Tag: train in Somatica

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.

 

We take growth very seriously and, at the same time, growth does not have to be heavy. It is possible to create a fun, free and playful environment where a person can bloom into who they were always meant to be. As an experiential sex and relationship coach, one of the most wonderful ways to create this with your clients and bring out their best selves is to flirt with them. At Somatica, we believe that people can best learn how to be connected and true to themselves in an authentic relationship and flirting is a great way to make the invitation for your clients to enter into that learning relationship with you. Flirting let’s your client know that you are open to connection with them and that the idea of that connection gives you pleasure.

To be sure, this is not about faking it, so it is important to find your authentic flirtatious self. Since we live in a very serious culture, where play and pleasure are thought of as trivial as opposed to essential human needs, it can be hard to find this flirtatious energy and even harder to bring out wholeheartedly. In Somatica, part of the training is getting in touch with this energy inside of you and learning how to lovingly share it. To begin to cultivate your flirting energy start with these 4 attitudes:

1. You are Always a Sexual Being – Part of the trivialization of sex and pleasure teaches us that we are only sexual when we are having sex, yet our sexuality is a part of us in every moment of our lives. Because men feel like they have excessive desire and women are slut-shamed, many women and men shut down their sexuality everywhere but during masturbation or sex with a partner. Shutting down your sexuality will likely have dire consequences for your long-term sexual connections, and it also robs you of the inspiration and power your erotic energy can provide in every moment. Attempts to shut your sexuality down can also lead to depression and/or creepiness (where repressed sexuality leaks out because of lack of self-awareness or self-acceptance). As you are walking around in your day-to-day life, see what it feels like to be on the street or in your car or at work, and just acknowledge to yourself “I am a sexual being right now.” See how that changes your demeanor, your energy, and your sense of self. No matter where you are you can feel your sexual energy and feel your own enjoyment of it. If you are in a place where there are receptive people (who are not your employees), you can share this energy with a flirt.

2. It is ok to Enjoy Yourself – Because we have all grown up in a society that has a work ethic as opposed to an ethic of pleasure, you may feel like it is not ok to enjoy yourself. Also, helping professions can often be problem-focused, meaning that we tend to look for negative “issues” to “work on”. In face, many of our clients come into session and say, “I tried to think of what to work on today, but I couldn’t think of any problems.” When they have worked with me us a while, they are more likely to say, “I’m ready to have fun today!” Sometimes, we enjoy ourselves so much in our sessions, our clients actually tease us saying, “I can’t believe you get paid for this.” This statement alone reveals how much our society believes in the idea that work that you get paid for is not supposed to also give you a great deal of joy and pleasure. When you embrace the idea that your work can be fun and playful and that more growth will actually happen when you and your client don’t take things so seriously (that, in fact, part of growth is not taking things so seriously), then you are ready to bring in flirting as a coaching modality.

3. Flirting is Just Flirting. When we talk about flirting as a coaching modality, there are always students who say, “But what if I am not attracted to the client?” We think this is a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to flirt. To us, flirting means sharing playful, sexual energy to increase the enjoyment of an interaction with someone. It might lead to something more than flirting, it might not. It can be extremely freeing to realize that flirting does not require anything more than flirting.*

4. There is Something Beautiful and Enjoyable in Everyone. Once you have let yourself experience the freedom of flirting for the sake of flirting and interpersonal enjoyment, you are ready to sit in front of your client and take them in. When your client is in front of you, take a moment to really see the person who you are sitting across from and ask yourself what you find attractive, inviting, beautiful, or compelling about them. You might find there is something about their physicality, like the shape of their lips or their hands or their smile. You might like the sound of their voice, or the heartiness of their laugh. You might like the way they hold their body or cross their legs when they sit across from you. You might find their intelligence sexy or their kindness or even their nervousness or shyness. Whatever it is – something in their looks, personality, intellect, etc. – focus your attention towards that and use it as a bridge to bring your erotic energy and playfulness into connection with them. Most often we find that, as we flirt with our clients, their sexy sides start to show up and they become more attractive. It is also possible that flirting with them invites them to bring out a flirting style that does not appeal to us or is unlikely to appeal to anyone. This is when you want to help them better learn how to flirt with you so you can keep the energy going.

*If you are with a client with whom you are able to flirt but don’t feel a sense of attraction that would make you want to engage with them physically, it is your job as a practitioner to help them learn how to bring their erotic energy, touch, and words in ways that ignites your arousal and attraction.

Once you have cultivated some flirt-positive attitudes, the next step is to actually engage in flirting. This means not only knowing what flirting is, but finding your own flirting style. One fun way to look at flirting is to think of it as walking around the world having your own sexy party – feeling the ways that colors, sunshine, majestic views or beautiful architecture make you feel aroused – and then, when you engage with another human being, simply inviting them to join that party. It’s like saying, “Hey, over here, there’s a sexy party going on, wanna share in it?” The languages you use to make the invitation might be energetic, bodily or verbal. An energetic flirt can start with feeling your connection with your own sexual desire and then letting it exude out of your eyes, your heart and your pelvis. An embodied flirt might be a wiggle of your shoulders, a naughty smile or a wink and a verbal flirt could be a slight change in tone when you say, “mmmmm, it does feel a little warm in here, doesn’t it?”

Engaging in joyful, sexy, flirtatious interactions with your clients not only helps them feel more open and accepted, it also helps them clarify how they want their erotic and emotional connections so be. As we love to say: There are a thousand paths to enlightenment, might as well take the one that’s more pleasurable. If you want to learn how to make your life and work more flirtatious, come to a Somatic Intro Day or check out the Somatica Core Training.