When we started out to create Somatica we were both just finishing our sexuality degree programs in higher education. We met in a Sexological Bodywork training and each went out in the world and began to practice as sex coaches with the emphasis we learned in sexological bodywork to help people get fully into their bodies, move beyond personal shame into self-acceptance and explore what gave them pleasure. As we moved into ongoing work with our clients we noticed many of them were going out into the world and doing this crazy thing called “relationship” 🙂 We noticed that, no matter how personally fortified someone felt in their own body and pleasure, things got way more complicated once they tried to practice all of their learning within the context of a relationship (or in connection with another person or people). And, it is within the context of some kind of relationship that almost everyone is negotiating what they need emotionally and sexually; sex does not happening in a vacuum! Helping people get their erotic and emotional needs met in a healthy and satisfying way was our inspiration to create the Somatica Method and we can’t emphasize it enough: if you are considering a coaching training or an experience of personal growth that is most likely to give you maximum tools and transformation, make sure that it doesn’t only address sex but also emotional connection and the complexity of relationship dynamics.
Think about it, even if two strangers are having sex, they need to be able to relate to each other in some way in order for the sex to happen. A sexual connection may last an hour or a lifetime, it may be part of a paid agreement or given freely, but it still requires relating. And, the lion’s share of sex happens in the context of short-term or long-term relationships. Thus, if you work with people on sexual healing and expansion, you need to get training around both sex AND relationships.
Unfortunately, most sex coaching, sex therapy and surrogate partner therapy focuses on functionality and does not address relationship issues. Sex coaches work to help their clients last longer, become orgasmic, get over performance anxiety, or overcome pelvic pain. So often people will approach us wanting individual work and say that the problem is all theirs – they are the one who can’t get it up or they were full of desire before but now their desire has dropped to undetectable levels.
Whenever we hear this, we say that we are happy to work with them individually on their issue and, if they have a partner, it may also be helpful to bring their partner in for some couple’s work. This is because issues that people deal with are very rarely only functional. And, while they are strongly influenced by individual psychological make-up, if a relationship is involved, there is almost always a relationship dynamic that is as affecting the situation as well.
Let’s take the example of erectile dysfunction (ED). Many men call us and say that they have experience ED when they are starting to date a new person. This makes sense – they are trying to impress a potential partner, so their level of anxiety goes up. Already, you can see that the performance is impacted by the relationship. So many of these men say something like, “I had a past girlfriend and when I told her she said it was no big deal. She was happy to have sex in different ways and didn’t mind it when I couldn’t get it up. Pretty quickly, it only happened once in awhile and she never seemed to get upset. The problem is, with my current girlfriend, she gets really hurt or angry when I can’t get it up. She feels like I’m not really attracted to her and keeps asking me if I’m gay. With her, I can barely get it up at all – I feel like a complete failure.” You can see how the relationship has a great deal of influence, with both partner’s being triggered around insecurities, her feeling that she is unattractive and his feeling that he is incapable are in a negative spiral that we call a relationship vortex. In this case, if you are only addressing the functional issue and not the pressure chamber that the relationship is creating, you will be very unlikely to see any change.
It is a similar situation when we look at low desire, which is the most common female sexual complaint. While many women cannot understand why they are not longer feeling hot and excited by their partner, for us it is usually no big surprise and, most of the time it is not a functional or hormonal issue. Often, it has more to do with a lack of emotional connection or of sexual communication and learning between the woman and her partner. In other words, the fix has much more to do with working on the relationship dynamic than trying to get the woman to find her sexual desire again in a vacuum.
As we hope you can see by these examples, whenever you are helping an individual or a couple through a sexual problem, it is extremely important to understand how relationship dynamics may play into sexual function and desire. To be an excellent sex coach it is essential to have training as a relationship coach too! Find out more about the Somatica Sex and Relationship Coaching Training or join us for a Free Intro Day!