Retreats for Women

A Peek Inside a Private Sexological Body Work Session

This morning, my client "Amy" met me for coffee and to check in before her final session Sexological Body Work session with my colleague Ron Stewart, Co-Founder of Back to the Body: Sensuous Retreats for Women, before she flew back to Florida. She read me her journal entries, and I was not only blown away by her sharing, but how amazing she looked. I asked her how she was feeling, and she said: "Whole, Satiated, Centered and at Peace". Ron and I have been in the NYC area running workshops and working privately with women, men and couples who are on their own journey back to their bodies.  Amy is one of the women who flew in from various parts of the country to work with us. I would describe her as lovely, fiercely independent, and in her forties. She is single and in transition in her relationship.

I got to know Amy after she decided to do one on one coaching with me through video skype. When the opportunity presented itself to do hands on work, she took the plunge and jumped in. She choose to do three sessions with us over three days. That meant that she got an hour with me to talk about it all, process, and then spend time with Ron having a traditional Sexological Body Work Session. We also shared a few meals together, and did a little sex toy shopping.

With her permission, here are a few excerpts from her journal and a follow up coaching session with me. Amy allowed me to share all of this because she wanted to support other women to take the leap, and change their lives.

"So I traveled to NYC today to start this mini-retreat to explore my sexuality. There is a part of me that thinks this is crazy and wondering what I’m doing. And although I’m a bit excited I can’t lie and say that I’m not having second thoughts right now. As it nears the time and VERY nervous and a bit anxious but I know that this is about me and being open to the experience so I go with it.

Meeting with Pam was good, centered me a bit before meeting with Ron and going into the hands on portion of my time. I’m guessing it’s because I’ve had massages before but I’m amazed at how easily I strip before Ron and get on the table.

The experience is amazing, Ron was really good at reading my body. He started with an extended massage which was perfect. I got comfortable with his touch and the idea of what we’re doing. I had my first orgasm and it was amazing. I experienced sensations I had never felt before and it was pretty spectacular. I told Pam and Ron that this was the first time I wasn’t self conscious about my body, perhaps it was because there is no relationship between Ron and I - not sure but it definitely allowed me to let go. I am hoping that I can carry that level of self confidence in my other sexual experiences.

I am glad that I came.

Session Two

Today’s experience was intense… I had shared that I was interested in playing a little bit with Domination so I got to experience a taste of that! I enjoyed it! Spanking (which I also really loved), anal play (WOW!)… and a lot more g-spot stimulation than yesterday. I think I had an orgasm for like an hour… there was an extended period of time where my body just shook. It felt like the urge to shudder was coming from the inside out and I felt it down to my toes. It was amazing… it was ALMOST too much - so hard to put into words. I have never experienced anything like that before.

At the end of the session Ron remarked on how responsive my body was, and I honestly didn’t know that I was responsive. Past experiences felt good but not body shattering, it was like there was a string from my nipples to my pussy and every time they were touched everything would clench. It was really surprising to me at how much I enjoyed everything, the last little bit of time all I could do was lay there and experience my pussy clenching and my nipples peaking… just amazing.

At first I thought I would just lay down and sleep for the afternoon but all of a sudden I’m ravenous and I have a ton of energy so I’m going to go outside and explore for a bit. :) Tonight is one of the workshops. I’m hoping that it will be a good experience.

Update - after a quick trip sightseeing I came back to the hotel and was knocked out, I slept for five or six hours straight. I guess this experience impacted me even more than I thought! And I guess, I found the cure for my insomnia! Something has definitely changed though… even while I was walking around today I noticed that my hips are swinging and my confidence has grown. Amazing what an orgasm can do!

Love."

Day 3 "I was curious about how today would turn out.  Yesterday was intense it was a life changing experience for me and last night and this morning I feel that delicious soreness of a body that was well used.  I woke up this morning feeling happy, I would even venture to say that I feel joyful.  I feel like I ‘fit’ in my own skin.  I shower, do my hair throw on my tightest skinny jeans, a sweater, leather jacket and almost knee high boots and I feel sexy.  It’s been a LONG time since I’ve felt this way.  I leave my hotel room to meet Pam with a smile on my face and she gives me one look and starts laughing… she says you look so happy and so pretty and I really feel it! :)

I was a bit nervous about today because I was so sore (my body simply wasn't used to all of this touch!) but Ron and I agree to start off slow and see how things go from there… after a bit Ron read my mind and brought out the Magic Wand… well there went my plan… I was soon begging for more.  Today was such a different experience from yesterday but another amazing one.  I had no idea my body was so responsive, I had no idea I could feel so deeply or intensely.  I had no idea that I could feel such pleasure where everything was centered on my breasts and my pussy to the extent that I felt pins and needles in my toes and my fingers.  How amazing is that?!  Coming out of today’s session I feel like I could run a 5k, my body feels alive, whole, centered and most importantly satiated.  Walking around on the streets of New York people are looking at me because I literally have a smile on my face.  It almost brings me to tears to know that I’m NOT broken, that I am a whole and complete woman who is just now scratching the surface in finding herself.

