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By now, you have probably read the article about a date Aziz Ansari had with “Grace”, which is sparking a debate about the complexity of the #MeToo movement and starting a much-needed dialogue on the nuances of consent. As Sex and Relationship coaches we have spent countless hours analyzing specific dates, dating culture, and working with men and women to better understand consent, boundaries, and desire. When we hear stories like Grace’s, and we do, regularly, we are reminded just how crucial and rare communication about desire is.

Most People Don’t Know What They Want or How to Express It

As people are taking sides on Aziz and Grace, trying to pinpoint one or the other as a truer victim they are often missing an important point that can help frame this conversation and allow us all to better understand how and why these kind of dating scenarios are both terrible and commonplace. Most of us don’t even know what we want out of dating and sex. And we sure as hell don’t communicate it.

Aziz and Grace were on two different dates

He was looking for his version of a hot sexual experience, likely a one night stand, and she was hoping for something more romantic and potentially ongoing. They were both undoubtedly inside of their own fantasies, not noticing or caring about what the other one wanted. Of course, this was not impactful to Aziz in the same way it was to Grace, but it is still useful to explore where both were likely coming from.

What Did They Each Want?

From the story Grace told, this is what we can imagine it looked like inside of each of their minds:

The Aziz Fantasy

Man, I met this really cute girl, she seems to be really into me, I’m going to go through this whole bullshit dating thing and then I’m totally going to fuck her. I really can’t wait for us to get back to my place. We better get through dinner quick because I want to eat her out and get every part of me in her mouth — my fingers, my dick. It would be so hot to watch us in the mirror, I’m going to bend her over. Then she can see how hot it is that a famous guy like me is doing her from behind. C’mon, let’s get this party started. Sweet, she’s already talking about my counter-tops, that’s a great place to start. Girls in their 20s are really horny, I hope we can just skip all the bullshit and get right to it…

The Grace Fantasy

OMG, I can’t believe I’m going on a date with Aziz Ansari. He seems really cool and I Iove how sweet he is on his show. It will be so romantic, we can sit and sip our favorite wine and have a long, leisurely dinner. We already love the same camera, I bet we have a bunch of other things in common. I hope this dress is ok, I hope he thinks I’m cute, I can’t believe I’m going out with a celebrity. What if we end up dating, what if we end up in a relationship Ok, I’m cool going to his house. Maybe we can go out on his balcony and kiss under the stars. He seems really cool, I bet he’ll know how to kiss me just right, and touch my face, and we can make out and touch all night long. Who knows, maybe we will even end up having sex, but I probably shouldn’t because I want to make sure he still respects me and wants to go on another date.

Did They Care What the Other Wanted?

Obviously, this is not a perfect re-enactment of what was going on in their heads, but it is probably not too far off the mark. More importantly, whatever was going on it was entirely projection on both their parts. On his- a hot, porno fantasy, on her’s -the perfect romantic movie. We can only imagine the countless times this similar dating scenario has been played out, with women feeling used and taken advantage of and men feeling shocked that anything they did was wrong. It seems to us that Aziz didn’t really care what Grace wanted and Grace was in denial of what Aziz actually wanted.They were hoping for really different things but never talked about it.

Aziz seemed to be able to stay in his fantasy regardless of the pretty clear evidence that Grace wasn’t into it. A lack of empathy, insensitivity, or high levels of turn-on mixed with not really caring what the other person wants often lead to this. Aziz doesn’t actually have the luxury of claiming ignorance, since he literally wrote a book on dating, Modern Romance, which leads us to believe he simply thought there would be no consequences for continuing to push much harder than he should. As a culture we don’t consider a one-night stand an ok desire, so Grace isn’t even tasked with accepting that might have been what Aziz wanted.

Why No One Says What They Want

In dating there is way too much unspoken and both men and women are afraid to speak it, often for different reasons. As a guy, it’s nerve-racking because you don’t want to scare a date away by being too forward, or by just wanting sex, or a particular kind of sex. As a woman, if you are hoping for something more long-term, you don’t want to scare men away on a first date by grilling them about whether they want something serious. The fear that talking about sex might impede on the sexual tension or ruin the romantic fantasy means we don’t talk about what we are really after. With this approach, it’s surprising that any good comes of dating.

