While sexology is the study of sex, somatic sexology is one branch that uses a more embodied approach. Somatic literally means “of the body” and somatic sexology attempts to bridge the mind-body split to help people have more fulfilling sex lives.
What is the Mind-Body Split?
In modern culture, and especially in industrialized nations, so much of the way we work and interact is mental as opposed to physical. Modern society places a high value on the ability to think and reason, and often looks down on emotions. We are taught to control and overcome the desires of the body. All of this results in a separation and sometimes even a tense relationship between one’s mind and body.
In order to have meaningful sex and a more holistic and enjoyable life, it is very important to be in touch with your emotions and your body’s sensations. Somatic sexology – and all other somatic practices – attempt to heal this divide and bring the mind and body in to connection, communication and harmony.
The Methods of Somatic Sexology
Somatic sexology is a diverse field which can include practitioners schooled in multiple types of modalities. Practitioners may have training in somatic approaches to sex coaching, psychology, education, and counseling. They may also be trained as massage therapists, sexual surrogates, or energy workers.
The goal of somatic sexology is to help people feel their sex lives more fully and profoundly. A somatic sexologist uses a couple of different methods to achieve this goal of healing the mind-body division – the main one being physical practices such as breathwork, movement, and touch.
Touch modalities used are generally practices of emotional connection and intimacy – therapeutic massage, sensual massage, erotic massage, or surrogate partner therapy. These methods can also include energetic work such as tantra, shamanism, or Taoist approaches.
In the same way another practitioner will use talk therapy, somatic sexologists sometimes incorporate a talk-based approach in their method. They verbally guide their clients to bringing more awareness to their body sensations and emotions, helping the mind acknowledge, attend to, and integrate what is happening in the body.