Pam and I have lunch and then walk to a nearby jewelry store.  I buy a beautiful piece of body jewelry… BODY JEWELRY!?  I mean so NOT like me, but putting it on I felt sexy and it’s a perfect tribute to this mini-retreat weekend.

Pam and I talked about my experience and about my decision to chose her to work with.  I told her that talking with her I felt heard, I felt validated and I felt she wouldn’t take any of my crap and I was right.  She pushed me in the right way and has helped me to start this amazing journey to find my sexuality, to understand my body and what it needs and to find myself.  I plan on attending the workshop tonight and hope to have more to tell of my story of Day 3.  In the meantime I owe so much to Pam and Ron for helping me to start this journey to finding myself."

Day 4 Heading Home

"I'm heading to JFK airport now and as I was getting ready this morning I was thinking about what I learned this weekend. 1. I learned that I'm not broken, in fact my body is extremely responsive to erotic touch. Who knew?! 2. I learned that I'm sexy and powerful in my skin. This one will take some time to get used to being comfortable with but I experienced it so I know it's there! 3. I learned that taking time for me is not selfish, it increases my capacity for love - both of myself and of others. 4. I learned that I am beautiful. 5. I learned that there is immense pleasure in being able to receive touch and equally as much pleasure being able to give touch. 6. I learned that there are men out there who are equally concerned with giving pleasure as they are receiving it.

This was an amazing discovery and I know that it is just the start of my journey. The question is really what do I do with this knowledge know and how does it change my current circumstances? Although I felt true and loving feelings for Chris is he the one for me? This morning, after some processing my instinct was no. But I know that I need to spend some time talking with him to be sure. I feel confident enough now that I can do that.

I can't thank Pam and Ron enough for this weekend. For opening my eyes and my body to my potential and for starting me on this journey to my own self discovery and wholeness. Next stop Tuscany! (I hope!)

Love."

And I can't thank Amy enough for showing up so fully and then allowing us to take a peek!

Hands on Sexuality Healing: An Absolutely, Indispensible Primer

If you read my book "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner" you know that I'm a fan of "Hands on"  or Somatic (through the body) sexuality healing. It's also a great way to go deeper into your body and explore your sexuality in a safe way that is all about you.  Through working with a Certified Sexological Bodyworker, or a trained Sacred Intimate, you can safely explore your own body and work on everything from understanding your own erotic responses, to learning how to manage body and sexual shame. Frankly, the list of things that you can explore with hands on work is very extensive. Every day I speak with women who are exploring working with a "Somatic Sex Educator" and besides looking for help on finding their way, they want to know how to keep things safe, and get the most out of their sessions.

Here are four things that you can do to get the most our of your sessions and keep yourself safe! It's all about being able to speak our desires, setting boundaries, understanding consent and slowing down. The best sessions in the world happens when we take the time to understand and honor this foundation.

Think about the best sex you ever had.  Were you in a place of having your desires heard? Were your boundaries honored? Did you lover take the time to make sure that you were on board?  If we don't feel safe, we can't relax. And if we can't relax there is no arousal, blood flow, or the ability to surrender into pleasure.  Even though your Sexological Bodyworkers is not your lover, you are exploring sexuality with this trained professional. If we don't understand boundaries, consent, and how to slow things down so that we can really feel and understand what is happening for us in a session: disasters can happen.

So, here's an absolutely, indispensable primer on what you should understand in order to not only get the most out of your sessions, but keep yourself safe too!

Understanding and Setting Sexual Boundaries:

Sexual boundaries include boundaries about your body, who touches you intimately or how they will touch you.  Sexual boundaries can also include how you are willing to be spoken to when comments are sexual in nature.  So many of us are attached to this idea that every aspect of sex is "natural". And that our lovers should somehow know intuitively how far we are willing to go, and what we will enjoy.  We can go into a session with a trained Sexological Bodyworker the same way.

Now, your practitioner is well trained in boundaries. For example, in a Certified Sexological Bodywork session, the practitioner keeps his/her clothes on and the touch is one way which means that they touch your body - you do not touch their in an erotic way.  But have you thought about your boundaries before you go into a session?