Regardless of whether or not we agree on how this should have been handled by the media or the parties involved, we can all agree that Aziz and Grace had a bad date. Ultimately, there was actual harm done, even if not criminal. Grace was emotionally hurt and, as a result of the article, Aziz suffered harm to his reputation and, undoubtedly, his feelings. Surely there would have been harm done to Grace’s reputation as well had she used her real name, since many people are blaming and shaming her around her approach to the evening.

While probably not criminal, certainly some of what Aziz did was not consensual. He continued to press Grace even after Grace told him she didn’t want to go any further and he agreed to just chill. Theoretically, Grace could have left at any time, but this would take a level of personal, sexual empowerment that our culture does not teach girls and young women. Check out our upcoming blog on Why Grace Didn’t Leave.

So What Do We Do About It?

Changing our society so that these types of dates are a rare exception and not an unacknowledged norm is not a simple task. We cannot stress enough how important communication is even in the most casual relationship. We need to start talking about desire while also exercising embodied empathy, verbal and embodied consent and gradual escalation. In general this means men need to do a better job of reading their partners; she didn’t say no is not a reason enough to proceed. And women need to learn that their boundaries and their desires are important.

Here are a Few Practical Steps

  1. One way to remain mindful of your boundaries and desires in dating is to get past wishful thinking and projection. Whether your fantasy is for a hot one night stand or a romantic date, pay attention to what the other person actually wants. As long as boundaries are being respected, try accepting what the other person wants without judging it.
  2. Even better, you could openly acknowledge what you want and have an honest conversation about it.
  3. Next, if there is any part of what the other person wants that you want too, be clear and communicative about your desires and boundaries.
  4. Once you know what each of you wants, engage in whatever feels mutually good to both of you.
  5. If it ends up you are on different pages, let yourself feel the disappointment of your desires not being met. This disappointment is not their fault and, likewise, you are not responsible for fulfilling their fantasy when it doesn’t fit with yours.

While this moment of societal reckoning is difficult, we are hopeful that it can move us towards more communication around sex and a better understanding of consent.

So many people call us searching for the right sex coaching training. As teachers and former students of multiple programs, we understand how important fit is since no program is perfect for everyone. There are more and more programs out there and it can be really hard to find the differences between them just by reading a website. As we guide people through this process, we have gained unique insight into what questions people ask as well as the ones they often overlook.

Here are some questions to ask, when you need to find the right program for you:

What is my philosophy and does the program reflect this?

For example, do I believe that verbal coaching and giving advice works best or do I believe in the importance of hands-on, interpersonal work? If you are interested in giving advice you can take a talk coaching training. If you are interested in a relational approach you should consider a training that offers in-person practice and experiential exercises.

Is it only a sex coaching program or does it include relationships?

If you feel like you have a solid grounding in helping clients navigate the complex dynamics of relationships, then a program that focuses primarily on sex might work for you. For some people, these programs feel detached from underlying issues and they need a more integrated approach that addresses the interplay of sexual and emotional connection.

What is my learning style and what are the tools and the learning methodology offered?

If you have an easier time learning at your own pace in the privacy of your own home, you might consider an online training. If you need a higher level of embodiment or interactive learning, it will be better to do in person, group learning.

Do I want to be able to see clients right away?

Some people don’t realize that with the right intensive program they will have the confidence and tools to see clients right away and start earning money while getting ongoing training to learn and build on their skills.

Will it be enough to take a year-long training?

The short answer is no, it is never enough because even the longest, most in-depth program will only give you a foundation, but you there will always be so much more to learn once you get out in the field and start working with people. If it is the right training that offers practice and theory, it will be enough for you to start your practice.

Will I have a place to keep growing?

After you finish your initial training it is your job to keep growing and sharpening your skills as a professional. A good program will offer ongoing classes and supervision so you can keep learning – ideally, you can do this while already seeing clients.

Is community important to me?

Finding a program that has an emphasis on learning from your peers and offering a continued network of support is crucial for most folks to have continued success. You are looking to work with people and who you surround yourself with matters. Each of the people in your training represents an opportunity to grow your personal and professional network. We have watched the Somatica community grow into a thriving resource full of mutual referrals, as well as a place for professional and emotional support.

