What is Somatic Sexology?

By Danielle Harel | Updated: September 20, 2023

Sigmund Freud believed every sexual dysfunction could be explained by a person’s maternal relationship. Modern therapy has lost the matronly obsession but remains stubbornly focused on the mind as the root of all sexual challenges.

Somatic sexology seeks to correct this preoccupation with the brain in favor of a closer relationship with the body. That’s what somatic means: of the body. Somatic sexology looks at sex and sexuality through the lens of the mind-body connection. Its practices improve sexual health, fulfillment, intimacy, and pleasure by incorporating touch, physicality, and body awareness into traditional psyche-first approaches to sensuality.

what is somatic sexology

Who Practices Somatic Sexology?

Somatic sexology isn’t just another type of therapy. Instead, it’s a broad discipline that an array of professionals with varied levels of education, certification, and licensure can apply.

Providers can include:

  • Sex, relationship, and intimacy coaches
  • Psychologists
  • Somatic sex therapists
  • Sexual educators
  • Counselors and social workers
  • Massage therapists and energy workers
  • Sexual surrogates and sex workers

This practice is an approach, not a degree. That makes it an ideal option for anyone who wants a career helping others without necessarily going back to school. For many, an accredited certification is enough to get started.

If a career helping others find a more fulfilling sexual life sounds appealing, join us for our sex and relationship coaching certification class to begin your practice as a somatic sexologist.

How Does It Work?

Somatic sexology helps people feel their sexuality more fully and profoundly. A somatic sexologist uses various methods to heal mind-body divisions – breathwork, movement, touch, and even talk-based approaches.

Somatic sexologists such as Somatica coaches sometimes begin with just words. They may verbally guide clients to better awareness of their bodily sensations and emotions. Through a combination of talk and touch, they help the mind acknowledge, attend to, and integrate these sensations.

Touch-based somatic sexology involves physical contact: between practitioner and client, client and themselves, or client and partner. These approaches help to re-center the body on sexuality, sensuality, intimacy, and emotional connection. The Somatica Method is one such approach — using touch as a part of sex and relationship coaching to connect body and mind and overcome sexual challenges.

Discover the proven scientific and philosophical foundations of the Somatica Method in our Science Behind Somatica article.

Some approaches even include energetic and traditional holistic practices like tantra, shamanism, Taoism, and massage.

Somatic sexology can work especially well when physical touch is a large roadblock to sexual well-being: overcoming sexual trauma, disability, impotence, body shame, and situations where it feels like your body is working against you.

Traditional therapy can present a theoretical framework for recovery and self-improvement; somatic sexology connects the theoretical to the physical here and now.

What Is the Difference Between Somatic Sexology, Somatic Therapy, and Sexological Bodywork?

These terms are strongly related and can be confusing. Here are the differences:

  • Somatic sexology is the study of sex as it pertains to the body. Like other “-ologies,” it is the theory behind the practice.
  • Somatic sex therapy is an approach to therapy, usually performed by a licensed and accredited therapist, incorporating the physical body with traditional mind-based approaches. Legal restrictions mean that a somatic sex therapist cannot touch their clients, but somatic sex therapy can include self-touch, movement, or just talk. Regardless of approach, somatic therapy always centers around the body to help patients overcome trauma, embrace their sexuality, or identify needs and boundaries.
  • Somatic coaching is similar, but is not a clinical approach or treatment. It can supplement traditional therapy or simply help clients have better sex.
  • Sexological bodywork is a tool in the somatic sexology toolbox that therapists, coaches, or well-being practitioners can use to help clients get in touch with their bodies. This includes practices like breathwork, erotic massage, erotic yoga, expanded self-pleasuring, and bodywork. Sexological bodywork reintegrates sexual parts of the body that have gone numb or feel disconnected, or address challenges like genital scar tissue and disabilities.

The Somatica Method is an approach to coaching that uses some tools of somatic sexology to work with their clients’ goals. Practitioners use touch with their clients within certain boundaries to help them learn to be more sensual, connect their minds and bodies, improve sexual well-being, and lead more fulfilling sexual lives.

Find out how to add the Somatica Method to your toolbox.

Our Somatic Sex Coach Certification is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) and is in compliance with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) guidelines. We give you all of the necessary tools to launch a successful and personally fulfilling career helping others connect with their sensuality.

somatic sexology v somatic therapy

How Do I Choose the Right Practitioner?

Finding the right somatic sexologist can feel daunting. It doesn’t have to be. Here’s what to look for:

  • Identify the somatic sexologist you need. Do you need a clinical practitioner to solve clinical issues, or are you looking for coaching or other kinds of practitioners?
  • Explore key characteristics. Do you feel more comfortable with a particular gender? Are you looking for experience with LGBTQIA+ or BIPOC groups? Is there a specific set of shared experiences that will help you feel comfortable?
  • Set your meeting preference. Decide if you prefer to work with someone in-person or virtually — our directory can help find local providers near you.
  • Prepare in advance. Just like with an interview, preparation goes a long way. Create a list of questions like “Is my problem one that you regularly encounter?” or “What kind of approaches do you specialize in?”
  • Listen to your body. When meeting with prospective coaches, the best approach is to listen to your body and your inner voice. If you feel inspired, motivated, and excited, this is likely the best coach for you. Alternatively, if you feel uncomfortable, it might be a sign to explore other alternatives.
  • Don’t settle. The best way to know you’ve found the right fit is by exploring your options. Talk to several practitioners to find one that clicks. A great place to start is our directory here.

How Does Someone Become a Somatic Sexologist?

Do you want a career that lets you bring joy, intimacy, and great sex to the people around you? Are you comfortable with exploring the relationships and sex lives of strangers to help them find more fulfillment and get in touch with their physical side?

You might be a great candidate to become a somatic sexologist. Many careers in therapy and social work can require advanced degrees and licenses by medical boards, but becoming a sex and relationship coach using the Somatica Method only requires an understanding of somatic sexology, a sex- and body-positive attitude, and a supportive personality.