressure in a safe and non-judgmental space.
The work I do is experiential and individually tailored to the client. What works for one client may not work for another. This is the distinct difference between sexological bodywork and other healthcare alternatives that often provide a blanket approach to sexual issues. I know too well the shame and judgements that individuals and communities are faced with when it comes to sexuality and sexual issues. I never judge or shame someone for coming to see me.
For many of my clients, it’s taken tremendous courage to open themselves up about their situation. They have generally seen multiple counsellors, psychologists, and specialists with negative experiences and conflicting advice.
Many people are unable to comprehend that touching the body and genitals in a professional capacity is completely safe and ok without a sexual connotation.
Without touch I would not be able to help people bring about change within their own bodies. Touch is a force for such change. I give people knowledge and empower them. I have a deep sense of fulfilment in the work I do. I am witness to the positive changes that my work has on people. I am part of a revolution that is changing the way we feel and view sexual health and wellness; within a health care industry that is out of touch with the sexual lives of people and society.
Kai is the lead somatic sexologist, erotic educator and bodyworker at Polysoma, Adelaide. polysoma.com.au