Do I need letters after my name?

For some people having an MA, MSW, MFT, PhD, etc. after their names gives them a sense that they deserve to do the work they are doing. For others, these letters may be something they perceive as important to impress others either from a marketing standpoint or to feel acknowledged by their relatives etc. There is no right answer here – we ourselves both love higher education! At the same time, it’s important to understand the difference between getting a degree and attending a professional training. Both can be amazing for personal and intellectual development. Just make sure if you want to work with clients that you are going to get a full set of useful tools to work with instead of just a theoretical education.

What Couples Tell Us about their Traditional Therapy Experience

We have couples calling us every day looking for help around sex and intimacy. Here are some things we hear from them:

“We had a wonderful couple’s therapist. They helped us so much with our communication and connection, we are fighting way less and feel much closer, but they really had nothing to offer when it came to sex.”

Or

“We came to therapy to talk about sex and our therapist said that we should make time for sex, so we did, but we had no idea what to do when we got there. It was awkward.”

If you are a therapist or a professional that works with couples and want to help all of your clients, and especially couples, with the full range of what they need, sex is an essential ingredient. It’ is also a huge part of what falls apart in coupledom.

The Myth of Intimacy

“My therapist said that sex is the cherry on top, and if we have a good connection sex will follow. Well, that didn’t happen to us…”

Creating emotional intimacy is usually not enough to get people sexually connected again.

We Help You Understand Sex

In our Somatica Couple’s Training, we offer a set of practical tools that can really help detangle sexual issues, bridge differing turn-ons and desires, and get to a place where couples can make their sex lives hot, connected, and expansive. In addition to helping you work with couples around sexuality the class also offers powerful tools for attachment, dealing with disappointment in relationship, and repair.

We were just joking about the 5 Easy Steps, but we do think it’s time to lose the reputation you’ve been trying so hard to protect! So here’s a story by (and about) Celeste that we think will help you find your freedom instead…

When the rumors started

One Monday morning in 8th grade, as I jogged slowly around the block with my fellow students in PE class in the small town where I grew up, one of my classmates jogged up next to me, “So, I heard you gave head to John last night in Nate’s treehouse.” Simultaneously, I felt the wind knocked out of me and my flight response kicked in full-force. I started to run as fast as I could – Looking back now, I know I was trying to run away from this image of me as a girl who would give a blowjob at a party to someone she wasn’t even really dating. Never having been any kind of jock, it was certainly the fastest I’d ever run in PE.

Nevermind that the furthest I had ever gone with a boy was a french kiss and a little touching of my breasts over the shirt. But for the sake of the rumor mill, the fact that I had breasts – really big ones for my young age combined with my flirtatious personality were enough to brand me a slut. When I first heard the news I felt a very strong need to clear up my reputation, to make sure people knew that I had done no such thing. At the same time, I was perhaps lucky to have been born in the early 70’s into a family who had fully embraced being part of the hippie counterculture. It had never been our motto to fit in or be what everyone else thought we should be. My dad was an avid stoner and, by this time, my mom had already begun her career as a Tarot reader.

And I, whether I liked it or not, was going to be seen as a slut. It didn’t take me too long to stop running and to wholeheartedly embrace the slut image. After all, I was really horney. I loved to flirt and feel people’s attraction towards me. Though I didn’t have sex with lots of guys, I started having sex relatively early and had had 5 partners by the end of high school. I also loved to make out at parties and I really, really loved dressing sexy. I liked the attention and I liked showing off my big, beautiful breasts.

Letting the “Good Girl” Go

There was something about losing the reputation of being a “good girl”, (something I still love to be called during sex), that also freed me up from worrying too much about being good in general. We, humans, are complex creatures, and to pretend that all of our motives and actions come from a place of love, generosity, and positive purpose is a lie. What’s more, even when we are coming from a place of love, generosity, and positive purpose, others may still see or experience what we are doing differently. They may even feel harmed by something that we are offering from this place.

The wonderful thing about losing your reputation, early and often, is that you don’t have to be shameful, or guilty, or defensive when you do something from the not-so-full-of-love-and-light part of yourself – from the childish, vindictive, or narcissistic part. And, you don’t have to defend yourself if you are doing something from a place of positive intention and someone else experiences what you’ve done as hurtful. Instead, you can “cop to it”. When you can be honest about not being perfect and you can let go of having to be seen as perfect, you get to be human and you get to be more connected.

