Sometimes, it feels like I am leading a movement. It's about women reclaiming their bodies or perhaps even finding their bodies for the first time through non judgmental full body touch. I have worked side by side with "Sexological Body Workers", "Somatic Sex Educators, or "Hands on Sex Therapists/Practitioners for over ten years now, and through Back to The Body for close to three years since the publication of my book; "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner" (Rodale 2011). Since that time, over 200 women has passed through me whether it has been through coaching, private retreats, or Back to The Body: Sensuous Retreats for Women. I have held their hands, processed their experiences with them before and after their hands on sessions, and I have kept in contact with many long after they have moved onto other things.
I knew when I shared my story that I was sharing something big for women. I knew that when we learn through pleasure, that big things can change in our lives. How we feel about our bodies, our relationship with food, addiction, our interpersonal relationships, and our potential in the world. I knew, because I did it. And what I am finding out by supporting other women to do this work over the past three years in a very intensive way, is that it is the same for most of them too. And I want to share our lessons from the massage table. I want to share, because I want to inspire our women too. Our arousal is our internal pharmacy and we can access it through touch.
1. Being held in complete attention and presence from another being while being naked and receiving touch was perhaps the most healing aspect of this experience for almost all of the women. Somehow, we don't get that in our "regular" lives. I can't explain why women don't feel totally seen by lovers and husbands, but when a practitioner is totally focused on you for 90 minutes (or for as long as you create your session), and you do not have to be focused on your partner, lover, husband - it creates a space for you to simply receive attention - and that has created huge healing opportunities for almost every woman I have spoken to.
2. Learning to love our bodies through the pleasure of touch. As one woman put it recently, "When he put his hand on my thigh and I experienced my thigh as being full of pleasure instead of fat and ugly - it was a huge relief." When we are able to feel our bodies in pleasure instead of judgement it can create a change in how we see and feel our own bodies. Women with eating disorders have found incredible healing in their body distortion issues by closing their eyes and simply feeling their bodies through touch.
3. Women have reported their first orgasms and feelings of arousal for the first time. Many women can't ask for what they want erotically because they don't know what is possible. By working with someone that is educated in touching a woman's body, women are learning what feels good to them. They simply don't know what they don't know! And once they do know, they are able to bring that learning back into their lives and to their lovers.
4. Women have reported that doing this work has helped them understand their desires and their own personal boundaries in a new way. With coaching and hands on work, they are becoming stronger and more able to speak their desires, and their own boundaries. This shift has rocked open their worlds.
5. Woman have reported a tremendous expansion in what they see has possible in their own lives on every level after spending time doing somatic sex therapy. They have reported feeling more courageous, self confident and willing to take risks when it comes to their jobs and even creating more financial abundance.
6. Women have reported that they finally understand how to open, and surrender to touch and to their own hearts. On the table women are able to practice vulnerability and being open in a safe way - where there is no judgement and where they know they will be held. The experience of finally letting go can change them forever.
And here is what is true. Very few women get what they want in a single session. In a single session most of the women can see what is possible. But what I tell women is to give us a year. Start the dialog with your own body, and stay with it for one year - and see what happens. Time on the table is a practice.
It can take a season for a bulb to grow a stem, then a bud. The bud can often open over a few days. You need to be patient for the gorgeous flower.
How many metaphors do you want? If you are able to stay with this practice and allow yourself to go through the shifts and change that this work can bring you - I believe that you will find yourself transformed.
Time and time again, I have seen it. Time and time again for ten years I have been climbing on the table to do my own work. I am still peeling back the onion of my own transformation. I am filled with awe in what is possible through touch. I wish that more people knew about this.
The good news is: Our tribe is growing.