Perhaps you are not ready to be completely naked your first time? Or you do not want internal work? Knowing this ahead of time and communicating clearly with your practitioner is very important. Have conversations with your practitioner about your boundaries and concerns.

And remember, boundaries can change and shift over time, so keeping an ongoing conversation going between you and your practitioner. I also highly recommend not shifting your boundary during a session! We can often change our minds about things when things heat up! But, later - we may have regrets. So notice during your session if you are wanting a boundary shift and discuss it with your practitioner.

I highly recommend waiting until your next session to move that boundary, and really making sure that you want to move it. Doing this with a clear head and not in the moment is essential!

Remember, that having this conversation about boundaries can create tremendous freedom in your sessions.  What I have found is that there is always such delicious space and room for exploration in boundaries, and having them set will truly set you free to explore and feel.

So please, take the time to get clear about what your sexual boundaries are, and speak them!  Once you both know the boundaries and consent to keeping them, you might find that you are freed up in a completely different way during your session. This will allow you to relax into the moment instead of worrying about what will happen next. It will reduce the need for you to be constantly on alert, and guarding yourself unconsciously during your session.

Understanding Consent:

Consent means that both people in a sexual encounter must agree to it, and either person may decide at any time that they no longer consent and want to stop the activity. This goes for professional sessions as well as in our own private sex lives! And remember, that just because you consent to one behavior does not mean that you may consent to any other behaviors. Consenting during one session to a particular kind of exploration does not mean that you consent or are you obligated to  consent on any other sessions. A good Sexological Body Worker will always ask about consent and check in with you during your sessions. You also need to check in with yourself! Do I consent to G Spot exploration? Do I consent to having my scar massaged or my breasts? Do you want it? It is your choice to consent or not. Remember your sessions are all about you!

Speaking Your Sexual Desire:

One of the most wonderful and transformational experiences that can come out of working with a trained hands on practitioner is learning how to speak your desires. Speaking what we want when it comes to our sexuality can be loaded with shame.  Practicing speaking what we want, and negotiating  our desires is key to a fabulous session as well as a delicious and empowered sex life! It's important to remember that even if we speak our desires not all of our desires can or will be met in a session or even in our private sex life. But learning how to communicate our needs and wants is an essential part of getting the most out of your sessions.

Slow Down:

So many times, people "gulp" their sessions. They want to feel it all, all at once! That's like going to a great big buffet and expecting to really be able to taste all the flavors and digest your meal in a healthy way. Often when we eat too fast, we end up with a belly ache. The best way to experience Sexological Bodywork or really any kind of hands on healing work is in a series of at least five sessions, that's why Back to The Body: A Sensuous Retreat For Womenis five days long. We want the women to have the opportunity to be able to slow way down in their sessions so that they can go deeper into their experiences and really take it all in. We also want to prevent belly aches! So if you think you are going slow in your sessions, consider going slower! How deeply can you feel?

Exploring the world of hands on sexual healing can feel cutting edge, but the fact is that it goes way back in time, and has often been called "Humanistic Sex Therapy".

Do you want to know more? Please contact me for a free consultation, and I will be happy to talk further about whether exploring this healing modality might be right for you.

The Guts To Do Something Different

I know, I have talked about doing something different before. I will again. Because it is such a big, important skill set to learn. It takes guts to do something different.  In somatic sex education (through the body) we talk a lot about re-wiring neural pathways to sexual pleasure. That is what can happen when you do hands on work with a somatic sex practitioner. It is an amazing experience.
But there is also another piece to the puzzle on sex and relationship, and that is reprogramming our emotional neural pathways. What happens when you begin to feel restless, unsettled, anxious? Can you stop a minute and notice the hotness? That moment when you instantly grab for something? You know the something....that thing that you do when you are in one of those moments. Do you constantly threaten to leave your relationship? Do you withdraw? Abuse a substance? Throw things? Is it the same thing that you do repeatedly? Does it get you anywhere different? My guess, is that it doesn't. Think about doing something different ahead of time. What do you want to feel? How do you get there?

When you feel it coming on, just stop for a minute. And bring in your pre-planned new pattern of behavior or wing it! It can be really hard to do this. We want to reach for the familiar because even in it's dysfunction - it comforts us. Ask for support for this change in response from your friends, lovers, partners, therapists and coaches. It is through this constant paying attention and witnessing of our own emotional reactions that we can create the sexy, playful, beautiful experiences that we want to fill our lives.