So, go ahead and ruin your reputation

Think about it, if you have to defend against, divorce yourself from, or hide from anyone who thinks that something about you isn’t perfect or who is harmed by your best intentions, you will spend a lot of time defending, divorcing yourself, and hiding. Instead, try stepping towards people and acknowledging your imperfections. Then see if you can listen to their pain and empathize. You may even know that they are most certainly gossiping about you behind your back and you can let go of needing that to be different because you can now walk in the world with openness. People may look at you and shake their head disapprovingly saying, “She (or he) is shameless” and you will know that they are right. Turns out being free of shame is not such a bad thing.

  • Photo by Raj Bandyopadhyay

In light of the recent #metoo campaign and other ongoing consciousness-raising around the importance of consent, we are reaching out to all of you, students past and present, and Somatica Practitioners, to give you some updates to how we are going to emphasize consent in our teaching. While the way we teach has always had the intention of helping people read and attune to their partners to make sure everything that is happening is consensual, desired, and pleasurable, we feel the way we have presented it may not have emphasized the importance of consent enough. We are now teaching people how to have consent conversations with their clients and partners, and how to escalate while making sure that there is ongoing consent. Please check out these updated explanations and exercises that we feel more properly represent how we would like people to teach around consent in their practices. These additions will be included in next year’s updated Somatica Training manual.

Much love,

Celeste & Danielle


Consent

Consent is a very hot button issue in our culture, so please pay attention to the activation in your body as you read through this section. The concept of consent touches on our deep need for safety, equality, and respect. If you ask just about any woman what it is like to walk around late at night somewhere by yourself, or to walk down the street in broad daylight and have a man follow you calling out at you, or to go on a first date, at best she will tell you stories of feeling fearful or being extra careful, at worst she will tell you stories of rape, harassment, and violation. Likewise, if you ask men who love and respect women, what it is like to be out dating and having sex or trying to have sex with women, they will often share their fear of crossing boundaries, hurting someone, being accused of harassment or rape, and their fear of being shunned by their community or the people they care about.

Consent and non-consent can also be a part of our arousal. For example, we may be very aroused by the feeling that we can fully trust someone or feel cared for by them because they ask our consent or give their overt consent at each new step of sexual escalation. Or, we may be aroused by overt non-consent, where our partner does whatever they want to us without regard for our needs or we do what we want to them, regardless of our partner’s needs. We may be turned on by the romantic notion that a partner can know everything we want without ever having to ask or feeling like they can attune to us without words. In long-term relationships, women have sometimes expressed to us that they wish their partners would push past some of their crunchiness or resistance and just keep going. Jack Morin does a great job talking about how we can want the world to be a place full of overt communication and egalitarianism and still be turned on by scenarios that are quite contrary to these goals.

In Somatica, we want to account for both the importance of a safe, respectful world and honor that different people may have different needs around how they want their partner to ascertain consent. Obviously, if someone is turned on by doing things to someone that are non-consensual, we need to work with them on finding a partner that they can play this out with in a role-play as opposed to enacting it in the world, where they may do tremendous harm and be punished by their community or the legal system, For this reason, instead of teaching people to ask for overt consent at each step of escalation, we teach people how to have a consent conversation to ascertain what kinds of consent they want to practice in their life and to attune to nonverbal cues.

Experiential Practice: Have a Consent Conversation

Introduction: Read the above explanation of consent and trauma.

How to explain it to your client: You can say, “Let’s talk about how you give or get consent with a partner.”

How to do the experience: Talk with your client about their feelings, history, and possible fears around consent as well as what kind of consent they want with a partner. Help them identify if they are more commonly the initiator of sex and sexual escalation or the recipient or both. If they are the initiator, help them practice talking with a date or partner about what kind of consent their partner wants. If their partner wants them to initiate and escalate without asking, help them make an agreement that their partner will let them know if they are coming to a boundary. If their partner wants overt consent, help them practice how to get consent in a sexy way.

