It never fails. I post a blog and someone responds in a comment like this: "Sex comes naturally. If you need instructions on how to ENJOY it, something is very wrong." Whenever I read a comment like that, it takes everything I have inside of me to not respond in one very long and loud rant. Sure, the sexual response may be inborn in most of us, just like eating. But we see nutritionists, watch food experts talk on PBS, and we buy books on dieting and nutrition. The same goes for exercise. How many yoga studios and private trainers are there in the world? Isn't moving our bodies natural? Truly, I could go on and on.
So what is it about getting support, education and training for our sex lives that rattles our cage so much? Is it the urban legend that great lovers are born not made? Or that there is something very broken about us if we feel like we need support around our sexuality?
Here are the facts: We are all born to grope; just like we are all born to put food in our mouths, chew and swallow. But if you want to become the sexual master of your own being, that may require more effort than waking up aroused! It's just that most people really don't know where to turn for education, support and training around their sexuality. Even the word "Education" and Sex together just feels wrong to many people. It seems so....TEENAGE!
Seeing a sex therapist can unfortunately make some poeple feel like something IS wrong with you, and learning from pornography, where many people get their sexual information, is simply a bad idea. But the fact is that exploring our own sexual nature for many complicated reasons can feel like a big risk. We do need to be sufficiently supported to learn and explore new experiences which can feel to many of us like risk taking on the most intimate of levels.
That is why there is a new profession, Sexological Body Work. It fills a very important gap in adult sexual learning (sometimes working hand in hand with psychotherapists or sex coaches) and is taught by a new crop of sex education professionals called Somatic Sex Educators. I just like to call myself a Sexuality and Intimacy Coach.
I totally understand that you need support in order to take risks. I am a queen risk taker, and I never jump alone. Anytime we go outside of our own sexual box, we are taking a risk. But without risk, there can be no growth or expansion. And if you don't get support and try to go on a great big sexual adventure on your own, you might meet up with risk's kissing cousin - recklessness.
So today, under "Screw Natural Sex: I Want To Be The Sexual Master of My Own Life - Give Me An Advanced Degree", I would like to let you in on a secret. Women all over the country are staking a claim on pleasure for health and healing. And guess what? They are getting help. That includes the sex kittens and their older sisters, the sex goddesses. With increasing numbers, women are finding answers in the hands of professional sexual healers. Though it remains a subterranean phenomenon, sexual healing is breaking through the frozen ground of taboo.
Dr. Christiane Northrup, physician, best-selling author and internationally renowned women's health expert commented, "Up until very recently, hands-on sexual healing has been cloaked in secrecy, shame, and misunderstanding. But a bold new group of courageous pioneers such as Pamela Madsen is leading the way toward a deeper, richer understanding of women's sexual pleasure as a force for health and healing that positively affects all areas of their lives. The new feminism includes embracing our erotic power, and hands on sexual healing in the right setting can be a very effective way to accomplish this."
I have been told that I am an unlikely avatar of desire and pleasure, an "Everywoman", described as a plump, middle-aged housewife, married with two kids, living a middle class life in the New Yprk City. But I have also been credited with "opening the floodgates of a new national dialogue about integrated female sexuality and well being. Pamela Madsen has emerged as the only client of sexual healers to speak publicly about the transformational and healing power of one-way touch and sensual pleasure."
So maybe my "coming out" is a bit unprecedented! Am I the first? Perhaps. But what I am finding is that the more I come out and talk to other women, the more I am finding an overwhelmingly large group of women who are hungry to learn how they can own and harness their own sexuality.
My book and blogging has brought an influx of mail from women who feel shut down and cut off from their own bodies and want to taste the freedom of pleasure again-or maybe for the first time. The letters are filled with women talking about how trapped they feel behind the barbed wire fence of shame, guilt, fear and resentment as they struggle to break free. They want to know how to find safe sexual healing with an experienced professional without ditching their lives.
The truth is, I found the courage to share my story because, even before I went public, I knew that I wasn't alone. I was meeting other women like just like myself at workshops and conferences. It made me wonder how widespread hands-on sexual healing was becoming. Since there were no official studies dealing with this issue, I reached out to sex therapists, women's health specialists and family therapists to find out if, in fact, their patients were approaching them with questions about "hands-on" sexual healing. These practitioners confirmed that not only were women coming to them with these questions - they were looking for referrals.
Clearly, hands-on sexual healing is slowly seeping into the mainstream. After all, HBO has the hit series Hung. Ray, the protagonist, may call himself a gigolo, but he usually winds up providing a more profound experience that most of his clients crave.
Once I got over my shame - and lived to tell about it - I discovered that desire is natural and pleasure is transformational, and that needing and finding support around my innate sexuality was natural! Allowing pleasure into our lives is not narcissistic, "id"-driven, or the function of a personality disorder. It is, in fact, a path to wholeness. Pleasure helps mend many wounds from body image and depression to the infamous low libido. Sometimes all we need is an expert guide to lead us to the gold mine of self-fulfillment we already have inside of us.
I have been on a fabulously funny, sexy, wonky and totally amazing journey through a world that so many people just whisper about. I came home transformed. In my world the 'hands-on' sexual healers are called Sexological Bodyworkers, and they have a professional organization and guidelines to follow. HBO may have ‘Happiness Consultants'. Whatever the name, paid sexual healing services are in increasing demand. Maybe if a doctor could write a prescription, it wouldn't be underground anymore. But based on my own informal research, I can tell you it won't be underground much longer, and I can't think of anything more natural than that.
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Check Out These Wonderful Grown Up Sex Educational Programs and Resources:
1. The Body Electric School
2. The Pleasure Mechanics
3. The New School of Erotic Touch