The profession of sexological bodywork was developed by Dr. Joseph Kramer out of Taoist traditions and as a way to help HIV-positive men experience safe touch and healing in the wake of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Initially called Sacred Intimacy, early versions of the method of sexological bodywork included higher levels of interaction between the educator and student. A sacred intimate practitioner might have sexual experiences with a client similar to that of a surrogate sexual partner, but with a more spiritual as opposed to practical approach.
How is Sexological Bodywork Different?
Sexological bodywork is focused on the sensational aspects of erotic pleasure and touch, as opposed to the psychological aspects. If you are someone who feels very reliant on fantasy for pleasure, this method could help you expand your sexual arousal and repertoire by becoming more conscious of your own and your partner’s physiological arousal.
Sexological bodywork aids you in feeling deeper, more profound pleasurable sensations in your body, release shame, and lower pain from scar tissue (results from childbirth or surgery). While sexual bodyworkers don’t directly treat anorgasmia (the inability to orgasm), delayed orgasm, premature ejaculation, or erectile dysfunction, the deeper level of self-awareness and connection to your arousal have the potential to help resolve any of these issues.
Sexological Bodywork Training & Certification
For over 30 years, The Body Electric School has offered classes and workshops that use the tools of sexological bodywork. In these classes, people learn how to rewire their sexual response to achieve a more pleasurable erotic life. In addition, Dr. Kramer has partnered with institutions and coaches around the world to teach sexological bodywork training and its antecedent, Sacred Intimacy, to professionals interested in helping students achieve these goals.
In order to be approved by the California State Board of Education as an educational modality, certain boundaries and safety precautions were added. The current boundaries of the method include the educator staying clothed throughout the session, one-way touch from educator to student, and the use of gloves during the sexological bodywork session. Sexological bodyworkers generally refer to themselves as somatic sex educators or bodyworkers, as opposed to sex or intimacy coaches. Sexological bodywork certification was originally offered at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Initially, it was taught by Joseph Kramer, Ph.D. and later it was taught by Dr. Danielle Harel then Dr. Liam Snowdon.
What to Expect In A Sexological Bodywork Session
Different practitioners who have sexological bodywork training and certification will have different approaches to the first session. For example, some are more likely to emphasize the shamanic or Taoist aspects of the work, while others may highlight the practical aspects. Some will offer hands-on bodywork in a first session, while others may not.
After talking about your goals for the session, and bringing in any spiritual aspects or practices, the sexological bodyworker may invite you to begin learning breathwork techniques. They may also introduce you to one of the following sexological bodywork modalities:
Sexological Bodywork Modalities Include:
- Talking about sexual feelings and practices
- Genital Taoist erotic massage
- Anal Taoist erotic massage for men, women, transgender, and non-binary people
- Orgasmic yoga – a self-practice to increase body sensation
- Masturbation witnessing and coaching to reduce shame and increase masturbation skills
In ongoing sessions, you will continue to work with experience- and body-based practices to meet your goals. A good sexological bodyworker will emphasize your right to stop practicing anything that feels uncomfortable, at any time, and keep communicating and giving feedback throughout the session.
As a client, you can be nude in the sessions. The sexological bodyworker will stay clothed. If there is touch in the session, it will be unidirectional from the practitioner to you. The sexological bodyworker will always use gloves. You will not be able to touch a sexological bodyworker during a session.
If you are more interested in understanding a combination of physiological and psychological arousal, you might want to try working with an experiential sex coach.