If they are normally the recipient of escalation, help them identify whether they want to be asked for verbal consent at each new escalation or if they want their partner to continue to escalate without asking (or some hybrid, like not asking at the kissing stage, but asking at the oral sex or intercourse stage). If they do not want their partner to ask for overt consent, make sure they are empowered around their boundaries.

If your client has a trauma history or is prone to dissociation as a defense mechanism, it is important that they identify if they are someone who freezes or dissociates during sexual escalation. If so, you will need to help them communicate to their partners that this happens to them and to let their partners know how to deal with it. For example, if your client is prone to freezing, they might say, “I’d really like it if you’d ask before you initiate a new sexual experience every time we have sex and make sure I give you a verbal yes. Also, if my body seems really still or you feel like I’m checked out, I’d love for you to just check in with me” or they might say, “I don’t want you to ask me for each new sexual escalation, but please pay attention and check in with me verbally, if it seems like I’ve stopped moving or am breathing very shallowly or if my eyes look spaced out. If I don’t respond verbally when you check in, please stop all sexual interaction with me until I can talk again.” You can also help your client have these same conversations if they have specific triggers or flashbacks. Help them identify how their partners can tell and what they need from their partners when this happens so that they can communicate this to their partners.

What are you looking for: You want to see if your client can clearly express how they want to get and give consent and that they feel empowered around communicating their boundaries, especially if they are interested in escalation without verbal consent.

Debrief: Talk with your client about how they will take these practices of consent out into their dating or relationship life, what they’d like to communicate to dates and partners from now on.

 

I’m Elena and two years ago, I attended the Somatica Couples Training offered by Celeste & Danielle, after which I added working with couples to my practice. As a Somatica practitioner the most rewarding, and often most challenging, work I do is coaching couples who want to improve their relationship and sexual connection. I believe that relationships are one of the most profound contexts in which we grow, heal, and change. Facilitating this in my practice is incredibly fulfilling for me personally and professionally and learning the Somatica approach to couples’ work has been invaluable. Somatica Couples Training offered by Celeste & Danielle, after which I added working with couples to my practice. As a Somatica practitioner the most rewarding, and often most challenging, work I do is coaching couples who want to improve their relationship and sexual connection. I believe that relationships are one of the most profound contexts in which we grow, heal, and change. Facilitating this in my practice is incredibly fulfilling for me personally and professionally and learning the Somatica approach to couples’ work has been invaluable.

Whether a couple is coming into my practice at the beginning of their relationship with the goal of a strong start, or after years together and a desire to shift old patterns and blocks and have better sex and deeper intimacy, I have the tools and skills to support them. Here are a few of key lessons I learned from the Somatica Couples Training:

1. Skills for relationships and sex are learnable. We live in a society that is, in many ways, just now starting to talk about sex and adult attachment in functional ways. But most of us have grown up with a huge deficit when it comes to knowledge about how to feel deeply connected and to know, and go after, what we want erotically.

2. Communication is key. A significant part of couples’ work is translation – getting to the feelings, desires, and unmet needs under the story being told. Translating for couples not only helps them to see one another in a new light, it models a more loving way of communicating and empathizing with one another.

3. Radical acceptance. This means helping people see that whether it’s how you load the dishwasher or how you have an orgasm, everyone is unique – not bad or good, just different.

4. Not all of our needs will be met by one person. Part of being a great couples coach is helping a couple to understand and accept this, and to see what options are available when one or both have unmet needs. It may be learning to be with disappointment from a place of empowered choice, or it may mean exploring alternative relationship choices.
5. We all need a balanced combination of secure attachment and personal freedom to thrive. Somatica holds that both secure attachment and individuation are necessary for a healthy sense of self and a strong sense of connection. Supporting and educating couples in navigating both offers a new perspective and a lot of safety and permission.

5. We all need a balanced combination of secure attachment and personal freedom to thrive. Somatica holds that both secure attachment and individuation are necessary for a healthy sense of self and a strong sense of connection. Supporting and educating couples in navigating both offers a new perspective and a lot of safety and permission.

6. “It’s all one river,” as Danielle says. Traditional therapy has made incredible strides connecting the psyche, the body, and emotions but sex is often glaringly left out. How sex and eroticism work – psychologically, emotionally, and physiologically – is one of the most unique and valuable offerings of the Somatica Method.

