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What is Sexological Bodywork?

Sexological bodywork and somatic sex education is a rapidly growing field that attracts professionals from diverse backgrounds – bodyworkers, sex workers, counsellors, educators, allied health professionals and those with an interest in supporting the erotic lives of others.


All practitioners all go through a certification process, but end up with their own take on the modality, their own specialties and areas of interest. What links their approaches is a focus on embodiment, celebration of pleasure and modelling of non-judgemental curiosity about the experience of their clients. 


History


Sexological bodywork and somatic sex education was developed by Joseph Kramer during the AIDs epidemic in order to offer ways for people to enjoy eroticism without fluid exchange. With a large emphasis on building pleasure and modulating arousal level through full body and genital touch, breath, movement and sound, sexological bodyworkers supported clients in expanding their experience of pleasure both in sessions and in their self-pleasure practice in ways that minimised the risk of viral transfer.

 

What do sexological bodyworkers do?


The remit of sexological bodyworkers has expanded in the last few decades. There are sexological bodyworkers and somatic sex educators working with erotically active people of all life stages, genders, sexual orientations, cultural backgrounds and abilities. This presents almost limitless erotic inquiries to work with.Take note of that language – in Australia, sexological bodyworkers are trained by Deej and Uma at the Institute of Somatic Sexology, who emphasise the educational contract at the heart of sexological bodywork sessions. 


Framing erotic encounters as learning experiences has influenced some of Australia’s foremost sex positive sex educators, sex therapists and counsellors, such as Rog and Tess of Curious Creatures.


You will often hear the phrase “embrace the clunky”. This mantra abounds among somatic sex educators, and is informed by recent developments in learning theory and research in neuroplasticity. The clunki-ness is where learning happens – where your brain rewires itself to form new connections and strengthen these connections with practice. Allowing for clunkiness relieves the anxiety that all too often arises from the pressure to perform, to get things right, to flow effortlessly in sex. 

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