7. As a practitioner, I bring my full self in service of my clients. I have learned that flirtation, play, empathy, and nonjudgmental acceptance of both partners’ experience is vital. My experiences, my authenticity and vulnerability, and my sexuality all help me attune to and track where a couple needs to go and what tools to use when.

Not only has the Somatica Couples Training given me the confidence and a solid foundation for working with couples, it played a significant part in transforming my own relationships and allowing my partner and I to shift and grow through some major life changes.

  • Elena is a Somatica Sex and Relationship Coach with offices in San Jose, San Francisco, and the East Bay. She loves to help the couples she works with have profoundly loving and sexy connections. She is also the mother of a beautiful son.

If there is one quality that we insist upon when training sex and relationship coaches it is that they teach from their vulnerability. We may seem like broken records but we cannot emphasize it enough: one of the most harmful and least compassionate things that you can do as a coach, therapist or personal growth teacher is to pretend that you have it all figured out and are now perfect. People suffer constantly under the belief that they have to be perfect to be loved, desired, or in a relationship. They think that they will someday get over all of their hurts and never feel bad or triggered again. This is an impossible task and only causes people to judge themselves harshly and keep themselves closed off against connection.

We also practice what we teach. When one of us sits in front of a client and says, vulnerably, “Last week in my relationship, I got so triggered, that all of my revenge fantasies started flooding in and I just wanted to make my partner hurt as much as I felt hurt,” our clients say, “You? I thought you had it all together.” There is so much projection on teachers and so much shame that results. By being vulnerable about the fact that we are all still on our own growth journey and will always be, we are saying that you don’t have to be perfect to be loved (or to be a coach or teacher).

We also engage in authentic relationships with our clients, not only listening to how we impact them, but sharing vulnerably how they impact us. In this way, they get to see that we are not perfect and to learn about being in a real relationship. Hopefully, most people in helping professions already know that they are emotionally affected by their clients. Allowing your clients to know they impact you just as you impact them helps them learn what it is like to be in a real relationship – namely, that you cannot avoid impacting the other person. Sometimes we feel joy and pleasure with our clients, sometimes we feel hurt or rejected, just as they feel with us.

If we take a step even deeper into the premise that people learn how to move beyond shame and to be in a real relationship through vulnerability, when we work with our clients we also let them know our biggest emotional challenges and how they have affected us and continue to affect us. We also learn each of our client’s biggest challenges and talk about how ours may interact with theirs and in what ways we might trigger one another. We talk about these triggers vulnerably when they arise between us and our clients.

For example, after a challenging email exchange, when we are back together in the office, one of us might say, “The hurts of my childhood sometimes make it hard for me to trust. When I got your email, I felt attacked even though I know that was not your intention and I’m sure you were triggered, too. It took me a while to calm down and write back because I didn’t want to respond from a triggered place. I can imagine that might have triggered some of your abandonment fears and I would love to hear how you felt and also tell you how your choice of words affected me.” This is an invitation to hear each other’s challenges and triggers and to move towards empathy and repair. To be able to talk openly and practice sharing these challenges in a safe space gives them the tools and skills they need to take out into their own intimate partnerships. Helping your clients learn about and empathize with their partner’s challenges and share their own almost always leads to more gentleness and mutual support in their relationships.

Sharing vulnerably and inviting others vulnerability is a skill that takes time, practice and gentleness with yourself and others. If you’d like to do some deep transformational work that will change the quality of your relationships forever, come join us for The Somatica Core Training.

A Somatica sex and relationship coach offers a unique approach to working with clients on intimacy and sexuality. While Somatica has aspects of talk-coaching and experiential-coaching (learn all about these types of coaching here), the foundation of the approach is completely different. Somatica was created as a way to fill a gap in the experiential learning realm. In order for clients to learn how to have emotional and erotic intimacy, we felt they needed to have authentic experiences of two-way intimacy—what we call a Relationship Lab. As a Somatica Coach, you will practice authentic relating with your client to help them learn, grow, and transform in their sexual lives and relationships.

Somatica Sex and Relationship Coach Builds the Relationship Lab

As their coach, you will not act as a distant helper, but instead as a partner who engages in emotional and erotic intimacy, seeing what it feels like to be intimate with this person. By engaging in physical and emotional intimacy, you can evaluate the client’s sexual and relational strengths, as well as their challenges. Once you understand what they need to learn, you then teach them the tools they need to have in order to attain more emotionally connected and sensually satisfying lives.

Somatica offers both individuals and couples real-time, experiential practices with emotional and erotic connection so that clients can experience embodied learning. Embodied learning is different than purely cognitive learning. When a person has an actual experience of vulnerability, arousal, or passion, they are much more likely to be able to translate this into their day-to-day lives. They are then able to change habits more easily than if they have solely thought, read, or talked about it.

Experience is How Change Happens

If we look at it from a brain plasticity perspective and how people learn, creating new multi-dimensional experiences that involve thoughts, emotion, and the senses is much more effective and efficient. It helps your clients create new neural pathways and is, therefore, a powerful way to change behaviors and old habits. The boundaries of Somatica are clothes-on, with no kissing on the mouth. Touch is acceptable in both directions, but no touch should ever move toward orgasm.

Beware of One-Size-Fits-All Approaches

Finally, while some forms of erotic teaching try to help students learn completely different approaches and languages around eroticism (sometimes insinuating that these are superior forms of erotic expression), Somatica instead helps draw out each person’s unique erotic imagination and desires, helping them integrate them out in the world. Somatica does not offer a one-size-fits-all solution to people’s sexuality, but rather helps to expand what’s on the menu until the client discovers what turns them on the most. We believe that a person’s main erotic desires do not change. This means trying to eradicate, ignore, or change them is a great disservice to the person. Approaches that do this often instill both shame and the feeling that something is wrong with these desires. Instead, in Somatica, we support individuals to explore and embrace their unique erotic makeup, learning how to communicate it to a partner.

 

We did not come to this work because we had all the answers, we created Somatica based on what we felt was missing out there. We started a never-ending journey of asking all of our questions about sex and relationships and eventually gathering those of our clients so we could confront the negative patterns that plagued our own and our client’s intimate lives. By allowing ourselves to ask these questions and to be real with ourselves and our clients we continue to find a way to come out the other side intact and with more love and empathy for ourselves and others.

Show us your Dark Side
The Somatica training is unique from other educational experiences in that we ask you bring all of yourself – the good, the bad, the ugly, the weird, the vulnerable etc. We want you to bring your issues to light, work on transforming them and use them to help others. Your unique gift is based on all of your experiences and these will make you an even better practitioner.Your personal story, no matter how hard, can be the reason you can have a lucrative, fulfilling career where you get to live your authentic life through your work. We want you here because of, not in spite of, all of your hardships, and deep, dark and twisty feelings. Having the strength, courage, and vulnerability to do this work is not possible if you gloss over the surface of the jagged complexities and deep scars that make us who we are sexually and in relationships.

What is a Wounded Healer?
The concept of the wounded healer has become more accepted in psychology and other counseling fields because it acknowledges that nobody goes through being a human without experiencing major challenges of some form or another. However, many coaches feel they have more pressure to truly have all the answers and personify the success they are trying to help their clients achieve. For sex and relationship coaches this can mean pressure to have a long-term relationship, a purely pleasurable relationship to sex, or a jealousy-free polyamorous lifestyle. We want to invite you to let yourselves off the hook and know that the criteria for helping others is not your manifested perfection, but your presence, honesty, and capacity for empathy.

Perfection is a Disservice to Your Clients
We believe that presenting to clients as perfect is actually a disservice to everyone involved. If you uphold the myth that perfection is attainable, this will be their goal, setting you both up for failure and disappointment. This is where the Somatica approach is so radical and unique. We lead with our vulnerability and with our imperfection. In this way we help our clients accept themselves for who they are and this is where real, sustainable healing begins.

Somatica isn’t for Everyone
Somatica is for people who are brave enough to admit that they aren’t perfect. It is for those of you who can look at yourselves and see where you can still grow, and learn how to be gentle with yourself. We know that this isn’t the social standard, the social standard is to hide your faults and pretend you have it all together. In this training, we want to know all of you, and you must be willing to take the risk to fully and vulnerably show up with all parts of yourself!

We are all about sex and relationships over here which means we focus a lot on dating and coupledom. For your New Year’s Resolution this year we want to focus on YOU! First of all, we want to acknowledge that being human is intense. The very fact of self-awareness, that which sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, means we can’t seem to just go about our business, unselfconsciously living in the present moment. Instead, we rehash the past, worry about the future, and obsess over our many quirky obsessions. This New Years, we want to share our secrets to having more ease and pleasure in our lives so you can be more present have more ease and pleasure too! We teach all of them in our Somatica Core Training – so feel free to join us for our next Free Intro and make your New Year’s Resolutions come true!!!

Our Top 5 Secrets

Connect to Your Body: Being more deeply connected with your bodies is a huge resource to keep you feeling a sense of ease and pleasure. It turns out that sensations only exist in the present moment so, by feeling the sensations in your body and especially by focusing on the pleasurable ones, you can come more into the present moment and feel and enjoy your life. Try it right now. Take a deep breath and focus on a part of your body that feels good or a sensation in your body you like, like warmth or softness. Keep breathing and let the sensation build and be enhanced by your breath. You might notice that looking around the room with this focus on pleasure makes everything around you more bright and vivid.

Be Gentle on Yourself: Think of how much time you spend saying mean things to yourself about how you are screwing up. This voice creates so much tension and stress for you and it really doesn’t help with anything. It’s a vestige of past hurts that you carry with you now and you no longer need it. What you really need, and what we want you to cultivate is a counter-voice to that voice (which will hopefully replace it altogether one day). This fabulous, magnanimous counter-voice can be like a santa’s magic elf or a solstice unicorn (what, it’s the holidays, we can’t help it!) Every time you say something mean to yourself, this voice pops up and says the opposite. Your inner critic says “You’re so stupid, you never do this right,” your cheerful elf says, “You’re so smart, you do all sorts of things right all the time!” Your mean, little voice says, “You don’t need anyone, anyway, so screw them,” and your confident unicorn says, “Of course you need people, everyone does, and it’s ok to express your needs.” It’s always good to remember you are doing your best, celebrate your accomplishments, and forgive yourself for mistakes.

Attend to Your Sensitivities: We have noticed that the more we try to power through and get over things instead of attending to our sensitivities, the more our lives are full of irritations and explosions. If you spend a lot of time telling yourself you should be over things by now, you shouldn’t be so sensitive, or you can make it through one more day, it’s time to try something much more pleasant and efficient. You might think that attending to your sensitivities is wasting time, but you really waste time having to clean up all of the tensions and misunderstandings that come from not attending to your feelings. The more you honor, attend to, and communicate your sensitivities in non-blaming ways, the more time you feel relaxed, safe, and peaceful.

Employ Your Tools: If you are like us, you have gathered many tools over your life that you know it would be helpful to use, but you don’t. The reason most people don’t use the tools they’ve gathered is that it is very difficult to make new habits. When you first start, it is like slogging through a thick swamp. Everything in your body wants to take the same old familiar path even though you know it won’t go well. Little changes go a long way. Let’s take active listening for example. Most of you have probably learned that it is really helpful to listen to what someone else is telling you and really make sure you’ve gotten it right by saying it back and making sure you’ve got it. That being said, how many times have you actually don’t this in the middle of a fight? Believe us, we get it, it took us years of employing the same old defensive, yucky strategies before we made the switch and, even now, we don’t do it perfectly, but we do it! And, you know what, it is amazing how much more quickly we resolve painful or challenging arguments. Think of some tools that you’ve learned that you really want to start using, focus on one at a time and see if you can make yourself a new, yummier habit!

Learn About and Embrace Your Turn-Ons: If you’ve spent your life not knowing what really gives you pleasure physically or what turns you on psychologically, now is the time to get to know yourself in this realm. Sex and masturbation can create more ease and pleasure in so many ways. Sexual arousal and release are amazing tension-relievers. Sex lowers anxiety, it makes you feel seen and loved for who you are, it’s a natural hormone-balancer and anti-depressant, and it helps you feel more connected and committed to your partner. You can learn about your turn-ons by trying different kinds of masturbation, reading sexy stories and watching sexy movies, or letting your fantasies run wild. Notices what sensations you like the best and, no matter what it is that turns you on, see if you can bring loving acceptance to it. Your desires are an essential part of you and, whether or not you can get them met, they are beautiful!